It’s January and it’s 36 degrees. After a quick swim I’m sitting in a brewery smack bang in the middle of Torquay. Life is good and the beer is better.
Torquay has always been a favourite holiday spot of mine. I’ve determined the town is synonymous with three things; surf, a relaxing vibe and passionate locals. Until 2013, it was also known in beer circles for its lack of the good stuff, which meant I was always in a frenzy to stock up a large enough Esky to last a couple of weeks.
Thankfully, over the past two years, the courageous, yet tentative acceptance by some local venues like Front Beach and Bottle of Milk to stock flavoursome beer meant more room in the boot of the car. Well-timed as it turned out, as local boy Renn Blackman and his wife Jess were well down the path of establishing Blackman’s Brewery on busy Bell Street, finally opening in August 2014. All of a sudden, Torquay had a little craft beer scene happening!
Fast forward to January 2016, and Renn says the locals’ and tourists’ taste buds have developed in leaps and bounds, as evidenced by their Berry Berlinner Weisse (a cloudy, sour white beer made with local berries) selling out in under three weeks.
So, sitting here in the brewery with Renn, I’m drinking my favourite of the Blackman’s range, a Reginald India Pale Ale named after Renn’s grandad.
First thing’s first – it’s delicious and surprisingly moreish for a big IPA. As Renn explains, that’s exactly what he was trying to do. “My main driving factor is drinkability. You need to be able to enjoy three or four pints in one sitting. Otherwise, what’s the point! I make beers that suit the way I like to drink beers, which I guess is every brewer’s dream.”
Leaning towards an English IPA in terms of its prominent malt base, “Reggie”, definitely has the American hop influence of citrus, peach and pine aromas leading to a very well balanced beer that you can enjoy over a long afternoon session. It’s good. Really good. I would even go out on a limb to say that this is one of the best IPA’s I’ve tasted by an Australian brewer.
Can’t make it to Torquay any time soon? Never fear, a new canning line is expected to arrive any day now, so look out for the Blackman’s range in cans starting with yes, you guessed it – Reginald IPA!
ABV: 6% Style: India Pale Ale Serving Temp: 4-6 degrees Origin: Torquay, Victoria Food pairing: Spicy fish tacos from the brewery kitchen Price (RRP): $10.50 a pint, $6 a pot from the brewery Buy it here:blackmansbrewery.com.au