Hen & Hound Brewery Co.

Author: paul

By in News 0

ACT Amateur Brewing Championships

So the ACT Amateur Brewing Championships was kind of like this but with more beards and a lot less Nicole Arbour.

The good news for Hen & Hound was we scooped three medals – all bronze unfortunately but we were still happy given the level of competition (350 entries).

So give us a call if you are after some beer with medals. Or if you know Nicole Arbour. Or really just if you are bored. I need to find out if my phone still works.

By in MSG in a bottle 2

When beer is more than just beer

You may well have noticed that we put a fair bit of work into our labels, and our beer names are, well, let’s say unusual. Our thinking behind this is that drinking a beer should be more than just cracking a beautifully crafted beer into a cold glass. We hope the weird names make you think about the future or the past, and the label should be a piece of art that helps take you somewhere else – maybe a long forgotten holiday or maybe the prospect of the beach that is just around the next headland.

We are certainly not the first brewery to use the power of prospect (and occasionally nostalgia) to strengthen the appeal of our beers.

In Australia James Boag’s is synonymous with high end almost cinematic advertising for its beers, in particular Boag’s Premium Lager. But Boag’s has also had a few run ins with  the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code. I guess sailing close to the wind often results in memorable moments one way or another.

We hope you enjoy some of these.


By in News 2

First competition goes rather well

We entered our first competition last weekend at the Braidwood Show and came away with a first in the Lager / Pilsener class with ‘trying to get back to the start cerveza‘ and a second place in the Pale Ale / Bitter class with ‘tell me how it ends american pale ale‘.

The cerveza won with a score of 43/50 with the judges comments: “Excellent example. Well made. No faults showing through. Faults have nowhere to hide in such a beer.”

This meant that in the overall competition we came third being beaten by a 44 and 45. Great validation and hopefully more to come.


By in Beer school 0

Malting? What has hair loss got to do with brewing?

Malt gives beer its colour, flavour and contributes to the mouth feel of the beer. Malt is grain that has been tricked into coming to life (and then killed) in order to release it’s wonderful sugar. This sugar in combination with yeast is turned into the alcohol in beer.

Malting is the process of converting barley or other cereal grains into malt, for use in brewing, distilling and other less important life pursuits.

The malting process begins by germinating grain (normally barley) by immersing it in water to encourage the grain to sprout. The barley is then turned for around five days while it is air-dried. The grain is then kiln-dried at which point the grain is killed and becomes malt. 

The longer it is in the kiln the darker the colour. Malts range in colour from very pale through to chocolate or black malts.

Malts are typically divided into either base or specialty malts. Base malts do the majority of the work in terms providing the fermentable sugar for the brew and specialty malts provide much of the flavour and colour. For instance our ‘tell me how it ends pale ale’ uses pale malt as its base (about 90% by weight) and crystal malt (about 10% by weight). Despite being only 10% the crystal malt gives the beer much of its colour and the important caramel flavours. The list of malts used for a brew is often collectively referred to as the grain bill.

Base malts include Pilsen (pilsener) malt, pale malt, wheat malt, Maris Otter, 2-Row and 6-Row. Specialty malts include Vienna malt, crystal malt, chocolate malt… There are hundreds of malts each with different characteristics depending on what you are after. Specific information can be found here on a large range of malts. This link may help you find out about a specific malt or give you a sense how malts can vary.

The last step before you can use the malt in your brew is milling or cracking the grain. After this you have a bag of milled malt that is ready to brew with.

By in Beer school 0

All I hear these days is ‘hops, hops, hops’! What are hops?

Good question. In Australia (at least) you can largely thank the craft beer scene for bringing hops to our attention. Before that most Australian brewers used just one type of hop called ‘pride of ringwood’ which was bred by CUB in the 1950s – think Foster’s lager. Now there are more hop types available to a brewer than they can poke an … empty schooner at – too forced? yep.

Hops are the female flower (of a hop vine) which secrete an acid called lupulin (photos below). It is this acid that is prized as it helps with the beer’s head, gives it the bitterness that we all love, act as a natural preservative and give it both flavour and aroma. Hops are closely related to marijuana and only grow in latitudes between 35 to 55 degrees north and south – they do grow in Canberra.

When making beer the hops are (mostly) boiled to extract the acid – either fresh or as a pellet. The more alpha acid in the hop you are using and the longer you boil it for the more bitter the beer. However, the more you boil it the less aroma you will get. This is why brewers often add hops throughout the boil (either the same type or different types). For instance our ‘tell me how it ends APA’ has citra boiled for 60 minutes, a second lot of citra added 45 minutes later (for 15 minutes) and cascade added after the boil ends. Hops added after the boil are called dry hopping, this method extracts the flavour without the bitterness – If only that was possible with people.

Hops have lots of odd and mysterious names: chinook, fuggles, saaz, vic secret. Once you identify a beer or a style you like, try and find out what hops are in it and how bitter it is (bitterness is measured in International Bitterness Units (IBU) – the higher the number the more bitter). This will help you know what to look for in the future. This link is a good place to start.


I’ll soon be harvesting our home grown hops (all American cascade) so stay tuned for more beer school and more beer drinking soon.