WOLF OF THE WILLOWS HOMAGE

Whether you need to lay yourself down or give a friend a hand up, this brew is perfect for a conversation about how to be a ‘bridge over troubled water’ for a mate.

Origin – Mordialloc, Victoria.
ABV – 6.2%
Size – 355mL can
Style – Indian Pale Ale

Starting typing 'Wolf of' into your Google browser and you'll be redirected towards the story of a New York stockbroker who made millions defrauding investors. The Wolf of Wall Street's opening line in the film - "The year I turned 26, I made $49 million which really pissed me off because it was three shy of a million a week'' - sets the tone for three hours of over-the-top examples of a hedonistic lifestyle, from Quaaludes and private jets, to orgies and a supermodel wife. Continue to add the words 'the Willows', and you'll find an entirely different story. It's the one of a couple who has made millions of beer lovers happy through their passion for producing liquid gold that is distinct in quality, flavour and character – what they like to call 'Ales of Distinction'. 

Although Scott and Renae McKinnon's story doesn't include Quaaludes, I'd have it at a guess that Pliny the Elder, the man that inspired the brewery’s name, enjoyed a few plant-based substances when penning his many writings.  The roman naturalist is credited in 'De historia stirpium’, or ‘History of plants’ as having first used the term lupus salictarius, or 'wolf among the willows', to describe a plant believed to be wild hops.

Yet coming up with arguably the best brewery name in history was just the beginning of their own wild ride for the husband and wife team that discovered a knack for brewing when making barbecue beers for family and friends. Within 12 months of gypsy brewing their first commercial beer in 2014, the couple had a 50 per cent stake in their own outfit, sharing it with Bad Shepherd, before more recently finding a home of their own in the former Albatross Brewery site in the suburban Melbourne. While the relocation allowed for increased capacity and experimentation with more styles, it's still the beers that punters first feel in love with such as the XPA, that crept its way into the final spot of 2014 Hottest 100, and this IPA, that continue to sell out. Inspired by Scotty's time working in Colorado, as the name suggests it pays homage to the hops. In this case, the Simcoe, Amarillo and Cascade combine to deliver a West Coast IPA that's true to the style – one that bursts with resinous, tropical notes, a solid malt backbone and a firm bitterness.

I'll leave Jordan Belfort to consume enough drugs to sedate Manhattan… I'll stick with finding satisfaction in this indulgent IPA.

WOLF OF THE WILLOWS 

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