Classic Belgian beer styles aren’t regular sight in Australia but Stomping Ground are helping improve the country’s quota in one fell swoop, releasing four at once. The quartet is part of their Into The ‘Wood series and follows their stand at Melbourne’s GABS, which saw them create the Stomping Ground Abbey, complete with monks serving the beers.
So who are these Belgian beers? Bonnet Rouge is a witbier made with raspberry which ensures that it doesn’t just pour a soft pink but packs a heavy hit of fresh raspberry tartness. The underlying cloves and banana meanwhile, have the effect of making the mind quite quickly wander down to the local cake shop to browse the collection of raspberry cakes on the shelf. As the name somewhat suggests, Chai And Chai Again was the brewery’s specific GABS beer for 2022, with house-made chai from Monk’s Chai added to the Belgian Dubbel. While there might have been a touch of cake to the previous beer, this one’s got it in spades. Pouring deep brown, there’s caramel, a more candy-like sweetness and hints of banana and clove as the chai provides a wide mix of spice that makes this beer the liquid equivalent of tucking into a piece of Christmas cake.
De Bolleke is a Belgian pale ale that shines with a bright orange hue and is filled with orange zest, pear and a peppery spice. Though it's not as rich as some in this quartet, there’s still a softly sweet lift that’s joined by a balancing bitterness. Finally, Monk’s Tipple is a Belgian tripel that brings to mind orange Madeira cake with its tones of orange and lemon zest, floral and spiced notes and warming, boozy richness.
OK so that "finally" was a bit of a lie - if four Belgian beers aren't enough for winter, how does 2022’s Rye Whiskey Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout sound? Once again, it's a big dark beer that's been aged in rye whiskey barrels from Stomping Ground’s mates at The Gospel. Crack a can and you’ll find rich hues of caramel, brown sugar, fudge and dark fruits with a somewhat spiced, herbal finish.
- 4.3%, 6.5%, 4.3%, 8.5%, 10.0%