When we posted a job ad for a new head brewer at Two Birds earlier this week, we pointed out their fondness for puns. It's a fondness with a lengthy history; Rice Rice Baby first appeared five years ago as one of many music-referencing limited releases. And now the tribute to Footscray Market in the brewery's backyard returns, albeit without Vanilla Ice on the cans.
For newcomers, it's brewed with rice (no, really) as well as fresh ginger, lemongrass, Vietnamese mint and Thai basil in a nod to said market, embellished by citrusy, herbal hop varieties Motueka and Sorachi Ace. If that sounds like a mouthful – they do recommend pairing it with banh mi, after all – it's true there's plenty in the mix, but in a manner that's subtle rather than screaming for attention. It's less a case of those epic South East Asian curries that manage to be violently sweet, sour, salty and hot at the same time yet impeccably balanced, more a refresher with much to unearth for the wandering palate.
Drying spices, notably the anise-like basil, lead the way, and while there's citrus, it's a more herbal, plant like citrus. The ginger is there yet doesn't deliver the burn of a feisty ginger beer. If it was a food offering from the market, it might be a lightly spiced soup or a crunchy spring roll. As a beer, it's a funky refresher – not sour funky but fun funky – with lots going on, just quietly.
- Spiced Rice Beer
- 23 IBU