To ensure you're ready when the call comes, share one of these with a mate and together get your hours up in the flight simulator, so to speak!
Origin – Bulli, New South Wales
ABV – 6.0%
Size – 500mL can
Style – Amber Ale
‘It was as big as a bus, easily 40 feet long, and it just sent the surfers flying like skittles.’ said a witness as he described the scene. 10 minutes earlier, a man had been knocked unconscious. His board snapped clean in half by a whale, thought to be a southern right, while surfing at Bondi Beach. Though the surfers behind Resin Brewing have broken plenty of boards over the years, not one resulted from being made a football of by a whale. 'Rocks, wipeouts, and an accidental run-in with other surfers are what's had us reaching for the resin', shares Brendan Dowd and Stephen House. For the pair who meet out the back of the surf one stormy day on Sydney's south coast, mixing up the resin to repair a surfboard is just part of growing up in the ocean.
The other past time that the lads had been involved in from an early age was homebrewing. 'I've been doing it since my grandfather taught me when I was 16, and Steve's been doing it since he was in high school,' Brendan says. 'We moved from kit brews in the early days when we were teenagers to brewing all-grain pretty quickly.' Brewing on the side, the duo spent 20 years as environmental consultants before they decided to turn their love into a business. Purchasing the 130-year-old Bulli Railway Guest House, they spent two long years transforming the crumbling, graffiti-scrawled building into the microbrewery and brewpub. With breakers and batches interwoven in days gone by, the name on the doors when they opened in early 2020 was an obvious choice.
While it's been a wide ride since welcoming the first guests just before the global pandemic, Brendan and Stephen have focussed on what they can control – their small-batch beer. Given the proximity to Wollongong's Steel City, those beers are a mix of less challenging lager and English Bitter, along with others as equally exciting as this amber ale. A different take on the classic American Amber, the Flame Tree has low bitterness and a silky soft mouthfeel. The Crystal malts combine with Sabro hops to give a full-flavoured mouth with flavours of caramel, tangerine, coconut, and vanilla.
It may not be the most hop resinous in their line-up, however, I can vouch for its monster of deep guarantee… two down, and I was having a whale of a time!