A dart in one hand and this beer in the other; it’s a great way to have a pointed - pardon the pun - conversation about life and all its ups and down.
Origin – Narellan, New South Wales
ABV – 5.6%
Size – 375mL can
Style – Hazy Pale Ale
The wool industry is such a critical part of Australia's history that until the late 1980s, its economic impact was arguably more remarkable than mining. It’s still part of Australian legend that in the early 1950s, wool was selling at a pound for a pound. With the basic wage at about 14 a week, that was big money. Wool growers bought Rolls-Royces for cash, and their families made grand tours of Europe, staying at the swankiest hotels and returning with Rolexes. At its heart was the Merino sheep, which came to be featured on the old one shilling coin, symbolising the prosperity that this woolly money spinner had brought to this unusual colony at the end of the world.
The man credited with bringing the Merino to Australia in early colonial times was the former military commander in chief John Macarthur. To this day, the Macarthur region on Sydney's outskirts still bears his name. Yet it’s the hope of two other former military men, Lee Evans and Mark Palmer, that the region may one day become as well known for frothy as it once was for fleece. As ex-servicemen, they had seen plenty of critical situations, Lee flighting with the Royal English Navy and Mark on duty in the Australian Army, yet it was while sharing a beer mid the Covid emergency when the pair found clarity on what was important to them. 'Crisis has a way of bringing clarity, highlighting the important stuff, showing us what we really want out of life.' shares Lee. 'As home brewers, that was opening our own brewery for us.' So, the mates finished their beer and set about planning to do just that. They ordered a brew kit, enlisted Tim Howard, formerly of Tribe, as head brewer and picked a name that would epitomise the heritage of the area and a local sense of ownership the lads desired.
Just over 6 months later, in early 2022, they opened the doors of Macarthur's largest all-grain brewery to the public. From the rustic corrugated tin bar housed within the walls of a typical industrial unit, 8 taps pour a mix of core beers and seasonal rotations, including an Extra Special Bitter, a nod to Lee’s own heritage, and this Hazy Pale Ale. A crowd favourite, Tim has used a good dose of Strata and Idaho 7 hops to dish up a lazy hazy with upfront flavours of sweet tropical citrus. Sitting atop a well-balanced body, it’s a pale aided by a touch of bitterness that pokes its way through the light and creamy texture.
With wool prices at an all-time low, it's a not-so-golden outlook for fleece. If all their beers are as first-rate as this Hazy, I'm sure this Merino has a brighter future!