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Online Beer Shipped Australia-wide: Australian sour beers
Craft brewing in Australia is hitting a sour note, and that’s no bad thing, writes Max Allen.
Ashley Huntington laughs his big, infectious laugh and pulls another pint of deep purple sour-cherry ale in his farm bar, on a hillside in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley.
“I came to brewing thinking it can’t be that hard,” says the ex-winemaker who, with his wife Jane established Two Metre Tall brewery here a decade ago. “But brewing beer has troubled me greatly. It has upset my karma a lot. Which is just wonderful! I’ve found it ominously challenging but I think I’m actually now starting to get somewhere.”
“Somewhere” is the extreme but increasingly popular niche of beers made with wild and mixed microbial cultures – soured ales; beers fermented with added fruit such as cherries and plums; spontaneously fermented, sometimes downright agricultural-tasting brews such as the pre-industrial Belgian lambic, kriek and gueuze beer styles.
Huntington is Australia’s most passionate brewer of sour beers. Last year he travelled to Belgium and the US on a Churchill Fellowship to study the culture and production methods of these unique drinks.
But he’s not alone: many of this country’s growing band of top craft brewers have dabbled at the sour and wild end of the beer flavour spectrum over the last couple of years, releasing one-off brews to huge acclaim. One of the leading producers, Feral Brewing in Western Australia, has even dedicated a whole brewery – its original Swan Valley operation – to the production of sour and fruit ales, following the success of its Watermelon Warhead.
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