The opening event at this year's Good Beer Week saw the concept from 2012's Masterclass of Champions - punters invited into a brewery for a live international collaboration brew followed by a brewery floor feast - switched from the Yarra Valley to Richmond. At Mountain Goat, 15 guests got to take part in the brew, while another 75 rocked up for a beer degustation lunch. The international guests this time were from NYC's awesome Brooklyn Brewery, with two brewers flying in for the day and bringing one of their recipes - plus five of their beers - with them.
The resulting beer is now out and is a Hopfweizenbock, AKA a hoppy, strong wheat beer. It's a beer style brewed by Brooklyn in the States and this version uses the exact same yeast (from the world's oldest existing brewery, Weihenstephan) and exact same grain bill as the US beer. Where it differs is in the use of Melbourne water and, more importantly, Aussie hops. A tonne (not literally) of Tassie Galaxy hops were added to the conditioning tanks - two grams per litre, according to Goat, to give the beer a distinctive Aussie twist. That said, the tropical fruit aromas from the Galaxy don't have it all their own way, with the Weihenstephan yeast throwing up plenty of banana and bubblegum esters too. In fact, the hops come to the fore as much in the mouth, adding a slightly resiny, fruity kick to the full-bodied, malty, slightly spicy beer.
Wheat beers tend to be a "love em or hate em" category and are a style you rarely see from Goat - or among the countless collaborations taking place across Australia. Indeed, one of the Big Apple & The Goat brew day 15, Jimmy, who returned for a tasting at the brewery declared: "I don't like wheat beers." But, having sampled their handiwork, he added: "Maybe this is the one to change that!"
NB the initial tasting notes were based on draught beer at the brewery. The Galaxy hops are more prominent on the nose in the bottled version, making for a much more hopfen affair.