We’re a sceptical bunch here at Australian Brews News. When we receive a media release we don’t just whack it up on our site as quickly as we can and promote the latest brewery spin. We try to question (and check first) what we’re reading to provide the best service to our readers. Otherwise what’s the point? Why not just work for the brewery’s PR team?
We’re always especially dubious about claims of ‘firsts’, so when a media release came in from New Zealand craft brewers Yeastie Boys claiming a world’s first peated malt beer, we were sceptical. We know that Redoak has been importing peated whisky malt from Macallan for their excellent Wee Heavy Ale for years, and that Adelaide’s BrewBoys also use 6 per cent peated malt in their Seeing Double. So we checked. And as far as we can tell, Yeastie Boys have indeed made the first 100 per cent peated whisky malt beer, Rex Attitude.
According to Yeastie Boy Stu McKinlay, most similar beers use only 1-2 per cent peated malts to get the flavour. The most he had heard of previously was a 90 per cent peat smoked beer that he tried at a home brew competition.
“It didn’t medal, but it was excellent and I started wondering whether you can do a fully peated beer.”
Stu describes the beer as being sweet and complex but very smoky and intense. Unlike most beers made with the peated malt, generally made as scotch ales, Yeastie Boys have made a well-hopped golden ale. Stu said the style was chosen because many highland whiskies have a citrus character, as do Belgian golden ales. The beer uses US Willamette hops which Stu says will introduce a complementary citrus note.
Using whisky malt resulted in a much lower final gravity for the beer than he expected as Stu believes the malts are designed for a higher attenuation in distilling, “but the beer still tastes sweeter than I expected which works really well with the smoke.”
Continuing their, often opaque, pop-culture referencing naming convention, the name Rex Attitude is taken from a track by a French techno DJ that Stu listened to while a young man spending time on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
“It immediately sprung to mind when I was devising the beer,” Stu says.
“Everyone said it was crazy to use 100 per cent peat smoked malt in the beer and I though it showed a bit of attitude to do it anyway and the name just leapt into my head.
“I think they’re the best beer names.”
Yeastie Boy’s Media Release
Local beer and whisky lovers are in for a sumptuous treat from this weekend with Yeastie Boys releasing their latest offering: Rex Attitude – the world’s first single-malt, peat-smoked golden ale.
The use of 100% heavily-peated Scottish distilling malt results in one of the smokiest beers ever released and is almost certainly a world first.
“Brewers in Europe have been aging beer in Scotch whisky barrels over the last few years but they tend to make richer, stronger, winter-style ales so that the whisky and barrel characters don’t overpower the beer” said Stu McKinlay, Yeastie Boys’ Creative Director.
“I enjoy the complexity of the more delicate west coast whiskies and considered we could go a step further by utilising the same type of peated-malt that these distilleries use. In essence we are creating a beer that is far more in keeping with the nature of the whiskies that we’ve been by. Much like the west coast whiskies themselves, this beer will very much challenge the perceptions of drinkers – it’ll have them asking themselves what beer actually is and where else the boundaries can be pushed.”
The Yeastie Boys are no strangers to bucking trends but in Rex Attitude they have gone a step further by importing two tonnes of Scottish malt specifically for this beer.
“This type of malt is rarely used in beer and, where it is, it is only used in very tiny quantities” added Yeastie Boys’ Directive Creator, Sam Possenniskie.
“Our malt supplier didn’t stock anywhere near the amount we’d need to make a commercial batch so, despite plenty of our brewing friends warning us that we were mad, we asked them to bring in two tonnes especially for this beer. Getting that amount of malt shipped out from Scotland is no easy task but, from the moment we first tasted the astounding trial beer, it really has become a bit of an obsession.”
BrewNZ judge, and Regional Wines and Spirits beer specialist, Kieran Haslett-Moore is one of the few people to have tasted the Yeastie Boys’ trial batch, reporting the beer as “positively broadcasting an aroma of heathery smoked kippers. In the mouth the beer was incredibly balanced with light fruity hops, massive smoke and sweet rich malt all playing their part before a rounded wonderfully complex finish.” Mr Haslett-Moore immediately requested the chance to host a release party for the unique beer.
Rex Attitude will be formally released on 30th April 2011at Regional Wines and Spirits, 15 Ellice Street, Mt Victoria. An in-store tasting of the beer, accompanied by samples of Islay whisky Bowmore Legend and a selection of food, will run from 11am to 4pm. A haggis will be piped into the premises at 2pm and served with Rex Attitude. Rex Attitude (7% abv) will be included alongside Pot Kettle Black and Hud-a-wa’ Strong in Yeastie Boys’ permanent range.
All three beers are distributed in 330ml bottles via BeerNZ Ltd (New Zealand) and Innspire Pty Ltd (Australia). Retail outlets in both countries are listed on the map at www.yeastieboys.co.nz.
About Yeastie Boys:
Yeastie Boys is the multiple award-winning brewing brainchild of notorious beerhunter Sam Possenniskie and award-winning homebrewer Stu McKinlay. These beer activists burst onto the scene in the winter of 2008 with their style-bending ale Pot Kettle Black. “PKB”, as it is affectionately known, subsequently went on to win its class (Stouts and Porters) at BrewNZ 2009 and the People’s Choice award at the accompanying Beervana festival. It was the first (and remains the only) beer to have won two trophies at in a single year at BrewNZ.