It's fair to say the team at Moon Dog were pretty chuffed with their Champion Large Brewery trophy at the 2022 Indies. Long admired for their wild innovation, off-kilter boundary-pushing, and the way in which they changed perceptions as to what a brewery venue could be with Moon Dog World, here was validation from the country's beer experts that they were making cracking beers too.
It appears they didn't want the moment to end either: in the aftermath of their triumph, while conceiving ideas for eye-catching future releases, an idea was hatched to create a beer with the other state and territory winners from the night. Now, if you've had any experience trying to get brewers (or hospo people, for that matter) together to agree on something, let alone make something together, it can be less a case of herding cats, more herding three-legged cats on acid through a ball pool. Yet, a couple of months out from the 2023 Indies, the idea has become reality in the shape of Best In Show.
It's a hazy IPA into which the favourite hops and techniques from seven breweries – the instigators plus Moffat Beach, BentSpoke, Grifter, Otherside, Moo Brew and Barossa Valley Brewing – have been corralled into one recipe by Moon Dog head brewer Kevin te Weirik. The result is a recipe that features pale and wheat malts plus rolled oats, a New England yeast strain, and five hops – the Salvo Trident blend in the whirlpool, Eclipse for a spot of dip-hopping, Citra as the day 0 dry hop, and Idaho 7 at the end of fermentation – all of which end up in a 7 percent ABV, 40 IBU IPA.
Pouring a hazy golden-orange and with a meringue like head, there's plenty going on aromatically but this is no "too many cooks spoil the froth" beer. There's the tropical aromatics you'd expect, plus something a little deeper and herbaceous, and there's no denying they're potent, or that they're delivered with a softness. There's little of the overt sweetness and none of the stickiness you can find in such beers – even if there's no denying there's plenty of juicy fruit flavours – and both texture and bitterness are smooth.
It's a mighty fine hazy IPA, for sure, but perhaps as importantly in this challenging AF year for beer, it shows off the best of the local industry and its wonderfully collaborative nature.
Published June 28, 2023 2023-06-28 00:00:00