Where do gateway beers lead?

Feral War Hog

Feral War Hog

So-called ‘gateway beers’ may actually be doing little to convert Australian drinkers to more flavoursome styles, mused Brendan Varis of Feral Brewing, as the company launched its new canned range.

War Hog American IPA, which is eight per cent ABV and 86 IBU, is one of Feral’s first two cans released nationally this month.

But while other Australian brewers are unanimously upbeat about IPA’s growth potential, Varis offered something of a caveat.

“I do worry that the race to the bottom is being won by the gateway beers,” he told Australian Brews News.

“People are thinking that beers with very little hop flavour, which are not that much different to a commercial lager, are ‘craft beer’ and that full-flavoured craft beers are considered extreme.

Feral Sly Fox

Feral Sly Fox

“I don’t think IPA at 70 IBUs is extreme. I worry a bit that the race to the bottom is beating the rush to the top of the flavour spectrum,” he said.

In spite of this concern, Varis said Feral’s belief in hoppy beer remains strong. War Hog has become the permanent IPA in itsrange, with Hop Hog (5.8 per cent and 55 IBUs) now labelled as a Pale Ale.

Also new in cans is Sly Fox Summer Ale, which had its recipe carefully fine-tuned earlier this year.

“This sneaky little beer is light on its feet but still packs a punch of flavour. We lightly filter the beer to get a vibrant hoppy aroma with clean bitterness that pairs perfectly with a hot summer’s day,” Feral said.

The brewer’s third beer in cans, Perth Local Lager, is only available in Western Australia.

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