If you were asked to name the most successful brewery in Victoria when it comes to awards, what would your snap answer be? It should be 2 Brothers, as the Moorabbin brewers have steadily and consistently been racking up major trophies at the Australian International Beer Awards for the past few years while packing the punters in at their brewery bar every Thursday and Friday. Having picked up trophies for their beers, this year they collected another - Best European Style Lager for the Taxi Pilsner - and also took out the trophy for Champion Small Australian Brewery. It's been a remarkable run of success for the business started by brothers Andrew and David Ong just a few years ago. And it's one that's been built without ever releasing an American style Pale Ale or a hop bomb of an IPA. Look at the beers on their roster in recent years and you'll find a high ABV barley wine, a rice lager, a strong American Amber and big Belgian style ales.
Looking in from the outside, if there is a preference, it seems to be for the malty end of the beer spectrum, often those that pack a well-disguised boozy punch. And their winter seasonal - first sampled at GABS 2013 - is no different. The Magic Pudding is a dessert beer tipping the scales at 9.1 per cent. Not only does it tell you that on the label, but there's an image that could have been lifted straight from a Roald Dahl book on it too. Inside is a thick, rusty brown coloured concoction that mixes rummy caramel flavours with those of dark fruits, spices and marzipan. There's some sweet alcohol flavours in there too, and enough booze to offer a warming tingle; maybe even enough to pour it over dessert during Christmas in July and set it alight.