Friday, January 7, 2011

A third update from St Kilda Ale Star-in-Exile - Indian Ocean Brewing Co.

The following update was emailed to me by Kelv (#S27, seen above) before Christmas but my new baby delayed its posting! Ale Star Kelv moved to WA several months ago for his career and a change of scenery.
Hey Crew - Hope the Xmas Special Ale Stars is as good as it sounds!!!!

Another update from The West for you:

Ale Star #S53 joins in the West Coast craft beer appreciation

Brewery #11: Indian Ocean Brewing Co.

A treat for anyone bothered to venture this far from home (from Perth, head north up the Mitchell Freeway all the way to the end, then head west until you hit the coast!). Licensed as the Mindarie Marina Hotel, we were greeted by a very stylish venue that elegantly mixes indoor and outdoor areas with a relaxed yet slightly classy feel, overlooking the main marina itself.

Heading straight for the tasting tray, I was firstly impressed by the size of the individual samples (200mls on closer inspection), albeit including only 4 of the 8 brews on offer. Armed with my tasting notes and a side order of fish and chips (beer battered of course!), I tackled the selection with high expectations.

First cab of the rank was the Indi White: with the early afternoon sunlight reflecting off the marina water and through the sample glass, the appearance did in fact seem particularly pale. As for the taste, well this did all the things a good wheat beer should, with nice balance and not too much yeasty sourness. Not being the biggest advocate for wheat beers, I was certainly impressed with this one as a Sunday starter.

Even more impressive then was the “Indi Sundae” – 50% barley and 50% wheat grains and incorporating 4 different yeast strains, it had a distinct banana flavour (of the Allen’s Lollies variety!). Despite the 5.3% alcohol content, the punch was complemented with complex citrus notes and lingering malt/vanilla/caramel. Probably not for everyone, but I think definitely worth the experiment.

If one had to be nominated, the Indi Pilsner was probably the surprise under-performer of the bunch. Now I know it's hard to get a pilsner ‘wrong’[I disagree - d], and this certainly wasn’t that, rather it simply seems to be a victim of the exceptionally high standards of its brothers. A grassy bitterness and dry finish, in other company this beer would certainly not be criticised, yet on this day it failed to excite.

The final tasting glass was reserved for the bastion of West Australian brewing – a pale ale (I think there is some sort of unofficial law over here that you can’t call yourself a brewery unless you make a good pale ale). And a first class effort this one is! With an obvious English Ale influence, the rich coppery-bronze colour is instantly appealing, and its backed with a brilliant hoppy yet malty taste.

With the tasting tray finished and the afternoon still young, we couldn’t resist trying a couple more of the seasonal offerings – and thank goodness we did!

Ale Star #S53 selected the Indi Summer Ale, again of English Ale inspiration. Focusing on hops and a slightly spicy/fruity zest, we could see how this would be a thirst quenching refresher for a parched wanna-be sailor (although not a favourite of mine). Meanwhile, I went for the 6 grains nut-brown ale: mildly roasted and definitely nutty, with a subtle chocolate finish. In my opinion, brown ales are massively under-appreciated in this country, and with examples like this available I really don’t understand why. Best On Ground for mine.

Kelv #S27
Here's the full slideshow of Kelv's adventures so far.

Kelv's opinions in no way reflect those of The Local Taphouse.

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