One of the things that stuck me about my visit to Murray's Brewery was just how many beers they produce.
They have a large number of main beers they usually have on available and that list is impressive enough but then you add all the other speciality beers they produce and you have a very impressive portfolio.
Starting off we have Heart Of Darkness, an oak aged Belgian styled imperial stout. What better place to start off than with the beer they brewed to celebrate their 500th brew. Now just think about that for a moment. This blog has not even had 500 posts yet and I can't think of another brewery that has brewed 500 different beers. Unless I have it wrong and this is in fact the 500th batch of beer they have brewed.
Anyway at 9.6% it should be treated with a little respect. The aroma is boozy with chocolate and spicy yeast coming through. On tasting I thought it was dominated by a luscious chocolate with a little bitterness and some roast coffee. The finish was pretty boozy but enjoyably so. It's the chocolate that does it, I could almost swear there was real chocolate in this beer. The oaky vanilla qualities were there but not nearly as obvious as I thought, possibly because the oak casks were Shiraz and not Scotch or Bourbon.
I loved this beer!
To the other end of the spectrum now and Punch & Judy ale is 3.9% quaffer and is perfect on a hot sunny day. The aroma was all grapefruit, caramel, orange and some tropical fruits as well. A very lively aroma and on tasting I was not disappointed. A bitter orange hit is followed by tropical fruits and a slight tangy sourness. The body was a little thin but at 3.9% that is to be expected and did not detract from the beer in the slightest. I thought it a tad too fizzy but a little time sorts that out easily enough.
I have already written about Nirvana pale ale so the only thing I need to say here is that it is not quite as good in the bottle as it is on tap.
Shawn's fault is an India black ale. I hope VelkyAl is reading and impressed with the fact they did not call it a Black IPA. Shawn wanted to brew something with big flavours so the brewery decided if people don't like it, they can blame Shawn. Well I liked it, I liked it a lot. I did have some misgivings though. The aroma was a sort of smokey caramel, if there is such a thing. The taste was more of the same but with an addition of some booziness as well as the usual flavours you associate with a black IPA as they are called in the US. I suppose I just did not see the point. It was like there were a few flavours screaming for attention and drowning out any subtlety the beer might have possessed. I'm not sure where the smokiness came from because I don't believe it is smoked.
Back on to a more normal footing with Dark Knight porter. Another beer that I found better on tap than bottle but certainly worth buying if available as it's bloody lovely.
Going up a few notches is the Best Extra Porter. This one is 8% and again I found a smokiness on the nose that is not in the description and likely not in the grain bill. Also coming through was chicory and chilli. On tasting it I could have sworn it was a liquefied chocolate pudding. Brown sugar also came through which just enhanced the pudding quality. All in, it was a lovely beer and a desert in itself. Like a good desert, you only have one as any more might make you sick.
One of my favourites before I even tasted it because of the label. Who can resist a cat woman like character in tight black leather? Wild thing is another strong stout and this one is 10% so you expect a big beer with lots of flavour and it does not disappoint. On the nose it's all spicy, old oak and coffee mingled with chocolate. The oakiness comes through in the mouth as well, despite it not being oak aged to my knowledge. A boozy rum like feel, low carbonation with a lovely velvety mouthfeel. Chocolate and a little coffee dominate with the slightly floral and fruity hop bitterness.
And to finish off, they are a winery as well and while I was drinking all these beers (not on the one night of course) my wife was drinking a bottle of their wine. I rather like the label for some reason and the name, skinny dip is pretty classy eh? I only remember it being quite sweet and not something I would enjoy more than a small glass of, I prefer my wine (and beer) a little drier.
So there we have it! Plenty of beer from Murray's. One thing that sucks is that as well as buying the beer and wine at the brewery, I also got a T-Shirt ($30 I think) and I reckon that got left behind in the camper, possibly along with something else, I don't recall.