December 19, 2013 by 250 Beers
The amazing brew day at Bacchus Brewing last month that enabled five other beer bloggers and I to each brew a beer for the Bacchus Beer Bloggers Series culminated in an evening of awesomeness at one of Brisbane’s best bars, Tippler’s Tap, last Tuesday night. The event packed the place out and, on a couple of occasions, Tippler’s hit full capacity with eager beer fans stranded outside only to be allowed in on a one-out, one-in basis.
To say that my day at work on the big day went slow is an understatement especially when I glimpsed at Facebook and found out that all six beers had been tapped during the morning. The beers were already being checked in on Untappd while I was chained to a shitty desk in a shitty office! Noooo! I was super keen to get out of the office and try them for myself.
Accompanied by colleague, fellow craft beer nut and IPA connoisseur, Ann, I made an early escape at 4.15pm, boarded a bus and slid eastwards out of the CBD, through the early peak-hour traffic and into Newstead.
Newstead Brewing was our first port of call. The plan was to grab a low alcohol beer there and eat before diving head-first into six big beers around the corner at Tippler’s. I always fail miserably at eating properly when I’m out trying new beers so to have a plan of attack that involved sustenance was quite something.
We walked in, took two steps and a voice from the corner yelled “Oi! Two Fifty!”
It was Bacchus supremo, Ross Kenrick. His intentions were the same as ours – food first. The ever-generous Ross invited us to grab a beer on his tab and suggested that the The Devil Loves Simcoe Imperial IPA (7.2%) from UK brewery Summer Wine was tasting good. So, that’s what we ordered and with it went half of our plan straight out of the window. The intended low alcohol beer became a big IPA. Nevertheless the tasty IPA only heightened the excitement at the prospect of tasting my very own IIPA, Hair of the Blog. After a pizza, some buffalo wings and the arrival of Ann’s husband, Peter, we wandered over to the next street to Tippler’s.
Maybe it would have been sensible to work up to the 10.5% Hair of the Blog and try the smaller beers first? No way! I went straight for my beer. How could I not?! After my first sip I was grinning like a smug bastard – very impressed with it. It had turned out better than I had hoped – beyond my expectations and then some. It was fruity, bold, balanced and, importantly, had the hop bitterness to it that I wanted and the smoothness hid the alcohol so well. I feared that an IPA of that size would taste ‘boozy’ but there were no clues that Hair of the Blog was as big as 10.5%. Dangerous!
Ross had sent a sample of Hair of the Blog to the XXXX guys at the Milton brewery to have the IBU measured accurately. The theoretical IBU was 250 (as in 250 Beers) and the accurate reading came in at 100 which is still very bitter. For those that wanted to try some, Ross had filled two bottles with some Hair of the Blog that the lovely chaps at Bacchus had artificially boosted up to an actual 250IBU. I tried some (of course!) and found that, as much as it was perfectly drinkable, the bitterness kept coming and coming. In fact, even five or six minutes afterwards I was chatting away to Liam from drunkenspeculation.com and was literally struggling to talk because my mouth had dried right out! I had no saliva lubricating my tongue! So, as much as it was fantastic to have tried some real 250IBU Hair of the Blog, I’m glad that the whole batch wasn’t bumped up. Left in its natural state, Hair of the Blog, is an excellent beer. If you missed out on it fear not. Keep reading for a little announcement on where you’ll find the second keg.
Soooo, what about the other five beers? I’m not just saying this with bias but they were all very, very good. If I had to name my favourite out of the other five I’d probably say the Hog Blog Grog – a bacon and maple Russian imperial stout (9.5%) which was the idea of Jason from brewsandbacon.com. The way the smoked malts covered my palate with baconness was almost erotic but the sweet maple that shone as the stout slid down my throat was simply delicious.
I found Pash Pils 2 (6.0%) by Cassie at whatbeertodrink.com and Liam and Ammo’s (drunkenspeculation.com) Eau Rouge Flanders Rosella Ale (6.9%) were probably the two most sessionable and non-offensive of the six beers. The passionfruit was oozing from the pilsner and the sourness of the Flanders would have been perfect to sit on all night long.
The 16 Perch (Brisbane) Porter (8.2%) was the brainchild of Jack from thewestbender.com. It included mulberries which was a stroke of genius and made for a very easy-to-drink porter. The same thing can be said for Chasing The Baron (7.2%) – a hopfendunkelweizenbock concept from Nick at chasingale.com. Both beers were deeelicious.
I should mention the fact that Jason wasn’t able to join us as he’s in the midst of a trip around the planet. However, I’d made a cardboard cut-out of his face at work that day so that he could at least feature in some photographs. All of the bloggers were having a bit of fun with a group photo when a guy kept beckoning me over to his table. It turns out that said bloke was one of Jason’s friends and while we were all trying to stand still for the photographers, Jason’s mates had him on Skype on a laptop there and then! The posing was put on ice for a few minutes as we all said hello to Jason – currently freezing his nuts off in Canada. This was the first time we’d all ‘met’ him. Surreal.
Throughout the evening I managed to catch up with a few people who I’d met at previous craft beer-related events. Some of which (at least half a dozen) had travelled in to Brisbane from as far afield as Ipswich. Top effort!
I really want to thank Ross, Bill and Brendan from Bacchus for making this blogger’s dream come true. All three guys showed their support throughout and were all at Tippler’s Tap for the unveiling. Thanks guys. I really, REALLY appreciate it.
Thanks also to Carl at Tippler’s for agreeing to take the series of beers on and make the event a reality.
Now, regarding the second keg of Hair of the Blog…my bubble just won’t burst…
A few weeks ago, Ross and I discussed locations as to where the second keg of Hair of the Blog could go. We agreed on a shortlist of the better craft beer bars in Brisbane. Ross phoned me the next day to say that Mark from Newstead Brewing had agreed to snap it up. Wait a minute…one of the newest, hottest craft beer joints in Brisbane wants to buy the last keg of Hair of the Blog – my beer? Yup. True story. Not only that Newstead are keen to create a special food dish to accompany the beer! Somebody pinch me!
Stay tuned for more information on the tapping of Hair of the Blog at NBCo.
I love you Brisbane.