If you've been enjoying Australia's craft beer scene for a couple of years or even a decade or more, you might find it hard to believe a traditionally-minded European wheat beer was once the beer changing tastes in the way, say, Little Creatures Pale, Feral Hop Hog, or Stone & Wood's Pacific Ale have done more recently. We've probably commented on Australian drinkers' reluctance to embrace the delights of such beers as many times as we've written about the release of a new one, yet that's exactly what Redback did following its release by Matilda Bay.
The beer is now back as part of the new Matilda Bay's core lineup, albeit with recipe refreshed and under the name Redback Summer (it was originally called Summer Weizen on release in 1987 before being renamed Redback). The introduction of Australian Vic Secret adds a little ripe citrus fruitiness and, perhaps, a touch more bitterness than would have been there before. But soft, cake crust like malts contribute more than a base: they're there on the nose as well as all across the palate, while the yeast brings some broad, soft spiciness in cahoots with the Hersbrucker hops.
The brewers are describing it as a meeting of Australian summer ale and Belgian wheat, and certainly it hasn't abandoned the original's Euro soul in its latest incarnation. So, can this be the one to finally get Aussies drinking traditional European wheat beers again?