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FOOD & DRINK

Five Strange New Beers to Try Post-GABS

Thai green curry, vanilla malt thickshake, popcorn kernels, fairy floss and Turkish delight — all varieties of beer we tried at this year's Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular.
By Marissa Ciampi
June 02, 2017
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Five Strange New Beers to Try Post-GABS

Thai green curry, vanilla malt thickshake, popcorn kernels, fairy floss and Turkish delight — all varieties of beer we tried at this year's Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular.
By Marissa Ciampi
June 02, 2017
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Another year of the craft beer overload that is the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular has come and gone and many of us are still feeling the aftermath of the Sydney and Melbourne sessions. This year was a strange one, with a beer made from in-house smoked bone marrow, two purple beers, a whopping three Thai inspired beers and a lot of dessert beers. Some were surprisingly tasty and on-point, others were over-the-top flops.

Alas, many of the weird and wonderful GABS brews never hit pubs or bottle shop shelves, but a lucky selection of the 146 festival beers do make it to market. Here are five strange, yet peculiarly palatable, new brews to try post-GABS and where to find them around town.

PIRATE LIFE BREWING — VANILLA MALT THICKSHAKE SWEET STOUT (7% ABV)

Adelaide favourite, Pirate Life, is better known for their big IPAs, but they took a decidedly sweet turn for GABS. A beer thickshake sounds, well, disgusting, but this brew tastes much more like a milkshake than a beer, which is actually pretty impressive. It's cloudy, sweet and creamy with a distinct thickness from the truckload of added lactose. The use of rich Munich malts and real vanilla beans only heightens the decadence of this luscious brew. This is another beer that is only available in limited quantities on tap, so grab some while you still can.

Where to get it: On tap at The Quarrymans, The Royal Albert and The Grain Store (Newcastle).

BIG SHED BREWING CONCERN — #63 THAI GREEN CURRY SPICED HERBAL BEER (5.5% ABV)

There were, somehow, three Thai-inspired beers at this year's GABS, but Big Shed's version, Thai Green Curry, really lives up to its name. The Adelaide-based brewery's pale ale is layered with Thai spices, from basil, coriander and lemongrass to cumin, chili, garlic and lime leaf. The bright chilli and kaffir lime on the nose gives way to a herbal creaminess on the palate, giving the illusion of actually tucking into a steaming bowl of curry. We heard this separately from multiple punters, so we know it wasn't just the sinking-beers-all-day haze talking. It helps that the beer also has a slightly green tint. This one will only be available at Hotel Sweeney's Rooftop, though, so get at it before it's all gone.

Where to get it: On tap at Hotel Sweeney's Rooftop.

BATCH BREWING CO — A CURRANT STATE OF INFUSION DARK SOUR ALE (6% ABV)

This beer is such a mish-mash of styles and flavours that it's a true wonder the Batch boys pulled it off. The brew was first cold-steeped with Campos-sourced, Ethiopian coffee beans that give the beer its deep hue, while also imparting citrus and stonefruit notes. The team punched up the sour, fruity element by adding fresh blackcurrants, giving the brew a slight cherry tinge while still maintaining its rich, malty backbone. The finished product is a well balanced beer of complimentary elements. If you're looking for an extra special taste of it, the beer is also available in nitro cans, but only at the brewery and in very limited quantity.

Where to get it: In bottles at Bucket Boys, Steve's Cool Booze, Beer Cartel and Oak Barrel; on tap at The Local Taphouse, Carlisle Castle Hotel, and Petersham Bowling Club (to name a few — check with the brewery for full list).

MERCHANT BREWING CO. — FRUIT TINGLE KETTLE SOUR ALE (5.7% ABV)

Merchant Brewing Co.'s kettle-soured ale made headlines this year thanks to its purple hue — seriously, it's a violet beer. Named after those bright blue, fruity cocktails, the beer is kettle-soured and infused with raspberry, citrus and pea flower, then dry-hopped to amp up the fruity notes. It's tart and wild — and surprisingly pleasant, with some punters calling it the best sour of the night. We wouldn't go that far, but it's definitely worth a try, or at the very least worth enjoying that surprised look on your friend's face.

Where to get it: In bottles at Bucket Boys, Camperdown Cellars on Kingston Road, and The Henson bottle shop, on tap at The Quarrymans.

HOPDOG BEERWORKS — PANDAPOPPINFAIRYTURKISHFLOSS BELGIAN IMPERIAL STOUT (7.5% ABV)

Man is that a mouthful. HopDog BeerWorks is known for its weirdo beers but this one might take the cake. Despite being brewed with popcorn kernels, fairy floss and Turkish delight, the beer is not overly sweet and takes on more of a chocolaty, malty characteristic. This Belgian imperial stout gains its creaminess from the added lactose, with a deep colour and a roasted, toasty finish. It was a polarising GABS beer, with punters very staunchly on the love or hate spectrum. Lucky for those that missed out, it will be available across Sydney so there's still time to see which side you're on.

Where to get it: In bottles at Bucket Boys, Oak Barrel, Camperdown Cellars (Parramatta Road and Kingston Road), Oldfield Cellars and Porter's Balgowlah; on tap at the Basement Brewhouse (to name a few — check with the brewery for full list).

Published on June 02, 2017 by Marissa Ciampi

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