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Thus Let Us Drink Beer – Philter + Akasha Projects

As a beer lover there are few things as tempting as meandering through Marrickville on your way to a gym session, trying to avoid the allure of the myriad of craft beer breweries en route, most of which we have already covered as part of this series.

Philter and its former yoghurt factory brewpub HQ is a prominent etablissement on my daily journey an one that has been on my radar for the longest time, not only ever since I tasted their immensely quaffable XPA in 2018 and learned about the feat that with Samara Füss, they had installed one of the most experienced head brewers that terra australis has to offer at the helm of fine-tuning the nuances of their brews, but since their brewpub and overall decidingly stripped back, retro-style aesthetic is one dedicated nod to Australiana from the 1980s.

Needless to say, when I learned about Philter giving birth to limited IIPA and Double Red Ale releases to complement the line-up of their accolade decorated unfiltered sessionable emissions and living up to their tagline “Seductively Beer”, I could have not been more taken with what materlized on my palate.

Truth be told, I find red IPAs an acquired taste and for every devilishly delicious discovery, I come across a handful feeble attempts of trying to perfection the balancing of bitter-, malty-and hoppiness.

Enter Philter’s Double Red Ale.

Rusty in colour and clocking in at a solid ABV of 8%, upon pouring one is charmingly overwhelmed by an avalanche of a powerfully aromatic melange comprised of zesty and passionfruity highlights, which dance on a solid foundation of resinous pine and biscuity malt flavours, culminating in an artfully calibrated distinct bitterness.

Given the aforementioned experience, I could not wait to try Philter’s IIPA.

Where the Double Red Ale trumps with a heavy riffing on bitterness, the IIPA sits comfortably in the sweet end of the citrussy hop spectrum, informed by the quadriga of Mosaic, Citra, Sabro and Idaho 7, the bitey flavour of which are further accentuated by syrupy malt notes.

In essence, this babyh encapsulates everything I love about a well-crafted IIPA – bold, heavy on the resinous components yet balanced enough to let shine through more subtle bitter and tropic notes.

With an ABV of 7.7%, it lends itself as a borderline perfect accompaniment to a dram of cask strength Islay whisky.

There are Australian craft beer breweries and then there is…Akasha.

If you follow this series, it would not have gone unnoticed through our previous laudations of Akasha Brewing that we harbour a weak spot for the Five Dock based brewers and the way in which they channel their alchemy in crafting Pavlovian reaction evoking hoppy emissions.

I do love Akasha Projects, which is the arm of their operation that complements the core range with more experimental beer, most of which expertly dial things up to eleven in the respective realm and every year around Easter, I am holding my breath for both Akasha dusting off their signature beers as well as creating new bold expressions.

Akasha’s Wooden Leg IIIPA is exactly what the name would have you think – an over-the-top wonderful tour de force in hoppyness. Essentially, it is an homage to a wooden chunk that holds up Akasha’s old cold liquor / water tank and a nod to the spirit of ingenuity that possessed to their head brewer and his willingness to experiment.

If you look up an accomplished IIIPA in the dictionary, chances are that there will be a photo of Wooden Leg to illustrate a great example of how the best of the triumvirate of Centennial, Amarillo and Simcoe hops is combined to result in an expertly balanced fruity manna with piney highlight that rests comfortably against a backdrop of solid bitterness. Yum x 3.

Another revamped Akasha Project Number that got the 2022 treatment is the Triple Fire Amber Ale, which is again a telling name. Amber in appearance, Centennial and Cascade hops for the foundation for what flavour-wise lands solidly in pronounced malty and biscuity territory. Clocking in at 10.5% ABV, the Triple Fire is dangerously moreish with its caramel character that is further nuanced by citrussy highlights. Another winner that craft beer aficionados are bound to lap up.

Akasha Project’s most curious release however is a Sour, an Imperial Berry one to be precise: I dig a good Sour but more often than not, which it would pack a bit more of a punch, which is exactly what this expression does. With a tartness and acidity that is exquisitely calibrated based on vanilla, lactose and oat notes and counterpointed by a berry informed sweetness, this is an exercise par excellence in a lively sour that proves to be a perfect companion for a dram of Ardbeg 10.

Word around the campfire has that all three aforementioned expressions, especially the Imperial Berry Sour, are very limited in nature so do not blink and get on it.


T • April 18, 2022

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