It might not be time for a victory ale just yet, but this cold craft is perfect for sharing over a conversation with mate, as you recall the many times you’ve been punched in the face during these overwhelmingly difficult times.

Origin – Warana. Queensland
ABV – 6.0%
Size – 375mL can
Style – Indian Pale Ale

Google the word mateship and the first thing that pops up is 'an Australian cultural idiom that embodies equality, loyalty and friendship.' It's a word that has such a hallowed place in the Australian lexicon that during the 1999 referendum there was a call for its inclusion in the preamble of the Australian constitution. Our first female PM once said “more than anything else, Australians are defined by mateship, in the worst times and in the best”. But while we've got more mates than ever on social media, in 'real-life' we're getting less and less of them – a recent survey showed the average number of close friends claimed is 3.9, well down on the 2005 average of 6.4. And when it comes to us lads, researchers believe we are facing a 'loneliness crisis'.

It's the sort of trend that didn't sit well with mates Christen McGarry and Matt Hepburn. So, they quit professional jobs and set about doing something about it. Given that mateship is about as Aussie as a cold beer, that something was opening Your Mates Brewery. What started out in 2013 with a DIY brew kit and rented industrial shed, rolled into a gypsy brewing operation and the release of their first commercial beer, the Larry pale ale in 2015. By 2017 the duo was slinging brews at The Basement in Nambour, and with the help of a few mates, the following year the lads set up their own temporary taproom at Moffat Beach. Appearing on the Shark Tank in 2018 helped things along, as did working 90+ hours a week, and living and breathing their tiny business for the previous 6 years – and in 2019 they opened the doors of their new brewery in Warana.

Yet despite now being the largest brewer on the Sunshine Coast – so successful, they are selling more beer than they can keep up with – Your Mates is just as much about mateship as they were when the first beer was cracked. Though a few more mates have joined Larry including Donnie (Dark Ale) and Macca (Lager), it's this recently added mate Sally that's been lubricating conversations between mates up and down the coast of late. Sally is all about hop flavours. Citrus and pine dominate the mix of tropical fruits, which are well balanced by a slightly botanical, grassy edge.

It says on the can, 'rain or shine, it's always a good time with your mate Sally sunshine'. As we face what lies ahead, perhaps grab a few Sally's and take a leaf out of the book of our diggers, who through their unconditional support for one another amid the toughest of conditions cemented mateship as a linchpin of our national character.