Nothing pairs better with freshly cut grass than beer. So next time you shut off your Victor grab a neighbour and enjoy this cracking cold craft together over a convo.
Origin – Port Melbourne. Melbourne
ABV – 6.7%
Size – 375mL can
Style – Indian Pale Ale
Half a century before Ned Kelly, there was a bush-ranging John the Baptist of sorts by the name of Jack Duggan, aka the Wild Colonial Boy. As the famous ballad outlines, the Irish rebel led a short but glorious career as a bushranger, his regular hold-ups gleefully cheered on by fellow convicts and, among the free, by those who had nothing he could steal. Eventually, of course, he was cornered. And when that happened, he probably didn't manage anything as eloquent as "I'll fight but not surrender, said the wild colonial boy". More likely, he uttered a string of unpoetic expletives before dying in the shoot-out.
Although not named in commemoration of Jack - nor intended to celebrate colonisation - based on the design of their packaging, any one of these colonial-era looking cans would look right at home in Duggan's hand as 'He bailed up the Beechworth mail-coach, and robbed Judge MacEvoy'. Unlike the packaging, everything else about the brewing company that in 2004 ‘colonialised’ Margaret Rivers wine region with the introduction of craft beer is sleek and contemporary, including the highspeed canning line filling 100 tinnies per minute. Yet undeterred by the modernism, head brewer Ash Hazell still takes the time to ensure every batch is carefully hand-crafted. I guess it's how you end up with a HAZY Indian Pale Ale that makes others pale by comparison!
First launched in 2019 as a special to celebrate the Port Melbourne brewhouses home in the borough, it's since returned each year with slight tweaks along the way. Unsurprisingly a finessed and dialled-in offering, it's a hazy that features an all-American hop line-up of Mosaic, El Dorado, Idaho 7. Combined with a New England yeast strain, this 6.7% delight serves up peach, rockmelon, pine alongside the slightly sweet combination of pawpaw and guava. Lush and soft on the mouthfeel, it finishes dry and with just a hint of bitterness.
While the praises of the Wild Colonial Boy have been sung in many bars down the decades from Melbourne’s Borough to Perth’s Balcatta, nowhere I imagine are sung with more pride than in the old Jack Duggan pub in Castlemaine that has immortalised the revolver carrying Robin-Hood.