His name is Andrew Childs, otherwise known as “Beer Giraffe”, and he’s approximately nine feet tall. So, appropriately, when he packed in his work as a lawyer to brew beer commercially, Behemoth Brewing Company was the name he chose, and “Bigger Tasting Beer” was the brewery’s moto.
He’s a lovely bloke too, great to swap tales with over beer, and he has the rude and robust humour of an entire classroom of fourteen year-old school boys. And that sense of fun carries over to the names and label art he gives to his beer.
It all started with the ‘Celia Wade Brown Ale’, named for Wellington’s mayor. It was a tasty coffee-flavoured dark ale, one of the winners of a competition that invited home brewers to make a beer with the capital city as its theme; the reward being a commercial release. Then there was the ‘Chur!’ New Zealand Pale Ale, the ‘Wet Dream’ imperial IPA, and most recently the ‘’Murica!’ American Pale Ale – and what more can you want than a beer that allows you to loudly order a “merkin” in a crowded bar?
Then there’s this, the ‘Sacrilegious Saison’, a suitably big 8% imperial saison-style ale. So much to love about it; from Andrew having to hand-label all 300 bottles of this very limited release on Good Friday, to the ‘Buddy Christ’ label art, to the “Mmmmmmmmm, Sacrilegious!” comment on the bottle.
The beer’s pretty heavenly, too. Soft and fluffy, full of that billowing effervescence that a good saison should carry. An aroma of clove, pepper and bitter orange, showing a well selected combination of spices and hops to go with the saison yeast.
The yeast brings more sweet funk than James Brown as it hits the mouth, then the aftertaste lingers on and on with spicy bitter orange flavours. Like the brewer, it’s a solid beast too, once the initial fluffiness has dissipated in the mouth, there’s a solid warming earthy body, with lots of lift coming from the alcohol.
Though it’s never a word I’d normally apply to the Beer Giraffe, this beer is remarkably sophisticated! There’s clearly been great care taken in the choice of ingredients, and they all play superbly off each other for a very more-ish drink.
I’d love to see more of it brewed; it’s a beer I’d love to have to hand for grilled meats around a BBQ in summer.
It’s Andrew’s birthday tomorrow; and it’s also near-enough to the first birthday of Behemoth Brewing Company. And so, to celebrate, he’s hosting some beers. Tomorrow evening, Friday 27th June, he’ll be at Auckland’s Vulture Lane Craft Bar. And the Friday after (5th July) he’ll be at Malthouse on Wellington’s Courtney Place. If you’re in the area, well worth popping along to try some of the well made, fun beers this adventurous young brewer is bringing into the world.