Boekamp Bier’s sudden closure at the end of last year was sad news for Tasmanian beer fans and lager lovers further afield, but in a sign that 2021 might be rosier than 2020, the brewery has relaunched as The Albert Brewery and Taproom.
Boekamp was launched by Mark French and Jurriaan Boekamp in 2019 with an uncommon brew system that wouldn't be out of place in an early James Bond film (pictured above). Early last year they released a trio of lagers – Pilsner, Lager and Dark Lager – and among those saddened by the brewery’s closure was The Crafty Pint’s Dorian Broomhall who included those "true Tassie blue" tins in his roundup of the most significant local releases of 2020.
The brewery’s new name refers to its location in the northern Hobart suburb of Moonah, and Mark says he’s excited to be moving forward with their well-regarded beers and the new name.
As he put it when we spoke on the phone: “The blue can is back”
Or at least it will be back soon, once the brewery fires up and The Albert Brewery’s beers are given the appropriate amount of time in tanks. Brewing those lagers is JJ King, who has joined as head brewer after previously working at both 4 Pines and Green Beacon; they’ve ordered new tanks to increase their production too.
“We’ve got some more lagering and fermentation tanks coming,” Mark says. “Obviously, one of the big things about producing lagers is tank time.”
The Albert Brewery’s focus on such beers makes them a rarity in a beer landscape that’s more diverse than it’s ever been, joining the likes of Heads of Noosa on the Sunshine Coast as one of the few modern day craft lager devotees. While more lagers are on the horizon – and they don't plan to only brew German-inspired bottom fermenters – Mark says their focus will remain on traditional lagering practices.
“We’ll remain a lager focused brewery and on making the best quality lagers we can,” he says.
The brewery’s Moonah taproom is set to undergo changes too, not least as they've secured support for extending their trading hours and increasing capacity.
“We’ve got approval for outdoor seating and food trucks, so we’ll spend the next few months getting a paved courtyard in,” Mark says, adding that the bottleshops and venues they had been supplying beer have said they’re eagerly waiting for fresh supply. Lager fans on Australia’s mainland may get to try the beers before too long as well.
“Overwhelmingly, our customers have said they can’t wait for the beer to be back,” Mark says.
“We’ll get up and going again and get beer back to our customers here and then the plan is to increase production and look at distribution outside of Tasmania.”
As for where the taste for lagers lies in a world of haze, hops and adjuncts, he says he knows demand is there from both craftier parts of the market and more traditional beer drinkers too.
“We’ve actually been the top-selling Tassie beer at a couple of craft beer bottleshops," he says, "and we’ve shown there’s certainly a market for it.”
Keep up to date with the changes at The Albert Brewery via their Facebook page.