Two Brothers opened in 2008 and produces ale as well as lager. The kit was built in Canada and has a mash kettle that doubles as the copper for the boil, following clarification of the wort in a lauter vessel. Two-thirds of the annual 100,000 litre production goes in kegs to pubs; the rest is sold on the premises, with beers served from conditioning tanks.
The standard lager is Taxi, brewed from Pilsner malt and Saaz hops. It has a corn aroma, light citrus fruit and gentle, floral hops. Chief is a complex beer in the Vienna red style, brewed with Pils, Vienna, Munich and carapils malts and Perle hops. Growler is fermented with English ale yeast and is made with pale, crystal, chocolate and wheat malts; while Rusty is in the style of Belgian pale ales, brewed with Pils, crystal and Vienna malts and hopped with Saaz.
The Red Hill Brewery is in an idyllic location in the Mornington Peninsula region of Victoria. This is wine country and the hills and slopes are smothered in vines. Red Hill attracts many visitors to the rustic location that includes a log cabin restaurant serving excellent food. With a name like Golding, David and Karen had to grow hops. They have possibly the smallest hop garden in the world, where they cultivate Goldings, Tettnang and Willamette. David was a keen home-brewer and his spick-and-span brewhouse is based around a similar American system to Two Brothers: a mash kettle that doubles as the copper plus a lauter tun. Rainwater is collected on the roofs of buildings to the supplement the local supply. The water is exceptionally soft and David adds salts to harden it for some of his beers.
Red Hill has been in operation for four years and all the beers are bottle conditioned and sold to bars and hotels in the area. Golden Ale is a warm-fermented Kölsch-style Germany beer that uses pale and Pilsner malt and 10 percent wheat. Only German hop varieties are used and the beer has a spicy hop and biscuity malt nose, with light citrus fruit, malt and hops in the mouth, and a hoppy and fruity finish. Wheat Beer is exceptionally fruity, with banana to the fore. It’s brewed with Pils malt, wheat and Tettnang hops. Pale Ale is dry hopped with Hallertau and fermented with a Kölsch yeast strain. It has a big lemon and orange fruit aroma and palate. Scotch Ale is highly complex: Maris Otter pale malt is the backbone, with the addition of brown, crystal and carapils. The hops are Goldings and Willamette. Ripe sultana fruit and peppery hops dominate the aroma and palate. Finally, a 6.5 percent Belgian Blonde is big in every way. It’s brewed with Pils and Vienna malts and white sugar. It has an enormous peppery hop nose from a blend of the local hops, with chewy malt and fruit in the mouth, followed by a long bittersweet finish with plum fruit, malt and spicy hops.
Not all beers have such restrained names as Golden, Scotch or Blonde. I came across one beer on my travels called Effen. Why the name? Because, as the label’s tag line helpfully explains, “It’s effen good beer.”
Remember, you’re in Australia.