To thrive in today’s day and age of fleeting sensations and flavours du jour, establishing oneself in the the crowded craft alcoholic beverage arena is no mean feat that demands a clear vision, passion, a melange of heart and brains to create something truly special.
Craft has always been more than a hip label - it’s the antidote to prefabricated, industrial mass production - yet while some might entertain the notion of a romantic endeavour and that clever marketing mights be sufficients to make it, if your product is lacking soul and merit, it will only go so far.
In order to make it in the realm of craft beer, not every emission of the entire line has necessarily to be unique snowflake of worldclass, but there has to be consistency in terms of quality and a unique take on things certainly helps to stand out.
Enter Young Henrys.
A beer brand you want to get your paws on for a myriad of reasons.
Let me elaborate why -
The story of Young Henrys’ genesis goes a little bit like this:
Richard Adamson and Oscar McMahon meet, get along, discover that they share a weak spot for beer, adventure, innovation and fun.
It was decided to turn talk into action.
Action was first taken in an industrial warehouse space in Newtown.
Small operation with the underpinning idea to conjure a brew for the local community of Newtown, which in essence has not changed to this day.
It worked. The idea took off.
People liked their beer.
Demand was growing and with it to expand the scale of operations.
Another warehouse space was acquired.
What evolved from there is an Australian success story.
Community sense and brewing with a conscience, e.g., reducing environmental impact, is a red thread of Young Henrys operations and manifests in the layout of its current headquarters: More of a permanent beer festival than a mere brewery offering a forum not only for hop aficionados but musicians, hospitality staff and artists, sustained by local food trucks stopping by to proffer gourmet and other fare.
What makes Young Henrys interesting is their wide range of operations, which are not limited to any medium and spans from bands via magazines to radio stations.
Specifically the collaborations with bands piqued my interest as a lot of attention to detail goes into the creation process, e.g. with a weed loving outfit calibrating the alcohol content to 4.20% or the artwork / names, often puns or double entendres to build a bridge between seemingly unrelated worlds and create a synergic medium that is so much more than a mere alcoholic beverage.
A recent favourite of Young Henrys’ range is the current Summer Hop Ale: Fruity hues meet hoppy ale tinged with the bitterness of grapefruit.
A thing of beauty and n example par excellence for a summer ale.
Now, your humble narrator’s was particularly taken by a limited batch conjured in collaboration with local indie heroes You Am I:
Brew Am I set out to capture the spirit and lightning of You Am I in a bottle: A beautiful pale ale, clocking in at 5%.
Originally brewed in 2013 to celebrate 20 years of You Am I albums and tours, Brew Am I was exclusively available at the band’s shows and makes appearances every now and then in limited runs, e.g. in distinctive special editions of one liter squealers as well as on tap in selected venues.
One wishes it would be made available on a permanent basis.
Another favourite release is Dr Röt Fifer:
The emission is based on collaboration with Oz Comic-Con and artist Doug Holgate.
A tasty Vienna Lager with 5.3% alcohol.
Needless to say that their recent collaboration with the Foo Fighters to celebrate them holding court In Sydney, which culminated in giving birth to a brew called “Foo Town” and the take-over of a downtown bar that became a dedicated FF shrine, garnered worldwide interest and became an instant collectable.
Young Henry also does cider:
Sourcing their apples from local producers, and a mélange of Royal Gala and Pink Lady varieties, results in a cloudy emission without any added nasties.
Make sure to taste Young Henrys when you have a chance and pay a visit to their HQ when you are holding court in Sydney as there’s a good times to be had, no matter what your poison of choice is.
photos by @k.a.vv