This week in beer… How to get on the craft beer path?

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The age-old problem. You love your beer, you’re well on your craft beer journey. You’ve just tasted a great beer that you want to share with your friend but POW, your friend is convinced that the world starts and ends with Carlton Draught, Tooheys Extra Dry or, god forbid, Tooheys New. So how do you introduce your craft beer uneducated friend into the world of craft beer, and unto their Australian Craft Beer Journey.

Firstly, they need to know how to taste a beer. And that is so much more than just drinking the stuff. Make sure your unenlightened friend turns on their other senses too. Before taking their first sip, take in the aroma of the beer and look for the nuances within the beer. When they do taste the beer, get them to swish the beer around their mouth and describe the mouth feel. Is it soft, fizzy or over carbonated? And of course, hows the taste? Look for fruity (lychee, passion fruit), citrus or piney notes.

So where does one start? The logical starting point is on the lighter end of the scale. I’d recommend a sweet, fruity beer, such as a wheat beer? If your friend dislikes beer but likes cider, then this is an ideal starting point. Give them a Moo Brew hefeweizen to get the ball rolling. This beer is a light, banana flavoured ale and is a recent winner in the Australian International Beer Award 2014 (AIBA 14). Its similar to archetype wheat beer Hoegarden, which can be found on tap at Little Brussels in Kingston.

From here, their Australian craft beer journey takes them to English pale ale country and Young Henry’s brewery in Newtown, Sydney, who have the perfect example of an English Pale Ale with an Australian twist with their Young Henry’s Real Ale. It mixes passion-fruit and citrus flavours through the use of Australian hops including topaz and galaxy with the typically earthy English pale ale tastes. A perfect second stop on the Australian craft beer journey.

The next stop on the Australian craft beer journey is “lager-town.” By now your friend is beginning to realise they actually have taste buds, so lets get them onto lagers, but not the generic lagers they’ve been drinking previously. Give your friend a full flavoured Chestnut Pilsner by Bridge Road Brewers or the Bohemian Pilsner by Matilda Bay, where they can taste subtle hop varieties with a crisp, carbonated mouth-feel.

By now your friend is hopefully happy with the journey you’ve taken them on so far, but depressed with how much beer time they’ve missed out on in their lives. The next beer on the list is the quintessential Australian pale ale, the Stone & Wood Pacific Ale. Lighter than its American pale ale counterpart, Stone & Wood Pacific Ale uses bucket-loads of Australian galaxy hops to create a nonchalant yet complex beer, a perfect step up from the pilsner’s previously mentioned.

The Australian craft beer train is nearing its final destination, but a few more stops are needed first. The American pale ale should be the next stop for your friend and there is no better representation of an American Pale Ale style beer than the Little Creatures Pale Ale. Huge citrus and floral notes will envelop your new craft beer drinking buddy’s mouth. But don’t stop there, the India Pale Ale (IPA) must not be neglected either and as always, my heart goes out to Feral Brewing Hop Hog; Australia’s best IPA.

If your friend has made it this far, I’m sure they’re loving the view. As Dave Bonighton from Mountain Goat Brewery says, once you’ve begun your craft beer journey, there’s no turning back. The final stop on the Australian Craft Beer journey is the Double IPA. Dave Padden from Riverside Brewing creates a 9.2% alcohol 777 Imperial IPA. If your once uninspired friend can drink this, enjoy this, and come back for me, then congratulations, you have transformed your lager loving friend into a bona fide craft beer lover and beer geek!

Next week we’ll take a similar journey looking at the dark beer spectrum.

What’s impressing me?

  • Camaraderie in the craft beer industry; Not sure how long it will last for, but the impression I get is that every tap that the big guys loose to the little guys is a win for everyone in the craft beer industry

  • Bridge Road Brewers; Always impressed with what these guys do. For example, Bling IPA is a fantastic, malt driven IPA.
  • 4 Pines; Try their Keller Door series where there is always something interesting to try

Adrian Moran has been pouring beers for over nine years and runs a weekly podcast devoted to craft beer
Twitter: @ausbeerjourney
Website: www.ausbeerjourney.wordpress.com

[Photo by didriks, attribution licence]

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