New England Brewing Co

You might not easily find the New England region on a map. But trace your eyes along the New South Wales coast to the area near Coffs Harbour, then draw west a few hundred kilometres towards the interior, and there you’ll find a series of towns with names like, Uralla, Armidale, Guyra and Glen Innes. These are all part of New England, a rich agricultural region with no clearly defined boundaries and, for the past 100 years or so, no breweries.

Up until the 1900s there were breweries dotted around the area, in places like Grafton, Glen Innes and Inverell. Then, as happened across much of the country, a changing beer landscape and industry wide rationalisation caused these small producers to close down. But, as with so many parts of Australia, brewing is being brought back to the region and leading the charge in these parts is New England Brewing Co.

The idea behind a local brewery came to founder Ben Rylands while on a 2003 trip to Saxony in Germany, where the locals where big supporters of the "amazing" regionally focused Privatbrauerei Schwerter in Meissen. The question was whether a small regional brewery could be replicated in rural Australia. It took another ten years before the idea found a home in Uralla.

Choosing to open the brewery in a former wool store – fine wool being one of the backbones of the local economy – and putting a flying ram as its logo seems to serve as permanent reinforcement that New England Brewing Co is firmly part of its region.

His initial aim was to see New England become a genuine local brewery and gain local outlets before distributing further afield. And, after a first three years in which his team enlisted a growing list of local pubs, clubs, bars and bottleshops, the brewery was able to focus on distributing beyond its backyard.

The brewing equipment upon which the beers are brewed has been passed around a few times. Aside from some new tanks, the gear is basically the same as it was 30 years ago. One unique twist is the use of open top fermenters for all beer styles except lagers. This allows the team to nail Belgian beer styles in particular.

The man with the knowledge to make this unique 10 hectolitre brewery setup work is head brewer Reid Stratton, who joined the business in 2014, having previously worked at Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales in Michigan and at Grand Teton in Idaho.

The core range of beers they’ve used to thread themselves into the community come in the form of a Belgian golden ale, a pale ale and malty brown ale. Those are supplemented by a new release, be it a one-off or a seasonal, roughly every month.

New England Brewing Co. is also one of the relatively few Australian breweries to regularly produce cask conditioned real ale. While they sometimes shoot for straight styles in this form of production they’re certainly not afraid of throwing caution to the wind, having conditioned casks with the addition of anything from tea to orange peel, from chocolate to bacon.

Indeed, going the extra mile seems to be the norm at New England Brewing Co; not content with dry hopping the team built a Hop Cannon to inject hop aroma into the beers, while all kegs and bottles are given a secondary fermentation instead of being force carbonated.

The freshest beer you’ll get, of course, is directly from the brewery’s cellar door, which has the full core range and seasonals available on tap, plus bottled sales. A pizza kitchen was a new addition in2016, but aside from that you can tuck into a small selection of locally made cheese, smoked sausage and jerky. If you do plan on stopping in, the cellar door is open Thursday through Saturday, though if you happen to call in outside those hours and someone is about they’ll be happy to open up for a chat and send you out the door with a few takeaways. If you wanted to take a tour of the inner workings on the brewhouse, it’s best to send a message in advance to let them know you’re coming.

With around two thirds of what they brew now consumed within towns local to the brewery, New England Brewing Co’s quest to become a bastion for regional beer seems to be well on the right path.

Nick O

Name
New England Brewing Co
Address

19 Bridge Street
Uralla
NSW 2358

Phone
(02) 6778 4781
Website
Hours

Thurs to Sun: 11am to 6pm

Tours

By appointment

New England Brewing Co Regulars

New England Brewing Co Little Ram

The New England region is one of those places where you really feel the seasonal change; Winter is cold, Autumn is gorgeous, Spring brings the bloom and Summer is hot. And during those hot Summers in New England a beer like Little Ram will be your best friend. Sitting somewhere in the zone between an Aussie pale ale and a wheat ale, this 3.8 percent ABV straw coloured ale is a bona fide thirst crusher. It’s light on the malt and has a very low bitterness, with most of the action happening on the… Read more
Style
Australian Pale Ale
ABV
3.8%
Bitterness
12 IBU

New England Brewing Co Hop Cannon IPA

Before joining the core canned range in mid 2017 this beer was originally the third in a series of India "something" ales, preceded by the Frederick India Red and Hop Cannon India Black ales It’s a West Coast style of IPA so you can expect loads of citrus zest, juicy fruits and pineapple flavour before a resinous character builds to nice crescendo. Despite, or perhaps precisely because of, the fact that the malt takes a background role, the four varieties of hops – Amarillo, Centennial,… Read more
Style
West Coast IPA
ABV
6.6%
Bitterness
60 IBU

New England Brewing Co Flying Ram Lager

In Autumn 2016, New England Brewing released an amber lager. That release date may have meant they missed the traditional summertime sweet spot for the style, but that was never really the point. Their lager was about time, rather than timing. Unlike so many things in this world which are all rush, rush, rush, this beer took its sweet time conditioning for several months – as traditionally lagers did and many still do (the German word "lagern" means to store, after all). It is thus,… Read more
Style
Amber Lager
ABV
4.7%

New England Brewing Co Brown Ale

If you were to look for a beer style that would be well suited to the cooler climes of New England, casting your attention to what they drink in the cool climes of Old Blighty would seem like a good starting point. That’s exactly what the New England team did when they settled on a brown ale, creating something English in nature but Australian by virtue of its physical makeup. Thus it uses the unfashionable Williamette hop, which serves to give the beer a gentle bitterness. But it’s the malt… Read more
Style
Brown Ale
ABV
4.5%
Bitterness
25 IBU

New England Brewing Co Pale Ale

New England’s pale ale is a something of a hybrid, being based on the American form of the style but loaded up predominantly with Australian ingredients. Taken together they form a beer that’s not one of those massively aggressive pale ales which border on being an IPA but one with a more understated nature that simply shoots for balance and fairly well delivers it. The Aussie malt backbone lays the foundation upon which the four varieties of hops can team up and do their thing; the grapefruit… Read more
Style
Pale Ale
ABV
4.8%
Bitterness
36 IBU

New England Brewing Co Specials

New England Brewing Co The Prince

Tapped December 15th, 2018
It tends to be a good sign when the first thought to cross your mind when finishing a beer is: “Damn. I wish I’d bought two of those.” Such was the case after sharing a can of The Prince, a bergamot infused India saison from the New England Brewing Company. This is a beer that seems to be at the crossroads of what the Uralla brewery is all about. It’s got the basic foundation of a popular style of beer, by way of the heavy hopping regime of an IPA. It also plays to their preference for producing… Read more
Style
India Saison
ABV
6.8%

New England Brewing Co Mango Smoke

Tapped September 5th, 2018
Sometimes, when you come across a particularly odd combination of ingredients in a beer, you wonder how brewers develop their ideas. Are they thinking on an entirely different plane to the rest of us? Do they lose hours scouring the depths of home brew forums for inspiration? Do they just write down random ingredients on scraps of paper, put them in a receptacle, randomly pull out a few and figure out how to make it work? Whatever method they used, the brewers at New England have conspired to create… Read more
Style
Smoked Mango Ale
ABV
6.0%
Bitterness
23 IBU

New England Brewing Co Dark Farmhouse 2018

Tapped September 5th, 2018
Amid the ever-moving carousel of eclectic new releases coming out of the New England Brewing Company, one of the reliable pleasures is seeing the return of the Dark Farmhouse each winter. This year is immediately different in that it’s the first to have come out in standard size cans rather than the big format bomber bottles. That may seem a downside for those who spend a year looking forward to getting stuck in, but it may also have the effect of welcoming in the curious crowd happy to try something… Read more
Style
Dark Saison
ABV
5.5%

New England Big Winter 2018

Tapped July 20th, 2018
For winter 2018, the New England Brewing Company’s ode to the cooler months comes pre-wrapped in a can so cosy in appearance you may want to cuddle it. A word of warning, however: its embrace is stronger than it seems. Big Winter is a Belgian dark ale, one that helps warm through the worst of any winter weather. It’s a beer to counter snow and shivering, for retreating from frost to find fire. So it doesn’t hide its strength. It doesn’t mean to and it doesn’t need to. It’s a beer all… Read more
Style
Belgian Dark Ale
ABV
8.6%

New England Brewing Co Imperial Chai Brown Ale & Malt & Beans

Tapped May 16th, 2018
Much as in the endless beer versus wine debate, people can sometimes get a bit protective of their personal preference when it comes to tea and coffee. What perhaps gets lost too easily by both sides, in both arguments, is that it’s quite ok to not place such stringent limits on ones enjoyment of life’s little pleasures. Still, seemingly not wanting to take any chances, the folks at New England have covered their bases with a near-simultaneous releases of a tea beer and a coffee beer. The first… Read more
Style
Brown Ale & Stout
ABV
7.7% & 5.6%

New England Brewing Co & The Gresham Quandong Grapefruit Corn Gose

Tapped April 16th, 2018
In one corner: New England Brewing Co, a small regional brewery in northern New South Wales. In the other: The Gresham, a suave cocktail and whiskey bar in Brisbane’s CBD. Between them: an unlikely friendship that's existed since the Gresham poured a keg from New England’s first batch of beer in 2013. Half a decade on, it was high time for them to collaborate. The Gresham is known for its impressive array of American whiskies, and for its use of interesting Australian ingredients in cocktails.… Read more
Style
Fruit & Corn Gose
ABV
4.0%
Bitterness
8 IBU
Stockists

Aether Brewing

The Gresham

Tippler's Tap

And select good beer outlets in QLD, VIC, NSW & ACT

More stockists...

New England Brewing Co Ship In A Bottle IPA

Tapped February 28th, 2018
They have a habit of making ordinary things a bit more interesting at Uralla’s New England Brewing. It’s a trend you can trace back to when they’d just started out and chose to add a Golden Ale to their regular range. That’s a style generally characterised by subtlety and restraint and thus frequently maligned in beer circles as falling short of interesting. New England’s was different on the local spectrum because it was Belgian influenced, using a busier yeast to add all sorts of interesting… Read more
Style
Belgian IPA
ABV
6.8%
Stockists

Monkey Bar Dubbo

Welders Dog Tamworth/ Armidale

Plonk

And other good beer outlets in NSW, QLD & ACT

More stockists...

New England Brewing Co Blowing Raspberries

Tapped December 8th, 2017
On the face of it, saison would seem one of the beer styles best suited to the Australian climate. Characteristically light and dry, with the potential to hold an almost infinite amount of complexity – which in turn makes them a great accompaniment to food – there’s a lot to love. Yet, for all its merits, the style is hardly ubiquitous, that’s despite the efforts of those that see saisons as a way to move forward; Bridge Road has long flown the flag with its Chevalier, they're the focus at… Read more
Style
Raspberry Saison
ABV
5.2%

New England Brewing Co Puska Australian Sahti

Tapped November 21st, 2017
The New England Brewing Company has long embraced its esoteric side. Among the more traditional beers that form the brewery’s bread and butter, they’ll enthusiastically plug any gap in the brewing roster with beers such as a dark farmhouse, hopless flower ale or peppermint gum XPA. This latest beer, Puska, fits snugly with such company. It’s based on a relatively obscure Finnish beer style called Sahti, a malty ale notable for its use of juniper in place of, or in addition to, hops. New England’s… Read more
Style
Australian Sahti
ABV
6.0%
Stockists

The Dock

Page Bottler

New England Brewing Co India Pale Lager

Tapped September 22nd, 2017
As they waited for their new canning line to be installed, tested and readied for action, the brewers at New England had to do a little juggling of their normal brewing schedule. The ideal scenario was to shift things around so the first beer destined for cans would be ready at just the right time to transfer from the tank, which meant they had to hold off brewing it. And that, in turn, resulted in them having a little extra time and tank space to fill. This India Pale Lager is what they filled it… Read more
Style
India Pale Lager
ABV
6.3%
Bitterness
66 IBU
Stockists

And select Sydney venues

New England / Batch Brewing Country Cousins 2017

Tapped July 6th, 2017
When the idea was first thrown around, it was all just a bit of fun. Then it became a regular fling. Now it looks like things are getting a bit more serious. It began in 2015 when the gentlemen from the country, New England Brewing Co., invited the city folk from Young Henrys to head up to their brewery in Uralla to collaborate on a beer before reciprocating the offer and brewing the same recipe at the Newtown brewery. The idea was to release the two together in order to showcase the fact that beer… Read more
Style
Vanilla Wit / Cherry Sour
Stockists

The Pig and Tinder (Tamworth)

The Welders Dog (Armidale)

The Henson

The Gasoline Pony

The Little Guy

More stockists...

New England Brewing Co Minutemen

Tapped March 15th, 2017
In terms of destiny fulfilment, by virtue of name alone New England Brewing releasing a New England IPA would have to be up there. The Uralla brewer has never been unadventurous when it comes to picking styles (just witness their recent release, The Bloom, which was made without any hops) so when a slightly contentious one like the deliberately hazy and said-to-be juicier NEIPA started to gain a bit of traction in wider beer circles, they were well within their rights to join the party. Their effort… Read more
Style
New England IPA
ABV
6.5%

New England Brewing Co The Bloom

Tapped February 17th, 2017
If hops are all the rage in Australia, this may well be the least popular beer in the country. The Bloom is the latest seasonal from the New England Brewing Co. and it’s a beer made entirely without hops. Where to place this beer is a bit tricky. There’s really no way you could call this beer a gruit for it lacks the herbal concoction, but it’s still very much ‘normal’ in that the same water was used, the same malt was used and the same yeast used. It’s just that instead of adding hops… Read more
Style
Flower Ale
ABV
3.5%
Bitterness
3 IBU

New England Brewing Co Mighty Sparrow

Tapped January 18th, 2017
When you push play on an Édith Piaf album it’s easy to be struck by the power of that voice. What’s made all the more remarkable is that all that sound emerged from such a slight frame, a reminder that big things can and do come in small packages. With that thinking in mind – and moving neatly from one sparrow to another – New England has attempted to coax a lot from little with the release of its Mighty Sparrow. It’s a session IPA, the somewhat murky and surprisingly divisive beer style… Read more
Style
Session IPA
ABV
4.4%
Bitterness
50 IBU
Stockists

NSW

Black Sheep, Newtown

Bellingen Brewing Co

The Roundabout Inn, Gloucester

QLD

The Burrow West End Brisbane

More stockists...

New England Brewing Co Big Holiday 2016

Tapped December 24th, 2016
Whether it’s the symbolism of the sharing of St Nicholas’ fortune, the historical scarcity of the fruit or simply being too skint to stump up for something more obviously costly, oranges seem to have a longstanding relationship with Christmas (if you've ever reached into the farthest depths of a stocking and plucked a ripe Valencia from the toe, you’ll have some idea). Whether knowingly or not, for its festive release New England Brewing has also taken a plunge into the orange’s humble but… Read more
Style
Belgian Strong Ale
ABV
8.6%
Stockists

New England Brewery

And select outlets in QLD and NSW

New England Brewing Co Honey Amber Wheat

Tapped November 17th, 2016
Spring 2016 has brought a bounty to the drinkers of the would be republic of New England as their eponymous brewery has put out a steady supply of new and returning treats. First was the carefully conditioned Amber Lager, then there was the West Coast IPA and now comes the most seasonally specific of the bunch. Their Honey Amber Wheat takes its origins from the wheat beers of southern Germany but adds a decidedly local touch: as the bees of the New England region emerged and began doing their dance… Read more
Style
Honey Wheat Beer
ABV
4.5%
Bitterness
15 IBU
Stockists

Taps Mooloolaba

Slater and Waldorf, Brisbane

The Dock, Redfern

The Grainery, Singleton

More stockists...

New England Big Winter 2016

Tapped July 25th, 2016
The label of New England’s Big Winter 2016 states that it’s a beer brewed “to celebrate frosts, snow flurries and the smell of wood fires”. While that may be fine for Uralla, at the time of the beer’s release some parts of New South Wales were closing in on their highest July temperatures for decades. Fortunately, at least the evenings remain, for the most part, cool enough to make conditions nigh on perfect for a beer like this. Big Winter is a Belgian-style strong ale and it’s utter… Read more
Style
Belgian Strong Ale
ABV
8.6%
Stockists

New England Brewery

New England & Batch Brewing Country Cousins Black and Gold

Tapped July 1st, 2016
In 2015, New England Brewing teamed up with Young Henrys on a beer called Country Cousins. It saw the same recipe brewed at each brewery and the two outcomes displayed some big differences, as you might expect when one brewery (NE) has open top fermenters and the other doesn't. The Country Cousins project has now been repeated, but with a difference. Instead of brewing two of the same beer collaboratively, the brewers made two different beers collaboratively to create one beer. Make sense? Let’s… Read more
Style
Blended Beer
ABV
4.5% (both beers)
Stockists

New England Brewing

Batch Brewing Co

And a handful of other beer venues

More stockists...

New England Brewing Co Dark Farmhouse

Tapped June 2nd, 2016
Each year, New England Brewing releases two farmhouse style beers, one for summer and one for winter. These non-identical twins are somewhat more in tune with European saisons than your typical Aussie version, due in main to the brewery’s open top fermenters which leave them at the mercy of mother nature and the conditions she provides on brew day and beyond. The summer version is born in a warm temperature, has a warmer fermentation, more yeast action and ends up being a lighter coloured beer… Read more
Style
Dark Saison
ABV
5.5%
Bitterness
26 IBU
Stockists

New England Brewery

Select outlets on the East Coast

New England Brewing Frederick India Red Ale

Tapped May 27th, 2016
Australians seem to have an inherent captivation with bushrangers, that naughty but loveable band of criminal escapees living free of the law and beholden only to the call of the wild and the occasional illegitimately procured gold coin. One of the best of them was Frederick Ward – aka Captain Thunderbolt – who, having been provided lodgings on Cockatoo Island thanks to his role in a horse stealing ring, decided he’d prefer to swap his harbour view and hard labour for the beautiful scenery… Read more
Style
India Red Ale
ABV
6.9%
Bitterness
60 IBU
Stockists

New England Brewing

DRAUGHT

The Dock

The Little Guy

Staves Brewery

Trinity Bar

More stockists...

New Englander Golden Ale

Before the core range was rejigged in mid 2017 and it lost its permanent place, New England's golden ale was something of a cult favourite. That’s because it’s a golden ale in the slightly more intricate Belgian style rather than the straight up-and-down, hop-forward New World style more commonly seen in Australia. New England’s version is fermented with a mix of New England’s house yeast and a saison yeast, which leads to some strong floral esters, boosted by fruity notes thanks to an all… Read more
Style
Belgian Golden Ale
ABV
4.2%
Bitterness
19 IBU
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