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Beer – #415 – Garage Project – Umami Monster

This has been in the fridge a while, and whilst I’m not avoiding it, I’ve been waiting for the right moment. Which is now. Bring on the Garage Project – Umami Monster

Brewed by Garage Project in the style that is called : Spice/Herb/Vegetable and they are in the windy city of Wellington, New Zealand

9% ABV Beer in a 650ml bottle, about 270 calories a serve, and of  which I make to be 4.62 standard drinks in NZ.

Umami Monster & MECHA-HOP! Copyright Garage Project 2014

Umami Monster & MECHA-HOP! Copyright Garage Project 2014

“Brewed with Kombu (seaweed), Katsuobushi (fermented fish) and sea water. A rich hit of umami, the most enigmatic of flavours, does battle with bold bitter, sweet and savory characteristics to create a unique beer of monstrous complexity and depth.”

Garage Project Umami MonsterIt came from the deep. Brewed for the Great Australian Beer Spectapular, using New Zealand grown Kombu (kelp), Japanese Katsobushi (dried, fermented bonito flakes), smoked malt and sea water in an attempt to capture that most elusive and enigmatic of flavours – umami. 

Far beyond the boundaries of the accepted and expected, these ingredients combine to create a monster of dark savoury smoke and rich umami complexity. 

Dear God – what have we created? Definitely not suitable for vegans – sorry.

I have the trepidations.  Umami /uːˈmɑːmi/, a savory taste, is one of the five basic tastes (together with sweet, Sour, Bitter and Salty). what might I have done?

That has an intriguing aroma on opening, I really do get a sense of chocolate.

Umami MonsterPour is dark brown, like soy sauce, and the aroma gains more spice/vinegar type things around it.

Taste is, um, individual, and different, almost like nothing I’ve ever had before. I’ve had bits of it, jut not all the things in one beer.

Salty on the lips, sourness in the middle, savoury up front. Frowning at the back.

For sheer brilliant brewmanshippery this has to be applauded, it’s audacious, and improbable, and yet it’s weirdly drinkable and likeable.

This has to be one of the nicest looking dark beers I’ve had in a glass since forever, it is dark and foreboding and has a grew and persistent head, as well as great lacing.

Revisiting the aroma for a moment; it is like a savoury broth, but not like that exactly, but let’s go “it’s like Umami”!

Aside : What you forget in drinking is that this 9% ABV and there is nothing at all that reminds you of this and you are in effect getting slightly tipsy.  Freaking awesome.

Focus: I found this to be quote easy drinking, despite the clash of things, I still get an awful lot of salty lips, but that comes last, there is a nice carry and mouthfeel/length on this and it’s neither too sour, too bitter or too sweet, and in doing so is a little bit of nothing of the above, like some twilight zone of no taste whatsoever.

So, to sum up: Polarising.  A beer that changes it’s shape and delivery as you drink it, and engages many bits of your taste and thinking.

The pdubyah-o-meter rates this as 8 a of its things from the thing. But only for being  clever.  You can’t drink this in a session, it most definitely isn’t quaffable, and yet it is surprisingly drinkable, but with a caveat that you can’t wait to finish and have something less intense.

The double dip review

  1. Am I enjoying it? I am, despite all the protests
  2. Would I have another? I might on a different day
  3. Would I share with a friend on a porch and set the world to rights? I would, this is like a stout, or porter, it has many things going for it, and a few that don’t I think it’s a conversations beer.

There was no music, it was talking about stuff night, in which we decided I’d had a drink, the dinner needed something like vegetables other then potato, and what I was going to do home alone tomorrow.


Any ale or lager made with herbs, spices or vegetables. The additive should be distinctive in the aroma. See beer description for flavor. Body, color, hop character and strength vary depending on the type of spice, herb or vegetable used.


2 comments on “Beer – #415 – Garage Project – Umami Monster

  1. beernotwar
    July 8, 2014

    Reblogged this on Make Beer not War.


  2. Pingback: Beer – #672 – Tuatara – Paūa To the People | A life just as ordinary

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