In Conversation with Urban Alley Head Brewer Shaya Rubinstein

    Brewers Feast returns to the Convent on 1 & 2 February, celebrating the best local craft beer, cider and spirits alongside great eats, live music and a host of workshops.

    We speak to Shaya Rubinstein, Head Brewer at Urban Alley, about their Brewers Feast selection, and his top tips for pairing food with brews.

    Urban Alley will be one of the breweries taking part in Brewers Feast 2020 at the Convent. Tell us about the brews you will have on offer for punters.

    We will have three of our core beers:

    Urban Ale – a light-bodied, refreshing Australian-style pale ale with low bitterness

    Urban Lager – a German style pale lager with a refreshing malty and floral finish

    Urban APA – our American-style pale ale with prominent notes of stone fruit and a firm bitterness

    We will also have some of our limited release beers including:

    Blush ­– a raspberry American wheat and rye ale 

    Road TRIPA – a tropical IPA and our latest release 

    And lastly, our festival beer, the English IPA – a showcase of English malt and hops. The recipe was designed in collaboration with Bintani and it also contains Honey Malt, which we are really excited about. 

    For those just dipping their toe into the world of craft beer, where do you suggest they start?

    Our Blush is a really pleasant introduction to what beer can be. The raspberries have a pleasant presence without being too invasive to the palate. Not all beers are lifeless, thin bodied and overly bitter. They can also be a refreshing effervescent burst of flavour that leaves you wanting more. 

    One of the highlights of Brewers Feast is the food pairing offering. How do you suggest people go about choosing which foods to pair with which brews? 

    Pairing beer with food is much easier than people think. Firstly, beer has carbonation which naturally cleanses the palate and helps wash down food. Secondly, many beers finish fairly dry with only a hint of residual sweetness, which can enhance the flavour of the food. 

    When eating fatty and oily foods, look for a beer with more pronounced bitterness, which helps cut through the fat. For spicy foods, look for a beer with less pronounced bitterness because grassy hop bitterness does not pair well with the heat from the spice. Dark beers such as stouts and porters get their colour from darker roasted malts which have flavours and aromas such as coffee, toast, toffee and caramel. These pair nicely with desserts such as a rich chocolate cake, cheesecake and vanilla ice cream. 

    What are some of the current trends among Aussie beer drinkers?

    We generally follow American trends and right now we are all victims of the Haze Craze. The hazy IPA has really made its mark on the beer industry and it looks like it's still going strong in 2020. IPAs are still very popular because of their bold fruity flavours. Sour beers are also really taking off and we can expect some exciting sour beers coming out of Australia this year. 

    What else is in the works for Urban Alley in 2020?

    We hope to continue to expand our nationwide reach of our core beers as well as continuously produce small batch limited release beers at our brew pub at the Docklands.