Barrow Boys

For many years, lager was the enemy for craft brewers. Or at least the weapon of choice with which the perceived enemy – the handful of large breweries who had swallowed up or crushed their rivals – used to convince Australians that beer was pale lager. Craft brewers made ales: often fruity, malty, big-flavoured ales designed to show as much what they were not as brewers as what they were.

These days, however, with craft beer now accepted by the mainstream and those early battles not necessarily the main ones being fought by the country's small, independent brewers, attitudes are softening. More are exploring the world of lager – sometimes even trying to make their own versions of the pale lagers that once inspired them to be different. Heck, one brewing company even chose to launch itself into the Australian beer world's collective consciousness in 2014 with a lager.

That company is Barrow Boys, initially made up of a trio of mates who've been around the local industry in various roles before coming together, supported by a fourth, Ross Sudano, who was CEO at Little Creatures before it became part of Lion. And the beer with which they first appeared was the Stormy Lager: not a pale lager, admittedly, but a rich, malty affair pitched somewhere between a Vienna lager and a schwarzbier. Or, perhaps more acutely, pitched into an area of the beer spectrum where no one in Australia was operating.

As well aiming for a beer that could plug a gap in the market and thus gain early traction, the Stormy Lager was also a beer with characteristics close to Barrow Boys' original head brewer Ash Hazell's personal tastes, both in terms of flavour but also in terms of those such as "drinkability" and "balance". It's something you'll find in subsequent releases too, both the Pedlar's Pale that's part of the permanent release and the draught only seasonals he went on to create before taking up the head brewer role at Colonial in summer 2016/17, particularly the fantastic India Amber Ale that debuted in Spring 2015.

There's a sense of fun suffusing Barrow Boys, from that lively online presence to their involvement in a number of collaborative projects since launching in 2014 and also in their packaging too; put it this way, you won't easily miss their neon orange and lime green bottles on a bottleshop's shelves.

As for the name, it dates from their very earliest days when they were on the hunt for a brewery site and hoped to land in North Melbourne, ideally around the former markets where barrow boys and pedlars would ply their trade. That site never transpired and, at time of publication, the hunt around Melbourne for their own home continues. But, with brewing of most of their beers having switched to the Australian Brewers Guild, home of Hawkers Beer, they're in safe hands until they're able to park their barrow in its own shed.

Name
Barrow Boys
Address

PO Box 541
North Melbourne
VIC 3051

Phone
1800 064 411
Website

Barrow Boys Regulars

Barrow Boys Pedlar's Pale

When we first caught up with the Barrow Boys for a story, their second beer was in development and close to release. They were rather coy about things, only going as far as admitting it would be "hoppier" than their Stormy Lager and "an ale". And so it transpired, with the vibrant hop green of its decals and labels heralding a pale ale by the name of Pedlar's. It's a beer that takes its lead from the American style pales popularised here by Little Creatures but, recognising the… Read more
Style
Pale Ale
Strength
5.3%

Barrow Boys Stormy Lager

In the early days of the Barrow Boys, their Stormy Lager got us out of a pickle. We were on the way to run "Malt Week" of a beer course and neither of the hosts could find bottles of Sam Adams Boston Lager, the darker lager we showcased as the second beer of the week. Wracking our brains for a solution with the attendees rocking up in a couple of hours, it soon became apparent that, outside of Oktoberfest season, locally brewed Vienna style lagers were thin on the ground. Then we recalled… Read more
Style
Dark Lager
Strength
4.7%

Barrow Boys Specials

Barrow Boys India Amber Ale 2017

Tapped September 25th, 2017
Two years ago, almost to the day, we joined the Barrow Boys team for a taste of what was then their new one-off, draught only release. It was an India Amber Ale so good we happily declared it one of the best Victorian beers we'd tasted that year, ending the review with the plea: "Here's hoping it becomes, at the very least, an annual release." Our wish wasn't granted. At least until now, with the beer returning for the start of spring in greater volume and in bottles too. The gypsy operation… Read more
Style
India Amber Ale
Strength
6.3%
Bitterness
60-plus IBU
Stockists

Mr West

And good beer stockists around Melbourne and Geelong

Barrow Boys Pilot Series: Grisette

Tapped May 4th, 2017
While other lesser known old European beer styles have been grabbing rather a lot of attention in recent years – Gose and Berliner Weisse to name but two – 2017 has seen a steady rise in the number of breweries releasing grisettes. Like saison, grisette is a farmhouse ale style with origins more than two centuries ago in the French / Belgian region of Wallonia – similar to but generally lighter than a saison. Latest to enter the realm is Barrow Boys with its new Pilot Series release. They headed… Read more
Style
Grisette
Strength
4.9%
Bitterness
28 IBU
Stockists

And other good beer venues in Melbourne

Barrow Boys Good Times Session Ale

Tapped September 13th, 2016
"Good times, good times / There's gonna be good times, good times / I know there's gonna be..." We're not sure whether the Barrow Boys had good times as imagined by Jamie xx, Young Thug and Popcaan on one of last year's best albums in mind when conceiving this beer (and we're going to go out on a limb and suggest they didn't) but it's not the worst thing to have playing in one's head when contemplating a new beer. Especially when it's one designed to herald the arrival of warmer, beer garden,… Read more
Style
Session Ale
Strength
3.8%
Bitterness
28 IBU
Stockists

Available on tap and in bottle around Victoria

Barrow Boys West Coast IPA

Tapped September 2nd, 2016
The rise of the IPA (and, particularly, those inspired by the West Coast coming from the US) continues unabated. After a few small batch releases in which malt and yeast have been the stars as much as anything else, Barrow Boys have thrown their hat into the ring. And they've done it courtesy of three of the best known West Coast US hop varieties: Centennial, Chinook and Citra. Brewer Ash says the aim was to "celebrate the citrus, pine and tropical notes these heavy-hitting hops are known for",… Read more
Style
West Coast IPA
Strength
7.0%
Bitterness
80+ IBU
Stockists

Stockists coming very soon...

Barrow Boys Black Ink Porter

Tapped May 19th, 2016
Melbourne gypsies Barrow Boys are back with the fifth beer in their "Pilot Series" range of short run beers. And this one's appearing in bottles as well as on tap. With winter coming, they've turned once again to the black stuff, following last year's rather tasty American stout with a robust porter inspired by the beers of 19th century England, albeit with a mix of hops that wouldn't have been on offer to the brewers that, back then, turned it into one of the world's biggest selling beer… Read more
Style
Robust Porter
Strength
6.3%
Stockists

Select venues and bottleshops around Melbourne

Barrow Boys Red Sky Wheat

Tapped February 24th, 2016
Hot on the heels of their small batch Festival Beer, Melbourne-based Barrow Boys are back with another warm weather release. Inspired to get all poetic by the autumns skies that "light up in dramatic bright red and flaunt pink, purple and every colour in-between" they decided to brew what they reckon is one of the world's "prettiest styles of beer", a red Dunkelweizen (dark wheat beer). There's Aussie grown wheat in there to provide the weizen with some caramel and chocolate malts… Read more
Style
Dunkelweizen
Stockists

And select beer venues

Barrow Boys Festival Beer

Tapped January 16th, 2016
Beer festival season is in full swing now so Melbourne's Barrow Boys are celebrating with the release of a new Festival Beer. Kegged off in Ballarat on the eve of the Ballarat Beer Festival at which punters can taste it first, it forms part of the brewing company's Pilot Series, which to date has brought us a fine American porter and a delicious India Amber Ale. Brewer Ash reckons the beer is "as refreshing as the air-conditioned car which carries you through the mirage-like wavy lines above… Read more
Style
Belgian Blonde Ale
Strength
4.0%
Bitterness
22 IBU
Stockists

Ballarat Beer Festival

Great Australian Beer Festival, Geelong

Others TBC

More stockists...

Barrow Boys India Amber Ale

Tapped September 1st, 2015
While you're most likely to come across Barrow Boys via their widely available core range, brewer Ash has been knocking out a few small batch, keg only beers on a seasonal basis too. First up was a hoppy porter brewed with his mates at Temple Brewing and called Black Market Porter. It was followed in the Pilot Series by another beer brewed at Temple: this India Amber Ale. With India having become a byword these days for "more hops (and probably more booze) than a normal beer of the style we've… Read more
Style
India Amber Ale
Strength
6.2%
Hit enter to search or ESC to close