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A Couple Of Young Masters Take On The Orh Gao Taproom

 

The folks behind Hong Kong's Young Master Ales - founder, Rohit, and partner, Kingson, were hosted by Singapore's Orh Gao Taproom on a balmy wednesday night, and as you might guess, those who stopped by were treated to a host of Young Master ales that were on tap - and so we had to be there to catch them.

 

 

Young Master Brewery was started in 2013, and in fact operates two breweries in Hong Kong - one in the Ap Lei Chau neighbourhood, and the second in Wong Chuk Hang, when demand for their ales outstripped their ability to produce it.

 

 

Today, they own the entire process from brewing to bottling and canning and have even ventured into barrel ageing, with a presence all around Asia. You might notice them from their almost Bruce Lee looking logo, sporting that classic Shaolin baggy pants.

 

Orh Gao Taproom has a massive painted curtain that reminds you why you're here.

 

For starters we picked up some of Orh Gao's char siu pork belly baos topped with pork cracklings (Kong Bak Bao) to go with the first Young Master ale of the night, titled Nightingale's Blues Wild Ale With Cherries, from their series Days Of Being Wild - obviously named after the cult classic Hong Kong cinematic romance drama by Wong Kar-Wai.

 

 

According to Young Masters, the series Days Of Being Wild was inspired by the Belgian tradition of lambic style brewing, and is meant to be the first mixed fermentation program of its kind in Asia. That means that the brewery uses a mixed-culture fermentation, leveraging on several wild yeast and bacteria strains to create these ales.

The series has several other expressions, including Fox's Trot, which is wild ale with Pink Peppercorn and Lemon, as well as Owl's Gaze, which is made with Yirgacheffe Gedeb and Guji Michicha Coffee, and also Peacock's Dance, which emphasises Passionfruit and Guava.

Young Master Days Of Being Wild: Nightingale's Blues - Review

 

With the Young Master Days Of Being Wild: Nightingale's Blues - supposedly tonight's main star, its a wild ale loaded with fresh cherries and is supposed to evoke the "full-throated and flirtatious melody of a nightingale".

Our Tasting Notes

Appearance: Dark Ruby / Dark Amber

Aroma: It has an immediately tart but rich and somewhat effervescent aroma, with a lactic sourness, and of course black cherry sweetness. It is reminiscent of Ribena, that blackcurrant cordial. This is complemented by a savoury, oily-salty sort of charcuterie note akin to salami. Overall, it has quite a pleasant depth of notes that stood out.

Taste: It opens up refreshing and sweet, also very fresh with a moderate sourness (not unlike any other sour), with a gamut of blackberry, cranberry, and even a touch of with sarsaparilla or licorice. It has an immediate similarity to wine gummies except more tart. And again there's a savoury, oiliness you find with charcuterie meats - a sort of salty, oily funkiness. 

It starts off sweet initially, but then turns more tart before unveiling a palette of complexity. Still reminiscent of Ribena blackcurrant cordial. It's good a good slightly above medium body thickness and a light spritzy carbonation.

Finish: A long finish of strawberry yogurt, with more malty barley notes, and something of sugar crystal lollies.

Our Thoughts

This was definitely a winner - rich, complex, so much to appeal to you at every turn, but at its core its a fruited sour that's really refreshing and well balanced - never too sour, but just the right amount of sweetness to bolster it, with a good dose of oily salinity funk, and just lots of wine gummies. It has a great thickness to its body and greatly measured carbonation to boot!

This was approachable but still packs complexity and super flavorful - it's the sort of beer that can be as simple as tart and fruity if you want it to be that, but also super complex if you want to poke the bear.

We were told by Rohit that initially this was made alot more sour but his team adjusted the sweetness to make it more approachable - good call!

 

 

Next up, we ordered a plate of the OG Sambal Curry Mussels - a traditionally French dish but made Singaporean.

To go with that, we ordered the intriguing Young Master Mio Whisky (Bourbon) Barrel Aged Belgian Quadrupel. That's a real mouthful.

Young Master Mio Whisky (Bourbon) Barrel Aged Belgian Quadrupel - Review

For starters, what's a Belgian Quadrupel (also known as a Belgian Quad)?

It's a subcategory of Belgian strong ales that originated from what's called a Trappist style of brewing that was created by monastery orders that arose after the Roman Empire came down. That whole area is pretty confusing and we won't get into it today, but for the sake of brevity, Quads are high ABV dark ales that are aged in barrels.

Our Tasting Notes

Appearance: Copper / Rust Red Amber

Aroma: Starts off bright, fresh and perfumery - there's white florals, honey, apricots and vanilla cream - very aromatic stuff! Generally sweet. 

Taste: More syrupy here with more of that long, cloying sweetness, and a broadly thick texture. This has no sourness and instead replaces it with a lightly roasty body that has notes of roasted chestnuts and honey, before turning towards Champagne mousse - an eclectic mix of foamy lactic sourness, but also more on maltose candied hawthorn. It has a very confectionary sort of sweetness and fruitiness - think candied fruits, or even umeshu soaked ume. There's also a sort of wet wood that comes with it.

Finish: It's alot more dry here, with a lightly oaky taste, and more on toasted malt.

Our Thoughts

This one's abit more of a headscratcher - the aromas were really enjoyable almost reminiscent of Scotch, but on the palate it's eccentric to say the least with this really interesting taste of candied hawthorn and Champagne mousse that stands out to us - we really had to sit on it and think about this one.

Not too sure what to think about this one - interesting, that's for sure.

 

 

On to our next dish - the Olive Fried Rice, for some reason whenever we drink there's an intense desire for some carbs and this olive fried rice was really tasty.

With that, we made our way to our third and final drink of the night, the Young Master Mandarin Collar Club.

Young Master Mandarin Collar Club Hazy IPA - Review

This one's Young Master's take on a Hazy IPA. Hazy IPAs, beyond standard IPAs, are of course, first and foremost hazy in appearance, but more importantly that's a result of there typically being a secondary fermentation used which is meant to create strong tropical fruit flavors.

Our Tasting Notes 

Appearance: Pulpy Orange Juice

Aroma: Tropicana oranges and pineapples, but leaning towards alittle bit more of that tropical fruit pith. More specifically mandarins and satsumas, sweeter and more densely estery.

Taste: It starts off as the aromas hinted - lots of pulpy oranges and pineapples, but quickly turns more hoppy and green, with more of that bitterness coming through. More of that fruit pith as well. 

Finish: Here the bitterness continues to stay close to the fore and showcases more astringency here, but nonetheless ends on a clean, crisp, refreshing bite.

Our Thoughts

This was a pretty standard Hazy IPA, West Coast Style, where it tends to focus on more of that hoppy bitterness, nonetheless a good close to the night!

 

 

Overall, it was a pretty chill session as advertised, Rohit and Kingson were really friendly, making their rounds from table to table to greet the drinkers and asking them what their thoughts were and encouraging folks to check them out in Hong Kong.

Personally, our favorite of the night was without a doubt the Nightingale's Blues Wild Cherry Ale, which so perfectly cusped between being downright enjoyable, and also being a whole pandora's box of complexity depending on what you're up for. If I could, I'd have picked up more bottles of it, but alas there were offered only on the tap.

Now I'm pretty keen on trying the other expressions from the Days Of Being Wild series - and come on, what an insane Hong Kong cinematic reference no less!

   

Kanpai!

 

@111hotpot