1) One downside of getting more and more deeply into good beer is the lack of surprise. When you start out, everything is new and different and the likelihood of those ‘‘wow!’’ moments is pretty high. The more you experience, the more knowledge about beer you acquire, the less likely it is that beer will throw you a curve ball. You know what hops do in beer, you know what malt and yeast does in terms of flavour. And when it comes to beer styles, you know what to expect.
2) This is part of the reason I love BrewCult’s Acid Freaks so much. It threw me a curve ball. It’s a porter with the inclusion of balsamic vinegar. Yep, vinegar. When I found Hendo was brewing this beer for the 2013 Great Australasian Beer Spectapular I was gobsmacked. Try as I might I simply could not come up with an idea of a beer flavoured with vinegar would taste like. And, believe me, I spent some time thinking about this beer.
3) The other reason I was intrigued by this beer is that I’m very much a vinegar lover. So, any beer that fills in that overlap in a Venn Diagram marked ‘‘beer’’ and ‘‘vinegar’’ is going to be for me.
4) Fortunately for me, the 2013 GABS was the first one I attended. And the first beer I got? Yep, Acid Freaks. And it was a revelation. The balsamic vinegar was definitely there, but it’s not like it screams ‘‘look at me!’’. No, Hendo has treated it as part of the performance, not some novelty act trying desperately to get your attention. It melded into the porter to become part of the beer, not just an addition. What I struggled to imagine was how the vinegar would work with the coffee and dark chocolate notes of a porter, but damn, it worked a treat.
5) After GABS, it was bottled for a short while and I bought as much as I could find. Then Hendo stopped making it, and I was sad. It became a beer I thought wistfully about, but also sadly, for I felt it would never return. But, because he’s such a tops guy, Hendo’s brought it back. So I bought a stack of bottles (‘‘stack’’ = five) and will likely buy a few more while it’s still around.
Categories: Beer of the Week
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