My (Not Really) Near Death Extreme Beer Experience

When I see guys dressed up in Red Bull costumes jumping out of hot air balloons or walking a tightrope across the Grand Canyon I usually think “what an idiot.” Risking your life or serious injury for your hobby is just a little bit over the top.

I’m allergic to seafood, so when a local brewery in conjunction with one of my favourite beer websites brought out a beer made with oysters and mussels I didn’t plan to taste it. To be up front it wouldn’t kill me, the allergy is very unpleasant but not anaphylactic. But would I really want to go through it just to taste a beer…

Well, maybe…

Epi Pen at the Ready

Epi-Pen at the Ready

Murray’s and the Crafty Pint’s Auld Bulgin’ Boysterous Bicep has been getting some pretty good feedback. It first appeared at last year’s Beervana as part of a brewery and media collaboration competition. It won the competition by a long way. A blackboard with the judges scores showed almost unanimous perfect marks.

It sure sounded like my kind of beer. A 10% smoked Belgian stout with 200 Port Stephens oysters, 200 blue mussels and 200 green-lipped mussels. Well certainly the 10% smoked Belgian stout part sounded like my kind of beer. The rest I could probably do without.

bicep 1

Wish me luck

On the nose the smoke dominates with hints of coffee and chocolate. A hint of iodine with the smoke makes me think of  of Islay Whisky and I’m reminded of the Ayrshire coast where I spent many summer holidays in my youth. The taste is heavier than expected with thick treacle and rum and raisin Old Jamaica chocolate. To finish there is dry tobacco, a touch of salt, coffee and a quite fresh, lingering orange peel bitterness.

The beer is smooth and complex and every sip reveals more character. Every sip to the bottom of the glass. At some point I obviously decided that quality of the beer was worth the risk to my health. I could have just had a sip or two, made the tasting notes and hoped for the best, instead I downed every last drop.

bicep 3

So a couple of hours later and apart from feeling a bit itchy I’ve not had much of a reaction. It’s difficult to pinpoint any seafood character to the beer and I don’t think that I’m the only person happy with that. The beer is superb, a full bodied and full flavoured Imperial Stout that is worth seeking out. Kudos have to go to Shawn Sherlock at Murray’s and James Smith of the Crafty Pint.

I guess now I’m going to have to try Young Henry’s latest seafood beer, the brilliantly named Mother Shucka Oyster Stout…

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