On Sunday 26th August the world almost ended, thanks to an event of ‘hop’ocalyptic proportions – Archive’s ARMAKEGGON. 40 craft beers, 6 hours and a few hundred craft beer fanatics – it really was an epic event, and the following is my recollection of it (I did take notes on the day, but my notepad was lost in the chaos of amber liquid…)
It started at 10am, and I was there minutes after it began. I was given a tasting glass (pony sized) and a ‘map’ that showed the place and time that each of the beers would be flowing…when I walked inside there were already tables full of craft beer enthusiasts furiously plotting their plans of attack, iPhones ready to check their new beers into Untappd. The 40 beers would be rotated through the taps at two hour intervals, which had its pros and cons. The positive was that you had the chance to try a seriously big selection of beers in a short period of time. The con was it was a VERY short period of time; in the first 2 hour block I only tried 4 beers, and the same number were sampled in the second 2 hour block. The third block I went a bit overboard, nearly doubling my total from 8 to 15. These final beers crept up on me, and my day was over shortly afterwards. More time to try these beers would allow for a more ‘responsible’ sampling regime…I’d go as far as to say that next year we may need a full weekend event if there are going to be similar numbers on offer (I don’t think anyone would complain, who doesn’t love a weekend full of beery goodness?)
The venue was busy, but not ridiculously so, with both main bar and the Next Door Cellar taps pouring. Even when lines at the bar got a bit long, the wait hardly increased; everyone knew what they wanted and there were no rude or obnoxious customers to be seen. It’s just further proof that beer folk are good folk; every time I visited the bar I got into at least one conversation with a random about what they’re favourite brew of the day was.
Of course the most important aspect of this event was the beer. There was a total of 4 beers from the epic list that were on the tap rotation – I managed to try 3 of them, and 15 brews in total (Pony glasses are bigger than they seem). In order of sampling
#1 Rogue Brutal IPA, USA: What better way to start a day than with a Rogue Brutal IPA (I was pretty happy with that rhyme)
#2 Harringtons Hop Tremor, NZ: Tasted more like a hoppy wheat beer than a seven hop IPA. We were convinced that they’d mixed the taps up, but couldn’t figure out what they’d mixed it up with?! Weird…
#3 Hitachino Nest XH, Japan: A beer off the list, and my favourite beer of the day. Described as a Sake barrel aged Belgian Strong Brown Ale, I’d imagined that this beer would have a certain regal quality and mature palette…but it was downright fun! A smooth malt body and balanced bitterness finished, but it was the initial flavours that surprised: I thought it was lemon sherbet, and my mates called it “the inside of a gobstopper” and “Juicy Fruit bubble gum”…you get the picture.
#4 Yeastie Boys Her Majesty 2012, NZ: I’m sure I made some great notes about this beer…no idea what they were though
#5 Mountain Goat Black IPA, Aus: This beer caused the table to question why all Mountain Goat Beers taste the same? With the common flavour being fantasticness…
#6 Renaissance Oak Barrel aged Stonecutter, NZ: The Stonecutter Scotch Ale is on the list, so since this is an Oak barrel aged version I guess this beer technically isn’t. I had a one word description for this beer on Untappd….Aaaaamazing. Picture a scotch ale, then turn the flavours up past 11 and you get the idea. Close second for favourite beer of the day.
#7 Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta, NZ: The tea leaf IPA that’s been doing the rounds…and the tea really did bring a nice orange zest to the flavour. Impressive stuff
#8 Mikes Heavy Petal, NZ: Got a little lost amongst the other massive IPA’s floating about, but still a good drop
#9 HopDog Children of Darkness, Aus: I remember thinking that it was more ‘darkness’ than IPA, which was a good thing.
#10 Bacchus War & Peat, Aus: I made notes, but can’t remember them now…
#11 Murray’s Shawn’s Fault, Aus: Another Black IPA, and another beer I don’t remember
#12 Murray’s The Abyss, Aus: I have a feeling that this is the beer that ended me…
#13 Little Creatures Sour Quiet American, Aus: A soured version of their Single Batch from earlier this year…I remember the sour flavour working well, a very impressive addition.
#14 Harringtons Big John Special Reserve, NZ: another one off the epic list. I wasn’t going to try it since I have a bottle sitting in my beer fridge, but a mate shouted me one…how could I refuse?
#15 Bacchus Imperial Amber, Aus: Last beer of the day, and frankly I can’t remember a thing about it.
Oh, I got interviewed for a student documentary on the day as well. That’s two visits to Archive that have led to me being on camera…I think the universe is trying to tell me something.
Overall, it was a great day full of great beer and great people. It’s raised my confidence that I can survive any other Apocalypses that may be coming this year…bring on 2013