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Hawkers Beer

At the start of summer 2013, The Crafty Pint received an email from a wine expert and booze world publisher introducing us to Joseph Abboud, the chef behind Melbourne’s popular Rumi and Moor’s Head restaurants. Joseph had just returned from a visit to his mother country, Lebanon, which somehow had turned from an exploratory trip to find new flavours and ideas for the kitchen into him becoming a beer importer.

When we met soon afterwards, with Joseph bringing samples of the soon-to-arrive 961 Beers from Beirut, it quickly became apparent just how unexpected this turn of affairs had been. Having previously only been exposed to macro lagers, he had never been a beer drinker. Yet here he was with the first of many containers of beer already on the water heading from the Middle East to Australia.

Quite how he had ended up in this position soon became apparent when we met the man behind 961 Beer at its Australian launch event at Rumi some weeks later. Mazen Hajjar – former war photographer, major bank CFO and founder of two airlines yet still to turn 40 at the time – turned out to be quite the character: a passionate believer in the power and heritage of good beer who had taught himself to brew at home before building the Middle East’s first craft brewery then succeeding in exporting its beer to more than 20 countries. Little wonder Joseph had been drawn into his maelstrom…

Of course, being a chef with a fantastic palate, as anyone who’s dined at Rumi can attest, once exposed to the world of craft beer there was no turning back. And, just as his appreciation for the wonders of beer and its suitability for the dining table grew rapidly, so too did the visions Mazen had for beer in Australia. He returned again and again, falling for the country and spying the huge potential in the beer world, and began planning to build a brewery in Melbourne.

And thus it was that, less than two years after he first spoke about 961 Beer at Rumi, the first Hawkers Beer release, a highly aromatic American pale ale, rolled out of the imposing brewery in Reservoir built at a cost upwards of $3m. Two days later, it was named People’s Choice Best Beer at the Great Australian Beer Festival in Geelong; within 20 days, they’d run out of Pale Ale, while the subsequent two releases, an IPA and Pilsner, had started garnering praise from Melbourne beer lovers too.

The name of the brewery refers to Mazen’s first trip to Australia, when they took to the streets of Sydney with bags full of 961 samples and went door to door around the city’s venues promoting their wares like the hawkers of old. Yet there’s nothing old about the brewery they’ve built. The towers of steel in Melbourne’s north comprise one of the most hi-tech microbreweries ever constructed by Canadian manufacturer DME and, with a brewhouse capable of producing 45 hectolitre batches and an ever-expanding field of towering fermenters waiting to be filled, it’s one of the largest in Australia too.

There was no messing about when it came to assembling a brewery team for launch either. They brought in highly rated young brewer Jon Seltin, who made his name reinventing Bright Brewery’s beers with panache, at the start, while well known reps joined Hawkers to build a market in Melbourne. The initial reception was one of the warmest we can recall in The Crafty Pint’s existence (one local bottleshop alone shifted more than 230 cartons in three weeks) and things have grown from there.

While Joseph has since returned to his restaurants, Hawkers has grown into one of the largest independent breweries in Australia, expanding at a rate of knots, entering other states – and the UK, with its IPA available through Marks & Spencer – and installing a canning line to further expand its lineup.

The brewing team has been playing with barrels too – from bourbon to aquavit – while the team has hosted some grand events at the brewery too, even turning it into a circus for one evening.

Name
Hawkers Beer
Address

167 Henty Street
Reservoir
VIC 3073

Website
Tours

Tours by appointment only
Cellar door sales available

Current Crafty Cabal offers

20% Off Cases From The Brewery

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Hawkers Beer Regulars

Rover Henty St Ale (Hawkers)

Tapped December 15th, 2017
The Rover line introduced by Hawkers at the very start of 2017 has been reimagined at the very end of 2017. Out go the old school stubbies and in come tinnies off the brewery's newly installed line. There's a new beer inside the bright yellow tinnies too, one that takes its name from the street the Reservoir brewery calls him. It's of a similarly sessionable ABV to its predecessors but possesses a bigger character. Pouring a slightly deeper shade of copper than the tinnies, it fires off sharp, limey… Read more
Style
Hoppy Session Ale
Strength
4.3%
Stockists

Making its way nationwide in the lead up to Christmas

Hawkers Beer Lager

Tapped November 24th, 2017
"So, what sort of lager is it?" "It's just a lager." "No, I mean, is it a Munich helles style, a pilsner?" "It's just an easy-drinking lager." Thus went the conversation when Hawkers' national sales manager dropped in with samples of the brewery's two new cans. And a glance at the side of the Lager can reveals little more. It's a bloody lager, mate; just get it into ya (we may be paraphrasing slightly). That said, there's more to it than that. Sure, there's… Read more
Style
Lager
Strength
4.2%

Hawkers Beer West Coast IPA

Tapped November 22nd, 2017
The second and third beers to roll off Hawkers' new canning line hit stores this week, with this West Coast IPA following the first, XPA, in doing so with a gaudy colour combo: green and gold chosen this time around to capture your gaze from busy bottleshop fridges. And, just as the XPA entered a similar segment of the market to the brewery's Pale Ale, albeit with a punchier and quite different hop profile, this IPA comes packing a punchier and quite different hop profile to Hawkers' original IPA… Read more
Style
West Coast IPA
Strength
7.2%

Hawkers Beer XPA

Tapped October 26th, 2017
As summer 2017 approaches, Hawkers Beer has entered the ever busier world of cans. And, in christening its canning line, the Reservoir brewery has also entered the ever busier world of XPAs; for a style that was the focus of much debate as to what it actually meant/was/should be not too long ago (maybe still is now), it's sure proving rather popular. This XPA will be the first of a number of Hawkers beers to appear in cans, with a West Coast IPA to follow. As for what the X, P and A stand for in… Read more
Style
XPA
Strength
4.6%

Rover Session Ale

Tapped January 20th, 2017
In the very earliest days of the Hawkers Beer project, co-founder Mazen Hajjar told us of his plans to introduce a second label dedicated to approachable, session-minded, lower ABV beers that they'd sell in mini-cases. The hope was that, in both price and character, such beers would entice and then not scare off the masses of Australian beer drinkers that craft breweries need to win over to truly thrive. The success of the core Hawkers range – and demand from others to have their beers brewed at… Read more
Style
Session Ale
Strength
4.3%
Bitterness
20 IBU
Stockists

Rover beers are heading to venues where you find Hawkers beers

Rover Session IPA

Tapped January 20th, 2017
In the very earliest days of the Hawkers Beer project, co-founder Mazen Hajjar told us of his plans to introduce a second label dedicated to approachable, session-minded, lower ABV beers that they'd sell in mini-cases. The hope was that, in both price and character, such beers would entice and then not scare off the masses of Australian beer drinkers that craft breweries need to win over to truly thrive. The success of the core Hawkers range – and demand from others to have their beers brewed at… Read more
Style
Session IPA
Strength
4.0%
Bitterness
30 IBU
Stockists

Rover beers are heading to venues where you find Hawkers beers

Hawkers Pilsner

Tapped April 21st, 2015
In one of our chats with the Hawkers team before they even settled on the name Hawkers, as they were mulling over what beers to launch with, one thing was certain: there would be a pilsner. The question was whether it would be a New World interpretation or something more traditional. In the end, the latter won out. The Pilsner features a collection of classic German noble hops – plenty of them – and all German pilsner malt too. The proof is there from the off, with the distinctive floral, softly… Read more
Style
Czech Pilsner
Strength
5.0%
Bitterness
50 IBU

Hawkers IPA

Tapped March 10th, 2015
Hawkers co-founder Mazen Hajjar is a man never shy with his opinions. And among those many strongly held opinions is that his IPA is his favourite of the Hawkers core range. You can see where he's coming from; having stepped up the hop aromatics a touch from the first batch, the brewing team has ended up with a beer of both depth and sessionability. Based upon the same three hops as the pale, but within a very different structure, it possesses pleasant enough grapefruit, passionfruit and pine aromas,… Read more
Style
IPA
Strength
6.5%
Bitterness
70 IBU

Hawkers Saison

Tapped April 21st, 2015
The fourth (and, we believe, final) beer to form the Hawkers core range is this Saison. It's fitting as, when doing their groundwork for Hawkers, it was sampling a saison at Bright Brewery that Mazen's eyes lit up. Impressed by the beer and subsequently by its brewer, Jon Seltin, it was the moment that led to the two working together at Hawkers. The beer they've created at Hawkers is another, like their Pale, that leaps out of the glass. There's lemon and bitter orange peel at work with the soft… Read more
Style
Saison
Strength
5.6%

Hawkers Pale Ale

Tapped February 19th, 2015
As a way to announce yourself to the world, Hawkers' first beer did a pretty good job. Released on a Thursday, voted People's Choice Best Beer at the Great Australian Beer Festival in Geelong on the Saturday. It went on to sell faster than any beer in history – by a rate of two-to-one – at local bottleshop / bar Carwyn Cellars and the first 15,000 litres was sold out within 20 days. The beer itself is an American style pale ale and one that aims for the punchy character of the APAs you'd find… Read more
Style
American Pale Ale
Strength
5.2%
Bitterness
50-plus IBU

Hawkers Beer Specials

Hawkers Imperial Stout 2018

Tapped June 24th, 2018
Hawkers has a number of barrel aged imperial stouts set to leave the brewery some time during winter 2018 but has sent out a teaser first in the shape of its third imperial stout. Once again, they've looked to beef it up from previous years, rising from the 10 percenter of 2016 via the 10.7 percent ABV 2017 vintage to this year's 11.5. In bolstering the booze last year, some of the refinement of 2016's debut was lost; here, the balance has been redressed. The beer delivers its array of dark chocolate,… Read more
Style
Imperial Stout
Strength
11.5%

Hawkers Bourbon Barrel Aged Old Ale 2018

Tapped June 19th, 2018
In order to preserve their growing collection of barrels for ongoing use, the brewers at Hawkers like to refill them as soon as they've been emptied, pumping them full of CO2 as they're drained with the next base beer ready to be siphoned in. When it came to the bourbon barrels that housed what was to become this beer, they hadn't actually planned what was going to become their new resident so decided to knock up an old ale, a strong, malt-rich beer with origins in England that's not too far away… Read more
Style
Barrel Aged Old Ale
Strength
8.5%

Hawkers & Crux Fermentation Aquavit Barrel Aged Wheat Wine 2018

Tapped June 7th, 2018
Last year, Hawkers welcomed Larry Sidor to their Reservoir home. The former Deschutes brewmaster who now heads up the much admired Crux Fermentation was calling in on an old acquaintance, Hawkers CEO Mazen Hajjar, and, while in town, they laid down a wheat wine, a high alcohol brew featuring a high proportion of wheat. The majority was then put into Aquavit barrels (Aquavit being the Scandinavian spirit flavoured with various herbs and spices) and left. And left. And left. The contents were finally… Read more
Style
Barrel Aged Wheat Wine
Strength
13.0& / 12.8% / 12.7%
Stockists

Plonk, ACT

Hawkers Beer (Cellar door)

And select outlets in VIC, ACT, WA, NSW & SA

More stockists...

Hawkers Beer IIPA 2018

Tapped April 5th, 2018
It’s been quite the busy six months for Hawkers Beer. Since installing a canning line, the brewery’s core range has expanded dramatically, effectively doubling in size. But, through all those changes, if you could highlight a common thread through the brewery’s beers, it’s that they favour balance, something that rings true with both the core range and the limited releases. It was the case for the first IIPA to leave the brewery last year and it’s equally true of the second release. Indeed,… Read more
Style
Imperial IPA
Strength
9.0%

Hawkers Beer Hop Series IPA No.2

Tapped February 27th, 2018
The first beer in Hawkers' occasional Hop Series of IPAs featured a collection of recently developed German hops. For round two, they've focused on South Africa, in part because you hardly ever see beers brewed with South African hops and in part because the chances of seeing them in beers like this got even less likely after AB InBev allegedly strangled supply to small brewers after the merger with SABMiller. Hawkers managed to get their hands on a few varieties – Southern Star, Southern Dawn… Read more
Style
South African IPA
Strength
6.0%
Stockists

And other good beer outlets

Hawkers Beer Barrel Aged Imperial Stouts 2017

Tapped July 26th, 2017
Less is more? Pah! More is more when it comes to barrel aged beers at Hawkers. Having launched its barrel program in 2016 with bottle releases of a bourbon barrel aged imperial stout and a barley wine, for winter 2017 they've taken this year's vintage of Imperial Stout – a beer that's already bigger in ABV and boozy character than last year's impressive debut – popped it inside two different types of spirit barrel and then split the bourbon barrel element into three, resulting in four beers to… Read more
Style
Barrel Aged Imperial Stouts
Strength
Various
Stockists

Launched at an event in Adelaide on July 26 then available nationwide from July 31.

Hawkers Beer Hop Series IPA 1

Tapped April 3rd, 2017
If you're reading The Crafty Pint, there's a better than even chance you've come across breweries releasing a series of beer showcasing hops. For the most part, they use the same base beer then pile on large volumes of a particular hop. Here, Hawkers does that for the most part but, instead of showcasing one hop in each beer, they're showcasing a region. And first up is Germany. Given most excitement for lovers of hopped up beers tends to derive from varieties coming out of the States, Australia… Read more
Style
German IPA
Strength
6.0%
Stockists

Hawkers Beer

And at good beer outlets in VIC, TAS, SA & QLD

Hawkers Beer IIPA

Tapped March 16th, 2017
Aside from a five-way collaboration hosted for the Good Beer Week Masterclass in 2015, for the first year and more of operation, Hawkers Beer impressed with a consistently good core range of to style beers and rapid growth. More recently, however, the shackles have been loosened, allowing for a couple of imperial stouts to appear and the amassing of a seriously large number of barrels – not to mention the launch of second brand Rover. It means fans of the Reservoir brewery can look out for much… Read more
Style
Imperial IPA
Strength
9.0%
Stockists

And other good beer venues in VIC, QLD, SA & TAS

Hawkers Beer Barleywine 2016

Tapped December 20th, 2016
The only new beers to appear from Hawkers in 2016 were the brewery's imperial stout and its barrel aged cousin, with the former making our Best New Victorian Beers of 2016 list. At least, that was the case until now, with a second barrel aged beer snuck out just in time for Christmas. This time it's a barley wine, one that also spent time in bourbon barrels before being released into the wilds in time for festive sipping. It pours a rather gorgeous auburn, with the effects of the bourbon barrels… Read more
Style
Barrel Aged Barley Wine
Strength
12.5%
Stockists

From the brewery (cellar door specials)

And other specialist beer venues

Hawkers Beer Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout 2016

Tapped August 16th, 2016
After an opening year or so in which, a couple of GABS and Good Beer Week brews apart, Hawkers Beer had been doing little other than try to keep pace with the rapidly growing demand for its four core beers – Pale, IPA, Saison and Pilsner – the Reservoir brewery released its first seasonal in June. The Imperial Stout was a finely crafted and very traditionally minded take on the style; a balanced affair that paid tribute to the English originals. At the same time that they packaged said beer,… Read more
Style
Barrel-Aged Imperial Stout
Strength
12.2%
Stockists

Hawkers Brewery

And here while stocks last

Hawkers Beer Imperial Stout 2016

Tapped June 10th, 2016
However you look at it, the only conclusion one can draw is that Hawkers is making good beer. The Reservoir brewery's growth since launching in February last year has been phenomenal, every beer they've entered into competition has medaled and there's buzz aplenty around the beer world. So, when one of the founders gets in touch to say he's really excited about a new beer, it's probably worth keeping an eye out. The beer is the first of Hawkers' imperial range, an imperial stout with its roots and… Read more
Style
Imperial Stout
Strength
10.0%
Stockists

Others TBC (if the beer isn't already gone...)

Hawkers / Edge / KAIJU! / Evil Twin / Baird Inappropriate Touching

Tapped June 30th, 2015
On the opening Sunday of Good Beer Week, Hawkers Beer in Reservoir hosted brewers from Edge Brewing Project, KAIJU!, Evil Twin and Baird Beer plus a host of paying guests for the festival's fourth annual collaboration masterclass. Ostensibly, the day is as much about bringing together top brewers and beer lovers for a day of entertainment and enlightenment (and engorgement) but while all that is going on a beer is made too. In the past it's seen a double black IPA come out from Nogne O / Moylan's… Read more
Style
Imperial Schwarzbier
Strength
6.5%
Stockists

Hop Heads

Dr Morse

Regent Cellars

Post Office Hotel

Wine Planet

More stockists to follow

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