By Andy Young

James Squire has created its first Summer Ale, with The Swindler, which uses the rare El Dorado hop alongside Calypso.

Tapping into the growing summer ale style, head brewer at the Malt Shovel Brewery Chris Sheenan told TheShout that the idea was to create a beer that was distinctive, but still approachable.

Sheenan said: "The summer ale style is very popular at the moment and our brand is centred in welcoming people into craft. We make absolutely no qualms about that. Some people think that it's a big secret, but what we want is to get more mainstream beer drinkers to try something new.

"With our One Fifty Lashes Pale Ale being so popular, we thought the next step for us was to step into a summer ale, which has been a big growing category and is well suited to our climate. So that's where The Swindler came from in the beer sense.

"In terms of the summer ale style, it's pretty broad; you can see it interpreted in many different ways. We've kept it as a really distinctive but accessible summer-style beer by a controlled and distinctive use of the hops and that's where the El Dorado and Calypso come in."

While the beer is technically a variety of pale ale, it is closer to golden ale in style and is low on bitterness, which is a result of those rare hops that have been used.

Sheehan added: "El Dorado is the one that's really hard to get and we've used it in a limited release beer that we've sold into our brew bars. So off the back of that we used it and loved how it went it a brew. It comes across as a lot of summer melon fruits, which is really unusual, so we just thought 'what can we do with this?'.

"We've got a hop that is more melon like and we just thought it fitted naturally into a summer ale. And with so many summer ales coming out we just thought we had to make something that was distinctive and different and so that's exactly what we've tried to do."

And at 4.2 per cent ABV, The Swindler is not as strong as many other craft beers on the market and that again was part of the thinking in terms of making this a summer and sessionable beer. Sheehan added: "A lot of the craft guys are still hanging around the really high alcohol, but we try to keep ours in balance and if we're trying to design a beer that is accessible and that people are going to come back for more of then we wanted to keep that responsible.

"If people want to try something new, perhaps they are scared off by some of those really big hop beers, but this is a good way to move into craft beer. Particularly though because it's got the El Dorado in it, it is presented to be the feature in this beer. Not everyone will get watermelon out of it and that's what we like about it, is that people will get different things."

The beer is now available at James Squire Brewhouses and will be rolled out into selected bars and venues later this month. It will also be added to the Tap King range over the next 12 months and will be available in Dan Murphy's and leading independent liquor retailers from October 26.

Sheehan explained: "Tap King is something that we are persisting with because there are some people who prefer to drink their beer like that at home, on tap into a glass and we encourage everybody to drink like that. By presenting the beer in taps at bars or in a glass at home it gives the beer the best chance to shine. I don't know many people who drink wine or spirits straight out of the bottle and beer needs to be treated the same way. If you want to appreciate it properly, whether it is a Pilsner or a full-forward hoppy beer, we challenge everybody to pour it into a glass."

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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