It’s the aim that counts. Rather than aiming to simply quench the thirst, let’s use this weapon with the intentional aim not to end but rather to save a life.
Origin – Baskerville, Western Australia
ABV – 6.0 %
Size – 375mL can
Style – West Coast IPA
'2 minutes, 16 seconds of feeling death's hot breath on my neck'. That was how I summed up to my new brotherhood of runners what it was like scampering ahead of a dozen stampeding bulls as we were herded down the narrow, cobbled streets of Pamplona. Sitting in Bar Txoko, where foreign runners have gathered since time immemorial, we ate, drank and shared our stories of willingly braving the streets.
Txoko, pronounced Cho-Ko (like chocolate), is a Basque word from the northern part of Spain, which literally means nook or cosy corner. First established in 1870, Txoko's are places where new and old friends gather to eat, drink, sing and talk, just as I had done with my bull-running comrades. It was from such cosy venues that Papa Gabriel and son Gabriel Rodriguez took their inspiration when deciding to brew at the foot of the Darling Ranges in early 2020. Working a small takeaway pizza shop together, the father and son duo began homebrewing side by side as a distraction from the daily grind.
The hobby escalated with the pair initially planning to open a nano-brewery in their 70-square metre pizza kitchen. 'In hindsight, I'm glad that idea didn't work out', shares Gab. 'Converting the old Laughing Barrel winery and restaurant was more commercially viable and allowed us to fulfil our vision to create a comfortable and safe space for the community to gather.' However, running a sustainable and self-reliant brewpub and restaurant hasn't been without its challenges. 'The financial strain of a new venture combined with a tumultuous few years led me to experience constant bouts of crippling anxiety and panic attacks,' Gab tells me openly. With the support of loved ones, therapy and medication, he's fortunately back on his feet again, brewing the likes of a wild fermented Labsacc sour, a crisp Kolsch-Style ale and, more recently, this Inaugural West Coast IPA. With a bold west-coast hop schedule, it's a balancing act between the sweet malt, grapefruit citrus, dank pine and solid bitterness. None of the elements really stand out, instead working together to create a fresh and approachable ale.
No longer young and dumb enough to run with the bulls, from the safety of a cosy nook I'd happily share this Txoko as I recall my escape from the toro bravo!