A Stitch in time saves nine. These suds for sewing are the perfect lubricant to get your inner Singer going!
Origin – Armadale, NSW
Size- 375mL can
The moment I laid eyes on this one I hoped it was a throwback to the socially awkward 16-year-old from Idaho. The boy who became the unlikely school hero after spontaneously performing an elaborate dance routine as part of a campaign to elect his best friend as class president. Sadly, it has nothing to do with the 2004 cult-classic Napoleon Dynamite. Instead, it was named after Napoleon, the first emperor of France, which folklore has it, compensated for his lack of height by seeking power and conquest.
It's a story that Dan Emery and Tom Croft who grew up in the rural city of Armidale, knew well. So when in 2014 they set up the kind of bar in which they wanted to drink in, with no illusion that craft beer wasn't traditionally the tipple of the man on the land, they made the decision to overcompensate. It worked, with even those who'd been rusted on to the big players finding something to love in the story of local mates bringing brewing to the bush. Within weeks of opening the doors of the Welder's Dog, the locals were embracing the craft beer line up and friendly, pokie-free vibe – a far cry from that found in many of the region's pubs. From there, much like the great conqueror Napoleon, the revolution began.
Yet despite the 2016 opening of a brewery to support the flow of craft being consumed, and the introduction of a second Welder's bar in Tamworth in 2017, Dan, Tom and head brewer Phil Stevens (also an Armidale local) continued to lay it on with a trowel. A big part of that has been purchasing local ingredients. Among their collaborators is a grain farmer from Wee Waa on the north-western slopes of the New England. Tom likewise sources the fresh ginger used in their famous ginger beer, which landed at 35 in the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers of 2018, from fifth-generation farmers on the Sunshine Coast. Something else that is laid on thick is the juicy fruit flavours in this hazy IPA. With the pour emitting tropical punch aplenty and a taste that's just as potent, the Napoleon Complex is akin to an alcoholic tropical fruit juice with a little hop bitterness. The magic I'm told comes from dry hopping with the fruity Hallertau Blanc hop. It imparts a massive citrus and stone fruit aroma, yet contributes less dry-hop flavour, allowing for that huge juicy aroma without ruining the balance on the palate.
I'd usually vote for Pedro, but after a can of this one, I've swung!