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Thus Let Us Drink Beer – Little Bang and Wayward Brewing

Ah, finally – been thoroughly enjoying Little Bang’s exquisite beers over the years and it was high time that an instalment of our series was to be dedicated to how their channel their alchemy.

Incepted in 2014, the founders transitioned from their pedigree in video game development to trying their hand at brewing, which saw them initially experiment repurposed wine making gear. The past seven years have seen the evolution from Little Bang being a small backyard operation to one of the finest breweries on terra australis.

My first exposure to Little Bang Brewery was via their Naked Objector, which is an example par excellence for not only Little Bang’s approach when it comes to the nomenclature of their beers, but a fantastic take on a delicately bitter and dank West Coast IPA, with nuanced citrussy and tropical highlights.

An interesting one is their Ira expression, which is essentially a hybrid between an IPA and a Red Ale, marrying the best of both worlds and adding chocolatey, toffee flavours to what I love about IPAs, i.e. danky hoppiness.

However, my favourite of Little Bang’s expressions that I have had the fortune to try must be the Road Tripper, a huge double West Coast IPA, the character of which embodies everything I love about resinous IPAs.

Upon approach, what materializes on the nostrils is an overload of hoppiness, which on the palate is accentuated by orangey, fruity, yeasty notes that are firmly rooted in a biscuity maltiness. With a finish that culminates in a crescendo of dry bitterness, it makes it one of my new favourite go-to brews when it comes to choosing a boilermaker component for a peaty Islay whisky.

Given that as much thought must have gone into the artwork and overall aesthetic that adorns the can and the overall effort made to make it an appealing product, the Road Tripper captures the DNA of why Little Bang is one of my favourite Australian breweries.

Let’s pivot to one of our favourite Sydney breweries…

Wayward Brewing has done it again, which at this stage should be come as surprise as with their limited releases, they have been consistently raising the bar and pushing boundaries no matter how exotic it sounds on paper upon approach.

An example par excellence is Sourade: a Blueberry Gose with a telling name as it has been inspired by, what for it – sports drinks.

In essence, Sourade with its light, blueberry, slightly salty and sour flavour profile paired with the fact that it is packed with electrolytes, it proves to be the ideal brew to bounce back from a night of debauchery/

Based on one of the lightest malt bases around, i.e. the Heidelberg variant, mixed with Australian wheat. After fermentation and stripping away its colour by employing the services of a centrifuge and carbon filtration system, natural blue food colouring that is both PH and temperature stable was added to achieve a shade of electric blue that would make the Smurfs jealous.

Another limited new Wayward release was created to accommodate the colder months of the year, i.e. a coffee and coconut stour going under the moniker of Island Life.

Island Life sees Wayward Brewing team up with St. Dreux Coffee Roasters, who provided the brewery with single origin, dark roasted Sumatran beans.

The result is a well-calibrated melange of dark chocolatey toffee and burnt caramel flavours sitting against a backdrop of nuanced coconut highlights and while the integration of coffee into beer can be a hit and miss at times, the way Wayward used espresso flavours is superb as it perfectly complements and enhances the stout.

Clocking in at 7% ABV, this stout variant is on the lighter, sweeter and smoother end of the spectrum.

Now, the next one intrigued me with the announcement that “it's barely a wine, but it is a barley wine.”

What you get with this extremely limited release is quite hand full based on the production method that is not dissimilar to reducing a stock while cooking with a three-hour long boil – a malt-forward (think Golden Promise and English Chocolate malt variants) English-style barley wine that has been aged for a month in American Oak, which aids in rounding out its edge.

Packing close to 12% ABV, Wayward’s newest baby turns the dial not only in terms of alcohol content, but especially when it comes to flavours, with candied apples, dark chocolate nuances and caramel taking over, resting on an oaky fundament.


imagse from company websites

T • July 3, 2021

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