On Friday the 20th of October I visited Five Barrel Brewing in Wollongong, New South Wales. This family business was started two years ago after Phil, the brewer, had traveled the world and developed a love for good craft beers. He decided he needed to bring great beers back to the Wollongong area so he started the brewery with his father Mike.
In their first year they won the Best New Brewery Award at the Sydney Royal Craft Beer Awards. They have continued since then to produce a wide selection of wonderful beers.
The brewery consists of a 600 litre brew system that is capable of producing 3000 litres per week, with a total capacity of 6000 litres.
The venue includes their brewery and a tasting room, that is quite spacious, and will soon have food available as well, as approval has recently been granted to add a kitchen.
They produce a core range of four beers, being; Golden Ale, Pale Ale, Amber Ale and Milk Stout, as well as a changing selection of seasonal beers.
The beers that I sampled were:
Golden Ale, 4.5% abv, this has a golden straw colour and a subtle sweet fruit aroma. It has an initial sweet fruity taste and then a gentle bitterness on a crisp finish.
Pale Ale, 5.3% abv, this has a golden colour and a tropical and passionfruit aroma. It has a citrus fruit taste and then a nice bitter finish.
Amber Ale, 6.5% abv, this has a light amber colour and a sweet passionfruit aroma. It has a sweet maltiness before a tropical fruit flavour and then a generous bitter finish.
Milk Stout, 6.0% abv, this is black in colour with a dark creamy head and a sweet dark chocolate aroma. It has a wonderful sweet malt palate of dark chocolate and coffee. Excellent!
Centennial XPA, 5.3% abv, this has a golden colour and a citrus and pine aroma. It has a sweet fruity taste before a generous hop bitter finish.
Sour Blonde, 4.5% abv, this kettle soured beer has a straw colour and a sour grapefruit aroma. It has a tropical fruit initial taste and then a mild sour finish.
American Brown Ale, 5.4% abv, this has a dark amber colour and a sweet malt aroma. It has a rich, complex malt flavour with hints of chocolate and toffee before a nice hop bitter finish.
Flemish Red, 5.2% abv, this beer is aged in oak barrels for 18 months and has a copper colour and a slightly sour fruit aroma. It has a nice sweet malt taste and then a lovely, well balanced, fruity finish. Delicious!
Wee Heavy, 7.2% abv, this is a black colour with a subtle caramel and fruit aroma. It has a malt taste and then a mild fruitiness on the finish. This is an OK beer but I was hoping for more flavour.
Imperial Stout, 10.5% abv, this stout is aged in Shiraz barrels for four months, it is a black colour with a dark thin head and a spicy, fruit aroma. It has a strong, rich flavour with hints of chocolate, coffee and plums. Very nice!
ESB, 4.9% abv, this has an amber colour and a caramel malt aroma. It has a great caramel malt flavour with gentle hints of citrus. Very good.
Imperial Stout 2017, 9.6% abv, this is similar to the previous Imperial Stout in preparation, it has a black colour and a very thin head with a lovely aroma of raisins and rich fruit cake. The flavour is similar to the previous vintage with a strong, richness that includes chocolate and Christmas pudding tastes.
The Five Barrel Brewing are turning out some really quality beers. They are definitely worth seeking out if you are in the Wollongong area.
I would like to thank Phil for his hospitality when I visited.