With each bottle pushing the boundaries of brewing, Melbourne’s maniacal Moon Dog has a tasty tree for everyone to bark up.
Tucked away amidst the backstreets of industrial Abbotsford sits one crazy canine, madly chewing away at its leg, ruthlessly chasing its tail and cooking up elixirs from the sublimely sessionable to the inimitably insane. When it comes to Moon Dog, you’re getting around nothing less than Australian craft beer at its most bonkers… And we’d not have this pioneering pooch behave any other way. Beware of Dog.
Operating in the shadows of the institution that is the Carlton United Brewery, Moon Dog’s HQ isn’t unlike the whacky experiential laboratories you find in the flicks, covertly working away on god-knows-what within the depths of the city.
Ordinary forklifts may come and go from its lot, regular smoke may billow from its nondescript chimneys, but the concoctions devised at the centre of Moon Dog’s digs could not be further from your line-and-length lager. Better yet, no outsider has even the foggiest of what’s to be let out of the pound…
It’s what makes the singular brewer – established in 2010 by brothers Jake and Josh Uljans with mate Karl Van Buuren – one of the most outlandishly exciting beer outfits in the country. Pumping out nearly 1500 litres a week east of Melbourne’s CBD, it would appear that Australia’s beer quaffers agree.
What’s now certifiably insane was once a significantly humbler and more pragmatic beginning for the trio. Embarking on their brewing adventure with a store-bought home brewer’s kit, the gang eventually graduated to second-hand dairy equipment and the small plot in Abbotsford that they now call home and lucky Melbournians call a homely beer lounge open to the public on weekends.
It’s a journey that’s thoroughly Australian at the heart of it – diving headfirst into uncharted waters with your entire savings account in tow – and one that chocked a welcome wedge into the nation’s boutique brewing doors. The threesome may have ushered in a new generation of brewers to follow in their paw prints, but as is the case with any innovator worth their salt, imitating this doggy is nigh impossible – a distinction unquestionably due to their one-of-a-kind creations.
“The concoctions devised could not be further from your line-and-length lager. Better yet, no outsider has even the foggiest of what’s to be let out of the pound…”
Familiar, obscene and everywhere in between, the wares of Moon Dog are forever evolving, yet indelibly marked with the crazy canine streak evident since day dot. Equal parts quirk and quality, each bottle is an embodiment of craftily brewed brilliance.
Core offerings like the highly-hopped Old Mate Pale Ale delight as more smashable session ales, while the categorically unhinged Jumping the Shark – a yearly instalment born from the incentive to conceive a ludicrously alcoholic beer that doesn’t taste like nail polish – checks boxes unseen by even the most courageous.
Feeling only a tad deranged? The Mr Mistoffelees and the Henry Ford’s Girthsome Fjord – a passionfruity palate confuser and a thick Belgian India Brown Ale respectively – sit a little more in the middle of the spectrum of madness, teeming with flavour and unmistakable Moon Doggedness.
Sure to be a hit with APA addicts the country over, the Old Mate is an offering that revels in its creator’s adoration of the hop and unquenchable zest for stupidly fun drinking. A heaping of Cascade hops on caramel malt, it’s unmistakably Moon Dog in taste, hitting with huge notes of peach, orange and pine, all the while abiding by a friendlier 5% ABV. It’s one drinkable beer that perfectly encapsulates the appeal of a slightly subdued core Dog – expectedly different, expectedly flavourful and suddenly sessionable.
The perfect mix of mental and mainstream, Moon Dog are a progressive pup showing absolutely no signs of slowing down. Whether you’re one to tip back a few easier-drinking essentials at their very own headquarters-cum-bar, or luxuriate in some legitimate liquid lunacy, you can do no wrong with a Moon Dog in your grubby little paws.