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Thus Let Us Drink Beer - Sanctus, Brick Lane and Oceans Reach Brewing

In the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit of Beer – while not necessarily all seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are applicable to the context of beer brewing, Sanctus Brewing’s emissions are testament to them putting wisdom, understanding and knowledge in the alchemy that is channelling the merits of hops to good use.

Depending on your religious outlook, it could be argued if their beers constitute what per definitionem is manna from the gods, but fact is that what they produce in the Clarency Valley in the territory of NSW with the help of a head brewer with a pedigree in winemaking, catapults things to the next level and beyond.

My only exposure to Sanctus Brewing so far has been via their IPA and it delivers in spades with the name Sweet Disposition being a telling one:

Upon approach beautiful aromas of sweet caramel excite the senses, an experience that is seamlessly continued on the palate with a melange of passionfruit and citrussy highlights. The fact that this IPA is essentially a beer ode to the indie anthem that was penned by Temper Trap only adds to the appeal. Not unlike the so

g it references, this is a well-calibrated little number that expertly manoeuvres the claviature between sweet and bitter notes.

With meticulous attention paid not only to the design of the artworks adorning their cans but also their excellent merch range, which also includes a custom-made beer drinking vessel that resembles the hop holding equivalent of how the Holy Grail is commonly perceived to look like, it is evident that they truly care about their offerings.

Apart from their endeavours in the realm of beer slinging, Sanctus’ has its own beer club and other outreach activities in a bid to make the brewery as inclusive as can be, i.e. Sanctus Brewing is a company you would want to get behind if you are remotely into quality craft beers.

Brick Lane Brewing

Brick Lane was founded four years ago and rose out of the ashes via a collective of close to thirty likeminded beer enthusiasts who joined forces to put head brewer Jon Seltin at the helm of its craft beer operations, who put his expertise from his dealings at Hawkers Brewing to good use and established what has become one of the finest breweries Australia has to offer.

With their mission set on creating a custom-made brewery with a focus on efficiency and sustainability, Brick Lane started out with core-line-up comprised of beers like their entry level One Love Pale Ale, which serves as a borderline perfect entry point into their range with its well-balanced bitterness and the finely calibrated melange of stone fruit and bright, citrussy hop aromas, which sit comfortably against a soft malty wheat backbone.

Now, things got exciting for me with Brick Lane’s Supernova IPA, which is, as you would have guessed, a thinly veiled hoppy ode inspired by one of the better musical emissions of when the Gallagher brothers still got along.

A big flavoured beers that rests on a formidable foundation comprised of Mosaic, Equanot, Centennial and Citra hops, the latter of which are used both in their original as well as in a cold extracted form in a bid to turn things to eleven when it comes beautifully resinous, piney lupulin. The result is a tour de force in terms of tropical flavour nuances and the most lip-smackingly dankness, which is counterpointed by a maltiness informed by Munich and rolled oats. With an ABV clocking in at 6.8% a formidable IPA.

Brick Lane’s Avalanche Hazy IPA series has seen previous instalments with hops sourced from the new world. The 2021 incarnation still uses Strata hops from the US, yet completes the picture with Motueka, Wai-iti and Riwaka hops from New Zealand. What I love about the result is that compared to other Australian Hazy IPAs, this little number has a more pronounced malty, oaty bitterness, which serves as the stage nuances of grapey, melon highlights dance on.

Having spent quite a bit of time in Belgium and developed a weak spot for their Trappist beers, I tend to be extremely critical when it comes to breweries elsewhere in the world trying to create local varieties. I am all the more pleased when the result is as delicious as Brick Lane’s Guardian, which is a Belgian Tripel par excellence.

The sweet spot with Belgian Tripels is when the right balance is created between complexity and accessibility, with the yeast character leading the charge when it comes to nuanced flavours. The Guardian is an extremely sessionable and dangerously moreish little number that lends itself perfectly well to be a suitable component for boilermakers – I paired it with a dram of Chiefs Son’s Sweet Peat cask strength expression and with its unique yeast strain from the Ardennes and its delicate spiciness helped to elevate things to new heights.

Summa summarum: Each individual expression I have tried off Brick Lane’s portfolio demonstrates the brewery’s commitment to quality, understanding of the intricacies of complex flavours and the mission to make beer drinking the bacchanal pleasure it is meant to be.

Ocean Reach Brewing

Evolved from a passion for well-crafted brews and small scale homebrewing, what started out as a hobby has evolved into launching the full scale Ocean Reach Brewery that was eventually launched five years ago on Phillip Island and has since established itself firmly not only on the firmament of craft brewers but also as being one of the more forward thinking brewers when it comes to the branding and design of their emissions.

With a core range of beers plus the occasional limited batches released on a seasonal basis, Ocean Reach got not only the staples covered but also shows its expertise in the realm of experimentation, specifically when it comes to sours and hazy IPAs.

I have only had a chance to sample Ocean Reach’s core range IPA so far, which knew to convince not merely with the outstanding presentation in a pink can, but by expertly merging the merits of what India Pale Ales from the new world are known for with the ambition to push the envelope by using hop varieties that are not as commonly used.

The result is a flavourful tour de force comprised of a potpourri of slightly floral, musky berry flavours, which rest comfortably against a backbone of delicate malt bone. Towards the moreish finish, the affair is rounded out via a detour into syrupy territory before a well-calibrated bitterness kicks in.

A great IPA that makes me want to check out Ocean Reach’s future creations.


T • September 4, 2021

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