Friday, 2 November 2012

Little Creatures: Puffing Billy - Review

At the time of writing (the evening of 1st November 2012), I have just tucked away 2 of my 3 little creatures. One is 3 years old and the other is only 7 months. I am, of course, referring to my offspring and not beer. This is a beer blog after all so let me begin...

Earlier on today with the financial assistance of 3 other members of the BPA, a carton (12 bottles) of Puffing Billy - the latest Single Batch release from Little Creatures - was acquired. 3 x 568ml bottles each for a mere AU$20. A great deal. I'm blessed to have such beer-loving colleagues.

"Hang on a minute..." I hear you exclaim "'re in Brisbane. How come you haven't had to wait ages for it to reach Queensland this time?"

Good question. I'm fairly certain that I know what the answer is. Perhaps this is a sure sign that Little Creatures have tapped into Lion Nathan's distribution network for the first time? That network is a very good thing if it means that craft beer lovers in the Sunshine State don't have to wait until the beer is nearly out date before it hits our shelves. This is a slight exaggeration but you know where I'm coming from!

Anyway, I really have just tucked away a Little Creatures. One of my Puffing Billy's.

This is Little Creatures' tenth Single Batch release but only my fourth (behind Big Dipper, The Quiet American and Day Of The Long Shadow). Even though I may be in my infancy when it comes to consuming Single Batches, this new release has been very eagerly anticipated.

I've been like a man possessed since the news of the impending release broke a few weeks back. I likened the anticipation last time (Day Of The Long Shadow) to that of the build-up to a Birthday as a kid. This time was no different. I was absolutely itching to get to the bottle shop. Itching to get home. Itching to open a bottle. I was itching so much that I considered wearing a flea collar.

A few weeks ago during some tame birthday celebrations, I found myself caressing a glass of 4 Hearts Brewing Oktoberfest Bock at Tippler's Tap. It was a superb beer. It was one of those beers that really sticks in your mind. You know what I mean. The day after my birthday I read the media release regarding Puffing Billy. I couldn't believe my luck that another Bock was on the horizon.

As expected, my self-created 'Puffing Billy hype' was justified... 

The review:

Puffing Billy was very close to being rated as my first 5 star beer. I couldn't quite bring myself to do it as I'd rated Day Of The Long Shadow 4 stars and, in my opinion, Billy didn't quite have enough Puff to be deemed better. Different but not better. Although, it is a fine, fine Bock...a true dark lager which deep, rich undertones. 

As usual with these Single Batches, there is a big hop flavour. This is perfectly balanced with the subtlety of the smoked malt. There is a slight hint of caramel too which only adds to the flavour.

The alcohol content of 6.5% abv is lower than usual for a Single Batch. The previous 3 were 7.8%, 7.2% and 8.9% respectively. The reduction is a good thing. Often with strong beers the taste of alcohol can impair other wonderment's that should be tantalising the palate. In this instance the real flavours came through unobstructed. 

It pours really well with a decent creamy, frothy head. The large bubbles sat upon my unshaven top lip last night for ages. I didn't care. I was enjoying a wonderful brew. Well done Little Creatures. I'm ready for the next release already.


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