While other craft breweries look for inspiration from the ‘new-world’ brewing scenes in Scandinavia and the United States, one Margaret River brewery is taking a very different and interesting approach. Rather than adding to the growing number of black IPAs, barrel aged this and single hopped that, Colonial Brewing Company is committed to researching and re-creating the ‘lost lowland’ beers of Germany. The product of this is a series of limited edition, single-batch beers that are not quite like anything else available in Australia, or perhaps the rest of the world.
Leading this mission is a man whose passion for beer knows no limits – Colonial’s head brewer, Mal Secourable. A seasoned brewer with years of industry experience, Mal has previously worked his craft at Matso’s Broome Brewery and Sail & Anchor in Fremantle. Since joining the Colonial team in 2008, he has worked tirelessly to re-establish the brewery as one of the country’s best.
Seeking enlightenment, in 2010 Mal embarked on a journey to Germany where he visited Cologne and Dusseldorf – the respective birthplaces of Kölsch and Altbier. Therefore it shouldn’t surprise that Colonial’s award-winning Kolsch is one of the most authentic going around and their Pale Ale has been transformed from an English Bitter to a toasty, peppery Altbier in the Dusseldorf style.
Late last year, Colonial released Mumme (Muh-Mah), a well-hopped, lightly smoky reddish brown and predominantly barley ale. A few months later, they revealed their second limited edition beer was to be called Keutebier (Koi-Ter-Beer) and that it was a wheat based ale and the closest relation of Mumme. I was lucky enough to be invited the launch of Keutebier, which was held at The Royal on the Waterfront in East Perth. The launch party provided the opportunity to be one of the first to try Colonial’s new beer, as well as enjoying some first class food and chatting with the men behind the beer.
As we sat down to dinner, Mal spoke of the research he had done, scouring the internet to find any information about the extinct German beer styles. He discovered Keutebier originated from Hamburg, whose brewers adapted the Mumme style to suit their tastes. Described as a well-hopped reddish to dark brown predominantly wheat beer, Keutebier was brewed centuries before the days of cultured yeast strains. As such, the beer would most likely have been under-attenuated (not fully fermented) resulting in a heavy body and considerable sweetness that today’s drinkers would probably find unpalatable.
Colonial Keutebier is brewed with both pale and dark wheat malts with lesser amounts of pale and specialty barley malts. Noble hops linked with the region of origin are used, as well as a modern wheat beer yeast strain. The beer looks like a slightly too-dark hefeweizen; hazy orange to tan with a sizable off-white head and complex aromas of spice, fruit and bready malt. Upfront malt sweetness on the palate is followed by banana, toast, faint tartness and moderate hop bitterness. At a not inconsiderable 5.6% ABV it is disarmingly drinkable, despite great complexity.
Colonial Keutebier is available on tap and in takeaway growlers from the Margaret River brewery and The Royal in East Perth.
Colonial Brewing Co.
5.6% abv draught only