Now, I was well aware that this year – recent weeks, in particular – had been insanely busy, but it took the arrival of a third Sailors Grave limited release in my fridge at once to realise that, gee, it was even impacting my beer-drinking. And that simply won't do...
In typical Sailors Grave fashion, there's little to obviously link them – except here they're all collaborations of one sort or another. Let Them Eat Cake sees them become the first Aussies to trial innovative infused malts from Cristal Peck's Belgomalt project (of which much more on this site this month). They opted for her Gingerbread Cookie Infusion Malt, further adding carrots, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. The "imperial pastry field beer" might sound like a mouthful, but if you were to try to imagine a spiced gingerbread slice reduced to a slightly sticky-sweet liquid you're on the right track.
The Fruit Thereof is a fig leaf and spelt saison created with NZ's Small Gods, and I'll admit my knowledge of fig leaves is more visual and biblical than gastronomical. What I can say is that the beer is at once floral, herbal and spicy without being too much of any of them, and that it retains both head and texture. There's a drying herbal underbelly and a building lemon citrus flavour, plus a touch of drying grip to counter any malt sweetness. Very much in the Sailors Grave farmhouse mould.
Which brings us to Double Sunk, a "yuzu ocean lager" inspired by Dangerous Ales founder Damo's most famous wipeout. It's clear as and has an almost gelatinous nature to its swirl, presumably down to the harvested sea salt addition. The yuzu comes across leaner than it sometimes does in beer, yet remains as distinct as ever: bright and citrusy. Within such a clean, unobtrusive base it reminds me of a sweeter sauv blanc, at least until the salinity takes it on a different tangent.
Published March 17, 2023 2023-03-17 00:00:00