Origin – Western Australia. Fremantle
Size- 330mL bottle
Style- Summer Ale
It was Jordan Belfort who infamously said ‘OK, first rule of Wall Street – Nobody – and I don’t care if you’re Warren Buffet or Jimmy Buffet – nobody knows if a stock’s going up, down or f-ing sideways, least of all stockbrokers. But we have to pretend we know.’ So perhaps take the speculative buy recommendation from some of Australia’s smartest stockbrokers with a grain of salt, despite them justifying their stance by the fact that this WA craft brewer is on the up and up, with record beer sales and shares at an all-time high. There’s no doubt however that Australia’s only remaining listed brewery on the ASX has come a long way since it was founded by Peter Nolin and brothers’ John and Bill Hoedemaker in an old disused margarine factory just outside Freo in 2005, making use of salvaged and second-hand equipment. The lads at Gage Roads, which is named after the strip of ocean that separates Rottnest Island and Fremantle, started with good intentions; craft, independent, staying true to its ‘Brewed by Fussy Bastards’ ethos. Though a little like the Wolf of Wall Street himself, they got a little money hungry along the way and sold off a 25% stake to Woolworths. It did, however, allow them to upgrade to a custom-built state-of-the-art brewhouse that time after time smashed out consistently amazing cold ones. To their absolute credit, in 2016 the boys announced a “Return To Independence”, and bought back the shares from the supermarket giant. None, though, would repute their commitment to stay the course when it came to the beers themselves, certainly still on display in this three-time AIBA medallist. Despite being described as a sessional summer ale the Single Fin is chock full of aromatic Galaxy and Enigma hops, serving up an amora of tropical fruit and lime curd. With a pale golden appearance, she’s light on the palate, mild in bitterness and finishes both clean and crisp. I’m no investment adviser, but at 10cents a share, this might be one worth jumping on. Btw the stock code is GRB (insert ‘this is not intended to be blah blah disclaimer here!)
Origin – Melbourne. Victoria
Size- 330mL bottle
Style- Pale Ale
Who doesn’t root for the underdog? It seems we all love a story about those that have fought against insurmountable forces to bring about some type of positive change. The Kiwis are so proud of Kate Sheppard’s contribution in inspiring suffrage movements all over the world and installing women’s rights in NZ and that she’s been acknowledged on the $10 note. (She initially only got involved as a means to fight for liquor prohibition- thankfully that didn’t get through parliament!) Back home we all know the story of Sir John Kerr, our then Governor-General who gave the boat a little rock and dismissed our Prime Minister Gough Whitlam. The story of Matt & Andrea Houghton may not be so well known but it’s just as inspiring. It starts off with a poor uni student spending his spare hour’s home brewing and dreaming of travelling through historic brewing locations such as Brugge, Boulder and Bavaria. And post degree that became a reality. With backpack on, Matt’s dreams came alive, seeing first-hand the role those century-old breweries had in history and social importance. The story continues with his reunion with wife Andrea back home in the land of the bland (VB or Carlton anyone!). It was from that moment on they knew they had to rock the beer boat and serve up craft beers that would open eyes and palates all over Australia. In 2009 they launched Boatrocker Brewery along with their first two beers via gypsy brewing. Besides open the eyes of Melbourne’s beer lovers, they also got the attention of judges at various international beer awards. But what really set the boat rocking, was the couple’s first purchase when setting up their Braeside home in Melbourne’s southeast in 2012. Rather than tanks, pumps and bottling lines, they kicked it off with the purchase of 60 wine barrels, ensuring first and foremost they could pursue Matt’s passion for Belgian style ales and barrel ageing. Although not aged in barrel nor flipping any boat upside down, this 4.4% sessional new-world hop ale is certainly an eye-opener. Unlike your typical pale the nose is stacked with tropical notes and stone fruit aromas, while the mouth is as intense as the nose, and finishes with mild hop bitterness. Ladies and gentleman, well may we say God save the boat rockers because nothing will save our craft breweries from a lucrative buyout offer.
Origin – Sydney. NSW
Size- 500mL can
It was in a 1983 Valvoline television advert when John Laws coined the now famous line ‘I switch my cars but I don’t switch my oil, Y’know what I mean’. And I guess if you’re as filthy rich as good old Golden Tonsils, and own twenty of them, you’ve got the luxury of switching cars every now and then! Given Richard Adamson, like many who live in the diverse suburb of Newtown, doesn’t own a one, he can’t switch his car. But what the Founder of Young Henry’s does have is plenty of different oils. In fact, since putting down the first batch in their Newton brewery six years ago, Richard and the lads have gone on to craft forty-six different conversational lubricants. Yet it’s this forty-sixth that has finally convinced Rich to make the big switch from his go-to 2L growler of YH Newtowner pale ale. And he hasn’t been the only one, their first limited edition batch of the Motorcycle Oil sold out in only a few weeks. From the moment you grip this big 500mL tinny, that looks so hip and old school that it should grow a beard and ride a Chopper, you get the feeling you’re about to enjoy something special. Yet this black bikie beer is anything but old and dated. Unlike the heavy, thick dark beers that John Laws grew up with, this smooth, black, hoppy porter is sessional enough that you’ll be reaching for a second …and that’s a big call for a beer that comes in a big can. On the pour, you get plenty of the dark roasted characters that you’d expect from a porter but take a mouth full and you’re hit with a hop punch more likely to be seen in a pale ale. The two stokes (nice pun!!) of genius come from the addition of Bairds Roast Barley for malt, and the Warrior, Centennial, Cascade and Citra hop mix that serves up a balanced but mind-bending flavour combination of dark chocolate, espresso, liquorice, pepper, pine and citrus. The finish is smooth but lingers on, greasing the gullets long after the liquid is gone. As you’d expect, a case of tall cans isn’t cheap, but for oil this good I’d happily swap my car for a few cases…Y’know what I mean’!