A View from Behind the Bar: 2015 Trends from Jenna Hemsworth

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Suggestions of trending Wine, Beer and Spirits from One of Australia’s Top 5 Bartenders, Jenna Hemsworth.

Across all categories, Australia is producing some of the world’s most exciting adult beverage brands. Whether it’s Tasmanian whisky, Victorian wine, or craft beer from Byron Bay, you are sure to find stellar local offerings from wineries, distilleries and breweries around the country.

As Australians search for their favourite new independent libations, bartenders offer some of the most in depth insight into the industry. They are tasting, experimenting and serving up new flavours developed to delight the palette and kindle the spirit. If you are lucky enough to call one of our country’s great bartenders your friend, then you are likely tasting something truly special on a daily basis.

We are excited to have had the oppurtunity to talk with Jenna Hemsworth – what better source to get updated on what’s going on in the Australian Industry than from one of Australia’s most loved bartenders?

Australia Trade Tasting gets exclusive tasting notes from Jenna Hemsworth, Diageo Reserve World Class Top 100 Bartenders (Top 5 in Australia), on some of Australia’s most exciting distilleries, breweries and wineries.

Mr Black

Mr Black is an interesting Coffee liqueur from Erina, NSW.

Cold drip coffee liqueur. Retains the taste of fresh espresso, rather than sweetening it up with vanillas and caramels, great for coffee lovers as it tastes closer to coffee than a liqueur. Not overly bitter, well-rounded liqueur.

Four Pillars:

Four Pillars is a Australian staple gin coming out the Yarra Valley, VIC. They have three gins on the market (their original gin, a barrel-aged gin and a navy strength gin).

Original gin utilises whole oranges in the distillation process, leaving a superbly fresh, light and vibrant distillate. Pepperberry leaf and lemon myrtle are wonderful native ingredients used to add a touch of Australian influence and modernity.

Aged gin is rested in ex-Chardonnay French oak barrels, mellowing the gin so it can be sipped over ice or neat and chilled.

Navy strength adds finger limes into the distillate and cuts the percentage of oranges in the distillate, raises the abv to 58.8% for an intense, citrusy and lively gin that goes perfectly into a fresh lime gimlet (my favourite with this gin!).

Overeem:

Overeem Whisky is from Old Hobart Distillery.

There are two  main offerings of Overeem: Sherry and port matured whiskeys aged in 100L ex-port French oak barrels (quarter cask) and Sherry-matured whiskey in ex-sherry French oak barrels, also quarter cask/100L. Both come in 43% and cask strength variances. Superbly balanced, rich and complex whiskeys- a great example of Australian whiskey production and one of my go-to Aussie whisky brands.

Belgrove:

Belgrove Whisky is a great Tasmanian Offering.

Peter Bignell creates his own biodiesel on site in order to grow and process his own rye to create his whiskey on site. They have a white rye (unaged) and aged rye, as well as two rare releases of an oat whiskey and peated rye. I can honestly say all four of these products are exceptional- I am a massive fan of rye whiskey and it can easily stand up to the American brands! It is a different taste however, in a category of its own.

Belgrove is a sustainable distillery and his spent mash is fed to his animals on his farm, which is pretty cool. Great balance of sweet/savoury/spice throughout the range, with the aged rye developing this superb complexity through the barrel ageing process.

Edge Brewing Project:

Edge Brewing is From North Melbourne, VIC.
There Cool Hops stands out. It is the most prevalent variety I have seen out and about.  It’s Sessionable, hop-forward and a true to style pilsner.
They also offer ‘Addiction’ (english pale ale), Angel of Zest (saison/farmhouse style), Angry Pirate (american pale ale), Ashes to Mashes Wattleseed stout (Export stout), Cool hops (german pilsner), Cryonic hops (American double/imperial pilsner), Southern Hemisphere IPA (american double/imperial IPA).  All of which trying are a bit harder to find, but worthy of a try when you get the chance.

Killer Sprocket:

Killer Sprocket was founded in 2012- from Cavalier brewing (West of Melbourne, VIC).

‘Bandit’ is style peated pale ale which has 10% peated malt in it. It’s a very interesting brew worth keeping your eye out for. Another one of their interesting offerings is an experimental American Pale Ale which they add juniper berries to. Their ‘Hey Juniper.’   has a distinctly piney taste.

Holgate Brew House

Holgate Brew House is located in Woodend, regional VIC.

Their Mt Macedon Pale Ale is a broadly appealing, easy drinking Pale Ale worthy of any summer day.

Road Trip is their American IPA) and is a really sessionable, super hoppy offering.
ESB (extra special bitter) is a classic, earthy, English bitter and is a good ‘pub beer.’
Temptress is thier chocolate porter and is INCREDIBLE. My favourite, it’s infused with Dutch cocoa and whole vanilla beans.
Pilsner is their german style lager. Light bodied, massive flavour, is an easy drinker. In fact it’s easy to get through the case.

Hopinator is their Double American IPA and something really special.  I used to drink this on tap regularly at a beer hall I used to work in…. massive, MASSIVE hops, big bold and bitter, all about flavour.

Stone and Wood Brewery

Stone and Wood Brewery is from Byron Bay, NSW.
They have three staples that should be a part of any beer lover’s rotation.  The first is Stone and Wood Pacific Ale which is easy to drink, very fruity with passion fruit aromas and crisp taste.
The Stone and Wood Lager is a great representation of a classic lager and can be drank at any time and with any food
Stone and Wood Jasper Ale is a mash-up of German alt, American Amber ale and English brown ale.  It’s a big winter beer, with a spicy bitterness.

Feral Brewing Company:

Feral Brewery is from the Swan Valley, near Perth, WA.
Feral white is a witbeer made in the traditional Belgium style of 50% wheat, 50% barley and with a Belgium yeast strain.
Hop Hog is an American IPA that I love and certainly worth an order. Aggressively bitter, pine notes. It’s one for a real beer lover.
Golden Ace Golden Ale has a distinct citrus flavor and is brewed with Japanese bred Sorachi Ace hops providing for an interesting variation.

Gapstead Wines:

Gapstead Wines are From King Alpine Valleys, VIC.

A very interesting winery dabbling in a large selection of varietals: Cab sauv, Durif, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sauv Blanc, Sparkling Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, Dolcetto syrah, Moscato, Rosa moscato, Pinot grigio, Sauv blanc, Saperavi, Tempranillo, Barbera, Petit Manseng, Fiano.

They have won over 100 different medals and trophies for their wines and their
Victorian alps winery has a restaurant boasting great food and wine pairings. They use local produce to match their cool climate wines and offer an amazing menu.

About Jenna Hemsworth

Jenna is a well-respected bartender in the Australian hospitality scene. uShe has worked in esteemed Melbourne venues such as Eau De Vie Melbourne, Cookie, Kodiak Club and Bad Frankie.  She placed in the Top 5 in Australia in the World Class bartending competition 2014, held by Diageo, and Top 8 in Australia in the Australian Bartender of the Year competition 2014 held by Australian Bartender Magazine. She is also a regular competitor on a national stage, having achieved placing positions in various national competitions.
Jenna has worked closely with, and developed an adept knowledge of Australian spirits in her position at Bad Frankie bar, who solely stock local spirits from around Australia. She has a strong knowledge of spirits from around the world, cocktails, beer and wine.Jenna was a judge for the 2014 Melbourne International Spirits Competition.

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Are you an Australian beer, wine or spirits distributor looking to source new products for your portfolio?  Get Involved at Australia Trade Tasting and network with trending wineries, breweries and distilleries in 2015.