Home' Australian Hotelier : AH MAY 2017 Contents 16 | MAY 2017 AUSTRALIAN HOTELIER
bottled beers should not be overlooked, suggests 4 Pines
Brewing Company’s chief brewer, Chris Willcock: “Draught
is usually the favourite but bottled products can work really
well too in the right venue.”
The Alehouse Project in Melbourne is one such venue, with
director Alex Summers finding that dark bottled beers can
complement those you have on tap.
“In our bottle range, which also continuously rotates, we will
always have a sessionable dark beer in a brown ale, and then
very high-alcohol stouts that are not available in keg format.”
Like any other range of beers, dark beers run a large gamut
of styles with different flavour profiles and ABVs. Styles
like brown ales and porters are generally lighter and more
sessionable then stouts and imperial stouts, which can be
heavy-hitting in terms of alcohol content.
At The Woodlands Hotel, McDermott has found that the
stouts and imperial stouts are popular with beer fanatics, but
that chocolate porters also do very well with those who like
a more evident touch of sweetness to their beer. Tando agrees
that the easier-drinking options do well, with milk stouts and
vanilla porters the big sellers at Quarrymans Hotel.
For Willcock, there’s one dark beer style he hopes will get
more attention this winter – the Extra Special Bitter. The ESB,
as it’s widely known, is a higher-ABV Bitter, with a better
balance and is more malt-driven in flavour. Like most other
dark beers, it has a lower carbonation.
“The ESB is a bit of a forgotten hero. It has such a special
blend of flavours from malt, hops and yeast that all come
together perfectly. I’d love to see it get some more air time.
A dark ruby pint of ESB is hard to walk past without taking a
few deep sips.”
In a relatively warm climate, even in winter, dark beers have
not always enjoyed the popularity in Australia that they have
in Europe and North America. But that is starting to change, in
large part to the growing craft beer culture in Australia, where
beer drinkers are looking for new styles and beers to sample.
The Alehouse Project, which opened in 2012, started an
annual dark beer festival in its first year of trade. It runs
every July over two weeks, and showcases dark beers from
around 40 different breweries.
The event features one-off beers made specifically for the
festival, new releases and beers that have been cellared for
12-24 months. The status of the event shows just how much
patrons are enjoying dark beer, with the 200-capacity venue
full throughout the festival’s duration.
“It is by far the most popular event we run,” states Summers.
And just as there are mainstream beer drinkers finding
gateway beers into more adventurous craft beer styles, there
are easy-drinking dark beers for first-timers to try.
“A good entry level style would be a dark ale, which
is usually lighter in taste than a porter or stout,” suggests
Tando. “A milk stout or vanilla porter is also easier to drink,
as they both contain lactose that gives some sweetness.”
Willcock also agrees that a lot of people who try a dark
beer for the first time are generally surprised by how easy
they are to drink.
“Lots of people who claimed they don’t like beer have
changed their minds when they drink something like a stout.
The coffee and chocolate aromas are really recognisable and
DARK BEERS TO TRY
ON TAP THIS WINTER
We asked some dark beer aficionados for their take on what will be some of the best
dark beers to serve at your venue this winter.
4 Pines Brewing Company ESB (5.4% ABV) - A robust, full flavoured English ale
displaying deep coppery amber hues. Fresh herbal hop aromas prelude a rich and
complex body of toffee and raisin malt sweetness, balanced with a firm bitterness.
Batch Brewing Co Elsie The Milk Stout (4.3% ABV) - A beer that’s sweet, smooth,
dark and roasty, with gentle touches of chocolate, coffee and cream. Served on
nitrogen at the bar for an incredibly thick and smooth texture.
Big Shed Brewing Golden Stout Time (5.4% ABV) - A tribute to the classic Golden
Gaytime ice cream. It is brewed with cacao nuts, rice and specialty grain for that
honey aroma, then lactose for sweetness.
Guinness Draught (4.2% ABV) – Rich and creamy, with a distinctive, ruby red
colour and velvety finish. Drinkers around the world are drawn to its complexity and
bold combination of flavours. A classic.
Riders Brew Co Loose Trucks Porter (5.4% ABV) - Loose Trucks is a Robust Porter
made from a backbone of the finest English, German and Australian malts. Flavours
of chocolate, roast and dark fruit marry with classic English and American hops,
balancing bitterness with refined aromatics.
Stomping Ground Brewing Co Upside Down Brown Ale (5.2% ABV) - Refreshing
yet flavourful, this English-style ale has a moreish caramel, nut and chocolate malt
character. It’s named after the Yarra River, but tastes decidedly better!
BEERS FOR WINTER
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