In the thick of winter, and in the beginning of lockdown, Sydney Brewery has dropped three seasonal beers to keep our spirits high.
The cool cat crooning on the Smooth Talker Porter can doubles down on the beer's ‘smooth’ vibe and suggests that some Coltrane playing in the background wouldn’t go astray. It’s surprisingly dark even for a porter - it’s opaque unless you shine a light directly through it, in which case you can see a red glow peeking through the black curtains. Gentle chocolate liqueur drifts through the air, a sweet note threading its way through the richness of the cocoa. This note drops in volume as it enters the mouth, and a quiet drinkability takes the stage. In a world of big brash flavours, my friend from the UK described this as ‘sensible’; it has the relaxing familiarity of a jazz standard picked up on the saxophone. This is the beer to drink when you’re sitting on the couch with your feet tucked under you, trying to decide if you’ll just eat a row of chocolate or finish off the whole block.
If you want hops with your dark beer, the Speak Easy Black IPA brings a powerful blast of sticky pawpaw, mango and resin to the nostrils, rounded out with some flecks of citrus, floral and medicinal aromas. Take a sip and notice the Citra, Amarillo and Chinook hops soften as some roasty bitterness joins them, and brings a malty sourdough-like complexity - those dark German breads full of seeds and grains come to mind. It eases off even more at the tail end, leaving the mouth fresh. This is the beer for a drizzly late afternoon, when you’re ready to wind down after finishing work but you want something to jolt you back to life after the dreariness of the day so you can become an Interesting Person again.
The Lumberjack Rye IPA, represented by a literal timber wolf on the label, steps out of the dark as it drags you away from wintry Australia to the Pacific Northwest, where the sun is high in the sky, the fir trees are standing tall, and the mountains are calling. It shines almost the colour of red cedar, and the syrupy smell of candied honeycomb joins together with pine sap. Malty sweetness joins with a bitter wash of hops and rye spice in the mouth. This is the beer to pair with your takeaway Indian curry as you ignore the cold outside and dream of warmer climes.
- 5.5%, 6.0% & 6.5%