With one of Australia’s most incredible craft beer events set to premiere next Saturday, 12th February, the true heart of craft brewing has shone in the shape of an unfortunate scratching.
The Local Taphouse announced the tap line-up for their Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular event this week, with 21 never-before-seen beers brewed specifically for the event by Australian independent microbreweries.
The line-up was to include a contribution from Melbourne newcomers, Moon Dog Craft Brewing, in shape of a 7.3% Belgian-style Flanders red ale, outrageously named “The Secret Romance of Herman van Rompuy and Cherry Poppens”.
However, late yesterday Moon Dog team announced that they have made the tough decision to scratch their contribution.
With their Abbotsford microbrewery still under construction, Moon Dog have been brewing on an ultra-micro scale, limiting their beer releases to only one keg at a time.
After announcing themselves to the Melbourne beer scene last year with two flavoursome brews – an Imperial Pumpkin Stout and then an Imperial Gingerbread Porter – showcased at Biero Bar events, Moon Dog do not believe the beer they have produced for the Taphouse event is of a quality worthy of the SpecTAPular.
Moon Dog’s Karl van Buuren posted the following statement on their blog last night:
As a new brewery still in setup mode, we’ve had some amazing experiences. We have met some incredible people, and have been welcomed with open arms into one of the most generous and supportive communities. Making good quality, challenging, and completely obscene beers is our aim, and the positive feedback we have been receiving has been more than we could have ever expected.
But being a new brewery focussing on the outrageous, we have the highest expectations of quality and flavour on anything we produce. ‘Ordinary‘, ‘Average‘, ‘Pretty good, but nothing special‘, or even ‘fits within a genre‘, are not in our vocabulary.
The beer we decided to present at the Local Taphouse Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular is no exception to these stringent rules.
Our entrant named ‘The Secret Romance of Herman van Rompuy and Cherry Poppens’ was finalised today, and after tasting, we have decided not to release it to the public during this festival.
This decision was not an easy one to come to. But in the end it was the only decision that could be made. To compromise on our ideals and release something we were not 150% over-the-moon proud of, would mean our entire beer brewing ethos would be meaningless.
I want to give a heartfelt apology to all who were looking forward to our offering, and especially to the Local Taphouse. The opportunity to be involved in this event was more than we had ever hoped for.
But don’t you worry. We’ll be back with something crazy again in no time. We are still working tirelessly on full scale production. I will continue to keep you all up to date with our progress, and we will be distributing to bottleshops and bars before you know it.
The lineup at the Local Taphouse for the Beer SpecTAPular looks unbelievable. The amazing creativity that is being shown is an absolute testament to the passion and talent that exists in the craft beer industry.
You can be sure that we will be down at the Taphouse in St Kilda for this amazing festival, eager to meet you all, and taste some incredible beers.
Peace and love.
Moon Dog Craft Brewery
Despite the disappointment for many beer lovers who are yet to experience Moon Dog’s marvellously twisted brews, the reaction by the community has been overwhelmingly positive. The honest and clear explanation provided by Karl has been rewarded with comments of understanding and praise, with one Facebook user applauding Moon Dog’s “uncompromising integrity”.
The decision highlights a true passion and mission in craft beer to focus first on the core product of the beer, with the “smart” commercial and market considerations a secondary factor. This flows through to the reactions of the consumers, who are not responding in anger at missing out on a promised offering. Rather, they recognise that the Taphouse is providing a craft beer showcase and what separates craft beer from the mass-produced commercially-driven products is personal attention to the beer’s character, flavour, complexity, balance and mouthfeel. If one of these sensory elements is off, then the craft has not been achieved.
Consider further, such a decision is ultimately not just about the beer. The exposure that the Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular will give the showcased brewers across Melbourne and Sydney beer drinkers will be invaluable to their business. The event will introduce many attendees to both new breweries and new beer styles. It the drinker is taken by any of the beers, they are likely to seek out the brewer’s products at other venues and retailers in the future. Furthermore, with the Taphouse’s Steve Jeffares using the GABS event to scope the potential of an annual festival on a much lager and nation-wide scale in future, participating in such a festival’s inception will be a hallmark for all involved. However, Moon Dog will forgo this privilege in the name of craft beer and we commend them for doing so.
In related news, another quiet withdrawal from the Local Taphouse event has been Melbourne’s Thunder Road Brewing. TRB Trade and Events Manager, Justin Trail confirms that they decision to withdraw from GABS was made just prior to Christmas, as their team focuses all efforts on the final stages of building and commissioning their Brunswick based brewery. Alongside construction, TRB’s current priority is accreditation for compliance to Australian Standards for food and beverage safety and quality. Justin told Brews News that it would have been an unreasonable ask on the Thunder Road brewers to produce a suitable high quality beer for the event.
Thankfully, the Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular promises to be no lesser of an event without the full line-up initially announced. With the Moon Dog and Thunder Road omissions, it simply makes the task for choosing and sampling the range of beers on offer the slightest bit easier.
Ultimately, these withdrawals from the event are evidence that The Local Taphouse has commanded a positive weight of expectation on the participating craft brewers to produce the highest quality of brews. Therefore, you can be sure that all the beers pouring next Saturday will be…spectacular!
Stay turned to Brew News for more news about the arrival of Moon Dog Craft Brewing in the coming weeks, with the pending completion of their brewery and the bottling of their first release!