Beer & Brewer is a consumer lifestyle magazine that celebrates all things beer in Australia & New Zealand. Read by consumers and trade, the title delivers entertaining and authoritative content via a quarterly magazine, a website and a weekly e-newsletter.
There’s been a flurry of new beers hitting taps and shelves across the country to mark the beginning of 2019. Read on to find out which breweries have stayed busy in the new year.
Stone & Wood Pacific Ale – cans
Stone & Wood is releasing its flagship beer Pacific Ale in cans from 21 January. While a limited can release was originally announced in November, the brewery has now confirmed the popular beer will now be available in cans (as well as the existing bottle and keg options) permanently.
“From when we first released the original Pacific Ale, our customers and our drinkers have begged us to put it in a can,” said head brewer, Caolan Vaughn. “Up until now, our focus has been on making enough of the stuff, so we’re pumped to be able to finally put it in cans ongoing.”
Wayward Funky Pineapple Hand Grenade Brett IPA
Wayward Brewing Co. has announced the re-release of Funky Pineapple Hand Grenade (6.5% ABV) to kick off 2018, a beer 100% fermented with Wayward’s house strain of Brettanomyces.
The brewery describes the beer as “a veritable explosion of tropical pineapple, mango, peach and citrus aromas, with the Brett fermentation adding an extra layer complexity and a dry finish with a hint of tartness.”
TWOBAYS (Gluten Free) Pale Ale
Australia’s first dedicated gluten free brewery and taproom has released its Pale Ale (4.5% ABV) across the nation in cans. Brewed with millet, buckwheat and rice, the beer is described as “easy-drinking” with subtle citrus aromas.
“We hope those who choose a gluten free lifestyle enjoy our first offering in cans,” said founding head brewer Andrew Gow. “And its early days, but I see no reason why we can’t make beers for everyone to enjoy, gluten intolerant or not.”
TWOBAYS has also revealed that a pilsner in can will follow, to be released sometime this year.
Rocky Ridge Session and Elder Sour
The newest addition to Rocky Ridge Brewing Co’s core range is a ‘Session Saison’ designed for the warmer summer months. Citrus is added to the boil to create a light, tangy beer – and at 3.5% ABV, Session is designed for just that.
The brewery has also teamed up with Two Birds’ Jayne Lewis to create Elder Sour (4.7% ABV). Brewed with Champagne yeast and Hallertau Blanc and Saaz Hops, as well as elderflower, it’s another beer perfect for summer.
Moo Brew Launnie Longneck Lager
Moo Brew has brewed a “highly-sessionable” beer to celebrate Mona Foma’s move to Launceston.
This is the first location specific lager from Moo Brew, Tasmania’s largest craft brewer, and has been created especially for Launceston in time for Mona Foma’s relocation north. It’s also Moo Brew’s first longneck.
Everyone’s doing cans these days, us included, so we thought we’d do a throwback to a much simpler time. A longneck time,” says head brewer Dave Macgill.
Launnie Longneck Lager can be purchased at all Mona Foma venues from 16 January, including at a special Launnie Longneck Lager Lounge at the main festival site in Inveresk, and at bottle shops throughout the city. It will also be available to buy in Hobart, Melbourne and Sydney, as well as at Festivale in Launceston’s City Park in February, while stocks last.
Nowhereman Berry Gose Round Mixed Berry Gose
Perth outfit Nowhereman Brewing Co. has announced the release of another sour beer, following the release of three sours (margarita gose, blood orange and mandarin sour, and a passionfruit sour) at the tail end of last year.
The new beer, Berry Gose Round, is a mixed berry gose. Nowhereman have used of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries to create a fresh and fruity complement to the gose style’s tart and moreish briny character.
Berry Gose Round (4.5% ABV) will launch at Nowhereman Brewing this Friday (18 January), with $20 jugs available between 4-6pm.
Nowhereman and Eagle Bay Cherry Psycho Sour Cherry IPA
The team at Nowhereman must be busy, as they’ve also released a collaboration beer with Eagle Bay Brewing in recent weeks.
Travelling down to Eagle Bay’s brewery at Dunsborough near Margaret River, the two breweries produced sour cherry IPA that’s vibrant pink in colour and balances the refreshment of a sour beer with the hoppiness of an IPA.
To make the beer, 60kg of sour and dark cherries were blitzed and added to the fermenter, while Calypso, Simcoe and Brambling Cross were used for dry hopping.
Bright Brewery Treeehop Strong Pale Ale and Dive Bomb Citrus Summer Ale
No, it’s not a typo – Bright Brewery’s latest release Treeehop is, in their words, “brought to you by the letter E”.
Brewed with Ekuanot, Enigma and Eureka hops, Treeehop Strong Pale Ale (6% ABV) is deep gold in colour and presents with an assertive bitterness and intense tropical fruit and dark berry flavours, thanks to a double dry hop.
Dive Bomb, on the other hand, sits closer to the ‘easy-drinking’ end of the scale. At 4.8% ABV, the Kolsch-style summer ale is described as a “literal flavour bomb” with “summer citrus flavours of ginger and lemon peel”.
Both beers are available exclusively at Bright Brewery and to members of its Mash Club.
Carlton & United breweries has reversed on its decision to switch to ring pulls on its stubbies of Carlton Dry, and from March, will be going back to twist tops.
In October last year, CUB made the switch to ring pulls to widespread condemnation on social media, where many also noticed that the bottle size had been reduced from 355ml to 330ml, with no change in price.
In a statement released on Monday, the brewery said it made the decision to switch to ring pulls because “we thought this would make Australia’s most uncomplicated beer even simpler” but admitted “we were wrong”.
“We’ve listened to our consumers and it’s clear they prefer opening their beers the more traditional way. So we’re going back to twist tops. It wasn’t broken and we shouldn’t have tried to fix it.
“We are sorry to our loyal Carlton Dry drinkers. Of all the brands to overcomplicate things, it should never have been us. We hope this is a step towards consumers enjoying opening our beer again.”
Addressing the reduction in bottle size, CUB said: “At the time we changed to ring pulls, Carlton Dry bottles were also reduced from 355ml to 330ml so we could avoid increasing the price – keeping it as one of the most affordable beers on the market.
“To keep our prices unchanged on the Carlton Dry stubbies we’re not passing on any of our increases in production costs for a 12-month period and we won’t pass on the Government’s February increase in beer tax. This will help keep Carlton Dry prices as low as possible.”
A more recent post on Carlton Dry’s Facebook page announcing the reversal to twist tops has received 28,000 likes, 33,000 comments and over 8000 shares at the time of publishing.
Beyond the ring pulls, it’s been an interesting week for CUB, with the brewery also facing backlash from retailers after it was revealed on TheShoutthat it has been selling direct to consumers – as part of a “trial” conducted by ZX Ventures on the auction and e-commerce website eBay.
Craft brewers and drinkers are coming around to the benefits of a beer that you can continue drinking. Session beers that eschew the high ABVs without losing the great flavours are the latest challenge that craft brewers are getting excited about, discovers Luke Robertson in our Summer issue.
A lot of the excitement around craft beer is in the big, the high strength, and the unusual. Which is a lot of fun, admittedly, but when it comes to a long afternoon around a barbeque, or a Sunday lunch with friends, you don’t necessarily want a high ABV, flavour-packed experience. That’s where the idea of a ‘session beer’ comes in: beer designed to still give you a big whack of flavour sans the booze. The first question we have to ask, however, is: what is a session beer?
Simeon Bonetti, head brewer at Newstead Brewing Co in Brisbane, sums it up by saying that for him, session beers are quite simply beers that you can have a few of. “Session beers aren’t convoluted they are just a way to have your regular occasion with gusto,” he says.
Outside of the craft beer world, they have traditionally been categorised as ‘mid strength’ beers in Australia, however some brewers have found that the term has connotations of the big brewery industrial lagers. Ben Kraus, founder of Bridge Road Brewery in Beechworth, says he is conflicted over the term ‘session’, and his Little Bling IPA carries either the ‘mid strength’ or ‘session IPA’ tag, for better or worse.
“I didn’t want to call it session to begin with, because I think it really is a mid strength beer; it’s not really an IPA because of the ABV,” he says. When it came to the beer reps selling it to bars and restaurants it was soon apparent that mid strength may not be the best term. “When they mentioned it was labelled as mid strength, people were less into it because ‘mid strength’ is a bit of a dirty word.” Kraus adds that the term has become a bit convoluted in the marketplace and he’s still unsure if ‘session’ means “light in flavour” or “light in alcohol.”
“It’s hard to have clarity when the word ‘session’ is used across multiple platforms that it becomes a word that doesn’t really mean much in the end,” he says. “If you get a really good IPA, it might be sessionable because you want to keep drinking it.”
Bonetti says for him the term ‘session’ beer is pretty self-explanatory. “I find it pretty straightforward: I want to make a session out of it.” He adds that doesn’t mean the beer can’t be flavourful and interesting. “I don’t think session denotes that it’s too care free, or not challenging.”
A BREWING SESSION
In September, Balter Brewing released its Captain Sensible: A 3.5% ale using the American pale ale style as a point of reference. Brewer Scott Hargrave says for him the “challenge is to make a beer that just tastes like a great beer and not made simply for the fact that it’s just reduced alcohol.” He describes how difficult brewing lower strength beer can be:
“It’s like when you go to the beach and the tides going back out and all the rocks are exposed. Quite often, if you’re a bit clumsy with your hops and a lower alcohol beer, you don’t get the sandy beach, you get all the exposed rocks. As the hop character itself seems to fade you’re left with lower body and higher bitterness and that’s when it gets jarring and harsh.”
Scott Hargrave from Balter
Captain Sensible uses English ale malt for a base, rather than Australian malt like Balter’s other beers. Hargreaves says due to the high fermentability in Australian malts, if he used local malt he would be left with a thinner beer. It’s also latehopped similarly to Balter’s flagship XPA, and making it was a process filled with trial and error for Hargrave. He finds the late hop additions add a “structure” to the overall beer.
“I made a whole bunch of iterations of Captain Sensible and at one point I was being too sensible in just trying to have a mid strength beer that was trying to cover everything,” he recalls. “It wasn’t until I went ‘you know what, fuck it, we make hoppy beers and I’m just going to make a nice bright, clean vibrant little beer that’s just under 4%. The minute I did that, and dry hopped at a similar rate to XPA, I knew that would get it to where it needed to be.”
At Ballistic Beer Co, its 3.5% Pilot Light is subtitled ‘Table Beer’, as a nod to European table beer traditions, where low strength beer is historically shared over a meal. Like Balter, it relies on a lot of late hop additions to help build complexity. Head brewer Lachy Crothers says the combination of low alcohol and Amarillo and Cascade hops has proven surprising and says: “It’s throwing more grapefruit and lychee characters that typically I wouldn’t expect from those hops.”
Newstead’s 3 Quarter Time session ale also benefits from the oil content imparted by hops late in the process, along with a bit of wheat to add carbohydrates. “We used a bunch of wheat in there to give a bit of carbohydrate content to extend the flavour a little bit,” says Bonetti. “All of the hops in there have quite a high oil content to give sort of a rounded flavour and aroma impact.”
Read the full article in the Summer Issue of Beer & Brewer. To subscribe, click here.
Cellarmasters and BWS have joined forces to celebrate International Women’s Day with Australia’s first drinks festival that will have an all-female line-up.
The inaugural Meet the Makers: Women in Beer, Wine & Spirits will take place in on Friday 8 March, International Women’s Day with further sessions taking place on Saturday 9 March. The festival, which will be held at Australian Technology Park in Sydney, will give attendees the opportunity to meet some of Australia and New Zealand’s finest female brewers, winemakers and distillers.
“We want to shine a well-deserved spotlight on women in winemaking, distilling and brewing, which are traditionally male dominated industries. But thanks to these trailblazing women, this is now changing,” said Christine Ricketts, cellar director at Cellarmasters.
While there are no official stats for the number of female brewers in Australia, the Australian Distillers Association says that women make up around 15 per cent of distillers in the industry. And while it is estimated that the number of women employed in wine making is 38 per cent, when it comes to leadership and senior roles, female representation is thought to be 10 per cent or less.
“Although the industry is changing, there’s still a long way to go. This event is all about celebrating women in beer, wine and spirits and giving customers an opportunity to meet these incredible women and try their products,” said Vanessa Rowed, BWS head of marketing.
Up to 30 brewers, winemakers and distillers will be serving samples during the festival.
Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen from Two Birds Brewing and Jaz Wearin from Modus Operandi will be among the brewers at the event, alongside winemakers including Sarah Pidgeon from Wynns Coonawarra and Elena Brooks from Dandelion, and distillers like Laura Carter from Applewood Distillery.
Tickets range from $50 to $60 per session, and include complimentary tastings from all producers, a branded glass to keep, a booklet and entertainment. Masterclasses will also be available at an additional cost.
Sea Legs Brewing Co became Brisbane’s latest brewery when it opened its doors metres from Story Bridge at Kangaroo Point late last December.
Sea Legs Brewing Co is a 15 hectolitre brewery with a 9,000 litre fermenting capacity. It will be brewing a core range of five beers to begin with, including a Tropical Lager (4.3%), Dr Swift’s Golden Ale (4%), Sea Legs Pale Ale (5.6%), Breakaway IPA (7.5%) and Milk Stout (6.5%).
A 100 litre pilot brewery and two 100 litre fermenters will also be used for specialty, seasonal and experimental batch brews.
The idea started more than three years ago, when five engineering mates decided to open a brewery.
“It’s been a wild ride over the past three years and to finally be able to sit down in the brewery and enjoy our beers in Kangaroo Point is definitely a proud moment,” says co-owner Dave Machin. “We’ve had so much support from the neighbourhood – everyone for that matter – and we can’t wait to meet everyone inside the venue rather than on the footpath.”
Head brewer Jon Fuchs has been brewing for 12 years and was exciting to leave the corporate world and open a brewery.
“There’s a romanticism in exploring the variability, flexibility and science of the four main ingredients used to make beer,” he explains. “Creating a unique, quality product and being able to share that with the general public is super exciting.”
The brewery will also offer food in the form of hand-stretched pizzas, hand-brushed crispy fried chicken wings and drumettes, halloumi chips, build-your-own charcuterie and cheese boards, burgers and crispy fried bao, as well as vegetarian and gluten-friendly options and a hand-selected wine list.
Craft breweries in Newcastle can apply for the authorisation at no cost. Conditions include a patron limit of 100 and a requirement to have food available. The trial will run until September 2019.
Minister for Racing, Paul Toole, added that the trial is also available to producers of spirits, liqueurs and ciders.
“These small businesses are currently only allowed to offer tastings, unless they obtain a full “drink on premises” authorisation that is not always well suited,” Mr Toole said.
“The new tailored licensing option will cut red tape and help create new business opportunities.”
Like small bars, craft breweries are considered low risk for alcohol-related harm. The new authorisation with clear conditions will give certainty for businesses as well as Liquor & Gaming NSW and police.
The Independent Brewery Association (IBA) will be hosting BrewCon 2019 will at the Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre on from 4-5 September.
BrewCon is expected to maintain double-digit growth in attendees, with industry specialists from Australia and around the globe coming together to pool knowledge that will help independent brewers reach their full potential. Details of BrewCon registrations will be announced in March.
IBA members will receive member discounts and early bird prices.
As ever, BrewCon will culminate with The Indies Awards Ceremony, a celebration of excellence in the independent brewing sector. Last year saw a record 747 beers entered into the rebranded competition and the IBA is hoping to see more entries this year.
In addition to the conference and the awards, there will also be the Trade Expo. 2018’s Sydney Trade Expo saw a 33 per cent increase in exhibitors from the year prior, the 2019 Expo promises to be bigger than ever.
The IBA is releasing its BrewCon trade and sponsorship prospectus on 8 March 2019.
Gold Coast craft brewer Black Hops has opened up to investment through equity crowdfunding to fund its growth plans.
The brewery is scaling up its operations with a second production facility and taproom in Biggera Waters, which is due for completion in early 2019, with plans for interstate expansion.
The Black Hops offer will feature investment rewards from $50 and up to $10,000 for retail investors. Investors will receive ordinary shares in the company and also be offered priority access to limited release beers as a reward. Black Hops hopes to raise up to $400,000 from investors through an equity crowdfunding offer with Birchal.
“We’ve been following the process for legalising equity crowdfunding for a few years,” says Dan Norris, co-founder of Black Hops, who has been a keen proponent of crowdfunding for several years. “Now that it’s finally here, we are looking forward to being one of the first breweries to run a campaign, and the first to use equity crowdfunding to help fund the opening of a brewery.
“One of the best things about crowdfunding is how great it is at building up a group of advocates and followers. We’ve done this since day one with our Black Hops Ambassadors.
“Backers are likely to be fans and advocates of your business and thrilled to be part of the action. And what better advocates for your company than the people who are prepared to buy a stake in it. We believe that equity crowdfunding is a great way for everyday drinkers of our beer to become investors and share in our future growth.”
Under the crowd-sourced funding (CSF) regime, eligible proprietary and unlisted public companies can raise up to $5 million every 12 months from retail investors on a licensed CSF platform.
The crowd sourced funding regime had previously required companies to convert to unlisted public companies before they could raise funds under the regime, but was expanded to include proprietary companies in October 2018.
Australian private companies are typically limited to a maximum of 50 non-employee shareholders. However, under these reforms, investors acquiring shares through a crowdfunding offer are excluded from this cap, allowing private companies to raise funds from potentially hundreds or thousands of investors.
“When you add brewery equipment costs, venue costs, and tax and excise to the usual costs that any other new or early stage business needs to meet, you’ll soon find that craft beer businesses are possibly one of the most capital intensive small businesses around,” adds Matt Vitale, co-founder of Birchal.
“For many years now, Australia has been one of the most challenging places on earth to raise investment for small and medium businesses. In the context of the Royal Commission into the Banking and Financial Services Industry, we’re already seeing the problem of access to funding for small businesses is getting worse.
“By blurring the lines between customers and investors, brands can more successfully incorporate a capital raise to their sales and marketing strategy.”