Podcast rewind – Dave and Luke question the nature of styles and names

Taken from this episode.

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Luke:  I also saw an article that asked the question “When did India start meaning American”.

Dave:  Aye?

Luke: When did India start meaning American. So when you think of like Indian Pale Ale, now you’ve got every other version, Indian Pale Lager… basically what we are referring to now is that it’s an American style.

Dave:  Yeah ok.

Luke: While it’s probably not a long discussion point, it’s an interesting…

Dave:  There’s probably a fair amount of redundancy in there but yeah…

Luke: Interesting commentary I guess that the history of IPA is so, whatever, people dispute that a lot, and now it’s starting to mean something completely different in terms of “it has got  American hops or a lot of aroma hops in it”.

Dave:  Yeah but it’s a style, it’s a style guideline. Do you know what I mean? That’s the reason people go around those style guidelines because they are… they are naming it to best fit. It’d be great if they weren’t used and people just gave a more appropriate name for it, but we get it because it’s a style guide.

Luke: What would be a more appropriate name?

Dave:  Like an American Pale Ale rather than… like if it’s in America and that’s what they are doing, do you know what I mean?

Luke: Yeah, that’s pretty reasonable. I think they are probably distinct, in terms of hop. In a NZ Pale Ale is probably quite different if you are using NZ hops. They’ve got that grassier, citrusy, I dunno… lychee.

Dave:  Also, but what I mean is like, with an India Pale Lager, there is almost nothing that is correct about that. But we know what they mean though. It’s a way to make us understand before we taste it what it might be like.

Luke: Are there any Black India Pale Lagers yet?

Dave:  ahh yeah,

Luke: Did True South do one?

Dave:  I think so.

Luke: Because that’s such a mind bender. To explain that, if you didn’t know what any of those things were for a start, suddenly trying to explain that would be: “but how is it…?

Dave:  “I don’t want that anymore, give me something else.” Yeah, you’re right.

Luke: I also asked the question on our Facebook this week…

Dave:  It’s also really good by the way.

Luke: The True South one?

Dave:  Yeah.

Luke: Yeah it was delicious and I was ready to go into that like “pfffft, don’t give me your black India Pale Lager bullshit”… ahh delicious. What a great beer that was. Ummm, asked the question on our Facebook, “If it’s not called an IPA, [is it still an IPA]” the examples I gave were the Hot Water Kauri Pale Ale out of NZ , which is incredibly bitter and incredibly fragrant. It’s probably, in terms of hopping, and in terms of bitterness, bigger than Hop Hog – which I guess is Australia’s flagship IPA… or “is it an IPA” which is what a lot of people ask.

Dave:  I guess if you tasted it blind you’d guess it’s an IPA straight away.

Luke: Yep, and the other one I gave was Boneyard’s Golden Ale.

Dave:  Which we talked to Brendan about that very beer.

Luke: And both of them, again, are they IPAs? To me they tick all the boxes.

Dave:  Yeah.

Luke: A rose by any other name.

Dave:  But that’s what I mean about the Hot Water. That’s an IPA but that’s how he likes his pale ale so that’s his pale ale.

Luke: Alright, so because it’s a pale ale, it’s his pale ale.

Dave:  You have to, and because we do, you have to categorise it, you’re pretty comfortable in putting it in an IPA or even borderline pale ale category.

Luke: I think Sculpin. Ballast Point Sculpin. That won the International Pale, or Australia/New Zealand Pale Ale. Whatever category is in the World Beer Cup. That won it and that’s a big IPA any day of the week.

It’s interesting that ‘whole entering into the right category for judging’ rather than entering what you call your beer. And if brewers know that they’re not brewing to that style or whatever, then maybe they should change the name of their beer.

Dave:  Yeah but the thing is, because they have rigid IBU, colour… because they have rigid criteria for what it is, a beer can fall under multiple categories and why wouldn’t you enter it in the category that gives you the best chance to win. I don’t begrudge that.

Luke: What do you think of Six Point, and they don’t put styles on anything.

Dave:  Great.

Luke: Would you rather that than… I guess it depends what your brewing. If you were brewing a straight up IPA that ticks all those boxes, call it that.

Dave:  Or for example Hendo with his Captain Obvious, he brewed it for a specific category because he wanted to see how it went in a competition. That’s fair enough too. He wants to put it bang in the category.

Luke: And I guess there is that brewing for competition, brewing for style. Everyone’s got their own take or their own reasons to make something. What about when you get a beer that’s labelled an IPA and you taste it and you’re like “….”

Dave:  You see that’s where it’s irresponsible to me. If you’re putting out there what… you’re creating an expectation and if you don’t deliver. And this is what some of the macro’s do. because they want to be hip or cool and have that category of beer and you get it and you wonder which hop was near it when it was brewed, rather than any hops actually being in it.

Luke: To me I get really annoyed and you almost lose faith in the person who’s brewing it because you’ve told me it’s going to be one thing and it’s not; do you know what that thing is? You probably do…

Dave:  Do we think it’s the brewers fault?

Luke: Well they’re the one making the beer.

Dave:  But they’re not the one calling it an IPA, you know what I mean?

Luke: So you’re saying in the big macro’s, the chain of command could be so diluted that they have to brew an IPA…

Dave:  So the brewers brewed a pale ale with more hops than he normally would have and up the line they’ve gone “well more hops to me, sounds like we can market it as an IPA.

Luke: Maybe we need to get a macro brewer and disguise his voice and get the truth behind it.

Dave:  You know what we should do?


Luke: What should we do?

Dave:  I think maybe I’m silly this morning. I think we can should have a macro brewer in, just with a few helium balloons and he can helium his voice to disguise it.

Luke: So this is “a” macro brewer?  Are any Australian breweries guilty of that, when you think about it though?

Dave:  I wish we’d thought about it before hand.

Luke: Hmm. The obvious one to me was the Cricketer’s Arms, which we’ve discussed on the show. There’s also Monteith’s. A lot of their brewers reserve range…

Dave:  I haven’t tried them in so long that I can’t really comment.

Luke: Yeah but all the commentary around their IPA is like “what the hell is this, this is not anything close to what they are saying it is”.

Dave:  What about Creatures?

Luke: Little Creatures?

Dave:  I actually think I still haven’t had that beer.

Luke: The Little Creatures IPA?

Dae:  Yeah.

Luke: Yeah that one is a perennial disappointment for me. I can’t remember if I’ve discussed it on air before but…

Dave:  Possibly as many times as Hightail.

Luke: No I think we’ve discussed it off air a lot. But never actually recorded. I dunno. A lot of people really like that beer though.

Dave:  I always see positive feedback for it so… who are we to judge.

Luke: Well there you go, one man’s IPA is another man’s disappointment.



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