Seeing Double Three Times

A post dedicated to double IPAs and ending with a three way side by side of IIPAs from WA, SA and California.

Want to see a lot of beer geeks get ridiculously excited? Put out a limited release double IPA.

Feral Brewing‘s Tusk Day – the release day of their imperial IPA – sees one keg go to a handful of selected bars across the country who commit to tapping the keg immediately. Eager drinkers plan their day to ensure they can get to the selected venues before the keg runs dry and social media is flooded with #tuskday photos. The most recent release in WA at the end of April saw most kegs last a mere couple of hours.

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Feral Tusk Imperial IPA at Feral Fest 3 – a lack of tasting notes is explained by the many Feral beers that followed this one!

Recently Mash Brewing, also in the Swan Valley, released their Sarcasm Session IIPA (see what they did there?!) into a limited run of 330ml bottles and Tusk-like excitement once again dominated my social media feed.

With craft beer exploding the way it is and American style pale ales dominating people’s hearts and taste buds, it only makes sense that their bigger siblings – IPAs and IIPAs get people even more excited. After all, you’re taking a thing people love, the pale ale, and adding more of the things that they love – more hops, more booze, more fun.


What is a double IPA anyway?

Double IPA, IIPA, Imperial IPA, Extra IPA, it’s all the basically the same thing – an IPA but bigger, dominated by US and/or new world hops, it’s feisty, bitter, boozy but still balanced.

Double IPA
Information taken/edited from BJCP 2015 & The Oxford Companion to Beer

Of course, not all IIPAs are the same, what a boring beer world that would be. So, when you pour a double IPA into a suitably fancy glass, what’s the most important thing to look for?

Two words – “fresh” and “hops”. Fresh beer is the best beer when it comes to something like a double IPA which is critically defined by its hop aroma and character. Look for local and don’t be afraid to ask the bartender or take a look at the date on the bottle/can whilst you’re beer shopping at your favourite bottle shop. Anything past three months, whilst not off or undrinkable, isn’t in it’s peak condition, the way the brewer wants you to enjoy it and given the sheer number of IPAs and IIPAs available, something fresher is probably easily at hand.

On the release of Mash’s Sarcasm I decided to line up two other double IPAs, the first is a classic and the first very IIPA I ever had – Sierra Nevada Torpedo from California and the second is a modern instant hit – Pirate Life IIPA from Adelaide.

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L-R: Mash Sarcasm, Pirate Life IIPA & Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

girl+beer’s tasting notes …

Mash Sarcasm Session IPA | Consumed within days of packaging

At 9.5% ABV it was the booziest one of the three and there was a big alcohol sweetness amongst the pineapple and tropical fruits. Pairing it with some Old Winchester cheese with its fruitiness and tangy flavours took the edge of the booze in the beer. If you like you’re double IIPAs thick and on the sweeter side this hit that spot.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA | BB 11.05.16

My first experience with a double IPA was many years ago and it was this one from Sierra Nevada. Amongst the pioneers of the craft beer revolution in the US, I looked to this beer to show me what a double IPA was all about. I remember being blown away by how hoppy it was.

This particular bottle wasn’t in the prime of it’s life so it was kinda disappointing to come back to it now and find it not as I remember. The tropical fruit aromas were there but sat alongside some candy, lolly and unwanted green apple character too.

With a best before date of 05.11.16, so 11 May 2016 when de-Americanised, it was a good example of why drinking fresh beer matters.

Pirate Life IIPA | BB 20.01.17

I was impressed when I first had this beer and subsequent tries haven’t changed my opinion. Slightly more subdued aromas but spice, stone fruit and lemon are all present and it follows through in flavour with a nice biscuity malt and dry finish. A balanced showcase of hops with real drinkability.

Three double IPAs, three different beers. This is why I love beer! It’s so diverse. Many times I’ve heard people say, “I don’t like wheat beers” or “I don’t like stouts” and I would urge these people to keep an open mind. One or even a couple of beers don’t represent everything that a single beer style can offer; be open to trying more, talk to more people, and I’ll bet you’ll find one you like and what a shame it would have been to miss out.

 

Some girls get flowers, I get beer

I like beer more than I like flowers so it’s a good thing I have such a wonderful partner who often brings me gifts of the beery variety

Flowers are nice. They are pretty, they smell good but let’s face it, you can’t drink them. You can’t savour a well poured flower in your glass. You can’t share a flower with your friend and say “Try this! It goes really well with the Gorgonzola”. This is why I like beer more than I like flowers. Lucky for me I have a wonderful boyfriend who often chooses to surprise me with presents of beer rather than bunches of flowers.

Brewdog & Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus Barley Wine 10.5% ABV
Brewdog & Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus Barley Wine
American style Barleywine | 10.5% ABV

My partner got me this after I had my first taste of beers by Oskar Blues Brewery, Colorado (US) and raved on and on about them. I grabbed them on one of my trips to Cellarbrations Carlisle, getting their Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, Deviant Dale’s IPA and G’Knight Imperial Red Ale. You can check out my blog post on those here. Since I enjoyed them so much he figured I’d like their collaboration with Brew Dog.

He was right.

Barleywines: Big ass beers, originally British, lovingly adopted by the US, both American and English Barleywines are acknowledged as a style with the major difference largely coming down to the almighty hop.

What was the beer like? Well, imagine you got a fruitcake, turned up the spices and plums and in your enthusiasm you were overly generous with the rum. Then you got a little distracted and burnt the bottom of your cake so the base caramelised a little. Then you liquified it.

Chimay Gold 4.8% ABV
Chimay Gold
4.8% ABV

When my partner was beer shopping at Cellarbrations Carlisle the topic of trappist beers came up resulting in this Belgian baby landing in my hot little hands.

Trappist: “where brewing is performed by, or under the supervision of, Trappist monks” [Oxford Companion to Beer] of which there are only seven breweries in existence – 6 in Belgium and 1 in the Netherlands. Not strictly a style as such as it’s their authenticity rather than similar flavours/ingredients that categorise them. In short – monk make awesome brewers.

It’s been a while between Chimay’s for me so it was nice to come back to one of the first breweries I got to know when I got hooked on beer many years ago.

Aromas reminded me of the base of a lemon cheesecake but there’s much more happening, I got hints of melon, lemon and banana. Soft yet with a full mouth feel with big spices coming through as the beer warmed up a little, loved the clove and lemony flavours.

8 Wired Superconductor Double IPA Double IPA | 8.8% ABV
8 Wired Superconductor Double IPA
Double IPA | 8.8% ABV

We love our hops in this house so when my partner gave me this present it was only a matter of hours before it was opened.

8 Wired: from New Zealand, brewer Søren Eriksen, well known for their HopWired IPA

His timing was great, my two most recent visits to The Pourhouse in Dunsborough have involved drinking the little brother of this beer, suitably named Semiconductor – a session IPA at a very reasonable 4.4% abv (you can read more here if you’re so inclined). Now it was time to see how it’s big brother stacked up.

It was really freakin’ good.

The aromas on the Superconductor are big and punchy, so much so that I found the flavours weren’t as strong as I was expecting. But don’t get the wrong impression, this is a very flavoursome beer. Toffee, citrus and tropical fruits with the emphasis on pineapple. The mouth feel verges on oily with a long dry and citrusy finish.

 

A bunch of brewers walk into a bar …

… and they drink, share and chat about the collaboration beer they made. If you were expecting a joke, sorry, if you were expecting this to be a very tasty beer, you’re right.

Last month a few brewers from the south west got together and made a beer. If I was to be more accurate I would say that seven brewers made a beer. If I was to be even more accurate I’d say seven brewers threw in some malt, hops and yeast in between long bouts of standing around and chatting and with that in mind the brew was dubbed …

The Council Worker

The Council Worker made it’s debut at Perth’s Five Bar event – South West in the City Festival. It was poured alongside Cowaramup Pilsner, Duckstein Fest Bier, Colonial Small Ale, Cheeky Monkey DIPA and Eagle Bay ESB. In short you could have taken a trip to several south west breweries without getting up from your bar stool.

WA Beer Week – 8th – 17th November | Check out http://www.wabeerweek.com for all the information

With WA Beer Week less than two weeks away it was a nice way to warm up the beer muscles and it was great to see so many faces from the WA beer community like Brian Fitzgerald, President of the Western Australian Brewers Association, Reece Wheadon from WA Beer Week and The Monk brewer Paul Wyman. A few of the brewers responsible for The Council Worker, Jared and Alex from Cheeky Monkey, Nick from Eagle Bay and Jeremy from Cowaramup Brewing made it to the event too, Jeremy fresh off the plane from Sydney’s Craft Beer Week, to mingle, drink and share the beer with some thirsty punters.

I know I look drunk in this photo but I only had two beers, I blame lots of laughing and my own poor timing for my appearance. I should also say that Nick isn’t that tall and under no circumstances was he standing on a couple of wine buckets.

Jeremy (Cowaramup), Jared (Cheeky Monkey), Nick (Eagle Bay), Paul (The Monk) Alex and Dave (Cheeky Monkey), some writer chick and Mitch aka Beersine
Jeremy (Cowaramup), Jared (Cheeky Monkey), Nick (Eagle Bay), Paul (The Monk)
Alex and Dave (Cheeky Monkey), some writer chick and Mitch aka Beersine

Sadly a few of the brewers who made this happen couldn’t make it but a milestone in your child’s life is probably a perfectly valid reason; I’m looking at you Foxy. On the up side it did allow me to insert myself into the photo, after all I did a lot of very important stirring.

Me and some malt

The Council Worker ended up a pretty heavily hopped pale ale thanks to a big dose of Galaxy in the dry hopping. This beer definitely had some balls along with big fruity and piney flavours that you’d expect from an American style pale but balanced out really nicely with big malt that gave it an almost caramel undertone.

Since I was driving I allowed myself just two beers and the second was a tough choice. I had salivated at the idea of Cheeky Monkey’s Double IPA but at 8.3% abv I can’t imagine mister police officer understanding how a beer can be irresistible. Instead I went for Colonial’s Small Ale, indulging once again in my recent love for tasty lower alcohol beers.

It’s that damn good that Paul Wyman, head brewer at The Monk, reckons Colonial’s Small Ale will take out a medal or two at this years Perth Royal Beer Show.

Congratulations to The Monk & brewer Paul Wyman on their Beer & Brewer Magazine Awards!

On the subject of awards Paul was runner up for Young Brewer of the Year and his venue The Monk took out Best Brew Pub/Bar all at this years Beer and Brewer Magazine Awards.

Local produce sourced by Beersine and Katrina Lane (Taste of Balingup)

Like any beer event at Five Bar the beer was accompanied by some sensational food, namely a South West Ploughman’s Board by Beersine, aka Mitch Mitchell. I am proud to say that I devoured this board in a most unladylike fashion.

Smoked big red pork and hazelnut terrine, Colonial pale ale cheese, red cabbage Kim chee, pickled colcotte and salad onions with cooladerra extra virgin olive oil.
Smoked big red pork and hazelnut terrine, Colonial pale ale cheese, red cabbage Kim chee, pickled colcotte and salad onions with cooladerra extra virgin olive oil.

I left this event with a huge smile on my face, a new beer mug and pumped for WA Beer Week!

I don’t know how much of The Council Worker was left at Five but if it’s still there I’d highly recommend checking it out. For those of us in the south west, keep an eye out because it may pop up at the likes of The Pourhouse, Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough and/or participating breweries.

Thank you to Margi and the team at Eagle Bay Brewing for hosting the collaboration and inviting me along, Macca and the guys at Five Bar for letting everyone invade the bar, all the brewers who got involved and of course to all the smiling beery folk who rocked up to support WA beer. See you all in a fortnight!

Laksa + Hops

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?!

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.

Heretic Evil Cousin + Home Made Prawn Laksa

Prawn Laksa

Prawns

Slowly simmered in a mixture of olive oil, finely diced fresh red chilli and garlic, throw into laksa moments before serving.

Laksa 

Button Mushrooms

Red Capsicum

Garlic

Coconut Milk

Spring Onions

Udon Noodles

Laksa Paste

Additional Links:

Beer and Whiskey Brothers

Interview with Brewer Jamil Zainasheff on MoreBeer!

Check out Heretic Evil Cousin Ale currently rating 96 on Rate Beer