About 5 years ago I started brewing. Around the same time I started listening to the Jamil Show on the Brewing Network. This was two guys John and Jamil going through every beer style in-depth and giving a recipe. Back then I was all about getting the recipe, thinking that was the secret to brewing good beers (all the recipes were aware winning ones) but through listening to two blokes on the other side of the world, sometimes drinking coffee, sometimes half cut I learned that the recipe was far from the most important bit. Temp control, water chemistry, yeast health, and don’t worry about all the bullshit that doesnt really matter. These guys really helped my brewing, I think Jamil was the main brewing influence here.
I still listen to the Jamil Show, but now it focuses on recreating beers from commercial breweries, with a blind taste test to verify the recipe. I’ve also met Jamil a couple of times, and had him taste one of my beers. This resulted in him having a story about how using the right malts is important (I was using Australian malts to substitute US and UK malts, worlds apart) and I got my stout recipe sorted out (got a medal in a home-brew comp with it). He’s a good guy and he has helped my beers out immensely.
Anyway he has now done what all homebrewers at one stage or another hope to do, he’s opened his own brewery. Well not exactly, he’s brewing in some sort of venue share arrangement, but he’s making his own beer – Heretic. I’m happy that he’s living the dream, but I’m also a bit jealous. So when I heard they had some of his beers at Grain and Grape it was a no brainer that I wanted to try them. So far I’ve only heard good things about them, mainly from the guys on the Brewing Network. They are his mates but they wouldn’t blow wind up his arse, if they didn’t like them they wouldn’t talk them up.
I’ve just cracked open a bottle of Heretic Evil Twin, “A Bold West Coast Red Ale”. So what do I think? Its dark, darker than what I’d expect from a red ale, it almost looks like a brown ale. On the nose I get a bit of malt and a bit of a citrusy hop aroma, definitely an American beer. The taste, well its hoppy, but not crazy bitter, more of a tasty mouth coating hoppy but without that puckering bitterness that can come from some mega hoppy beers. I think I like this beer. No I know I do. It’s great to have a beer that’s traveled from the other side of the world arriving so fresh. Its a really vibrantly flavored beer, and I really like the hops in it, I’m guessing its a mix if the C hops (cascade, centennial, chinook….) not really sure but I like it.
I also like the lableing. Cool evil head. Looks like some kind of computer game devil head. And look at all the crap in the background? what am I doing, yes thats an Easter Egg with no ears and a Humpty Dumpty egg still unopened.
If you go to the Heretic website it says “This blood-red ale may not be what you might expect from a malty and hoppy craft beer. Evil Twin has a rich malt character, without being overly sweet. It has a huge hop character, without being overly bitter. It is a great example of a bold, rich, balanced craft beer, without being heavy and hard to drink in quantity. Our Evil Twin is only bad because it is too good to resist“. I tend to agree.
Grab yourself one of these if you get the chance, I’m not sure what I’d pair this beer with. Its pretty bold and dominating so I guess it’d need something that hits the same spot. I think the name red ale is a little off for this beer, it kind of understates it. Its more of a red IPA, a bit like the 8 Wired Tall Poppy. Bloody good beer though, well done Jamil. Thanks for the beer, and all the help with my beers, from my first all grain recipe to me figuring out how to manage yeast properly. Keep cranking out beers like this and I’ll keep figuring out how to find them in Australia.
There is a large part of me loving this beer just because its a home brewer gone pro. Thats what I want to do. Time for me to get serious about that dream again. I need to sell some beer.