Little Creatures answered the summer sun with the excellent Dog Days as part of their seasonal release series, but winter has demanded something very different from the famous craft brewers. Blowing in with the furious winds is a domestic stout by the name of The Hotchkiss Six, a dark link back to one of the original single batch beers which was known as The Dreadnought, named for a battleship which sailed around in the early 20th century. On board the Dreadnought was a six calibre gun referred to as “The Hotchkiss”, hence the name.
It’s no secret that we, like pretty much everyone else in Australia, are big fans of the team at Little Creatures, and this love is no doubt continued by this limited edition stout, which is lighter than last year’s Return of the Dread winter seasonal, bringing in a lower ABV [4.5%] and focusing more on a richer, premium flavour, as was the case with Dog Days.
Dark is to beer what mulled is to wine, so it’s no surprise that Little Creatures have gone through and drawn inspiration from some of their favourite dark beers of the past, playing around with the malt bill and hops to arrive at a recipe that they are proud of.
It’s a domestic Stout, which basically means it has lower alcohol content as opposed to an “export Stout” (which is what Return of the Dread was), focusing on something a bit more sessionable (although I don’t see most people having than 2-3 of these in one sitting as they are still quite heavy) with sweet, roasted notes on the front palate flowing over a consistent, subtle bitterness that carries through to the back. The late brewhouse additions of NZ Rakau and Southern Cross hops help give the nose a punchy bit of spicy aniseed and some fruit. The dark chocolate qualities lift once the beer reaches the back, slightly rich with help from caramel malt, English chocolate malt, and roasted barley. Oats help round out the palate and soften the craft beer, making for a smooth finish.
The Seasonal Release is now a permanent focus for Creatures throughout the year, allowing the brewers to experiment with new styles and offer their customers refreshing new perspectives on the iconic craft beer brand. The Hotchkiss Six is an excellent entry into that series, building on the popularity of the previous two releases to highlight the diversity found in the Australian craft beer scene.
The Hotchkiss Six is available from until August 2016 or until stocks last. Check out their store locator to find out where you can get your hands on some.