Disclaimer: I’m going to get nostalgic in this write-up.
Damn. Ten years. That’s a fair chunk of time that’s passed since I went and checked out that new craft brewery in Teneriffe called Green Beacon. “It’s in this cool old brick warehouse, and everything’s maritime themed, and the beer tanks are literally right behind the bar!” (That first visit also played a role in my then burgeoning love of amber and red beers. RIP Anchor Amber – I miss you.)
Green Beacon’s getting nostalgic, too. As well as throwing a party at the Tivoli to celebrate a decade of brewing, they're releasing ten beers in homage to the past ten years, including "new twists on past releases and reimagined favourites”. While the ten beers are set to be released over ten months, the brewery got a little excited and went and released the first four at the end of January. Oops.
Mr Sparkle Aussie Pale Ale starts us off with a swig of the good ol’ days indeed. GB’s marketing manager Brad McClelland says: “Ten years ago, when everyone was drinking domestic lagers, the flagship of most fledgling craft breweries was a pale ale so this pays respect to a style of beer that sits at the very heart of our industry.”
Personally, I wonder if it’s a tip of the hat to a specific beer that helped kick off the craft movement in Australia; for the sake of not overstepping any trademark bounds, let’s call it Shloopers Braille Snail. (I feel like I should have rolled this beer before I poured it.) It’s a cloudy straw colour, it’s generous with aromas of fresh pear esters and a whiff of floral fruit candy, and it’s effervescent enough that it keeps breathing its aroma into your nose even as you hold it in your mouth. The familiar spicy and fruity flavour comes from the Pride of Ringwood hops: while you won’t find it in many crafties, for decades this was the main bittering hop used in Aussie draught beers (and is still used in Shloopers).
Cannonball India Pale Lager is a throwback to the original Grappler. While anyone new to the brewery only knows Grappler as a crisp and dry lager in the GB core range, the name was originally given to an IPL that threw its hoppy weight around with a bit more oomph.
Cannonball is bursting – BURSTING – with passionfruit and citrus aroma and flavour, yet is so clean in the mouth that the flavours evaporate almost as soon as you’ve swallowed. With the flavour of a six-percenter and the crispness of a four-percenter, this is a worryingly wonderful drop.
The next beer is POG IPA – a callback to GB’s 6th birthday in 2019, when the brewery released their first POG milkshake IPA. Of course, you may now be wondering if I was premature in describing the previous beer as "bursting with passionfruit", since this milkshake IPA is, you know, actually stuffed with passionfruit (and orange and guava). You might think I've set the bar too high, like when you start singing a song in too high a note then you've got nowhere else to go when it gets even higher.
But, between the hops and the fruits and the lactose and the vanilla, there’s a flurry of flavours going on here for me to make reference to. From the first sip, this beer tastes like a multifaceted gin mixed with a nice bitter tonic sprinkled with orange sherbet and dotted with marshmallows. Or if that’s too adventurous for you: a creamy Christmas pavlova.
Then there’s Journey X TDH IIIPA. Even the name of the beer has a lot going on, so how can you expect any less from the liquid itself? This triple dry-hopped triple IPA pummelled with Citra, Mosaic and Simcoe is a beefed-up version of Uppercut, the fan favourite that’s made various appearances through GB’s ten year journey.
Journey X is deep gold and crystal clear, and the air above it flows freely with pungent citrus and a touch of crisp melon. It’s thick and heavy in the mouth like super glue fresh out of the tube, bringing flavours of sticky nectarine and gooey toffee. But while it’s obviously powerful, this beer carries the booze with decorum and keeps it well hidden, like when I'm carrying a bit of extra holiday weight but I wear the right shirt so it doesn't show. (Please let me have this.)
Don’t be fooled, though: this is 10 percent ABV. There are 3.5 standard drinks in a can. Don’t drink and operate heavy machinery, or text an ex.
Published February 9, 2023 2023-02-09 00:00:00