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Thus Let Us Drink Beer – Willie the Boatman

As part of our beer-centric series we have covered specifically Australian breweries far and wide, however, sometimes there are ones in relatively proximity that are dangerously underrated.

Named as an homage to the convict William Kerr across what eventually became known as the Cooks River, Pat McInerney and Nick Newey started to channel their brewing alchemy in 2014 with enthusiasm and at least at the beginning, limited equipment and the omnipresence of Willie in terms of paraphernalia, which found its extension in the naming of their brews after other local heroes with their respective legends informing the design of the labels and cans.

Fast forward to 2019 and the operation has grown significantly and established itself firmly on the forefront of Australian craft beer distilleries. Visiting their distillery and the attached atmospheric pub area is proved to be an experience not only locals but specifically international brew aficionados would not want to miss.

My first exposure to Willie the Boatman’s liquid emissions came via Nectar of the Hops, which is fabled to be the first NEIPA on terra Australia.

If you have remotely followed this series you would be aware of the fact that specifically breweries are fantastic at nailing more exotic expressions, however, I found that when it usually comes to Bavarian emissions, it lacks severely.

Enter Willie the Boatman’s Bavarian style lager, which is an exercise par excellence of combining the DNA of what makes Oktoberfestbiers the brews that you can drink by the Stein and infusing it with an idiosyncratic Willie the Boatman edge, i.e. calibrating it at a sweet spot between sweet, earthy and spicy. Beer aficionados from the South of the Fatherland would be delighted.

Unfortunately, I have only had the chance to scratch the mere surface of the large range of portfolio Willie the Boatman has to offer but my favourite so far is the Double Nectar of the Hops, a telling name for the Double NEIPA that it signifies.

The Double Nectar of the Hops is the liquid equivalent of Spinal Tap turning their amps on 11 – big, bold and huuuge on the hops without sacrificing room for nuances.

Apart from the palatable foundation that the melange of Mosaic, Amarillo, Citra and Sabro hops provide, there are highlights citrus, mango and other tropical flavours that make this one as dangerously delicious and enjoyable as some of my beloved Belgian trappist beers.

Willie the Boatman is bound to become a quality mainstay in not merely the Australian but international world of beer and you’d want to get your paws on both their regular line-up as well as the special edition batches that run the gamut in terms of flavour nuances.

Have you been to the Willie The Boatman tap room? How does it compare to the old space? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.


November 5, 2019

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