Call me later. Some days ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no beer in my fridge, and nothing in particular to interest me at the local Liquorland, I thought I would wander about a little and see the part of the world that was within 5 kilometres of my home. It is a way I have of lubricating the liver and regulating the thirst. Whenever I find myself growing dry about the mouth; whenever it is a sunny, drizzly Melbourne September in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before shuttered pubs and bars, and fogging up the windows of every bottleshop I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into a chain store and knocking the tops off cheap lagers – then, I account, it is high time to get to a specialty bottleshop as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish, bogans call me a poofter; I quietly take to fancy beers. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards hops as me.
There now is your insular city of Brunswick, belted around by bottle-o’s and breweries as Indian isles by coral reefs – hipsters surround it with their cafes. Circumambulate the city on a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Nicholson Street to Alexandra Parade, and from thence, by Smith Street southward towards Collingwood. What do you see?– Fixation Brewery, and in it, posted like sentinels, stand bright tanks fixed in sudsy reveries.
Some loading up hops, others soaking in hops, others about to get some more hops from over the bulwarks of ships from the Americas. But of all these IPAs, the one that lands in my hand is the Danker Things. 7%, and dank right there in the name, I’m seemingly bound for a lacquering of resin. Nothing will content me but the extremest limit of the palate – but this is not what is revealed to me. As the beer comes tumbling from the can towards the glass, it is hued of palest straw, lightly fizzed and hazy as the Yarra. It smells like the tropics, and all the fruits available there. It is redolent of breakfast juice – mangoes, pineapples – the now almost ubiquitous scent and flavour of grapefruit, tempered, perhaps into orange, diving luxuriantly into apricot, nectarine, peach. Tropical fruits all, yet here they all unite in aroma and flavour. Tell me, does the magnetic virtue of hops of all those IPAs attract them thither?
There is a little resin, especially at the end of the experience, though I would hardly name it ‘dank’. Of course, it builds – sneaking up on you. You may not feel it until towards the end. But here, on the can, a smoke billowing, triclopean gremlin at home in jungle greens suggests a level of dank not attained by this gentle, yet compelling, brew. Please, do not misunderstand me – this is a very, very potable 7% IPA. Delightful, even. The sort that might get a man into ill affairs. But it is not the punch in the palate I had expected when, in my ignorance, I picked up a can of Danker Things. All that said though, it is a beer to enrich the soul of the thirstiest IPA enthusiast, once practiced sights are adjusted from the West Coast towards the shores of New England.