Unlike the Corona advert, life’s not one long summer - particularly not right now! Here’s the perfect beer to share honestly between mates about where you're both at…and, where you'd rather be!

Origin – Healesville, Victoria
ABV – 6.6%
Size – 330mL bottle
Style – Indian Pale Ale

Many of the world’s great rivers have given birth to many of the world’s great cities. Great civilizations such as the ancient Egyptians arose from the fertile flood plains of the Nile. In biblical times the Babylonians established arguably the most splendid city the world may ever see – a land said to be flowing with milk and honey – at the crossroads of the waters of the Euphrates and the Tigris. Since time began, beyond simply settlement, rivers have also been critical in providing routes for exploration and trade, irrigation and industry. The famous include the Thames, Seine, Bosphorus and Hudson.

Less known but equally important is the Watts River. It was quite literally the water of life for the little town of Healesville, which was first established in 1860 during the Victorian gold rush. It seemed only fitting that the brewery, named after the waterway, set up in the hole left behind when Lion decided to remove another type of ‘water of life’ from the town. Yet, while the departure of White Rabbit from its original home in Healesville was met with concern from both locals and those who would regularly make the trip into the Yarra Valley, for Aaron Malmborg and Ben Hamilton it was the opportunity of a lifetime. Having met and worked together at White Rabbit, when it came time for the brewery to move, along with wives Emily and Hanna, the lads stayed on in the township and founded Watts River Brewing.

Having gained valuable experience and producing more beer than some rivers in the region literally have water, the lads could now work on their very own tasty combinations of hops and malts without the corporate marketing priorities watering down the quality. Initially, Ben and Aaron operated as gypsy brewers before production moved to an old warehouse close to the eponymous river... and a locally made amber water flowed again. One of those ambers that has been popular from the outset is this stripped-back IPA. Despite its 6.6 percent ABV packing plenty of punch, it does so within a tightly wound package. In part, that's due to putting the 'pale' into India pale ale - stripping the malt profile right back so it's an unobtrusive partner, providing a backbone and structure upon which the hops can go to work. They do so with grapefruit and sweet citrus to the fore and a touch of pine in support on the aroma front. There's plenty of zesty hop flavours throughout before a pleasant piney bitterness finished things off. 

Forget the milk and honey, when sitting on the banks of the Watts River or exploring the ruins of Babylon, I'd much prefer to quench my thirsty with this IPA.