About a month ago I was in Dubbo for a family event.
Needing some beer, we stopped in at the best bottle shop Dubbo could offer – Dan Murphys (that’s not a dig at Dubbo either. I live in Wollongong, where Uncle Dan’s is in the top five for craft beer).
On the shelves I spotted two beers I’d not seen before. Well, not in the flesh at least (or should that be ‘‘not in the glass’’, given that they’re not made of flesh? Because fleshy bottles would be pretty disgusting. And soft.).
Sorry, I digress. Those beers were the stout and porter from Sierra Nevada. I knew these beers existed but I still found it a little strange to see them sitting on the shelf. That’s because I have the mental image of Sierra Nevada as a brewery that only does ‘‘summer’’ beers and that steers clear of ‘‘winter’’ beers.
Why? For no reason other than the fact that those summer beers – Torpedo, Pale Ale, Kellerweis and a few others here and there – are the only ones I’ve ever seen here.
So, thinking I’d really scored – and wondering why Dubbo had beers that no-one else did – I bought a few and brought them home with me.
And then, a visit to my local Dan Murphys a week later showed me that Dubbo was nothing special. The very week I’d gone away to the Central West, it seems that every Dan’s store in the state got that beer.
So much for thinking I’d scored. And once I tasted them, I realised I really hadn’t scored.
I know Beer Advocate gives the stout a score of 91 but I’m not letting those more cultured souls intimidate me. I liked the choc-malt aroma with a bit of coffee sneaking around the back and poking its head in every now and again.
What I didn’t like about it was the hop heaviness. The hops here were more prevalent than any other stout I’ve ever had. It reminded me of the stereotype of the US brewer – that they’ve got to put shitloads of hops into everything. They probably even make their morning coffee with hops.
For me, I found the hops competed with the choc-coffee flavours so much that it became unpleasant. And down the sink it went. Truthfully.The porter was a bit more mild on the hop front, but there was still no mistaking their presence. I got through this one, but it was a bit of a slog. And I don’t know of anyone who really enjoys a beer when you have to work to get through it.
Would I drink them again?: I’m a fan of a lot of the other Sierra Nevada beers but not these ones. So that would be a no.