WA's Brew Moon Rises Again

June 25, 2024, by Guy Southern

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WA's Brew Moon Rises Again

“Four years ago, it felt like the world was caving in.”

Few would disagree with the sentiments of graphic designer Jarrod Fuller, the man behind Zendoke, whose work adorns many WA breweries' cans.

“I remember at the time it was quite full on, there was a lot of moving parts, a lot happening very quickly," he adds. "And very much a lot of uncertainty.”

Now, with close to half a decade’s distance from the start of the national lockdown, most people would rather forget the COVID years – unless, perhaps, it's in the shape of something Brew Moon Rising: a special, once-in-a-lifetime whiskey created by Whipper Snapper Distillery from beers donated by 21 WA breweries.

Just over four years later and Whipper Snapper’s co-founder and head distiller Jimmy McKeown agrees. 

“I’d almost forgotten about it. A point in time that most of us would rather forget," he says. "But this whiskey is something to be celebrated, for at least all the positives around that time during COVID. I’m very excited to see this rare drop come to life!”

We first wrote about the project as entry 31 in our Postcards From The Edge series, which ran as part of our Keeping Local Alive campaign to highlight the ways in which people in the beer community were adapting to life in the early months of the pandemic. Funds from the original white spirit release (pictured above right with the new whiskey on the left) were donated to the WA hospitality and brewing communities and, in a moment of foresight, Jimmy filled a single, new American oak barrel to see what would become of this unique liquid, which is released tomorrow (June 26).

“The team dusted off the barrel, Jarrod worked his label magic, and we bottled it,” Jimmy says. "It’s much less complex than in 2020. It tasted incredible last year after three years of maturation, but we decided to leave it for longer – now it's bloody amazing. 

“The Whipper Snapper crew love it and I have no doubt other people will too, while doing justice to those beers supplied by all 21 brewers.”

 

Jimmy McKeown and Jarrod Fuller on labelling day in 2020; Guy Southern chatting to Channel Ten about the whiskey – wearing his original Keeping Local Alive t-shirt.

 

Distilling then blending multiple beer styles into something palatable required rare alchemy, but the distillers believe the characters of the lagers, IPAs, imperial stouts, barley wines and more shine in the finished spirit.

“It’s floral, herbaceous, and fruity with notes like pineapple, sweet rose, honey and caramel," Jimmy says. "It's unique, and this is the best part: trying to decipher all the different profiles. It’s like a layered cake with some of the beer styles seemingly stacking on each other

“Plus then add in the barrel characters. It took be a while me to nail down tasting notes, and I’m one to keep it simple, however it gives so much that everyone will taste Brew Moon Rising differently.

“I’ve had ‘beer whiskies’ in the States before but nowhere close to this. It’s one of a kind and could literally never be repeated!"

As for the project itself, it's the sense of camaraderie and positivity that lingers for Jarrod.

“I’ve not worked on anything quite like it," he says. "The very unique circumstances provided an opportunity to share some goodwill. Jimmy had an idea, I had a vision, and [Guy] had connections – the ultimate royal rumble.

"People still comment to me today on how special it made them feel, so I’m sure most people connected with the project would agree… it was the right project at the right time. 

“That sense of community hasn’t faded, it’s still there shining bright through what feels like a more challenging time we are facing presently. We also still make bloody good beer in this state that’s too good to waste.”


Only 170 bottles of Brew Moon Rising have been produced. They go on sale from 7am AWST on June 26 from Whipper Snapper's cellar door/café at 139 Kensington Street, East Perth, and via Whipper Snapper’s website. 

The author of this article was also one of the instigators of the project under his Goodtimes Craft Beer moniker.


The beers that featured in the Brew Moon Rising blend

Beerfarm – Barleywine + Stout | Bevy (Little Creatures) – Saison | Black Brewing Co – Pale Ale | Blasta Collective – IIPA | Boston Brewing Co – Red IPA | Bright Tank Brewery – IIIPA | Cheeky Monkey – West Coast IPA | CBCo – IPA | Cowaramup Brewing – German Lager | Eagle Bay Brewing Co – IIPA | Feral Brewing – IPA | Gage Roads Brew Co – Italian Pilsner | Innate Brewers – Lager | Margaret River Beer Co – Lager | Nail Brewing – Pale Ale | NBC Beerland –Belgian Pale Ale | Nowhereman Brewing – Pale Ale | Otherside Co – Belgian Dubbel | Rocky Ridge – Pale Ale | WBC Beerland – IPA | Wild Hop Beer – IIPA

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