Matt Boustead from Victoria’s 7 Cent Brewery talks about their GABS beer, which includes some super-fresh, home-grown hops.
What beer are you making for GABS?
We are making a wet hopped harvest ale using hops that we will pick from our own hop plantation in Timboon. The hops will be picked the day before we brew the beer, no drying, and thrown straight into the kettle, as fresh as it gets. We can’t really fit the beer into any particular style but expect it to have a very big and bold malt base, counting in at around 7%, and very hoppy of course.
Does it have a name yet?
No name as of yet, we will have to have think over a few beers and/or during the brew day.
Where did the inspiration come from?
Well we have been expanding the number of hop plants we have at Bake’s (7 Cent’s Brendan Baker) parents farm over the last couple of years and are expecting a good crop this year. We don’t use any of the hop varieties we grow in our standard beers so we have been talking about brewing a home-grown hop ale of some sorts for a while. I guess the next logical step was to go for a full wet hop beer. It is something we have never tried to brew before and thought it would be fun to give it a go.
How much effort goes into designing a beer for GABS?
The thing I love about GABS is that it’s one of the few times that you get a great number of breweries all trying to make something a bit different. Given so many breweries are making something that varies from the core range (often by quite a lot) you really want to make something interesting, different and special. Coming up with a unique idea can be the hardest part, however depending on the idea, making it work in the way you envisaged it can also be challenging. Ideally we would design a beer recipe based on research (tasting other beers of similar style or concept), experimentation and experience then brew several test batches to make sure we are getting what we want. Unfortunately given there is only one hop harvest a year it’s a one shot deal, so we are hoping we get it right the first time.
Does GABS give you the chance to go a bit crazy and try something you might not normally brew?
I think that it is definitely a safe place to try something crazy or “out there” that you would not normally brew. For us we want to keep experimenting year round by having single one off kegs of weird and wonderful beers that would probably fit in well at GABS. Given that we only really released our first beer in February we haven’t had a chance to release any of our single one-offs, so GABS is a great opportunity for us to do it at an event where there will be over 10,000 people to start with.
Does the spectapular bring out a competitive streak?
I think it does to an extent, it is a bit of a challenge to see if you can come up with something that other brewers haven’t tried or haven’t thought of. It’s going to be very interesting to see what beers are well received at GABS this year and what people like and don’t like. Fingers crossed our harvest ale is a hit.
Explanation for the unaware: GABS is Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, a beer festival in Melbourne, Australia, from May 24-26 this year where brewers make a beer they’ve never made before and bring it along so the punters can try it. Cool, huh?