Instagram Flikr Twitter Facebook

Crafty Pint

Your Guide to Australian Craft Beer / Thursday 17 April 2014

Hargreaves Hill

Hh-2013-logo
Hargreaves_hill_restaurant_5_gallery
  1. Hargreaves_hill_restaurant_5_thumbnail
  2. Hargreaves_hill_restaurant_1_thumbnail
  3. Hargreaves_hill_restaurant_3_thumbnail
  4. Hargreaves_hill_brewery_1_thumbnail
  5. Hhill-food-2012_thumbnail
  6. Hargreaves_hill_brewery_2_thumbnail
  7. Hargreaves_hill_restaurant_2_thumbnail
  8. Hargreaves_3_thumbnail
  9. Hargreaves_hill_restaurant_6_thumbnail
  10. Hargreaves_hill_5_thumbnail
  11. Hargreaves_hill_restaurant_4_thumbnail
  12. Hargreaves_hill_burnt1_thumbnail

A true phoenix from the ashes tale: Hargreaves Hill is the Victorian craft brewing scene’s great survivor. When bush fires tore across the state on Black Saturday in 2009 this brewery in Steels Creek was destroyed along with most houses in the region.

The following weeks saw an outpouring of support for Hargreaves Hill from the craft beer community. And, just six months later, a new brewery was re-established in Lilydale, with a larger brewlength, greater process control and improved bottling facilities. There, Simon and fellow brewer Glenn Harrison have recommenced making old favourites ESB, Pale and Hefeweizen while experimenting with new styles, from Scotch Ales and Stouts to German Kellerbiers, an unfiltered lager style rarely seen in Australia, and more recently an Imperial Red Ale.

Visitors to the Yarra Valley can sample their full range as well as one-off specials while enjoying fine dining at the Hargreaves Hill restaurant and cellar door in Yarra Glen. Classically-trained pianist Simon and opera singer wife Beth converted the town’s beautiful former National Bank building in 2007, turning it into an oasis for lovers of the grain in the heart of one of the world’s foremost wine regions.

Regulars

ESB (Extra Special Bitter)

The beer that, more than any other, brought Hargreaves Hill to the attention of the wider world. A New World take on a traditional English style, it turned heads with huge, fragrant hop aromas seldom found in Australian beers at the time and a thick, toffee-like malt body shot through with passionfruit and a healthy whack of hop bitterness to finish. Previously only available in draught form, the second half of 2010 saw popular demand sated when it finally appeared in bottles, one of two beers selected to launch the brewery’s new range of four-packs whose look mimics the restaurant in Yarra Glen.

Style: ESB
Strength: 5.4%
Bitterness: 55 IBU

Hargreaves_hill_esb_bottle

Pale Ale

A great example of a balanced beer, Hargreaves Hill’s Pale is a delicate blend of caramel and gentle hop bitterness. The US of American Cascade hops lend it a floral touch to the sweet malts on the nose and a marmalade like bitterness.

Style: Pale Ale
Strength: 4.9%

Hargreaves_hill_pale_bottle

Hefeweizen

A light, refreshing take on the German wheat beer style, this is a great summer drink bursting with anything from banana and clove to nutmeg and vanilla thanks to the use of the iconic German yeast strain Weihenstephan. Light yellow, slightly cloudy and pouring with a fluffy white head, if The Crafty Pint’s stint working the Hargreaves Hill stall at an earlier Microbreweries Showcase is anything to go by, it’s also rather popular with the ladies.

Style: Hefeweizen
Strength: 4.9%

Hargreaves_hill_hefeweizen_bottle

Stout

A new addition to the Hargreaves Hill bottled range in the second half of 2010, this is a Foreign Export style stout with a fuller body and higher alcohol content than most standard stouts. Not that you’d necessarily pick up the 6.7% alcohol in the flavour – it has little chance to grab your attention due to the wealth of dark cocoa and espresso coffee notes in a warming beer that balances the bitter edge of its roasted malts with malt sweetness. A good helping of East Kent Goldings hops from the UK give it a bitter finish.

Style: Foreign Export Stout
Strength: 6.7%

Specials

Hargreaves Hill New Season IPA

The brewers at Hargreaves Hill have been enjoying themselves with hops, particularly new varieties (or varieties new to them), in recent years. There’s been the Topaz & Amarillo IPA (A.K.A. Melanie), Admiral Nelson IPA, C4 IPA and the recent Eldorado IPA list a few. With the most recent crop of US hops recently arrived in Australia, their back with another. This time they are showcasing varieties that play an important role in some of their core beers, Pale Ale and Extra Special Bitter. They have chosen Citra, Amarillo and Simcoe, combined them with a simple grain bill – UK Golden Promise with a small percentage of Chocolate Malt – and used them both at the various stages within the brewing process and then all three in “generous quantities” for dry hopping. According to head brewer Simon Walkenhorst: “The result is a beer which exhibits fresh and vibrant hop character, with a sweetly tart hop flavour from the Citra and Simcoe. The perceived bitterness is not overpowering, but builds pleasantly through the drinking of a pint. The palate character of the hops is tropical and citrusy, as you would expect, but very vibrant owing to the outstanding harvest, and also the freshness of the hops.”

Available:

Hargreaves Hill
Beer DeLuxe Hawthorn
Blackhearts & Sparrows (growler fills)
Great Northern
Slowbeer
TRU BRU
The Alehouse Project
Cookie
Deja Vu
East Of Everything
Junction Beer Hall
The Terminus
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
Palace Hotel
The Public Brewery (Croydon)
The Spotted Mallard
Young & Jackson

Style: IPA
Strength: 6.2%

Hh-new-season-ipa_bottle

Hargreaves Hill El Dorado IPA

Our first experience of the El Dorado hop was on a tour of Hunter S Thompson’s mate’s US brewery Flying Dog. It was the latest beer in their single hop series, a series that, being Flying Dog, looked to showcase hops in the format of a 10 per cent Imperial IPA. A bit like Mosaic, it’s one of the new breed of US hops that seems to overwhelm brewers who come into contact with it with an uncontrollable urge to create beers that showcase its lively citrus characteristics.

That’s the case with Hargreaves Hill, although being a much more refined bunch than Flying Dog they’re doing it with a eminently more sensible 6 per cent IPA. They’ve got credit in the bank here, with past IPAs including the impressive Topaz / Amarillo, C4 and Admiral. For this one, the brewers have used a “simple but pronounced malt character” of Golden Promise with a touch of Chocolate and Crystal malts for colour and flavour. Residual sweetness keeps the bitterness (55 IBUs for those taking notes at the back) obtained from various kettle additions of Warrior and El Dorado in check. “Generous dry-hopping” has added to what we’re told is a “fresh, zesty and citrusy hop character and aroma, with well integrated candied orange character.” Draught only

Available:

Hargreaves Hill
The Terminus
Belgian Beer Cafe Eureka
Brother Burger & The Marvellous Brew
East Of Everything
Royal Hotel Clifton Hill
The Alehouse Project
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
The Spotted Mallard
Young & Jackson
Junction Beer Hall
The Wheaty

Style: IPA
Strength: 6.0%
Bitterness: 55 IBU

Hh-el-dorado_bottle

Hargreaves Hill Pilsner

Over the years, Yarra Valley brewery Hargreaves Hill has released a variety of pilsners, often showcasing one hop or another. And, with summer on its way, they’re back with a fresh version. In keeping with their fondness for unearthing rare styles, such as past releases like the Maibock they created with Red Hill or the Grisette brewed for GABS in 2012, they’ve ignored the Bohemian and German styles most Aussie brewers use for inspiration and instead opted for a pre-Prohibition era US style pilsner.

What that translates to is 25 per cent maize in the grain bill, six per cent alcohol and generously hopping with Northern Brewer. It was originally served as a Kellerbier (unfiltered) from a cask at the Local Taphouse’s Oktoberfest with additional Summer hops added. The finished version is out now and is best located, requested and quaffed fresh.

Available:

Belgian Beer Café Eureka (Crafty Pint listing coming soon)
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
The Terminus
Hargreaves Hill
Healesville Hotel
Brother Burger & The Marvellous Brew
Others to follow

Style: American Pilsner
Strength: 6.0%

Hh-american-pilsner_bottle

Hargreaves Hill / Bodebrown Lupolado Bock

Last year, a travelling Tasmanian beer blogger who had written a piece for The Crafty Pint before setting off around the world called in to Bodebrown, a small craft brewery in southern Brazil. They’d recently won the Best New Exhibitor title at the 2012 Australian International Beer Awards and made Adam feel at home, so much so he suggested we get in touch with them about this year’s Good Beer Week. We did, they came, they had fun, so did everyone that met them, and they’ve left behind a beer brewed with Hargreaves Hill.

Samuel and Paulo Cavalcanti are legends of the Brazilian brewing scene, known for high ABV and highly hopped beers, who possess the KombIPA – a jet black Kombi van that pours their six different IPAs (including the Cacau one brewed with California’s Stone). So it was some surprise when the recipe they sent over to Hargreaves Hill so they could brew a batch before they landed in Melbourne was for a Bock (in other words a strong German style lager). Weren’t these the hopheads? Then things became clear when, upon their arrival, they asked if they could visit the brewery to “mess with the beer” before it was kegged off. And mess they did…

Samuel, a chemist by trade, has developed a hopping technique that’s caught the eyes of some of the world’s most well known brewers: he takes the filter apart and fills every layer with hops, pumps CO2 through for 15 minutes and then circulates the beer through the hopped filter. At Hargreaves they did this with Galaxy and Summer and turned the Bock into the Hop Bock. The result is a beer that’s as clean and full bodied as you’d expect a Bock around the 6.5% mark to be but with tonnes of hop aroma and flavour, so much in fact that for the second batch brewed at the brewers' joint GBW event, the Bodebrown guys decided to tone down the filter hop addition. “We forget that the hops are so much fresher here!” The first Hoppy Hop Bock is out now with the second to follow in a few weeks and is, we’re pretty sure, the first ever Australian / Brazilian collaboration and the country’s first hop-filtered beer.

Available:

Hargreaves Hill
The Terminus

Style: Hop Bock
Strength: 6.4%

Hh-bodebrown_bottle

Hargreaves Hill The Phoenix

The first Phoenix was brewed back in 2010 to mark Hargreaves Hill’s return to brewing after the original brewery was destroyed in Victoria’s Black Saturday fires. A luxurious Imperial Red Ale that has stood the test of time quite magnificently, as we discovered in a tasting alongside the new batch recently, it has been brought back just in time for Christmas. Once again presented in a number of wax-sealed, limited edition (350) 750ml bottles, it’s a beer you can set down for years to come. Alternatively, drunk fresh it’s a rich, full-bodied, multifaceted treat that glistens rusty red in the glass and has that soft, velvety mid-palate familiar to many of Hargreaves' beers. As for the wax seals, they’re handy for ensuring you only drink The Phoenix at a time when you’re going to fully appreciate it as we discovered when pulling our last bottle of 2010 out of the fridge rather too late one night; after 15 minutes chipping away unsuccessfully at the wax, we gave up and went to bed, awaking the next day glad it was still around.

Available:

Hargreaves Hill (keg and bottle)
Slowbeer (keg and bottle)
Purvis Cellars (bottle)
Purvis Beer Richmond (bottle)
The Local Taphouse St Kilda (keg)
The Alehouse Project (keg)

Style: Imperial Red Ale
Strength: 9.8%

Hh-phoenix-12_bottle

Hargreaves Hill Russian Imperial Stout 2012

A beer that in its first incarnation last year blew The Crafty Pint and many of its big-beer-loving mates away and then, earlier this year, did the same to the judges at the Australian International Beer Awards, where it picked up a gold medal. Given its success, it had to return and, thus, here it is. Not quite as massive in terms of ABV as the last one, but still registering 11.3 per cent, it’s a full-bodied, rich, roasty, creamy, everythingy kind of imperial stout – a little softer than last year’s apparently too. It’s a beer you can sit on for hours and which the brewers hope will find a home in many a cellar ready to be pulled out and shared as an after dinner treat with friends.

Available:

On tap
The Alehouse Project
Courthouse Hotel
Hargreaves Hill
In bottle (out later this month)
Purvis Cellars
Purvis Beer Richmond
Slowbeer

Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Strength: 11.3%

Hh-ris-beer-australia_bottle

Our Dark Secret

A beer like no other… When the 2010 and 2011 Champion Exhibitors from the Australian International Beer Awards, Nøgne Ø and Moylan’s, visited Australia for the first time for Good Beer Week in 2012, we asked them if they’d get together and brew a beer. They agreed, we built an event around it and, three months later, the secret was out. A massively hoppy imperial black IPA featuring a huge amount of Aussie hops, including several kilos of the as-yet-unreleased Victoria’s Secret variety, it has some soft cocoa characters in amongst the hops once it warms, along with some roastiness that rides in at the end to join in the fun in what must be one of the most bitter beers brewed in Australia. Thanks to Hargreaves Hill for agreeing to host the brew, assisting the brewers on the day and getting it into the tanks with what we believe was one of the toughest transfers ever thanks to all the hop flowers in the kettle!

Available:

Hargreaves Hill One keg
Beer DeLuxe Two kegs
The Wheaty Two kegs
The Local Taphouse Darlo Two kegs
Jack Greene, Hobart Two kegs
The Scratch Two kegs
Norfolk Hotel, Freo Two kegs

Style: Imperial Black IPA
Strength: 8.2%

Our-dark-secret---beer-australia_bottle

Hargreaves Hill C4 IPA

We have to be careful when writing about IPAs from Hargreaves Hill. We mistook a joke about the name of the Topaz and Amarillo IPA from 2011 as serious which resulted in parts of the beer world thinking it was indeed called Melanie. So just to be certain, this one is called the C4, not 4C IPA. So called because it contains four hop varieties that begin with the letter C – Citra, Columbus, Centennial and Chinook – and also in a nod to the IRA’s explosive of preference in its 20th century campaign against the British Government, presumably as it’s a hop bomb. That said, while it is bursting with those piney, citrusy notes you’d expect from such hops – and possesses a resiny character in the mouth – it’s far from explosive. Instead it’s all under control, with the malt backbone holding everything in check, the bitterness firm but not overbearing and the result yet another addition to Hargreaves fine arsenal of beers.

Available:

Hargreaves Hill
Royston
Others TBC

Style: US IPA
Strength: 5.4%

Hargreaves Hill Russian Imperial Stout (bottled)

One of the biggest beers ever produced in Australia is now available in a very limited run of 750ml bottles. Hargreaves Hill’s RIS weighs in at more than 12% ABV and packs just as much flavour. One friend of Crafty who likes his uber-beers went so far as to claim it could be the best Victorian beer he’d ever tasted when it was on tap in 2011. If you missed out then, grab a bottle or two before they’re gone – and don’t worry about whether it’s too hot for such a beer now as they’ll last a fair while. Here’s what we had to say about it when it was available in draught form.

Available:

Hargreaves Hill
Purvis Cellars
Purvis Beer Richmond
Local Bottle Store & Provisions

Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Strength: 12.3%

Hh-ris_bottle

Hargreaves Hill Russian Imperial Stout

You know when you take your first mouthful of a particularly feisty chili or curry and it sends your taste buds into overdrive, firing off warning messages to your brain that this one might just be too hot to handle? Then you soldier on and, palate suitably adjusted, it turns out you were just being a wuss. Well, it seems the same can apply to big bastard beers like this Russian Imperial Stout, the biggest beer yet released by Hargreaves Hill. After wallowing in the lovely rich aromas – dark caramel, vanilla, sweet liquorice – the initial taste was a surprise: an intense coffee-like bitterness that left a dusty coating. “Hmmmm…” we thought, uncertain. But, just as a test wicket requires careful preparation before a titanic battle can commence, so The Crafty Pint’s gob needed resetting up a few notches in readiness for tackling this oily, ruby-tinged black beast. And what an enjoyable battle it turned out to be. If you’ve tasted the brewery’s Stout – itself pretty bold – you’ll recognise some of its characteristics here as it’s clearly the elder, much-tougher-in-a-fight brother: chocolate liqueur, creamy treacle and molasses flavours give way to a long, lingering bittersweet coffee finish, not dissimilar to a multiple espresso laced with brown sugar. The alcohol warms the cockles too, in a beer you’ll want to clear a couple of hours in the diary for. Truly a whopper.

Available:

Hargreaves Hill
Courthouse Hotel
Royston
Mrs Parma’s
The Local Taphouse Darlo
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
Healesville Hotel

Style: Russian Imperial Stout
Strength: 12.3%

Hh-ris_bottle

Hargreaves Hill "Melanie"

In an attempt to bring a female touch to his brewery (or perhaps revealing a hitherto untapped weakness for puns) Hargreaves Hill founder Simon Walkenhorst gave his latest beer the working name Melanie. A Topaz & Amarillo India style Pale Ale, it’s been brewed using fresh Topaz flowers given to the brewery by Hop Products Australia on the day they were harvested. He says the working name is in part because the beer “tastes pretty melon-y, like honeydew melon, with a healthy bitterness”. They’ve also used 99% maris otter grain and a little bit of Simpson’s Chocolate Malt “to add colour and flavour”. Apparently the working name has been replaced by the rather more prosaic “Topaz & Amarillo IPA”, but why not test out the bar staff with “A Pint of Melanie, please?” anyway?

Available:

Hargreaves Hill
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
The Local Taphouse Darlo
The Terminus

Style: IPA

Hargreaves-logo-special_bottle

Hargreaves Hill AD (750ml bottles)

At Crafty, we like to think we’re on top of things when it comes to new beers coming out of Oz’s craft breweries. So we were most upset when at a beer vs wine dinner at The Courthouse in North Melbourne earlier this month, the owner pulled out a bottle of this, Hargreaves Hill’s latest Abbey Dubbel. How’d he get one before us, hey? Jesting aside, given it appeared rather late in the course of the evening, we wouldn’t want to say too much of our recollections, other than it was a beer boasting layers of flavour, the richness of mouthfeel Hargreaves captures in many of its beers and a drier, spicier finish than we recall in earlier versions. Instead we’ll leave it to brewer Simon Walkenhorst to tell you it’s “brewed with a complex grain bill consisting of Dingemans Special B, providing depth of colour, chocolate malt and acidulated malt to add some raisiny notes and acidity. We gave it a warm fermentation with Westmalle yeast, which lends some fruitiness and a little bit of sarsparilla bite.”

Available:

Hargreaves Hill
Slowbeer
Purvis Beer Richmond
Purvis Beer
Blackhearts & Sparrows

Style: Belgian Dubbel
Strength: 7.5%

Hh-ad_bottle

Hargreaves Hill AD

In keeping with the brewery’s philosophy of creating traditional beers comes the return of the Hargreaves Hill Abbey Dubbel, their take on the Trappist style of strong brown ale with its origins in Belgium. Theirs is a faithful recreation, weighing in around 7.5%, that uses a special strain of Westmalle yeast from Belgium. Hargreaves founder Simon Walkenhorst will tell you of “notes of raisin and sarsparilla gracing the palate, which is quite dry and lightly bitter giving a pleasant perception of sweetness”. Crafty will tell you we’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t rate it, so get it – and savour it – while you can.

Available:

Courthouse Hotel
Hargreaves Hill

Style: Abbey Dubbel
Strength: 7.5%

Hargreaves-logo-special_bottle

Hargreaves Hill Yarra Valley Pilsner

The release of Mountain Goat’s summery Skipping Girl on Wednesday doesn’t appear to have stopped the rain so perhaps the release of a second seasonal this week from Victorian brewers will do the trick. This time it’s the latest batch of Hargreaves Hill’s Yarra Valley Pilsner, brewed with Summer Saaz, a variant of the famous Czech hop variety and lightly dry hopped. It’s on tap in Melbourne from today and will be on the lineup of Aussie hoppy beers at Tuesday’s Ale Stars session at The Local Taphouse in St Kilda, where the guest is Tim Lord, from major Aussie hop producer HPA.

Available:

Hargreaves Hill
Courthouse Hotel
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
Lincoln Hotel, Melbourne

Style: Czech Pilsner

Hargreaves-logo-special_bottle

Hargreaves Hill Phoenix

ONLY 350 WAX-SEALED, NUMBERED BOTTLES RELEASED. The folks at Hargreaves Hill decided to make a beer to mark the year’s anniversary of their return to brewing following the destruction of the original brewery in the Black Saturday fires. And for such a worthy milestone comes a worthy beer – an absolutely monstrous Imperial Red Ale that’s likely to turn as many heads as their New World take on the ESB did when it first hit taps. We could bang on about forests of fresh pine, clotted cream toffees, butter biscuits, thick cut Olde English marmalade, deep auburns, mouth-filling creaminess, tingly alcohol warmth and obscene amounts of resiny Simcoe hops. But we won’t. All we’ll say is there’s only 350 individually numbered, wax-sealed 750ml champagne bottles available and you really, really don’t want to miss out.

Available:

Hargreaves Hill Restaurant
Slowbeer
Purvis Beer
Oscar’s Alehouse
Mordy Cellar Door
Blackhearts & Sparrows
Carwyn Cellars

Style: Imperial Red Ale
Strength: 9.8%

Hargreaves-hill-phoenix_bottle