A stitch in time saves nine. These suds for sewing are the perfect lubricant to get your inner Singer going!

Origin – Currumbin, QLD
ABV- 8.6%
Size- 500mL can
Style- Imperial Pale Ale

Sailor. Tough guy. Legend! One of the most recognisable pop-culture icons in the world. An underdog with bulging forearms, a mean uppercut and a love of canned spinach. Popeye was the unassuming, unsophisticated comic-strip hero who was undeterred by a challenge. Nowadays it seems that every brewer in world is channelling their inner Popeye as they load the already bulging mash mixers with even more cones, challenging themselves to produce Imperial IPA’s (or is it eye eye PA’s!) that are wall to wall with hops.

With the gauntlet thrown down by many of their counterparts, it was only a matter of time before the four most prominent names in the world of surfing set their minds to do the same. Along with head brewer Scott Hargrave, it took the lads over six months of refining recipes to perfect the balance between bitter and sweet - one that can be so difficult to achieve in higher alcohol beers. The result, unlike Popeye (or Mick Fanning for that matter), is an IIPA that doesn't punch you in the face. In fact, most agree that it's sophisticated and even a little assuming. The later perhaps justified by Beer Cartel awarding Balter’s biggest beer yet number 1 in Australia's Ultimate Top 50 Beers of 2019.

Now typically when a brewery releases a beer this big, you might expect them to package it in something smaller than the rest. Not Balter. Comfortably the biggest of not just the specials but the entire range, weighing in at 8.6 per cent ABV, this bad boy gets the 500mL treatment, making it a beer to approach with care - the four yellow stripes serving as a zebra crossing of sorts is perhaps a nod to its substantial nature. And while Balter’s head brewer admits that some may find it a touch overbearing, I’m surprised by how drinkable it is. Following the fruity aroma that could easily be mistaken for my daughter’s Just Juice, comes a clean, hefty and hoppy palate, dominated by hints of pineapple, pine and citrus. Albeit, the higher alcohol content delivers a delightfully dry, spicy finish, it is the lingering pine and citrus that reminds you it’s the hops that play the starring role.

They say change is inevitable, with even today's version of the world's most popular sailor man having his tattoo lasered off and handing over his corncob pipe. Though after working so hard to get this one just right, it should be a case of ‘don't touch a thing'.