A lover of beer and a seasoned drinker, Tom tells us about his favourite winter brews.

THIS ARTICLE FIRST APPEARED IN THE LOCAL, A QUARTERLY FEATURE OF NEIGHBOURHOOD NEWSPAPER.

By Tom Pigott, Bar Manager at The Bank Hotel

Former Tennant Red IPA
Modus Operandi

My first love was a red. Probably not something you hear often but it’s true. And in all my years I still find myself drawn to the allure of their feistiness. This one’s like a siren on a rock, warm and welcoming after a long journey at sea, then BAM! Modus Operandi’s Red IPA gets you with a big smack of hops. But you love it, quite openly in fact. Chewing the poor bloke next you’s ear off about the stuff. Suddenly you’re on your way to being three sheets to the wind after one of these tall boys. And I tell you, what a way to go.

Jedi Juice NEIPA
Hop Nation

The haze craze. Juice bombs. Whatever you want to call it, these new-style New England IPAs have been sweeping the nation. Murky body, juicy and intense. Over the last year or bit, it’s had people yakking on about it. People go apes for them, chasing them from bar to brewery to bottle-o. You could argue that this style is the Greatest Of All Time like that American Footballer, whoever he was. Cricket’s more my thing. You’ve gotta get this sweet, hoppy brew right though. The best have more of that tropical fruit flavour and are a little less bitter. Balanced, some could say. Spot on, downright delicious and looking like a glass of freshly squeezed OJ.

Brown Ale
Mornington Peninsula Brewery

Never been much of a coffee man. Prefer a nice hot cuppa of English Breakfast any day of the week. This brown ale from down south though, phwa it’s a beauty.  Has that little bit of coffee flavouring come through and it’s just about the only time I like the stuff. When it’s raining cats and dogs and your toes are blue, you want a beer that comforts, warms you from the gut up. Got those big malt flavours that really make you wanna dive in and swim around, bathe in its richness. Beautiful part of the world down the Mornington Peninsula way. Really, it’s just a cracker of a beer.

Flying Ram Amber Lager
New England Brewing

Most people get to the colder months and want their big boozy dark beers to help them chase away the winter blues. But sometimes you can’t jump straight into a high ABV stout, porter or IPA. And what if there’s a rogue scorcher in June? It’s possible here in this hot-box country. That’s where this little beauty comes in. A darker style lager that’s still crisp and refreshing enough in the summer to quench your thirst but malty enough to warm your bones while watching the footy in the rain. Either on tap or in a tinnie – an amber’s a winner every time.

Elsie the Milk Stout on Nitro
Batch Brewing Co.

Black, creamy goodness. Dip your face in and feel the liquid gold coat your mouth and throat, like a silk scarf (one you’d see at a fancy sit-down dinner) sliding down it. You come out wearing a slightly off-white milk-like ‘stache. Sort of like when you were having a mug of Milo as a kid, ‘cept this time you’re a bit buzzed. Elsie’s roasty, dark and smooth. See, the Batch boys have used nitrogen in the gas mix, making the bubbles smaller. Gives Elsie her upside down cascading effect when she pours too. It’s magic, like watching a waterfall in reverse.

Crazy Ivan IPA
Willie The Boatman

I knew a bloke named Ivan once. Interesting chap. Loved long bushwalks, a good yarn and a cold one. He never liked his beer too complicated though. But come winter, he was all about his darker ales. He’d nurse a schooner of the stuff like a newborn. And sometimes you need just a little bit more malt. Don’t get me wrong, hoppy IPAs have their place, but when it’s a little cooler you want that warm malty embrace. That’s what this crazy bugger from Willie The Boatman has in droves. Scottish malts carry this hearty 6 per center, with some Armadillo hops to just cut through the sweet stuff.