Ballarat Bitter kegs released to city pubs

By Jordan Oliver
Updated November 2 2012 - 7:04am, first published November 16 2011 - 2:28am
A GOOD BREW: John Turner of the Royal Oak Hotel celebrates the return on tap of Ballarat Bitter.

HALF a century after Ballarat Bitter stopped flowing through the taps of the city’s pubs, the iconic brew is making a triumphant return today.Carlton United Breweries has distributed 300 kegs between 26 Ballarat licensed premises, with the limited-edition release expected to be popular over Ballarat Cup weekend.Australian Hotels Association Ballarat division president Ian Larkin said the beer was an “institution and an icon” for the city.“The last time we did it, they released it only in cans and that was an absolute winner,” he said. “The publicans were happy, our patrons were happy and CUB were happy.”Mr Larkin said now five years later, the release of Ballarat Bitter on tap was a good move.“Every so often they come out in a different format, maybe change their styling or bottling — but it’s the first time in 50 years it’s been put into a keg,” he said.The beer has a strong hops flavour and has an alcohol content of 4.9 per cent.In December, Ballarat Bitter cans will be available in slabs, also a limited edition.A beer with a rich history, The Ballarat Brewing Company was formed in 1895 by the amalgamation of the Phoenix Brewery of James Coghlan (established at nearby Warrenheip in 1857) and the Royal Standard Brewery of William Tulloch (established in Armstrong Street in 1853).The iconic “Bertie” character became part of the Ballarat Bitter brand in 1925, since taking on a life of his own. Ballarat Bertie is the official mascot of the HMAS Ballarat.CUB periodically brews a limited amount of Ballarat Bitter to commemorate the brand and brewery, but it has not been released on tap for decades.Regional sales manager Tim Powell said he expected locals to snap up the limited release pretty quickly.He said if the beer proves popular, there could be a more regular supply of Ballarat Bitter in years to come.