Newstead Brewing's Art Series makes a welcome return in spring 2021 with Sunshine Sour. The first Art Series beer saw them team up with local Brisbane artist Soda Mouf in 2019. In between, Newstead developed a partnership with the Queensland Art Gallery & Gallery of Modern Art (QAGOMA), and from that partnership a collaboration between Newstead, QAGOMA and artist Stephen Mok was born. A long-time member of the Brisbane art scene, Mok is an alumnus of Doggett Street Studio, previous tenants of Newstead's Doggett St venue.
For this collaboration, Newstead wanted to flip the usual script: instead of brewing a beer and providing a brief to the artist for artwork to match, they asked Stephen to create artwork for the label, and brewer Rob Skeat then used it as inspiration to develop a beer to complement and build upon the art.
Mok's art is known for being fun, bright, colourful, imaginative and humorous, and the label he has created for the Sunshine Sour is exactly that. For Rob, it immediately brought to mind a memory of sitting on a park bench in Berlin, basking in the sunshine with the city having just emerged from a long, dreary winter.
"Stephen's art has a sense of humour," Rob says, "and [in this case] maybe even a touch of mania in that sun with its huge grin."
Put together, these themes lent themselves to a bright, fresh beer with flavours reminiscent of summer to echo and evoke similar memories of sunny days, with a hit of acidity to make you sit up and take notice. The low ABV was "a personal choice", presenting a brewing challenge through the development of the beer to get the right balance of flavour and acidity before Rob found the end result he felt best married the beer, the inspiration and the artwork.
The Sunshine Sour opens with lovely aromas of fresh citrus and bright passionfruit. Diving in, you'll find these carried through the beer, with zesty lemon and delicate notes of fresh orange, along with sunny passionfruit, lightly tart and slightly sweet. The acidity is pleasant and refreshing, leading you into a dry finish that cleanses the palate and leaves you wanting more. Fortunately, this release comes in 500mL cans, so you'll have plenty of sips to satisfy you while you're contemplating art, beer and the interplay between them. Or just drink it and enjoy it – there's no wrong way to experience art!
- Session Sour