Golden Bear ‘Fat Toad’

Golden Bear 'Fat Toad' IPA
Diary II entry #59, Golden Bear 'Fat Toad' IPA

Moderately ironic, granted, that the first post after the one trumpeting the new camera and beer-related photography in general has no photo at all, but let’s press on regardless.

Golden Bear (at the top of the bottom island) looks like a very visitable place — just to tie things to the previous post once more and to underscore my desire to make the trip, it has a slightly Creatures-esque vibe about it, what with the Big Shed and the bar-brewery flow going on — and their beers seem increasingly worthy; their ‘Bear Trappe’ was a real stand-out of last year, for me.

They evidently make a biggish pale ale called ‘Hop Toad’, and then bigged it up further (another percentage point) to turn it into ‘Fat Toad’. We blammed through a keg pretty quickly, which is usually a testament of Interestingness and Goodness. I tried it when it was first tapped, and it didn’t have a great smack of nose (as I said in the Diary, it was like someone beside you having a ‘Hopwired’), but the taste was lovely and the body was brilliantly smooth. Weirdly, the nose did improve later, so I’m not sure if some strange chemistry and physics was at play in the keg or the line, or if was just the occasional strange biology of my own nose and brain.

And it’s just occurred to me that this ‘Fat Toad’ and Matilda Bay’s ‘Fat Yak’ are only separated in the Diary by four beers. What a strange coincidence and nice reminder that beers to get themselves some weird names, sometimes.

Verbatim: Golden Bear ‘Fat Toad’ IPA 31/1/11 on tap @ MH 7% We didn’t manage to get the lovely Bear Trappe, but here’s a belated consolation, because it’s really rather good. An embiggened ‘Hop Toad’, it seems. Nice orangey gold with soft white bubbles, it doesn’t have a whole swag of nose — more like the guy beside you is having a Hopwired. But damn, the smoothness in the body is insane. Actually a bit reminiscent of Bear Trappe, so he’s got some clever trick. Flavour is nice, but not “huge”, though it does build nicely. Jim himself was here the other day, but I didn’t recognise him quickly enough to buy him a beer. Damn.

3 thoughts on “Golden Bear ‘Fat Toad’”

  1. Ah, yes…. have you inadvertantly stumbled upon the “fresh is not best” notion that I’ve been bandying about for a year or three?

    There seems to be a blind obsession with the idea that “fresh is best”, a term I reckon is spouted only to support the quick sale and consumption of beer (rather than a real desire to describe when beer is actually at its best). Perhaps in relation to times when we all drunk 4% beers, distribution was a bit slower, and the product less refrigerated, this idea did have some merit. But now that our beers are much stronger (5%, 6%, 7% and more), ship overnight (or chilled), and go from coolroom to coolroom… I don’t believe this philosophy one bit.

    Note: My only “analysis” (albeit a little sketchy, scientifically speaking) of this theory has been the observation that every beer we have put out was tasting better when it disappeared from the public landscape than when it arrived. But I am sure of my hypothesis and keeping an eye on things…

  2. Oh, I was a “fresh is not best” person long ago.

    I’d have rambled about it here with this beer but I wasn’t sure it was what was in play; I think the keg had been mooching in the fridge for about a week, and the difference I noticed was from one day to the next. So I thought it was more like a my nose / my brain thing rather than a maturing-beer thing — unless these things do have their “tipping points” (note to self: wash brain with soap after using a Malcolm Gladwell phrase…), and we just happened to tap it coincidentally with one.

    But my memory, as always, is a bit rubbish. I may have been thinking about another beer idling in the fridge for a week. Then again, if I up the detail of my notes to the point where I really can tell you when a beer arrived and how long it was stored where before it was tapped — then I think I’ll be taking things too far.

  3. Go on, you know you want to.

    I have actually requested that Hashigo Zake change their beer list to include real time data of what is still in the keg and what is up next on that tap. I think they could utilise that with some sort of futures/stock market.

    For example:

    (1) I’m across town and I see that there is 3L of the amazing ABC Porter left on tap. I know I can only get there at 6pm, so I \option\ the last pint via their app (or their internet site). But someone else wants it and they outbid me… but I really want it, so I raise them to $12 for that last glass. We could all wear colourful jackets (well, I’m sure I could) and shout a lot.

    (2) Yourself and a bunch of mates turn up, you notice that there is only 2L of XYZ Pilsner left… but an exciting beer is on next. You all have a pint of the Pilsner that you really weren’t that enamoured with, so that you can open up the gates to the palace of delights that awaits.

    On reflection, I guess the second example looks useful for the bar… while the first example may just necessitate investment in stab-proof vests for staff and increased security. But it would be fun!

Have at it: