“WINTER is coming”. Famous words that strike fear into the hearts of Game of Thrones fans. Canberran’s can relate to this. Three months of cold mornings and even colder nights may result in some of us to retreating from beer and hoisting the white flag. But fear not, craft beer does have its place in winter, and as as the colder weather creeps in, palates seek out the maltier, spicier tastes found in rich, darker ales. And Australian breweries more and more are becoming adept at developing this range of beers.
Moondog’s Nordic Saddle Buffer is a fine example of a delicious, warming ale. Aged in Shiraz and pinot noir barrels to be consumed at around 13 degrees, this barley-wine exhibits a heavy hint of Christmas pudding characteristics, with a big smack of cloves, cinnamon and vanilla, helping to disguise the 14.6% alcohol. This beer is available in bottles from Plonk bottle shop in the Fyshwick markets and with their new, expanded brewery, hopefully Moondog’s beers will become even more readily available in the ACT.
The Durham Castle Arms in Kingston and A Baker in New Acton have both been lucky enough to get their hands on the limited release Stone & Wood Stone Beer. The 6.9% stone beer bombards you with coffee and dark chocolate, and is flavoured with actual stones placed into the mix during the brewing process (I’m not kidding).
Another beer worth pursing in these colder months is the Bridge Road Brewers Bling India Pale Ale, which takes on the classic IPA beer style and transforms it into a hybrid winter ale. Available on tap at the Transit Bar in Civic, its dark copper colour reveals an unusually large amount of malt; unique in an IPA, but perfect for winter.
Of course, if you want to drink a craft beer made locally, you can look no further than the Wig & Pen brewery and bar in Civic. This Canberra institution serves up their velvet stout, which exhibits a deliciously soft mouth-feel, big, creamy head and an iconic, bitter-sweet chocolate taste. Not to be outdone, Fyshwick’s Zierholz brewery also produces a great porter named the “zug trompete” (which I believe is a trombone-like instrument). Ideal for winter, this porter has roasted malt and dark chocolate aromas, with rich coffee and chocolate overtones, unique within Zierholz’s portfolio of German beers.
So there’s no reason to go into hibernation over the winter months in Canberra this year. If anything, these beers are great some great reasons to get out and really enjoy craft beer in Canbeera, this winter!
What’s impressing me?
- Good Beer Week Melbourne; An incredible beer event which I’m confident Canberra will be able to replicate later in the year.
- Plonk Bottle Shop, Fyshwick; I’m like a kid in a candy store when I go to that place.
- Breweries in South Australia; Not just Coopers country any longer. Prancing Pony Brewery, Loberthal Bierhaus, Goodieson Brewery, Clare Valley Brewing Company, McLaren Vale Beer Company and many more. It’s all happening in SA!
Adrian Moran has been pouring beers for over nine years and runs a weekly podcast devoted to craft beer