There’s a brew for every oc­ca­sion this sum­mer

James Smith proves there’s a beer for every oc­ca­sion. Here he of­fers ideas to get you through sum­mer re­freshed and in­spired by a brave new world of brew­ing.

Halliday - - Contents -

ONE THING IS for sure in the fast-mov­ing beer world: you won’t strug­gle to find a brew that suits any oc­ca­sion. Heck, there are even beers for dogs on the mar­ket. As bar­be­cues, beach days, camp­ing trips and fes­ti­vals fast ap­proach, there is plenty of de­mand for a re­fresh­ing lager or a fruity pale ale. But what else could you serve up?


Once al­most for­got­ten, but now back with a vengeance, the Ger­man-style Ber­liner weisse was called the “Cham­pagne of the North” by Napoleon’s forces. And along with fel­low Ger­man come­back kid gose, it can of­fer an ex­pe­ri­ence not dis­sim­i­lar to a glass of bub­bles, al­beit with one-third of the booze con­tent.

More of­ten than not, brew­ers use the base beer – high in wheat con­tent and typ­i­cally ket­tle-soured (the mashed grains are left overnight to de­velop sour­ing bac­te­ria, then oc­ca­sion­ally topped up with more lac­to­bacil­lus) – as a start­ing point to add fruit and spices.

Then you’ll find brew­ers who achieve acidic tang and spritzy car­bon­a­tion by other means – per­haps via time in bar­rels or through a funky house yeast blend. Ei­ther way, play­ing with acid­ity has be­come al­most as pop­u­lar for small brew­ers as play­ing with hops.

While they achieve their goals in dif­fer­ent ways, the likes of La Sirène’s Avant Garde range (par­tic­u­larly the lower ABV Pro­vi­sion, if you can find it), Hol­gate’s Hop Tart beers or the var­i­ous gose from Black­man’s in Torquay de­liver with del­i­cacy. Black­man’s even re­leased a gose with to­mato and basil ear­lier in 2018 and it was quite un­ex­pect­edly de­li­cious.

Some­thing fruity

Some brew­ers will add pretty much any­thing to beer these days, with fruit com­monly used. You’ll find plenty of

IPAs in which some form of citrus has been in­tro­duced to com­ple­ment the fruity hops, but con­tin­u­ing the bub­bly theme, there’s a grow­ing col­lec­tion of beers in­hab­it­ing the grey area be­tween beer and wine.

Two NSW brew­ers, Way­ward Brew­ing

Co. and Cupitt Craft Brew­ers, each put out co-fer­ments fea­tur­ing wine grapes. Way­ward’s brewer likened their Ri­passo to a sparkling rosé, while the tem­pranillo re­lease from Cupitt was very much in sparkling shi­raz ter­ri­tory.

On the Sun­shine Coast, Brouhaha has been re­leas­ing fruity sours in cans, while a few brew­ers have made such beers part of their core range, no­tably Miss Pinky from Boa­trocker, The Pinken­ing from Lit­tle Bang, Green Bea­con’s 7 Bells, La Sirène’s Ci­tray Sour and, in WA, both After­glose from Bos­ton Brew­ing and Shi­raz­za­weiss from The Beer­farm.

If you’re look­ing to go a lit­tle fancier, keep an eye out for big bot­tle-blended beers from Two Me­tre Tall, Van Die­man, Hop Na­tion’s Site Fer­men­ta­tion Project, Boa­trocker

(their Stern­weisse is a rev­e­la­tion) and

White Rab­bit, among oth­ers.

Then, of course, there’s Wild­flower from Syd­ney, the Mar­rickville blend­ing spe­cial­ist that has made the mas­tery of such beers its cen­tral goal. Wild­flower even re­leased its first wine in 2018 (as did Hop Na­tion and Lit­tle Bang, for that mat­ter).

For the des­ig­nated driver

I’m not sure how big the mar­ket is for flavour­some, craft mid-strengths, but there’s never been more op­tions. Even dis­count­ing the many beers above that sit below four per cent ABV, plenty of ‘nor­mal’ beers are brewed with good old-fash­ioned wa­ter, malt, hops and yeast, de­liv­er­ing high-qual­ity ex­pe­ri­ences at des­ig­nated-driver strength.

For­ti­tude’s Pacer, at just 2.8 per cent ABV, of­fers up pas­sion­fruit and man­darin, and a gen­tly dry­ing bit­ter­ness. And if the ex­perts are to be be­lieved, the best of the cur­rent crop of mids is Nail Brew­ing’s hoppy and pale MVP. A smaller ver­sion of the WA brewer’s equally highly rated VPA, the

MVP was a long time in de­vel­op­ment and has been win­ning awards since its for­mal re­lease.

A num­ber of mid-strengths get wide­spread dis­tri­bu­tion too, such as Bridge Road’s Lit­tle Bling, Pi­rate Life’s Throw­back IPA, Bal­ter’s Cap­tain Sen­si­ble and Young Hen­rys’ Stayer.

Dessert time

If you were to sug­gest a dessert beer a few years ago, chances are a rich, vel­vety stout or lus­cious bar­ley wine would come up. To­day, with the en­ve­lope not so much pushed as torn up and set on fire, the ‘dessert beer’ cat­e­gory con­tains so much more. It’s partly down to brew­ers de­cid­ing lac­tose (milk sugar) and vanilla aren’t only suited to stouts or porters, but can be used any­where to add a creamy sweet­ness.

In the world of sweet treats, Ade­laide’s Big Shed has an army of fans for its Golden Stout Time and Boozy Fruit, which was in­spired by the Frosty Fruits ice block, while Bris­bane’s Bac­chus has recre­ated ev­ery­thing from rocky road to peanut brit­tle, and Mel­bourne’s 3 Ravens launched the Shake se­ries of ‘milk­shake’ IPAs ear­lier in 2018. Then there’s Sailors Grave, which has made creamy and slightly acidic beers some­thing of a call­ing card.

So if you’re in the mood for pavlova, peach melba or lemon meringue in liq­uid form this hol­i­day sea­son, they’ve got you covered.

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