Rebuilding an old pub from rubble is a big job. So is creating trust in which a mate feels he can talk to you about the feelings inside his head. But beer by beer, you can do it. Whether your mate is already a pile of rubble or still standing tall, share this beer and a conversation that can, and will save a life.
Origin – Alice Springs, Northern Territory
ABV – 4.2%
Size – 375mL can
Style – Golden ale
Luke Foster gazes at the fast-moving tidal waters about 300 kilometres east of Alice Springs. Leaving Victoria two weeks prior, he's on his last stretch. His first big decision today isn't which ale to quench the thirst on arrival; it's how to navigate a croc-infested river between him and the journey's end. A few hours later, Luke is at his final destination, sharing a well-earned cold one with Kyle Pearson, the owner and founder of Alice Spring Brewing. 'Trips like that', shares Kyle, 'make the Northern Territory the kind of place that isn't easily forgotten.'
Indeed, along with the spectacular nature, the warm hospitality, and the rich Aboriginal culture, it's one reason that Pearson, who likewise made the trip from Victoria, has yet to return home. Falling into a sales job working for one of the big beer companies in Alice, he would learn the ropes before, in 2018, deciding to introduce local beer to his adopted hometown. It was a choice that came with challenges few fledgling breweries need to consider: the desert town's water quality, which these days is made beer worthy with an impressive reverse osmosis setup; eye-watering shipping rates; and the Northern Territory's rather unique liquor licensing requirements among them.
Yet it has gone from strength to strength, with the brewery enjoying support from locals all year around and huge tourist numbers during peak seasons. Albeit Pearson and his team are on a mission to bring a different beer experience to the Red Centre, they're not daft enough to ignore drinkers after something familiar. As such, their flagship and still most popular beer, this Centralian Ale, is the affordable, don't-be-scared option. It sits in territory familiar for drinkers of their home state's bigger brand beers (likely called Draught or Bitter), with European hops and some Motueka adding an earthiness and grassiness to an easy-going, very pale, very bright beer.
I'd suggest adding it to the list of incredible NT experiences!