The move to bottles follows the successful launch of the keg version of the new brew in September and its instant hit status among the Australian beer-drinking population.
It caps off what head brewer Jeff Wright hails as “a truly golden year of reinvigoration, innovation and success” for the McLaren Vale-based brewing company, which underwent a change of ownership, sharpened its focus on innovative craft brewing, introduced exciting experimental and mainstream beers, swept the boards at numerous awards ceremonies and debuted as the naming rights sponsor of Cheesefest 2015.
“The VALE Golden Ale we brewed for kegs turned out so well we’ve now taken this winning brew to bottles, to coincide with the summer holidays and celebrations of Christmas, New Year and Australia Day,” Mr Wright said.
“Golden in colour and equally lavish in complexity, the 5.5 per cent alcohol by volume VALE Golden Ale is a malt blend of pilsner, wheat and Vienna, giving rise to a complex yet refined biscuit character that leaves a clean lingering bitterness in the mouth – and a strong desire to have another glass.”
Vale Brewing’s golden run commenced in March when majority shareholders and brothers Tim, Pete and Mike Collin acquired 100 per cent ownership and rebranded what was previously McLaren Vale Beer Company as Vale Brewing to more accurately reflect its beer and cider products.
At the same time, the Collin brothers promised to entrench the brewery’s standing as a premium brewer of well-crafted beers and ciders while adding novel new lines to the range.
They’ve certainly delivered, with experimental beers in the form of Brothers’ Brew Kölsch – a bit of a light-hearted play on the Collin brothers taking over the company – a split pea and smoky flavoured Pie Cart Porter brewed exclusively for the Great Australian Beer Spectacular (GABS) in Melbourne in late May, and a #009 Pineapple Saison introduced at Adelaide’s Cheesefest 2015 in late October.
In addition, Vale Brewing took the innovative step of establishing a sister brewing company, Fox Hat Brewing, to complement the Vale range and focus on big, bold and balanced craft beers. Its initial offerings, Fox Hat Phat Mongrel and Fox Hat metric IPA, have received rave reviews since hitting the market.
Phat Mongrel is a robust nitro-charged American-style oatmeal stout while –metric IPA measures a whopping 80 on the International Bitterness Unit (IBU) scale, boasts seven percent alcohol by volume and offers a solid head with a slight green tinge and simple resinous pine and fruit aromas.
“It was also a landmark year on the awards front, with us being crowned Champion Large Brewer at the Royal Adelaide Beer and Cider Awards in mid-July and knocking off major players like Coopers and Lion Nathan in the process,” Mr Wright added.
“This was the first time since our 2008 establishment that we’ve won a Best Brewer award and fresh from this victory and a swag of gold and other medals, we went on to lead the SA charge at the Craft Beer Industry Association’s (CBIA) 2015 Craft Beer Awards in Sydney in late October, picking up three silver and four bronze medals.”
These awards, considered the ‘Oscars’ of Australian craft brewing, coincided with Vale Brewing’s debut as the naming rights sponsor of Cheesefest 2015, where its matching of fine hand-crafted beers and equally special gourmet cheeses was a highlight of the three-day event.