Ok, I think that’s about the worst pun yet. Never fear, we’re only halfway through the year I’m sure I can come up with worse.
Southern Bay Brewing, based in Moolap just outside of Geelong is well known in the industry as a dependable contract brewer. But while the gang have contributed much to the craft beer scene by making other people’s beers, in recent times the pendulum has swung back to a more even keel.
In 2011, the brewery was a split of about 80% contract and 20% their own range. Now however, it’s around 50-50 which has given Head Brewer Phil Rutjens and his team much needed confidence to experiment and show off their skills. Thanks to a 50 litre pilot system they can try something outside the box while not worrying about a huge bill if it’s not quite right. Which brings me to the latest limited release, their 2016 version of the Vanilla Oatmeal Stout.
After widespread acclaim from beer drinkers in 2015, there was no hesitation to bring it back. I asked Southern Bay’s Sales Manager Paul Lucas if they were brave enough to tinker with a winning recipe. “The success we experienced with the Vanilla Oatmeal Stout last year was amazing and it really put us in the spotlight as a brewery in our own right. We just had to do it again, but the only change is a slight adjustment down to the amount of Vanilla to allow the other characteristics to shine as well”.
While I enjoy a measured vanilla hit in a dark brew, I believe the decision to temper it second time around was a great move. Let’s face it, if you use 8 different specialty malts to deliver what is a delightful smooth experience of chocolate and coffee, it would be a shame to overpower it. I loved this beer and highly recommend you give it a try! You can get Southern Bay Vanilla Oatmeal Stout at all most beer venues and bottle shops around Victoria. Catch the Southern Bay guys and 27 other breweries at Bendigo On The Hop on Saturday 20 August which will be showcasing over 50 different beers in what should be a great day out!
Style: Sweet Stout
Serving Temp: 6-8 degrees
Food Pairing: Braised beef cheek or vanilla custard tart