During the recent Good Beer Week, Ballarat Brewery Red Duck invited visitors to spend the day at the brewery sampling its entire range. That entire range currently numbers more than 60 beers ' the core range, current releases, vintage specials and yet-to-be-seen beers. Over the past few years, head brewer Scott Wilson-Browne has embarked upon all manner of unique and unusual experimental releases, many of which have prove the spark for a series of sequels. Back in 2010, he released Ugly Duckling, a mediaeval-inspired Braggot (a blend of mead and strong ale) and since then has produced several more beers of the style. The Baby Bear is the latest and gentlest, measuring just 6.8 percent ABV. According to Scott: "First we made a methgyln, or more specifically, a chamomile mead, which was oak barrel fermented and conditioned. Next we made an unboiled pale ale 'small beer' with added lemongrass. Finally the two were blended to make a wonderful, floral, delicious Braggot."
Another ongoing series is the Gnaume, a beer originally brewed with Anders Kissmeyer from Denmark and inspired by Orval. There has since been a barrel-aged Wood Gnaume and now the Forest Gnaume. This 6.2 percent ale is a barrel-aged Lambic style brewed with "many different yeasts, including some weird nasty ones that would make a normal brewer run away in tears, perhaps hiding in a forest until it was safe to come out," he says. Described originally as "feisty, ugly, funky" it spent 12 months in oak whence "like some sort of magic fairy tale, has emerged as Prince Charming."
The final new release is Transmission, a barrel-aged imperial porter. It's a 9.4 percent beer described simply as "Dark, smooth, oaky, oily, delicious."