A beer perfect beer for sharing as we climb the mental health mountain, bridging the great divide that results in so many not seeking help early.
Origin – Uralla, New South Wales
ABV – 6.8%
Size – 375mL can
Style – Hazy IPA
For his many and varied crimes as a bushranger in the mid-1800s, Frederick Ward, better known as Captain Thunderbolt, was locked up for life on Cockatoo Island. To his good fortune, he was sprung by his girlfriend, who swam across Sydney harbour to break him out. He fled to the New England high country, where the loveable rogue continued to ply his illegal trade throughout the fledgling colony. The constabulary finally caught up with him at Kentucky Creek on the outskirts of Uralla. With an empty pistol and nowhere to hind, Captain Thunderbolt, NSW's last professional bushranger, was shot dead.
Yet while Ned Kelly is a national treasure, few have even heard of Thunderbolt. Unless they're a Uralla local such as Ben Rylands, the founder of New England Brewing. 'The captain's a legend around here,' he shares. 'There's a Highway named after him and even a life-size bronze statue casting his steely gaze over the main street.' However, it was far from that main street that the idea of opening the town's first brewery first came to Ben. While drinking with the German locals in the regional brewery of Meissen, Ben began to wonder whether a similar regional brewery could be replicated back home.
In 2013 he answered that question when converting Uralla’s former wool store. As tempting as it was to have Captain Thunderbolt, with Bridge Road already using Ned Kelly on their logo, Ben opted to reinforce the brewery's New England connection using a flying ram. In the early days, the beers were only available in the area's pubs and bottle shops. However, nowadays, people from all over can get their hands on the likes of this handcrafted juice bomb. Thanks to a load of whole Galaxy hop cones and some Cashmere mixed in for good measure, this Hop Pressure leads with dominating flavours of orange, grapefruit and passionfruit. Following melon, lime and peach hints, there's a spattering of bitterness and a soft sweet finish.
Folklore has it that after raiding the Uralla pub in 1865, Thunderbolt stayed on to drink and dance with his accomplices and only made his getaway after the police arrived. Now that’s pressure!