Steve “Hendo” Henderson from Brewcult is making a most unusual beer for GABS. One which features vinegar. Yeah, that’ s right, I said vinegar.
What beer are you making for GABS?
A 7ish% Balsamic Baltic Porter in collaboration with my brother, Ian Henderson, from LiraH Vinegar & Verjus (www.lirah.com.au) who will be providing the barrel-aged balsamic.
Does it have a name yet?
Yes – it’ll be called ‘‘Acid Freaks’’ and it’s a name that represents the acetic acid in balsamic vinegar and the fact that we’re both freaks for our craft – brewing and vinegar making.
Where did the inspiration come from?
I’ve always wanted to do a beer with Ian. Prior to becoming a professional brewer, I worked for Ian making vinegar for about a year and loved it. There are a lot of similarities between brewing and vinegar making and like brewing, it requires dedication and passion for the craft.
As to where the beer idea came from, we were discussing what my GABS beer would be over a (few too many) beers. The idea came up of doing a “balsamic beer” and for me the lights immediately came on! Baltic porter is a dark and sweet style of beer and that will complement and balance the sourness of the balsamic vinegar that Ian will be providing from one of his old barrels.
Can you believe my brother has had a barrel program running for about eight years? All with vinegar. It’s pretty awesome.
How much effort goes into designing a beer for GABS?
Quite a bit. It’s one thing to come up with the concept for a beer, but then there’s naming it, pilot brewing it (definitely required for a GABS beer) and finally producing a commercial quantity for GABS. Add to this that this batch will also be part bottled and then you add in the complexity of requiring a cool label to be designed and printed.
Does GABS give you the chance to go a bit crazy and try something you might not normally brew?
Hells yes! But you have to in my opinion. GABS is a truly unique event on the world beer calendar so it seems only fair to pull out all the stops and have heaps of fun. I’m sure everyone will enjoy trying all the awesome festival beers on offer at GABS – I know I will.
Explanation for the unaware: GABS is Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, a beer festival in Melbourne, Australia, from May 22-26 this year where brewers make a beer they’ve never made before and bring it along so the punters can try it. Cool, huh?