It’s always a great journey when you discover a new beer, regardless whether you enjoy it or you find it’s not quite your cup of tea.
I recently went to visit the guys at Cellarbrations at Carlisle so our fridge currently has a full shelf of beers I have never tried before. During the always difficult selection process, hampered only by my credit card limit, I was asked “do you like hoppy beers?”, “hell yes” I replied, or at least something to that effect. That’s when a bottle of Heretic Evil Cousin landed in my shopping basket. The label had the words “A massively hoppy imperial IPA” on it … what’s a girl to do?!
The Heretic Brewery comes out of California in the United States from Jamil Zainasheff, a home brewer since 1999 when he first caught the beer-bug. Since then he has won a number of awards, co-authored a couple of books, contributed to many a beer publication, his own blog and podcast and, of course, the Heretic Brewery since early 2011. A quick read through his blog on the Heretic Brewery website and, like all brewers I have met, he comes across as an all round decent guy who just wants to brew great beer and share it with everyone.
“A heretic is a person who practices heresy, and heresy is when you hold an opinion at odds with what is generally accepted. Galileo was considered a heretic for supporting the theory that the earth revolves around the sun. In a world where over 90% of beer drinkers believe mass market light lagers constitute the universe of beer, craft beer lovers are all heretics”, December 2010
“You blithely assume that you can just buy some kegs, put beer in them, and you are good to go. Not so fast. It takes more thought than that. In fact, I can’t believe how much time we’ve put into thinking about packaging so far”, March 2011
“So, one year of blog entries down. Normally I need to think long and hard about committing to another year of writing anything, but these blog entries are different for me. I get to say just about anything I want. I get to ramble on about random thoughts, and as long as the topic somehow relates to beer, everyone seems to be OK with it. Cool gig, huh? But don’t take that as an indication that I don’t care”, February 2012
The Evil Cousin sits at 100 IBU and 8.0% ABV so my boyfriend and I decided it would be the perfect partner to a home made prawn laksa. We sat at the table and poured the ale into a couple of wine glasses, the colour alone put a nice big smile on our faces, bright copper and oh-so-lively. Floral and citrusy hops were basically fighting each other to escape from the bottle, delightful! The taste was chewy and rich, like lollies that are bad for your teeth, and stays true to the American Imperial IPA style with big notes of pine needles and citrus with a generous hop bitterness to finish plus there’s a sweet fruit like sweetness underlying it all.
Home made laksa often features on our rotating list of home dinners, especially during winter, and I decided prawn laksa was the way to go for this occasion. I slowly simmered the prawns in a mix of olive oil, finely diced garlic and fresh red chilli before throwing it into the laksa. It all came together beautifully, and in true laksa tradition, it was messy to eat and down right tasty.
The match of prawn laksa with such a beautifully hoppy Imperial IPA was harmony what with chilli and hops being such good bedfellows. Both dishes were equally rich, all the flavours demanding your attention and for once I hadn’t gone overboard with the chilli so it was nicely balanced and my mouth wasn’t on fire.
Slowly simmered in a mixture of olive oil, finely diced fresh red chilli and garlic, throw into laksa moments before serving.
Interview with Brewer Jamil Zainasheff on MoreBeer!
Check out Heretic Evil Cousin Ale currently rating 96 on Rate Beer