Boy, do we enjoy Moon Dog’s playful wordplay. Nearly as much as we love their outlandish beers that meld styles and feature wondrously peculiar ingredients.
So, it was a real treat to catch up with Moon Dog Craft Brewery’s Lead Innovation Brewer, Adrian McNulty – also affectionately known in the beer world as “Macca”.
In this interview, Macca shares his definition of ‘craft beer’, and how he turned Australia’s favourite choccie biscuit into a bloody delicious beer.
We can’t wait to slam a Timothy Tamothy Slamothy!
What was the beer that made you want to brew?
The Original Coopers Best Extra Stout (6.8%) was revelatory – the intensity of the flavours and the overall balance of the beer were amazing, unlike pretty much anything I’d had up until that point.
As a student I was fortunate to be able to steward the Australian International Beer Awards in 1999 which exposed me to a whole new world of what beer could be and at that point I was sold. It’s pretty funny now looking back 20 years later that the beers I was able to try then are now just a fraction of what’s available to us in Australia currently.
In your opinion, what makes a craft beer? Everybody seems to have a different definition.
A craft beer for me is one made with the intent that the flavour of the final product is the primary goal, with saleability and popularity coming as a distant second and third.
Moon Dog is renowned for their beers that meld styles and feature unusual ingredients. How are these ‘out of the box’ beers dreamt up?
Broadly speaking, they come from someone within the team encountering a new process or ingredient and then thinking about ways we can incorporate that and what it might best enhance or balance with. Food, from haute cuisine to nostalgic childhood treats are all fair game if we can find a way to incorporate the flavour in a pleasing way into beer.
Puns and wordplays are the life blood of craft brewing. Idly thinking about the movie Bad Boy Bubby while brewing one morning led to the internal question of what would a beer named Bad Boy Bubbly taste like? I think (I hope) that the result was better than maybe people who’ve seen the film might have thought!
Also, I hit my head quite hard as a child.
Timothy Tamothy Slamothy is your latest release. How hard was it to turn Australia’s favourite choccie biscuit into a beer?
The main challenge was to utilise the standard brewing ingredients to get 90% of the way there. Malt selection was key in trying to drive the biscuit and chocolate characteristics as far as possible, using cacao powder and lactose sugar to get the rest of the way there.
As a personal preference, I like to avoid the use of commercially available flavour extracts as much as possible (the exceptions being where that is the point of the beer e.g. Ogden Nash’s Pash Rash) so the challenge was to work within these self-imposed constraints to achieve our goals. I think we did a bloody good job.
What’s your go-to beer(s) this autumn?
Ambers, Red IPAs and Stouts are all fair game – In my fridge/cellar at the moment I have our Thunderlips Red IPA with yuzu, along side Beer Can and Timothy Tamothy Slam. When I am looking to treat myself I have a bottle of the Wildflower Amber Australian Wild Ale and some of the big bottle releases from Mountain Goat from years gone by that are all burning a hole in my metaphorical pocket.