Capital Brewing Co’s head brewer Wade Hurley jokes that perhaps we should have taken the photoshoot down to Jerrabomberra Wetlands, just down the road from the Fyshwick brewery, where he could have laid back in the water, like John Everett Millais’ Ophelia, reclined with a beer in hand.
Instead we’re in the brewery scattering rose petals into the first stirrings of a new Love & Desire beer, a collaboration between Capital and the National Gallery of Australia for the upcoming exhibition of pre-Raphaelite masterpieces from the Tate.
It will be a special edition beer, available only at NGA events scheduled within the exhibition which runs from December 14 to April 28.
“The gallery came to us with the idea of brewing a limited-edition beer and while this isn’t something I would have done, I’m excited by it now,” Hurley said in early November inbetween throwing handfuls of rose petals into the brew.
“We got to talking about it and it popped into my head that it would be interesting to brew a beer with flowers, play off some of the more floral hops, use a very old strain of yeast from Belgium that we've never used in the brewery.
“The whole thing is a first for us and I'm excited to see how it will turn out.”
The brew will be ready for initial tastings on December 4.
Hurley expects the brew to have floral notes, rosehip, rosewater and actual flowers have been used in the process; they’ve used galaxy and cascade hops “which are both very floral”, he says.
“It should be a nice pale Belgian, easy-drinking beer.”
He won’t be drawn on the idea of beer increasing love and desire, or how that might play out after a few too many.
“I just think it will be a nice romantic brew.”