There’s been plenty of hype in the pointy end of the Craft Beer community about the release of Tusk, Feral Brewing Company‘s infrequently released Imperial IPA. The hype is due to the fact that Feral Brewing Company has won more awards that Ben Hur, the strict conditions under which outlets are able to take on this beer and its blink and it’s gone time frame. To be honest, I didn’t give it much thought because I thought that my chances of getting to a venue serving it in the short window foreshadowed were slimmer than Lamb0 after his return from Sri Lanka.
Low and behold, I found myself having to do in a fly-in-fly-out trip to Carlton – without any certainty of sneaking any visit into any fine Carlton establishment. Stars aligned and the next thing I knew, I was enjoying a quick lunch in a pub I’d been wanting to visit for a while. The Great Northern has been on the radar and whilst it was a fleeting visit, it ticks many boxes and I’ll be back as soon as possible. The Great Northern had clearly met Feral’s conditions in relation to Tusk and is one about 10 venues selling it. According to Crafty Pint, they are “venues who have guaranteed that there will be cold refrigerated transport from brewery to bar and that it will be tapped the instant it arrives“. Highly regarded US Imperial or Double IPAs like Pliny the Elder emphasise this need to engage in as immediate consumption as possible, so this isn’t hyperbole on Feral’s part. So what’s it like? This is as big a beer made by an Australian brewer as I’ve had. My companion for the day simply went “Phew!”. He immediately commented on the alcohol. Without prompting he reckoned it tasted spirituous. Interesting reaction from a bloke that doesn’t drink craft often. Tusk is a classic sipper, squintly so on the first taste – but one that works up to a magnificent crescendo as it goes on. I was actually keen for a second – but at 9.5%, on this instance, one was enough. Delighted to have had a crack at the Tusk
The Great Northern is putting on an event during “Good Beer Week“, where thirteen of their taps will be turned over to some of the USA’s finest. They are clearly warming up to that event. They have a good range of Bridgeport beers available in their bottle, there’s plenty of Brooklyn Beer paraphernalia up and they have an iconic beer on tap – Rogue‘s Dead Guy Ale. The tap head’s marvellous and the beer’s even better. The back stories of many of Rogue’s beers are pretty interesting – not surprising for a craft brewer that’s been around since 1989. Dead Guy was a private label for a Day of the Dead promo many years ago. It was so popular it became a perennial name for Rogue’s Maibock – and the tap handle is iconic as they come. Bloody fine beer that held it’s own despite coming after the Tusk. I will return to the Great Northern – if that could be during Good Beer Week – even better.