Hargreaves Hill Red Vienna Lager & Single Origin Coffee Stout

Vienna Lager & Coffee Stout
5.0% & 6.2%

Hargreaves Hill have been around longer than most in the Aussie beer industry, starting out in an era in which even a straight up IPA was a once in a blue moon limited release. And with this pair of late winter releases, it feels like a journey back to such simple times. Well, if you ignore the fact they both come in 440ml cans and feature labels you wouldn't have seen in the Noughties.

In the case of Red Vienna Lager, it's not just simpler times but simple pleasures too, waiting to be enjoyed in the form of the Vienna malts at the heart of a beer that looks like a conker (or horse chestnut, if you prefer) in liquid form. There's heaps of richly distinctive malt aromas: toasted bread crusts, light treacle, cocoa and maybe even a hint of banana bread. And these characteristics only intensify on the palate while the hops are left to do little more than add a drying, as much toasted and earthy as bitter, finish as balance. [The brewery rep dropped off two cans of this one as he was a big fan and figured Will should get to try it too. Sorry, Will, but they both seem to have been emptied...]

Accompanying it is a collab with Mansfield's Merchant Coffee Roasters, who provided the single origin Peruvian coffee for Single Origin Coffee Stout. It's been added to the brewery's classic foreign extra stout and seems to have helped fatten and soften the beer to the point I was scanning the label to see if there was lactose in the mix; as Casey from Westside Ale Works said pointedly during our recent Crafty Cabal event there, if you know what you're doing you shouldn't need lactose to do what it does in beer (in most cases) and that's what's happened here.

It's like creamy dark chocolate-coated sweet liquorice swirled with freshly ground, relatively heavily roasted beans with a little white pepper sprinkled on top and nougat lurking within.

James Smith

Published August 11, 2022

Hargreaves Hill

Factory 60
64-86 Beresford Road
Lilydale 3140

(03) 9730 1905
Gypsy Hub
Lallemand May 2024 B

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