Beer geeks around the country should be losing their minds over the fact that the next Little Creatures single batch offering, Puffing Billy, is making its way around the country right now. I get very excited whenever I have a new single batch to hunt down (self analysed as potentially being one of my ‘beer wanker’ characteristics), and I’m even more excited this time; Puffing Billy represents the tenth single batch from the Little Creatures team. In preparation for this event, I’m going to look back over the past few offerings from this great Australian brewery in a countdown to the moment that I get to try their latest brew. I’m starting with the first single batch that I was ever lucky enough to try, the Big Dipper.
This is a trip down memory lane that should bring both joy and sadness to any Aussie beer geek who reads this post. This single batch came out at the end of October 2011, and I drank my final bottle on 14/07/2012, seven days AFTER its best before date. So the sad fact is that the Big Dipper is effectively extinct (though a few folk are still checking bottles in on Untappd?! Must be cellaring well…).This is sad news for everyone that was lucky enough to try it, even sadder news for anyone that missed out. Its popularity was shown through its ranking in the Local Taphouse Hottest 100 craft beers for 2012, where it managed to score 5th position. A fine effort for a limited release brew that was released only a few months before voting took place!
What’s in the name?
The Big Dipper refers to the star constellation of the same name, which is made up of seven different stars. Since there are seven different hop varieties in this BIG Double India Pale Ale (or, Big DIPA)…well, you can see why the name is so clever. The picture on the label shows a lonely shed on a clear starry night, with the Big Dipper constellation clearly outlined…and a dog that seems awfully curious about whatever is in the shed?
What’s in the bottle?
It smells thick with tropical fruit, and tastes the same. The malt has a hint of that typical Little Creatures Pale Ale flavour that everyone knows and loves, adding a familiarity right from the start. The bitterness is really restrained for such a big beer; it hums in the background while you enjoy the massive hop flavours. The result is a beer with phenomenal balance, producing all of the flavours you would expect from a big double IPA without tearing your head off.
I guess this is a bit of a tease, describing how good this ale is when there’s little to no chance of anyone getting their hands on one. We can only hope that the good folk at Little Creatures hear the cry of the beer loving people, and bring this great ale to life once again (did I hear someone say annual release?? Fantastic idea!!)