BentSpoke Crankshaft

Total Score: 7.2/10 HopFlower1 Lemon1 Caramel1 Nonicpint1

BentSpoke is the latest micro-brewery in Canberra, Braddon to be precise. After having recently moved from sunny Brisbane with micro-brewers popping up everywhere I was a bit disappointed to find in Canberra a very marginal craft beer scene that is thankfully growing, not unlike my beer gut (the two could be related but I’ve now since dismissed thought as ludicrous and unfounded by any evidence).

Poured from tap into a “schmiddy” (something between a schooner and a middy, it looked about 300ml).

A: Presents a hazy safety orange/amber with a 1cm off-white head that stands up well. The appearance is right in the ball-park for a good Pale Ale, as for IPAs they do vary between amber and rust colours. 7/10.

S: Fruity/citric hops with hints of a caramel malt base. It’s not a FULL-ON hop aroma but it does present a decent balance. As an APA it would be perfect, as an IPA, and from my personal experience of drinking hundreds of American IPAs it does lack a little in hop flowers, still I can’t wait to dive in (not literally of course). 7/10.

T: There’s some good upfront sweet caramel malt notes followed by a little burst of citric/floral/fruity hops. The flavour is clean and well balanced. Finishes with a restrained hop bitterness. Again it could definitely benefit from a little more hoppiness however this can be said of most Australian IPAs. The aftertaste has a herbal note as well. 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with a light creamy carbonation that has a touch of bite, at least enough to let you know it’s there. This mouthfeel is right on the money, and illustrates why tap beers always beat bottled brews – I could drink these all night. 9/10.

D: A good entry level IPA, i.e. before moving on to some of the US/NZ hop monsters, and quite well balanced for 6% ABV, I for one am impressed. I had a sample of one of their experimental brews too (Choca Hop – a Pale Ale with choc-mint notes) however I thought it would be best to review one of their mainstream Ales first. If this beer is any indication of what to expect Canberra (and my beer gut) has a good micro-brewery future ahead of it. 7/10.

Food match: Their menu has a heritage breed beef burger with beer braised onions, beer fortified barbecue sauce, cheese and Cajun potato skins that sounds like a corker and a good match for this brew.

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A (very!) brief history of beer, nectar of the Gods

What can one truly say about beer? It has had such a far reaching effect on society from heights of pleasure whereupon celebrations of life have occurred to the depths of desolation in the bar fights and many mornings of guilt and hangovers induced by that magnificent amber liquor.

Beer itself was a fortuitous discovery by the Sumerians about 6 millennia ago, at least that is as far back as the written record of beer goes, a majority of modern historians believe it has been brewed since grain has been cultivated. Back then the role of Baker and Brewer were interchangeable as it was the Baker of bread who knew the secrets of brewing. Also it was quite a different beast to the beer of today – being a gruel that was drunk through a hollowed reed to avoid nasty bitter solids left over from fermentation.

Despite these obstacles the brew was a most popular intoxicant also championed as the nectar of the Pharaohs by the Egyptians, only to go out of fashion when the wine drinking Greeks and Romans became the dominant powers in Europe.

Speaking of Europe what about the rest of the globe? Historically beer was not prevalent in Asia or America due to the staple crops being rice and maize respectively which are better suited to ferment into wines, and with the overall higher Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of these liquids there was little benefit to attempting to produce anything else.

What about Hops, when did they come about? Using Hops as a bittering agent only came about because Gruit; a mixture of herbs including horehound, dandelion and wormwood, was a sketchy mix at best, and apart from beers spoiling due to a lack of preservatives, the easiest foil to the sweetness of malt was the simple but difficult to cultivate bitter Hop flower – which also had the added bonus of adding an antibacterial effect to protect the brewer’s yeast from other microorganisms.

In 1516 William IV the Duke of Bavaria, adopted the Reinheitsgebot (purity law), which was for a time the oldest food regulation still in use (this passed from German law in 1987). The Reinheitsgebot only permitted the following ingredients to be allowed in beer: Hops, Malt, Water and Yeast. Due primarily to this the Hop became a staple brewing ingredient and we have the wonderful beers we have today.

Well I guess there’s nothing left to do now than crack open a nice American Pale Ale: Talking about beer is thirsty work, cheers!

Doc.

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Introduction to IHM (I Hate Macros)

Before I begin with a (very!) brief history of beer, nectar of the Gods, I just wanted to give a you an understanding of what this site is about:

1. Beer (specifically GOOD beer, though I do occasionally delve into bad beers too).

2. Reviews of which are posted on here haphazardly in no particular order.

3. News about beer (whenever I feel like it).

4. Information about appreciating beer (tasting, terms used, etc…) and brewing.

5. Raving rants released randomly by me: Doc. Deal with it.

I’m Doc btw. I’m passionate about craft beer and I hate macros.

What are macros?

Good question young Jedi, a macro-brewer is a large multinational company that cares less about the end product than their profits. Yes of course you need to make money or you go out of business – beer isn’t free. This is one of the reasons why craft, or micro-brewers (btw there is a difference between the two but let’s keep things simple for now) charge more for their product – because they add more ingredients of a higher quality and brew smaller more careful batches.

I’m still confused about this macro/micro/craft business, can you provide an example of each please Doc?

Sure…

Macro-brewers: Carlton United Breweries (they brew Victoria Bitter, Carlton Draught, etc…) or Budweiser (surely you’ve heard of them) are two big examples.

Craft-brewers: Little Creatures (they brew a popular Pale Ale) or Sierra Nevada (also brew a famous Pale Ale) are not micro-brewers because they pump out a volume that would put them in the macro category, however they brew with the best ingredients, they brew with craft.

Micro-brewers: HopDog (they are self professed nano-brewers, i.e. even smaller than micro) or The Alchemist (they brew the highly rated Heady Topper which I would kill a cousin to get my hands on… it’s ok though, I have plenty of cousins).

Wow Doc, you sound like someone who knows a lot and is passionate about beer…

That’s right…

Wait until I’ve finished asking my question…

Sorry…

My question is: if I wanted to know more about something beer/brewing related could I ask you?

Sure, that’s the idea of having a blog about beer, send me a question anytime, be aware that due to some sage association I’m a part of I can only answer 3 questions per person, it’s kind of a rule or something.

Doc.

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