I’m always humbled when invited to events, sent stuff in the mail or just given the opportunity to participate in the amazing scene we have here in Brisbane. So when an invitation to a VIP tasting night for Ballistic Beer Co turned up in my inbox I was just a tad excited. The reason for such excitement was the location that the crew had chosen to build their brewery, being Salisbury on the Southside of Brisbane. Sure it’s not a brewery in my own suburb, I still live in hope for this, but it’s a hell of a lot closer to home than any other decent craft beer venue. Note to self, next time you decide to start a blog about craft beer probably best not to live 30km from the city with limited to no public transport.
The invitation read “The beer Gods have chosen you….” and I immediately felt special that the mythical Gods of malt, hops, yeast and water had chosen me. Turns out it was just good old catchy marketing which really was a good thing, not sure I’m ready to meet the God of yeast just yet.
So who is Ballistic beer? Well on one side we have Dave, founder and self-proclaimed chief beer taster. You may know Dave if you’re into doing your own brewing as he is also the owner of the Brewers Choice chain of home brew shops. On the other side of the operation is Lachy, head brewer and ultimate beard grower who has just returned from London for this venture. As mentioned the team will be based at Salisbury in their massive warehouse which currently holds their 200l pilot batch system and an 80sqm cold room. But don’t worry their 25HL brewery is currently on the boat and should be hitting the port of Brisbane in a few weeks. Current estimates from the guys see brewing commencing after Christmas with the cellar door due to open February 2017. The cellar door will be a decent size with 12 taps on offer and the intent of having guest taps and plenty of collaboration brews.
So what about the beers, I mean that’s what we were really there for. On the night we were treated to 4 beers to provide feedback on the pilot brews before true production starts.
Pilot Light table beer
3.6% 25 IBU 20 EBC
A table beer is a style popular in Europe designed to put on the table during the service of food and shared amongst the guests. Usually very low alcohol and served in large bottles, the Ballistic version tips the scales of a traditional table beer at 3.6%. A hazy straw colour I would liken it to a mid-strength pale ale with a nice hop profile tending towards sweet side. I really enjoyed this one and think this would be a great session beer over summer.
Dirty Word craft lager
5.0% 30 IBU 10 EBC
Ah lager, it really is a dirty word in the craft world, not many people seem to like lager who drink craft beer in Australia. I think this partially comes down to it being such a reminder of where we have come from and the beers we used to drink before really getting into craft beer. I must admit that I wasn’t a fan of this lager either, don’t get me wrong it was a great example but I just don’t think it had enough punch for me. This could actually be the clever part, I mean stop and think for a second – you’re opening a brewery 16km from the city in a predominantly industrial area, who are your customers going to be? Sure you’ll get all the beer wankers, like me, drop in but what about an after work crowd? While I’m not a fan I think this is actually a clever brew for Ballistic, my only opinion would be to throw some hops in to give it a more floral profile and make it a slightly new world lager.
Australian Psycho I.P.A.
6.5% 70 IBU 25 EBC
It was the one we were all waiting for, the one by which we all tend to judge a brewery or at least the first beer we will try from the range. Known as the Australian psycho due to using all Australian hops it pours a hazy orange and has big aromas of sweet tropical fruit with and nice piny resin on the palate. Not a lot happening with the malt profile on this one for me, which is fine. Defiantly a great IPA and one I would happily hand my hard earned over for. And let’s just say that when the tasting was over and everyone had left for the night, there may have been a fair few jugs of this consumed by the Ballistic team, my +1 and myself, to the point I think I got home at 11:30 on a Monday night.
Yet to be named strong oaked ale
7.0% 50 IBU 45 EBC
The final beer of the tasting was the real surprise packet for me an English style old ale. Made with 6 different malts and aged on oak it pours rusty brown. Big aromas of coconut, caramel and vanilla flood the nose with a very sweet and boozy taste. This beer would be a cracking desert beer and I could see it going perfectly on a cold winter’s night in front of the camp fire. Certainly not a beer I could do a session on but one I would happily buy to pour over ice cream to make beer spiders, don’t laugh its actually really good with the right beer.
So while the commercial brewing hasn’t kicked off yet and the brewery is currently a 200L pilot system and a big ass cold room, things a certainly looking good for Ballistic Beer Co. But more importantly things are looking a lot better for me as it looks like I have a new local brewery, all be it 15km away. Make sure you follow the guys on social media and be sure to check out their blog on the Ballistic website. Big thanks again to Dave, Lachy and team for the invitation, see you Friday with my growler!!!!