Little Creatures Single Batch: The Quiet American

The next Little Creatures single batch that I was lucky enough to try was the Quiet American. After the popularity of the Big Dipper, this beer was a highly anticipated release. So much so that I thought I was going to miss it altogether…it ended up being SUCH a mission to find a bottle! I was in Canberra when it was released, and using the helpful map provided on the Little Creatures website, set forth to find a bottle or six. The few bottle shops that had it laughed when I asked if there was any left, with ‘sold out on the first day’ being the most common response. I returned to Brisbane a week later and went on a SOMETHING secondary mission, producing the same negative results. I was lucky enough to try it on tap at Archive, but it was a hollow victory; I still didn’t have any bottles to hoard away and call my own. I was resigned to the fact that I’d missed out when during a birthday trip to Byron Bay I stumbled into a random bottle shop and uncovered an entire case hidden in plain view. Birthday wishes do come true…

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What’s in the name?

This beer is an amalgamation of two different beer styles that represent old world and new world brewing ; a Belgian strong ale and a hoppy American IPA. Belgian ales aren’t traditionally highly hopped, so the style of ‘hoppy Belgian ale’ can be seen as something of an oxymoron. Belgian ales were traditionally brewed by monks – monks are quiet. American hoppy ales are traditionally brewed by Americans – Americans aren’t quiet (that’s the stereotype that they’re labelled with in Australia anyway…my sincere apologies to any American readers that disagree!). Hence the name, “Quiet American”, follows in the oxymoronic fashion of this hybrid style.

The final nod to this style mash-up is in the label picture – the same shed that all LC Single Batches come from, with a monks cloak hanging on the door (he’s obviously hard at work inside) and another monk rolling a barrel outside, preparing to load it onto an old American style pickup truck.

What’s in the bottle?

Smells like candied tropical fruit with a hint of vanilla and alcohol. The 7.2% alcohol dominates the palate, wrapping the tongue in a stinging bitterness that’s less than pleasant. The second string flavours include some slightly sour citrus and sugar coated hops, which work very nicely together…but then they disappear, leaving an aftertaste that’s more reminiscent of straight vodka than fine ale. That smell does draw me in for more though…

Final thoughts

It’s a good beer…which considering my monstrously high expectations of the Little Creatures single batches, is a bit of a letdown. It wasn’t as hoppy as I would have liked, and the alcohol packs a bit too much punch. But don’t let this sway you; it’s still well worth a try if you find a bottle somewhere.

Note: I have to mention that I was lucky enough to try a soured version of this beer at Armakeggon 2012, and it was pretty damn good…picture the second string flavours mentioned above dominating and you’ll get an idea.

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