ZIG ZAG BREWERY; AKA LITHGOW VALLEY SPRINGS
The Zig Zag Brewery has begun to operated and so I rode to have a look at it today. I don’t think it is as fully operational as they are aiming for but they have five beers bottled.
Of the five I tried four, SPRING ALE 4.5%; MOUNTAIN BITTER 5.2%; OAKEY PARK ALE 4,8% and RAMS HEAD STOUT 7.0% . I didn’t try the light beer but as I was riding my bike it I had to keep an eye on what I was doing and the tasting paddle was made up of four beers, something had to give.
I found all four beers very easy to drink, none of them came over as been overly aggressively hopped , which suits me, its possible that all four could be called a sessions beer . The Spring Ale was described to me as being a very Australian beer and I don’t think I would argue. I didn’t detect any big aroma from this beer but felt that I could detect some bitterness after a while. The Mountain Bitter is darker and has slightly more aroma with detectable malts that I can only describe as mildly fudgey. The Oakey Park Ale (Oakey Park being a region of Lithgow) has a nice aroma of what I would call a summer fruit or berry pudding smell. It is a more complex beer than the first two though it is still a mild and easy drinking beer. The Rams Head Stout is a very mild and smooth drink, stout characteristics began to come through after the beers temperature started to rise, and there was not a big nose at first and I think all four beers showed more personality after a rise in temperature.
The beers are all bottled conditioned and non filtered. I was told that they still have the beer recipe book from the original brewery and intend to produce a stout which was judged as being one of the best at the time.
Zig Zag Brewery is on the site of the old Lithgow brewery and shares the site with Lithgow Valley Springs and is operated by the same peoples. I didn’t meet Col the Brewer from Bathurst but had a chat with Adrian the owner and was taken around the brewery and introduced to the beers by Ian who was very generous with his time. The original brewery was in operation from 1888 to 1954, and still uses the water supply from the original well. A lot if not all of the original sandstone buildings are still in use and some of the old machinery tanks are still around. There is a lot of Australian brewing history here which makes it well worth a visit.
It may be that the Zig Zag hasn’t hit is straps fully yet as I believe that they are hoping to open up some sort of kitchen dining operation as soon as they can. I suppose that would make it a brew house or a Brewery Tap Room. Though at the moment beer is only available in bottles.With the possible exception of the dead of winter, which in Lithgow can be pretty dead cold, when it is all up and running this will be a great location. I was also told that the brewery caters for groups.