BecauseWeCAN Vol.3

August 13, 2021, by Benedict "Benny" Kennedy-Cox
BecauseWeCAN Vol.3

“Farm to table" has planted its roots deep down in the world of gastronomy, with fine dining destinations eager to ensure guests are aware of the tiny distance between their organic allotment and your tastebuds.

The beer world has been part of this trend in recent years too, with “paddock to pint” perhaps the most commonly used phrase when highlighting the links between agriculture and what’s inside your tallboy tinnies. It’s a reality that means fresh fruits (and extracts and purées), spices and even vegetables now make it into our glasses with increasing frequency.

Enter BecauseWeCAN Volume 3.

If you’re just joining us, this is a series where we look at boundary-pushing beers with kooky concepts and ask: how did they come into being, who are they for, and how do they measure up when it’s time for a drink?

We invite brewers to tell us the backstory to their beers as often what might seem like a daft flight of fancy will have required some serious technique to come into being. Then, using our patented rating system, we look at how they score in terms of novelty – AKA We’re Not In Kansas Anymore – and nailing the brief – AKA It Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin.

This time around we are looking at a trio of recent releases* that have made fruits and vegetables the star ingredients. Let’s go!

BEER 1: MOLLY ROSE Underground Summer


Brewer’s Notes

This was a bit of an evolution of a beer. Our venue manager Simon has a penchant for shooting ideas from the hip and one day he blasted off "Carrot Ginger Beer"; together, we workshopped it a bit and decided a light farmhouse base would be spot on and added in the black tea to tie the whole beer together.

We wanted to make something that was creative and fun but also makes sense. As a brewer, I love working with people to bring their ideas into beer form. It helps me to not make 3,000 beers that taste the same.

We have a base recipe that we iterate on for our pale saisons, sours and farmhouses, and we know how it works with our house yeast. It's usually around 60 percent Aussie pale malt, 30 percent wheat and ten percent oats. Keeping the bitterness low and only from start of boil was a goal on this one so that we could let the extra ingredients shine through. 

We used an Assam Tea from Larsen & Thompson Tea as it had a really rich, punchy, "classic" black tea character that we thought would hold its own. We brewed around 200 litre of it at 95C for five mins at about double strength of your normal cuppa and then pumped it into the fermenting beer. 

We teamed up with a local juicer who was able to juice 50 litres of carrot juice and deliver it to us straight away to put into the tank. We pulverised a few kgs of ginger and threw that in the tank too.

In terms of a target audience, this was brewed for Simon and I to have some fun. We were lucky to team up with Dalton from Studio Tun Tun who designed a beautiful label for our artist series based on the history of grisettes, so I guess you could say we made this beer for Dalton too.

For a lot of our beers, we don't really look at a target audience specifically, but what we do try and do is make sure that our beers are well enough balanced and thought out that even if they sound a bit kooky they are approachable by almost anyone who enjoys a beer. Finding the nice group of beer-buying public that sit in the part of the Venn diagram where carrot, ginger, tea and sessionable farmhouse ales cross over would be a tough gig. 

As for the perfect setting to enjoy such a beer, Dalton also designed a glass (pictured above) that we love to drink Summer Underground from. It has our very own Molly Rose Collingwood crest on it and takes inspiration from Belgian brewing crests of old. So I think, ideally, you are sitting out the front of our brewery in the sun and drinking your third glass alongside a sneaky cheese board. Nic Sandery

We’re not in Kansas anymore, or are we?

Look, I’ll admit that I had to hit up old mate Google when approaching this one; I mean, it's not often you spot a grisette in the wild. Of course, it didn't take long to realise I've had grisettes before, in their native Belgium, and really enjoyed them (even if I'd forgotten what they were called).

Weighing in at around 4 percent ABV, many Belgians refer to grisettes – farmhouse style ales akin to a lower alcohol saison – as “table beers”, the sort of thing you can have with lunch even when you have a big meeting straight afterwards. I’m not sure if this means they don’t take them as seriously as some of their other beer styles [If they’re Belgian brewers, there’s a very good chance they take grisettes very seriously! – Editor] particularly if there’s carrot, ginger and black tea in the mix.


Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin

Since craft beer’s rise began in earnest, you’d often find it referred to as a “hipster beverage” in mainstream media coverage. It’s not the sort of term you’ll find bandied about on the pages of The Crafty Pint, yet I can’t help but feel everything about this tin – even the name, Underground Summer, and the fact it’s a collaboration with a Melbourne artist – says “hipster beverage”. What’s more, every straw-coloured sip delivers on that promise: it’s like a soda from a trendy café, light on the tongue but with a complexity of flavours that keeps you intrigued.

This complexity is delivered courtesy of the trio of carrot, ginger and black tea (in case you’d forgotten) that work together harmoniously like a NSW backline, with all ingredients simultaneously the superstar while elevating the others, not outshining them. Black tea – earthy and inviting, complemented by the throat-tingling ginger and notes of carrot, which I'm happy to say taste fresh cut, not boiled.


Final Thoughts

If I’m going to say it once on these pages, I’ll say it again: this is the most hipster beer I’ve ever had. It is so refined, balanced and so full of details, it’s like drinking an episode of Portlandia – ideal for day drinking while arguing about vinyls.

Are you sad they stopped printing the Smith Journal? If so, this beer is for you.


Read The Crafty Pint's review of the beer here.

BEER 2: Big Shed Violet NoRegard

A flask containing sufficient mica slurry for a 4,500 litre batch; Wattsy of The Hazing fame adding said slurry to the bright tank: the beer glistening in the sunlight.


Brewer’s Notes

This beer was a bit of a group idea, really. We were trying to decide what to do [for GABS 2021] and we were reminded that someone dubbed us the Wily Wonka of breweries. That led us down that path and next minute we had a punny name and an idea for a beer.

Like all our GABS beers, the idea was to try something ridiculous and see if we can pull it off. We love to get people talking – sometimes they are positive, sometimes not, and that’s fine. We thought a blueberry beer with glitter would achieve that – an interesting beer that got people talking. If we could put a smile on their face, all the better.

From a technical side, we based the grain bill on our gold medal-winning Oat Cream IPA Feelin’ Fine featuring Big O malted oats and chit malt to provide creamy mouthfeel. A big whack of blueberry purée was added near the end of fermentation, which provided flavour and colour. However, with the aim being to make the consumer’s tongue turn blue after a few sips, the beer needed some extra oomph.

A visit to the local cake supply shop’s website for food grade violet food colouring and a weird phobia of glitter provided the inspiration to add edible mica (glitter) to the beer as a finishing touch. We needed to constantly rouse the bright tank during packaging to ensure every can and keg received the right dose of mica powder.

We recommend drinking it in front of a dyed-in-the-wool Super Dry drinker. I think a blue beer with glitter that tastes like a milkshake would see them blow a synapse! It will at least give them pause to think about what beer can be, and that’s always a good thing. Craig Basford and Pete Bradley

We’re not in Kansas anymore, or are we?

Willy Wonka is an obvious inspiration when it’s time to get weird with food and drink, yet the cautionary tale of Violet Beauregarde's azure expansion is yet to be retold in beverage form.

Milkshake IPAs might have become more commonplace in craftier circles in the past two or three years, but combine this with blueberries and a hefty ABV and you’ve got yourself one weird effin’ beer.


Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin

First impressions of the colour are more “water pots at the end of art class” than Three-Course-Meal Gum turning my face blue. Funnily enough, however, the first tasting note is exactly that: chewing gum, all the types, in one go, before an Adam West as Batman “BAM!" of alcohol hits.

Sip to sip, there is a smidgen of cream hiding amongst a blueberry flavour so sweet you could vape it, but the main takeaway is that 8 percent alcohol content, which hits hard and early, leaving you a bit tipsy and giggling something to the effect of: “Heehee, this is beer now!”


Final Thoughts

A beer that really defies any sort of understanding and will leave you baffled for literal days after drinking. Great for those who really want to question reality.


Read The Crafty Pint's review of the beer here.

BEER 3: Bacchus Brewing Pecana Split


Brewer’s Notes

All the brew team are involved with coming up with ideas for beers, as are our customers, who often contact us with their thoughts. This particular beer, though, was one of my personal creations.

As a lot of our creations are, it was inspired by a previous beer we’d made. In this case our $5 Shake, which was a Tarantino-inspired Banana Thickshake beer created for our Tarantino Beerfest. The $5 Shake was a great success, so we went about thinking how we could utilise what we’d learnt in a new beer. The idea of a Banana Split beer was a natural progression really, using the banana base and adding layers of toppings to produce a classic dessert, in this case ice cream, pecans and maple syrup.

We went for a rich, full-bodied pale base, basically a combo of Munich, wheat and oats, that was then fermented on banana purée at a rate of 15 percent fruit. We also used a yeast that produces banana esters, to help lift the banana profile. We then built on this with lactose and vanilla bean for the ice cream component, with the addition of a high quality pecan extract and pure maple syrup to bring the concept to fruition.

For us, quality ingredients are the key, avoiding unnatural flavourings, which nearly always taste fake. Unfortunately, it can send the costs spiralling, but we’ll never compromise on taste, which has become one of the quality hallmarks our customers expect from our beers.

Our target audience for our specialty beers is anyone and everyone that is open to new flavour experiences in beer form. We always try to make balanced, full-flavoured beers that depict exactly what’s on the label. If the descriptor tickles your taste buds, then you’re rarely going to be disappointed by the beer.

It’s a dessert beer, so probably best enjoyed after dinner and even served over ice cream. But, seriously, enjoy whenever the mood takes you for something a bit sweet and decadent. Ross Kenrick

We’re not in Kansas anymore, or are we?

Is this the weirdest beer of all time? No. The weirdest Bacchus has ever made? Again, no. The weirdest Bacchus even brewed this month? Probably not, and by the time this article is released they will already have put out something weirder.

Pecana Split caught my interest for putting a twist on a twist. A Banana Split is already out of place in a beer, but to then give the split a Canadian style switch-up seems like they want to brew a shocker on purpose.


Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin

Pouring amber, this one is so sweet you might even call it sickly, but the banana teamed with lactose, oats, vanilla and maple syrup create a real cheek-smacking flavour festival that goes straight to your head.

On the tin, the Bacchus team state Pecana Split is: “Another classic dessert in a glass.” On the basis of that alone, I give full marks. Every sip is consistent and as sharp as toffee. It really feels like you could bring out a tin of this for dessert at dinner parties or fancy restaurants and it would genuinely become a thing.


Final Thoughts

This is dessert beer perfection. You could smoke a big, thick cigar with Pecana Split and you would still taste every note of this sweet, syrupy bomb. You’d also have a hell of a nap afterwards.

Challenging traditional desserts for the right to be served after dinner is a pretty bold move and Bacchus have made their claim strong and sweet. I am genuinely worried the elite will discover this brewery and end up pricing average beer drinkers out of the Bacchus market. Buy now!


* There's a good chance you won't be able to find these three beers around at time of publication (unless they're brewed again) as this article has been through a lengthy gestation. It turns out that trying to coordinate responses from a few people in different states and evolving states of lockdown – not to mention an editor on a convoluted, pandemic-impacted road trip through areas with bugger all phone signal – is rather challenging.

Still, the idea as much as anything is to peer behind the veil of such beers, which we've certainly done here.

Next up in the BecauseWeCAN series, a stupendous stout special!

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