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Thus Let Us Drink Beer: Tumut River and Common Ground Brewing

Updated: Jan 13

Located in the Murray-Darling basin, Tumut River is not only a perennial stream in the region of the Snowy Mountains but lends its name to what evolved to become a destination brewery.

Tumut River Brewing first caught my attention when I learned about them paying liquid homage to one of my favourite Australian independent rock bands, i.e. You Am I.

While collaborations with bands are not exactly rare in the realm of craft brewing, it piqued my interest as I fell instantaneously in love in 2013 when Young Henry’s celebrated the bands twentieth year of existence with one of the most delicious limited edition pale ales I have had the pleasure of experiencing on terra australis.

Tumut River’s You Am IPA was brewed to honour the band’s incarnation at the Winter Bites Festival and clocking in at an ABV of 6.5%, it proves to be an immensely drinkable little number.

On the top of the mouth, freshly cut cantaloupe meets a melange of a combination of pineapple, peach, apple, banana, pear, grapefruit, and apricot, which rests on a hoppy backbone with nuances of coconut and a delicately calibrated malty bitterness, before it culminates in a lip-smacking, crisp finish.

Not bad, not bad at all.

Bad Mofo is Tumut River’s thinly veiled reference to Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Pulp Fiction and a take on the tried and tested West Coast IPA style:

As the name suggests, the big hop guns are blazing with Mosaic and El Dorado hops taking centre stage, flanked by locally grown Rye corn and Munich malt, thereby adding an idiosyncratic depth to the underlying malty flavours.

I love the subtle sweet grape, pear and watermelon nuances, which are backed by a solid bitterness of 80 IBU, adding interesting facets that never run danger of being overrun by the strong malt backbone.

Now, while Bad Mofo is playing in the ABV midfield, the red IPA known as Deliverance 22 brings out the heavy artillery:

On one hand there are moderate caramel malt flavours and syrupy sweetness merge with toffee-like qualities culminating in roasted grain highlights, which lends a characteristic dryness to the finish, on the other end of the spectrum Azacca, Mandarina Bavaria and Eclipse hops add a berry sweet, resinous dimension, resulting in a n overall complex flavour profile that is further enhanced by a warming ABV of 10%.

A robust bitterness of 100 IBU seals the deal for one of the best Imperial Red IPAs I have tasted in a while and as if things could not get any better, Tumut River also provides the antidote for the next morning with its own premium blend of from the highest frown estate coffee made from 100% Arabica beans.

What’s in a name?

Based in Milton Common, Common Ground Brewing’s is a telling one as its credo captures the notion of community, diversity, reaching out with respect and a focus firmly set on what unites us, which is also reflected in the brewery’s ambitious collaborations with likeminded brewers.

My first exposure to Common Ground was via its Brewing Commondeer West IPA expression.

While most West Coast IPAs are traditionally known for for their bold hop aromas, high bitterness, piney notes and citrus flavours, what intrigued me with the Commondeer was that the emphasis was centred around the malty informed nuances. While the melange of Centennial, Azacca and Simcoe hops brings forth resinous, tropical notes, there is a decidingly caramel-esque side to it that artfully counterbalances the delicious dank highlights.

Clocking in at 6% ABV, a solid session- and smashable go-to IPA.

Things get interesting with Common Ground Brewing’s collaboration with Newcastle-based Method Brewing, aptly named “Chimuwaku”, which is the Japanese equivalent to teamwork.

Adorned by customized artwork courtesy of Japanese tattoo artist Horizaru, this fluffy headed Yuza New England India Pale Ale is quite something as it brings out the best that the intersection of fruits and beers can produce: A sharp hybrid of lime, citrus, lemon and grapefruit flavours is rounded out by a distinctly tarty and slightly bitter sourness that dances against a backdrop of hoppy fruity flavours, ranging from tropical fruit to stone fruit nuances. A wonderful companion to a dram of Talisker Storm.

I cannot wait for Common Ground Brewing to try its hand at channelling its alchemy in the creation of Double and Triple IPAs.


T • November 16, 2022

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