Garage Project: Umami Monster (NZ)


I gotta say, I’m kind of scared to crack into this beer. With the rather ominous Godzilla swamp monster on the label and the incredibly risky brew the guys have done, I have some serious hesitations. I mean, the Garage Project have done some insane brews in their brewing career and pulled them off with incredible success, but brewing with Kombu kelp, Katsuobushi (fermented fish flakes) and sea water is a risk even for these guys. But if there is any brewery that could pull it off, it’s the Garage Project. I’m still terrified though…

Style: Spiced/ Vegetal Ale

ABV: 9.0%



Pours a very dark, murky brown with red/ orange tinges on the edge. Fine, thin white head.

On the Nose:

A serious amount going on here. Unsurprisingly, heaps of savoury notes: tobacco, cedar with smoked peat/ malt characters and charred meat. Soy/ fish sauce sweet salty character.


Umami up the wah-zoo… Lots of salty soy notes, salt water, smooth smoked malt/ peat, pepper, roast meat, mushroom and touches of the fermented fish in the finish. Surprisingly, I’m also getting a little bit of salted caramel and coffee, a small amount of sweetness.

Final Thoughts:

This beer is unlike anything I have ever had. I’m sitting here still getting notes on the nose and on the palate and it is clear to me it is impossible to get everything out of this beer in your first sitting. This is a beer I will have to come back to at some point: it’s just too complex, too layered and just so unique an experience it demands another tasting. And I love it, I love an experience. This is one of the best beer experiences I have ever had, an absolute must for craft beer lovers.


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