Remember when beers – at least in Australia – came pretty much solely in a few shades of gold (other than the occasional darker drop for winter) and crystal clear? When even the concept of a beer being fruity, let alone containing actual fruit, would furrow brows. When anything sour would be tipped down the drain (unless it was at one of Australia’s earlier microbreweries, where they might just try to pass any duff brews off as “it’s supposed to be different, mate”).
For many in Australia, that’s still the reality today, yet for a growing number that era might as well be prehistoric – not least the team at Deeds. With their second trio of mixed culture, barrel-aged and blended releases, the colours are so bold it’s almost like a set of traffic lights (well, except there’s no green – GABS is still a few months away, after all), there’s fruit in one I’d never heard of before, and there’s acidity aplenty.
Let’s start with the mystery fruit: the pluots that lend Plutocracy its name. Turns out it’s another of those hybrids in which all the brainpower appears to have gone into the breeding, leaving none for an imaginative title: they’re half plum, half apricot. They do, however, lend a really lovely, deep peach / apricot hue to the beer, plus a kind of fermented fleshy fruitiness to the blend’s sweet acidity. There’s no denying there’s sourness, but it’s more the quenching sort, with a textural depth that gives the palate a welcome massage.
As with the opening trio from the series, the other two beers are relatives. Three of Deeds’ large collection of barrels were chosen to be blended before spending seven months on Morello sour cherries from the Mornington Peninsula. A portion was then blended again with an oak-aged mixed culture beer and a younger saison to create Scarlet Apparition, which has an appearance somewhere between blood and beetroot juice. The cherries come through clearly – both sour and juiced – as things initially veer close to sparkling shiraz before pulling a handbrake turn and careening towards the territory marked kriek, with a distinct side palate quench presumably borne of both the fruit and the bacteria in the barrels.
A smaller amount of said beer was left unblended as Indulgence, making it the companion piece for Decadence last time around. It caresses your palate like satin sheets with a texture that’s as much pet nat wine as anything obviously beer; the cherries present with a boldness and richness that’s also less sour ale than Mornington pinot noir, aided by a lower carbonation than Scarlet Apparition. Deep ruby with a violet tinge, the greater density of fruit means there’s less of the acidity and sourness of its mate too, leaving you with a delicious drink that really is like a lightly carbonated red wine, right down to the tannic, grippy denouement, with just a hint of malt-derived sweetness reminding you it really is beer.
Published February 28, 2022 2022-02-28 00:00:00