She’s feminine yet strong. She’s traditional yet cheeky. She’s mysterious yet approachable. She’s Ninkasi’s Angel and she is now officially ‘on the market’.
Some lucky beer lovers have had the odd sneaky taste of this multi-collaborative Spiced Belgian Tripel styled ale created by six Women of Beer but last night at The Local Taphouse in St Kilda she was formally presented to her expectant followers.
The concept for a ‘Women Only’ brew came about after a performance of Beer Diva, Kirrily Waldhorn’s stage show during last year’s Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. Depending on who’s story you believe, the beer came about as either the result of a series of e-mails and in-depth planning discussions between the women or – and this writer tends to lean towards this version – a single, semi-drunken ‘call to arms’ tweet by one particular brewer.
The brew team was assembled and Red Hill’s Karen Golding, Hargreaves Hill’s Beth Williamson, True South’s Sam Fuss, Two Birds Brewing’s Jayne Lewis and Matilda Bay’s Aine O’Hora joined Kirrily at True South to produce a beer untouched by male hands. Except when they needed any heavy lifting done and then True South brewer Brian was called upon. [But you didn’t hear that from me].
The original Ninkasi holds a place in beer history as the Sumerian matron Goddess of beer and a few thousand years later these ladies are continuing the tradition of providing their followers with succour and sustenance – 750mls at a time. In addition, the girls had decided that all profits from the sale of the finished beer would be directed to The McGrath foundation to provide funding for Breast Care nurses.
At last night’s launch the first two bottles filled, capped and hand waxed-dipped were set aside. The brewing team each autographed the labels and the bottles offered for auction. Bidding was fierce from the start and it was all the blokes in the room could do to get a bid in edgeways. The girls from The Fox Hotel in Collingwood went head-to-head with the girls from Mrs Parma’s with the latter finally prevailing at $350. The second bottle was snapped up for slightly more than that by Simon Walkenhurst who managed to outbid fellow brewing male, Dave Golding who forgot to bid.
Ninkasi’s Angel is now commercially available but with almost 70% of the stock already pre-sold you can imagine she will not be around long. It tastes rather special as well making it an even more special catch. It is available at The Local Bottlestore & Provisions and other selected outlets.