GABS brewer – Boatrocker Brewing Company

Matt Houghton from Boatrocker Brewing Company is showcasing his love for American IPAs in his GABS beer.

What beer are you making for GABS?
The beer we are making is an IPA in the American style. Big, hoppy, and weighing in at 6.5 per cent ABV.

Does it have a name yet?
We are calling this beer ‘‘HOP BOMB IPA’’.

Where did the inspiration come from?
This will actually be our third regular release from our brewery (the others being ‘‘Alpha Queen – Highly Hopped Ale’’ and ‘‘SMASH! – New World Hop Ale’’). As we have just set up our brewery, the timing works out to be a good time to release logo_boatrockerout third permanent beer. As for inspiration, I have always been enamoured with the American style of IPA, and whilst the imports are good, nothing beats freshness. Hopefully we do justice to the style.

How much effort goes into designing a beer for GABS?
As this beer will be a permanent release for us, a lot of effort has gone into it. We have done a lot of research into the style, and have made multiple pilot batches until we have reached the right balance in our IPA.

Does GABS give you the chance to go a bit crazy and try something you might not normally brew?
In all honesty, not really. The Australian brewers are only offered an amount for the kegs which doesn’t allow us to brew anything too crazy. GABS is only buying five, which works out to be 250 litres of beer. The normal brew length for most breweries is at least 1000 litres, which leaves a lot of beer for the brewery to put into kegs or bottles.

Which leaves the brewer in a predicament … brew something exciting and different, but be left with a lot of beer that no one may drink after the festival, or make something more approachable. For the amount we get for the kegs, we are making well below our normal wholesale amount for a beer of this strength and style. So with all this being said and done, this is why we are brewing a beer that is to be a regular for us. It’s still going to be a cracking beer however.

Does the spectapular bring out a competitive streak?
Again, not really. And nor should it. It’s not a competition, but should be more a celebration. It is a chance for us to showcase our beer to a large audience.

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?

6 replies »

    • Hey Baz,
      I didn’t get the feeling that he’s unhappy at all. Rather, that he’s a small brewer for whom costs are important but who still wants to join in GABS.
      So I totally get why he’d want to brew a beer that he can sell afterwards.
      And the Hop Bomb IPA is on my must-try list when I get to GABS.

      • I don’t understand. I was at Ballarat Beerfest and everyone sold all their beers (from golden ale to imp stouts) for $2 a sample. How is that any different?

      • The difference would be that beer festivals generally feature the existing range of beers from each brewer.
        To take part in GABS, a brewer needs to create a brand new beer. So there would be the costs involved in that, which brewers would balance up against the likelihood of them being able to sell the beer in the marketplace afterwards.

  1. Is that right? The GABS website says there will be some breweries selling their regular beers at their own stands this year.. Stone & Wood and Moo Brew are listed and I don’t think they’re making a special beer for the event

    • There will be some breweries, like Stone & Wood, participating in the “beer market” upstairs. That’s where they can have their own stall and sell samples of their range.
      But the new beers made especially for GABS won’t be up there. They’ll be downstairs at the GABS bars.
      Some breweries are taking part both the beer market and the festival while others are only opting to appear at the market.

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