Script Submitted to the Twilight Zone Radio Dramas, written by Rod Serling, adapted from an original blog post titled…
Wild Ale Blended NEIPA
Ext. An outdoor table on a balcony, day
You open this can with a ring-pull of imagination. Inside it is another dimension – a dimension of malt, a dimension of hops, a dimension of yeast. You are moving into land of both sobriety and drunkenness, of both flavour and aroma. You’ve just cracked a can of Primal Stream, an exclusive limited release you’ve just picked up from a little boutique bottle-o in… the Twilight Zone.
Theme music plays. A MAN sits at a TABLE with a tall cold, glass of BEER. He takes notes in a little black NOTEBOOK, oblivious to the entrance of the NARRATOR in a black suit.
Portrait of a man, attempting to come to grips with the latest offering from a wildly successful New Zealand craft beer brewery, titled ‘Garage Project’. Imagine, if you will, a white can – tall, richly embellished with a brightly-coloured scene of sea turtles, cruising serenely within a cosmic stream of both time and place. The time – sometime in the last few weeks. The place – not so far from you, in the North of inner-urban Melbourne. Though, it could take place at any time, in any suburb, of Anytown, USA. The glass is unremarkable – a 425ml Teku glass, brought back from Japan some five, or six, or seven years ago. Submitted for your approval: another twist on the East Coast, hazy NEIPA craze.
But this is no ordinary beer. Your standard, workaday, blue-collar beer contains water, hops, yeast and some malted barley, maybe a little wheat, if the brewer’s mood allows for it. You’re familiar with the flavours that this presents – a bitterness, a crispness, a sweetness. That certain kind of bubble you can only get from that best friend of the working man, a glass of good ol’ beer, from right here in the good ol’ U.S of A.
Ah, but therein lies the rub – this is no ordinary beer, and it doesn’t come to us from America, but rather New Zealand. It is the closest thing to a glass of freshly squeezed and blended tropical juice you can find fizzy in a can. Contained within, you will discover lashings of mango, passionfruit, pineapple, citrus in the form of lime zest and sour orange, honey, ginger and pomegranate. And yet, it hasn’t been allowed even the slightest whiff of such exotic fare.
The lie is given in the complexity of the sourness present in the brew. The key to a puzzle, that unlocks with the knowledge that the tart, zingy, tangy notes come neither from the shortcut of additives, nor the rapid forced souring that presents an incomplete, unidimensional note; one that never fails to finish disappointingly grainy. Rather, the flavours could only come from lengthy time in the embrace of an oaken foudre – hence the funk and savoury notes so often found in Belgian classics. The sourness and its complexity, the sweetness, the varied and balanced hop fruitiness blend to create something you might not notice was out of place if it had been served to you after your morning workout in a thick paper cup from a well-known green kiosk in a mall.
If someone tells you that this doesn’t sound like a real beer, you tell them to go right ahead and take a flying leap at the moon. The sweetness is welcome, and mindful not to overstay said welcome. The overall effect is of freshness, vinegar, beer and tropical fruit, which all blends into a single, harmonious choir of flavour, worthy to be sung by the very angels themselves. In a word, it is delightful. It is a tall glass of tropical refreshment that clocks in at 6.7%, freshly squeezed from a very special fruit that may only be found growing for one week out of the year, in a single remote region… of the Twilight Zone.
Theme music plays out.