Being the slightly obsessive beer drinker that I am, I make sure I leave no menu un-perused.
Even if I know there is no way a place will have good beer I’ll have a peep, just to double check. It rarely pays off but let me tell you about one time when it did.
I was at an Italian restaurant in Seoul and the beer list was all names such as Heineken, Peroni, and even a VB. However there was one name I didn’t recognise.
Lost Coast Indica.
Curiosity piqued and I ordered one.
If memory serves me correctly, it was a horrible match with my pasta. However the pasta wasn’t that flash anyway. The beer on the other hand was outstanding. An American IPA in every definition of the style with a great citrus finish.
Since then I’ve kept an eye out for their bright distinctive logo but other than the occasional grey import it didn’t seem to pop up anywhere else.
That changed a couple of weeks ago when some invites went around to a tasting held by Redwood Distribution featuring Lost Coast beers.
I was excited but hesitant. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had a beer memory torn down by the reality of trying it in real life, sans holiday-shine.
What I can tell you, and gladly reassure myself, is that the beer certainly holds up to my memory, and then some.
In this case the some is the brewery’s brown ale, also available on the night and was the talk of the room; standing tall in the cold Melbourne evening.
The other beer offered was Great White, a witbier, which isn’t my style but was enjoyable all the same.
Redwood Distribution are a husband and wife team and I spoke to the husband side, Brian Labadie, an ex-pat Californian who met his Australian wife in the States, before they moved to Melbourne in 2007.
Since arriving in Australia Brian was enjoying the local beers but he couldn’t help but think of his home favourite. A feeling I’m sure many beer lovers who travel can identify with.
“With some beers it is more of an emotional attachment and I really love that area of California. Hiking through the redwoods, along really rustic coastlines. I associate visiting that brewery with that type of feel,” Brian said.
“After a few years I kinda missed it (Lost Coast beer), and I couldn’t find it anywhere out here. I was really surprised. So I gave them an email saying ‘where can I get it’.
“Basically, they didn’t have any ideas of exporting to other countries, they weren’t really into it at all. Said they didn’t have the capacity but you might see it eventually.”
Upon hearing that, Brian offered to distribute it for them, and after a follow up email in 2012 his desire to taste his local brew has now become a business.
While Brian and his wife have no experience importing and distributing beer, he is under no illusions about the task ahead but is excited and optimistic.
“It’s a little challenging so it’s a hobby. I don’t consider it work… I have complete faith in the brand. We just took a punt on the whole idea and see how it goes.
Their plan from here is to eventually move into kegs, and add the wider range and seasonals to the range being bought in. They are also talking to some other breweries with eyes on the growing Australian market.
As a beer drinker it’s exciting and encouraging to see beer lovers taking the initiative and doing their best to share products they are passionate about.
In my mind, that’s the best part of the current beer landscape and I’m definitely excited to get my hands on a Lost Coast Indica again. This time I probably won’t have it with pasta.