When Young Henry’s brewers Carla Daunton and Michelle Hanrahan teamed up to create a new brew it resulted something much bigger, with the Sydney beer brand now set to launch a New England IPA in celebration of International Women’s Day.
Creating the limited-edition brew turned into an opportunity to bring all the Young Henrys’ women together. From brewing to branding, Free the NEIPA is collaboration between multiple women and 10 percent of sales will go to Two Good Co, a local social enterprise that supports and employs vulnerable women.
“One day we decided we wanted to brew a beer together and that developed into want to brew something with all the awesome ladies here at Young Henrys,” says Hanrahan.
It made sense to bring all the Young Henrys’ women together to make the brew happen, says Daunton, adding, “Once we started having a chat to a few of the girls in marketing, sales and the barstaff everyone got really excited about the idea of working together and doing something we can all call our own. It didn’t take much convincing to get everyone keen for a brew day.”
Free the NEIPA is a hazy, complex brew infused with the citrusy essence of bergamot. The brewing process is intense: “We hopped pretty much continuously, it felt like,” says Daunton. “We hopped in the whirlpool significantly, and then we did warm and cold dry hopping as well. We didn’t filter as we would our normal beers because we wanted it to be quite hazy and hoppy, so we let go through cold maturation in tank.”
Before brew day, though, Daunton and Hanrahan had to jump a few hurdles.
“We wanted to make something fruity because of the season and I’ve always liked the idea of using something strong and herbal like bergamot,” says Hanrahan. “We just didn’t know how we’d go about that.”
Working as Young Henrys’ head distiller, as well as brewer, means Daunton has experience working with herbs and spices, but the ingredient best known for its starring role in Earl Grey tea wasn’t one she’d used. A member of the citrus family, bergamot can give an extra bitter kick — something well-hopped beer such as NEIPAs don’t need.
“The bitterness comes out if you shove it in the whirlpool,” says Daunton. “So we tried an essential oil — the way to [make] that is through distilling.”
When you put bergamot peel in hot water, the bitterness is released because it’s water soluble explains Daunton, and that’s basically what happens when the peel is added straight to the whirlpool. Instead, the team brewed it like tea, with Daunton also adding ethanol to the mix. “The oils are hydrophobic, so they come out in ethanol,” she says.
The resulting essence was blended into the NEIPA after it was brewed.
Talking to Hospitality the day of tanking and blending, Hanrahan describes a brew that looks pineapple juice. The end result is a juicy triple dry hoped NEIPA with loads of juicy, herbal fruits. “It’s quite hoppy so initially you get a lot of aroma from the bergamot, then you’ll taste fruitiness,” says Hanrahan.
All in all, there was 220 hectolitres of beer waiting to be bottled by the women of Young Henrys, with the brew available in venues nationwide from on Friday 6 March, ahead of International Women’s Day on Sunday 8 March.