Long-time beer drinker Ross Lewis puts some of Australia's top drops to the test.
It has required a team of brewers in the WA south-west to show a fair bit of patience to get their new beer to a point of satisfaction.
But the crew at Bootleg Brewery near Margaret River know their already superb Speakeasy India Pale Ale can get even better. And that is a bonus for craft beer aficionados.
The drop is already top class. But when craftsmen like head brewer Michael Brookes strive for perfection they’re always open to some tinkering of the product.
Bootleg’s base has become as popular an attraction as the more famous vineyards that adorn the renowned wine region. Over the past 20 years they have brewed award-winning beers from their picturesque Wilyabrup premises.
Their Raging Bull became an early favourite. The Dark Ale taught West Australians about the quality of a high alcohol – it is currently at 7.1 percent ABV – yet tasty tipple.
It took Bootleg about a year to get comfortable with the Speakeasy IPA, which was designed to be a step up in standard from their Settler’s Pale Ale. And the drinker is the one being rewarded for their efforts.
However, the brewery isn’t stopping there. Bootleg have promised to maintain Speakeasy as a work in progress in an attempt to make the beer reach new heights in flavour.
Inspired by the west coast US IPA style, there is plenty of pine, citrus and stonefruit in this example.
And it is full of wonderful hoppy flavour, especially from the Amarillo and Citra cones. There is a hint of caramel amongst the bitterness but there is a satisfying finish.
It is best to get fresh and get a couple as at 5.5 per cent it is within range of being a sessional drink. The consumer will be more than satisfied.
The Sip Snip
Brewer: Bootleg Brewing, WA
Style: India Pale Ale
Alcohol content: 5.5%
Standard drinks: 1.4
Bottles: 330ml bottle
Estimated calories: 165
The Sip Tip (rating): Straight to the man cave
Average prices: $4.50 (330ml bottle) and $15 (four-pack) from Mane Liquor in Belmont.