The new release is in the style of Matilda Bay’s earlier limited release vintages, MB21 and Grayston Reserve, being a dunkelweizen. I didn’t taste the MB21, but well enjoyed the Grayston Reserve and have a bottle saved from that release to sample side-by-side with the 2008.
The media material from Matilda Bay says Sebastian “is brewed with five different malts and two noble hops – Hersbrucker and Tettnang – and fermented using classic Redback yeast. It has distinctive chocolate and banana aromas followed by subtle hints of clove and spice. The palate is characterised by a smooth, round malty body with warming alcohol balanced by low bitterness from the German hops.” (For those interested in the name of the beer, it was named after a three-year-old Indian Runner duck – you can read the full media release here)
The brewery suggests the beer will age well over a number of years, though I note a number of reviewers on Beeradvocate doubt its cellaring potential. I’ll make up my mind when I try them side by side this weekend.
The rise of the seasonal and reserve beer is an exciting development for beer in Australia. In the US, seasonal release beers are the highest selling category of craft beer, even surpassing the mighty American Pale Ale. Their Brewers Association has even launched a website dedicated to seasonal beers.
As our own craft beer industry goes from strength to strength, seasonal and special releases are increasingly being offered, from the nationally available examples such as Sebastian Reserve and James Squires’ Pepperberry Winter Ale, but also the smaller regional brewers such as the excellent Migration Dark Ale from Northern Rivers Brewery at Alstonville.
With our climate south east Queensland may not enjoy four seasons a year, but we are certainly enjoying some great seasonals…
Matilda Bay Sebastian Reserve
Releasing 1 October 2008
750ml 6% abv
Available nationally for a limited time. RRP 18.99
Available on draught at select venues in Qld (and Vic, NSW, WA and SA). Breakky Creek is one that I know will have it