Blazing beer trail
SURROUNDED by the shine of rows of brewing equipment and vats, the atmosphere in the shed at Black Dog Brewery at Taminick Cellars is jovial and chatty.
But what is coming together is different to what brewer James Booth produces every day.
This particular amber liquid, a Belgian farmhouse style ale known as grisette, is the product of hard work from a group of passionate brewers who call the North East their home.
As well as James, gathered at the brewery are Ryan Tyack from Bright Brewery, Pete Hull from Sweetwater Brewing Company, and Stefan Landvogt, hailing from Beechworth’s Bridge Road Brewery.
And what this quartet of ale enthusiasts are making together is the latest limited edition beer in a series they have produced for the past few years as a way to showcase, and raise money to market, the North East Brewery Trail.
Bright Brewery marketing manager James Davidson said the brewers get together each year to produce the special beer, aimed at showcasing the ingredients available in the North East as well as the skills of the brewers.
Pete said after the trail (driven by brewers and facilitated by Tourism North East) was established, the idea for the collaborative brew came, naturally enough, from chatting over a few beers.
And Ryan admitted the process “is a great excuse to catch up and check out someone else’s brewery”.
“We play around with brewery toys, and we learn from each other,” he said, noting the collaborative beer making process was an ideal way to forge “mateship” between all the brewers.
He said local brewers already had an informal and sharing relationship, often visiting each other’s breweries and trying each other’s beers.
“Everyone’s out to help each other,” Ryan said.
Pete said he enjoyed the collaborative nature of making the brew, and said the profits from its sale go into a pool that helps all the breweries on the trail market themselves.
“It keeps the brand of the High Country Brewery Trail fresh,” he said, adding that the brew has become part of the renewed push towards activity based tourism, including cycling.
“There’s a foundation core of strong brewing history here.”
The collaborative beer, known as High Country Brewers Collaboration Rule 48, will be available from each brewery on the trail.
More information on the High Country Brewery Trail is available by visiting www.victoriashighcountry.com.au/food-wine-beer/high-countrybrewery-trail.
BREWS BROTHERS: Local brewers (from left) Stefan Landvogt from Bridge Road Brewery, James Booth from Black Dog Brewery, Pete Hull from Sweetwater Brewing Company and Ryan Tyack from Bright Brewery. PHOTO: Kylie Wilson