What do beer styles mean these days? Sometimes plenty: when brewers are attempting to recreate a classic, perhaps, or when judges sit down to decide the trophies in an awards competition. Sometimes bugger all: when brewers are embarking upon wild experiments or conjuring hybrids that are part of the reason "Specialty Beer" categories can become swollen at such beer awards.
Take Sailors Grave's Sea Bird. It's called a Belgian pale and is indeed pale and fermented with a Belgian yeast strain. Yet is it anything like the sort of Belgian pale ales you might have enjoyed in Belgium on your travels? Not on your nelly. There's coastal salt bush and a trio of citrusy hops at work here too, which see this bird land far closer to the hazy pales of Australia today. It reminds me of Molly Rose's Tretti Tri – kveik-fermented hazies – with soft tropical and citrus rind aromas, and a light, fruity and cleansing palate which only allow the Belgian contributor in at the edges courtesy of some drying spiciness accompanying the bitterness.
When it comes to Suleimeon The Magnificent, you've got a game of two halves. The coming together of multiple melon varieties – Hales Best, Honeydew, Petite Gris, Piel de Sapo and Charentais Sultan – within a gose base doesn't quite reach barnyard status with its aroma, but it certainly possesses a funky, earthy pong. Presumably the titular hero on the cans gave one hell of a team talk at halftime, however, as to taste it’s much more about melon sweetness, with the salinity of the base gose adding to the viscous slickness. Something of an acquired taste for ardent melon-fanciers, I’d suggest.
Published May 29, 2023 2023-05-29 00:00:00