Show Us Your Tackle

August 24, 2011, by Crafty Pint

Show Us Your Tackle

With the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand just around the corner, excitement is mounting around the country* as the Aussies prepare to mount an assault on the trophy they last won in 1999. To mark the occasion, the Portland Hotel in Melbourne’s CBD decided to create a one-off brew. It’s something they’ve done in the past, with an English style ale brewed especially for the recent Ashes tour (so perhaps not the best omen for the Wallabies' chances…). This time around, however, they got The Crafty Pint involved in the brew, working (in the loosest sense of the word) with Rob Freshwater, one of the top brewers at Sydney’s Malt Shovel Brewery and the man responsible for the recipes behind a number of James Squire and Mad Brewers releases, such as the Scribbly Gum Lager and Noir Stout.

“We did it with the 22 Yards [ale] on the hand pump during the Ashes and it went down really well,” says Portland manager Joe Baily. “We thought we’d do something to celebrate the rugby and are aiming for a 6 per cent plus ale combining US and Kiwi hops, which we’re calling the Spear Tackle.”

The Portland Hotel, with its wood-clad, 800l brewhouse picked up by James Squire from the UK a few years back tucked in one corner, is what we like to think of as a gateway venue for beer drinkers. The bar, which takes inspiration for its decor from British pubs, pours the full range of James Squire beers that will be familiar to those who might not classify themselves as craft beer drinkers. But it also features several beers brewed in house, including regulars like the Portland Pale and the Highwayman, plus one-offs like the Spear Tackle and last year’s impressive Two Centurions Imperial Pale Ale that are often more challenging.

The Spear Tackle should turn out to be a powerfully hoppy beer, with Rob opting for American varieties Centennial, Simcoe and Chinook alongside some Motueka from New Zealand. At the last minute, some US Cascade was added to the mix too, although whether this was to make up for the boiling hop foam that spilled from the kettle and down Crafty’s legs while adding a batch of hops we can’t say.

It’s due for release on the evening of September 7 at a launch for Portland Hotel members prior to the World Cup kicking off on September 9. If you’d like to be invited along, you can sign up here.

In the meantime, here’s a few photos we took of the brew in progress:

*OK, if we’re being honest, excitement over the rugby is limited to certain quarters, with people in vast swathes of Australia more likely to be enthused by thoughts of the next harness racing season or the V8 Supercars coming to town, but hey, it’s the intro. And you wait until they reach the semis…

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