Beechworth’s Bridge Road Brewers will release its second beer-inspired soft drink later this month.
Bridge Road’s Ben Kraus said Bridge Road Hopped Cola is still being tweaked as he plays with the hop profile, but will be ready for wholesale release on July 23.
“Hopped Cola is about providing a hoppy punch and a bitter finish, to balance the sweetness of the malted cola extract,” Kraus said.
“We’ll be using our favourite locally-grown Galaxy hop as the star of the show, but will also look to add an extra layer of flavour with Vic Secret.”
“We’re making a very aromatic product, with the aroma and flavour you’d find in an IPA.”
“Rather than trying to be subtle, we want an overtly hoppy cola for a craft beer drinker, not a cola for a cola drinker,” Kraus said.
Kraus said that he’s trying to make a non-alcoholic alternative that gives people a hop fix.
“I’ve been keen to expand on the idea of creating non-alcoholic drinks that tie closely to our beers.”
“It has been a hit with those looking for a non-alcoholic option when visiting our place here in Beechworth.”
Wanting to supply brewery visitors with the option of a sparkling water, Kraus found that there wasn’t a local supplier and getting an imported version wasn’t consistent with his local ethos.
“The usual model, was bring it in from Italy but that didn’t make much sense using water that’s bubbly from another country.”
Instead, Kraus capitalised on Bridge Road’s capacity to bottle and carbonate onsite.
“We started off with doing brew water, so it’s a water that we actually add some salts to like in brewing.”
“We actually explained the process on the label, the process of creating beer and how the water profile affects it.”
“So, it became an educational thing on the side of the label.”
From there, Kraus moved on to making the Lemon Lime and Hop Bitters, which has been in production for over three years.
Kraus said that part of his exploring soft drinks and non-alcoholic alternatives has come from how commonplace it is throughout Europe.
“In Europe, definitely, non-alcoholic alternatives are just another offering.”
The European market is more open to non-alcoholic beers than the Australian consumer.
“Our Lemon Lime and Hop Bitters was meant to be our version of a non-alcoholic Australian pub drink of choice,” he said.
Kraus says that if he were to create non-alcoholic beers, just as he does with his soft drinks, he’d have to make sure that he was brewing a beer with flavour.
“Part of my brewing philosophy is to provide flavour balance, often that means balancing malt flavour with hop flavour and bitterness.”
Kraus said that experimenting with soft drinks has been a unique experience.
Bridge Road Hopped Cola will be ready for wholesale release on July 23. Lemon Lime and Hop Bitters is available immediately.