Call around. Dial Up. Facetime. Zoom. Whatever it is, however it’s done, share a one of these beers and get talking.
Origin – McLaren Vale, South Australia
ABV – 5.6%
Size – 375mL can
Style – New England XPA
Few surfers have unequivocally transcended surfing. Eddie Aikau is one of them. The Big-Wave Invitational at Waimea Bay is held in honour of this legendary Hawaiian waterman who perished at sea while attempting to save others. Won by the likes of Bruce Irons and Kelly Slater, the competition only begins when the break reaches 20-foot waves. One year, when the swell appeared too dangerous to surf, Mark Foo turned to a cameraman and said the now-revered slogan: "Eddie would go." And they did. It's a slogan that has undoubtedly stuck in the mind of Swell Brewing founder Dan Wright from the inception of the idea to open his brewery right up until the present day.
It was an idea that came to him while on a two-year surf odyssey through the Americas. Searching for the perfect wave by day and sampling beers from some of the West Coast's best craft brewers by night, Wright became so impressed throughout his extended holiday by what he was tasting that notions of brewing his own label were soon swirling. So, with a notebook in hand and time to plan on the extended bus rides between surf breaks, he soon had the right combination of enthusiasm and blueprint to turn his dream into reality. A task he wasted no time in doing when returning home. After starting off fine-tuning beer recipes in the back shed of the family's vineyard, Wright sensed it was time to go after three years of testing results on mates. In 2010 Swell was born.
Since then, like much of industry, Swell gathered an unstoppable momentum. So much so that in 2019 Wright realised it was time to go again, this time building for Swell a home of its own, complete with 16 taps and views across the same vineyard where it all began. From those taps pours a constant flow of core range beers along with a rotation of limited releases such as this Playa Nexpa. Named after the famous surf break in Mexico, it's a small-batch brew that layers a nose of citrus, melon, and guava on top of a mouth full of juicy mango and stone-fruit flavours. With a body that suits the style, the character gives way to a barely-there bitterness and a moreish dry finish.
A fantastic take on a sessionable NEIPA, I could easily go for a second, and I'd be as bold as to say Eddie would go too!