Halzenut brown

Prof’s Point of Brew: Bad Shepherd Hazelnut Brown Ale

This beer is probably not the first one most blokes would reach for when selecting a refreshing ale. Readers will no doubt be ticking off the mental boxes from the description alone:
“Brown Ale? Don’t like dark beers.”
“Hazelnut? On toast maybe but isn’t that a bit poofy to put sweet stuff in beer?”
“Bad Shepherd? Never heard of them. What else you got?”
Read on…

The beer.
Letting the rich but clean sweet malt wash across the tastebuds, waiting for that mid-palate dryish beer flavour to arrive and then realising that this liquid is rather pleasant can be liberating. But wait, there’s more! Imagine being more than suddenly surprised when the Frangelico and hazelnut note awakens the senses to the thrill of something almost naughty – but definitely fitting – before a clean and dry finish cleanses the palate and tempts you to take another sip.

The style.
For many blokes, anything darker than golden straw goes in the same category as stout. Thick, warm, sticky, sweet ‘Old man’ beer served in large pints. OK on St Patrick’s Day but steer clear as a rule. First of all, stout is a style category all its own and will be covered another time. Second, many dark ales are actually quite ‘beer-like’ and can cover a broad range of flavours, colours, textures and aromas.

Just the act of sipping, swirling and savouring beer with more than just a one-dimensional beery-bitter palate can restore the equilibrium that a hectic day at work or with the kids can disturb.

The brewery.
Bad Shepherd is the life’s work of dedicated and award-winning homebrewer, Dereck Hales a Canadian native who, with his wife and business partner, Diti, left their corporate cocoon and took the plunge, turning Dereck’s passion into a commercial brewpub and smokehouse-style comfort food destination in Cheltenham, in Melbourne’s south. A solid core range of approachable and traditionally executed beers is complimented by a revolving offering of interesting but very drinkable seasonals. The Hazelnut Brown is one such cracker.

The dad who gets paid to drink and write about beer

The name.
Shepherds have been used in literature and folklore for millennia to denote a kindly enforcer, a beacon of safety and comfort, a staff and a keen eye for danger his only tools. A bad shepherd? Something of a contradiction, but with a valuable lesson attached. Dereck and Diti want their guests and drinkers to suspend their life of daily grind, of stress and worry and deadlines and allow themselves to be ‘led into temptation’ – to be served, to be pampered and made to feel welcome, relaxed and ‘safe’. Then you can all go back to normality afterwards.

The lesson.
The beer itself is a reminder of that old cautionary phrase relating to the judging of books by their covers. Sure, a brown ale is not as clean and crisp as a bog-standard lager, but then sometimes a change is good for the soul, no – especially for a dad entrenched in child-rearing routine?
Just the act of sipping, swirling and savouring beer with more than just a one-dimensional beery-bitter palate can restore the equilibrium that a hectic day at work or with the kids can disturb.
In addition, the journey that the team at Bad Shepherd have taken, from corporate safety and a traditional work path, to the comparatively risky and less profitable life of a commercial brewpub operator is a lesson to us all that true job satisfaction and feeding your passion is sometimes worth the risk. You just have to decide to take it by the horns and hang on for the ride. I don’t know if sheep have horns.




There are no comments

Add yours