Nowadays, making great-tasting beer isn’t always enough to be memorable. As the Australian brewing industry has matured, we’ve become more spoilt for choice in terms of quality. "Brand story" or "narrative" is the vernacular in the marketing world, and in a country pushing 600 breweries building one is critical to standing out.
Cornella have always imbued their beers with character. One might argue the brewery’s unique rural setting makes this a doddle, but a less savvy operator could easily overlook the gifts many in the area take for granted. And these two beers are no exception. There’s a story woven into each that elevates them from being just another beer on the shelf.
Annie The Wine Dog is Cornella Brewery’s resident cattle dog. On her Instagram page you can see her pruning the grape vines and driving the tractor, but her actual role is PR. On any visit to the brewery you’ll see her mingling and schmoozing the patrons. Throw a stick, and she’ll dutifully fetch it.
Annie also has a beer named after her. Annie NEIPA is a pale gold, suitably hazy, New England IPA. The current release is double dry-hopped with Citra and Galaxy, giving it magnificent tropical aroma and flavour. The two are harmoniously balanced. Mouthfeel is pillowy smooth, with low bitterness. It has the expected juice character for the style without being at all astringent. Concealed beneath it all is a 6.5 percent ABV, so make no mistake: mistreat this one and it can bite. Overall, a glass of this playful NEIPA is much like a game of fetch with Annie: I challenge you to be able to stop at one.
Heavy Rain is a reference to the 2022 floods which impacted much of Victoria. Cornella Brewery was safely above water, but many routes to the brewery were closed, and in some cases destroyed. The name and circumstance also conjure memories of the 1998 action flick, Hard Rain, starring one of cinema’s most unconvincing action heroes, Christian Slater.
With Heavy Rain, though, there’s little convincing needed about this beer’s capabilities. Pouring clear, deep gold, with piney aromas, from the outset it’s a robust IIPA. Voyager malt provides the backbone for a trio of North American hops – Centennial, Citra and Mosaic – with a clean mouthfeel, medium bitterness and a dry finish. Like Annie, Heavy Rain’s alcohol content is well hidden, so be sure your sandbags are ready when this torrent hits.
NB Annie is a core range beer but appeared for the first time in cans in December 2022, hence her appearance here.
Published December 12, 2022 2022-12-12 00:00:00