July 1, 2013 by 250 Beers
The word vinegar is enough to make some people head for the hills. Take my wife for example. Every time a bottle vinegar makes an appearance as a condiment with a meal at 250 Beers HQ, her body lets loose one of those uncontrollable shivers. You know the little shake that you body does – part cringe and part exertion of disgust.
Admittedly, the stuff that I splatter over my chips is more often than not malt vinegar. Balsamic vinegar, on the other hand, is a bit more versatile. It took centre stage in the home-made batches of chilli relish that I concocted earlier this year. Is it versatile enough to go brewing it in a beer though?
Yes, is the answer. This mysterious porter works and it works well.
Admittedly, once I had a bottle in my hand I did think about putting it back in the fridge in the shop but being an inquisitive soul and having an evolving beer geekness transpiring, I took it home with me.
I’d seen a fair bit from brewer, Steve ‘Hendo’ Henderson, on social media really pumping his product. I figured he’d only be doing this if he had full confidence in it. Perhaps it needed an extra marketing push because of the taboo associated with the word ‘vinegar’?!
Acid Freaks was launched at GABS recently and is a collaboration beer brewed by Brewcult’s Hendo and his brother, Ian, who owns a boutique vinegar company based in Ballandean¹, Queensland called LiraH. The selected Cabernet balsamic used in Acid Freaks has been aging in oak barrels.
As expected, there is a slight waft of balsamic vinegar on the nose. Upon taking the first sip, I was preparing to wince. It was a natural reaction. It was the sort of reaction that any living person would do when faced with something acidic near their mouth. Fear not! The acidity is definitely there but it’s not the driving force. This is still most definitely a Baltic porter with an underlying hint of balsamic in the first instance not a vinegar that tastes of porter. The sourness of the balsamic holds hands with the sweet porter perfectly.
I’d recommend it if the unusual appeals to you.
¹Ballandean featured in the media recently when some home-made booze went wrong.