Looking over our past Beers of the Month (or should that be Beer of the Months, or Beers of the months? Let me get back to you on that) it's become clear that we here at QM HQ sure do like our pale ales and Pilsners. This makes sense, seeing as we are, by turns, a bitter, sweet, bittersweet, and slightly flowery bunch.
But perhaps it's time for a change; something a little manlier, more robust; the strong silent type; dark and brooding like Sam Worthington, but with a lot more complexity and character.
Enter Hix Beer's Brown Ale, one of five fermented offerings from Andrew Hickinbotham of Hickinbotham Wines on Victoria's picturesque Mornington Peninsula.
Until recently, this foray into brewing was nothing more than a bit of fun for the Hickinbotham heir and vineyard manager Cam Turner. But when it (quickly) became apparent that the beers being produced by these two were of singularly excellent quality (besides the Brown Ale there's a Pale Ale, a Stout, and a Pilsner, as well as experimental seasonal offerings brewed up in small batches and a sparkling apple wine), the decision was made to bottle a few of these choice brews and make them available to the greater beer drinking public.
Brown ales, for those unfamiliar with the concept, are generally known for the citrus character of their hops, and their dark caramel overtones. This is a result of the dark (or brown) malt used, along with the chocolate and malted barley which, altogether, gives this style of beer a nutty, chocolaty aroma.
As if the rich flavour and chunky packaging weren't reason enough to plug Hix Brown Ale this month (each case of amber goodness is packed with 6 hefty 500ml bottles) we're also suitably impressed by the Hickinbotham's philosophy; a set of values that have guided the family's winemaking practices for generations, including a strong emphasis on supporting local organisations and charities, as well as an approach to the production of their wine (and now beer) that ensures minimal environmental intrusion or impact.
For example, all Hickinbotham grapes are grown using organic principles such as natural soil-enrichment (soil nourished with composted winery waste), and very few preservatives are employed. The family has a registered Land for Wildlife property which protects many species of native birds, as well as quolls, sugar gliders and bandicoots, and they re-use and recycle over ninety percent of waste from the business.
Sustainable wine and beer—that's what we like to see.
And speaking of beery longevity, this month we're giving away four (that's right—four) boxes of Hix Brown Ale to the winner of our Panda Goes comp. That's twelve whole litres of sexy brown goodness to get your lips around.
I agree—that sounded a whole lot better in my head.