Tue Jun 12 2012 by Crafty Pint
Let’s take a moment to say thanks for international travel shall we? Sure, national carrier Qantas looks to be going the way of the dodo and our government has a less than favourable take on those who prefer to do it on flimsy wooden boats, but where would our beer scene be without it, hey? Chat to the brewers knocking out the country’s craft beers about their inspirations and you’ll find trips to the US, UK and Europe feature highly. That was certainly the case with Dave and Karen Golding, who returned from the UK and set about leaving their old lives behind to Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula in the middle of the last decade. And, having spent a few weeks touring the breweries and bars of Belgium and Britain prior to Good Beer Week, they’ve returned with fresh inspiration.
The first fruit of this is the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee British IPA currently pouring in real ale form from casks at the brewery and due to hit shelves in limited release 500ml bottles soon. Based on the classic Worthington’s White Shield, it’s hopped to the hilt with old school Goldings and Willamette hops (think subtly earthy, floral and spicy and not in any way tropical, piney or punchy) and a surefire way to take anyone who’s supped in an English boozer back there (in their minds, at least, no matter how realistic the teleporter scene in Spaceballs might have seemed). With much of the beer making its way into casks to be further dry-hopped in readiness for pouring through the brewery’s hand pump, it’s as British an experience as the current weather engulfing Australia.
“We were definitely inspired by some of the beers we drank over there,” says Karen. “Worthington’s White Shield – my God it’s good! Harvey’s Best Sussex Bitter too. [The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Ale] is a testament to our philosophy of brewing that we put on the label of the beer – to brew the best of European styles that are eminently sessionable.”
Anyone who’s familiar with their range would find little to argue with in that statement. And with talk of a mild to come at some point soon, sessionability appears to be high on the agenda – although not the only goal. This year’s release of their highly regarded Imperial Stout is out now and sits firmly in the “sip and savour” category of beers, while looking ahead to their annual Secret Stash weekend, there’s a lineup that warrants careful appreciation over quaffing. As ever, it features a range of their seasonals, including some pulled from the cellar and others given a unique twist.
“The big difference this year is that we’ll have some Temptation that’s been in a gin barrel,” says Karen. “[It’s a beer] that really blows people out of the water in its own right so to have it in gin barrels will be really interesting.”
The full lineup of beers on offer on the weekend of July 21 and 22 is Imperial Stout, Hop Harvest Ale, Weizenbock, Bohemian Pilsner, Belgian Blonde, Christmas Ale, Imperial Stout and Temptation, both straight and Double Barrel. There will also be the last of their Sticke Alt (originally brewed for GABS) and the cask-conditioned Diamond Jubilee British IPA. There will bespecial tasting plates of dishes to match the beers as well as the full restaurant menu, with entry of $29pp including a limited edition printed pint glass to take home filled with Red Hill beer.
So that’s fresh British, Belgian and German beers under one roof. In Australia. On reflection, perhaps international travel’s overrated…
To attend the Secret Stash, you need to book. Call (03) 5989 2959 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.