Friday, July 3

A Mongrel Winter Brew

Seven years after it burst onto the national micro-brewing scene with its innovative Pale Ale, South Australia’s Vale Brewing company has launched a new, experimental range of craft beers under its new Fox Hat moniker.
Punters were given a sneak preview of the two initial brews, Phat Mongrel and metric IPA, at the Udaberri laneway bar in Adelaide last week – your correspondent’s first night out since becoming a father again on June 12.
Tasting beer on the run in a crowded bar is always difficult but I was really impressed with the IPA – at 7%ABV the strongest and most out-there beer to emerge from the McLaren Vale brew house since its foundation.
Head brewer Jeff Wright says the beer is named in honour of Australia’s transition from an imperial to a metric system of measurements 50 years ago.
“We thought a beer that’s full of uncomplicated metric goodness, in hops, malt and alcohol warmth was called for,” he said. “The result is Fox Hat metric IPA, measuring a whopping 80 on the International Bitterness Unit (IBU) … and offering a solid head with a slight green tinge and simple resinous pine and fruit aromas.”
Wright is hoping that this cutting-edge IPA will generate the same enthusiasm as the brewery’s Phat Mongrel, an American-style oatmeal stout released earlier in the year; more innovative Fox Hat brews are in the pipeline.
“Phat Mongrel is an exciting and innovative craft beer in every sense,” he said. “To the eye the darknesss delivered by a whack of black and roasted malts subtly gives way to fine beads of coffee coloured nitro bubbles that rise to a rich and creamy head.”
With winter temperatures in South Australia dipping to around 4C overnight this ballsy black brew (6.5%ABV) certainly hits the spot – the perfect accompaniment for a wedge of Stilton and some vinegar soaked pickled onions.
Phat Mongrel is currently available on tap only at venues across Australia, while metric IPA will have a more limited release in South Australia. Both brews will be available for tasting at the inaugural Adelaide Beer & BBQ Festival July 10-12. 
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