Cheers Mate! A visit to Batch Brewing Co
If you haven’t heard, microbreweries are all the rage right now. Yes, while craft beer has been a long-established tradition, it is gaining more popularity. Today it is a distinguishing factor in taking a trendy café’s drinks list from mediocre to superior. After my tour of an unassuming warehouse in the back of Marrickville known as Batch Brewing Co, I discovered what gives hand-crafted beer that special edge.
See, nowadays we prefer (and obsessively source, I might add) food that is produced with that personal touch, in small quantities and in not-so-far locations. And for good reason. As well as the first-rate quality, chefs and producers are becoming increasingly innovative, exceeding the limits of flavour and design. We may only think of this in terms of those Instagram-worthy eats we sample at sustainable cafes and weekend farmers’ markets, but this trend has now expanded to include beer – refreshing and let’s face it, nothing-better-on-a-hot-summer’s-day beer.
The brewery was buzzing. Circles of friends gathered around bars and tables enjoying a laugh, while others chatted as they chilled in leather armchairs, their huggable dogs lazing by their feet. Chefs grilled chorizo outside for the day’s lunch of paella, creating a sweet, smoky aroma. However other than enjoying a feed with friends, ultimately it was the superior tasting beer that was the main attraction; brewed in the tall kettles standing proudly in full sight towards the back of the warehouse.
Jonathan, resident beer educator and total beer-making aficionado welcomed us with jars of their on-tap ales as he led us through the brewery. We discovered that temperature and different species of yeast creates lager or ale, and that ‘wort’ (when malt is infused before fermentation) while unappealing in name is actually sweet in nature.
But enough about the scientific particulars, let’s talk flavour. Batch Brewing Co has mastered it. They infuse their brews with ingredients that introduce new levels of taste. Think toasted coconut, lemon and lime peel, coriander seed, chocolate and raspberry and I’m certain I caught a glimpse of some writing on a blackboard that read caramelised banana too! The pale ale infused with lemon and lime peel was fresh and crisp and the brew infused with toasted coconut – known as the Big Kahuna! – was warm and moreish.
That’s the great thing about microbreweries; they focus on quality not quantity. While commercial breweries will add things to speed up the process, resulting in a taste that is young and light, the artisans at Batch have adopted a natural process. They allow their product to develop at its own organic pace, and unlike pubs, they serve it at an optimum temperature of 4-6 degrees so you can taste and appreciate all the properties of the brew. The outcome is an unparalleled drinking experience.
So are you thirsty? Go on, get yourself down to Batch Brewing Co or your closest microbrewery. But be warned after tasting beer of discerning quality you will likely turn in to a beer snob… to be honest though I don’t think that’s a bad thing.
Words by Amanda Chebatte