When All Ale The Big V was a young fella the beer he and many of his friends chose to drink was decided by one factor: price. The pitiful amount of money that we were getting from our first jobs, or from the government, meant that whatever was cheapest at the bottle-o was the beer being drunk that night. Some of our more entrepreneurial friends hijacked their dad’s home brew kits and would turn up at parties with long necks of something that was alcoholic but certainly didn’t adhere to any German Beer Purity Law.
In Melbourne, three mates from the eastern suburbs, Darren, Hamish and Pete, had also begun experimenting with homebrews and probably sat around wondering what it would be like to have their own beer on the shelves at the local bottle-o. Well, after a number of years refining those homebrews, travelling overseas and building careers in areas like marketing and finance, they now have that first beer. The Premium Pale Ale is the first release from the self appointed “Flavour Merchants” at the Hawthorn Brewing Co. and it was worth the wait.
Beer buyers certainly won’t have any problems finding the Hawthorn Pale Ale on their local bottleshop’s shelves as the packaging, designed for the company by advertising heavy hitters Leo Burnett, is striking. Darren Milo, the company’s Director of Marketing, told All Ale The Big V that this relationship came about in part because they have friends at the agency but also due a desire on the part of Leo Burnett to enjoy the creative freedom that comes from working with a start up and being involved with the brand design from the beginning. The 6-pack and label design were recently named as finalists at the Melbourne Advertising & Design Awards, which was great exposure for a new brand in an increasingly crowded market.
Great packaging is all well and good but ultimately we buy beer for what’s inside the bottle. Darren told All Ale The Big V that they were aware that most new microbreweries coming into the market are releasing pale ales as their first beer but he feels that is a simple economic decision because that is what is selling at the moment. With their pale ale, the boys at the Hawthorn Brewing Co have tried to go for something a bit different. It is malt driven and filtered with a restrained hop bitterness provided by a mix of Old and New World hop varieties. It’s a nice change to drink a pale ale where you are not whacked over the head with hops.
The beer is brewed for the Hawthorn Brewing Co by the team at Mildura Brewery under the direction of Hamish Reed, Hawthorn’s Director of Brewing. Darren described Hamish as “an absolute natural” when it came to brewing and said he had been responsible for tweaking the pale ale’s recipe to get it ready for commercial release.
Darren told us that at the moment they won’t be putting the pale ale into kegs but they are hoping that it, or a future release, might one day be on tap at your local. Plans are in place to bring in one or two new beers sometime in 2010 with an amber ale and perhaps a pilsener most likely. Here’s hoping they are as good as the pale.