The next beer up for review is Hop Hog by The Feral Brewing Company. The Feral Brewing Company is the brain Child of West Australian publican’s Alistair Carragher and Brendan Varis. The guys first started Feral as a restaurant in the Swan Valley in 2002 that was capable of brewing its own unique beer. This proved itself to be such an overwhelming success that they were able to start distributing their beers around the world.
The guys at Feral are big on pushing the boundaries of their craft. They currently distribute 4 unique flavours that are taking the sword to the contracted tap beer mafia on both the taste and aesthetic fronts.
On the taste front, they are experimentative and exotic when others are mild. On the aesthetic front, their branding is raw and punk-rocky where others continue to replicate the minimalist or ‘ye-olde beer’ branding that has become so common.
The beer’s flavour follows a very distinct curve – kind of like that half pipe you were meant to build in your mate’s back yard. The first sip results in a sharp descent into the sweet flavours and aromas of pine-needle & citrus. Once you reach the bottom of this, the flavour briefly levels out before you aggressively climb into barn-housey bitterness. You can thank the heavy double-dosage of American Hops for this unique tasting journey (applied during the boiling stage and then again late into fermentation for good measure).
All of this results in what is ultimately an uncategorisable beer. Some crafties would consider it an American Pale Ale, others define it as an American Strong Ale while for a time it had India Pale Ale on its packaging. In true Feral fashion, the boys in the brewery don’t really care… “it’s a beer…drink it for what it is” is the simple definition they give it.
Yes the beer is relatively heavy in both flavour, texture and alcohol (1.5 standard drinks). However, it remains very digestible for the average beer-drinking-fella out there. You’ll know about it when you’re drinking it but it mellows out far quicker than expected. It’d be rude not to give it a go.