Bob Hawke etched in history the 'Golden Microphone', and he hit the nail on the head – a beer in hand is the perfect instrument for conversation. So, grab this microphone, grab a mate and get talking.
Origin – Narellan, New South Wales
ABV – 8%
Size – 375mL can
Style – Double New England IPA
As they passed through a strait near Trinidad, explorer Columbus estimated the giant waves that lifted up his boats during the night loomed at least 30 metres high. Having barely survived, no one believed him when he recounted the tale. For centuries, ships' disappearances at sea were blamed on pirates, with stories of gigantic waves dismissed as readily as a myth of sea monsters. Then 1995, en route to London, the cruise liner QE2 was struck by a wave 27 metres tall, more than twice the size of any previously recorded. 'It looked as if we were headed for Britain's White Cliffs of Dover!' recalled the first officer.
Like many, Lee Evans, the co-founder of Merino Brewing, believed it to be the stuff of salty sea dogs' legends when joining the Royal English Navy. Yet he would go on to see first-hand his fair share of these freakish ocean monsters. 'When you face down a wave that rises as tall as a twenty-storey apartment block, you realise you can take on just about anything,' shares Lee. And along with mate Mark Palmer, himself formerly of the Australian Army, the pair of ex-servicemen did just that, when mid covid, they opened the doors of Macarthur's largest all-grain brewery to the public.
Enlisting Tim Howard, formerly of Tribe, as head brewer, from Thursday through Sunday, the rustic corrugated tin bar housed within the walls of a typical industrial unit now flows with core beers and seasonal rotations. The most recent is this liquid tribute to Lee's seafaring days. Much like the behemoths it takes its name from, this one is a giant. Fruit forward with a thick body and silky mouthfeel, it's a juicy double hazy IPA where the malt backbone has been stripped back, leaving you with a lean beer in which the hops are handed the starring role unencumbered. Distinct pineapple, a little pine and grapefruit, and a lingering, earthy bitterness as it warms.
As captured in Columbus's charts, to this day, the strait is called the Bocas del Dragón – the Mouths of the Dragon. I'll be needing more than one can of this liquid courage before I set sail to see it with my own two eyes!