St Kilda’s East Ninth Brewing: Art, Grit and the Rise of the Underground Blend

 

1990s Manhattan was a time when squatters in the infamous Dos Blockos abandon on the city’s East 9th Street were fighting and renovating with every tooth and nail they could find, all while developers were throwing around corporate weight to force them further down into the discarded underground.

 

Creatively fueled by this charged conflict, the inspiration behind East Ninth Brewery’s namesake and their first beer, Doss Blocks, is clear – the grunge and glory tough living artists.

Now, Doss Blockos is a Melbourne made pale lager that comes hand-wrapped in a brown-paper bag and sports the face of caricatures daubed across the brewery’s corrugated laneway. The lager, like the vagrants before it, is stripped bare of everything but the essential makings of its surroundings (which in this case is a good dose of Cascade hops).

 

In finish, Doss Blockos presents a sessionable lager and a fresh, bitter taste – but in spirit Doss Blockos forms the base of a larger portfolio, equally roused from rebellion.

 

Following Doss Blockos, East Ninth created Lick Pier Ginger Beer and Fog City Cider (later extended to Fog City Sangria) – each innovators branded from their own counterculture influence.

 

Taking a Venice Beach rock haven as muse, Lick Pier Ginger Beer was crafted by East Ninth to be synonymous with summer sunsets and life of the beach – though not in the picture-perfect postcard sense. With an adopted history that included some of the wildest artists of a bygone era, the flavour is strong, earthy and inherently raw. The 4.0% ABV ginger beer is dry and spicy, finishing with the steep and strength desired.

 

Adorning the front label of Lick Pier Ginger Beer is Charlie Lick the Cheetah painted by Melbourne street artist Conrad Bizjak. The logo is a modern take on the original Cheetah Club sign that once stood out front of the Los Angeles landmark before it burnt down in 1970.

 

Perhaps the most provisional of the range, Fog City Cider (which has also expanded into Fog City bottled Red Sangria), harkens from the attitudes of San Francisco, embracing the city’s diversity driven art scene and eclectic communes. Featuring a production method fit for the urban hunter-gatherer, both Fog City products are made from fruits that can be secured at hand, creating a cloudy cider that contains both apple and pear and a Red Sangria blended with both fruit and vine.

 

At 6.0% ABV, the Fog City cloudy cider creates a heavy mouth-feel and a bitter-sweet finish while the equally potent bottled Fog City Red Sangria possesses a vigorous backbone with the sharp freshness from a mix of a myriad of grape varietals and citrus flavours.

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