Love Actually is an unavoidable Christmas flick. But it’s not like that for everyone. So don't forget to take a moment to share this frosty with a mate this festive season…because that’s love, actually.
Origin – Palmyra, Western Australia
Size- 500mL can
Anyone who has celebrated their diamond wedding anniversary can tell you it marks 10 years of marriage - provided, that is, they follow the modern anniversary gift list. Yet it seems the practicality of traditional anniversary gifts has given way to all sorts of weird and wonderful gifts. A couple I know recently celebrated their fifteenth wedding anniversary – he gave his wife a weekend away at a Sydney Spa while she gave her golf-loving husband a ..wait for it …golf club urinal! Likewise West Coast brewers Gage Roads are celebrating their crystal brewing anniversary with an unconventional gift, this Small Batch Lager.
They've released many lagers over the years, however this throwback to their debut beer from 2004 offers a window into Australia's early Y2K beer landscape. It was a time when Euro-inspired lagers dominated consumption, and something of a curiosity for many recent converts to craftier drinking, there was no lactose and no fruit!
In the decade and a half of Gage Roads existence, it has grown from a small independent brewery to being owned by Woolworths before regaining its independence as an ASX-listed brewer. Today it's a far cry from its beginnings in a former margarine factory outside of Freo, with second-hand equipment shipped from the US, bought on a credit card with a $20,000 limit!
Figuring it appropriate to mark the occasion, Aaron Heary, the second person employed by founders Bill and John Hoedemaker and Peter Nolin, and the first in the brew team, pulled out some of the old paper recipes that were sitting in an archive folder. With some of those early hops no longer available, they brewed a bit of a hybrid between a couple of the recipes, producing a crisply traditional lager wrapped in this tallboy’s colourful cladding that radiates modernity. The amber-tinged, golden hue offers aromas of toffee, faint spice and light toast, which shift into biscuity malt territory upon sipping. Soft bitterness remains in harmony with a semi-dry finish that has just a lick of malt sweetness; a classic coda to a beer that, given a budding craft lager renaissance, may have been 15 years ahead of its time.
With his novelty club, it’s the sort of lager my mate will no doubt now be able to enjoy on the course without having to hide in the rough while draining his personal water hazard!