Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Stass Becomes an Old Salty Dad

It is interesting at times like this to think about how long this blog has gone for. This month brought up 3 years, and in that time Stass has become engaged, bought a house, got married and now had a kid. Maybe it says more about how little my own life has developed...but then this blog is not (suppose to be) about that...

Visiting the new family a few days after the birth, the hospital just happened to be close to Josie Bones, so after the obligatory holding of the baby, Stass and I made our way down for a few beers. Suprisingly, the pick of the celebratory session was a Williams Brothers Kelpie Seaweed Ale. Described as a dark ale with seaweed used in the mash, while it was cold, the smell and taste of the salt was quite high, but this did die off a bit as it warmed it. With this warmth, the dark malt character came through more to show off some decent chocolate notes. Still, while it was cold, the two aspects combined to bring a great salted chocolate flavour that pricked up both our ears. Apart from that there seemed to be a touch of smokiness, which I am not sure comes from any peat, or even maybe something from the grains being grown using a seaweed fertiliser (a lot of seaweed must wash up on the shores of Scotland). So even though it ended up a little one dimensional, to see this sort of flavour in a beer was itself an amazing thing to experience, and well worth trying for anyone that is also into salted caramel.

A week later, Stass and I met up at Josie Bones again, for another salty beer, and a beer that also reminded me of another taste experience. The 'Goseator' from Bayerisher Banhof is a bock (strong) version of a traditional Gose from Liepzig in Germany. With the water from the river Gose having a natural salty quality to it, the beers from this region took on this character. Another aspect of interest Stass and I found out about the style while we tasted this beer is that seeing it is not part of Bavaria, it was able to get around the German Beer Purity Law (Reinhietsgebot) to add things like coriander to the brew. While Stass was visiting this area of Germany earlier this year, I challenged his to find this style, which unfortunately, he found hard to do, which made it special for us to find this beer in Australia (Well done Josie Bones!!). Not only was it interesting to find this beer in Oz, but seeing it is twice the alcohol of a normal Gose and had been aged in Tequila barrels, it is incredible to even had the chance to taste it.

Like the Kelpie, while it was fresh off the tap, the cold really brought out the salt in the beer and spiked in the alcohol, but after about 10 mins the tequila and sourness came out in a more even balance, to the point where I thought I was having something similar to a Lick Sip and Suck (salt, tequila, lemon). In terms of taste profile though, it was more of a Sip Lick and Suck, with the tequila hitting first, then the salt, then sourness. Stass was also picking up in aspects like mint, while for me, as it warmed up more, the wheat, honey and oak took over from the Sip Lick and Suck, with only a touch of sourness remaining throughout the tasting. So, while there is a lot going on in this beer, at no point did it ever feel overwhelming, and there was always a sense of some sort of balance, apart from maybe the alcohol, which is understandable for this 'bock' version. I know Josie Bones has only got a 30ltr keg of this, but for anyone interested in salt beers, this is a must if they still have any left. I assume for the price and flavour, most people will be going for the 110ml tasting, and is good to see Josie Bones offering this size. I certainly didn't feel the need of having anymore than this to get the experience of the beer.

I guess having only ever tried a salt beer once before (tasted a Feral Jose the Gose about 18 months ago), it was great to finally find a few more of this style as the Australian craft beer scene continues to grow. Big thanks to Josie Bones, and big congrats to Stass and Jess, and they get use to parenthood...still, won't stop Stass and I doing a brew this weekend (got his priorities right there!).