My goodness. You might expect a brewery in a small town between Canberra and Wagga Wagga to make straightforward and easy-drinking beers, but Tumut River Brewing don’t hold back when it comes to playing with interesting recipes.
We’ll start with the most straightforward of this lot: Hopped As Bru, a New Zealand pale ale pumped full of Nelson Sauvin hops. That said, with an aroma that sits in the middle of a Venn diagram of nectar, fairy floss and cough syrup, it’s hardly boring. Then, when you take a sip, those notes get dialled down to fifty percent as a forest floor earthy dankness, a hefty bitterness, and a white-wine-y-ness all kick in. My brain is struggling to describe this. The most complex pale ale I’ve had in a long time.
Next is Strawberry Fields For Kiara, a wheat beer with strawberry, and the strawberry character is actually fairly light. The smell of banana and clove is accompanied by just a hint of that lovely fruity shampoo smell, and it drinks like a wheat beer with a touch of freeze dried strawberry sweetness at the end. My favourite aspect of this beer was the mouthfeel – the bubbles are creamy, like when sherbet foams up in your mouth.
Then we get to the pièce de résistance of this quirky little quartet: Max Power Tex Mex Garlicious Texas BBQ Amber. When I saw the word "Garlicious" on a beer, I was both intrigued by it and dreading the time I had to taste it. When I saw that it contained black garlic (from Garlicious Grown), cumin, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper and chilli, and was referred to as "a beef rub in an amber ale", my hesitancy did not abate.
But it was far more enjoyable than I anticipated. The waft of smoked garlic that hit my nostrils blended into the taste of Texas BBQ Pringles in the mouth, and the malt sweetness of the amber ale played the role of the sugar crystals you usually find in a good BBQ seasoning. A solid heat built up in the back of the throat, which helped to balance out the surprising array of flavours.
Quotes from my confused tasting partners included: “I like all of these flavours but this is my least favourite state to taste it in”, “it’s like my toddler dropper a chip into my drink”, and “give them the feedback to make it crunchy please.” But, for all the quips, we all liked it.
Next to such a novelty, Orange Dreaming – a choc orange cream ale inspired by a cocktail that was popular in the 60s – almost passes as normal. What first hits the nose as a spray of orange oils and light milk chocolate bounces between flavours of punchy citrus and thickened cream. After having Mad Power for dinner, this is the sweet dessert to wash it down.
Published October 15, 2021 2021-10-15 00:00:00