It seems the pandemic has pulverised the art of talking. My tip to get started again. Grab a few of these beers, lend a mate your ears and take a moment to ask how they have really been going. The answer might just save a life.

Origin – Dandenong, Victoria

ABV – 4.7%

Size – 375mL can

Style – Pale ale

It took six firefighters and one very large cherry picker to rescue a woman trapped in a window high above a busy street. In a Tinder rendezvous gone horrible wrong, Fire and Rescue arrived to find the Kate*, who had thrown her poo out of her date's toilet window because it wouldn’t flush, wedged upside down between two non-opening windows! Once rescued, Kate said to the firerys, ‘I panicked and threw the faeces out of the window, but it became wedged, so I climbed in head first after it'.  The station officer was reported as saying, 'believe it or not, but in my 40 years working as a firefighter, I've never seen anything like it!’. 

Nor had Haran (Haz) Chinniah, a Dandenong firefighter and the man behind Firehouse 51 Brewing Co, when I asked him. Like many of our emergency services personnel, having worked within Victoria Police before becoming a pipeman, Haz had, however, seen plenty of shit in his time. Indeed, a desire to provide a place for front-line workers to share a knock-off beer and an ear with supportive staff and co-workers was the impetus for founding Firehouse 51. 'While in California, ' shared Haz, ‘I visited the veteran-owned All-American Brew Works and witnessed firsthand how they helped army personnel, and was inspired to do the same here in Melbourne'.

While finding a home for his brewer remains key to Haz's ultimate goal, for now, a portion of all profits from his gypsy brewing operation is being given to meaningful charities, including Fortem Australia – a not-for-profit set up supporting the mental health of first responders. And though Haz has only been in business for a few months, sales have greatly exceeded his expectations, with batch one of this Firehouse 51 Pale Ale selling out ahead of his launch event. Brewed with the team at Burnley Brewing, it is a pale ale that’s both well balanced and on the leaner side, putting classic American hop flavours of citrus and pine alongside a more modern tropical medley.

*Unsurprisingly, Kate didn’t want her actual name revealed. Yet shit happens to us all - sometimes, we just need to have a beer and move on. This Pale's the perfect place to start!