Sour beer is one of the fastest growing craft beer styles in Australia, as consumers seek an easy-drinking alternative to traditional ‘bitter’ pale ales.
Sunshine Coast brewery Brouhaha has increased distribution by 500% to 380,000 litres at a larger Sunshine Coast site to cater to increasing demand for its best-selling ‘Strawbarb’ kettle sour craft beer.
The eclectic beverage ditches hops for berries and will use 32.5 tons of fresh local strawberries and 5.2 tons of rhubarb in its production this year. The beer also incorporates yoghurt from local supplier Maleny Dairies, creating a distinct and sour flavour,
Director of Brouhaha Matt Jancauskas said: “It’s anti-tradition when it comes to beer – both in how we make it and the resulting flavour profile – which is where I think the appeal comes from and why it’s enjoyed by such a vast range of our
“It’s sweet on the nose, dry and wildly refreshing and has a sour finish to it. We are often told by our patrons who aren’t usually beer drinkers that the Strawbarb was their introduction into the world of craft.
“It’s indicative of the Queensland heat in that it’s a real thirst quencher and also pairs well with rich chocolatey desserts by acting as a cleanser and cuts through the creaminess of cheeses… the truth is, it goes with just about anything!”
Inspired by honey mead, the Strawbarb is brewed with the same four ingredients as a typical brewed beer including barley and wheat, although it differs when the yoghurt is added to create live lactobacillus.
This ‘good’ bacteria consumes the sugar and produces lactic acid that sours the beer. Once the desired sourness is achieved, the fruit is added during secondary fermentation, with these sugars again consumed by the yeast, leaving a dry taste.
“For brewery flagships, the hardest part is in contracting the hops year in and out, and the competition involved in the supply and demand,” Jancauskas said.
“With the Strawbarb, we have to contract enough strawberries and rhubarb from farmers around Maleny, Caloundra
and the coast – which is a unique challenge!
“The response to the Strawbarb has certainly been immense and really helped us to scale up and instill the confidence to undertake our second venue, which includes a double-storey taproom and a custom-designed brew house.”
The new seaside venue will produce 1.25 million litres of beer per year, with large custom kettles installed to sour the
Strawbarb and depalatisers that pack 80 cans per minute.
Brouhaha’s second Sunshine Coast venue is now open and is located at Baringa.