Suspect a mate might be floundering in the storms of life. Grab this sauce for the seafarers and head over to craft a conversation.
Origin – Woodend, VIC
Size- 330mL bottle
It's been a wild ride for Paul and Natasha Holgate ever since the couple moved to Woodend, started a family business and initially began selling the beer they made in a backyard shed to the locals. It was in the late 1990s, with a limited craft brewing industry in Australia, when the couple first fell in love with craft beer ... and each other. They characterised precisely what it took to make any small business work (both then and now); a pioneering spirit, plenty of risk-taking, a lot of creativity, and keeping your eye fixed on the vision. Yet despite being almost three decades on and with a lot more miles on the odometer, this husband and wife team are still hard on the gas.
While Holgate's brewery was kick-started in the landmark face-brick building on the town's main street, which formerly housed the stagecoaches travelling to and from the Bendigo goldfields, more recently they have expanded the operation on what was once an empty space at the back of the heritage site. Pulling open that shiny new roller door on a state-of-the-art brewhouse early this year was Paul's ambitious way of future-proofing Holgate, allowing for the opportunity to produce of up to ten times the current volumes. And you can be sure that one of the bottles rolling down those lines will be this Norton Lager. It's a highly drinkable fan favourite that also holds a place in Paul's heart, named after his dad, Bernie, who much like his son wasn't afraid of a wild ride. In fact, he loved nothing more than grabbing life by the horns and cruising around the south of England on a Norton motorcycle.
Yet unlike the English ales that Bernie enjoyed following his various road trips, the Norton is styled on the traditional Germany lagers. Pouring a pale gold, it displays a citrusy hop aroma alongside sweet, honeyed malts. On the palate, the sweet, bready malt flavour is balanced by refreshing lemon and grapefruit characters from the delicate use of Australian Ella hops. The finish is clean and dry with every sip, leaving a gentle, moreish bitterness. Founded in 1898, the legendary Norton Motorcycle company all but collapsed following an amalgamation with a big multination. It's a familiar tale to the beer trade, where the big brewers have swallowed up not only each other but other famed craft brewers.
Fortunately, with a thirst for independence that has been passed from father to son, this Norton will be handcrafted for some time yet. In fact, the ride is just getting started!