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Tasmania is blessed with an abundance of amazing produce. Obviously, there’s the beer, but on previous trips we’ve sampled fantastic wines, cheeses, chocolates, salmon, ginseng, whisky, gin, mussels… You name it, chances are there’s someone who’s decided to make a patch of Tassie their own upon which to grow it.
It’s an abundance that has inspired one local brewer to strike up partnerships with those around him to create a series of beers showcasing their produce. Although, for Will Tatchell, founder and brewer at Van Dieman in Evandale, it’s not an entirely new concept. With the brewery based on his family’s farm, he’s already brewed beers using berries and fruits grown there, with one – a barrel-aged sour version of his Hedgerow Ale – picking up a gold medal at this year’s Australian International Beer Awards. Now, with his Mash Up series, he’s hooked up with a Launceston coffee roaster and is looking at other options, from local dairies and even a lavender farm.
“We started to look at what I wanted to do with a few beers down the track,” says Will. “I’ve got an idle mind that continues to wander. The Mash up series looks at primary produce we can draw upon here in Tasmania, which is phenomenal. So I thought let’s see what we can do â and do some weird and out there things that might not have occurred before. I’m quite prepared to fail in them too.”
The launch beer for the series is the Dubbel Shot, which first appeared at this year’s Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular and is now out in bottles. It is a collaboration with Ritual Coffee from Launceston, a Belgian Abbey Dubbel infused with cold drip coffee.
“I’ve been buying coffee off these guys and the roaster is an avid homebrewer with a very good palate,” says Will. “I told him I’d had the grain bill for a Belgian Dubbel worked out for the past 12 months and was waiting for a spot in production. We thought we should do a coffee beer at some stage and thought we would have a try with that one. The Mash Up concept popped its head up halfway through that discussion.
“Because we used cold drip coffee, we are not exposing the bean to heat and pressure so there’s no astringent bitterness. We knew we would get the flavour and aroma without the bitterness so it wouldn’t confuse the palate with the sweetness of the beer, although we didn’t know if it would work. Thankfully it did.”
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