HopDog Beerworks are a brewery I have a lot of time for, even if their beers are harder to come by in Sydney town. They’re always of a high quality, and the range seems to be pretty spot on. I grabbed the chance recently to try their SuperBeast 2015, an annual seasonal release. It’s my first try of the barley wine style, and on reflection, probably the only time I’ll ever have it during warmer temperatures.
Straight from the bottle, this looks a delicious brew, pouring deep black with a thick tanned head. It’s not big on aromas, but I was able to pick up some roasted, oak and dark fruit smells. But the flavour is the big draw card here. It’s this fusion of dried raisins and berries, grassy flavours, dark chocolate (think 95% cocoa), and a hint of smoke. It’s a very big and warming beer, owing to a high level of alcohol and a massive bitterness, which is enough to strip the bacteria from your throat. It sits thick in the throat, and has the decent bitterness which lingers long after the swallow.
I think it’s fair to say that a barley wine and the New South Wales south coast aren’t a combination which would be seen all too frequently. Cask wine and the New South Wales south coast might be more appropriate. But there’s no doubting that this is a good beer. It’s super strong, and has some big, beefy flavours and bitterness. My one regret is that I haven’t drunk this in the winter time – it just doesn’t have the same warming qualities on a mild summer’s evening.
Drunk: from the bottle