Beer of the Week

Beer of the Week – Southerly Buster


When I hear about a great new beer that’s just been released it can be hard to temper my expectations before I get my hands on it.

I don’t want to build it up so much before I try it that it ends up feeling less impressive than my over-active imagination.

What’s even harder is trying to temper that enthusiasm for a beer that is being made on the day I hear about it.

That’s the case with the collaboration brew Southerly Buster. It’s a joint effort between the Illawarra Brewing Company, HopDog, Black Horse Brewing (the beer-making arm of Black Rock Brasserie) and Shark Island Brewing Company. The first two are from the South Coast and the last two from southern Sydney and they got together to brew a beer for Sydney Craft Beer Week.

As you might expect when six brewers get together (IBC and Shark Island have two brewers each) the beer ends up being a bit of this and a bit of that. What they came up with was a Belgo India Red Ale. With navel oranges. And blood oranges. And tangelos. And a lot of hops (rumour has it that Tim needed to be restrained from adding more).

I was there on the brew day to write a story about the beer and it sounded like it would be tasty. But I knew I’d have well over a month before I could try it. That was more than a month to try and avoid hyping it up in my mind. Fortunately Sydney Craft Beer Week was coming up, so I let my mind hype that up instead.

I finally got to try some on Thursday last week, having filled a squealer up a few days before that. I’m glad I didn’t get a growler because I would have drunk it all on Thursday night and been a little too drunk for a weeknight.

Because this is a tasty beer, and one that went down very, very, very well on a warm afternoon. There’s resiny and tropical fruit notes on the nose and there are some fruit characters when I took my first sip. I got a little of the tartness and bitterness that came from all those citrus peels, but less than I expected.

But those orange peel characters were way more noticeable while I was drinking the second glass. After that, I only had a half-glass and it was all gone.

That was very sad. Maybe the growler would have been a good idea.


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