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Entries in Wig & Pen (2)



Bentspoke Brewing Co was established in Braddon, ACT in 2014 when Richard Watkins and his partner Tracy Margrain combined their love of bikes and brewing beer.

Richard has been one of the pioneers of the Australian brewing scene. He is best known for his 17 year stint as head brewer of Canberra’s renowned Wig & Pen brewpub which opened way back in 1994 before craft beer was cool.

Bentspoke’s Braddon brewpub is a must visit if you find yourself anywhere remotely near Canberra. In late 2015 Bentspoke set up a second site in Mitchell to establish a secondary brewery and canning line.

In November 2016 Bentspoke released their first canned beers using what are known as 360 lid cans. First used by US brewery Sly Fox Brewing Company in 2013, the entire lid pops out so you can drink directly from the can apparently eliminating the need for separate glassware.

Crankshaft is one of a Bentspoke’s flagship beers. In the GABS Hottest Aussie Craft Beers of 2016 Crankshaft leaped 80 places on the previous year to an impressive eight position.

I picked up a six pack of tinnies straight from the source at their Braddon brewpub. They describe it as similar to a West Coast IPA.  It’s hopped with Equinox, Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic and Centennial and its 5.8% ABV and a relatively mild 35 IBU.

Orangy/yellow with an off white head with plenty of hop oil bubbles. Bursting with citrus, pine, stonefruit and caramel malt aroma. Medium body and relatively low carbonation. Citrus, pine and stonefruit nicely balanced with a caramel malt backbone with a moderately biscuity aftertaste. There’s a bit of resin with a moderately bitter finish.

If you like a fruity hop driven ale check it out. It probably more similar to a hoppy pale ale or XPA than an IPA. Being 35 IBU is below the usual 40-70 IBU range for an American IPA. I’d probably like it better if there were a tad more carbonation, greater bitterness and a drier finish.

A beer you could easily quaff on a hot day. Get on ya bike and head down to Bentspoke.





Feral Brewing / Wig & Pen Pig Pen. As part of the 2013 Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) brewers Brendan Varis (Feral Brewing) and Richard Watkins (Wig and Pen Brewery) teamed up to produce a limited edition brew called Pig Pen.

They describe it as a “free range ale”. It’s a bit of a mixed bag utilising malt from the UK, wild and conventional yeast from Belgium and Aussie hops. I was curious when I saw this on tap because I’m a big fan of both these breweries. 

It's pale with a frothy head and it looks like a wheat beer. Acidic vinegar-like aroma accompanied by a rotten fruit aroma.

It sure tastes like it came from a pig pen, with a grainy malt flavour that is quickly overtaken by a rancid, fermented fruit flavour with a sharp acidic bite.

If I didn’t know better I’d say it was infected.