The newest addition to our Balter range is Hazy DC, a limited release exclusive to Dan Murphy’s. It features three types of Australian hops and puts them squarely in the spotlight to celebrate their unique flavours. Most beers on the market feature American hops, but recently there’s been a growing interest in exploring the hard to tame wild flavours of our very own Aussie hops. In Hazy DC that’s exactly what Balter’s head brewer Scott Hargrave has done by bringing out their exuberant fruity side.
To celebrate the release of Hazy DC we sat down with Scott along with Balter co-founder and legendary pro surfer Mick Fanning to hear more about Balter, Hazy DC, and how they tamed the beast that is Australian hops.
Q. If you could explain Balter in one sentence what would you say?
Mick Fanning: It's a good, clean, fun, crisp, fresh take on beer.
Scott Hargrave: Good beer is for everyone.
Q. How does it feel to see Balter’s growth over the last few years?
Mick Fanning: It's been crazy. What started off as such a small idea has sort of exploded. The timing for everything just seemed to be perfect. I bring people through and show them around this brewery now and it blows my mind every time.
Scott Hargrave: For me it’s equal parts exhilarated, exhausted, and proud. The nature of what we do is we go hard at what we're trying to achieve, which is coming to work and doing the best we can. And the end result of that is a great business that makes great beer.
Q. What do you think it is that’s made Balter so successful?
Mick Fanning: The core ingredient has been hard work and that everyone here cares about it. I think that shows from the people at the front of the bar, to everyone making the beers, and to everyone else involved — everybody cares. We’ve had guys who first started on the canning line who are now running their own brew teams. It's awesome to see the growth not just from the company side, but in the team as well.
Q. What’s your proudest moment so far?
Mick Fanning: There've been so many, but I think probably when we first started and got to deliver those first kegs to people that believed in us. And then now to walk into pubs, bars, or shops that you've never even thought it would be in, to see Balter is pretty special. Or even just walking down the street and you see someone wearing a Balter shirt is like, wow.
Scott Hargrave: There’s a fair highlights reel. We've won champion at the Australian International Beer Awards. We’ve had the Hottest 100 wins. To be able to drink our beer at an AFL Grand Final was awesome. And a recent one would be having an XPA tinnie on a Virgin flight.That sort of stuff is insane. But the real pride is in the people that have come along with us, it's hard to go past the human element for sure.
Q. Your newest beer Hazy DC celebrates Australian hops, how does that play out in the flavour of the beer?
Scott Hargrave: Australian hops have these big, exuberant fruity characteristics to them. It's about harnessing that awesome character and pushing it to the forefront while still keeping the beer in balance. You've got to be able to corral them into the perfect space where they can just shine and do their thing.
Q. If Hazy DC was a person, who would it be?
Scott Hargrave: Someone like Bon Scott, who's a cheeky and mischievous sort of character. But at the same time there's a wholesomeness. Bon was a rock god, but you could also take him to meet your grandma.
Q. What kind of beer drinker would enjoy a Hazy DC?
Scott Hargrave: Someone who's looking for a beer at the end of the week with their mates. It's really approachable. We don't make beers that are elitist. I like to think there's an awful lot of people who would find this beer worthy of their hard earned.
Q. What’s your favourite way to enjoy a Hazy DC beer?
Mick Fanning: It would probably be in the backyard of my house or a friend's house, around the barbecue, flipping some steaks. I love this beer because you know when you hear that first crack of the can you're in for something special.
Scott Hargrave: It’d be great while you're firing up the barbecue. It would also be great when you've conquered the back lawn and managed to get the whipper snipper working for once. Saturday afternoon after a surf is a good place, or after golf, or washing the car, walking the dog, cooking dinner — you name it!
Q. What’s it like to be launching an exclusive at Dan Murphy’s?
Scott Hargrave: It's one of those things that you don't think is possible at the start of the journey. Before I was even a brewer, I first got into craft beer through a Dan's in Canberra. Some of my first exposure to beers made by people who I now consider friends and peers in the industry was through Dan's. So to have our own beer going in there as an exclusive is pretty awesome. That’s one I'll tell mum about.
Q. How do you want people to feel when they enjoy one of your beers?
Scott Hargrave: When people are drinking our beers I want them to feel the passion and effort and the commitment to doing our best, which I think shows up in the beer. We try to deliver a simple message that great beer is for everybody.
Mick Fanning: It's like it says on the can, "with enjoyment." You want to be having one with your friends and family and be smiling. And I think that's what this beer does.