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.
In Beer & Brewer’s first wrap up of 2018, we have the Extra Pale Ale from Little Creatures, Modus Operandi’s new Majestic Leopard, two new beers from Black Dog Brewery, Black Beauty Cider from Willie Smith and Colonial Brew Co.’s South West Sour.
Little Creatures Extra Pale Ale
The latest addition to Little Creatures’ Single Batch is a ‘cranked up version’ of its signature Pale Ale.
All the components of that Pale Ale have been dialed up for the first Single Batch beer of 2018. It has a 6.5% ABV and uses Pale malt.
“We thought it would be good to take the path of evolving our much beloved Pale Ale by adding in a little extra of everything,” said Russ Gosling, head brewer at Little Creatures Fremantle. “There are liberal additions of Cascade and Willamette and Chinook hops, as well as a dose of dry hops. As it hits your taste buds, citrus, grapefruit and pine hoppy goodness fill your mouth.”
The beer has been on sale since 12 February.
Modus Operandi Majestic Leopard
Modus Operandi’s first national limited release of 2018 is Majestic Leopard, which will be released on Friday 2 March at a number of venues and stockists around Australia.
The triple dry-hopped beer with plenty of haze features Mosaic, Eukanot, El Dorado and Vic Secret hops. Majestic Leopard has a 5% ABV. Tasting notes include calypso mango, pineapple and jammy apricot aromas and flavours. It finishes with a little body and a low bitterness, according to the brewery.
“The Majestic Leopard is this beer’s spirit animal and, like the leopard, this beer has more to it than meets the eyes,” stated Modus Operandi. “It’s a beer that wants to be bigger.”
To find out which stockists and venues will have the beer, check out Modus Operandi’s Instagram and Facebook posts.
Two new beers from Black Dog Brewing Co.
Black Dog Brewing Co. has added two new beers to its range of experimental brews.
The first is a homage to master brewer Simon Edward who brought his Mango IPA recipe to Black Dog four years ago, joined the company and is now the longest standing brewer at the Wellington Brewery. Called Mangoes Into A Pub, the beer features fresh mango puree to provide mango fruitiness in the aroma and on the palate to counter the hoppy IPA character.
“Releasing my Mango IPA like this is something I’ve wanted to do since I first walked into Black Dog three years ago, so it’s exciting to be bottling my recipe as a limited edition,” commented Edward.
Launching alongside Mangoes Into A Pub is Black Dog’s American amber ale, which is called Carrot Top. The orange-hued beer won Gold at the 2016 Brewers Guild Awards. It is a malt forward beer, described as well-balanced with sturdy hop bitterness by the brewery.
Black Dog Brewery is also set to open its new Cuba Street brewery in March.
“The brewery is a home for all brewers, and we are always looking to collaborate wtih brewers to challenge the current beer scene,” said Adrian Klemp, ‘top dog’ at Black Dog Brewery. “Ideas really do come from anywhere here at Black Dog.”
The new range will be available from mid-March at Cuba Street Brewery, selected liquor and supermarket stores, and on tap in key accounts across New Zealand.
Willie Smith launches latest single variety cider
Willie Smith has developed Black Beauty, its latest limited edition single variety offering.
Made using the Kingston Black apple, which originates in Somerset in the UK, the deep golden cider has a 6.2% ABV and is available in 750ml bottles with corks.
Tasting notes from the cider maker include fresh green apple and sherbet aromas, with apple fruit sweetness and spiced apple caramel notes giving way to woody drying tannin and racy acidity. It is recommended to be paired with food such as crab apple slow braised pork knuckle.
“The single varietal program is driven by hand selecting single varietal ferments that stand out in quality and varietal expression,” said head cider maker Dr Tim Jones. “Like in craft beer where you see many single hop editions, the Willie Smith’s cider making team have been able to develop very special, complex and intense ciders using just one variety of apple.”
Colonial Brewing Co. unveils the South West Sour
Colonial Brewing Co. has launched its South West Sour, which is made with Pale, Wheat and Munich malts.
Partially fermented with a natural acidify bacteria in the brewhouse, the beer also uses hops from both hemispheres to provide a tropical aroma with low bitterness to keep the golden sour light and refreshing.
“We’re really excited to be brewing something a little different to complement our mainstay ales,” said Ash Hazell, head of brewing at Colonial Brewing Co. “It’s our first time brewing a sour outside our ultra-limited project range. We’re confident that newcomers to the style will enjoy this one as much as we all are right now. The balance of delicate acidity and fresh vibrant hops makes it very drinkable, while showcasing unique flavours of peach and pineapple.”
The Australian Brewery celebrated a record-breaking year in 2017, with an increase in sales volumes and distribution as well as success on the national beer competition circuit.
Adding to the Western Sydney brewery’s big year were two well-received collaboration beers with craft retailer Bucket Boys: a New England Milkshake IPA ‘If You Like Pina Colada’ and a Brown Ale made with real honey and oats, ‘That’s How You Make Porridge’.
The Australian Brewery also secured national distribution with Equity Beverages in mid-2017, allowing its distribution to grow into Western Australia and South Australia. And with both businesses independent and family operated, Australian Brewery say they also have a “shared goal” of growing the brand in independent retail and on-premise venues around the country.
“I’m excited to work with Equity Beverages and our brewery team to continue to grow our brand,” says Marcello Colosimo, owner of Australian Brewery. “My family and I love being a part of growing this industry and helping to get great beer into more people’s hands.”
At the AIBAs, Craft Beer Awards and Royal Sydney Show, Australian Brewery won a combined total of nine gold medals – All Star IPA won five gold alone, with Seis Hermanos Lager and Australian Pale Ale securing two apiece.
There’s also a new canning line in the works, while the brewery’s production and fermentation capacity was increased by a third over the summer period ready for the expected increase in demand.
All signs point toward a big year for the Australian Brewery in 2018.
“As access to the wholesale market gets more competitive, brewers will need to reassess the dream of selling their beers across the country and instead look at how they can survive in their own backyard,” he said.
“That may mean that they look at restricting their distribution footprint to a certain city or region or it may mean they go hyperlocal and establish a brewpub that will only sell its beers across its own bar. The brewpub model is extremely popular in the USA but is only now really starting to get traction in Australia.”
McNamara also said that with more breweries in Australia than ever before and with venues offering more and more choice, it’s a great time to be a beer lover.
“I think it would be impossible to dispute the idea that this is the most exciting time to be an Australian beer drinker,” he said.
“There are more breweries in Australia than at any point in time in our nation’s history. And those breweries are producing such a vast range of beer styles that if brewers and venues/retailers work together a beer style can be found for every consumer’s palate.
“Smart operators have recognised that consumers are looking for more choice in their beer offering. Yes, the traditional lagers are still going to be popular but they no longer have to be the only offering. And that offering doesn’t have to only be in the bar. More and more venues are celebrating good beer as an accompaniment in the dining room.”
In a previous article on Beer & Brewer, McNamara also predicted that further independent brewery acquisitions will take place in 2018.
A solar-powered brewery has been opened in Yeerongpilly, south Brisbane.
Helios Brewing Company was founded by environmental engineers Scott Shomer, and Tony and Jayne Rutter, who set out to design every piece of kit to be as energy efficient as possible. Named after the Greek god of the sun, the brewery features 56 x 335W photovolataic solar panels and a 15kW inverter. This equipment does not just power the brewery – 40% of the power produced is exported to provide energy for the local grid on non-brewing days.
“I decided to see just how green and how sustainable we could be,” says Shomer. “How little water can we use, what can we reuse, what waste can we reduce, how low can we get the electricity, how much electricity can we produce? It was a personal mission for me to see how green I could get it.”
To bank power production, a logic panel has been designed, which controls electrical flow to the cold liquor tank, turning it on only during peak midday power production. This means they are effectively storing excess energy as cold water. Water is re-used wherever possible, while a special cleaning system allows the basic cleaning solutions to be used to up 10 times.
“We worked with some engineers from Melbourne that make super efficient solar hot water systems that work in cloudy conditions like Tazmania,” adds Shomer. “It will get our water up to 95°C straight of the roof. So for the mash process we use zero power. We’re working with the government and the local university, looking at the next generation of batteries. Once we get that next battery, we will truly be solar-powered.”
Helios’ range of beer follows its theme of Greek gods, with a Poseidon Pale Ale (5.3% ABV), Athena Scottish Ale (5.4% ABV) and Hades’ Bitter Chocolate Stout (5/0% ABV) among a six-strong core range. The beers are produced by award-winning Western Australian head brewer Charlie Hodgson.
“We’re trying to push the quality of our beers,” says Shomer. “We’re producing some very complex beers that have some depth to them. It’s a lot of fun. Running with the gods and monsters gives us a lot of latitude.”
At present, Helios is focused on in-house sales and distribution to local pubs and restaurants, but the plan is to start mobile canning soon and get the product out further. The brewery has a tap room, with a mezzanine looking down over the brewery, and Shomer also owns the vacant lot next door.
“Everyone here is looking at a massive mural of Helios and a canyon of stainless steel,” says Shomer. “I intend to expand into the second lot, so we’ve got room to grow.”
The NSW government will provide an exemption to lockout requirements at venues in the Oxford Street area for the 40th Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade.
Paul Toole, the minister for racing, announced that venues in the area can continue to admit people beyond the usual 1:30am or 2am restrictions. Venues will still need to cease serving alcohol at their normal times at 3am on the morning of Sunday 4 March, or 3:30am for venues with live entertainment extensions, and comply with their other licence conditions.
“The NSW government is pleased to relax the lockout laws as part of its support for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Parade,” comments Toole. “It is an internationally renowned event that attracts visitors from all over the world and injects around $40 million into the NSW economy each year. Relaxing the requirements will give people more time to make their way to surrounding venues and events when the parade finishes.”
“The city will come alive and this move allows business to take full advantage of the influx of the large crowds expected,” adds minister for the arts Don Harwin. “It’s an important milestone for the LGBTI community and we trust everyone will have a safe evening celebration.”
The exemption follows similar arrangements for other events, such as the Sydney CBD and Kings Cross lockout exemption on New Year’s Eve, and extended Sunday night trading for certain hotels and registered clubs across NSW for the NRL Grand Final.
Jonny Bucknall recently completed the Micro Brewing course
With the April Micro Brewing course from TAFE SA already fully booked, the growing popularity of craft beer and brewing is in full evidence.
The course has been held twice a year – in April and September – since September 2016 at TAFE SA’s brewing facilities at Regency. It runs in two blocks of two weeks and covers commercial beer production from start to finish. Approximately 30% of the 14 students on each course are from interstate. Whilst there, they cover 17 units of competency, including food safety and quality, wort production, fermentation, beer maturation, filtration, labelling, packaging and cleaning. All the students graduate from the course.
“It’s a compact delivery schedule in an excellent facility – the best teaching brewery in Australia,” comments lecturer Stephen Nelsen. “The students get to make real beer that is legal, licensed, legit beer, which is then sold. People succeed in making better beer, more beer, getting jobs and starting breweries. Craft beer is booming and we see huge potential in creating a niche market in brewing.”
The beer is produced under the Campus Brewery label and is sold on campus at Results Deli and Café, as well as specialist craft beer retailers around Adelaide.
“I’ve been home brewing for about four years and decided I wanted to take it further,” says Jonny Bucknall (pictured) who travelled from Sydney to participate in the course, having previously completed a one-week Craft Beer Boot Camp at Regency campus. “I was looking at online forum and found out about the Craft Beer Boot Camp short course. That covered a bit of theory but didn’t go too in depth on the science behind making beer, so I decided to follow on with the Micro Brewing course.”
Since completing the course, Bucknall got a job at Modus Operandi in Sydney in January.
“It was an expense to come to South Australia to do this course but the knowledge and experience I have gained is invaluable and will no doubt help me in pursuing a career in the industry.”
The spark came in 2012 when the folks behind Applewood Distillery were exploring the potential for Australia’s home-grown produce to make a mark in the world distilling scene. Brendan and Laura Carter, with the assistance of local South Australian chefs had been discovering a whole side of Australia that they weren’t aware of – and were determined to show the rest of the world.
‘The idea behind forging our own unique identity was so strong – especially in a country where we constantly blur the lines between replication and reverence of international spirits and styles. We’ve never tried carving out our own category although all we have to do is look at our own backyard and be brave enough to learn’ – Brendan Carter
Discovering the vast majority of Australian ingredients were intensely aromatic, herbaceous and astringent to the point of bitterness – it drove the pair to set out on the long journey in crafting what would eventually become Økar, releasing it late 2015.
It was initially met with a myriad of responses: ‘some people rejoiced, others were livid – many bartenders live and die by their favourite brands, although most understood what we were setting out to achieve whilst we went through an 18 months experimental phase’.
The newly re-released Økar – AustralianAmaro – is the culmination of 3 years worth of research, re-formulation and garnering feedback from some of Australia’s top bartenders. A well-polished Amaro crafted from a tightly-held recipe that begins with grape-based spirit and features Riberries, Davidson Plum, Strawberry Gum Leaf, Anise Myrtle – ‘to mention just a few’. The bitterness level has been raised to a lingering pleasant warmth and the sweetness tinkered with, to withstand cocktail use.
A new amaro: Australia’s own…showcasing a unique story of the land we belong to.
Wayward Brewing Co. will transform its Camperdown brewery and cellar bar for two separate events over the next six weeks, starting with ‘Summer Luau’ on 24 February and ‘Destination Unknown’ on 28 March.
Summer Luau will see Wayward’s cellar turned into a Tiki paradise of palms, flowers and pineapples, with live music from surf rockers The Van Demons and free Mai Tais from 12pm (while supplies last).
Wayward have also brewed a special limited release batch of Funky Pineapple Hand Grenade IPA especially for the event, and there’ll also be themed eats from resident food truck Mr Chans – think Hawaiian chicken and pineapple tacos. To sweeten the deal, entry is free.
Faye White, Creative Director & Marketing Manager at Wayward, told Beer & Brewer that the idea for the Tiki event was born out of Funky Pineapple being brewed again.
“It’s a bit of fun too, you might not necessarily associate a Tiki theme with lots of beer drinking so we thought we’d give them a cocktail option as well,” she said.
Destination Unknown, taking place in late March, will see guests being issued with a ‘beer passport’ on arrival; from there, they’ll be taken on a paired beer and food tasting journey.
“The idea for that event is to explore the travel ethos of the brand, and give people a bit more insight into that and the Wayward personality. The idea of making it secret is also quite exciting,” White said.
The line-up of brews on the night will also feature a “never-before-seen” beer specifically brewed to tie in with the theme. When asked for a hint as to the identity of the secret beer, White’s lips remained firmly sealed.
“I can’t because it really could give the theme away! It’s something completely new for us though – when Shaun [Blissett] our Head Brewer mentioned it… I told him a country, and he went away and had a think about it, and came back to me with something completely left-field, and not what I was thinking at all, but it sounds absolutely delicious.”
White also hopes to see Destination Unknown and Summer Luau kick off a big year for Wayward in 2018 – with these two events only the beginning of a stacked calendar.
“The cellar bar has been pretty successful in the past year and we’ve won some awards – and got on to Time Out’s recommended list which was awesome – and we just want to keep that up and give our locals and regulars some fun events to come to, and also bring some new faces into the brewery as well.”
Over the past 12 months, three of the larger Australian craft breweries were acquired by the big guys, with 4 Pines and Pirate Life acquired by AB InBev (CUB) and Feral acquired by CCA. And according to Chris McNamara from the Independent Brewers Association (IBA), it’s entirely likely we will see further acquisitions in 2018.
“We have already seen four industry participants (Lion, CUB, Asahi and Coca-Cola Amatil) make significant purchases. We may see more purchases from them or there may be other international breweries that may wish to get involved in the Australian market,” McNamara, Head of Member Services & Operations at the IBA, told Beer & Brewer.
“Heineken and Carlsberg are the second and third largest brewers in the world but have no physical presence here and both of them have invested in small, independent breweries in other markets. In Heineken’s case that has been as close as New Zealand where they own Tuatara as part of their DB operations.
“The purchases may also come from non-beverage companies. We had an example of that when Dixon Hospitality purchased Hawthorn Brewing Co.
“The sales have definitely had an impact on the industry,” McNamara added. “In the short term they have created a lot of discussion, and not just in craft beer circles. There has been a significant amount of coverage in the mainstream media.
“What it will mean in the longer term is a bit harder to tell but it will open up more opportunities for independent breweries to take advantage of consumers’ growing desire to support small and independent businesses.
“From an IBA perspective we lose three larger members in the form of 4 Pines, Feral and Pirate Life and that is disappointing but we have 200 other members to represent so there is plenty to keep us busy.”
But Pirate Life co-founder, Jared Proudfoot, told Beer & Brewer that the grant and the new facility are linked to the hospitality side of the venue and the jobs that will be created.
“The big part of this is the hospitality side of things, it’s closely tied to the jobs that we are going to create for the hospitality in Port Adelaide,” Proudfoot said. “It’s going to be a reasonably sized brewpub that will be able to hold 250-300 people, but that is something that we are going to have to grow into.
“We are going to employing over 80 full-time equivalent employees over the next three to four years and the lion share of those will be in the hospitality business. There will be a few extra production staff, particularly in the early days as we get kicked off with the brewing and the hospitality follows that.”
In addition, Proudfoot told Beer & Brewer that the new Port Adelaide facility will enable the brewer to use its existing Hindmarsh brewery to experiment and create new beers.
“That idea of creating new beers is probably on the third rung of importance for the new site. The step up is quality that we are going to have is very important; the volume is extremely important, but being able to free up some of the capacity at Hindmarsh means that it becomes a good little playground for the brewers.
“I might even get back on the tools and get my hands dirty again.”
Pirate Life Chief Executive John Phinney, said that is excited about working with the state government and about opening the new Port Adelaide brewery.
“Pirate Life is proudly South Australian, so we’re stoked to be partnering with the Government to create jobs in Port Adelaide and grow the South Australian economy,” Phinney said.
“Our decision to choose Port Adelaide and expand our business in South Australia was reinforced by the support we received from the State Government and displays our confidence in South Australia.
“It has been a great experience partnering with government and we couldn’t be happier about building what will be Australia’s best craft brewing destination in Port Adelaide.”
South Australia’s Premier Jay Weatherill said his government was happy to support the South Australian business in bringing more jobs to the state.
“This young South Australian company has quickly distinguished itself in a rapidly growing craft beer market, catching the attention of consumers nationally and internationally,” he said.
“Importantly, this new premises will create more than 80 local jobs. Jobs are the State Labor Government’s number one priority, which is why we are investing in projects such as this one. After a few false starts, the Port has entered a new golden era.
“Pirate Life will be a key tourism drawcard for the Port, and I look forward to seeing the company achieve their goal of becoming one of Australia’s largest craft breweries.”
The state government’s contribution comes through the Economic Investment Fund and Pirate Life has said that by 2025, 100 per cent on the state-of-the-art brewery’s electricity will be sourced from renewables.