With long shifts spent among wood, fire and smoke at his double-toqued Firedoor restaurant in Surry Hills, it's little wonder chef Lennox Hastie's thoughts turn to beer.
Throw in Hastie's obsession with detail and it's not surprising he takes things next level. "I always wanted to make a beer," he says.
Having honed his own skills in a niche area, Hastie decided to partner with a specialist for his beer journey.
His collaborator is Rocks-based pub and brewery The Lord Nelson, and the cans have just hit the shelves. After working on a trial ale over summer, they've released Ember Ale for autumn.
The Lord Nelson, which has been in the beer business since 1831, looked after the technical side while Hastie worked on the flavour profile.
While not everything worked – trial runs with finger limes "weren't great" – they finally found the right marriage with a mix of desert lime and salt bush, which the chef says brings a savoury edge.
The plan is to produce a different beer for each season. "We're already working on a winter beer, it'll be slightly richer … we've been playing around with Davidson plum."
Priced at $27.50 for a six-pack and $85 per case, Ember Ale is available at Firedoor, Fireshop and The Lord Nelson. The DRNKS deliver service takes orders in Melbourne.