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 – South Melbourne, Victoria
ABV – 5.1%
Size – 355mL can
Style – Pale Ale
A classic American musical with strong social commentary, West Side Story updates Shakespeare's tragedy about star-crossed lovers, Romeo and Juliet, to 1950s New York City where the all-American street gang the Jets are in a constant street battle with rival Puerto Rican gang the Sharks. A showdown is inevitable, but love gets in the way when Tony from the Jets falls in love with the sister of the Sharks leader Bernardo. People die, and hearts get broken.
Though also set in a traditional multiracial, blue-collar neighbourhood, that is where the similarities with Arthur Laurents’ tale cease. Rather than tearing communities apart, the story of Westside Ale Works is one of bringing the neighbourhood together. Tucked away on Albert Street in South Melbourne, it opened in 2016 after founder and head brewer, Casey Wagner, relocated from his home in Southern California. The avid home brewer was ready to try something new in his new country, so he set up the small craft brewery with a plan to just service the immediate area.
Starting off with little more than a homebrew system, Wagner's aim was to pay homage to the microbreweries of the U.S. West Coast with everything he did - from the cozy atmosphere to the hop-driven beers. Even though two years later Westside moved a few doors down Alfred Street to allow for more brewing equipment, Wagner's philosophy of creating a warm and welcoming experience to anyone who walked in remained unchanged. Step inside, and you'll find 30 beers on tap, with 20 of them brewed in-house. Add to that an American staple – pizza – and a projection screen that plays big games from both here and the States, and it's a relaxed a space as they come. Their bottleshop – dubbed the 'Research and Development' fridge – is just as much a part of the brewery. It's filled with beers from across the globe along with Westside's U.S. sized 355ml cans – all brewed and canned in-house.
One of the cans you'll find in that fridge is this highly popular Electric Socks. Casey named it as a quirky foreshadow of it 'knocking your socks off', and boy does it do just that! Like most American style pales it's big, bold, hop-forward and dominated by citrus and floral aromas. While the mouth generally follows the nose, there's the addition of flowery grapefruit flavours. Although it has plenty of depth and a substantial level of bitterness, you'll be pleasantly surprised by its smooth, malt-forward finish.
Would it be too Shakespearean to say that this one is worth dying for?