Beer of the Week

Five Things About … Illawarra Brewing Company lambics


lambic1) I had to steal the Illawarra Brewing Company’s photo from social media for this post. And that’s for two reasons. Firstly, the two bottles I got had no labels and, secondly, the photo I took of them is mysteriously no longer on my phone. I swear I took some, with the beers artfully positioned on the staircase at home, but I can’t find them anywhere. Logic would dictate the issue is with the dope who owns the phone (ie he thought he took a photo but didn’t press the button hard enough) but I choose to lay blame with the phone.

2) Anyway, those beers have no labels because they contain beer I really, really want. Quite a lot. See, what happened was, the Illawarra Brewing Company posted on social media that they had these limited edition beers in bottles. I couldn’t get down there until the next day and, in the meantime I hoped and prayed the bottles wouldn’t all be gone. But they were all gone. At least the bottles with labels were. But there were one or two unlabelled bottles, so I made sure I got my hands on those. For the record, the bottles contain two-year-old lambics – one with blueberries and the other with watermelon.

3) The beer was started by former brewers Ashur Hall and Shaun Blissett, who filled up a bunch of wine barrels with beer, pitched in some wild yeast. And then they left to work elsewhere. But the barrels of beer stayed behind, with other brewers tapping into their goodness. I think these barrels were also the source of a raspberry lambic brewer Chris Sewell released about a year or so.

4) This pair of beers comes at a great time. Great because it’s been stinking hot and I reckon warm weather is a great time for that sharp, balsamic vinegary tang of  a good lambic. And these are both good lambics.

5) I reckon the blueberry is the more accessible of the two. It’s got sharp tartness up the front, the balsamic vinegar notes in the middle and oak and vinous characters at the end. As a tart fruit, the blueberry blends in well. It’s a different kettle of fish with the watermelon lambic (and these tasting notes are from the sample I drank at the brewhouse – I’m cracking my bomber open this weekend). The first word that came to mind when I took a sip was “dusty” – because the oak of the barrel is way more prevalent in this number. There was watermelon in the middle and, as you’d expect, that wine-like sharpness throughout. So glad I’ve got a bottle of this beer to look forward to drinking this weekend.

Free or paid for?: I forked over $30 each for these lambics. Worth every bloody cent.

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