Thus Let Us Drink Beer – Urban Alley
Not unlike it would be the case in North America, specifically the craft beer industry in Australia is dominated by hairy males, with female fronted entities being the exceptions. Case in point: The only female headed brewery we have so far covered as part of our “Thus Let us Drink Beer” series was Two Birds – one of my favourite Australian breweries.
Having evolved from the local Melburnian Jewish community, Urban Alley is one of the breweries that pro-actively pushes for more diversity under the benign leadership of their head brewer Shaya Rubinstein.
With only having five years of existence under its belt, Urban Alley’s impressive range of brews runs the gamut from crisp mid-strength sessional ales like their All Nighter, which forms the triumvirate of core expressions with their passionfruity Slapshot and their traditional German styled Urban Lager.
Things get interesting with their limited releases, which are my favourites. One of those is their Man-Goes Nowhere “Isolation” sour ale and a highly aromatic one at that with a telling name as you might have guessed that mango is a dominant flavour, which rests on a foundation of Amarillo hops and passionfruit. Clocking in at 5.4 ABV, it is their newest creation.
Belgian beers are amongst my favourites, so I was keen to try Urban Alley’s take on a wheat ale. Aptly named “Blush”, Urban Alley’s take on the classic leans more towards the new world than Belgium as it has a carefully calibrated bitterness that counterpoints the raspberry aromas, which are framed by a soft maltiness with peppery highlights to round things out.
My favourite of the limited releases, however, is their Long Beach Dreamsicle Nordic Hazy IPA. Based on the accelerated and off flavour free Kveik fermentation approach using yeast that seems to somehow combine the best characteristics of Belgian and American Ale yeast strains, what tickles the palate is a melange of orangey hoppy fruitiness, which meets herbal and grassy notes, before it finishes with a crescendo of grounding earthy maltiness. Sounds like quite a bit of terrain that is being covered? It is, and masterfully so.
Given the way that Urban Alley channels its alchemy by honouring tradition methods and infusing them with their idiosyncratic DNA and flavourful, experimental twists without entering novelty territory, I cannot wait to sample their future emissions and hope to be able to visit their awesome looking taproom and bar in the Docklands of Melbourne once travel restrictions are lifted.