Driving along about five kilometres of dirt road through the township of Taminick, we come to a sign that reads Booth’s Taminick Cellars. It is here that we will find Victoria’s latest brewery, Black Dog. It is the creation of fourth generation winemaker, James Booth.
We park near a beautiful old stone building that has the sign ‘Tasting & Sales’ posted near the door. Getting out of the car, we are greeted by a friendly black dog with a red collar. As we are about to learn, this dog is the mascot for the new beer. His name is Macca, and he appears in various poses on the labels, which allows each of the beers to have a different look with the same theme.
Inside the building are rows of wine barrels. Some of these are the original wine barrels from over a hundred years ago. While the wine tasting is held near the front door, the beer-tasting bar is at the rear.
James is a bright enthusiastic young man who has already proved to be a knowledgeable and successful winemaker. He started brewing kit beers after turning 18, and progressed onto full grain. Seeing the demand for well-brewed beers growing, he decided to put his skills to work as a brewer. Peter, his father, is proudly supportive of James’ achievements. The pilot plant is only 75L, but there are plans to increase this once he gets a feel for demand.
There are four beers in the initial range. Lazy Dog Ale is very light and easy to drink at 25IBU. Howling Pale Ale is fruity and well balanced at 40IBU. Leader of the Pack IPA is a gorgeous hoppy malty beer with plenty of Cascade, Citra, and Galaxy at 70IBU. Dead Dog Stout has coffee and tarry notes with roasted barley and carafa at 40IBU. A week after the official opening and James is already tweaking the recipes to improve them.
If the pale ale and the IPA are anything to go by, he will need to order that new equipment now, as demand will easily outstrip supply for these terrific ales. At the moment, the only way to try the beer is to go to the brewery in Taminick.
Black Dog Brewery is part of Booth’s Taminick Cellars and is located at 339 Booths Road Taminick, Victoria, 3675. Brewery tasting is available Thursday to Monday 12 to 5pm.
For more information, call (03) 5766 2282.