When Temple’s owners, Ron and Renata Feruglio, first started dropping hints about their plans for a brewery, bar and brasserie to The Crafty Pint they claimed they would be creating a venue unlike any seen in Australia before. And with its contemporary industrial chic – concrete walls adorned with bold graphics, walls of glass that reveal the brewery, exposed foam ceilings and, above all else, dramatic stone bars embossed with bold concrete “TEMPLE” lettering and framed by metallic rays overhead – the East Brunswick brewery does just that.
Getting it up and running has been a labour of love for the couple: the launch in December 2011 came almost 18 months later than they originally intended. They weren’t the only ones desperate for it to open, either. For three years before setting out on their mission to build their temple to beer, they had established an excellent reputation for their beers in the Victorian craft beer market. Ron used to travel to other breweries around Victoria, ingredients and equipment in tow, to brew gypsy-style, with his beers regarded as among the best in Australia.
Back then, the staples were a Pale, Saison and Special Bitter. The first two were reintroduced at launch, along with a Japanese Soba Ale made with buckwheat, the Temple Brunswick Draught, and a Bicycle Beer, a relatively low alcohol affair with a refreshing touch of tartness designed for those heading home under their own steam. The Midnight IPA first piloted at an industry event in 2010 followed soon afterwards, with the Special Bitter making a return in autumn 2012. As well as the custom built Newlands brewhouse, Ron has a smaller pilot brewery that should allow many more experimental brews to appear on the in house taps.
The business closed temporarily in early 2013 to introduce a new management structure, before returning to brewing in October with grand plans for a redesigned venue and significant expansion across Australia and beyond. With a great reputation for their beers and new staples and limited releases added to the roster since the relaunch, it’s easy to conclude Temple’s lengthy path to opening was well worth the wait.
Temple Brunswick Draught (Retired)
A beer conceived with a nod both to the local community and the good old Aussie bitter, the Temple Brunswick Draught is one that will be familiar to anyone that’s drunk a traditional Aussie beer, yet different too. The familiarity comes from the use of the old school and much unfancied in craft beer circles Pride of Ringwood hops. The difference comes from the fact that it’s used in a beer that’s clean and flavoursome and comes with a rich malt flavour drawn from ten different malts sourced from all over the world. Together they create a session beer that’s as Aussie as they come, yet with a global touch that’s a nod to the multicultural community in which the brewery sits.
Bitterness: 32 IBU
Temple Bicycle Beer
The second of two new permanent beers introduced at the brewery’s launch, this is a refresher of relatively low alcohol designed for, you guessed it, quaffing and still being able to cycle home. Slightly tart, thanks to the use of the American wheat yeast, it has a subtle hop aroma created by a blend of seven hops, that’s at once slightly spicy and citrusy. In typical Temple fashion, there’s an unusual ingredient, this time salt from an ancient lake found underneath the Grampians, that adds a dryness to the finish. An unusual but rewarding new addition to the Aussie beer scene.
Style: American Wheat
Bitterness: 21 IBU
Temple Pale Ale
The return of an old favourite, this is Temple’s faithful take on the US Pale Ale style, with plenty of floral new world hops on the nose, captured in the brewery’s hopback, and a rich, full malt flavour wrapped up with a firm bitterness.
Style: American Pale Ale
Bitterness: 34.5 IBU
One of the beers that put Temple on the craft beer map when they were operating as gypsy brewers – making their beers on other people’s breweries. A flavoursome and complex take on a style that’s becoming increasingly popular in Australia. Saisons are traditional farmhouse beers originating in parts of France and southern Belgium. The Temple take is pale and cloudy with a light orange hue and a dense rocky head. The aroma is full of fruit and spice with a noticeable yeast character, with unmalted spelt (one of the world’s oldest cultivated grains) lending a dry note to both the aroma and flavour. The use of spices including coriander, authentic Belgian orange peel and an exotic Brazilian pepper adds a further level of complexity to a beer that’s dry, refreshing and slightly funky – and one that we’re glad is back.
Bitterness: 25 IBU
Temple Soba Ale
A beer that first made its appearance as a specialty brew for the Shinobi Japanese Garden at Beer DeLuxe early in 2010, it became the fifth member of the Temple permanent range when the brewery opened its doors in December 2011. A tweaked recipe for the beer based on the traditional German altbier style has led to a firmer bitterness thanks to generous lashings of noble European hops. As you might expect from Temple, there’s a twist, in this case the use of Japanese buckwheat as part of the malt grain, resulting in a unique nutty, “salt cracker” character. That said, it’s ultimately a very clean, very beery beer.
Style: Altbier with Buckwheat
Bitterness: 31.5 IBU
Temple Extra Special Bitter
Back in their gypsy days, one of Temple’s regular tipples was the Special Bitter, as good a take on a classic English ale that you would find around Australia. Now that they’re back but bolder and shinier than ever, so is the beer. Brought out for autumn, it comes with added “Extra” with Ron and his team of brewers beefing the beer up all round. That said, they say it remains as true to British stylings as its forefather, just with “extra hops, extra malt and extra flavour”.
Temple Anytime IPA
In recent years, we’ve seen mini-crazes for certain styles, be it saisons or black IPAs at one time or another. The summer of 2013/14 looks set to be marked by a few, with a decent number of Aussie breweries launching midstrengths, Berliner Weisses and sessionable IPAs. It’s into this last category that the Anytime from Temple – one of two new beers tapped at its relaunch – falls. It’s a style that’s essentially a pale with more punch or an IPA that won’t make you fall over after more than a couple, with the Anytime joining the Bicycle Beer as a beer the East Brunswick brewery will be sending furthest and widest. Chock full of aromatic New World hops but weighing in at a restrained 4.7 per cent, it’s typically Temple: flavoursome, balanced and finishing nice and dry – the sort of beer that should go down nicely anytime, in fact.
Temple Resurrection Pilsner
There are plenty of reasons for the folks at Temple to be happy these days. After a brief spell in voluntary liquidation, they’re back in business and had one of their biggest nights ever on their first night back. They’ve got designers giving their East Brunswick home an overhaul. There are plans for significant expansion. And there are new beers. And, having dropped in to sample them the other day, it would seem that it’s the last of these that, perhaps understandably, has co-founder and head brewer Ron Feruglio most excited, especially when it comes to the beer brewed to mark their resurrection, this pre-Prohibition style American Pilsner.
Think America and lager and it’s generally not a good headspace to occupy, but back in the day things weren’t so commoditised as they have become. Indeed, Temple’s is the second beer of this style to come out of a Victorian brewery in the past few weeks, with Hargreaves Hill producing one too. This one is Temple’s first lager and, like the Americans all those years ago, uses maize (ground corn) within the grain bill. The result is a bright golden, spicily aromatic beer with an initial malt sweetness that is soon overcome by a blanket of smooth bitterness that covers the palate from back to front before leaving a seriously dry and herbaceous – and corny! – finish that sits around for an age. We’re told it’s a once only, draught only release and, given how much its brewer loves it, that means it may not be around too long…
Style: American Pilsner
Temple Monsoon Ginger Beer
They’re not afraid to play around with unusual ingredients at Temple. Since opening their brewery in December 2011, a few years after starting out “gypsy” brewing at breweries around Victoria, they’ve released a Soba Ale, made with buckwheat, the Scarlet Sour, featuring hibiscus and cranberries, and now a ginger beer. This might not seem so unusual, given the mini-explosion of interest in ginger beers in the past couple of years, yet it’s a breed apart from the others on the market. For a start, there’s more than ginger root in the beer. There are ginger flowers as well as lemongrass and kaffir lime. The result is an aroma that’s seriously lively – herbal, floral, spicy and not unlike walking into a teahouse in Thailand. It leaves you expecting something similar in the mouth, yet the feisty bite found in some other Aussie ginger beers isn’t a factor here. Instead, the effects of the non-traditional ingredients is subtle, with the beer very much that: a beer. At a deliberately mid-strength 3.5 per cent, it’s actually reminiscent of an English summer ale, albeit one that would have the locals baffled down the Dog & Duck.
Style: Ginger Beer
Temple Scarlet Sour
Brendan “Watermelon Warhead” Varis, from Feral, told The Crafty Pint a while back that the only element more refreshing in beer than bitterness was the acidity found in well made sour beers. And, as a tiny but growing number of Aussie drinkers begin to explore the world of wild and sour beers – helped by the experimentation of a tiny but growing number of Aussie brewers in this area – we can expect to see more beers that test his theory. The latest is the first sour beer from Temple, the Melbourne brewery approaching the first anniversary of opening its doors. Loosely based on the Berliner Weisse style (using a sour mash, for those who care for such technical details), albeit higher in alcohol content than the style dictates (but still a sessionable four per cent), it’s easy to see why it’s called Scarlet. The brew made its way through heaps of hibiscus flowers in the hopback before spending time drawing the goodness and colour from an equally large amount of cranberries, resulting in a glowing red beer with the fluffiest of heads. There’s a lick of tart lemony sourness to kick your palate into action up front, some soft malt flavours and, as it warms, delicate floral and fruity characters to round things off. It’s clean as a whistle, light and refreshing, and is another beer with which beer geeks can confound their mates. And, in fact, with which they can try again to get non-beer drinkers to have a rethink.
Style: Fruit beer
Temple Oatmeal Stout
Considering the array of beers Temple has unleashed in recent years, it might come as some surprise that this is their first stout. Originally it was going to be held until next winter, but with one of the brewers – an avowed stout fiend – following his partner to Tassie, it was decided to brew the Oatmeal Stout early as a send off. In a break from the norm at the Brunswick East brewery, there’s is nothing out of the norm. As head brewer Ron Feruglio says: “The twist is there is no twist.” Instead, he’s set out to create the sort of stout he’d like to drink, using a couple of types of oatmeal and a blend of malts and subtle English hops to deliver a well-rounded beer with distinct mocha aromas and a creamy mouthfeel that has hints of chocolate and coffee without straying too far in the direction of either. Another welcome arrival for us and a great send off for departing brewer Dave.
Others to follow
Style: Oatmeal Stout
The People's Pint: Double Hoptendre
We’ve written plenty about this beer already, given its unique conception through the competition we ran earlier in the year via The People’s Pint website. Invented by Brisvegan Leo Hede, chosen by a public vote, turned into a beer by Ron Feruglio at Temple, launched during Good Beer Week at a night on which Steve Grossman announced their partnership in the Temple Good Beer Week Scholarship and now available at a selection of the country’s top craft beer bars, it’s the first of what we hope will be many People’s Pints. Given Leo’s description of the Double Hoptendre, Ron came up with a heavily hopped rye red ale that does all of those things. With much of the 15kg of First Gold and Styrian Goldings hops added late, the first thing that hits you is the floral and subtly spicy hops on the nose then a strikingly firm earthy bitterness. It’s as the deeply red ale warms that it comes into its own, however, with the richness of the four different rye malts coming through to create a satisfying, hearty beer that takes Crafty back to fireside tables in northern English pubs. It’s unlike pretty much any beer you’ll find in Oz – and not just in the way it came to life.
Style: Rye Red Ale
Temple / Weihenstephan UNIFIKATOR
When the head brewer from the world’s oldest existing brewery decides to pop into your brewery when it’s only been open for a few weeks to make only the second collaboration in his brewery’s history, you have every right to give the beer a name entirely in capital letters. And a name as bold as UNIFIKATOR. Because however you look at it, the fact that Temple hooked up with Frank Peifer of Weihenstephan is an incredible achievement. The beer – a strong wheat beer or weizenbock – uses the distinctive Weihenstephan yeast strain as well as some rye in the brew to add a layer or richness to the malt character. The result is a luscious, full-bodied blend of the banana and spice esters typical of the German brewery’s beers, some dark fruit notes, rich malts and a touch of chocolate before it ends both spicy and slightly sweet.
And more to follow at a series of launches soon
Temple Midnight IPA
When this beer was offered up as a single keg taster at a trade event in 2010, it was the pick of pretty much everyone in the room. One chap with about as senior a role in the Australian brewing industry described it as faultless – not something he would give up easily. More importantly, it was delicious. And now, back as the final member of the Temple permanent range, it still is. Deeply dark and with powerfully pungent piney (that’s enough “p’s” thanks) hop aromas that greet you well before the beer reaches you lips – thanks to a heavy, heavy hopping schedule throughout the brewing and conditioning process – it’s a hop lover’s dream. That said, it’s balanced beautifully by the malts (including the midnight wheat from which it takes its name), with the roastiness kept to a minimum. Rich in the mouth and smooth as you like, it’s going to make a lot of people very happy.
Style: Black IPA
Bitterness: 77 IBU