La Verte au Genepi (Absinthe beer) and Hottest 100 beer wash-up

The blokes at the Balgowlah Porters on Sydney Road can be guaranteed to pretty much always have something weird on the shelves. They’ve outdone themselves with this little effort. At the outset, I’d have to say that this drop is better off suited in the UDL/Cruiser section of the fridges, but it is a beer based beverage. I’ve never actually had Absinthe, but it’s had an amazing history as an alcoholic drink. It was pretty much banned around the world for much of the 20th century because it was believed to bring on psychosis and halluciations. There’s some pretty cool art of absinthe drinkers with a hazy fairy sitting next to them. Of with the fairies anyone?

Off with fairies

This beer pours like a soft drink. The head lasts about 2 seconds, but retains its fizz. The aroma is quite potent, but generically sweet. The beer base is there – just – and the high alcohol content (5.9%) gives it a real kick. It starts off being easy to drink, but the sweetness kills it. It’s apparently made with the herbs that go into absinthe and the pure water from Mont Blanc, where the brewer – Brasserie du Mont Blanc is located. They also make a beer flavoured with violet. Good luck to them for trying something different – but not for me.

Very, very green

There were no absinthe flavoured beers in the Local Taphouse’s Hottest 100 Beers for 2011. The full list is contained in the link and what’s noticeable is the number of brewers with multiple entries. 5 out of the top 20 came from 4 Pines Brewing which is remarkable. Most of the top 10 were beers that are always available – but it was great to see one of the greatest hits of the year – Little Creatures Big Dipper – make the top 10. I must admit I voted for Stone & Wood’s Stone Beer over the Big Dipper, but I think I was one of the lucky few that got my hands on one (thanks Balgowlah Porters), as opposed to the Big Dipper which was available by the case. I really hope HopDog makes it on the list next year, but other start-ups like Two Birds and Pinchgut showed that it can be done. The list is well worth a read.