DUNBAR EPA

While I'm not suggesting you should take up smashing eggs over a mates head to get him talking (although it might be funny!!), cracking this tinnie with him might be just the trick to get a conversation started.

Origin – Sydney, New South Wales
ABV – 4.5%
Size – 330mL can
Style – English Pale Ale

Leaving London, she had sailed uneventfully for 81 days. Yet barely a dozen nautical miles from Circular Quay, disaster struct in the dead of night. Instead of passing to safety through the heads, gale force winds smashed the Dunbar against the sheer cliffs that guard the entrance to Sydney Harbour. Despite the estimated 8000 shipwrecks in the treacherous waters that surround our island nation, the 1857 wreck of the Dunbar remains our worst maritime disaster, with all but one of the 122 onboard perishing as the biggest merchant ship of its time broke up almost immediately.

The lone survivor, deckhand James Johnson, was hurled onto the cliffs where the young Englishman managed to gain a fingerhold. At dawn he found himself on a ledge three metres above the wreck, surrounded by debris of the ship and the hundreds of barrels of English bitters it was carrying as cargo.

With a penchant for English bitter, when Will Dunn and Tom Rees landed on our shores some 150 years after the wreck of Dunbar (albeit stepping off an aircraft not a clipper), the pair noticed a lack of real English style ales. Despite searching high and low for their beautiful, easy-drinking bitter from home with its mélange of flavours, all the lads found was a ‘bitter’ possessing an enamel-stripping power originating from Victoria!

Deciding to do something about it, Will and Tom teamed up with new found Aussie mate Mitch Peters and the passionate homebrewers set about developing a recipe. The brew proved so popular among both locals a good handful of the 1.2million geezas calling Australia home that the trio decided to go pro. Naming their brewery in a nod to the Dunbar, the first commercial barrels have had a far less bitter end than those smashed onto the rocks in 1857. Which is not surprising given the well-balanced, easy drinking nature of this EPA. Amber in colour, its caramel malt flavours complement the earthy nature of the English Challenger and Cascade hops, giving it a malty taste and an uncompromising citrus and dried fruit finish.

 James Johnson later became a lighthouse keeper near Newcastle and in 1866 helped rescue the sole survivor of another wreck. It’s a sweet tale worthy of a toast of this bitter.

DUNBAR

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