GABS Brewer – Thirsty Crow and William Bull

Craig Wealand, head brewer at Wagga Wagga’s Thirsty Crow and Matt Hogan, his opposite number at William Bull Brewery in Bilbul NSW, are collaborating on  a beer that requires a lot of oranges.

What beer are you making for GABS?
Craig: This GABS brew will be a Riverina collaboration by me and Matt Hogan, head brewer at William Bull Brewery.Thirsty-Crow
We will be brewing an American Stout brewed, fermented and aged on Oak, with Local Orange Peel & Locally Roasted Cold Extracted Coffee (from a To Be Determined type of South American Coffee Bean) carbonated by Nitrogen… BYO: Biscotti.

Does it have a name yet?
Craig: It doesn’t have a name yet!! Although a craft beer follower of both breweries called William wants it to be called Thirsty William, which I haven’t ruled out. Ummmm yeah obviously I’m struggling with that at the moment…
Matt: We might have sort this out over a couple of beers…

Where did the inspiration come from?
Craig: The inspiration comes from each brewery’s: individual success and regional focus. William Bull Brewery scored a Trophy at the Queensland Royal Show for their IPA whereas we have won an AIBA trophy for our Vanilla Milk Stout – so we felt the closest combination of this would be an American Stout. Regarding the regional produce – Griffith is well renowned for a few things – probably the most notable isn’t legal to put into a commercial batch so “regrettably” we chose oranges as Griffith’s next best choice of local produce. In Wagga we’ve been blessed with an amazing coffee roaster and café business called The Blessed Bean and we will work with them to get the right blend and roast for this beer.
Matt is formerly a wine maker so the oak addition is definitely his knowledge and an opportunity for myself to learn some new techniques.
Matt: Oak and beer is new territory for me too, but having the wine background should help with oak selection and application rates… I hope!

How much effort goes into designing a beer for GABS?
Craig: This is our first time into GABS – the effort more so is finding an opportunity to brew it within Thirsty Crow’s brewery schedule but we will find the time and space as we’re both fans of the people behind GABS.

WBB_stacked_left alignedDoes GABS give you the chance to go a bit crazy and try something you might not normally brew?
Craig: I imagine for Matt at William Bull yes, at Thirsty Crow we are a Brewpub so we do have an opportunity to change things up – in saying that – how this beer has been formulated and why – maybe we wouldn’t of came to the same conclusion if it wasn’t specifically for this festival. On paper it shapes up to be a cracking beer!
Matt: Craig hit the nail on the head! I rarely get to play around so I am really looking forward to brewing this GABS beer with Craig. It should be a lot of fun

Does the spectapular bring out a competitive streak?
Craig: I’m naturally very competitive. If we don’t win – I will just assume that most of the patrons that voted have no idea about what quality craft beer is… Shift of blame to reason lack of success = I’m very competitive…
Matt: I second that Craig. I too have a rather competitive streak in me.

Explanation for the unaware: GABS is Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, a beer festival in Melbourne, Australia, from May 22-26 this year  where brewers make a beer they’ve never made before and bring it along so the punters can try it. Cool, huh?

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