Fox Hat Brewing

When they take stock, the family behind Vale Brewing will look back upon 2015 as one of the more momentous in their careers in beer. Not only did the Collin brothers take full control of the former McLaren Vale Beer Company and rename it Vale Brewing, they also unveiled an enticing second label as Fox Hat became the new decal in their hometown of Adelaide before starting to appear atop hotel and bar taps all over Australia.

Designed as an experimental, “unleashed” label where head brewer Jeff Wright can have a little fun “off the chain” with which he operates with Vale’s more mass market appeal core beers, it’s a place to trial something a bit different. Indeed, the aim with Fox Hat’s beers is to keep drinkers guessing, with Jeff stating that every new beer will be “big, bold and balanced”.

The playful nature of the brand’s punny name was matched by the first two beers with which they announced themselves, the quirk-of-history referencing, hopped-to-the-eyeballs Metric IPA and equally hoppy, yet smooth and approachable-for-its-size Phat Mongrel oatmeal stout. They were equally quick off the mark with their first collaboration too, scurrying up to the Adelaide Hills to collaborate with Prancing Pony for an unusual limited edition American red ale/stout mash up that saw the latter’s India Red Ale mixed with the former’s stout.

Having found favour with drinkers and beer judges alike within a short timescale – their first two beers won gold and silver at the Royal Adelaide Beer & Cider Awards within weeks of release – Fox Hat beers have been packaged into 375ml cans and released into the wild in May 2016, not long after Jeff and co welcomed a strong lager into the permanent range. And, while the beers are distributed nationally in keg and can, you can taste them close to the source by visiting Red Poles Restaurant and Gallery on the outskirts of McLaren Vale Flat.

“Fox Hat will be a range that will reflect our personality as brewers,” says Jeff. "It’s a way to keep our interest in using new hops and working with new styles.”

Certainly, with the Collin brothers backing him to lay this hat wherever he likes, this is one cunning old fox who's enjoying the freedom to play around with new recipes, concepts and flavours that the ethos behind Vale doesn’t always allow. Now, where’s the Fox Hat?

Matt King

Name
Fox Hat Brewing
Address

PO Box 270
McLaren Vale
SA 5171

Phone
(08) 7071 3520
Website

Fox Hat Brewing Regulars

Fox Hat Red Pelt

Tapped December 6th, 2016
It may be a bit of a stereotype that red heads tend to be a tad fiery, bold and a little out there (but they say there's no smoke without a fire). And that's exactly the direction Fox Hat has headed with its latest core range beer, Red Pelt. It's an India Red Ale that fits nicely into their regular range, slotting in between the Metric IPA and Phat Mongrel Stout in colour. Continuing the stereotype theme, this isn't a bookish redhead that'll spend its lunch break in the library fussing over last… Read more
Style
India Red Ale
Strength
7.8%
Bitterness
88 IBU

Fox Hat Phat Mongrel

Remember the days when no new small brewing company would dare open their account with anything more than a pale ale or something equally crowd-pleasing? It's one sign of how far the beer industry has moved that there's less need to do so now; where once Moon Dog's decision to launch with a Cognac barrel-aged double IPA was outrageous, these days, if your business plan suits it, there's much to be gained from announcing yourself with something ballsy. And that's what Fox Hat did with the Phat Mongrel. This… Read more
Style
American Oatmeal Stout
Strength
6.5%
Bitterness
70 IBU

Fox Hat Brewing Metric IPA

If you were looking for a short and sweet explanation of how Fox Hat differs from its longer established sibling brewery Vale Brewing, the easiest thing to do would be to look at their respective IPAs. Vale's is in keeping with that brand's approachable, mainstream craft ethos: the aromas and flavours of an American-inspired IPA are there, but kept in check and with a bitterness that tickles rather than hammers. Fox Hat's, on the other hand, lets rip, packing so many hops into the mix that it registers… Read more
Style
West Coast IPA
Strength
7.0%
Bitterness
80 IBU
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