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Thus Let Us Drink Beer – New England Brewing, Akasha’s Eagle and Kaiju’s IPA

“I don't want to change the world, I am not looking for a new England…”

Ah, good ole Billy Bragg is suitable enough as a relevant reference to kick off this instalment of our beer-centric series with a focus on a brewery located in a region on terra australis that was not exactly brimming with an overload of breweries and known for craft beer until New England Brewing established its operations and put the area firmly on the radar of beer aficionados.

Inspired by Teutonic Brauereikunst and a trip to the old world shortly after the dawn of the new millennium, the seed was planted to replicate a brewery with its focus firmly set on provenance and a sense of pride for its locale, which eventually came to fruition more than a decade later.

With a line-up ranging from traditional lagers via hop bombs to experimental brews, New England Brewing has made itself known for its dedication to the craft and creating complex beers based on the use of open top fermenters and a secondary fermentation in the keg / can, which adds what has become the brewery’s idiosyncratic twist and is particularly conducive to creating Belgian style beers

My first exposure to New England Brewing Co. was via their core IPA, which is an example par excellence for the accomplishment of the West Coast style of IPA, i.e. unleashing avalanches of tropical fruit flavours combined with citrussy, zesty highlights that dance in front of a backdrop of delicate piney and resinous notes. The foundation is comprised of a hoppy quartet, i.e. Palisade, Bitter Gold, Amarilla and Centennial, which are calibrated in a manner so the characteristics of the individual hops complement each other.

Taking things to the next level is the New England’s Minutemen NEIPA – and yes, I am aware that once the acronym is spelled out, the former sentence is quite tautological in nature.

With an orangey hue and hazy in appearance, what materializes on the top of the mouth is informed by what the colour promises, backed by a zesty kick. The mouth-watering fruitiness informed by pineapples is counterpointed by a dense malty bitterness.


While I find stouts to be a bit of a hit or miss, you got to give it to New England Brewing Co for coming up with interesting variants: Based on a collaboration with their neighbours Artisti Coffee Roasters, the Coconut Milk Coffee Stout’s name says it all as it is all about the malty backbone, which – as the name would suggest – is infused with dark chocolatey, nutty coffee notes and rounded out with milky coconut aromas. A borderline ideal treat in liquid form for the colder months of the year.

If I had to define a hybrid between a Saison and an IPA, New England’s Single Hop India Saison expression would be an ideal candidate.

Clocking in at an ABV of punchy 7.2% and a bitterness of 70 IBU, this hazy little number reigns supreme on the dry end of the spectrum where it excites the palate not only with a melange resulting from Citra hop derived juiciness dancing with the yeast, but a crescendo culminating in a black peppery spicy kick.

The limited release known as the Rum Barrel Aged Imperial Stout is exactly the oaky, dark fruity, sweet heavy hitter one would expect from having been aged for half a year in Beenleigh Rum barrels, which results in roasted malty flavours being interweaved with a dark syrupy sweetness that is oh so dangerously moreish.

Given the quality of what I have taste from New England Brewing so far, I can only hope that they will channel their alchemy in the creation of a Double IPA soon.

As weed-loving Ricky Fitts put it ever so eloquently in the plastic bag scene of American Beauty: “Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world I feel like I can't take it, like my heart's going to cave in.”

Now with Akasha projects having released their quadruple IPA hop monster The Eagle, the aforementioned quote can be applied to flavour and my palate.

It is not exactly the best kept secret that I am quite a fan of Akasha Brewing’s emissions, with their Wooden Leg IIIPA having so far been my favourite. However, this with Akasha’s The Eagle gripping me with its powerful talons with an ABV of 12%, sinking its large hooked beak into my palate with what can only be described as an cataclysmic explosion of hop resin, delicate malty sweetness and citrussy mango flavours, sets new standards in terms of how far the envelope can be pushed with an IPA without ever running danger of becoming a novelty release.

What on paper should not work as everything is seemingly turned to a Spinal Tap-esque 11 without regard to nuances and appears to be painted with a broad brush, Akasha Brewing has done it again and accomplished to brew a bold and rich juggernaut of an IPA on steroids with an enormously powerful and complex flavour profile that proves to be dangerously sessionable. If you like your West Coast-style IPAs big, you will have not lived until you have tried Akasha’s The Eagle – a beer for special occasions and once that will make others pale in comparison.


If you are following this series it should not come as a surprise that when it comes to hops, it cannot be dank and resinous enough for me and while I appreciate experimentations with hops and the creations of the Australian craft beer landscape, there are few breweries that seem to just effortlessly hit the spot with their creations.

Kaiju Brewery is one of the aforementioned and every time I see one of their emissions on tap, I make a beeline for it as in terms of hoppiness, they hardly ever leave anything left to be desired.

Combine this core strength with a thinly veiled love for playful, eye-catching yet subtly nuanced artworks (with quite a few easter eggs to be found embedded in them for those willing to dig deeper), Japanese culture at large, Kabuki and the good old hero vs monster dynamic and you got the winning whole that constitutes Kaiju Brewery, which is so much more than the mere sum of the individual ingredients.

Needless to say, their hop bombs are accolade decorated and their special releases sell out quickly on a regular basis, which is why I am glad that two of my favourite Kaiju expressions have become integral to their core line-up.

Kaiju’s Metamorphosis IPA is, well how can I put…if you look up “IPA” in the dictionary, you would probably find a photo of a can of it. Based on a foundation of all-American hops, waves of deliciously piney highlights tickle the top of the mouth, rounded out by a delicate bitterness. Despite clocking in at a respectable 6.7% ABV, it dangerously more-ish and session-able.

So far, so good.

However, when it comes to special occasions, like e.g. the recent launch of the Octomore 12 line-up, a special beer is called for, i.e. a brew not unlike Kaiju’s Double IPA Aftermath.

As the punchy ABV of 9.1% suggests, we got a hoppy powerhouse in our hands – one that paints with a broader strokes in terms of booziness, a dominant malty backbone and wonderful citrussy highlights, which shine against a backdrop burnt toffee notes.

Given the quality and excellence of Kaiju’s brews, one cannot help but look forward to their future special releases, which will hopefully not stray from Kaiju’s deliberately over-the-top hoppy path.


images from company websites

T • October 19, 2021

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