79 / 100
Date, citrus and Sichuan pepper hefeweizen, brewed for GABS festival 2017. Tried there in a sampler.
Pours a straw colour, opaque from the haze. Head is dense, white and retaining well. Looks great; really good.
Smells amazing. Some light oatmeal character to the malt but then it's all tangy, spicy and earthy. Lime and undergrowth, with some peppery piquancy and star anise. Beautiful. Goddamn I love it.
Taste delivers on what the nose promised. Some light grain to start up, cereal with a touch of pearl barley on there, slightly nutty maybe. Develops some nice tangy and zesty characters midway with a slight citrus focus, then turns all earthy and spicy on the finish with clove, star anise and a sharp pepper heat towards the finish. It's a touch sour overall but the spice really lifts it and adds this layer of complexity to the back that's really rewarding and unexpected.
Decent body for the style; quite bitty but still reasonably smooth. Maybe a touch too far on the heat at the back.
Weird beer, but I'm really digging it. The dry pull of the Sichuan pepper on the back is a left-field treat that will probably put people off but I think it's a really impressive experience and sensation.
I retried this beer at the end of GABS and crowned it my #1 top beer of the festival. I haven't heard anybody else speak about it at all and I suspect with the unknown brewer quantity and the fact that it doesn't have "IPA" in the style name means it was severely underrepresented in people's paddles. The following week at Sydney GABS I made sure my friends tried it and it was pretty universally enjoyed (and even beloved by a few of the more everyday less-crafty drinkers). I'll still extol its virtues, I think this was an unexpected delight.