My wife, bless her heart, loves my homebrew. Even goes so far as to say it’s better than the store-bought beer I bring home. Of course, she’s wrong about that – when I drink a store-bought beer I can easily spot the ways in which it is better than what I brew at home.
But, hey, I still take the compliment that she likes my homebrew. As long as she doesn’t drink it all while I’m enjoying those store-bought beers.
But I actually found a brew where she’s right. See, this Maui Brewing Coconut Porter (screw spelling it in the upper and lower case fashion they use. Who has the time to keep typing that out?) is actually a beer I’d wanted to try for ages. But I figured I’d never get the chance because, like so many US beers, it’d never turn up here.
So I went and tried to make my own versions, which I called The Bear. It was a coconut stout that was a precursor to an as-yet-incomplete plan to brew a cherry ripe stout. I liked the beer – nice flavours of chocolate and the coconut is there but just lingering in the background. It’s also a beer that my wife won’t drink, because she’s decided that she doesn’t have much time for dark beers.
Anyway, a little while ago Justin Lill’s bottle shop in the South Coast hamlet of Berry was getting in some of the Maui Brewing beer. So I asked him to keep one behind the counter for me. Which he did and which I then held onto for a few months before trying.
And when I did try it, I went and put another bottle of my Bear homebrew in the fridge to see if my taste buds were tricking me. Nope, they weren’t. I actually liked The Bear better than the Maui Brewing beer that appears in all the ‘‘beers you have to try’’ lists. Turns out that I like the level of coconut flavour in my beer more than Maui’s which I found I had to go searching for.
Does that make me a better brewer than the guys at Maui? Not at all. I reckon I’d be lucky to be able to make another version of The Bear that tastes the same, whereas the Maui guys could – and do – make their beer taste the same over and over again.
It’s a case of luck versus skill. And this time I got lucky.