There be dragons! That said I’d cross uncharted waters to get my hands on this VAN DIEMAN BREWING RAGGED JACK
Origin – Evandale, Tasmania
Size- 330mL Bottle
Style – Pale Ale
It was in 1650 that Thomas Fuller penned the inspirational line ‘it's always darkest before the dawn'. However, he's not the only one to have overcome one of life's dark hours - Bill Gates' first business failed, Albert Einstein didn't speak his first words until he was four years old, Steven Spielberg was rejected twice by the USC film school, and Stephen King's first novel was declined by publishers thirty times. Hence Will Tatchell happened to be in good company when, after already departing his home in Tasmania to head off to his dream job as a brewer at Guinness HQ in Ireland, he received an email telling him that they’d decide to give the position to some other bloke.
With his hopes dashed, like Gates, Einstien, Spielberg and King, Tatchell pressed on, arriving in the UK and immediately contacting every brewery from Glasgow to Galway to Colchester. Within two weeks he had landed a role in the university town of Cambridge and was immersing himself in the art of brewing real ales. It was the perfect pathway to opening his own brewery on the family farm outside Evandale, set among 100-year-old oak trees in the rolling countryside just south of Launceston. In 2009 Van Dieman Brewing was officially founded, with Will releasing his first beers soon thereafter - beers inspired by the traditional ale recipes he had brewed in Cambridge.
Since then Will has taken a ‘brewing from the ground up’ approach. Given his access to fresh local ingredients, Van Dieman utilises grains and hops grown on the brewery farm, spring-fed water, and often foraging the countryside for indigenous wild yeasts – a practice heavily influenced by the Farmhouse ales originating in continental Europe. And it’s this artisanal spirit that overflows into this hand-made small-batch Ragged Jack Pale Ale. Dry hopped with farm-grown Galaxy, both nose and mouthfeel encompass a melody of tropical and juicy flavours that jump right out of the beer. Along with hints of apricot, guava, mango and passion fruit, there is a bready and biscuit-like flavour that sits on top of the bone-dry body. Despite the hop selection creating a resinous bite, the Ragged Jack is deceptively small and exceptionally easy to drink.
He may not have sold 350 million books with titles such as IT, The Shining or The Green Mile, but if you ask me Will Tachell has certainly reserved himself a page in the history books that will outline Australia’s craft beer revolution.