Small batch brews and big ideas with Tallboy and Moose
May 08, 2020
When it comes to different flavour combinations in beer, Steve Germain and Dan Hall of Tallboy and Moose are breaking down the boundaries. Experimenting with nearly every style of beer under the sun and seeing what's possible, the Preston (VIC) based duo are renowned for their small-batch brews, having brewed a hefty 215 different styles to date.
It's in our nature at Beerfarm to collaborate with businesses and like-minded individuals who we respect and admire, whose ideas and methods may take them far off the beaten path. We were lucky enough to have Steve over to our brewery in Metricup (before airlines pulled the pin) to brew Bubblina, a sparkling white sour variety, and our collaboration beer with Tallboy and Moose.
We also collaborated on a second brew, Snickerdoodle, Bubblina's sparkling apple sister. Steve spilled the beans on our two new collaboration beers in our recent catch-up and gives us the full Tallboy and Moose spiel...
When was Tallboy and Moose born, and what's the name all about?
The short story is that Tallboy and Moose first launched as a small brewpub in October 2016. Since then we've increased the capacity of our brewery several times, growing the wholesale and distribution part of our business. The name came from my partner Alex - it's a cartoon-y characterisation of us two co-founders. Dan is really tall and I'm very Canadian. Tallboy and Moose seemed like a fun name that rolled off the tongue. The idea is that it would take on a personality of its own rather than being just about us.
The long story is that TBnM actually started as a nano-brewery called Make Beer several years before Tallboy and Moose came along. Dan and I were brewing 50-300L batches, dipping our toe in the water of brewing and selling our own brand of beer. That project went on permanent hiatus while we planned for a bigger, more viable project, which eventually became Tallboy and Moose.
Tallboy and Moose are known for brewing small-batch beers and collaborating with like-minded individuals, with no experiment too big or too small for your brew crew. Can you tell us a bit about your brewery and how small-batch brews became your thing?
With our first batch of beer (as Make Beer) being a single 50L keg of Deep Steep - American Amber w/ chamomile, we intended for every single batch to be a new beer with a new recipe and new ingredient experimentation. Tallboy and Moose is a grown-up extension of that same ethos. We have brewed roughly 215 different beers over 3.5 years.
We very rarely brew the same beer twice, apart from our core pale ale and lager. To put it simply, the experimentation is fun and that's why we got into brewing in the first place. From there we have scaled the brewery organically and have tried to keep the same mindset as when we started.
Snickerdoodle was brewed in Melbourne while Bubbalina was brewed at Beerfarm. Tell us about why you decided to brew two collaboration beers in two different breweries?
We originally approached Beerfarm to be part of our program during Good Beer Week in Melbourne. Over the past couple of years, we've approached one brewery every year to take part in a similar project and we find the double collab a great way to engage both breweries, their teams, venues, and their customers.
We had some events planned around hybrid beer styles for GBW and that's where the idea for these two collab beers came from. One is made using re-fermented grape juice, the other with apple juice. Previous GBW collab swaps have been with Brouhaha in Maleny QLD and The Wheaty in Adelaide. These beers were originally created for Good Beer Week, which went down the dunny thanks to COVID-19.
What was the motivation behind going ahead with the releases?
I think we'd actually already brewed one of them if not both before venues had to close down - so there was a commitment factor there. We had also already planned to package both of these collabs so the decision was made to put pretty much all of each batch into cans (rather than kegs).
We have tucked away a keg of each beer for either venue to tap once we can re-open. In theory, both beers should age well so that will be a nice celebratory moment when we can tap them side by side and see how they've gone in the cellar down the road - and enjoy them on tap as originally intended.
Bubbalina and Snickerdoodle are not your average beer names! Where do all of your tongue-in-cheek beer names come from, and what inspired the names for these two?
Snickerdoodle is not our invention - it's a type of cookie that often includes apple/cinnamon. Since those were ingredients we working with we decided to skew the recipe a touch and try to shoot for a cookie-like vibe on the beer. Sometimes a name just comes with no effort and sometimes it's pack-day and we're pulling our hair out trying to think of a "good" name.
Have you got a personal preference of the two collab beers, and if so, why?
We are still waiting for Bubblina to arrive in VIC - it's due any day now and I'm super stoked to try it!
Pillow Fight is your Oat Cream India Pale Ale and a favourite amongst some of our team. How do you get creative when thinking up concepts for a new beer, from the flavours and ingredients to the can design?
Pillow Fight is a fun one - it was actually our first ever beer to be released in 440ml cans for national distribution so we picked a recipe we had released previously in keg that was fairly popular. It's a soft oat-heavy hazy IPA with lactose and grapefruit. It's just a meld of complementary flavours.
The grapefruit adds a bit of depth to the hop profile and a bit of lightly pithy bitterness to balance the lactose sweetness. Even when using "weird" or unique ingredients we try to make our beers balanced so they drink well over multiple pints.
If you were stuck in stage four iso lockdown with only 3 beers to choose from, what would they be, and why?
The perfect Pilsner - the best we ever made was a beer called Zee Pilz packed with Hallertau Mittelfruh, I could drink that forever. The perfect IPA - I like them fresh and with a decent bitter kick. I've always been a big fan of Balckman's Reginald. The perfect Stout - Something like The Wheaty's Wheaty-Bix Oatmeal stout or Foghorn Sligo.
Track down some Bubblina and Snickerdoodle near you via our Beerfarm bottle shop locator