Moon Dog, those crazy new kids on the block. I had hoped to get my hands on a bottle of their Perverse Sexual Amalgam, a dark sour beer. Unfortunately so did a lot of other people and there is nary a bottle to be found; so I had to settle for this… I probably would have bought both, but whatever. This wasn’t a planned review, but it’s lunch in the cricket and there’s is no way I’m watching ‘The Cricket Show’.
Based in Abbotsford, Melbourne, these guys have put out a handful of beers so far. I’ve only managed to try a couple but have been impressed by their unorthodox approach. A stark contrast to another brewery in their neighbourhood. I picture their inception much like the opening scene of the Korean movie ‘The Host’. The Carlton United Brewers tipping hideous chemicals down the drain as they prepare another soulless batch of beer. Somehow those chemicals caused a mutation and out of that a brewery appeared another brewery? Ok I’m a little lost now… basically they brew weird beers and are near Carlton United Brewery; who don’t.
This beer has a mix of yeasts, and at 8% is described as Bulgo American India Brown Ale. What I really like is they list the ingredients on the bottle as well as a story about the name. The story makes about as much sense as that torturous analogy I made above, so I wont repeat it, but it’s worth a read for a chuckle.
How does it look?
I quite like their bottles. They remind me of a Ralph Steadman drawing (who does the labels for American brewery Flying Dog… hey everyone, lets call our brewery something ‘Dog’). This one has a horse with a visor and a grin, like he’s going to deal me some cards then tell me a story. He’s alright!
It’s murky brown with a small head that doesn’t stay round for very long. Certainly not an attractive beer.
How does it smell/taste?
There’s a slight hint of banana from the yeast and a sweet but roasted malt hit. Underneath there is a really nice grassy hop aroma that seems to be pushing everything along.
To drink, it’s quite thick, and smooth, and lowly carbonated. The Belgian Trappist yeast is present in the flavour but the big dark malt stops it from dominating. I also taste a really nice cinnamon/brown sugar flavour and the hops round everything out giving it an almost cola tasting finish. It’s quite complicated in there and I’m not sure I can pick everything going on. For a while I didn’t really notice the Belgian yeast… or should I say, I didn’t know that’s what I was tasting. This may make me sound like a wanker (ok, so it’s far too late for that), but this beer takes quite a bit of thought to really nail down.
When should I drink it?
I don’t know why, but I feel like this would go great with some BBQed sausages. I would love to have a bottle with charred smokey sausages, sweet tomato sauce and white bread. The simplicity of a sausage in bread would really be a great contrast to this quite complex beer. The acidic tomato sauce would cut through the Belgian yeast and the smokey bbq flavours would really go well with the sweet roasted malt.
Whether or not such an unlikely combination would work, I can’t be sure; but I would love to give it a go.
It’s rare that I enjoy a beer with Belgian yeast, so I’m going to say that this beer is not suited to my palate. If you’re a fan of both Belgian and modern craft brews, then it would probably be perfect for you.
It’s definitely complex, interesting, well made and original and I know a lot of people will enjoy it, but I probably wont revisit this; unless they start serving it at sausage sizzles.