In late April, we added a new beer to our core lineup of dark hops, a 4.5% easy-drinking hazy pale ale called East Coast Smoke, a beer inspired by our hometown of the Gold Coast – a place we live and love.
The story behind the beer involves an interesting journey, so in this post we’ll revisit the origins of East Coast Smoke and give you an insight into the thought process that made it our newest permanent beer.
We originally brewed it for the 2020 Gold Coast Crafted Beer and Cider Festival and we describe it as; a very smooth, hazy pale ale with 4.5% drinkability.ECL is freshly hopped with Mosaic,
Amarillo and Eclipse (an experimental new hop, also known as HPA-016), providing juicy fruitiness and a drupey and citrus aromas.
The concept for the beer itself actually came about because one of our designers, Dave Heavyside, wanted to design a beer can based on the “East Coast Low” weather pattern after a particularly epic surf!
Anyone who has lived on the Queensland coast for any length of time will know about these intense low pressure systems (usually remnants of pre-tropical cyclones) that tend to hover around the coastline a few times a year, causing some of the most typical swells that hit our shores.
Dave sent me a text message saying he wanted to design a beer brand called “East Coast Low Beer”. I liked the concept, but we didn’t have a really good beer that worked.
I let it slow cook for a while (we had a lot of back and forth on the beer idea!). . A few days later, we were looking for beer to brew for an upcoming craft festival.
It was idle chatter and the beer became a reality.
Related: The evolution of our beer design and packaging process
Related: Beer Ideas – How Baby Beers Are Made
We thought it was a great beer concept for our home town of the Gold Coast and the pristine surf beaches that stretch for miles. Interestingly, there was actually a tropical depression along the Queensland coastline at the time we launched it,
so despite the rainy weather it produced, the keen surfers amongst us certainly toasted to the epic surf it produced.
The design of Dave’s killer can, with its swirling satellite view style wave/wind/storm swirls, captures the essence of the beer itself and the weather patterns that the beer was named after.
East Coast Low was our last limited release of 2020. It hasn’t blown us away as far as sales go, and we’ve released limited releases that have sold much faster. But limited releases tend to do well if they’re super exciting. Think high ABV, fog beer, hype beer.
Anecdotal feedback about East Coast low pressure has been very good. People love beer, keep coming back for more, buy beer in full cases, and are disappointed when the beer is almost gone.
2020 is a huge year for dark hops. For us, one beer adds up to 2020 G.O.A.T. It’s a great opportunity to start the year off with a list of limited releases for the year. By far, it’s our best-selling beer in the core series. G.O.A.T. is not a new beer, but 2020 showed us just how strong this style is for us.
We think now is the time to lower the ABV hazy, and we absolutely love the East Coast low-bodied beers.
Related: Hazy beers and how we brew them at Dark Hops
We thought the concept of a beer that captured the vibe and ethnic spirit of its origin (our hometown on the Gold Coast), combined with a revamped look and feel, would help make it the right beer for the right time.
The first decision we needed to make was whether to keep the beer’s original name East Coast Low.
Dave and I went back and forth on this, and me, Eddie and Goff went back and forth. We had a fully printable version of East Coast Low ready to go and were close
to launching with that name. Personally, I don’t like the word “low” to describe this beer. I think it gets confused as a pale ale and I think the beer should celebrate good weather not bad weather.
I also wanted to add the word “haze” to the beer, so Dave (after a decent fight) started working with me on a completely revamped beer can.
We also discussed whether to release this beer with the normal Core Series look and feel, but I don’t think a normal looking beer can with a different color would really do it. We really want to make a splash when we launch. We put a lot into that and I think it needed a whole new look.
We went back and forth on that, and it will end up being Dave coming up with an epic design that I can take back to the other founders to make sure everyone is excited about launching a brand new can into the core line. After a fairly long period of work,
Dave came up with another great East Coast Smoke Jar design. This is no small feat. Designers can easily cling to their ideas. He had a hard time hearing that I liked the design, but he wanted to make a beer with a completely different design. Fortunately,
Dave is a very relaxed, flexible and talented person and after some back and forth, we had a great looking can. When we saw what the can looked like, everyone was excited!
There are many aspects to the design of the can, but it’s also simple and elegant. Dave found a unique and creative way to capture the coastal vibe
we were after (within the more limited parameters of printing directly onto the can), and with its blue and silver design (representing the waves that surround the east coast of Australia), he had it completely locked down.
As you turn the can in the sunlight, it captures the sunlight glinting off the sea as it flies over the ocean – try it next time you open the can in the sun to see the full effect! Maybe one day you’ll be able to crack the smoke off the East Coast on a flight from the Gold Coast, that’d be cool!