You can say a lot of things about Working Title founders Mark and Luke. That they’re cynical, funny-looking, ill-mannered, disinterested in personal hygiene, possible lizard people wearing suits of human skin… but you can’t say they skimp on flavour.
Working Title’s second birthday coincided with the launch of their brewpub, and because Mark and Luke love big Westies, big reds, and big stouts, half the taps were pouring beers over 8 percent ABV from the minute the venue opened.
Here are three of the skimp-free flavour bombs:
Panic Room is everything I’m after in a double West Coast.* It’s dank, it’s bitter, it’s resinous, it’s weedy, and it has enough pine oozing out of it to remind you of the beer Working Title made in 2022 that actually contained pine needles. There’s a biscuity, toasty malt character that holds the hops up high, and a touch of citrus sneaks in after your system has acclimated to the dankness. But overall, this is a full-on pine resin explosion, complete with bitter shrapnel.
In the words of my drinking buddy: “It is very bitter, and I like it.”
While it’s 10 percent ABV, it’s not as crazy thick as I expected, so it goes down like it’s a sessionable 8 percent. Take care when you move onto your third schooner.
Moving onto Whiplash, I almost feel bad for what I’m about to say. I know Mark worked awfully hard on the hop bill of this beer, pouring his little heart and soul in along with the hot side Bru-1, Strata, Simcoe and Azacca additions, the Mosaic LUPO dip-hopping, and the dry-hopping with Citra, Bru-1, Strata, Simcoe and Azacca.
But whoa. The malts are the real standouts here. While many red IPAs are about the sweeter toffees and caramels, this one is more like the Irish red ale version of a triple IPA; that is, the malts bring chocolate (LOTS of chocolate), roast, and dark dried fruit, as well as some burnt caramel notes that blend in well with the hop resin. There’s a real dryness that does make space for the hops, and in particular the punchier citrus peel, resin and pine notes. But I found I was so focused on the malt character that I didn’t get a lot of the fruity nuance that the complex hop bill might have otherwise hit me with.
Speaking of malts, when we get to Detour, we’re looking at a Russian imperial stout made with ten malts that was then aged in second fill Makers Mark barrels for nine months. Woof. There’s a rich mocha aroma with a roastiness that cuts through like a razor. Then from the first sip, the booze and the barrel reveal themselves: it’s all espresso oils and chocolate liqueur and charred coconut and vanilla syrup. All this is carried along by a smoothness that fills the mouth, like someone’s put a deflated balloon in your mouth then blown it up.**
These beers are available on tap and as takeaway from Working Title’s brewpub in Doggett Street, Newstead. You can’t miss it; you’ll see Mark and Luke warming themselves on a rock out the front.
One of the things I like about this beer is the conservative style category; I respect a 10 percent ABV IPA that’s called a double rather than a triple.
That sounds like a strange erotic act because of the presence of a second person, but I didn't mean it like that. The second person is purely functional. How could you blow it up yourself once it's in your mouth?*
Published April 4, 2023 2023-04-04 00:00:00