It’s always good to know a bit more about what’s behind the drop you’re sipping on. Ash answers some questions about the inspiration behind the libation and how the Stormy Lager came to be.
Ash started brewing the way most craft brewers do, by giving it a go at home. Only Ash takes things a bit more seriously than your average home-brewer so, by the time he had a few brews under his belt, Ash had already built a stainless steel brew house in his shed with pumps, heat exchangers and all the bells and whistles. He was studying a science degree at the time and, much to the joy of tastebuds everywhere, he decided to give the gifts of his scientific learnings to the art of brewing. It was this passion for the finer arts of the brew that scored Ash his first job – with one of Australia’s biggest craft brewers. The rest is history, and now Ash has brought his brewing prowess to his new joint venture, Barrow Boys, to delicious results.
What inspired this beer? Is there a story behind its inception?
Just like Melbourne and its weather, we wanted our first beer to deliver a few surprises to its drinkers. We all enjoy a properly crafted lager but wanted to do something a little different with ours.
What makes this beer different to the others on the market?
Lagers often have a reputation for being light coloured, flavourless, fizzy thirst quenchers. I wanted to show that it doesn’t have to be like this, that lagers should be just as flavoursome as ales, but in their own way. Stormy Lager is a little darker and packed with flavour, but not to the point of becoming too heavy or compromising drinkability.
How would you describe this tasty drop?
The colour is ruby or chestnut red. The aroma is slightly sweet with a hint of toffee and floral hoppy notes. First up on the palate there is biscuity malt flavour which turns into a quenching bitterness. It leaves behind a malty, subtle caramel sweetness.
How does the magic happen? Tell us about the brewing process.
The fermentable sugars come from 5 different malts, which also give it that colour and it’s distinct flavour. As the sweet ‘wort’ is boiled, mostly Tasmanian hops are thrown in the kettle for the bitter balance and then later in the whirlpool for fresh hop aroma. It’s cooled down before adding yeast, which will ferment the sugars, producing alcohol and CO2. A lower temperature fermentation and traditional ‘lagering’ is done slowly, taking the time needed to craft a cleaner beer which allows these ingredients to shine.
When is the best time for a Stormy Lager?
It’s beer for all seasons, equally suited to a cold night on the couch or while basking in the sun in a beer garden.
What food would you match this beer with?
BBQ, burgers and spicy food are a good match but I’ve been enjoying lately with the strong ‘Mountain Man’ washed rind cheese from l’Artisan.
(Words by Ash, photo by Justin)