Nowhereman’s mid-year trio features a returning clutch of favourites refined and ready to socialise after hitting the beaten track, wandering amongst the vines, or any time you need something proper ping pong, innit.
Now labelled a red IPA, Wungong 2023 dials back the ABV from past releases while continuing its rouge theme: light toffee malts, caramel embellishment, moderately dusted bitter kick, spicy hints and an arid coda. Just the kind of refresher you need after the Wungong trail loop.
This year’s Barrels In The Skigh collab sees the West Leederville brewers welcome 400 litres of Skigh Wine’s freshly harvested Alicante Bouschet juice into a grape and grain hybrid. Alicante is one of a handful of red-fleshed grape varieties and its impact here is not only luridly stunning, but also offers up flavours of side-of-the-country-road berry conserve, Ribena, windfall plums, hints of Turkish Delight and, well, grape. The succinct “Sour Ale” tag has never been more accurate with bright acidity meeting a moderate fruit tannin in what’s a very playful celebration of friendship, both in the glass and around it.
Which leaves the Cognac of beers: barley wine. Mr Otter’s has quickly become a cult fave in WA, in part due to its annual release and also courtesy of the subtle batch variance which provides the opportunity for fans to indulge in a vertical tasting; a few medals along the way haven’t hurt either.
This is the fourth release and sees our loveable Otter conditioned in tank for nearly half a year before the liquid Maris Otter malt is spooned into cans. Once disgorged into your glass, it spins a torched caramel-drizzled ANZAC biscuit vibe. There's less viscosity than the last couple of vintages, yet it retains all the lusciousness: there’s a hint of oaky coconut and, while the booze warms, its youthful spiciness decorates the lasting, dry finish.
This is a beer to spend time with, evolving through the glass as proceedings warm, lights dim, and hubbub subsides. Given it pours at a wine-like ABV, this may also apply to one’s eyelids.
Published June 6, 2023 2023-06-06 00:00:00