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Crafty Pint

Your Guide to Australian Craft Beer / Wednesday 1 October 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

Lord Nelson Royal Red Released on 26/11/12

With the last of the One-Eyed Rye disappearing from the taps at the Lord Nelson and featuring at Newcastle’s Craft Beer Week, that means there’s room for something new at the hotel in The Rocks. And that new thing is the Royal Red, another beer that follows the Lord’s passion for all things British and beery. It’s an English mild ale, designed with sessionability at heart, and coming with “a nice hop aroma, malty palate and drying bitterness on the finish.” The Lord, which knows a thing or two about beer and food pairing, says it’s “perfect with sirloin and pommes frites” or a steak sandwich. That they happen to serve both in their Brasserie and Bar respectively is pure coincidence!!

English Mild

Lord Nelson

Moo Brew Saison 2012 Released on 23/11/12

For the second year running, Moo Brew has decided that their summer seasonal shall be a Saison. As before, this farmhouse ale is a light-bodied affair that has drinkers with their fingers poised over the “Drain and Repeat” button in its sights. Pale orange / yellow in appearance, it’s a melange of spicy, fruity, citrusy esters. If the Crafty memory serves us correctly (and given how many times a week we spend hunting high and low for wallet, glasses, key, child, etc, this is not a given) it seems to be a little tarter than version one, finishing nice and dry – “a peppery dryness” according to the brewer.

Saison 5.5%

On tap at good bars.
This is a good place to start too.

Mountain Goat Rapunzel 2012 Released on 21/11/12

They don’t venture into Belgium too often at Mountain Goat, but when they do it tends to result in the appearance of this flaxen-haired maiden. A fixture in their annual release schedule for some time now, it’s a strong golden ale inspired by the classic Duvel. True to its name it’s strong (8.3 per cent) and golden in colour. And true to its heritage, it’s a a slightly hazy number with clove, spice and vanilla aromas that’s spicy and dry to taste. A previous incarnation spent time inside a Chardonnay barrel; this one is instead seeing the inside of a glass bottle. Well, lots of them in fact, as it becomes the first batch of Rapunzel to be granted Rare Breed status, meaning you’ll find it on shelves in good bottleshops as well as rocking the horny tap head in good bars.

Belgian Strong Golden Ale 8.3% 28 IBU

Mountain Goat
Rainbow Hotel (only tap outside the brewery)
Other stockists TBC but expect to find Rare Breed in the usual good spots

Kooinda Hop Transfusion Released on 17/11/12

From the word go, the brewers at Kooinda have left people in no doubt that they like hops. OK, so they’ve got the likes of a porter and witbier on their roster now, but when they launched their first beer it was an American style pale ale that stood out from the crowd with its hop forward punch. Since then, they’ve released a hugely popular black IPA only matched for in-yer-face ferocity by the Moylan’s / Nøgne Ø Good Beer Week collaboration Our Dark Secret. And now they’re playing with another hoppy monster. The Hop Transfusion has thus far only appeared on tap at the rarely open brewery bar and festivals but will hopefully see a wider audience, given it’s a packed-to-the-rafters-with-hops IPA, all piney, fruity, resiny goodness, with a rich enough malt backbone to make drinking it rather too easy for something that registers 7.5 per cent. At least one set of fingers is crossed for a wider release anyway.

IPA 7.5%

Kooinda brewery bar (open to 7pm some Fridays only)
Others TBC

3 Ravens Bittersweet End Released on 15/11/12

Melbourne’s 3 Ravens marked 10 years of brewing beers this year. We say “marked” rather than “celebrated” as things haven’t necessarily gone as planned, what with the building and brewery appearing to be on sale at one point and the whole affair looking close to disappearing. A solution has been found (we’ll bring you news on that soon) and the tenth anniversary beer is here too. The aim was to create a 100 IBU (international bitterness unit), 10 per cent beer to mark the occasion. And, in keeping with how the occasion turned out, it ended up just short, measuring 100 IBU and 9.6 per cent ABV. It being an Imperial IPA named appropriately – in more ways than one – Bittersweet End. Chock full of mostly American hops, namely Simcoe, Citra, Chinook, Amarillo and Horizon, with a dash of homegrown Galaxy for good measure, it’s a hazy copper affair that demands lazy drinking. The aroma from its off white head is a mix of sweet toffee-like malts, spicy booze and hops and a touch of pine too. In the mouth, it’s creamy, almost oily, with those piney characters joined by herbal, almost woody hop characters balanced by sweet malts. The bitterness is there in spades, but isn’t out of control, while the booze lends it an element of rummy stewed fruits. One to approach slowly, which is just as well as there are only 16 cases in existence.

Imperial IPA 9.6% 100 IBU

Rainbow Hotel
Nillumbik Cellars
Carwyn Cellars
McCoppins
Bar Etiquette
Mrs Parma’s
Purvis Cellars
Purvis Beer Richmond
Valley Cellar Door
Swords Select
Raccoon Bar
Belgian Beer Café
Slowbeer
Oscars Ale House
Harvest Wine & Liquor

Red Duck The Tiger Released on 14/11/12

It looks like we got things a little out of whack with Red Duck recently. Turns out The Tiger was released when we said the Bell Hop was and vice-versa. But given the brewery is releasing 277 new beers every hour for the duration of 2012, it’s a forgivable mistake. Anyhoo, for those interested in knocking back a Tiger, it’s another nod to the Old Country from Red Duck: a strong pale ale inspired by those of the British Empire. The brewer says it has “strong malt and alcohol notes, soft hopping from Stella in bittering and Northern Brewer for aroma hops”. Given the beer was conceived with India in mind, they also reckon it’s the perfect accompaniment for curry, from a Rogan Josh to a fiery Punjabi, apparently.

Strong Pale Ale 6.7%

Slowbeer
Purvis Cellars
McCoppins
Press Cellars
Blackhearts & Sparrows
Swords Select
Olinda Cellars

Women of Beer Hildegarde Released on 13/11/12

For their second collaborative brew (this time with added Woman), the Women of Beer again looked to history for inspiration. First time up their beer was named after Ninkasi, the ancient Sumerian goddess of beer; here the name comes from Hildegard von Bingen: nun, scribe, composer and feminist credited with being the first to author the preservative power of hops in beer. Not that hops are the primary characteristic in the beer, a French farmhouse ale based on the Biere de Garde style that had French oak chips added in the fermenter. And it’s the oak that really stands out – soft yet prominent – giving the beer more than a passing resemblance to a wooded Chardonnay. There’s malt sweetness and a little spiciness in there too in another elegant and off centre release from the ladies. The beer was made possible with ingredients supplied by Bintani, Cryer Malt and Grain & Grape. Labels were supplied by Pemara. You can read more on the beer here.

Oaked Biere de Garde 6.7%

Kegs
Matilda Bay
Beer DeLuxe
Bar None / East Of Everything
Spotted Mallard
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
Courthouse Hotel
The Alehouse Project
The Local Taphouse Darlo
Beer DeLuxe
Norfolk Hotel WA
The Wheaty
Bottles
Penny Blue
Junction Beer Hall
Odyssey Tavern
Swords
Prince Wine & Spirits Essendon
Randalls Geelong
Park Hotel Werribee
Rockwell and Sons
Bishop of Ostia
Purvis Beer Richmond
Purvis Cellars
Blackhearts & Sparrows
Malt and Vine
Slowbeer
McCoppins
Beer Cartel
Oak Barrel NSW
Camperdown Cellars NSW
Leura Cellars NSW
Warners at the Bay
Freo Doctor WA
Cellarbrations at Carlisle
Clancy’s Fish Pub Fremantle

Red Duck Sexy Thing Released on 12/11/12

Journeys in Mother Pint’s car when a child were rarely blessed with anything remotely approaching decent music. Her favourite musician – the result, one assumes, of meeting him when she was 13 and he was a young, untainted-by-Saviour’s Day-and-Wimbledon pop star – was Cliff Richard. She had a soft spot for Chris de Burgh too. You get the idea. Thankfully, there was a period in which she left Hot Chocolate’s Greatest Hits on rotation in the tape player, providing a welcome respite from the aforementioned horrors and BBC Radio 2’s subliminal attempts to get you to make like a stressed out student and stick a couple of sharpened pencils up your nose. Which brings us to Red Duck’s Sexy Thing, named presumably after the Hot Chocolate hit of the same name, which is an ale laced with chocolate and chilli. The idea came from the brewery’s dabble with chocolate in the Long Shot Porter and chilli in the Beer Here collaboration Ragnarok. The result is, according to brewer Scott Wilson-Browne, is “a hot, wet, lingering, passionate affair”. He adds, helpfully, that “If you see anything cloudy in your beer, apart from yeast, it’s chocolate! Or maybe it’s just sex in a bottle…” Delightful.

Hot Chocolate Ale 6.7%

Slowbeer
Purvis Cellars
McCoppins
Press Cellars
Blackhearts & Sparrows
Swords Select
Olinda Cellars

Red Duck Bell Hop Released on 11/11/12

Apparently Red Duck promised that they’d never brew a black IPA – too much bitterness coming from two directions, they reckon. However, they’ve decided to offer up something with a generous helping of hops and a fair touch of the dark stuff too with the Bell Hop. Described as a “mildly hoppy, dark brown ale” it features a blend of eight well known hops – Columbus, Chinook, Simcoe, Willamette, Cluster, Galaxy, Amarillo and Cascade. And apparently, they’re considering a double Bell Hop in the future – the Concierge, perhaps – which may or may not look like a black IPA after all.

American Porter 5.8%

Slowbeer
Purvis Cellars
McCoppins
Press Cellars
Blackhearts & Sparrows
Swords Select
Olinda Cellars

Temple Scarlet Sour Released on 9/11/12

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.

Fruit beer 4.0%

Temple
Others TBC

The Monk Three Fires IIPA Released on 9/11/12

The beer brewed by the masters of facial topiary at The Monk in Freo for the brewery’s 250th batch was released on the first day of this year’s WA Beer Week. It promptly won a gold medal at the Perth Royal Beer Show the very same day, suggesting it was worthy of marking not one but two occasions. The brewers sent us the story behind the beer, which you can read in full here. Alternatively, know that the three fires refer to Buddhist philosophy and are the huge IBUs (250), massive alcohol content and subsequent hangover. It’s a hard-hitting beer that underwent 250 minutes in the kettle and is only being served in 285ml goblets – they’re only thinking of your head, you know.

Imperial IPA 8.6% 250 IBU

The Monk

Moon Dog Mustafa's Dancing Helmet Released on 7/11/12

Another eminently sensibly named beer from the Abbotsford crew that comes complete with another eminently sensible label. Just don’t try and locate it via the label as they decided to make this batch keg-only. The beer was offered up for sampling at last month’s Fed Square Microbreweries Showcase, alongside the Artisan Pouseure (sic), which will soon appear in bottles (confused yet?). It’s an apricot IPA and, in keeping with Moon Dog tradition, tips the scales close to 10 per cent ABV. Brewer Josh tells us: “Uses NZ hops, heaps of blended turkish dried apricots in the boil. Rather delish! 9.2 per cent, smooth bitterness. I’m incredibly hung over and haven’t been home yet so am struggling for much in the way of descriptors……… sorry!” As are we, Josh, As are we.

Fruit IIPA 9.2% 60 IBY

Slowbeer
Belgian Beer Cafe Eureka
Royston
Others TBC

Bridge Road / The Scratch Scrotch Released on 5/11/12

It’s easy to see how the name for this beer was conceived. It’s a Scotch Ale from a bar called The Scratch. That said, knowing the guys that run the Brisbane bar, it wouldn’t surprise us if they actually decided they wanted a beer that sounded like crotch and worked from there… Either way, the fourth release in the Bridge Road bar series, following beers produced with Josie Bones, Beer DeLuxe and The Norfolk Hotel, is a strong Scotch Ale that’s spent time soaking up the characteristics of American oak soaked in peated oaked 10-year-old Ardbeg whisky – in keeping with The Scratch team’s love of beer and Scotch. According to the brewers and bar staff: “This beer has turned out exactly as planned. A big malty scotch ale, that incorporates a huge range of aromas and flavours (who needs hops?). Smokey peat, big oak, huge scotch influence and caramel/choc malt characters come together in harmony.” Sounds like one to sip and savour.

Whisky Aged Scotch Ale 6.9% 20ish IBU

Josie Bones
Beer DeLuxe
Norfolk Hotel ( Fremantle)
The Scratch
Archive (Brisbane)
New Sydney Hotel
The Wheaty
The Local Taphouse Darlo
The Local Taphouse St Kilda
Cookie
The Albion Hotel
Junction Beer Hall
Bridge Road

HopDog All Hallowed Ale Released on 5/11/12

Whether you judge it by his brewery’s name or on five minutes conversation with brewery founder Tim Thomas, it’s pretty darn clear that this is a man who loves hops and loves to cram them into his beers. So it’s rather bizarre that, here at Crafty Towers, our favourites from his range are those where hops aren’t the focus: the Alluvial Peach, Hyper Hyper coffee beer, a barrel-aged spiced Belgian number we sampled at the brewery last year (which may actually have been a prior version of this) and now the All Hallowed Ale produced for Halloween. (Yes, we’re a little late in listing it…) Given the time of year, it uses pumpkins – roasted ones at that – along with some festive spices and sugars to create a big mouthful of a beer. Pouring a rusty brown and with a big, foamy head, there’s all manner of banana, pumpkin and spices fighting for attention without ever getting too out of hand. And despite that suggesting it would be an overwhelmingly sweet affair, it actually finishes pleasantly dry. Who needs tonnes of hops, eh, HopDog?

Spiced Pumpkin Ale 7.5%

Slowbeer
Olinda Cellars
HopDog BeerWorks
Others TBC

Murray's Smashing Pumpkin Ale (2012) Released on 3/11/12

A collaboration between Murray’s brewery and kitchen this one. It starts with head chef Adam Ritchie and his kitchen team peeling and dry roasting 60 kilograms of pumpkin before selecting the cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice that also goes into the beer. At that point brewers Shawn Sherlock and Ian Watson take over to create “pumpkin pie in a glass”. This is the third year that Murray’s has brewed its special spiced beer, which features British and German malts and cooked pumpkin in the mash. The latter, say Murray’s, “adds a subtle sweetness and pumpkin aroma and flavour that is enhanced by the addition of the spices.”

Pumpkin Ale 5.2%

Annual Halloween release available on draught only

Murray’s
Murray’s At Manly