South Coast

Hey, where did all the alcohol go?

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Ever since an unfortunate incident with a bottle of whiskey when I was 14 I have an aversion to alcohol that tastes like alcohol.
That incident saw me drink way too much of the stuff, get exceedingly drunk and then throw up all over my bedroom.
I told my parents I ate bad Doritos and for years figured I’d pulled the wool over their eyes. Only when I was much older did I realise they had a pretty good idea what had happened. Which is hardly surprising – I mean, my room reeked of whiskey.
And they had an excellent punishment anyway – forcing me to clean up my own mess. Which was fair enough.
And from that day to this, I have problems drinking alcohol that has that alcohol taste. It usually turns up in spirits, so I tend to avoid them but it occasionally rears its ugly head in beer too.
The main offender I’ve found so far are the trappist beers. Some of them are chockful of alcohol and have actually made me feel slightly nauseous when I drink them.
Then there was Brew Dog’s Tokyo, an imperial stout and an 18.2 per center that I could only handle one mouthful of before having to pour it down the sink.
So I approach high-alcohol beers very warily. But sometimes they surprise, like the Super Beast, which was brewed by Tim Thomas at HopDog to celebrate the brewery’s first birthday.
At least two months ago, he dropped off a few samples to review. I drank one for my newspaper column almost straight away and then promptly forget I had another bottle in the beer fridge (which, for environmental reasons, remains unplugged) until last weekend.
The big surprise for me with this wheat wine is the 10.6 per cent alcohol. I’m still sure Tim is telling a great big fat fib with that number because there is simply no way in the world this beer can have so much alcohol in it.
There’s a slight alcohol burn at the front but then, nothing. It goes down ridiculously smoothly – certainly better than a 10.6 per cent beer has any right to. It sounds stupid to call a beer with that much alcohol a session beer but Super Beast is so easy to drink it almost qualifies.
The other South Coast brewery – the Illawarra Brewing Company – also excels in hiding large quantities of alcohol in beer. Their Saison Rouge came with a 7 per cent tag but there was no way I could find that much alcohol there. And the Abbey Brune clocked in at 7.6 but was shockingly sessionable (well, until you got halfway through your third and probably fell asleep).
Seeing as how my taste buds are quite sensitive to the taste of alcohol, it’s a damned impressive feat to get so much of it past them without complaint.
So I’m quite happy to drink beers like these – though I make sure I never eat Doritos with them. Just in case.

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5 replies »

    • You actually jogged my memory with that comment. I mentioned in the post that the high-alcohol beer I had from BrewDog was Tokyo Rising (which I thought was the name of the beer I had).
      Now I realise it was actually the Tokyo you mentioned – and have changed the post accordingly.
      I don’t think “awesome” is the word I’d go for when describing it. For my tastes “overwhelming” works better 🙂

      • overwhelming but awesome, a beer you can drink after drinking red wine all day. God I love that beer, and the skill that needs to go into brewing a beer that big. Fully understand that its not everyones cup of tea though, and you’d also better avoid the batches aged in whiskey casks!

    • Pretty frigging bad, I reckon. I guess the fact that my 14-year-old self felt he’d outsmarted his parents is testament to the idea that teenagers everywhere always think they’re cleverer than mum and dad.

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