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.
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:
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:
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.
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.