Thus Let Us Drink Beer – 3 Ravens Special editions
The story and evolution of 3 Ravens sound familiar: Having emerged from a microbrewery, the emissions were received well by the local community, demand outstripped the supply of their mainly European expressions and things started to be built up to a commercial scale.
Given the relatively early start date – at least compared to other Australian craft breweries – 3 Ravens is already firmly established in the brewing scene yet their evolution did not go at the expense of creativity and experimentation. I have yet to try their barrel-aged smoked beers, but their special range was what caught my attention straight away.
Following the brewery’s revamping and modifications pertaining to ownership, 3 Ravens returned stronger than ever with their core portfolio still intact but a range of new brews, some of which quickly morphed from being part of experimental limited series to becoming staples and lapped up and lauded by beer aficionados.
Recent releases include mixed fermentation, beer-wine hybrid and fruited beers and while some of their approaches sound like the outcome could be in novelty territory, the opposite is the case with their idiosyncratic approach to brewing.
Case in point: 3 Ravens 55, named after its ABV and originally released on their fifth birthday, is a pale ale that packs a punch and traverses between the coordinates of stone fruitiness, piny hoppyness and the dominant toasty grain influence in the most wonderful manner, with spicy highlights and a grounding bitterness.
Being an IPA man, the Passion Juicy New English Pale Ale series is one of my favourite out of 3 Ravens’ portfolio: While the foundation of the series remains constant, i.e. a melange of Amarillo, Galaxy, Strata and resinous Zappa hops with passionfruit juice added for good measure and the trademark pulp texture, nuances are changed with each release with the current one scoring high in the tangy, cereal region.
Now, entering wine territory when it comes to brewing might sound like taking things too far, however, as with all things 3 Ravens, not in this case:
The Heathcote Yellow Muscat comes in an interesting looking clear glass bottle and has a grocery long list of ingredients. Essentially, the unicorn is a hybrid of four different aged beers, which has been mixed with Yellow Muscat wine grape skins to add fermented sugar, before it was filtered and filled into bottled to referment.
Sounds like a handful and a bit overwhelming? Sure is.
Now, the flavour profile is….hard to fathom and one is tempted to utilise a flow chart to accommodate all the different territories that are covered. We are talking chocolate, fruits, spices, cider notes, bitterness, tangy under- and overtones, et cetera, et cetera. While this might sound like a mish mash, the beautiful thing is that each flavour nuance is distinct, yet it also makes sense in the interplay with all the other seemingly unrelated ones.
A tour de force in terms of flavours and one that cements 3 Ravens’ status as master brewers.