Got to put your money on The Longshot

And we’re back.

And with a predictably crap punny headline too. Glory days.

But why now?

Well if you want to blame anybody for stirring me out of my blogging slumber then look no further than the nice folk at Liquid Ideas. They took pity on me last week and invited me along to the launch of Matilda Bay’s new beer, Longshot.

Longshot is a coffee infused dark ale that Matilda Bay have created in conjunction with Toby’s Estate, the Sydney based coffee company. The story goes that the genesis for the idea came one night during a beer fueled conversation between Matilda Bay’s head brewer Scott Vincent and the man behind Toby’s Estate, Toby Smith. Unlike most of those great late night ideas this one has actually come to fruition.

The co-creators: Toby Smith and Scott Vincent

Last week’s launch was held in Smith’s Brunswick cafe and featured Scott taking us through a tasting of most of the Matilda Bay range. Each beer was matched to a wonderful canape prepared by Blake’s Feast.  If only blogging about beer was this good all of the time.

Enough reverie about the menu, I should get back to talking about Longshot.

Some tech stuff:

6% ABV

They’ve used Northern Brewer hops.

It comes in at 40 on the IBU scale

Scott told us that the base beer is a robust porter but he was very secret squirrel about how the coffee was used.

We did find out that he and Toby chose a highly aromatic Ethiopian blend called Yirgacheffe after conducting a series of cupping exercises. Toby told us that Yirgacheffe was the name of the town where the coffee originates and the region’s coffee is known for its floral fruitiness with chocolate tones.

About 200kgs were roasted and delivered to Matilda Bay’s Garage brewery where the coffee was cold extracted.

A major problem to overcome was stopping the oils in the coffee from affecting the ability of the beer to form a head. Scott told us that he pretty much nailed the recipe on the first attempt but thinking he could maybe do better gave it another crack. He couldn’t and that batch went down the drain.

And that was as much as we could get out of them.  Toby told me later that even he didn’t know how the brewery side of things was done.

Apparently the aim was to produce a balanced beer that would contain obvious flavour profiles but not overwhelming ones.  Have they done that?  I think so. I find it a very easy drinking brew, almost sessionable.  The coffee flavours are there but only slightly more obvious than you find in many stouts.

Some criticism has been made that the coffee flavours are too muted when compared with many of the coffee infused beers on the market.

Not having a lot of experience with the style I decided to do a little bit of research.  The lengths I go to for my readers!

A trip out to Purvis Cellars scored me these little beauties:

Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel Peche Mortel, Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout and Meantime Coffee Porter

Oh, what hell this research was (where is the irony button on this thing?).

Each of those beers is a ripper but especially the Peche Mortel by Brasserie Dieu Du Ciel.  They all have such a kick of espresso like flavours that you would swear that somebody had just poured a shot into your beer. The Meantime label says that each bottle is the equivalent of one cup of coffee. In contrast, Scott told us that the caffeine level in the Longshot was negligible.

But these beers are not about balance. They are about trying to squeeze as much coffee kick into each bottle as possible and I love that but after the three of them I’d had enough. I can only wonder how full on beers like the Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel and the AleSmith Speedway Stout are. Some day maybe.

For today I’d rather another Longshot but I seem to have drunk my last two as I’ve written this. Bugger.

More please

But if I want anymore then I will need to go to Dan Murphy’s.

And in that lies my only real criticism of this beer.  It’s exclusive to Dan’s. Apparently their decision to buy it on spec was enough for the bean counters to give Scott the go-ahead with production. Not a good development in the world of brewing in my humble opinion.

Disclaimer: As I said earlier I was lucky enough to receive some very nice food from the good folk at Liquid Ideas, Matilda Bay and Toby’s Estate. I was also given some beer and coffee samples and that spiffy glass you saw before.

8 responses to “Got to put your money on The Longshot

  1. I got a late invitation to go as someone’s plus one – wish I’d gone! I’ve tried all the beers you’ve mentioned except Longshot and the AleSmith – good to see Longshot is easily obtainable.

    The Mikkeller, Peche Mortel and Meantime coffee porter are divine. Didn’t find the Meantime had a kick as described? Peche Mortel is very rich and would love to have it again.

    Wonder what the coffee nerds think of the coffee used in the beer? I’d be keen to find out.

  2. Interesting to hear that there has been criticism for not enough coffee flavour – I hadn’t seen it, but like you I did a little bit of comparative sampling. I thought Longshot nicely balanced, plenty of coffee but also plenty of malty goodness to go with it. It may not be the beer for the short black, no sugar set, but it works pretty well for the rest of us – I think!

  3. christophermcnamara

    Gem: you are right about the Meantime. It didn’t have the same kick as the other two but still a lot more than the Longshot.

    Matt: Scott told us about the criticisms. I think it may have been on another blog. Have you had a chance to try the Black Giraffe from Burleigh Brewing Co yet? I spoke to Brennan this morning. It sounds interesting.

  4. I’ve been scouting around for the Longshot but having trouble finding it…now I know why….off to Dans.
    I love coffee beers and tend to buy whatever I find. To date the Mikellers Beer Geek Brekkie has been the absolute highlight, certainly the best coffee beer I’ve had, perhaps the single best beer I’ve ever had. 🙂

  5. LK of Nash Cap

    Good to have you back Mr V (Mr Ale?). The Longshot was reviewed in yesterday’s local rag. It received four stars but said it needed food. Not sure if I will purchase any, I have to drive past an independent retailer and 1st Choice to get to Dan’s. They don’t need my money anyway.

    • christophermcnamara

      I think that we’ve known each other long enough for you to simply call me V.

      Can’t you just use your connections at Dan’s to score a few samples?

      And did you refer to the Canberra Times as a rag?

      • LK of Nash Cap

        Hey V,

        The Canberra Times is a rag in the same way a mate is a “bastard”. Or your favourite football team is….. well, you know. I probably won’t be seeing my Dan’s connections for a little while. It’s nothing personnal just logistical.

        Have fun on your road trip.

  6. I had to LOL when I read that the coffee flavours in the Longshot was “too muted.” It was the most coffee I’ve tasted in a coffee-infused beer! That said, I can’t say that I’m a fan of the Longshot – it’s just too strong for me and I know I’m going to get shot (har-har) for saying this, but it did kinda taste like someone tipped a cup of instant coffee into my beer and mixed it up.

    That said, I do have to agree with Matt (above) when he says that the Longshot is “for the short black, no sugar set.” I’m a latte girl myself 🙂

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