Black Hops Brewery, in Burleigh Heads, has been in business for almost three years and in that short time, has become one of the Gold Coast’s favourite brews.
Today, the three men behind the brand – Dan, Govs and Eddie – launched their very first Pale Ale, in a can no less.
We had a chat with Dan about the new brew and why Black Hops has gone the way of the can.
Congratulations on the latest addition, tell us about your new Pale Ale?
We have always been pretty creative with our beers and beer names. We launched with an Eggnog Stout and our main beer was a Saison. Pale Ale is a style that both the team and our customers drink more than any other, so we thought it was a good idea to put a big effort into making this beer.
It's a modern pale ale with a nice balance of pale malted barley and tropical hop aromas. We call it the Black Hops beer for every occasion. We called it Pale Ale, our least creative name yet. We don't want people to overthink it. It is what it says on the tin.
How long did it take to develop the flavour?
Govs has been working on pale ale recipes for a decade but this is our first official batch. We had a meeting a few months ago about the need to make a big splash with our first beer into cans and decided on brewing a new beer as opposed to canning any of our current nine offerings.
From there we had a lot of meetings about every aspect of the beer. The colour, style, aroma and flavour were part of that as was the launch plan, design, marketing and sales strategy.
There have been some challenging moments but in the end we got a beer we are all stoked with and all 4,300L of it was sold before anyone had tried it.
The Pale Ale will be your first beer sold in a can, why did you decide to do that?
There is a big trend towards cans. The old mentality of cans tasting tinny is gone with modern cans and there are many benefits. They are cheaper, safer, more enjoyable to drink out of, they transport better and take up less space and they look sexy AF!
You’ve got 10 beers in the collection now, which has been the most loved do you think?
We have a "core range" of nine beers but we've probably brewed 20 or 30 total, maybe more. Out of the core range beers our seasonal IPAs have a loyal following particularly our American Red Ale "Code Red" and our Black IPA "ABC Bomb". Our first beer the Eggnog Stout has a cult following and our 8.3% Super Hornet has been a big hit.
Judging by the response to Pale Ale though we think this will quickly become a fan favourite. On launch day we went through our first keg in a record five hours at our Taproom in Burleigh and at least two venues ran through the whole keg that night. Our online pre-sale of 40 cases sold out in two hours and all kegs and cans were sold in the two weeks before launching.
There’s a few microbreweries popping up around the Coast lately, what do you guys have that the other companies don’t?
Great tasting beer ;)
Biggest lesson you’ve learned since opening the brewery?
Probably the biggest one was the need to have a deliberate marketing and sales strategy for selling beer. Beer doesn't sell itself and having everyone from the Taproom staff to the owners, marketing and sales and brewing guys working together on a deliberate strategy to make and sell beer people want has been a big lesson. Our Pale Ale beer and successful launch is the culmination of that work and it's made a big impact so far to the business.
Anything else exciting in the works for Black Hops?
The big things for this year are going into cans, expanding the brewery and starting to sell beer interstate. We've also got the AIBA Awards and GABS beer festival coming up in May where we are aiming to better our previous best of a Bronze medal at the AIBAs and 9th at Gabs.
We are also putting out lots of content on our site including a podcast called Operation Brewery where we are documenting our journey to the AIBAs.