To add to their increasing range, two new beers have just been released, a pale lager called Requiem Über Pale Pilsner, and a seasonal porter, Metal Head Robust Porter.
Both beers are the first to be brewed under the direction of head brewer Steve “Hendo” Henderson, formerly of Otway Estate (Prickly Moses).
When asked about the lager, Hendo said he “wanted something very hop forward, subtle on the malt… kind of like the lager you would make if you were to make an American pale ale.”
The hops used are Perle, Amarillo, Northern Brewer, Pacifica and Southern Hallertau, and it is dry hopped, giving it a huge tropical fruit-punch aroma while also having a rounded but still fruity finish. The beer is designed to be both sessionable and appealing to craft beer fans.
“When beer geeks think of lager they think about Carlton Draught, VB and Tooheys… when I did requiem it was really about doing a lager that made all the beer geeks rethink what lager is,” he said.
The porter is a different beast altogether. The pitch black 6% robust porter has a big dry-cocoa aroma and a dark chocolate and burnt toffee finish . This is a rare “made to style” brew from Hendo.
“A lot of people know me and some of the beers I’ve done with Prickly Moses have been very hop forward but I’ve always wanted to brew firstly to style, I wanted to do a very traditional beer and I wanted to do a porter… the strongest and darkest beer that Southern Bay has ever done in it’s 24 year history.”
These beers are something of a statement of intent from Hendo, who is hoping to continue to pushing the 24 year old brewery to its limits; while a new brewery is being built on the site, which, in his words, will help them become “more nimble and efficient”.
In addition, he is also encouraging his assistant brewers to try their hand at creating their own recipes, providing free raw materials for them to do pilot-brews in their own time.
In the works for the future are a Belgian farmhouse saison, to be fermented in a tank with no temperature control, and an IPA called “Hop Bazooka”. The idea for the latter came from t-shirts the Southern Bay crew wore to the Victorian Microbrewery Showcase earlier in the year. The shirts depicted the dry hopping “bazooka” used in the brewery. Hendo said a lot of people were asking when the beer was coming out, and after about 20 minutes of telling people it wasn’t actually a beer, he decided that he better make it one.
Hop Bazooka will be released sometime in October, with the saison being released later in summertime. Southern Bay are also preparing for their 25th anniversary next year. Which they hope to celebrate with another lager, but according to Hendo, “it’ll be a lager like you’ve never ever seen before”
The two new releases were showcased in Melbourne at Deja Vu bar (former Biero Bar), in Geelong at the Wrong Crowd Bar, and there is an upcoming event in Bendigo at the Basement Bar on the 7th of July. The last one being significant for Bendigo as it’s the home of the the Metal Head Porter’s label designer, Megan McPhail. Megan is the sister of one the Bendigo Beer founders. A group of beer lovers who are successfully pushing hard to increase the visibility of craft beer in Bendigo.
Based on these two new releases and the upcoming beers, beer lovers in Australia should be looking forward to future offerings from the brewery. In Hendo’s own words:
“This is the start of an awesome journey for Southern Bay.”