Wig & Pen releases its first bottled beer

Canberra’s Wig & Pen Pub Brewery recently released its first bottled beer, Kembrey Regional Ale, after sixteen years serving only draft beer, brewed on-premise.

It sounds simple enough. But in fact it’s a major step presenting significant risks because fresh beer is the best beer. The passage of time, and every step away from the fermentation vessel – including packaging, transportation, handling, storage, and service – increases the risk of spoilage. For tiny brewers like the Wig, the move from fermentation vessel to keg to tap to the customer’s glass is about as efficient and low risk as beer service gets.

Bottling beer is fraught with risks for small brewers, required the right equipment and meticulous attention to detail. Brewer Richard Watkins says that after much research he and owner Lachlan McOmish decided to work with the De the Bortoli family’s Red Angus brewery, Griffith.

Richard made and bottled Kembrey Ale in Griffith with Red Angus brewer, Neil Cameron.

It’s now available at the Wig & Pen for $4 a 330ml bottle, $19 a 6-pack and $68 for a case of 24. Richard says they’ll brew and bottle a few more batches before stepping up production and cautiously expanding distribution.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2009

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