Last night Brad and I had the illicit thrill of going out and drinking beer on a school night. Pretty wild, I know. But we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to sup the first batch of the Band of Brewers series at Tomahawk Bar.
The Band of Brewers is a ten part miniseries produced by HBO, dramatizing the history of “Easy” Company through the Second World War (double check this bit) and is the brainchild of Fortitude Brewing Co.’s National Sales Manager Dan Rawlings. As explained here the first brew is a collaborative effort by Ian Watson (Fortitude/Noisy Minor), Mark Howes (Newstead Brewing Co.) and Simeon Bonetti (Brisbane Brewing Co.). Three of greater Brisbane’s most lauded and beloved brewers (and rightly so).
Anyone with a cursory interest in the brewing industry can see that beer collaborations are becoming increasingly prevalent. Even Coopers recently took part in their first collaboration in their 152 year history.
I’m going to put it out there. I love collaborations. Purely by their nature, collaborations are going to produce one-off beers that give the brewers an opportunity to put some of their more unique creations out to a wider audience. And that is one of the things I love most about beer and brewing. Give me your weirdest shit and I’ll drink it. It’s probably not going to be the best beer they’ve ever made but I’m glad they gave it a crack.
After all, brewing with different ingredients, mangling traditional styles and hanging out with other brewers are all excellent ways for brewers to hone their skills. That imperial banana mocha milkshake dunkel might not have worked, but the experience gained by the brewer can only be beneficial for the future. And if the beer is so bad that it shouldn’t have gotten a commercial release? Well just don’t buy it I suppose?
Which brings me to the Band of Brewers American Corn Ale. I particularly love the idea of brewing with corn given that it is probably considered the single most maligned ingredient amongst a large part of the craft beer fraternity. This mostly comes about due to the usage of corn (generally in the form of corn syrup) in the American adjunct lagers such as Budweiser, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Corona, Miller etc. Generally speaking, adding corn syrup to a beer is a cheap way of increasing the alcoholic content without adding unwanted, pesky characteristics, like flavour for instance.
The Band of Brewers American Corn Ale however, is unique in that it actually tastes a bit like corn. Likely thanks to 11% of the mash being flaked corn. It’s sweet, malty and has a decent whack of hops at the end. It’s not ‘pop-a-boner outstanding’ but it’s solid and something that no one else is brewing. And therefore a success by my reckoning. Good bloody onyas.