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Crafty Pint

Your Guide to Australian Craft Beer / Tuesday 22 July 2014

Barely a week goes by without another seasonal or one-off special flying out of an Australian brewery. We’ll do our best to know what’s coming when, where it’s going and – where possible – what it tastes like before it goes on sale. Be aware, however, that just because a venue’s getting a beer doesn’t mean they’ve tapped it. They tend to go fast too so check they’re not sold out first!

  Beer Details Where

Southern Bay / Cartel Mr B.I.G.S. Released on 22/07/14

The brewers down at Southern Bay are planning to have a little fun. They’re launching what will be a semi-regular (or irregular if you prefer), keg-only releases that could be as little as a single keg or could be a dozen, and they’re doing it with a collaboration that has quite the genesis story. They hooked up with award-winning local roasters Cartel and set about conjuring something that would make the most of the beverages each are renowned for brewing. The result is Mr B.I.G.S. (Belgian Inspired Guji Stout), which features cold drip extract from Guji Kercha beans sourced from Ethiopia. It’s a bean that we’re told has berry fruit characteristics, which were specially selected to complement the malt bill and the fruitiness of the beer’s Belgian yeast strain, along with all manner of nut, cocoa, molasses and rose characteristics. On the brewers' side, they piled more malt into the mash tun than ever before at the brewery followed by enough hops to block the heat exchanger… As for how it turned out, the brewers say it’s “a big, black behemoth” – and one that won’t be around for long.

Belgian Coffee Stout 7.1% 40IBU

Bended – Yarra St, Geelong
Vue Grand
Young & Jackson
Raccoon Club – Plenty Rd, Preston
Deja Vu
You will also find two kegs at Bendigo on the Hop at the Shamrock Hotel

Hargreaves Hill / Deschutes Hopburst IPA Released on 19/07/14

His predecessor in the head brewer role always professed to a love of black beers (and wasted little time knocking one out at his new home), but the new occupant of the role at Hargreaves Hill seems to have quite the affinity with hops. Since moving across the Yarra Valley from White Rabbit earlier this year, Kai Dambergs has made the Pale leaner and more hop forward, created an imperial IPA, a hopped up American Wheat and a number of IPAs, of which this is the latest. It’s the result of a collaboration with US legends Deschutes that took place around the time they were taking the Oregon brewery’s Kris Scholl for a beery cruise on Puffing Billy during Good Beer Week. It features ingredients from both brewery’s home regions and takes its name from a ‘hopburst’ late kettle hopping regime made up of Australian Vic Secret, New Zealand Rakau and a promising new US hop variety Equinox. They’re added to a selection of American caramel and toasted specialty malts to produce what we’re told is “an IPA of smooth bitterness and harmony between malt and hop.” If you’d like more, then Kai adds that we should be expecting an experience akin to this: “Sunday morning marmalade on toast rides alongside sweet caramel, accompanied by fresh spruce tips, Valencia orange and garden mint. A lively coppery-amber colour for a beer best observed and enjoyed on a cold and sunny winter’s day.” The odds on him winning the 2015 AIBA Media Award shorten by the minute…

American IPA 6.3%

Beer Deluxe, Fed Square
Belgian Beer Cafe Melbourne
Hotel Lincoln
Junction Beer Hall
Nieuw Amsterdam
The Alehouse Project
Gertrude Hotel
The Mallow Hotel
The Public Brewery, Croydon
The Scratch
Hargreaves Hill

Van Dieman Hedgerow 2014 Released on 17/07/14

Tasmanian brewer Van Dieman’s Hedgerow has had an interesting development. Originally a soft, malt led annual release that made use of various pickings from around head brewer Will Tatchell’s parents' farm, where there brewery is based, in 2012 he decided to place it into pinot barrels too. The result was a delightful, spritzy, fruity and delicate sour that ended up collecting gold at last year’s Australian International Beer Awards. It’s been a couple of years between Hedgerows and again there has been a little evolution of the brewing process. The beer is still racked over sloe berries, hawthorn berries and rose hips from the farm but this time a portion spent a full 18 months bringing the funk in oak barrels before being blended into the finished beer. If recollections of the last sampling of the 2012 batch are accurate (and it wasn’t that long ago), at the current time the new batch has a fuller body as well as richer caramel malts running through it. There’s a touch of fruitiness, some oaky, vinous booze characteristics and a noticeably dry finish. The sour side of things have a more pronounced barnyard twang too. It feels like a beer that will grow into itself, so if sours are your thing get your hands on a few and watch it develop. The 2500 individually numbered bottles should be easy enough to spot as, taking a lead from the brewers of some Belgian sours, Will decided to punish himself and wrap each bottle in pretty paper too.

Barrel-Aged Sour 6.6%

Saint John Craft Beer, Launceston
Crown Cellars
Mill Providore, Launceston
Alps & Amici, Launceston
Cool Wine, Hobart
Abbey Bottleshop, Hobart
Club Hotel, Burnie
Slowbeer

Moon Dog Cold Drip War Released on 16/07/14

The GABS 2014 beers keep on coming, with the latest cab off the ranks the entry from Melbourne’s Moon Dog. The Stalin-endorsed beer is tagged as a coffee and chicory porter, but has a wee bit more besides, with a touch of rye malt in the grist. The coffee (from their friends and neighbours at Coffee Supreme) was added during conditioning with the chicory making an appearance in the boil. As for the inspiration, it turns out that during the late 70s there was a coffee crisis in East Germany so a replacement was concocted called Mischkaffee that used root chicory, sugar beet and rye in an attempt to ease drinkers through the shortage. And as for the beer, it’s a dark brown affair (with a ruby tinge for those who like to look at light sources through booze) that has soft espresso and dark chocolate flavours as well as some spicy earthiness going on in the mouth. There are distinct liquorice / sarsaparilla aromas that nudge the whiff of coffee into second spot in the war of the noses, suggesting old Joe liked a root.

Coffee & Chicory Porter 6.4% 40 IBU

At good craft beer venues nationwide.
If you want help finding it near you, contact Moon Dog’s distributor Phoenix.

Mountain Goat In Breed The Bogan Released on 15/07/14

Mountain Goat’s In Breed series of beers is the one that allows its brewers to concoct their own brew (Rare Breeds come from on high, Cross Breeds involve other brewers or outside forces). Thus far it has seen the likes of the Craig series, the Naz and Mike’s Third Nut leave the brewery and now it’s the turn of The Bogan. The beer has been devised by the brewery’s resident Bogan, John Bogan, a chap who began doing as much volunteering as he could to get a foot in the door before being welcomed into the brew team. (At which point he accidentally knackered one of their fermenters, but that’s all water under the bridge now…!) The Bogan has appeared on a Crafty Pint Blind Tasting Panel at which he wowed with his palate and depth of knowledge so we’re keen to see what happens when he turns his talents to building a beer. The beer in question is a lager (well, he is a Bogan), but not an ordinary lager. As his boss at Goat, Dave Bonighton, says: “Taking the Bogan out of John Bogan would be like taking the bogan out of Jimmy Barnes. Won’t happen. Ever.” So The Bogan is a Dark Munich Lager (or Munchner Dunkel), brewed with pilsener malt, a big whack of Munich malt, some Kiwi crystal malts, and Aussie chocolate malt. It’s deep copper in colour, malty, mildly bitter and tips the scales at a sessionable 5.3 percent ABV.

Says Dave: “Just like John, it’s a Bogan, but not as we know it.”

Dark Lager 5.3%

Mountain Goat
Bendigo On The Hop (only keg going to regional Vic)
The Wheaty
Rockwell and Sons
The Alehouse Project
More TBC

Mash Brewing Rye Porter Released on 11/07/14

Ever since bringing in a new head brewer two or three years back, Mash Brewing in the Swan Valley has been impressing with its beers, from the unique, subtly oaked session beer Grasscutter, the fine recreation of an English IPA, Challenger, and most recently the newly crowned Champion Australian Beer Copy Cat American IPA. Despite taking ownership of Melbourne’s 3 Ravens last year, which allows them to brew some Mash beers on the East Coast, many of their limited releases only (or at least initially) only appear in WA, other than two kegs that are heading to Beervana. And that’s the case with the latest, a Rye Porter that is the brewer’s attempt, as with his Koffee Stout, to “squeeze character and complexity into small beers”. It’s a 4.2 percent beer, brewed with “a good whack of rye” in the mix. We’re told it’s pretty straightforward other than “an interesting little hop addition”.

Rye Porter 4.2%

All three Mash Brewing venues
Selected craft beer venues
Beervana NZ

Colonial Brewing Truffle Tripel Released on 11/07/14

“I had a Truffle Tripel at the Truffel Kurfuffle.” Try saying that after a few of them at the annual Truffle Kerfuffle festival in Manjimup, sponsored by Colonial Brewing… The Truffle Tripel was created by the Margaret River brewer for the festival and is a Belgian style ale using fresh local truffles that follows in the footsteps of their truffle porter in 2013. Only 11 kegs were concocted by the brewers at the Edith Cowan University (ECU) brewhouse using five kilos of truffles from The Wine & Truffle Company: that’s just under 500g of truffle per keg. They also made their own clear candi sugar using the ECU 50 litre pilot brew system, which did its thing alongside a Belgian ale yeast strain, French hops and Belgian pilsner malt.After spending more than a week in the beer, the truffles ended up in the hands of chefs from The Print Hall, Amuse and Colonial Brewing. According to the head brewer the beer boasts much of the banana and clove aromas you might expect from the yeast whilst the truffle sits quietly in the back waiting to be discovered. “Once you stopped thinking about it you get it,” apparently. Three kegs disappeared at the festival but the remainder are appearing at Colonial’s WA venues. PP

Truffled Belgian Tripel 9.5%

Colonial Brewery
The Print Hall, Perth
The Raffles, Applecross
The Royal on the Waterfront, East Perth

Temple / Weihenstephan Der Handschlag Released on 11/07/14

During May’s Good Beer Week in Melbourne, Frank Piefer, head brewers of the world’s oldest established brewery, Weihennstephan in Germany, visited Temple to create their second collaboration beer. The brew day, to which members of the public were invited, ended up being a mammoth session with brewers there late in the night thanks to opting for the sort of heavy duty grain bill that brewhouses don’t take to fondly. In the mix was heaps of wheat, some rye malt and a touch of smoked malt too, with the resultant beer, Der Handschlag (The Handshake), a deep amber, full-bodied drop. There’s a hint of smoke and a touch of spiciness, while there’s no mistaking the distinct banana and clove characteristics of the Weihenstephan yeast. The brewers used Galaxy and Southern Cross to add a touch of the tropical to a beer crying out to be paired with some hearty pork dishes.

Smoked Amber Wheat Beer 6.1% 19 IBU

Temple

3 Ravens Black Mass Released on 10/07/14

On the last weekend of Good Beer Week 2014, 3 Ravens opened its brewery doors and invited 200 guests in to sample barrel-aged beers of their and their peers' creation. One of the beers it debuted that day was Black Mass, which has since remained under wraps while collecting a gold medal at the Australian International Beer Awards. Only a handful of kegs were ever produced; little surprise, perhaps, when you understand the lengths that went to in order to fill them. The base beer – essentially a porter featuring some peated distilling malt – was brewed in February then transferred to a Starward whisky cask. While it did its merry thing in there, brewer Adrian McNulty steeped some vanilla pods and chipotle chillis in vodka, ready to be added to the beer once it left the barrel. The result is a fiercely complex dark beast – black with a ruby (blood?) tinge – that’s simultaneously smoky and oaky, with vanilla and whisky aromas and a distinctly throat-tingling chilli heat completing the picture.

Barrel-aged chipotle vanilla porter

Gold Medal AIBA 2014

Royston
The Terminus
Then one more keg to appear somewhere, some day…

Little Brewing Co Breaking The Cardinal Rule Released on 9/07/14

Having broken the shackles and let his inner beast free with Little Brewing’s last new release, the Death Between The Tanks Double IPA, head brewer Warwick Little has been at it again. Breaking The Cardinal Rule was the brewery’s entry for this year’s GABS festival and has now been released in packaged form, complete with comical labels mirroring those of the Double IPA. Said labels feature a hooded monk pulling a lever on a “Hop-O-Meter” all the way to “Full Tilt”, while it also informs us that the beer is, at least in part, a Belgian Tripel (not triple IPA as some have apparently misconstrued it). Given the brewery produces possibly the best homegrown Tripel (under its Mad Abbot range) you might think he’d simply combined that beer with the hop profile of the Double IPA. But that would be to forget that Waz is one of the country’s more cerebral brewers. So here you’ll find a mere 80 IBU worth of hop bitterness (what do you mean, “Merely?”) and hops carefully selected to “meld harmoniously” with the typical malt sweetness and yeast characters of a tripel. The result is a beer of the ilk of Feral’s Raging Flem, albeit not as chewy, one that pours the sort of cloudy orange-yellow that could be mistaken for Breakfast Juice (note: do not mistake for Breakfast Juice unless you’re up for a mid-morning snooze) and in which grapefruit aromas hit first but don’t overpower the spicy, clove like yeast phenolics. Flavour wise, the combo of malt / candi sugar sweetness and a mountain of US hops lend it a kind of stewed apricot nature with some yeast-derived spiciness and booze sweetness too. Certainly, there’s enough malt to prevent “Full Tilt” becoming “Palate Bashing” and it went down a treat with last night’s Thai green curry.

Hoppy Belgian Tripel 9.5% 80 IBU

Nail Brewing Imperial Porter: Clayden Brew Released on 9/07/14

With yet another major trophy clogging up the mantelpiece at the Stallwood residence, this time for the Hughe Dunn Imperial Brown Ale (which is set for an imminent re-release), there will be plenty on the lookout for anything bearing the Nail logo now that the beers are available more widely. Out and about now is an Imperial Porter, the third Brew Log release. Continuing the tradition of dedicating each Brew Log beer to someone important in brewer John Stallwood’s life, this one is for his son Clayden, who arrived in the world at a time when he’d just launched his new brewery and was working crazy hours. When he’s old enough to sample it (technically in another 16 years), Clayden will thank his dad as it’s a cracker: a voluminous, oily, opaque, off black beast blended from two brews created late last year. It’s awash with boozy chocolate and vanilla aromas that make way for flavours of chocolate fudge, hazelnut, molasses and a touch of umami. It’s as rich and sweet as a dessert, with just enough carbonation to keep it sliding over the tongue and into your grateful gullet but not so much that it doesn’t leave a wee coating behind to extend your gluttonous pleasure.

Imperial Porter 8.5%

At good craft beer outlets
(NB: At time of posting, the handful of kegs may have gone)

Stone & Wood Cloud Catcher Released on 8/07/14

To mark the opening of their second brewery in the Northern Rivers region of NSW (and presumably also marking the sense of relief that comes with being able to supply Pacific Ale to the many who’ve been craving it), Stone & Wood created a new beer. Taking its name from the Aboriginal name for Mt Warning, which stands over the new site in Murwillumbah, it’s as much a celebration of what the brewery stands for too. In other words, it’s bright and balanced and comes chockfull of Aussie hops. It wouldn’t have been right if they’d marked the occasion without using the Galaxy hop that their Pacific Ale has done more than anything else to popularise, and its distinct passionfruit aromas are prominent. To that they’ve added heaps of newer variety Ella (formerly Stella), a hop that has its creators equally excited and, if anything, offers more depth than its predecessor. It adds apricot to the tropical fruit salad mix while, at 5.5 percent, the beer is a full-bodied affair too. You could look at it as Pacific Ale on steroids, but there’s a bit more going on than that. Either way, word is it may only be a single batch release so if you’d like to raise a glass in tribute to Stone & Wood’s success, grab a bottle soon.

Australian Ale 5.5%

Find Cloud Catcher here

Young Henrys / Yeastie Boys My Coffee Is Cactus Released on 8/07/14

Like Theseus with his ball of thread in the Minotaur’s Lair, Banksy, a prolific junk mail deliverer or a rabbit with an insatiable appetite and particularly overactive digestive system, Stu from the Yeastie Boys rarely goes anywhere without leaving evidence of his visit. A collaborator (or “spooner” as he prefers) par excellence, his latest Aussie deposit took place in the loving arms of the Young Henrys brew team. There, he hooked up with long time friend and new head brewer Sam Füss and Young Henrys founder Richard Adamson to create a beer that was once to have been called the Turgid Miasma of Existence but has since been renamed My Coffee Is Cactus. It’s a Cascara Agave Stout clocking in around 8.5 percent, with Cascara being the skins from coffee and something that Stu had always wanted to use in a brew. Said skins were sourced from Toby’s Estate, who plundered their own plantation in Panama, then used in a beer whose original name was inspired by Richard and Stu’s mutual love of the Celibate Rifles, whose lead singer is a Zen Buddhist. It’s on tap at the brewery and some will be heading to next month’s Beervana festival too.

Coffee Cactus Stout 8.5%

Young Henrys
Beervana NZ

Little Creatures Shift Brewers Stash #1: American Brown Ale Released on 8/07/14

It looks like those who feared the crash of doom when Little Creatures became 100 percent owned by Lion / Kirin may have to wait a little longer. The brewery continues to do plenty of good things, whether adding an excellent IPA to its core range, creating an urban hop farm or supporting loads of craft beer and community events. And now it’s giving its shift brewers the chance to shine too. The Shift Brewers Stash will become a series of occasional releases (draught only) that will slot in alongside one annual Single Batch release and a couple of seasonals, with the first hitting taps at Creatures' three venues in Freo, Fitzroy and Geelong to coincide with St Arnold’s Day, with Arnie being the Patron Saint of Hop Pickers and Brewers. The idea is that the brewers get to offer up their own ideas and home brewed beers and the best get brewed on a commercial scale at the Freo HQ. This first one is an American Brown Ale that features a blend of chocolate and biscuit malts with Topaz hop cones that lend the beer “a slightly resinous tropical character”.

American Brown Ale

Little Creatures Dining Hall
Little Creatures
Little Creatures Geelong (from July 11)

Feral Brewpub Series Hopfen Fahrt (bottles & kegs) Released on 7/07/14

Hopfen Fahrt first saw the light of day as part of Feral’s Brewpub Series of limited releases in draught form. It’s a beer that uses a bunch of new wave German hops just arrived in small amounts Down Under. It’s unusual hop character made it “one of the most divisive beers we have produced,” according to the brewery – very much a love it or hate it beer for drinkers. So, being Feral, they decided they should brew loads more of it and unleash it again in bottle form across the land. It’s the same beer as last time around, one that plunders the “flamboyant and expressive aroma and flavour hops” now being attempted by the traditional hop growing regions of Germany that gave the world the varieties from which many of the hops we know and love today were developed. The growers are hoping to match the kind of hops coming out of the US, NZ and Oz, so the Feral brewers selected a bunch of high oil varieties (ie the most flavoursome and aromatic), namely Palaris, Mandarina Bavaria, Sapphire and Herkules. The result is an IPA “bursting with stone fruit, rockmelon, mandarin and grassy aromas” and a flavour dominated by spicy, resinous hops and packing a serious bitterness.

German IPA 6.5% 52 IBU

Bottles and kegs to WA venues from July 7
East Cost from July 14
Actual venues TBC