Wolf of the Willows XPA



It’s always dangerous when there is so much hype surrounding a brew and a new brewery, particularly in a year where there seems to be a new brewery popping up every month. It would be very easy for Wolf of the Willows to fall by the wayside, but I’ve been tracking Scott (Mr. Wolf of the Willows), his marketing and his branding and it has been top notch all the way making it impossible to ignore. I find it very clever that he has the one release and has decided to launch his brand on this, giving him the chance to really nail it. And he has, building a serious amount of ground swell. The thing I love most is the label design, simple but effective and instantly recognisable. But all of this is nothing if the brew doesn’t back it up! His first release, an XPA, rather flies in the face of what is being released at the moment. It’s either IPA’s or ‘session’ ales but this hits the in between, something that seems to have been missed by everyone else and has proven a clever move. Let’s see how it stacks up.

Style: Extra Pale Ale

ABV: 4.7%


From Where: Scotty “Beardface” Thompson… Thanks Scotty!


Pours a lovely orange marmalade colour with fluffy white head.

On The Nose:

The nose seriously kicks it up to 11, so good. Layers of ripe, juicy citrus and candied citrus rind, sweet pineapple, heaps of honeydew melon and lingering mango and peach. There is this brilliant blend of fruit sweetness and biscuit malt sweetness in the background that’s just blowing my socks off, a perfect amalgamation.


Getting lots of tropical fruit bitters and citrus: pineapple, passionfruit and cracking grapefruit pith, lime zest and preserved lemon notes. Plenty of soft, chewy stone fruits to wrap your mouth around too with light candied ginger and cinnamon. Really well balanced out with sweet biscuit malts and a dry medium- long finish and mouthfeel. Every mouth full leaves you wanting more!

Final Thoughts:

Well folks, it was definitely worth the wait! The elusive Wolf of the Willows XPA packs a serious amount of flavour for 4.7%, I had to double check the label to make sure! I am super excited for what is in store next for this ambitious project. If you happen to come by a bottle of this, do yourself a favour and buy it! Expect to see some more Wolf of the Willows XPA around the place in January.


Riders Brewing Co. XPA


For those that do not know Andrew ‘Shandy’ Gargans’ story, it’s pretty much the home brewers wet dream. Starting off in his garage, opening up his doors to his neighbourhood, he got a lot of great exposure; particularly from one: Gus Kelly. Gus, for those that do not know, is part of the Kellybrook Winery and Cider family. And he loved Shandys’ brews. What started as fanciful conversation between two mates blossomed into commercial brewing and Riders Brewing was born. Still relatively new, Riders is now out and about, doling out some seriously tasty brews. This one, Riders XPA, is a perfect example.

Style: Strong Pale Ale

ABV: 5.8%

IBU: 45

Where from: Low Buy Liquor, Lilydale


Pours a pale orange/ amber with fine white head.

On The Nose:

The nose on this is fantastic. Plenty of dry hop character, lots of awesome orange and lemon pith, orange juice, fresh apricot and brilliant tropical fruits: pineapple, melon, cantaloupe, and fantastic earthiness with sweet, biscuity malt.


This palate has got it all! Fantastic toasty biscuit malt, earthy characters with notes of honey sweetness and stacks upon stacks of fresh citrus and stone fruits. Freshly peeled lemon pith, fleshy grapefruit and lime with tangy pineapple. notes of mango and juicy peach. Absolutely delicious.

Final Thoughts:

Forget session ales, XPA is King. Packed full of flavour, brilliant mouthfeel and awesome finish that just keeps on going. Riders have nailed it here, this is amazing. This beer is an absolute staple to be in constant rotation for summer. Great work Shandy, this is absolutely delicious.