If the words “special monkeys” and “beer” didn’t get your attention then I am at a total loss …
A couple of weeks ago I caught up with Cheeky Monkey brewer Jared Proudfoot over a glass of beer and discovered, as always, he’s quite the busy brewer.
If you were at the South West Craft Beer Festival you may have tasted the latest limited release from Cheeky Monkey, the ginger pale ale. After resisting many requests from customers for a ginger beer Jared decided he would meet them half way with a ginger pale ale. Jared has used ground ginger during the boil followed by one kilo of fresh organic ginger during fermentation, ensuring a balanced flavour. The ginger pale ale has been dry hopped with Simcoe and Cascade hops, which basically means they’ve been added post fermentation for mega hop aromas and flavours. The result is a beer that is fresh and dry with a zingy ginger hit balanced nicely with fresh floral hops.
I took some of it to a friend’s house for dinner a few nights later and my friend Mitch aka the man behind Beersine and chef behind Five Bar, pondered a pairing with some kind of black bean dish. The thought of the thick black bean sauce contrasting with the crisp ginger pale ale would have resulted in drooling if we hadn’t just finished a delicious meal.
Anyway, back to the monkey house …
Other special beers coming up are an apricot berliner weisse and imperial stout, the latter being in celebration of Cheeky Monkey’s first birthday on the 5th May.
I was fortunate enough to be able to sample the two beers in their current, unfinished state.
The berliner weisse style apparently originated in or around Berlin, as your detective skills may have already determined, and the “weisse” refers to wheat. The exact origins are subject to multiple theories but I think the guys at BeerAdvocate provide a nice clear reference:
Berliner Weisse is a top-fermented, bottle conditioned wheat beer made with both traditional warm-fermenting yeasts and lactobacillus culture. They have a rapidly vanishing head and a clear, pale golden straw-coloured appearance. The taste is refreshing, tart, sour and acidic, with a lemony-citric fruit sharpness and almost no hop bitterness.
So Jared is brewing one of these with 100 kilos of apricots he sourced from a local grower in Manjimup, about 150km from Cheeky Monkeys home in Margaret River, which were deseeded by hand. Yup, by hand. That’s dedication folks. At the time of tasting the beer had been conditioning for approximately four weeks at 4-5 degrees. The taste was a soft lactic sourness with pronounced apricot coming through as the beer warmed up. Jared was pretty happy with its progress so far.
The imperial stout had spent 60 days in tank with two more weeks to go. The sample was strong and hit you with rich coffee and chocolate with promise of more to come. The beer will be bottle conditioned for up to six weeks and should come out somewhere around the ten percent mark.
Looking forward to tasting the finished apricot berliner weisse and birthday imperial stout soon and you can tell I’m excited because I completely forgot to take photos of the samples I tasted!