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September 19, 2011 | by  | in Opinion |
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Beer Will Be Beer – Drinks from Across the Ditch

Aussie beer unfairly gets a bad rep over here, but it’s not all VB, XXXX and Toohey’s. While the craft beer movement isn’t as advanced as in New Zealand, it’s most certainly growing.

The recent Beervana beer festival brought a rare opportunity to try beer from little heard of breweries from across the ditch.

Oft-hailed as Australia’s best brewery, Feral Brewing beers were among the offerings at the Australian bar. Based in Perth, Western Australia Feral tout themselves as ‘’undomesticated yet sophisticated.’’ Their flagship beer, ‘Hop Hog IPA’ is definitely sophisticated and competes with some of the best IPAs in the world with a huge zesty aroma and massive hop flavour – especially for a 5.8 per cent beer. Feral also take the IPA to the dark side, with their black IPA Karma Citra. This has an intriguing flavour combination of chocolaty dark malts and citrus hop, which just somehow works.

I believe one reason Aussie beer gets a bad rap is context. We must remember that Australia is far hotter than our wee micro-climate, and this is going to influence what people want to drink. This is why many Australian beers are on the lighter, thirst-quenching side. Stone & Wood Pacific Ale is one of those beers. It is made with all Australian ingredients, and showcases the unique Galaxy hop variety. It is a very light beer, which is why many Kiwi palates don’t understand this beer, but imagine you’re in 30-degree heat, and the combination of a great flavour in a wonderful thirst quencher means you could drink it all day.

It’s not just Beervana realising the potential of craft beer from over there, our local beer bars are taking it upon themselves to source small brewery beer. The Malthouse recently brought in a shipment of beer from Tasmanian Brewery Moo Brew, of which I’ve tried the Pale Ale and Pilsner. These are both on the lighter side, but again, on a hot Tasmanian day these would go down perfectly. Hashigo Zake has also imported a few kegs, notably Jamieson The Beast IPA. Jamieson is a tiny town of around 300 people, yet it is home to one of Australia’s leading craft breweries. The Beast isn’t your normal hop-driven pale ale, it brings balance to the big hops with a rich malty sweetness. This balance makes this 7 per cent beer dangerously drinkable.

Lucky for us, all of the above beers didn’t quite manage to sell out at Beervana, so Hashigo Zake and the Malthouse snagged the leftovers. Keep an eye out for these trail blazing craft beers from across the ditch – they’ll be well worth the taste!

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