A swagman, a jumbuck and three squatters walk into a brewery… but instead of waltzing Matilda, they put their hands to work like Trappist monks.
After last week announcing their intention to produce a collaboration beer for the inaugural Good Beer Week in May, the three neighbouring breweries of Abbotsford and Richmond in Melbourne came together yesterday for a brew day like no other seen in Australian before.
Dave Bonighton of Mountain Goat Brewery, Josh and Jake Uljans and Karl van Buuren of Moon Dog Craft Brewery and Neil Whittorn of CUB’s Matilda Bay Brewing Company gathered at the Mountain Goat brewery to create a dark Belgian Dubbel, laced with an enticing fruit-cake mix of supplements.
Last month Mountain Goat became the first Australian craft brewery to release an international collaboration beer, joining with the UK’s Thornbridge Brewery to produce the Thorny Goat Black IPA. This new collaborative project visited the other end of the scale. It is Australia’s most localised collaboration, with mere hundreds of metres separating the three participating breweries.
The project was sparked by an instant mutual appreciation between Dave and the men of Moon Dog when they first met earlier this year. Mountain Goat have been operating for 14 years whilst Moon Dog have not commissioned their brewery or released a commercial beer yet, but they shared a keen desire to support and interact with each other in the local craft beer industry. Buoyed by the success of Thorny Goat, a local collaboration was an obvious choice to kick-start their alliance. When Good Beer Week organiser, Barney Matthews, learned of the potential partnership, he suggested the addition of their other brewing neighbour, Foster’s Carlton United Breweries, creating a unique package that would showcase all sizes of Melbourne’s brewing industry – micro, small and macro.
The brewing kicked off around 2:30pm on Wednesday, allowing for the non-Goat brewers to first complete their day-job commitments. As the regular Mountain Goat crew bottled a Rare Breed Australian Pale Ale destined for the American market, Josh, Jake, Karl and Neil revelled in the opportunity to brew in a different setting, without commercial limitations and within a new collective of brewing minds.
After a late start on a big beer, the brewing continued well into the night. After 5pm the general public watched on, when the brewery’s public bar opened for its usual Wednesday night offering. Friends and colleagues of the brewers followed the progress whilst enjoying pots and pints of Mountain Goats exclusive brewery bar beers.
Even with many hands at work where only two of three brewers would usually operate, the genuine enjoyment of the brew day was apparent to all onlookers.
As the evening wore on, Moon Dog’s Josh, Jake and Karl expressed to Australian Brews News their gratification for the collaboration opportunity.
“I’ve learned so much!” was the exact individual response from each of them, as they soaked up Neil’s experience and the Mountain Goat equipment and set-up. They had never before brewed on such a scale or in a functioning commercial brewery.
“It’s just been fun”, declared Josh, which is ultimately what all the brewers hoped to achieve through the experience.
Moon Dog’s Jake Uljans claimed credit for the idea to brew a Belgian Dubbel, whilst Dave and Josh led the rest of the team in pulling together the recipe and ingredients. The mash included additions of copious crystal malts, Muscovado sugar and raisins. Hallertau hops were used to provide a mild hop bitterness.
An extra special ingredient of thick bready Belgian waffles, purchased from a shop located on Victoria St between the three breweries, is sure to make this a beefy brew.
With the gravity of the initial mash dropping beyond anticipation, a capacity load was brewed in the Mountain Goat tanks. This will allow for approximately 35 kegs worth of the beer to be supplied to participating Good Beer Week bars and venues.
Details are not yet finalised, but we expect this currently unnamed beer will be launched at the Mountain Goat Brewery, Richmond, on Wednesday 18th May. All sale proceeds of the beer will be donated to a yet to be decided charity.
Mountain Goat Beer: http://goatbeer.com.au/
Moon Dog Craft Brewery http://moondogbrewing.com.au/
Matilda Bay Brewing Company: http://www.matildabay.com.au/
Good Beer Week: http://www.goodbeerweek.com/