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Thus Let Us Drink Beer – 7th Day Brewing and Shedshaker

The story of 7th Day Brewing is one that could not be more DIY in nature as it all goes back to founder Mike Beresford Jones trying his hand in homebrewing in a bid to create the kind of brews he could not find anywhere, the fruits of which resonated quite well with his peers.

After a period of experimentation, six years ago they collectively opened a brewery with taproom under the banner of 7th Day Brewing, with the nucleus of its DNA being a dedication to create a third place informed by a love for quality beer, surfing and a communal approach manifested in their credo “Drink Good Do Good”.

While 7th Day Brewing’s core offerings, i.e. their Pilsner, proved to be popular, they refined their approach to broaden their portfolio with a range of styles and flavours with the common denominator being sessionablity and approachability.

My first exposure to 7th Day’s range was via their big flavoured, juicy mango-infused Hazy IPA.

Based on the triumvirate comprised of a simcoe, mosaic and citra hops, mango is added in early on in the process and as a result, overly sweet overtones are fermented out, with a subdued and more refined sweetness remaining to set the stage for the hoppy nuances to shine. With a moderate ABV, this is as good as sessionable Hazy IPAs come.

7th Day’s regular IPA is an interesting one as its red hue had me think that it must be much more malty than it proved to be, as the fruity character of the hops dominates, flanked by fruitiness centred around the orange and passionfruity end of the spectrum.

Clocking in at 6.4% ABV, it packs a bit of a punch as well and proves to be a solid companion to a dram of Laphroaig Quarter Cask.

While I am usually not the biggest Pale Ale aficionado, 7th Day Brewing’s Smoked Manuka variant takes things to the next level as the smoke rests deliciously on the malty and complex backbone of the core American Pale Ale, which is set in scene via citrus and well-calibrated acidic orange flavours.

Given what I have had the chance to taste so far, I cannot wait for 7th Day to channel their alchemy in the creation of a DIPA – if they are then going to create a smoked variant, I will be in trouble.

What I love about the brewing scene on terra australis is that every time one feels remotely in the proximity of having scoped out the landscape and identified favourites for each style, one discovers a new brewery that blows things out of the water.

Case in point: Shedshaker Brewing, founded six years ago and evolved from Castlemaine Brewing after a bit of a name dispute, it helped to re-establish the town of Castlemaine on the firmament of brewing towns.

With one of the founders being the drummer of Australian rock stalwarts Hunter & Collectors, I was intrigued to see how they would channel their alchemy in the creation of crafted liquid emissions.

With a solid and varied core range comprised of traditional styles, my first go-to was Shedshaker’s Knucklehead Rye IPA

The thinly veiled reference to the Three Stooges is essentially a tour de force when it comes to marrying malt and hop notes, which sees the best of Australian and American varieties joining forces.

I like the fact that the malty backbone serves as a solid foundation on which the bold piney nuances can shine, accentuated by tropical and fruity flavours, culminating in a crescendo of blood orangey highlights, counterpointed and rounded out by the delicately spicy pepper the rye contributes to the mix and a nicely calibrated bitterness. With an ABV of 6.2%, an immensely sessionable IPA.

Next is an interesting one as it is not only an homage to the brews of the old world, i.e. the heavier end of the spectrum of what makes the traditional Irish Red the malty, toasty roasted toffee and caramelly ride it is, with the piney, citrussy and fruity character derived from the marriage of the melange of Mosaic, Chinook and Jarrylo hops, with the latter one and its spicy qualities not having knowns to me previously – say hello to Shedshaker’s aromatic Celtic Red Ale.

It says a lot about a brewery if they accomplish styles that are usually not exactly my go to.

In this case it is the combination of espresso and lager, which individually I love but have yet to come across a brewed combination I’d go back to.

However, Shedshaker’s Espresso Lager comes close as their melange of ethically sourced Tiger Mountain Arabica coffee and a tried and tested Teutonic Schwarzbier approach works well, not merely because of the expected chocolatey and malty notes but because of the accentuating spicy top off courtesy of American hops.

The fact that – as the name would suggest – it has a clear appearance somehow also contributes to its appeal and adds a refreshing quality that makes it desirable even during the warmer months of the year.


July 31, 2021

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