I couldn't care less. Good luck with that. Not my problem. There’s are a million ways to tell someone you don't give a damn. Yet there’s never been a more important time than now to give a rat’s arse, so grab this beer and check in on a mate’s emotional state.
Origin – Beechworth, Victoria
ABV – 7.0%
Size – 440mL
Style – West Coast IPA
In the small country town of Beechworth that tried and sentenced the notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly, you’ll find the not-so-little craft brewer of Bridge Road. Based on the price of their beers, I’ve realised it wasn’t only Ned who was involved in highway robbery. Thus, pulling the ring of this fourth beer in their bi-monthly NEeD IPA series, brewed by head brewer James Dittko I was expecting liquid gold… and... I can confirm, it is worth killing for!
Famed for their small-batch brewing techniques Bridge Road is a 100% independent one-stop beer shop, with everything being done on-site, from the milling and mashing to fermenting, maturing and canning. Kicking things off in 2005, the owner and founder Ben Kraus' turned his Dad’s backyard shed into a brewery. But, demand quickly outstripped production. Loading his makeshift brewer into a tailor, Kraus relocated to the current home within the 150-year-old Cobb & Co coach station. It's a location that makes for an interesting juxtaposition to the hi-tech production equipment that now ensures Bridge Road can lay claim to being one of Victoria's premier microbreweries. Furthermore, the relocation and expansion didn’t stop with just the brewery. There's a fantastic beer garden along with a wood-fired pizza and pretzel kitchen. The latter is a speciality of Ben’s Austrian partner Maria, who bakes the best example of them this side of Munich.
The growth, in fact, seems to be never-ending. Whether that's installing a new brewhouse, more tanks, entering the international export market in a bid to fly the Aussie craft beer flag overseas, or the dozens of new beers that leave Beechworth every year. Indeed, new beers and the celebration of hops are as much part of Bridge Road's story as their independence - even creating The High Country Hop Festival. And it's a hop journey that shows no signs of slowing. The first three beers in this NEed line up turning the spotlight on no less than twelve hop varieties while not using a single one twice! Vol.4, a Tangerine West Coast IPA headlining Citra, Simcoe, Centennial, Cascade, Columbus and Warrior, nods to the old school, albeit with a Bridge Road (citrus) twist. Zesty and resinous aromas are balanced by bright, fresh grapefruit and tangerine tangs on the palate before giving way to a long lingering bitterness and a hint of malt sweetness on the finish.
As I continue to bemoan the $44 a four pack, I'm left with the words of Ned Kelly ringing in my ears, 'such is life'.