For the longest time I’ve felt that mainstream breweries would be well served by getting a little bit weird now and then.
They can still have their core releases that they put out for the majority of their customers, but they could also look to get a little experimental for small-batch limited release stuff.
It could lead to a wider market, to drinkers who might not normally look at your core range.
It could also give your brewers a chance to freshen up and let their imagination run free instead of making the same three or four beers over and over again.
Little Creatures has been doing it for ages, James Squire does it in fits and starts (more so on tap these days than in the bottle) but there aren’t many more doing it.
White Rabbit (like Little Creatures, owned by megabrewer Lion) has just started offering something different on the side.
A while ago they released a sour red, a Flemish red ale aged in used wine barrels and sold in a 750ml champagne bottle. I haven’t tried it but have heard good things about it.
Their follow-up has just hit the market – Teddywidder (apparently it’s the name of a breed of rabbit).
A beer in the similar sour/tart range as the sour red, this is a 3.1 per cent weisse beer with some lemon-grapefruit tang.
Personally, I’d have preferred more tartness and some more complexity, but still – I had this on a warm night and it did go down quite nicely.
And the relatively low alcohol is handy too.
The low level of tartness and complexity may be because of the need to make a beer that’s not too much of a step from the core White Rabbit drinkers.
They’ll head down to brewery bar in Geelong and perhaps be interested in trying something that’s a step up from the core range, but maybe not a giant leap.
If I ever made it to their brewery bar, I’d have a glass of this. Unless, of course, that sour red was on tap.
If you're looking for a bottle of the Teddywidder, there’s really only two places to go – the White Rabbit Barrel Hall in Geelong or the website mocu.com.au.
Glen Humphries is the 2016 AIBA Australian Beer Writer of the Year and author of The Slab.