January 18, 2014 by 250 Beers
A few months ago I was contacted by a chap named Chad Bonciani from Bonciani Wines in Western Australia asking whether I’d be interested in sampling some beer. My response was in the affirmative which it is 99.999999% of the time. I told him that I would more than likely review it or at least mention it on my blog. You see, it wasn’t just the fun of receiving free beer that excited me. No. It was the concept and story behind Chad’s Neighbourhood Brew that really grabbed my attention. Oh, and the fact that I was one of only a handful of folk on the east coast of Australia to try it was a smidge awesome too. Let me explain…
Neighbourhood Brews are only intended to be available in one selected neighbourhood per limited edition batch. The actual locations consist of a handful of small bars and live music and art venues. Galleries and exhibitions get special priority with stock and sponsorship. Interestingly, only one bottle shop in that area gets to stock it.
The main aim of Neighbourhood Brew is to showcase the skills of local artists, promoters, distributors and brewers through the medium of beer and to offer something uniquely original to the bars and their customers.
Pretty cool stuff I’m sure you’ll agree. It epitomises what craft beer is all about and really does pull in the community vibe. For beer geeks in WA these are highly sought after with production limited to just over 3,000 bottles.
The first batch that brought Chad’s vision to life was a 4.5% pale ale and the ‘hood that was chosen to host it was Perth’s CBD.
It was brewed by Charlie Hodgson at Mash Brewing in Swan Valley, WA. Chad used his charm to convince Charlie to brew him a batch of beer based on Charlie’s version of an Australian pale but tweaked to include a few of Chad’s insistences.
My sample bottles made the 4,380 kilometre journey safely and they sat chilling in my beer fridge for some time. I like to let beer rest – to recuperate and recover from any jet lag (or truck lag). To my surprise, the Neighbourhood pale appeared in box number one of my beer advent calendar. Those unfamiliar with my advent calendar won’t be aware that my wife loaded it up so I had no idea what I was getting each day.
I had a second bottle the other day and it is worthy of a good rap.
Aromas of bread recently removed from the oven combined with freshly sliced orange came bursting out of the bottle. The pour gave a bright white head that didn’t hang around for long. It sat upon an appealing, lightly burnt copper coloured body.
In my mouth it was light with medium carbonation and the malts overwhelmed any hoppiness which wasn’t unwelcome. The ale was very clean, crisp and refreshing. With an abv of 4.5% this is a highly sessionable beer.
Despite the artwork on the label being fantastic and artistic I couldn’t stop myself singing the Sesame Street classic ‘Neighbourhood’ whenever I looked at it – specifically at the name. The pesky song is in my head now as I’m typing these words. If you’re aged, say, 35 and up then you’ll know what I’m referring to but there’ll be some people reading this that haven’t got a clue what I’m talking about. Click here if you’re in the dark. Be warned – you will have it in your head all day!
Chad is currently chatting and negotiating with a handful of other notable breweries in WA for the next release. The brewer, brewery and style of beer will change each time and the next batch is planned for release in April…
…in a different neighbourhood.