Tag Archives: chewy

Fargo Brewing Stone’s Throw

The Fargo Brewing Co. started in the wave of openings at the turn of the decade and characterise their rise as home brewers to pro brewers, with a distinct inspiration stemming from the pacific northwest. They started contract brewing in Wisconsin, opening their own brewery in Fargo in 2014.

Their Scottish Ale, aptly named from I assume the highlander games, has a nice moderate ABV of 4.5%, a welcome relief after so many in the range of five-plus. When I brew at home I aim for around the 3.8% – 4.3% range for most beers (imperial IPAs etc. obviously exceptions) as I find this best suits my palate and desires. Being in the United States is a constant experience of higher ABVs; you do get used to it.

This beer is copper-acorn colour with a plastic-y white head. It smells of apple and pine, a little pancake batter, a little sweetness. The mouthfeel is chewy and sticky like a wad of sap. Major flavours march in unison: honey, biscuit, butter, raisins, a touch of bitterness and no hop flavour. It’s all malt, all the way. Not a bad beer at all, it put me in the perfect mood to see a film at the historic Fargo Theatre.

And what a place that is! Independently owned, heritage architecture, cheap tickets and zero advertisements before the film screenings. OK, I’m getting distracted.

I bought a pint of this beer at The Boiler Room, Fargo, North Dakota. It’s a pretty straight-forward, subterranean bar with little to distinguish it, although it seems to put a bit more effort into its tap selection than its competition in downtown Fargo.

Six String Dark Red IPA

These guys are a music-themed brewery, and with their name and guitar pick logo they immediately endear themselves to music fans such as myself. For some reason when I drank this beer I thought they were another NZ brewery, but after some discussion I learned they are actually from Erina in NSW. I really like that part of the world – it’s relaxed, picturesque but still close to large enough population centres to feel connected – and to see the gigs you only get to see in the city. Six String started out as a two-man operation in 2013 and subsequently expanded. They do a bit of canning, which I think is excellent, and I happily tasted one of their four “amplified ales” recently in Melbourne.

This beer is a very dark copper to brown, if it is at all red, then it is definitely on the maroon side – basically brown. It sports a light beige head with a uniform lacing, very consistent around the glass. The aroma is strong citrus and resinous fruit – hops all the way on the nose, an intense hello.

Mouthfeel is chewy and satisfying around the balanced flavours. There are light roast and chocolate malts dancing amongst a burning fire of bitterness. The bitterness is deep but the beer is smooth. This is probably the roastiest Red IPA I’ve ever tried – but then they have designated it a “Dark” Red IPA for a reason. I’m a fan. My brewing club is hosting a Specialty IPA competition soon with a Red IPA category. I wonder how we would cope with an entry like this?

I drank this ale at Beer DeLuxe, Hawthorn.

Bellarine Brewing The Heads Ale

The Bellarine Peninsula Brewery is an old favourite of mine. I visited the Bellarine Estate regularly as a young boy. A family friend had a house in Portarlington and my mother was going through a “wine phase” – we visited a lot of wineries in those years, 1998-2001. The brewery came many years later. I first encountered the Bellarine’s beers at a dinner at the Estate in around 2009-10, at the invitation of Paul Mercurio who had just filmed a series on the region’s fresh foodstuffs. I was involved with the abalone farm down that way at the time. Anyway, they had less of a range back then, and I was surprised when visiting family in Point Lonsdale recently to see a fourth beer in their line-up: The Heads Ale. With no further label information I dived straight in. I like ales after all.

The first thing to note is that this beer poured big head. Biiiig head. I haven’t had a commercial bottle like this in a while. It had settled in the fridge for six hours after transportation, and I have used the same glasses with many other beers, so I believe the bottle itself must have been overcarbed. These things happen and patience is part of life.

After ten minutes I ended up with a luscious soft sundae of head resting on a deep copper red ale. It gave off scents of lolly and warm pineapple; tropical fruits left out in the sun. Subjectively the aroma was neutral; I was not attracted nor repelled. The flavour profile was soft, malty and balanced. Hop character felt English with a chewy mouthfeel. Not quite the same chewy you get from oats though, a different kind of chewy. More like a gum or sap.

At 5.2% it’s a nice medium-sized beer that would do well for winter fish and chips. I will definitely get another bottle some time down the track and try it again; warmed up, hopefully undercarbed and ready to drink.

This beer was bought from the Bellarine Estate and I drank it at home.