Building a spectacular beer
John Shiner (Badlands Brewing), James Kendell (Small Acre Cider), and Matt Chimenti (Origin Organic Chocolate Makers)
Three local producers have teamed up to put Orange on the map. Or, at least, in a pint glass.
The idea was conceived over a beer, as many good ideas are, which was particularly appropriate in this case as this idea was actually about a beer.
Small Acres Cyder’s James Kendell was on holidays in the UK, pondering what beverage he could produce for the world-renowned Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS).
For those not in craft beer circles, the annual GABS festival is a celebration of the best beers and ciders Australia has to offer. In a few short years it has built a reputation as one of the best beer festivals in the world and a feature is the launch of new beers and ciders created just for the event.
“You get invited to make a product and that has to be a product you've never made before, so as a punter when you go along to GABS you get to taste about 150 brand new beers or ciders,” said James.
“So it was Christmas time, I was eating chocolate and cherries and thinking about GABS and who else I could work with within the Orange Region. I was drinking an English Brown Ale, which has a malty, nutty character and I thought beer, cherries, chocolate… At Small Acres Cyder, we've got Cherries, Origin is the chocolate maker in Orange and of course Badlands Brewing.”
James shot the idea to Badlands Brewery’s John Shiner who replied almost immediately.
“I think I just said. ‘yes, let’s do it’,” said John.
Now James admits coming up with the idea was the easy part and it has been left to John to bring the vision to life.
So how do you go about bringing those flavours together in a beer? First it takes a lot of thought, said John.
“When making a new beer I think how I want it to taste right at the other end and then slowly, slowly think about all the different ingredients and what 's the beer going to be like, what's the alcohol going to be like, the bitterness, the colour, what's the mouthfeel going to be like and then about all the other flavour components, the cherries and the chocolate,” he said.
“Once I have it in my head I start to look at how I'm going to build the beer, which ingredients I'm going to use, and which parts of the process the various different elements are going to come in, then thinking about logistics and the stability of the beer, where do we add the cherry juice and the chocolate in a way that is potentially not going to cause us problems down the track.”
It was only two weeks ago that John put pen to paper to write up the recipe for the Cherry Choc Nut Brown Ale, they’ve named ‘The Dark Side of Orange’.
“A beautiful rich velvety, nutty, chocolatey, cherry-like beer”
James and Origin Chocolate’s Matt Chimenti joined John at Badlands Brewing last week for the ‘mashing in,’ the first step in the brewing process.
“It’s all come together,” said James. “And from a regional perspective, it is such a nice thing to do; three regional businesses showcasing great beer, cider and chocolate all coming from Orange.”
The beer will be available for tasting at GABS Sydney, held at the Showgrounds, on June 1.
So what can lucky GABS punters expect?
“A beautiful rich velvety, nutty, chocolatey, cherry-like beer,” said John. “I often think less is more with unusual ingredients in beer; you want to be able to detect them, but you are still making a beer. So, I think it will be a rich, indulgent sort of beer that you'd drink with a couple of mates sharing some black forest gateau or something like that.”