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Friday
May152015

LITTLE CREATURES RETURN OF THE DREAD EXTRA STOUT


Little Creatures Return of the Dread Domestic Extra Stout. I get quite irrational when it comes to stout (amongst many, many things - ed).

For a start, I grew up in Adelaide, Australia, so the first stout I tried was of course Coopers, and that – I’m not ashamed to admit – was in a 50/50 mix with Woodies lemonade and was known as a Portagaff.

This was an Adelaide institution – hell, there’s even an old ad with a song about it! “Coopers Stout and lemonade… mix ‘em up, you’ll be amazed. That’s a Portagaff you’ve made, with Coopers Stout and lemonade" (etc).

So naturally enough it’s the first stout I think of when it’s mentioned.

And people love to bag it.

“Yeah, it’s OK… I guess…” is about as close to a compliment a lot of beer drinkers have for it.

And they’re wrong. It’d bloody great, end of story.

But I’ve got to admit, very grudgingly, there are better stouts out there, particularly of late and particularly in Australia.

Some of the old heritage stouts are fantastic surprises if you can track them down (Sheaf and Abbotsford Inavlid for example) and some of the new releases from smaller brewers are complex little beauties (Nail's Oatmeal Stout for example, is a cracker).

And the latest to join that list would have to be Little Creatures new winter offering, The Return Of The Dread.

A Domestic Extra Stout by name, this is quite simply one of the most drinkable stouts this country has ever produced.

Based on one of the old Little Creatures Small Batch brews (remember them? Weren't they good!!) this has been tweaked to become Little Creatures first seasonal offering, using six specialty malts plus the Little Creatures regular pale malt plus the often underutilised Fuggles hops to produce a bucket load of flavour.

It pours beautifully with a great, aged-ivory head and beautiful smell of molasses/ANZAC biscuit and sits in the glass as black and impenetrable as the taxman’s heart.

First sip? There’s that familiar burned toast background, but it’s still sweet with an almost chocolatey licorice undertone.

The bitterness is there in the usual stout measures, but it’s far from overpowering, There’s a great mouthfeel – solid without being overly so – and it’s so smooth it’s hard not to pour it down.

You could easily sit down to a few of these.

I had planned on trying it as a Portagaff, but I gave the second stubbie I had to a mate who reported back: “Bloody hell! I could drink this all winter long!” and to be honest it was just too good to mix with anything.

Maybe I’ll keep the Coopers for that.

How good is The Dread? This weekend I’m off to the brewery in Geelong, a five hour round trip, just to grab a case.

 

8/10

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