Victoria’s High Country Brewers and Tourism North East have joined forces to bring to life this year’s Rule 47 collaboration beer, once again showcasing the best of the region’s craft beer scene – in a can.
Each year, brewers of the High Country Brewery Trail gather at one of the region’s iconic craft breweries to work side-by-side, pool their knowledge and let their imaginations run wild to create a special signature ale under their own Rule 47 label.
After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, the honour of brewing fell to King River Brewing, and in early April, brewers from Bridge Road Brewers, Bright Brewery, Mitta Mitta Brewing, Billson’s Brewery, Black Dog Brewery, and Crank Handle Brewery came together in the King Valley brewhouse for their annual day of collaboration.
“It’s really fulfilling being trusted by your peers to produce a beer that’s so special for everyone,” said Nathan Munt, owner and head brewer of King River Brewing.
“I was definitely a bit nervous. You’ve got a bunch of brewers and business owners who you’re doing this for, so there’s a lot riding on it – particularly with the beer fermenting and being in the tank for so long. I was constantly watching and hoping nothing goes wrong!”
Since opening King River Brewing in 2016, this is the fifth collaborative beer Nathan has been part of, and the second time he’s hosted his fellow brewers.
“One of the first things I wanted to do when we opened was to become part of the High Country Brewery Trail and join a community of what I consider to be amazing breweries and brewers,” he said.
Even though they’re in the same region, there’s a huge diversity of beers and styles on offer in breweries along the trail. And wherever you go, quality is on tap.
King River Brewing, which specialises in Euro style beers, recently took home the Best Amber / Dark Lager Award at the Australian International Beer Awards for its Mabon Doppelbock.
That’s what makes the annual collaboration so valuable, said Nathan.
“I really get a lot out of the brew day. It’s the one time we all get together and it’s such a great sharing environment. We’ll talk about all sorts of things, from brewing techniques and trends to new equipment and what we’ve learned over the year,” he said.
As well as homegrown ideas and expertise, the collaboration is a chance to showcase some of the finest hops in Australia, with Hop Products Australia providing locally grown Galaxy and Vic Secret.
“This year’s harvest was barely completed and as the very first Galaxy pellets came off the line in April, they were quickly sent to us to be used in the brew.”
This year the result was a beer with a true High Country twist: a 5.2% New World Pilsner.
The beer launched in time for the Queen’s Birthday weekend with a marketing campaign supported by Tourism North East and featured as part of the winter campaign, ‘More than Mountains’, which targets metro-Melbourne audiences.
“We’re all really happy with how it came out. We always try to do a new beer style for Rule 47 or a twist on a traditional style. And with something we haven’t brewed before, there’s always a question mark about the outcome. But it’s hard to go wrong with a nice crisp lager!” Nathan said.
A nod to the region’s status as Australia’s premier cycling destination, the name “Rule 47” is inspired by the Velominati Rules of cycling, with number 47 simply stating, “drink tripels, don’t ride triples.”
“It’s a great connection with something we all love about our area – the cycling trails in the High Country and our visitors who love cycling,” Nathan said.
Rule 47 is now available from each of the High Country breweries and online.