In Australia, Kosciuszko Pale passes for beer royalty. Dreamt up by Dr. Chuck Hahn, the brewer who began his career at American giant Coors, before he travelled to Australia in the early 1980s after being recruited by Tooth Breweries, it’s something of an unsung classic on the Australian beer landscape.
Dr. Hahn is probably best known for his original Australian brews, notably those to come out of the Malt Shovel Brewery (otherwise known as James Squire) and, of course, that 1990s favourite, Hahn.
While these days, both brands are a staple part of the landscape, they were both pretty unusual brews when first released. Dr. Hahn was something of a visionary in predicting that our taste in beer was due for a change, and both Hahn Premium and the original James Squire Amber Ale were integral in making craft beers commonplace.
“It was really the start of craft brewing in Australia,” says Dr. Hahn. “It has really grown now; we’ve got almost 180 small breweries across Australia and a lot of them producing great beers.”
Kosciuszko Pale is certainly brewed in the same spirit. Established in 2009 at the Banjo Patterson Inn in Jindabyne (the “first pub on the left”, we’re told), Kosciuszko Pale is brewed in a 600-litre copper-clad kettle in the pub itself. It also boasts the honour of being Australia’s highest altitude brewery.
“I guess the inspiration comes from my background,” Dr. Hahn muses. “I spent 20 years in Colorado before I came out to Australia. I always had a love for the mountains.
“This was probably the most logical thing, to put a small brewery up there right on the edge of Lake Jindabyne. It gives me a good excuse to go up and fish and ski, climb mountains and call it work.”
Crafted from blend of pale and Munich malt, plus Galaxy hops grown in Tasmania’s Derwent Valley, the result is a slightly cloudy, slightly fruity pale ale with notes of melon and citrus.
“With this beer, we wanted to use all Australian hops and we wanted to reflect the spirit of the snowy mountains,” says Dr. Hahn. “We’re using Tasmanian Galaxy hops, which give it a fruitiness and a little bit of a passionfruit character to it on the finish. That’s what gives us that refreshing, fruity hop character.”
At 4.5 per cent, Kosciuszko Pale has a cleaner, crisper profile that makes a good match with seafood and white meat, says Dr. Hahn. “It’s [also] a fantastic session ale, let me tell you.”