With brewing skills honed across the globe in Hawaii, Japan and the States, Burleigh’s brewmaster Brennan Fielding was always likely to bring a better quality of beer to the Queensland coast when he and wife Peta embarked upon their dream of opening a brewery in her home state – a dream they first discussed back in the late 90s. Major awards for the likes of his Black Giraffe coffee lager, Hef wheat beer and FIGJAM IPA have proved just that as Burleigh has rapidly established itself among the Aussie craft brewing fraternity.
Housed in a dedicated production facility a few kilometres from the Gold Coast’s beaches, with a 45 hectilitre brew length that dwarfs most micros, they still sell most of their beer locally; Peta jokes that she’d love to be able to shift all of their beer within 5km of the brewery. Their first two releases, a Premium Lager and a mid-strength Helles under the Duke banner, are still only sold at bars and bottleshops in the local region, inspired by the German tradition of breweries supplying their own communities. The remainder of the range – all unpasteurised – is available nationwide.
Although the brewery is set up predominantly for production, they do open their doors to the public on occasion. The bar is open every Friday night while they hold tours on one Saturday a month as well as monthly Friday night Brewhouse Bashes. At the last of these, they welcome guests into the brewery – filled with surfboards and surf memorabilia to remind you just where in the world you are – for an evening of live music, food and plenty of beer – with a portion of the profits going to a local charity or community group.
Burleigh Brewing Company (QLD) Beers
Burleigh Brewing Duke Premium Lager
One half of the Duke duo of beers only sold within the brewery’s local area, this is inspired by the European lagers brewer Brennan Fielding’s father and grandfather enjoyed on the back of the family sailing boat in Hawaii. This filtered lager mixes biscuity malts with light, citrusy and spicy hop characteristics and finishes dry, making it ideal for the warm Queensland coast.
Burleigh Brewing Duke All Malt Helles
Only sold within the locality of Burleigh’s Gold Coast brewery, Duke Helles is a European style lager – with a slightly more malty character than the perhaps better known Pilsner style. The moderate hopping contributes a comfortable bitterness and a clean, refreshing taste. Fine and balanced with fresh floral highlights that hint at a European pedigree. For a food match, the brewers recommend anything from a backyard BBQ to a delicate gourmet meal.
Awards: Silver Medal, 2009 and 2011 World Beer Championships
Burleigh Brewing 28 Pale Ale
Styled as a throwback to the 70s and the 28-day swell enjoyed at Burleigh Heads during that decade, the 28 is a fine addition to the canon of Australia pale ales. Floral and citrusy on the nose, it pours a bright copper, with some sweet caramel malts and a bitter tang with hints of orange marmalade, grapefruit and lychee, rounded off with a gently tingling zing. If you’re pairing it with food, the brewers recommend Moroccan Lamb as the perfect match.
Style: US Pale Ale
Burleigh Brewing HEF
It seems that pretty much every microbrewery in Oz has some form of wheat beer in their range, but they’re not always particularly good. Thankfully, Burleigh’s HEF is among the best, with flavours as full as the moustache on its label. Winner of the inaugural Queensland Food and Wine Show beer comp, it’s packed with banana and clove aromas and flavours from the special German yeast with a touch of citrusy tang. Goes well with seafood or spicy dishes.
Burleigh Brewing Bighead
Bighead is Burleigh’s “no carb” beer, a lager registering just 88 calories per 330ml bottle for the most weight conscious of beer drinkers. Burleigh Heads, where the brewery is based, was originally given the name “burly head” – aka big head – back in the 19th century, hence the naming of this beer. Described by the brewers as “a full-flavoured, full-strength lager that is 100% natural, free of additives and preservatives, and has a smooth, clean taste”.
Burleigh Brewing My Wife's Bitter
First seen as a limited longneck release from Burleigh back in 2009, the My Wife’s Bitter is their take on the classic bitter ales of the UK. Now it’s out in 330ml stubbies on a much wider release – and appearing on a fair few taps too. Using English crystal and chocolate malts, traditional English hops (Fuggles and East Kent Goldings) plus an old English yeast, the result is a malt-driven beer that mixes sweet caramels, some nuttiness (particularly in draught form, where we’re plumping for hazelnut) and hints of roast malts too. The hop character is gentle and earthy, the bitterness similarly restrained too.
Style: English Bitter
Burleigh Brewing FIGJAM IPA
Originally brewed as a short run limited release for the brewery bar, the FIGJAM later appeared in the Gold Coast brewery’s longneck “Bit on the Side” range. Bloody lovely it was too – clean yet complex with lots of hoppy goodness crammed into every bottle. We put it in our pick of the Best Beers of 2012 in James Halliday’s Wine Companion Magazine and, as such, are delighted that it has now been added to the brewery’s year round range. The blend of specialty malts and five US hops remains, it’s just coming in smaller serves now – 330ml to be precise.
Bitterness: 70 IBU
Burleigh Brewing Hassle Hop
In any healthy team, there will always be differences of opinion, a willingness to debate, an appreciation that sometimes compromise is necessary to reach the best possible outcome. But sometimes, even a healthy team can decide that compromise can take a running jump and everyone can have their own way at the same time. Certainly, that seems to be what’s happened at the Gold Coast’s Burleigh Brewing, where a debate over the best hops currently available on the market – with five brewers arguing the case for five different varieties – has resulted in Hassle Hop.
It’s a strong pale ale that first appeared at GABS 2013 and that unifies the favoured hop of each of the brewery’s five members – “Galaxy (punchy Benny), El Dorado (sweet Mike), Citra (smoooooth Sean), Mosaic (complex Kieron), Belma (tropical Hawaiian Brennan) – and does so by striking a balance between the five of them. According to the Burleigh crew: "Striking a balance that brought out the best characteristics of each hop, without compromising the others, was about the toughest thing we’ve ever done.” But, they tell us: “Finally, everything lined up perfectly to create this beautifully balanced, highly hoppy, strong pale ale.” And who doesn’t love a happy ending? Or, in this case, a happy, hoppy ending?
In good beer stockists nationwide
Style: Strong Pale Ale
Burleigh Brewing Black Giraffe 2013
This annual collaboration between the Gold Coast’s Burleigh Brewing and their nearby roasters Zarraffa’s Coffee is one we look forward to at Crafty Towers. And this year’s release is another welcome arrival. Featuring “hundreds of kilos” of freshly roasted coffee, it’s a seriously black and seriously balanced lager. The ethically-sourced, Guatemalan coffee joins chocolate, caramel and toffee malts to ensure it’s part of a rounded brew rather than dominating, while the American hops are clearly noticeable both in the aroma and flavour, adding further appeal. The Black Giraffe also boasts a soft full body too, like a coffee with expertly stretched milk, suggesting you chase one down before it’s gone for another year. If you don’t believe us, know that American mag All About Beer listed the beer in its 186 Best Beers in the World edition, placing it equal first in the Flavoured Lager category.
Check the brewery’s Giraffe Tracker
Style: Coffee Lager
Bitterness: 50 IBU
Burleigh Brewing FIGJAM IPA
Avid readers of The Crafty Pint and its newsletter will recall mention of a short run IPA from the Gold Coast’s serial medal-winners. Well, now it’s back as the latest in Burleigh Brewing’s longnecked “Bit On The Side” range, following My Wife’s Bitter, Fannie Gertrude and the Black Giraffe. This is a take on the American reinvention of the classic British style, featuring a blend of specialty malts and five US hops and ending up with the 7 per cent / 70 IBU measurements that has proved a winner in a handful of other beers of its ilk. According to Burleigh Brewing CEO, Peta Fielding: “Sampling at the brewery has the whole crew excited. Brennan describes the FIGJAM IPA as boasting ‘wonderful citrus and mango aromas, with those hop driven characteristics flowing through to a clean, robust flavour’.” Launched at the brewery on October 4 and heading across the land after that.
Style: American IPA
Bitterness: 70 IBU
Burleigh Brewing Black Giraffe 2012
Gold Coast’s Burleigh Brewing has a habit for picking up trophies and medals for its beers. And when the Black Giraffe was first released a couple of years back it was no different, with the coffee lager scoring a gold medal at the World Beer Championships in the US. The 2012 release is slightly tweaked. It still rocks in at five per cent and is still brewed with 100 per cent 100% rainforest alliance coffee beans from Zarraffa’s, this time sourced from Guatemala and promising “a more intense, rich mocha flavour than the 2010 version”. Certainly, if memory serves us correctly, the roastiness is more subdued this time around in a beer with a noticeably fuller body and well-rounded malt character that, if anything, is an improvement on the original.
Hunt down a Giraffe here
Style: Coffee Lager
Burleigh Brewing Fanny Gertrude's Bickie Beer
Fanny’s back! The beer that made its debut on tap at The Local Taphouse’s Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular had a genesis as unusual as the actual brew itself, with deliveries of ingredients held up by the Queensland floods, thus making it a race against time to have it ready for the festival. As for the beer, the Gold Coast brewers added everything you’d expect from an Anzac bickie – coconut, golden syrup, oats – to create a really rather unique beer. Equal parts cream soda, nuts, toffee and the vanilla cream you get in the middle of an Arnott’s Shortbread Cream, it had a creamy, almost oily feel in the mouth and certainly raised a few eyebrows as one of the more out there beers on a generally out there lineup. It will be appearing in longnecks as the third Burleigh limited release sometime this year, but while we wait for artwork to be finalised for that, some more is appearing in kegs.
Style: Cream Ale
Burleigh Brewing Black Giraffe
The second of Burleigh’s limited release longnecks (the first being the puntastic English style My Wife’s Bitter), the Black Giraffe is the beer that, more than any other, got Aussie craft beer lovers talking about the brewery. An exquisite coffee lager that packs in more flavour than is decent for a 5% beer, it’s won major awards overseas with judges impressed by the full coffee whack backed up by chocolate, toffee and mocha. It uses 100kg of Zarraffa rainforest alliance coffee and made Crafty’s Ten for 2010 so hunt it down while it’s still around.
Style: Coffee Lager