In 2013, to coincide with You Am I’s 20th anniversary, Sydney brewers Young Henrys concocted Brew Am I, a new world pale ale made up of ingredients sourced from the band members’ hometowns.
There’s rolled wheat from Western Australia, the birthplace of singer Tim Rogers and drummer Russell Hopkinson, Victorian malt in honour of Melburnian guitarist Davey Lane, and Kiwi hops for bass player Andy Kent.
Young Henrys have never been shy about their love of live music. You can find their branding on almost every other gig poster, from small-scale local gatherings to popular boutique music festivals. Since the brewery’s launch seven years ago, they’ve frequently partnered with bands on limited edition brews.
Foo Fighters, Pond, DZ Deathrays, Frenzal Rhomb and Front End Loader are just some of the acts whose essence has been reformulated using hops, barley and water. Brew Am I remains Young Henrys’ most popular artist collaboration, however, with a new batch released nearly every year since its conception.
The new world pale will be available at venues across the country during You Am I’s regional co-headline tour with Jebediah, which runs until mid-December.
“It’s been a little while since we’ve done a tour like this,” says Lane. “I looked at some dates we did when Tim put his first solo record out – it was my first proper tour with the band. It was close to 30 dates or something, cities and regions. It’s good to throw our eggs into a basket with Jebediah. It means we can get out there and go a bit deeper into the regions.”
You Am I and Jebediah both helped to define Australia’s ‘90s and early 2000s music landscape. You Am I’s debut, Sound As Ever, landed in 1993 and their next three records – Hi Fi Way (1995), Hourly, Daily (1996) and #4 Record (1998) – all reached number one in the ARIA charts. The Jebs weren’t too far behind them, cracking the top ten with their debut release, 1997’s Slightly Odway.
“I’ve been in the band 20 years now and I can remember hanging out with Jebediah at the first couple of festivals we did,” Lane says. “They’re a great band and we love what they do and they’re all really good people. Kev [Mitchell]’s a good mate of mine. I can only see it being a joy spending an extensive amount of time with those guys.”
Lane joined You Am I shortly after the release of #4 Record and has played lead guitar on each of the band’s six subsequent albums. He made his lead vocal debut on two tracks from 2015’s Porridge & Hotsauce. At 38 years old, he’s now spent more than half his life in the band.
“It’s an achievement of sorts,” he says. “I’m still the new guy and I’ll always be the new guy. That’s fine by me.”
Lane launched a solo project half a dozen years ago, which has sprouted two full length albums, 2014’s Atonally Young and 2017’s I’m Gonna Burn Out Bright. Rogers, Hopkinson and Kent are all similarly busy with side projects and other ventures, but their commitment to You Am I is unwavering.
“This [September] tour in Europe has galvanised us as a band and even more so as friends. I think we’re playing as good as we ever have. Once we’ve gotten through to the end of the year and this tour’s over, then we’ll start looking towards making some new music. That’s always an exciting prospect.”
Brew Am I will be available at the majority of the upcoming tour dates, including at the Shoppingtown Hotel in Doncaster on October 12 and the Village Green Hotel in Mulgrave on December 14.
“I like it. It’s a good beer,” says Lane. “I notice, even at my own solo shows, we get to the venue and they say, ‘Young Henrys have put a slab of beers towards your rider.’ I don’t know how that happens, but I’m always very grateful for it.”
You Am I hit Pier Bandroom on Friday October 11, Shoppingtown Hotel on Saturday October 12 and Village Green Hotel on December 14. Grab your tickets from the band’s website. Find your local Brew Am I stockist at Young Henrys’ website.