{ We sat down with Koala Beer’s director/founder Chris Gordon for a chinwag and a GF coldie this month. Here’s cheers to that! }


Who is Koala Beer Pty Ltd and how did you get started?

Koala Beer is our company name and WILDE is our product range. Koala Beer is family owned and run from Newcastle, New South Wales.

The idea for our beer was originally sporned, believe it or not, from a close encounter with a family of black bears in Alaska. While taking a walk to visit a glacier, with an armed wilderness guide, I suddenly found myself separated from the group and just two metres from three cubs and a mumma black bear crossing the path. I should have been terrified but she was magnificent. She stopped, looked into my eyes for a lingering moment and then all four disappeared into the bushes. I shall never forget the magic of such a close encounter with the wild. It was one of those life-defining moments that makes you evaluate your life and where you’re headed. We then hurried to the nearby Alaskan Brewing Co. to enjoy a few good beers – I needed one! The idea seeded at that point. Bears lead to beers!

We had an organic vineyard at the time and we decided to add an organic beer to our healthier lifestyle beverage range. We also had, however, several gluten intolerant and coeliac friends who kept asking, “Please make a gluten-free beer because we can’t find any that are nice.” So we decided to make a gluten-free beer that was also reasonable priced. We have done that. It’s very popular even with people who have no issue with gluten because they like a great

tasting craft pale ale that is a healthier choice. It is called WILDE because of our wild bear experience and to denote that gluten-freedom can be fun.

What makes WILDE gluten free?

Beer is usually made from barley and/or wheat. Gluten is a component of many grains, including barley and wheat. Australian Koala Beer Pty Ltd has had a technical breakthrough with alternative grains that do not contain gluten, to produce a quality GF beer. WILDE tastes like normal beer. WILDE is preservative free. It is a clean natural beer. WILDE is also the tastier option for the health-conscious drinker.

Fill us in on the awards you have won and how it made you feel to be recognised for such a great quality brand.

Yes, we feel very excited and proud every time we are awarded. WILDE Gluten-Free Pale Ale has been awarded a silver medal at the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA), a gold medal by the New Zealand Brewers Guild in 2014, as well as two bronze medals.

The AIBA is renowned for celebrating and promoting brewing excellence in both Australia and around the world. It is the largest competition for the beer industry in the Asia Pacific region.

Unlike sports competitions where gold, silver and bronze represent the top three places, beer medals are awarded to the entrants who achieve a certain level of judges’ points to recognise the beer’s quality. Therefore, there could be several golds or no golds, depending on how many beers are above the points threshold. It is generally recognised that if a beer has achieved any medal, it is a fine example of the class. It is a challenge to create a perfect flavour profile in the gluten-free class. In the AIBA 2014, no gold was awarded in the gluten-free section, so our silver was the top award.

What are you most excited about for the rest of 2015?

We are most excited about releasing our new beer, WILDE Raspberry Gluten Free Pale Ale and later in the year we plan to release our third beer, which is still under wraps.

Our success thus far has brought us into exciting times. We are not only branching out with new products but also teaming up with interesting people and events that embody our company philosophy. Drinking WILDE is about lifestyle. Making better choices, being free to enjoy life and exploring beyond the ordinary. We have a big caravanning road trip planned to canvas the more hard-to-reach areas in Australia with our product. We will be documenting those adventures on social media and you follow us via the hashtag #gowildebefree. Seek the extraordinary!

We are most excited about releasing our new beer WILDE Raspberry Gluten Free Pale Ale and later in the year we plan to release our third beer, which is still under wraps

# tasting notes

WILDE Gluten Free presents as a golden pale ale. Careful selection of hop variety gives the beer a citrus and pine character in the aroma with floral hints which rounds out the beer, with a bitter but clean, flavorsome finish. A slight tartness from the malt balances nicely with the bitterness, giving a lift that leaves you wanting more. The beer has been crafted with no added sugar, colour, nor preservatives.

Gluten Free WILDE Raspberry was created to give health-conscious drinkers and coeliacs the opportunity to enjoy another refreshing and interesting beer in the WILDE range. The daring inclusion of fresh raspberries provides a delightful pink hue, a raspberry aroma and a fruity balance to the bitterness of the varietal hops. Natural raspberries are fermented with the grain to provide a delicate complexity and a mid-strength 3 per cent alcohol. Your nose will also pick out citrus, orange and mandarin aromas. WILDE Raspberry is a refreshing pale ale style of beer with a wonderful colour and flavour, crafted with no added sugar, colour, nor preservatives.

WILDE provides peace of mind for the growing number of health conscious, gluten intolerant and environmentally aware consumers, who demand tasty products to support their healthy lifestyles. Koala Beer Pty Ltd was founded upon the premise that beer should not only taste great, it should be a clean natural product.

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