Sunday, 24 August 2014

8 Wired: iStout

Beer DeLuxe, Federation Square Melbourne

Not available for Android!

New Zealand is shaping up as one of the global powerhouses within the craft beer scene.  Epic, Emersons, Moa, Tuatara, Garage Project and 8 Wired are leading the charge, and it is the latter which has delivered what is easily one of the best non-seasonal stouts available today.  Say hello to 8 Wired: iStout (Siri coming soon!).

From the keg, iStout boasts an enormously peaty aroma, with overtones of mocha that do not belie what follows.

"Full bodied" does not even begin to cover the mouthfeel here.  It is as dense and as rich as the black sand to be found at Piha Beach (I say this as though I have actually been there!).  Igneous, smoky and peaty characteristics pan across a palate otherwise dominated by the flavours of well-roasted coffee.  If it were possible to toast afogato, this incredible brew might very well resemble the end result.

Describing the balance and overall impact of iStout is no easy task.  Perhaps if an anvil were to be dropped upon one end of a see-saw, with a budgie sat at the opposite; the two then collide in mid-air.  The question is: is the budgie the peat element, or is it that of the coffee?  Both elements of flavour come on so strong that the impact is truly telling.

From the bottle the results are slightly different; bearing in mind that I am reviewing from distant memory here (I had previously sampled iStout at Adelaide's awesome Wheatsheaf Hotel back in January of 2012).  iStout seems to lose some of its robust body when poured from the bottle, but then this might even be as a result of neglecting a partial pour (taking it to the top instead).  Beer appreciation is, after all, a lifelong journey of experience; experience that includes learning.

The bottle is easy enough to find at specialty beer stores, however on tap, iStout is something of a rarity.  Asking Siri where you might find it next may yield disappointing results.  Instead, download the excellent Now Tapped! app (iOS or Android) and keep your eyes peeled.

* Frankly, I would love to see that budgie completely obliterated; that silly little bird that makes that irritating noise whenever a Samsung Galaxy S owner is alerted to a new text message.

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