Local artisan brewers Moon Dog have been pumping out weird and wonderful beers since late 2011. Through hard work, originality, and quality brews, the lads at Moon Dog have grown their national and international profile, and the big names in craft brewing are stopping to take notice.
Last May, champion brewer John ‘The Beard’ Maier of Rogue Ales in Oregon, USA – also known for his unique beers such as ‘Beard Beer’ created from yeast harvested from his very own beard – made the trip down under for Melbourne’s Good Beer Week. While here, Maier partnered with Moon Dog head brewers Josh Uljans and Karl Van Buuren to create ‘The Beard Downunder’ – a smoked barley wine aged in whiskey and rum oak barrels that had been shipped to Melbourne from the Rogue distillery in Oregon.
“We’ve always loved Rogue’s approach to brewing,” says Uljans of the opportunity to work with one of his brewing heroes. “They make fantastic beers and were one of the inspirations for us to set up Moon Dog.” “It was an awesome experience brewing with John,” he continued.
“We’re stoked with how the beer has turned out. The barrels have added heaps of fantastic rummy, whisky-y flavours. It’s good fun stuff!”
The beer was brewed during “The Masterclass of Madness” which saw Moon Dog open their doors to 30 patrons who received a private brewery tour, an intimate Q&A with Maier, and the opportunity to throw in some hops themselves; which were grown at Rogue Farms and brought down fresh by Maier.
“The Good Beer Week masterclass event was really fun! It was cool to have all those people in the brewery helping out with the brew. I reckon they will really enjoy the beer!” says Van Buuren.
The masterclass guests were invited to return to the brewery for the release of The Beard Downunder on 12 December. They were some of the first to taste the beer they helped create and received a keepsake bottle for their efforts. A highly limited amount of bottled stock was released nationwide.