Shenanigans Flight Path, a coffee beer collaboration with Marrickville’s Double Roasters, is the gypsy brewer’s Autumn seasonal release for 2016.
This beer is a reincarnation of a 2014 beer of the same name, with a tweaked recipe.
Gorgeous Ruby Red
In the glass it shows off a beautiful deep, dark ruby red colour. Hold it up to the light to really see how gorgeous the colour is.
The head foams up bold and excitable, bubbling through the liquid almost like a nitro beer. It’s a testament to some excellent bottle conditioning. The head has the colour of the velvety milk on the top of your flat white. There aren’t many better ways to excite the senses for a coffee beer.
Capturing Coffee’s Complexity
Shenanigans teamed up with Marrickville’s Double Roasters and used their signature blend. The red ale base and coffee character nicely complement each other
The initial aroma is a blend of familiar malt character and subtle coffee notes.
However, describing coffee beers as smelling or tasting like coffee is a bit reductive. Coffee is a complex product and, in beer, it has the potential to be a versatile ingredient. In this beer the complexity of the coffee comes through more in the flavours than the aroma.
There’s toasty flavours as you’d expect but there’s also some of the berry fruitiness you find in many specialty coffees.
Hops, Malt And Coffee Working Together
The hops used in Flight Path are two that are generally considered to showcase fruity, tropical aromas and flavours. In this beer the Mosaic and Galaxy hops seem not only to provide some solid bitterness, but also serve to promote the nuanced characteristics of the coffee. The fruitiness of both the hops and the coffee play together very nicely.
Red ales, when executed well, are often some of the most balanced beers, simply because straying too far from the traditional style turns it into something else entirely. But Flight Path is sold as a hop forward red ale and I think that’s a fair description.
While the bitterness isn’t assertive, it’s certainly there in a noticeable way and after sitting on it a while, the freshness and green, organic flavours of the hops start coming forward.
That said, it’s always the malt that does it for me in a red ale. And the blend of malt and oats in this beer provides not just an agreeable level of alcohol but gorgeous colour and a fantastic range of flavours.
Many Ways To Enjoy
It would be tempting to pair this with a coffee based dessert such as tiramisu. Or alternatively, you probably don’t need to look much further for a great breakfast beer. It’s got coffee and oats in it after all.
As a seasonal release, Shenanigans Flight Path won’t be around forever but it is available in bottles and on tap around Sydney. I’d recommend getting hold of it and taking the time to enjoy it.
From: Marrickville, NSW
Beer style: Coffee red ale
Batch number: FPA003
Malt: Australian Pale Ale, Munich, Crystal, Oats
Hops: Mosaic and Galaxy
Pair with: Tiramisu
Have you tried this incarnation of Shenanigans Flight Path? How does it compare to the last? Leave a comment with your thoughts.