Picture the scene. A rowdy GABS Beer Festival some years back, Australia’s top indies swamped by legions of thirsty beer lovers. Amongst the crowd, two founders meet – Akasha’s Dave Padden, and Andrew Childs of Behemoth, one of New Zealand’s indie beer success stories. A quick chat, and then back to their respective stalls on the festival floor to satisfy the fans.
Today, these two breweries have teamed up to direct a project of epic proportions, pouring their mutual love of great beer into a plush Project beer that’s worthy of both the Akasha and Behemoth names: Don’t Drink After Midnight Tropical IPA.
“I loved their beers and always wanted to work with them,” says Childs, who founded Behemoth ten years ago as a contract brewery after catching the home brewing bug. “I just like the way they go about doing things. Dave is a great guy, and we love to work with good people who make great beers.”
The feeling was mutual for Padden. “I think it was only a matter of time before we’d end up doing something like this,” he says. "Two breweries that get on well and have similar brewing philosophies... I knew that eventually we’d end up working on something fun together.”
For Childs, that fun-factor was paramount in the decision to pair up with Akasha. “We make bigger tasting beers and our mission is to bring the fun to your pint,” he says. “If beer is not fun, then what is the point?”
TWEAKING AND TWISTING
The creation of Don’t Drink After Midnight saw the Akasha team and the Behemoth boys and girls getting down and dirty with the best trans-Tasman hops they could get their hands on, tweaking and twisting them in all the best possible ways.
“We combined two New Zealand superstar hops with two Aussie classic new world hops,” says Childs. “Superdelic brings big mango, sweet berry and citrus, Nectaron tropical pineapple and passionfruit, while the Aussies’ Victoria Secret and Galaxy both bring big pineapple and pine notes.”
The process itself went smooth as, according to Childs – a net effect of the mutual experience of the two teams. “We went back on forth on recipes for a while, but we’ve all been doing this a while so test batches are not really a thing for us: we just know what hops, malt, yeast work well together to come up with something special.”
“I think it can speak to West and East Coast devotees… Especially for the hop gremlins and people who love getting their nose into their glass.”
Gareth Bowen, Akasha’s head brewer, confirms that things came together almost as smoothly as the resulting beer.
“We had a bit of back and forth in the planning, making suggestions and tweaks,” Bowen comments. “As Andrew said, we have a fair amount of experience shared between us and know what we like and don't like and what works for us, agreeing on the choices of when and where to add the New Zealand and Australian hops (hot side or dry hop) to get the best from them.”
A TRANS-TASMAN TRIUMPH OF TROPICAL TASTE
The brewing process also saw the opportunity to have a bit of fun from a technical perspective, something that both teams relished.
“We wanted to try some new things in terms of technique and product,” says Bowen “The beer is crafted with a yeast strain from a new supplier that we haven't used before, Mogwai Labs from Wollongong. We added hops in the mash to try and release more aromatic thiols, to be bio-transformed by the yeast during fermentation. It smells amazing at the moment – like walking into a tropical fruit market – so I think it has paid off.”
Both Childs and Bowen see the beer appealing to hop lovers on either side of the Tasman. “Akasha are favoured for West Coast IPAs and I think people who love hoppy beers with a bit of hoppy fruit character to it will eat it up," says Childs. “I think it can speak to West and East Coast devotees,” says Bowen. “Especially for the hop gremlins and people who love getting their nose into their glass.”
Plush, lush, pineappley and citrussy and pumped with hop goodness: what a beautiful beer to curl up on the couch with to watch some stone cold cinematic classics as the rain pelts down outside your window… snap it up before it’s gone from the Akasha beer shop and get your mouth around it today.