I practically live next door to my local Liquor Store, an enormous warehouse of alcoholic delicacies.
For anybody who knows how much of a massive pisshead I am, my proximity to such an establishment is like dropping a Mosquito into a tampon bin. So yes, I’ve given the place “bit of a nudge” over the last few years.
I’ve gone through a Rum phase, a Vodka phase. A Cider, Stout and even a Tequila phase. We’re here today to discuss my short but illustrious Novelty Beer phase.
For a while there, I went through a chapter of my drinking career in which I had to get my hands on every wacky bottle I cast my eyes on. I was obsessed, if I saw a unique beer, I had to purchase it. When I came across Banana Bread Beer, I had to get one. It’s actually not bad at all. I was almost disowned by my family when I rocked up to Christmas lunch with Pumpkin Beer. It’s actually not good. At all.
During my crusade of crazy flavours, it was only a matter of time before I would stumble upon Matso’s, a microbrewery based in Broome that seems to produce more novelty beers than they do normal ones. For the sake of conversation, the Pearler’s Pale, Bishop’s Dark, Ginger and Lychee beers are all pretty good. But we are here to discuss the two varieties I was most interested in:
I brought a six-pack of each home, and then turned into some kind of boozy Goldilocks as I gave them a try.
I continued on my booze journey with different brands, and never really gave the Matso’s range another thought. Until a few months later that is…
Revelations often come in the most unlikely of places. In my case, wisdom was passed onto me not by an ancient sage on a Tibetan peak, but by a Duty Manager at a Hotel down the road from my house. I was pub-crawling my way into town with a mate, when our journey took us to the Adelaide Institution that was the Royal Hotel. It was the kind of Working Class pub that offered cheap Schnitzels and Greyhound racing to the fluorescent vested workers that snuck in for cheeky lunch-break pints. (Incidentally, the main clientele were the same men that were performing the road-works that would decimate the pub’s trade due to egress issues, forcing it to close indefinitely less than a month later. But I digress).
It was the last pub you would expect to spark up a conversation regarding craft beer, but that is exactly what we did with the Bar Manager when a conspicuous fridge overflowing with Boutique Beers caught our eye. As it turned out, the Manager had recently been relocated from an upmarket Cocktail Bar, and had brought her love of Craft beer with her – squeezing a variety of delicacies amongst the usual cheap fare, like a Maverick Zoo-Keeper dropping a Peacock into a Pigeon nest.
We chatted about all things Craft Beer, and eventually I described the lofty, yet ultimately disappointing ambitions of the Matso range. It was at this point that our Beer-Tap Muse decided to drop the mic:
My colleague and I were on a pretty strict schedule, and we had to pretty much leave before we could put the masterful recipe to the test. Rest assured, the very next day I once again stocked up on Matso six-packs, poured a mixture of both beers into a glass…and low and behold that sage like Barmaid was correct.
Each of the beers cancelled out the flaws of it’s partner. The Mango diluted the sting of the Chilli, dialing the heat back to a cheeky, yet accessible level. The Mango also brought much needed flavour to the Chilli’s taste-wasteland. Not shirking it’s own responsibilities in this holy union, The Chilli watered down the sugar of the Mango, creating the perfect level of sweetness. When Aristotle stated that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” – he was referring to the Matso Chilli-Mango Combo.
It was so head slapping simple, and yet at the same time not the most obvious of solutions. How often do you sit down for a drink and mix different beers together? The Closest I can think of is the Black and Tan (the age old practice of mixing beer and stout together) – but outside of 70 year old fisherman, I don’t know anybody that drinks these.
At this point I stopped to spare a thought for the Matso Brewery itself. I’ve often heard of Brewers screaming outrage if their beers are served at the wrong temperature, in the wrong glass, poured at the wrong angle or tipped and rotated when the sediment should be left well alone. What would a Brewery make of drinkers actually mixing their beers together, as if they were simple cocktail ingredients? A quick perusal of the Matso webpage revealed the surprising fact that not only were they aware of the practice, they strongly endorsed it! Hell, as far as I can tell they were the ones that came up with the idea in the first place. They even have catchy portmanteaus for the combinations (that I’m kinda jealous I didn’t think of myself):
I’ve since introduced the “Chango” secret to a number of friends and family, and the opinion is pretty much unanimous:
While I’d never roll into a barbecue with a sixpack of Mango or Chilli as singular entities, the Chango has actually become the ‘go to’ for a number of situations (it’s the beer of choice when getting on the lash with the Brother in Law for instance, it’s also the Soup of the Day for my Playstation sessions with ‘The Burge’).
Since starting this article (it’s had a lengthy gestation period) Matso’s have been producing the Angry Ranga combination in pre-made form.
Gosh almighty I hope they bring out the Chango in bottled form too. If they do, you kids will be the first to know.