WA – Ironbark Brewery

Weird Oktoberfest people at Ironbark for Spring in the Valley

We of course arrived in middle of Spring in the Valley, a strange dress-up/piss-up type event where groups of young people move from brewery to brewery and proceed to ask stupid questions like ‘have you got anything that tastes like Corona?’ They all seemed harmless enough, although their presence did mean there wasn’t a spare seat in the rather large house so we were forced to stand at the bar for our tasting paddle.

Overall the brewery is making beer for the tourist market so there was nothing too special in the line-up for us beer geeks, but there were some highlights:

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Festival of the Jugs – White Rabbit White Ale

Prologue:  The Festival of the Jugs continues today with everyone’s favourite open fermenting Healesville based brewery – White Rabbit. (I’m sure they are the only open fermenting Healesville based brewery but that’s beside the point)

We loved their dark ale when we encountered it at the pub last year, so when I wandered over to Parkhill Cellars on Errol street and spotted the white ale I was a happy little bunny.

Appearance: This was indeed white, it was almost as clear as the Mountain Goat Steam Ale.  It had a frothy head but even this was light, not creamy and thick like a lot of ales.  

Taste:  This is an interesting beer. The flavours are all very subtle, they are all there but they are muted. It’s very light and very refreshing. Like a lot of beers there is a citrus overtones, but this has this without the tang and bitterness, it’s almost sweet.

I note that they bottle condition with honey, which could add this sweetness perhaps. I assume what they mean is they prime with honey. What’s that? Well as any home brewer will tell you if you are bottle conditioning (which is leaving the yeast in the bottle to create carbonation, as opposed to a ‘filtered’ beer with injects gas to create carbonation) you need some sugar for the yeast to react with, most home brewers use a teaspoon of sugar, clearly the rabbit crew call up Humphrey B Bear and borrow some honey (Wouldn’t be a long phone call one would assume)  

It really is a great beer, but it’s hard to explain why. There is no distinctive character but you drink it and think Wow, that’s good. And then you drink some more, and then disappointingly soon the beer is gone.

Packaging:  It might have been the alchomolhol speaking but I could have sworn I could see an elephant in the trunk of one of the trees, I present it to you here…


See the circled area – tell me that’s not an elephants head? Okay he’s wearing a red cap, but it’s still an elephant.

Drinking location:  This would be a perfect beer for drinking in a park on nice Sunday spring afternoon. So you should do that, take a picnic.

In conclusion:  This is not a knock your socks off type of beer, but it is still very good, it’s subtle flavours lull you in, you sip and sip waiting for the usual hoppy smack in the head that craft beers seem to love, but it never comes and you are left feeling refreshing, satisfied and just a little bit happy, or is that hoppy?  

Ranking:  I’ll have a pint thanks