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.

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.

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.


Great Beer Menus – Muster

Just because you’re not a “craft beer venue” doesn’t mean you can’t have a kick ass beer list – here’s my second post on where you’ll find great beers outside the usual suspects

I love craft beer and going to venues who share my passion, pubs likes The Sail & Anchor and Clancy’s Fish Pub and bottle shops like the International Beer Shop are WA institutions for great craft beer. It’s what they love, it’s what they know, it’s what they do.
But just because you’re not a “craft beer venue” doesn’t mean you can’t have a kick ass beer list. I’m delighted to find more restaurants, small bars, local bottle shops and pubs whose fridges were previously filled with European lagers have been invaded by a few local and international craft beers.
It puts a big smile on my face to see venues paying equal attention to their beer list as they do their food, wine and cocktails. Those who don’t, those who have settled on a beer list that features Cascade Light, Crown Lager and Stella, are well and truly behind the eight ball. It’s kinda like getting all dressed up for an elegant night out, putting all that thought into your hair, dress, make up and jewelry and then wearing your muddy sneakers. Crown Lager is a muddy sneaker.
It’s time to put the spotlight on these great places …

The first venue I wrote on this particular topic was The Precinct in East Victoria Park, a bar/cafe/restaurant boasting a impressive beer list of both single serve and large format, ideal for sharing, beers.

Big Beers at The Precinct

Next up, Muster Bar and Grill – the venue formerly known as Must Margaret River.

A recent name change hopes to define the well known wine bar from it’s even more well known sister venue Must Wine Bar in Perth. Must Wine Bar, located on Beaufort Street in Mt Lawley, is an institution so it caused quite the excitment when Must Margaret River opened its doors. A few years later and Must has been given an “E” and an “R” and presents a more casual and friendly proposition that fits into every day Margaret River, a venue not just for uber-special occasions.

Here’s a few words from Muster manager Mark (that’s a mouth-full!) about the venue and the beers …

Muster Bar and Grill

Tell us a bit about Muster Bar and Grill ...

Wow Muster, it’s funny how you have to change your name to get people’s attention. We have been evolving Must to Muster over the last year with small renovations and a huge push on local produce with our new head chef Sean Carter. Offering quality service, great food and wine at an affordable price and appearing a little less formal to when Must first opened its doors back in 2009.

What's your inspiration for your beer list?

Craft beer whether it is local or international, there are so many micro breweries opening around the world and all producing so many great beers. I was only speaking with someone this morning about pairing beer and cheese. Sensational! Beer has come a long way and is going to carry on doing so.

What do you hope the beer list says about Muster?

I hope it says we are out to give everyone a good time drinking a variety of beers.

How, if at all, do you think beer drinking habits
have changed since you started at Must two years ago?

They haven’t really changed and Australians don’t really drink seasonally like a they would in Europe. But everyone is open to trying new beers if you suggest it, recently I bought in some Rogue Chipotle Ale [brewed with roasted chipolte peppers]  thinking it would sit there for a while but everyone kept hearing me talking about them and I sold out in a week.

How many beers are currently on your menu and
how often will you update the beer list?

24 beers on our list, you can have a stubby, a schooner or a 1.3ltr jug, we even serve some of our beers in wine glasses as we feel they should be appreciated like a glass of wine. I update our list every month or sometimes fortnightly.

What is your favourite beer on the list and what Muster dish would you pair with it?

I have two “go-to” beers at the moment – North Coast Old No .38 Stout and it pairs so well with our 500g Rib Eye! I also love the Brooklyn East India Pale Ale as a staffie or with our Duck Breast and Risotto.

Squid and Eagle Bay at Muster

What I love about the beers at Muster …

♥ Two new beers taps! Installed just a couple of weeks ago, they’re pouring $7 schooners of Eagle Bay Pale Ale and Sapporo

♥ Bottle list is varied deliciousness – you can go for something brewed within 20km or something a little further over the ocean

♥ Unafraid to go big and bold with the likes of Rogue Chipolte Ale and Sierra Nevada Torpedo both currently on the list

Muster Margaret River