“Are you freak enough? Go on. We’re watching” – the label on the bottle of Melbourne brewery BrewCult’s Acid Freaks practically dares you to drink it.
However this wasn’t my first dance with this freak of a beer. It was one of my favourite beers at this years Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular festival, aka GABS, in Melbourne. Acid Freaks is a Baltic Porter infused with balsamic vinegar that’s been aged in Shiraz barrels, fitting firmly into the festival beer criteria of being unique, creative and just downright intriguing.
If you’re unfamiliar with BrewCult it’s a Melbourne operation headed up by Steve “Hendo” Henderson who’s one of the friendly smilest beer folk you’ll meet.
Hendo teamed up with his brother, Ian, who is a craft vinegar producer and together they made this wonderful beer. Imagine the sweetness of a Baltic Porter flirting dangerously with the sourness of balsamic vinegar. Oh my.
When I first tried this beer at GABS my notes were rather concise – “weirdly stunning”.
Today GABS, Melbourne and Good Beer Week are just a big hazy beery memory. Then, thanks to social media, I saw Acid Freaks was making s way into bottles. Cue excited jumping up and down.
A quick phone call to Cellarbrations Carlisle and I had secured two bottles. Fate would have it a friend was coming down to visit so a beer delivery was arranged. Thanks Fi! Thanks Cellarbrations Carlisle!
I rolled the bottle gently, shifting around the sediment, and poured it into a wine glass with a muddy chocolate brown appearance. Aromas of plum and malt and lovely flavours of sweet red fruit, grapeskin and, of course, balsamic though not as strong as I remembered from GABS. I cursed myself for only getting two bottles, rookie mistake, but I hear there is more to come – yippee!
For a pairing with dinner, I decided to go for an easy match – finding a dish using balsamic vinegar. Gotta love a simple pairing.