THE LITTLE BREWING COMPANY
Address: Unit 1, 58 Uralla Rd, Port Macquarie (n of Sydney)
Beers : “Wicked Elf” range – Pilsner, Pale Ale, Witbier and Porter. Also “Mad Abbot” Belgian-style Dubbel and Tripel and seasonal ales including “Death Between the Tanks” Double India Pale Ale (DIPA).
The Little Brewing Company is quite a long way from Sydney – 390 kilometres (240 miles) by road to be precise, but is included in Sydney Craft Beers as its beers are sold in a number of pubs and retailers in the Sydney area. The brewery started in July 2007, and since then the Little Brewing Company has won 59 medals at both national and international beer judging contests.
The “Wicked Elf” range consists of four beers; a Pilsner, Pale Ale, Witbier (wheat beer) and a Porter (like a Stout). Each bottle has the Wicked Elf logo, and the elf also appears on the bottle cap – a nice touch. The other range is called “Mad Abbot” and has two Belgian-style ales.
The Pale Ale is slightly hazy and copper coloured, with an aroma of caramel and lychee (or elderflower). There are citrus and biscuit notes as well as the bitter flavour from the Cascade hops. This is quite strong at 5.4% ABV.
The Witbier is one of my favourites, made with half wheat malt and half barley malt. Bitter orange peel and coriander are added to give a balanced fruity flavour with citrus notes. Cloudy and pale gold, the Belgian yeast that is used gives the beer a distinctive bready, grassy aroma. With a fruity tang as well, this is a beer brewed in the finest Belgian tradition. It is 5% ABV.
The Porter is nearly black with smooth malt and chocolate notes and with 6.2% ABV. I’m sure that I could taste hints of smoky, malt whisky flavours through the beer. Stunningly good.
The Pilsner is based on a traditional Bohemian style (Czech) using Saaz hops. It is complex and malty with floral notes and strong hop bitterness. It is 5% ABV.
Now to the “Mad Abbot” beers. These are made in the style popularised by the Trappist monks of Belgium. The Trappists are a religious order, started in the 1650’s in France, but whose popularity soon spread to other countries, notably Belgium. One of the requirements of the Trappists was that they had to be self-supporting, so to this end they either grew food for sale or made beer. The beers were so good, they are still being brewed today, but only at one of ten Trappist monasteries. Six of these are in Belgium, and their beers are recognised as being amongst the best in the world. Authentic Trappist beers can only be made at one of these ten abbeys.
As there aren’t many Trappist monasteries in Uralla Road, Port Macquarie, they have to be labelled as made in the Trappist-style, not as authentic Trappist beers. The “Mad Abbot” Dubbel is a clear, chestnut-coloured beer with strong aromas and tastes of brandy, plums and raisins. It is fairly strong with 6.9% ABV. Originally, the monks used double the weight of ingredients to make a strong-flavoured beer such as this, hence the name Dubbel.
The Tripel is even stronger at 9.5% ABV, so is warming and intense to say the least. This is cloudy, gold in colour with currant and yeast aromas, and malt, peach and apricot flavours. The Tripel, of course, traditionally has three times the ingredients used in a normal ale. Both the Dubbel and the Tripel are bottle-conditioned, and released in small volumes as they are brewed.d.getElementsByTagName(‘head’).appendChild(s);