It’s not just American brewers inspiring Australian beer lovers: American styles have captured palates, too. These days, it would be a rare microbrewery that doesn’t include an American-style pale ale in their lineup.
The APA was most popularly introduced to these shores in 2000 when Western Australia’s Little Creatures brewery launched with their interpretation. Hopped with whole Cascade and Chinook flowers imported from Oregon under the brewery’s own quarantine permit, their pale ale offers more than a passing resemblance to Sierra Nevada’s iconic brew. While some say it has mellowed in recent years as its popularity has grown, it’s still a flavor-packed beer boasting aromas of grapefruit and passion fruit, with well-balanced malt and bitterness.
While the Australian craft beer market is still comparatively small, there is no shortage of brewers willing to push the boundaries and take local beer lovers along for the ride.
Sydney’s Redoak Boutique Beer Café is leading the Australian charge and has rapidly become Australia’s most awarded brewery since opening four years ago. Brewing more than twenty styles, brewer Dave Hollyoak has also found international success for his eclectic range. His Honey Ale, a pale ale infused with Tasmanian leatherwood honey, and his wonderfully complex Rauchbier both won a gold medal at the 2006 World Beer Cup, while his Baltic Porter took a bronze. That year, he also took out the Grand Champion’s crown at the Australian International Beer Awards for his Special Reserve, a triple-fermented English-style barley wine matured for two years on three types of oak. Redoak’s Belgian Framboise took gold at this year’s World Beer Cup, and they are about to launch their own American-style IPA
Another brewery really defying the Australian excise system is Murray’s Brewery. Based at the famous Pub With No Beer in Taylors Arm, a one-horse in northern New South Wales, Murray’s boast is that they brew “beers that nobody else locally brews commercially—including extreme beers.” Their range includes a seasonal Grand Cru, a hybrid of Belgian trippel and golden strong ale styles, weighing in at 8.8% ABV. Two of their other big beers are directly influenced by U.S. styles. They claim their Icon 2IPA (double IPA at 7.5% ABV) is one of the hoppiest beers brewed in the southern hemisphere, while Murray’s Anniversary Ale 2 (10% ABV) is an American-style barley wine with the unique addition of wheat, and is brewed for aging.
The Australian craft scene may still be a few years behind that in the United States, but the revolution is well and truly underway. Long live the revolution!