A brewery on the Sunshine Coast, Brouhaha, is ditching hops for harvest with its best-selling Strawbarb kettle sour craft beer, which uses enough strawberries to fill a 25-metre swimming pool.
An immense 32.5 tonnes of fresh local strawberries and 5.2t of rhubarb will be used in the production this year, as the brewer increases distribution by 500 per cent to 380,000 litres at a larger Sunshine Coast site to cater to the demand.
The eclectic beverage, which has secured its spot as Brouhaha’s top-seller, uses lashings of yoghurt from local supplier Maleny Dairies. This creates a distinct and sour flavour that has earned itself a reputation for quenching craft enthusiasts and non-beer drinkers alike.
Strawbarb buyers are unique to the rest of the brewer’s core range with a higher per cent of women and a broader age range, according to Brouhaha director Matt Jancauskas.
“It’s anti-tradition when it comes to beer – both in how we make it and the resulting flavour profile – which is where I think the appeal comes from and why it’s enjoyed by such a vast range of our consumers,” Jancauskas said. “It’s sweet on the nose, dry and wildly refreshing and has a sour finish to it. We are often told by our patrons who aren’t usually beer drinkers that the Strawbarb was their introduction into the world of craft.
“It’s indicative of the Queensland heat in that it’s a real thirst quencher and also pairs well with rich chocolatey desserts by acting as a cleanser and cuts through the creaminess of cheeses. The truth is, it goes with just about anything!”
Inspired by honey mead, the Strawbarb is brewed with the same four ingredients as a typical brewed beer including barley and wheat, though it differs when the yoghurt is added to create live lactobacillus.
This good bacteria consumes the sugar and produces lactic acid that sours the beer. Once the desired sourness is achieved, the fruit is added during secondary fermentation, with these sugars again consumed by the yeast, leaving a dry taste.
“For brewery flagships, the hardest part is in contracting the hops year in and out, and the competition involved in the supply and demand,” Jancauskas said. “With the Strawbarb, we have to contract enough strawberries and rhubarb from farmers around Maleny, Caloundra and the coast – which is a unique challenge!
“The response to the Strawbarb has certainly been immense and really helped us to scale up and instill the confidence to undertake our second venue, which includes a double-storey taproom and a custom-designed brew house.”
The new seaside venue will produce a staggering 1.25 million litres of beer per year, with large custom kettles installed to sour the Strawbarb and depalatisers that pack 80 cans per minute.
Brouhaha’s second Sunshine Coast venue is now open and is located at 1 Edison Crescent, Baringa. To learn more, visit www.brouhahabrewery.com.au.