The team at Carwyn Cellars has built a bottleshop that’s constantly full to the brim with delicious booze, a bar that’s a destination for anyone in Melbourne seeking out good beer, and the site of some of the most interesting events in the city’s craft beer calendar. Now the bottleshop and bar is a brewing company too. Well, it's back to being a brewing company. For the time being.
Last Word Brewing is the offshoot initially created as a space in which to experiment with brewing, barrel-ageing and blending which fell by the wayside – the last release was close to four years ago. But the project has come back to life with the Lost Archives series: three beers brewed almost three years ago before being largely forgotten about.
“We got together and made this first batch and stuff got busy and life got in the way and we released whiskies and did a few other things,” says owner Ben Carwyn.
“So they just kind of got left, they spent a fair bit of time in barrels, and a fair bit of time conditioning in kegs.”
The beers were originally brewed at Himmelhund, which at the time was acting as a home for a number of sour brewers. That brewery has since stopped operating, with the building in Brunswick set to be the future home of CoConspirators Brewing.
The trio of barrel-aged beers released today includes one featuring raspberries, one featuring mango, pineapple and passionfruit, and another dry-hopped with 50 grams per litre of Mosaic hops – an eye-watering volume of hops to use in a hazy triple IPA, let alone a sour.
Josh Murnane, from Black Arts Brewers & Blenders, helped out with the fruiting and packaging and, according to Ben, other than largely forgetting about them, the biggest challenge was working out how best to bring together the mix of beer, barrels and funk.
“We knew we had something, but it was a matter of working out what we wanted to do with what component,” he says. “There’s a couple of different yeast strains, inoculations and wild Brett ferments, plus a couple of different base beers, so there’s a little bit going on.”
While the release took rather longer than planned, they had always planned to age the beers for a significant period and, with the team happy with the results, it's unlikely we'll have to wait another four years to hear more from Last Word.
“We’re just getting started again," Ben says. "It was going to happen last year but obviously COVID got in the way, like most people’s story.
"We’ll probably re-release some of our earlier clean beers, and we’re just sorting out where we’ll do it, but we’ll put some more stuff in barrels soon.”
The Lost Archives are available from the Carwyn Cellars website from today.
Photos by The Post Project.