Small beer barons

Late last year I reviewed two excellent beers from this fairly new Sydney brewer, founded by long-time, beer-loving mates Scott Garnett and Richard Adamson.

Their range began with the high-alcohol Black Wattle Ale seasoned with ground wattle seed, and the very convincing Extra Special Bitter, brewed in the UK’s ‘best bitter’ style.

Six months on, the two say they’ve struck a $30million deal to export one million cases to the USA over five years. They say that it was the Wattle Seed Ale that excited one of America’s biggest beer importers.

That sort of volume propels Adamson and Garnett away from the micro-brew category, but still leaves scope for craft brewing – just as James Squire, Little Creatures and Matilda Bay have succeeded in doing.

The rash of craft brewing, volume producers now underway will test the depth of Australia’s growing demand for top-end beers – or perhaps reinforce it.

Barons Lager 330ml 6-pack $15
This dark golden lager uses Czech Saaz and New Zealand hops and Australian and German malts. It starts with an inviting burst of hops aroma, backed by sweet malt. The creamy textured palate, too, shows real malt depth, nicely balanced with hops flavour and refreshing bitterness.

Barons Pale Ale 330ml 6-pack $15
This is a pleasant, balanced, fruity drop but it has neither the turbo-hopped character of American Pale Ale styles nor the harmonious, bitter, more-ish subtlety of English styles like Bass.  But it does have delicate fruity notes and appealing aromas and flavours derived from Pacific Hallertau and Nelson Sauvin hops.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2007