Is a coeliac qualified to write a story about beer? Not entirely. But lucky for me I have a husband who is partial to a crafty in between his Boag’s Reds and isn’t one to feign praise. Plus this is a nice little story to tell…
Will Horan has it sorted.
When he isn’t making beer, this lovely chap is either climbing mountains (see above) or exploring remote corners of the planet with his Dublin-born partner.
The world wanderings began when Will, a bearded guy from country New South Wales, needed something to do in between bushwalking seasons. He’s an Overland Track veteran, having guided groups along the mighty trail more than 60 times. That’s a lot of scroggin.
As with every good Aussie expat, Will came to appreciate the culture and craft of foreign brews. But the wilds of Tasmania would really motivate him into creating some (by all accounts) very drinkable ale.
“I had a strong desire to make beer that drew inspiration from far-flung places, but reflected the place in which it was made.”
Will says he made the obvious transition from bushwalking guide to brewer about four years ago.
“I had no experience apart from a few years of home-brewing, mostly stout, mostly to take on long bushwalks into the mountains.”
Will learnt the fundamentals from the folks behind Morrison Brewery and was encouraged to go solo after seeing more and more ‘gypsy’ breweries (the kind where you make beer on someone else’s equipment) pop up.
“I decided that I had too many ideas not to put out into the world. Hence, the Du Cane travelling roadshow was born, with a kind of licence that allows me to produce my beer in essentially any brewery. Launceston now, Delhi tomorrow (I’m only half-joking).”
Why Du Cane? Will explains the label’s namesake, Charles Du Cane, governed Tasmania some 150 years ago and subsequently had a swag of outdoorsy things named after him, such as mountain ranges and camping huts. And so, Will applied the name to brews perfect for slurping atop a summit, a point of difference gaining broad appeal in a hectic craft beer market.
“You’ll always find it at Saint John, Crown Cellar and Tandy’s. My pilsner was basically made for food like that served at Pachinko and I’ve unashamedly been enjoying it there. It’s been popping up in Hobart too. It’s incredibly satisfying to see it get out into the world.”
Hobart illustrator Sam Lyne is the man behind Du Cane’s dainty branding.
“As is the case with most beverages and even food, when you have exceptional ingredients it’s really just about letting those ingredients shine. I don't like to over-complicate things. And I think Sam’s labels reflect that.”
Du Cane includes two brews: the fruity Hut Pale and Peak Pils, a Tassie take on the German classic.
Session-worthy. That’s how my husband, a man of few words, ultimately described a can of Pils one recent Friday night, as he cushioned another into his Carlton Football Club stubby holder. We were watching telly and eating fish’n’chips on the couch – proof you can enjoy Du Cane anywhere.
- - -
Buy Du Cane down south at Cool Wine and Hop Vine and Still and at Launceston’s Mood Food or Crown Cellars, where you can also find Will working Saturday nights. Follow this whole party on Instagram, too. Pics by Will.