Faced with a shortage of their favourite hand-pumped English ales, in 2003 a group of passionate engineers built a microbrewery beneath their office in the Melbourne suburb of Thornbury.
Nine years later the office has shifted but the 3 Ravens brewery remains.
The leftover scent of the afternoon's work (10 kilograms of used hops) hits your nose as you walk into the brewery. Adrian, the head (and only) brewer for the last two and a half years, offers samples and talks through the six unchanged ales 3 Ravens has on offer.
The blonde golden ale is heavy and fruity; the bronze English ale is a tad lighter; the White witbeir contains the traditional Belgium flavours of orange peel and coriander, but also packs black pepper, chamomile and loomi lime as kickers; the black oatmeal stout is full of complex coffee and chocolate aromas; and the dark German smoke beer surprises in the best possible way – a faint hint of bacon is usually the result of an accompanying hamburger. The pick of the bunch is the 55 American pale ale: a mix of American and Australian hops with light, fresh passionfruit characteristics.
Visit the brewery at 1 Theobald Street, Thornbury, on Friday afternoons between 2pm and "8ish" for a chat, some sampling, an education on the "family relation of hops and marijuana" and a mixed slab of your choice. Alternatively, check your local cellar or order direct from the fellas on (03) 8480 1046.