There be dragons! That said I’d cross uncharted waters to get my hands on this OCHO HAPPY PLACE
Origin –Invermay, Tasmania
Size- 330mL can
Style – Farmhouse Ale
If you've been in a closet for the past few years and haven't heard of or seen the hit Netflix series The Good Place, you've been missing out. The feel-good sitcom is set in a non-denominational afterlife you might call ‘Heaven’, the Good Place of the title, where Eleanor (Kristen Bell) finds herself in the show's opening episode and soon concludes she's been sent in error – a fair conclusion given she had been selling fake medicine to the elderly for a living! She wants to stay there along with the ‘beautiful people', so spends most of season one trying to keep her secret from Michael (Ted Danson), the angel-architect overseeing the Good Place neighbourhood. The thing is (spoiler alert) Eleanor discovers that Michael wasn't an angel-architect, but a demon-bureaucrat who'd been messing with them all along as part a reality TV-meets-Sartre experiment. Not only did she belong in the Bad Place, she had been there all along!
While Tasmania may have its past steeped in activity linked more closely to the Bad Place given the notorious convict history, what Stuart Grant, the founder and brewery behind Ocho has done here with this Happy Place farmhouse ale will leave you believing you've died and gone to heaven! Similar to the Good Place's twist in the tail, it's what Stu has done with the kveik farmhouse yeast strain (pronounced kwike, apparently) that bends the mind… and my palette. For a brewer from Launceston who only went pro in 2016, and only recently turned it into a full-time occupation (though I think you need to be paid to call it an occupation!) he already has a reputation within the craft industry for flipping things on their head.
For a strain that is typically pushed to ridiculously high temperatures, that in turn fires out pretty dense fruity characters, Stu has chosen to restrain the note from the unique yeast that he sourced from Norway and has delivered a quirky but balanced spicy note in what is a spritzy and refreshing mid-strength ale. Pouring as cloudy as all hell, there's a punchy fruit aroma that is dominated by pineapple and pear, along with a light body and a decent bitterness to finish.
I’ve only had a few while writing this review, but forking hell, this Happy Place leaves me to a good place!