"Wisdom is nothing more than confirmed imagination" - Criss Jami
Here at Pirate Life we believe the keys to producing great beer are imagination and experimentation.
The past two weeks have been a testament to this with our 50L pilot brew kit getting a fair old workout.
Experimental hops, exotic ingredients, yeast trials, new recipes and an exciting project with one of our favourite local Hip Hop groups, the Hilltop Hoods (& friends), has had the brewery abuzz with activity.
Earlier in the year Golden Era Records, the record label run by the Hoods approached us to see if we were keen to brew a beer with them – as fans of the band this was an offer which was too good to refuse. After a couple of catch ups over a beer or two it was decided that the most appropriate style to brew would be a Golden Ale. Something super refreshing, moreish and perfect for drinking a few of on a warm summer night at a gig.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago and we were joined on brew day by MC Pressure, The Funkoars and K21 of Golden Era Records who put in some hard yakka before sitting down to a lunch of local Adelaide produce cooked by local food aficionado Dougal McFuzzelbutt. Fighting off a food coma the boys headed back into the brewery to oversee the runoff and start of boil before heading to the Gilbert Street Pub leaving the Pirate Life Crew to wrap things up. The beer is still conditioning and so far we are pretty excited by how it tastes in tank.
The most recent brew through the pilot kit is a collaborative brew with our favourite local French-Vietnamese restaurant, Madame Hanoi. The concept is simple: an easy drinking beer which captures the fresh aromatic flavours of Vietnamese cooking.
It's a bit of a quasi-style, a fruit driven rice beer, brewed with heaps of green mango in the mash and Kaffir Lime leaves in the whirlpool, the beer is finished with a balancing bitterness and hop profile imparted by El Dorado hops which are known for their super juicy tropical character and well rounded bitterness.
Another project we have on the go is our barrel aged beer program. A few months back we were fortunate to be joined by Ben Chipman of Tomfoolery Wines who towed eight 300L oak Hogsheads barrels down from The Barossa which had been used to age his wine, Tomfoolery' The Burla Negra Tempranillo, for the previous three vintages.
The Burla Negra was the pirate ship captained by the infamous Benito Soto in the late 1800's and it's liquid namesake is a wine which channels Soto's Spanish roots and uncompromising attitude. With that in mind the boys set to creating a beer which could accommodate the rich complex cherry of the wine and the soft herbaceous character of the barrels.
The decision was made to brew a dark larger - a Cerveza Negra Extra. A beer which not only harkened back to the pirate ship of old but one which could hold its own in the face of the flavours of the wine barrels it was destined for. Partially fermented with Tomfoolery's tempranillo yeast and finished off with our house ale yeast, the the beer is now aging on oak in the Pirate Life warehouse.