I’ve been drinking a lot of this recently, since the nice lady in the bottle-o next to Waverton Station recommended I try it one warm November evening. Murray’s Craft Brewing Co are a Northern NSW brewery very much in the North American mode, with a strong emphasis on hoppy IPAs and (their word) “extreme” beers, and all that matching-beer-with-food malarkey. Set up in 2006 by Murray Howe, they’re already winning awards, including one for the beer I’m drinking tonight: Murray’s Nirvana Pale Ale won Bronze in the American Style Pale Ale class at the 2008 Australian International Beer Awards.
It’s a lovely golden colour in the glass, with a head that doesn’t stick around as long as I’d like. There’s a pleasant hoppy bitterness, initially quite striking but one that subsides quite quickly. A definite orangey hint to the aftertaste but not so much as to be off-putting. Towards the end of the glass it seems a bit ho-hum, but the hit of a new one is most welcome, and at 4.5% (1.3 standard drinks) it’s sessional enough that you can do that.
Murray’s is available in more bottle shops than you might imagine in NSW. It comes in 4 packs rather than the usual sixer, which is perhaps a way of cushioning the drinker from it’s rather, ahem, boutique price – $16 for my last fourer. It’s available on tap in an increasing number of bars, which is a good thing. I had a schooner of the Nirvana in the Albion Place Hotel the other day and it was just as good as it is in the bottle. Those of you passing through Northern NSW can go to The Pub With No Beer in Taylor’s Arm, which despite it’s name is the Murray’s Brewery Tap. I’m sure the detour will be worthwhile, as long as you’re not the designated driver.