The release this month of CUB’s Lazy Yak – first offspring of Matilda Bay’s successful Fat Yak Pale Ale – reveals much about the rapidly growing craft beer market. It also supports predictions the big brewers are best placed to profit from it.
Fat Yak was itself a toned-down version of Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale. Brewed originally at the CUB’s Matilda Bay Garage Brewery in Dandenong, the astonishingly bitter, malt-sweet Alpha displayed the sheer power and idiosyncrasy of the American Pale Ale style.
The enormous success of Alpha’s less astonishing offspring, Matilda Bay Fat Yak, saw Fat Yak supplant Matilda Bay as the brand drinkers recognised.
And now to appeal to a growing herd of less savvy craft beer drinkers, the Yak herd expands. The new member, not yet tasted, tones down the bitterness considerably from the original while remaining an all-malt brew.
Rye River Brewing Co McGargles Granny Mary’s Red Ale 330ml $4.20
Granny Mary’s warm, burnished mahogany colour comes from the roasted malt used in its making. Subtle roasted-grain flavours push through the beer’s malt and caramel-like flavours, giving a pleasant tartness to the dry, moderately bitter finish. The ale comes from Rye River Brewing of County Kildare, Ireland.
Hawthorn Brewing Co Pilsner 330ml $4.20
Hawthorn Brewing’s pilsner emulates the classic Czech style from the town of the same name. It succeeds to a large degree with its bright golden colour and fresh, full, malty palate, cut through with lingering hops bitterness. It’s more fun to drink than the average mass-made pilsner, thanks largely to its notable hops bitterness.
Copyright © Chris Shanahan 2015
First published 21 and 22 July 2015 in goodfood.com.au and the Canberra Times