The aptly named Ipswich Challenger is reportedly a full-bodied Pale Ale that appropriately uses the English hop variety Challenger and an English yeast strain. Aiming for low ABV – just 2.9% in this case – and full flavour, the ale will be replacing the Lion Co owned Hahn Light at Yamanto Tavern and at the new Alehouse24, starting this week. As the 4 Hearts official statement says: “It’s great for those that want to enjoy a fresh, quality craft beer but also need to drive.”
According to Wade Curtis, founder of 4 Hearts Brewing, he has been looking to brew a mid-strength or light beer for some time now. “These types of beers are a huge part of the beer market in Queensland,” he says. “The larger, foreign-owned brewers have this market stitched up and what I want to do is to give Ipswich beer drinkers a locally-owned option that tastes great.”
Mid-strength beer makes up a large part of the Queensland’s beer market and its popularity has evidently started to spread on a national level, a fact which is supported by XXXX Gold taking out the title of Australia’s most popular beer, by volume. This could mean that lighter ABV beers are set to be the new trend for the craft beer movement, fulfilling a niche for quality, sessionable brews, despite the current demand for highly flavoured, quirky beers.
4 Hearts will certainly be continuing with the Ipswich Challenger. Curtis says that he brewed a test keg for the Yamanto Tavern and it was such a hit that Peter Coultas, the tavern’s manager, rang to request eight kegs to delivered as soon as possible.
4 Hearts’ other brews are on tap in Ipswich as well as occasionally in Brisbane.