I’d like to get down to HopDog brewery in Nowra much more often than I do. But, from the northern suburbs of Wollongong, it’s a bit more than an hour’s drive down to Tim Thomas’ place in South Nowra. That’s almost the same as a drive to Sydney.
It’s a trip that’s exacerbated by my uncanny knack of always getting stuck behind a driver who thinks that the 100km/h zone between Gerringong and Bomaderry is merely a suggestion and if they want to go 10 or even 20km below that, then that’s just hunky dory. I truly think I have never had a unblemished run down to Nowra.
But I do like getting to HopDogTim’s a friendly sort and, with his wife and kids usually around ( the kids tend to adorn the walls of the brewery with chalk drawings) it’s quite a relaxed and fun place to visit. And Tim is more than willing to talk beer to people for hours – it’s apparently part of the reason he started up the brewery just under a year ago.
I’d headed down for two reasons – to get a growler fill of his Oaked and Galactified Horns Up IPA and a bottle or two of the Sticky Figgy brown ale, which is the second in his Dark Odyssey series.
Hear Tim Thomas talk about his Dark Odyssey series and why he put figs in his latest beer.
Tasting the Sticky Figgy was always going to be interesting, because I’ve never had a fig in my life. So I really won’t know if it tastes like figs or not…but I would know if it tastes good. And it really, really does. The first in the Dark Odyssey series, Hyper Hyper Coffeepants was my fave beer from HopDog. Until now.
This dark tea-coloured beer is made with five different malts and hops from Australia and New Zealand and brewed with Belgian yeast. The flavours of the Belgian yeast dominate upfront before the slightly sweet flavour of the figs (well, I assume it’s the figs, having never tasted them before) and closing off with an ever-so-slight taste of coffee. I’m glad I got more than one of them.
The O&G IPA is a amped-up version of one of HopDog’s original beers, Horns Up IPA. It’s been aged in oak and dryhopped with a truckload of galaxy hops – hence “galactified”. Those hops give a nice, gentle fruity aroma which flows slightly over onto the flavour. There it mixes with the dominant piney flavour that comes with a US-style IPA. Having had the standard Horns Up and the amped-up version, I definitely prefer the latter.
And given that it’s only available in growlers, it’ll probably mean a few more hour-long drives down south.
Would I drink them again?: That’s a yes in the case of the O&G Horns Up and a very, very, very big yes when it comes to the Sticky Figgy.