Origin – Australia, QLD
Style- Summer Ale
Brave. Guts. Balls. Fortitude. It seemed successful accountant Jim O’Connor and one of Queensland’s most respected heart and vascular doctors, Gerard Connors, had a good dose of it when they placed a few bucks on a quaddie at the trots and turned it into a few thousand. And the lads clearly had a double dose when they then decided to use those winnings in 2012 to open a brewery! A 50 litre Baumeister pilot system kicked them off before Jim and Ged decided to double down, bringing in Ian Watson, a former plumber who became a respected head brewer and Australia’s first working beer sommelier. In 2013 the trio took over the 500-litre capacity Eagle Heights Brewery on the Gold Coast hinterland, and established the Fortitude name and motto, In Cerevisia Fortitudo – In Beer is Strength. And they certainly went from strength to strength. Southeast Queenslanders simply couldn’t get enough, and having outgrown their original home, they moved less than a kilometre up the road into the former Mt Tamborine Brewery site, which itself is just up the road from the hinterland’s oldest standing church. And the brewery building could, in fact, be mistaken for a house of worship (or perhaps that’s what it is?) with its grand entrance that draws visitors up the mountain. And based on the swelling congregation of beer lovers now well beyond Queensland, there’s quite possibly another religion on the mountain- that of great beer. Now although this Drifter summer ale is more of a no-brainer than a balls-out brew, it’s a cracker just the same. Pouring a golden body with a thin off-white head, the aroma is fruity, herbal and grassy. In the mouth, there’s enough fruity hop flavour to be interesting but not a hop hog. That, combined with the lower 4.4% ABV, and you’ve got yourself a dangerously drinkable beer. Next time you’ve had a few Drifters at the brewery and find yourself a little peckish, duck across the beer garden and into the Witches Chase Cheese Company. I’m told that if grab yourself a slice of washed rind you’ll really think you’ve died and gone to heaven. Perhaps The Life of Brian’s version of Matthew 5:9 was right….’blessed are the cheesemakers’!