Unloved beer style has its day

White Rabbit White Ale

The White Rabbit Brewery team hopes the trophy-winning exploits of its White Ale may give Australians cause to revisit wheat beer.

White Rabbit White Ale (draught) took out the trophies for Champion Australian Beer and Best Wheat Beer at last Thursday’s Australian International Beer Awards.

The White Rabbit team was pleasantly surprised by the accolades, marketing manager Ash Cranston told Brews News.

“It’s an eight-year-old beer, with a recipe that’s been pretty much untouched the whole time,” he said.

However, Cranston said White Ale had undoubtedly benefited from White Rabbit Brewery having settled into its new surrounds at Geelong.

During the relocation from Healesville, the beer was temporarily being produced at Little Creatures Fremantle.

“It’s now under the careful tutelage of [head brewer] Jeremy Halse, sitting in Geelong… I think focusing on it has been the key, tidying up round the edges,” Cranston said.

He hopes the AIBA success may give drinkers another reason to try White Ale, a wheat beer modelled in the style of a Belgian wit.

Ash Cranston (centre) at the AIBA on Wednesday

“Wheat’s probably the hardest thing to sell in Australia,” Cranston said.

“[White Ale] just ticks along in the background, but it’s got its little adoration base. We hope that this award will help people to re-appraise wheat beers.”

He said people are often won over by the subdued spiciness and confectionary notes of White Ale, if their previous experience of a wheat beer such as Hoegaarden had turned them off the style.

Cranston said the victory was particularly pleasing for the brewing team, in light of the Craft Beer Industry Association decision to exclude multinational brewers from its membership, which came through the very same day.

“The AIBA were judged blind by the judges based on beer quality only… Ownership doesn’t have anything to do with the quality of the beer, so we’re pretty happy with that aspect of it,” he said.

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