In a Sydney industrial warehouse a stone's throw from the piano keys of Kingsford Smith Airport's runway 16L lies Slow Lane Brewing. It's a small family operation that has recently got their beer into tins and beyond the Greater Sydney & NSW border bubbles - where they carved their niche. An even shorter stone's throw away from Slow Lane is One Drop's Botany brewery & taproom, just 180m as the crow flies, and yet while they are so close geographically - their grog theory and practise couldn't be further apart.
Where One Drop embrace the ludicrous, glitzing and glamming up their grog (and their marketing hyperbole) to levels unseen in Australia, Slow Lane are the polar opposite; they focus on slow ferments, often wild, and traditional styles and methods that have and most likely will continue to stand the test of time. Here's a curated six pack of their recent releases that highlight the simple pleasures that patient and dignified brewing yields.
This pack includes;
1x 375ml Stanger Danger - Kolsch Style Ale; You can't call it Kolsch if it isn't brewed in Cologne! What we've got here is essentially a Lager malt that's warm fermented with an ale yeast, hopped up with the noble Hallertau. The result is an effervescent, bready, spicy number that sits somewhere in between a pale ale and a Lager - it is an incredibly refreshing style that I wish we'd do more of here. It's perfect for beer nerds and simpleton drinkers alike. Bonus points for the pun - "stange" is the type of glassware they use to serve Kolsch.
1x 375ml Classic Dark Haze - Dunkelweizen - Pours dark, and a little murky, as promised by the name. Loaded with the fruity esters - banana & melon vibes you'd expect from the wheat, with heaps of spice and a nice toasty body and finish.
1x 375ml Botany Weisse - Berliner Weisse - it is nice to see a Berliner Weisse in it's natural form here, no bells, whistles or bull*#t adjuncts. Don't get me wrong, I love them, but, sometimes there is joy in simplicity and purity and that's what's on offer here. The 3 month long mixed culture fermentation has returned a super crispy, effervescent, slightly funky, quirky fruit bomb of a beer. We absolutely love this gear, and reckon you will, too.
1x 375ml Classic Haze - Hefeweizen - It's such a simple recipe; wheat & pilsner malt. Hallertau. Yeast. Yet, the end result is anything but simple, such is the incredible transformative powers of fermentation. With such a simple recipe, there's nowhere to hide - one has to nail every aspect of the production process to wind up with a drinkable result and that's exactly what's happened here. It's everything you'd want a good wheat beer to be, and then some.
1x 375ml Altogether - Altbier - Another style we could do with a lot more of in Austrlaia, Altbier hails from Dusseldorf, a half hour or so from Cologne. It's cool fermented with an ale yeast and reminds me a bit of what a good spicy pale ale would be like if it was put into the toaster. It isn't dark or roasty, but it picks up a bit of the colour and flavour from the Maillard reaction from the toasting of the grains involved. A bit gutsier than a Lager, but without being too dark, bitter or cloying. Maximum refreshment.
1x 375ml March to October - Marzen - The traditional Oktoberfest beer, Marzen is a less hoppy, less bitter, fuller and richer style of Lager. It has a fascinating history, which is well worth looking up. Slow Lane's take is toasty, spotlessly clean and really refreshing. A little lick of spice from the Tettenang saves this from erring into the too sweet territory that some new world examples can drift into.