Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Gettin' Fresh With Y'all

Just quickly off the bat, if you're capitalising the first letter in each word of the title and you decide to use "y'all", do you capitalise the Y and the A? Or just the Y?

Interesting analysis material no doubt, but I've made my decision and I'm not changing it.

Anyway, this wasn't a digression because I hadn't actually started saying anything yet, so you can't have me on that, but I intend to start something right now.

So let's go.

There's no doubting the 'drink by' date on this fella.

I've been thinking about fresh beer. With the recent (and most likely ongoing...) heatwave oppressing us, I bet that's not an original thought in the slightest. But I mean fresh beer in a slightly different sense.

Luke Robertson's recent blog post about FOMOOB (an all too familiar phenomenon derived from Fear Of Missing Out, extended to Fear Of Missing Out On Beer) highlighted how common this is, and he embedded a great little movie short from the Russian River Brewing Company about the brewing and serving of their legend status hop bombs, Pliny the Elder and Pliny the Younger.

The only reported acceptable use of comic sans.
Pliny the Elder is packaged year round and has a published recommended 'drink by' date on it for maximum freshness and enjoyment. Some American uber beer geeks say that outside 2 weeks from the bottling date the aromas and flavour diminish noticeably. Some uber beer geeks tip it out if it's more than two or three weeks old.


Pliny the Younger however, is not packaged and is only available from the brewery bar when it is brewed once a year. And my goodness, do people lose their minds when this occurs. It's bigger than the sum of its parts. People travel from all over the country (some come from other parts of the world) to queue up at the bar door for five hours just for a glass of this immaculately fresh Triple IPA.

Stone Brewing Company also release an IPA that is created for immediate consumption called Enjoy By, in which the date is splattered across the label so there is no mistaking when this one was intended to be consumed. This one is a packaged monster so slightly more people will get the chance to enjoy this one.

In mid 2013 Feral Brewing Company brought out an Imperial IPA called Tusk that was brewed with a similar intention in mind and it was delivered to various venues around the country with the strict instruction to tap it as soon as it is received.

I was FOMOOB panicked enough to ensure I was at the Local Taphouse when they put it on, and it sure was enjoyable. If I remember correctly it was obviously hoppy and aromatic, but it was also quite tart and zesty and an all around delight.

When I was enjoying this and most likely pontificating on all the important aspects of life I remember having the thought: "This is the beginning of IPAs made for fresh consumption."

And how right was I?

Not at all. Wrong. Nothing happened after that. Bupkis. Nada. Zilch.

Actually, that's not completely true. Research has shown me that the Tusk got made again in September  2013 but only got sent to some WA venues and The Wheaty. Come on Feral, hook a Melbourne brother up with that tasty beverage.

But where has it been? Some people say we're IPA mad in the market at the moment, so why haven't more breweries jumped on this kind of idea? Now I know you're saying, that all IPAs and hoppy beers are enjoyable fresh and you get the same experience when you have a beer tapped fresh from the source, but I say that's not quite what I'm talking about.

I thought we'd see more breweries embracing the idea of brewing a beer that you can only have super fresh. It's on at the brewery, or a select bar as soon as it's received. There's no chance of a keg being tucked away into a corner, or bottles being kept by someone with the possibility of that beer being consumed when not fresh, or light struck etc.

Now please don't get me wrong, I don't necessarily believe that fresh is always best when it comes to beer. There are many hoppy beers that balance out with a good, robust malt bill and these ones take a little time for everyone in the bottle or keg to get along optimally.

Clearly though, it appears there is a place in the market for it and I am a little surprised that there haven't been a few more of these special releases around the grounds.

Who do you think would be likely to make such a beer? Ben at Bridge Road? Tim at HopDog? I imagine we'll probably see Tusk again at some stage, so we'll mark Brendan down for one.

Anyway, I've outstayed my welcome here and this post has run down to the ground, so this seems like an opportune time to leave the idea with you.

Adios muchachos.

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