BREWED, developed, conceived and even named after Ballarat, The Rat Bitter Ale, released this week, is indeed a local beer.Set to revive Ballarat's proud beer brewing tradition, The Rat is the concept of Rebellion Brewery Ballarat - part of O'Brien Brewing - and the Ballarat City Council.Inspired by the famous Ballarat Bertie, The Rat will be the flagship beer of Rebellion Brewery and the region's first locally brewed commercial beer since Ballarat Brewing Company closed in 1987."The actual character of the rat that appears on the beer's labels, is a 21st century nod to the famous Ballarat Bertie, from a company who genuinely gives a rats about its beers,'' O'Brien Brewing owner and director John O'Brien said.According to Rebellion Brewery's head brewer, Andrew Lavery, The Rat is a bitter ale with a stronger malt flavour than traditional draught beer, a bite of bitterness and nice hop aroma."Flavour-wise it is not over-the-top and will appeal to mainstream beer drinkers looking for a bit more flavour but it won't shock their tastebuds,'' Mr Lavery said.O'Brien Brewing has been working with the city council over the past few years after both had ideas for a local beer for tourists and to help promote Ballarat.Mr Lavery said the beer is local in every sense of the word with even the malt made in Ballarat at Joe White Maltings Wendouree plant."We are celebrating Ballarat's brewing history, by using the time-honoured method of ale fermentation that was used in the 1850s, during the region's initial boom."Coupled with modern brewing technology and all natural ingredients, the result is a great tasting bitter ale, that people will want to drink with their mates and will hopefully become a part of the region's cultural identity," Mr Lavery said.While the official launch for the beer is set for April, The Rat will be available on tap and in bottle shops throughout Ballarat from this month and at a beer cafe to be opened by Rebellion Brewery later in the year.The Courier advocates the responsible consumption of alcohol.
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