Handling with care: Head brewer of the Byron Bay Brewing Co Alastair Gillespie at their ferment vessels in Byron Bay with John Boland, who supplied the chilli, and assistant brewer Louis Balian.
When head brewer Alastair Gillespie was deciding on his next seasonal, one beer stood out in his mind. ‘I judged a beer competition in South Africa, where the winner was a chilli lager which was surprisingly refreshing considering the addition of the chilli. The burn at the end of the first sip enticed you to take a second, and a third, and so, and so on.’
‘I approached John Boland from the Byron Bay Chilli Company to see whether he was interested in spicing things up and taking part in a collaboration with the Brewery. John was immediately intrigued and enthusiastically agreed to come in for a beer and chilli tasting.’
A fun afternoon of blending and matching chilli with beer ended with the decision to go with the habanero chilli. ‘The habanero gave us the burn and subtle chilli flavour we were after, without overpowering the beer.’
Alastair uses a base style of a Vienna lager, which is a rich, malty European-style lager. With the addition of Beechwood smoked malt, a savoury character is achieved which complements the chilli. The result being an easy-drinking amber lager, with a light chilli note and some bite at the back end!
You can try the new Chilli Lager at the Byron Bay Brewery, 1 Skinners Shoot Road, Byron Bay. Phone: 6639 6100 www.byronbaybrewery.com.au