5 minutes with Guy Southern aka Goodtimes Craft Beer

Alright, let’s kick off with an apology and a confession.

First, sorry for the absence here! Hopefully, you’ve been following along on my Instagram where I am much better at regularly posting.

Speaking of Insta, that brings us nicely into my return to my blog with this post featuring Instagram legend, Guy Southern, aka Goodtimes Craft Beer.

(and if you’re wondering about the confession, it’s quite simply that this is not going to be a 5-minute read but I can tell you for sure, it will be fun and interesting!)

I always love catching up with Guy because he brings a unique perspective to the beer industry and articulates it perfectly. His articles on Crafty Pint are some of the best reading in Australian beer and he’s also one of the nicest and most fun guys to have a beer with. I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again and again, beer people are the best people.

Grab yourself a beer, get comfy and get to know Guy a bit better as he talks about how he started writing about beer, the idea of a WA brewing identity, the Instagram accounts that inspire him and a list of breweries, locally and internationally, who are impressing him.

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Guy during the launch of his collab brew with Rocky Ridge and Devine Cellars at Petition, November 2018

What inspired you to start writing about beer?

I’m not sure if it was inspiration but around 2013/14 I formalised what I’d been posting about beer on Facebook into the original Goodtimes blog. There wasn’t much to draw from back then so I pretty much ripped the concept off Girl + Beer – you might know her. The following year, Joel Beresford (The Dutch Trading Co.) introduced me to a man that I’d literally bumped into while trying to order a beer at Beer DeLuxe during Good Beer Week. As a result of a that 45 second conversation, I began writing long form articles and reviews for James Smith AKA the Crafty Pint. In hindsight, the naïve arrogance that I might have something to contribute has served me well.

As far as writing goes, I can thank my Dad for a love of language which was supported by a couple of high school teachers.  This led to a half-completed English / Public Relations degree which was rudely interrupted by a lengthy retail career. From this viewpoint, nothing has really changed in over 20 years – I’m still writing, mitigating and encouraging people and businesses to be more than they might think they can be, or at least be curious about opportunities they might not have considered.


Read: The Story of: Hop Hog at Ten at Crafty Pint by Guy Southern


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Dan (Billabong), Guy and Steve (WA Beer Runner/The Good Beer Project) during 2017 WA Beer Week

Which three breweries are currently impressing you and why?

I’m lucky to have great friends that share great beer so I’m not going to answer the question directly. Haha.

Internationally, Cornish brewery Verdant is consistently delicious. Noting them is also a halo for the broader UK scene of Cloudwater, Left Handed Giant, Northern Monk and others. From Europe I’ll drop Spanish brewery Garage Beers into this and Cantillon is undeniably hype-worthy. From the US, Perennial, Cycle and Hill Farmstead have also been delicious this year. All amazing beers but also amazing artwork – design is not an afterthought!

Nationally, I been lucky to try a lot of Range Brewing’s beers through trades that have been great. Wildflower continues to excite and Philter’s new IPA is crushable. 3 Ravens and Boatrocker keep building momentum with exceptional releases and I love what Van Dieman and Ocho are doing.

Locally, it’s never been better to be a WA beer drinker. The diversity and quality coming of WA breweries is insane. I really don’t want to single anyone out so I’ll just note Rocky Ridge purely for the opportunity to collaborate on Devine Goodtimes – Barrel Aged Sparkling Saison.

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What are some of your favourite Instagram accounts and why?

I really enjoy Instagram and have made some great friends through the platform. For Goodtimes Craft Beer I mainly follow beer accounts although there are few others that inspire me. I’m less interested in the lifestyle – ‘here’s me with a beer’ – side of Insta and more interested in creativity.  Most importantly, I respect well curated, engaging accounts with a consistent visual language.

Beer and booze:

Sips and Sessions – Ash inspires me and never fails to deliver, Beer Thread – Leon has a consistent tone and some world class beer hustle!, Elitraks – seriously good photo work, Craft Beer Deer – for consistent tone and use of different scale within the square ratio to create interest, Beautifulbooze for styling ideas, Eagle Bay Brewing Co. – probably the most cohesive brewery account in Australia and likewise for Mane Liquor in retail.

[update: Guy also notes Phineasphrog as another good one to follow]

Architecture and design:

Mymodernmet, Kmsalvagedeisgn, Designboom and boluddha – these speak for themselves in their own way.

Lifestyle and photography:

Slice of Pai – I love the composition and cohesion of this account. It’s a great example of using colour to create a visual narrative flow through different locations, JR – not only is his art wonderful and subversive but the account is equally well curated, Tannaka_tatsuya – the sheer creativity makes you look at the whole world differently, Magnum photos – everyone should be following this account. As legendary co-founder Henri Cartier-Bresson said “Magnum is a community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on and a desire to transcribe it visually”, Peter McKinnon – check his gregarious YouTube videos for tips on improving your Insta game. A quick scroll through the account is a great example of moving from ice landscapes to desert to cityscapes through composition and tone. Likewise, Create Explore uses composition, especially by using colour, tone and really subtle visual symbols through the account to create visual narrative flow.

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I stole a ‘behind-the-scenes’ photo of Guy as he got his Instagram on at his beer launch!

Read: The Collaborators: Zendoke on Crafty Pint by Guy Southern


Finish this sentence: The WA craft beer scene needs more …

Identity.

When Phil Sexton and mates fired up the Freemasons’ Hotel in 1984, they started the idea of better beer in Australia and, courtesy of the America’s Cup defence, sparks were also sent to San Diego – and those folks seem to have done OK with the idea. Matilda Bay, Little Creatures, Feral, Eagle Bay, Cheeky Monkey, Rocky Ridge and plenty more have followed. For a state that’s birthed even this short list of world beaters, why aren’t we known globally for beer?

Of all the challenges that face WA breweries, venues and retailers – ownership / authenticity questions, consistent quality, tap contracts, market saturation, consumer knowledge, container deposit schemes and constantly changing algorithms – the hard truth is most punters don’t care and no one is coming to help. No one. The only thing that transcends all of that is a strong, cohesive and professional identity that all Western Australians can be proud of: WA Beer.

Over 2.5 million people live here and they have a rich beer history to be proud of, if we can get them engaged and involved with WA beer. Moreover, four billion people live just to our north who might be interested in a WA beer but that won’t happen in isolation nor should it be at the exclusion of the rest of Australia.

Western Australian breweries have supported the careers of many that are killing it nationally and internationally so a parochialism isn’t required, just a shared identity that we can all embrace, no matter how big or small the brewery is or what part of the beer industry people are involved in. WA Beer should be about retailers, venues, sales reps, journalists and bloggers as much as breweries not only because these people facilitate getting great beer to punters but because beer is inclusive – it loves everyone equally.

Lastly, without a strong identity, WA beer will, in time, be consumed by others with a stronger identity and agenda that has no regard for what has come before. It will be incremental and before you know it there will be no legacy and nothing to be proud of together.

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Guy, Kyle (Otherside) and Reece (Nowhereman)

What was the last beer you had that made a lasting impression?

I talk about context a lot. Timing, place and company have so much to do with how we enjoy not just beer but life in general. For the most part, I’ve stopped chasing beers and have put my trust a mangled thought I lifted from faded bumper stickers: Beer happens. The beer magic happens when you least expect it because you’ve helped others.

So, to actually answer the question, during the Devine Goodtimes brew day at Rocky Ridge I shared a fresh Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus with the collaborators. There were quite a few of us so the pours were small. An hour or so after sharing I saw Rocky Ridge rouseabout Jacob Nesbitt walk past sniffing the 80mls that I’d been able to share with him – he still hadn’t tried it. Lost in the aroma and grinning, he said that he’d never been able to try Cantillon before and really wanted to savour it. We were all blown away by the beer but that moment is a lasting impression for me. So much about beer is about everything that happens around the glass – the context just as much as the liquid and what went into making it. That’s the stuff that I think is lasting.

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Adam (Feral/Beer Sucks), Rhys (Otherside), myself, Guy and Brendan (Cheeky Monkey/Beer Sucks) at last years Getting Blind with Crafty, a blind tasting event, at Dutch Trading Co for WA Beer Week 

 

 

Barrel to Mini-Bar to Ester: Wildflower Brewing & Blending

Last month I was in Sydney and I walked into my hotel, Paramount House Hotel with my eyes wide and my smile big. The place was beautiful, the sort of fit out that makes you want to sit and spend time just looking so you don’t miss anything. It opened in April and sits surrounded by the Golden Age Cinema, Paramount Coffee Project, The Office Space and Paramount Recreation Club.

Lobby of Paramount House Hotel

Lobby of Paramount House Hotel
Lobby of Paramount House Hotel

I got into the elevator that’s covered in delightful pink wallpaper with a hibiscus and diving men pattern, I got out on the third floor, found my room and fell in love with the place. They’re not kidding when they say “permanent vacation”, the place does make you want to hang around for a really long time.

Elevator at Paramount House Hotel
Elevator at Paramount House Hotel

This long introduction is leading somewhere beery, I promise.

An exploration of the hotel room isn’t complete without looking in the mini-bar. I almost fell over when I saw a small bottle of Wildflower beer inside.

Wildflower Brewing and Blending in Marrickville, NSW is dedicated to making Australian Wild Ales. To see a bottle of this beer in a hotel room mini-bar was pretty extraordinary given mini-bars are usually the domain of mainstream beers only. Wildflower is also on tap in the hotel lobby and Topher, co-owner of Wildflower, says they are one of their best customers.

A few nights later, with friends old and new, I was having dinner at Ester in Chippendale and there was Wildflower again. We, of course, get a bottle for the table along with a bottle of white wine. It puts a big smile on my face to see Wildflower at Ester, a place listed as the top NSW restaurant by the Financial Review Australia’s Top 100 Restaurants and number two for Australia.

Wildflower at Ester Restaurant
Wildflower at Ester Restaurant

From Singapore Airlines (Cheeky Monkey, BentSpokeBentSpoke to name two) to major sports stadiums (Gage Roads) and AFLW (Two Birds) to hotel mini-bars and top Australian restaurants, Australian craft beer continues to do absolutely incredible things!

Preston Valley Hops

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“I’ve learnt a lot of good lessons this year,” Aaron Davy said as we chatted about the first hop harvest for Preston Valley Hops late last month.

Aaron and his wife Alexis, along with their kids and dog, moved from Hamilton Hill to Queentown, a little outside Donnybrook about 18 months ago.

Since Aaron’s resume includes brewing at WAs biggest breweries, Little Creatures and Gage Roads, it was probably inevitable he would end up involved in beer again in some way. After a successful trial run of growing hops, Aaron decided to dive into growing on a commercial scale.

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He built five-metre tall trestles and with 200 plants across 12 varietals and filled a quarter acre of land and so Preston Valley Hops was born.

Among the varieties grown on the farm there are Saaz, Cascade, Nugget, Chinook, Challenger, Hallertau, Goldings and Perle. Aaron also planted some Victoria, a sister variety to the much-loved Galaxy.

“I am super happy with the way Cascade is going.”

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There must be something about the south-west that loves hops, Karridale Cottages and Hop Farm are thriving, just having finished their third hop harvest, and Preston Valley has exceeded Aaron’s expectations.

Read: Crafty Pint – A Day in the Life of: A Hop Farmer

“The proof is in the pudding, they’re growing really well!”

The Preston Valley land is old farming area that has been grazed for over 50 years “but it’s too good for grazing, we’re right on the river with alluvial dirt so stuff grows here,” he says. Hops are susceptible to pests, disease and mildew so I was surprised to hear from Aaron that he’s not experienced anything like that. Trey over at Karridale* was the same. For whatever reason, these haven’t been an issue for them.

*Trey, is the co-owner along with his partner Olivia, in Karridale Cottages and Hop Farm.

Some plants have grown better than others but Aaron says that was kind of the point of the first year.

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Aaron scoured the internet to research hop and hop farms. He found some information from an American university but, “until you put the rhizomes in the ground and grow a season of hops, that’s how you learn.”

“Trey’s been super helpful, he gave me a heap of rhizomes and good advice when I was setting up,” Aaron says.

 

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“I’m going to narrow it down, depending on demand,” Aaron says, “in terms of going to scale, I’ve really got to focus on what’s going to sell and what I can grow well.” Chinook, he comments, has been growing well but he reckons the lupulin production – all that yellow stuff inside the hop cone that has all the oils, acids and resins that make beer amazing – has been lower than expected. As we chat, Aaron picks a Chinook hop cone off the bine, rips it open and sticks his nose in. He does this a fair bit and he knows it too, he loves it. “Actually, this is really good,” Aaron remarks and smells it again, “actually, that’s really good!” The Chinook is planted in three sections because the plants are from three separate sources, “I’ll definitely propagate from that one!”

“That’s all part of it, it’s about being observant and always smelling the hops.”

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Currently, the farm is a quarter acre with plans to expand to a full acre, the trick will be finding more plants. “Because there is no industry here, you’ve got to scrap and scrounge and get what you can get.” Normally rhizomes would be used to propagate more plants but Aaron is keen to try cloning instead because it’s a better head start with plants than rhizomes because you’re not disturbing your rhizomes and their root systems. “We have a professional local nursery we are working with,” Aaron says and has taken a heap of cuttings from their yard and so far they’ve had a 75% strike rate. Aaron says cloning over rhizomes is a trend he’s noticed happening more and more in the US. Another option is to get plants shipped from the US but they have to spend six months in a quarantine lab, in that time you have to hope they survive and it’s an expensive process that doesn’t refund if those plants don’t survive. Expansion to an acre will depend on how well the propagated plants survive the winter and available funds after they look at a possibly purchasing a harvester and a cold storage solution.

“It’s been such a cool experience,” Aaron can barely contain his excitement as he describes how the plants grow and change with season-to-season.

 

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Mike the Bull, thankfully he doesn’t eat the hops!

 

“Hops are an amazing plant and they’re so cool and having us here, for brewers to come and pick their own hops and get touch with this ingredient, I think, is very cool,” he says, “the pellet is quite far removed from what you have here.”

Cascade and Nugget, in particular, exceeded Aaron’s expectations which he says make him excited to expand and the future of hop growing in the south-west. Aaron and the other hop farmers in the region are keen to work together, the hop growing industry here is still very new, so it’s going to be amazing to watch over the coming years.

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Big thanks to Aaron and Alexis at Preston Valley Hops for taking the time to show me around the farm!

Snapshot: Hop Harvest

Sit back, scroll and enjoy these photos from my day hanging out during hop harvest at Karridale Hop Farm a few weeks ago.

Hanging out at Karridale Hop Farm for Hop Harvest

17 February 2018

I doubt I will ever get tired of looking at fresh hop cones, it’s a wonderful assault on your senses because they look fantastic, smell amazing and they even feel great. Sadly technology doesn’t allow you to smell and touch hops here but I can definitely show you lots and lots of hops. Sit back, scroll and enjoy these photos from my day hanging out during hop harvest at Karridale Hop Farm a few weeks ago.

You can read the full article I wrote about the day, including plans for the future of the hop farm, at Crafty Pint – A Day in the Life of: A Hop Farmer

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Welcome to Karridate Cottages and Hop Farm
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Trey, one half of Karridale Hop Farm, inspecting the bines
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Trey cutting the bottom of the bines, just under where the cones start to grow. A cheeky photobomb by my dog Barley in there too!
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Trey with a Cascade hop cone, analysis of his Cascade has come back with an Alpha Acid (the stuff that makes beer bitter) reading of 11.5%, huge for a variety that is normally 5-7%
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Trey cuts the hop bines at the top and then passes them to be loaded onto the ute
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More and more hop bines
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Ready to go!

 

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But first, Trey does a little quality control
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Ken helps unload the bines, Ken comes by to lend a hand, quite fitting since he actually built the original cottages on the property
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Time to get the cones off the bine
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Slowly, slowly
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Fresh wet hops that, in this state, have about a 70% water content
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So many hops!
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Time to get them into a tray, the wire bottom allows air flow. Trey writes the variety on the front.
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Loading up the hops
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It’s very much a team effort!
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Quality control

 

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Mould is the biggest concern so you want an even layer of cones to ensure even drying
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Up Close: Pemberton ‘Wild Blend’, the variety is their own and grew in Pemberton until the mid to late 70s. Trey went looking for the plant, found some growing wild and brought it back to Karridale.
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Up Close: Perle
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Fuggles, named after the English noble hop variety
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Up Close: Pemberton Wild Blend from the tip of the cone
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Barley keeping an eye on things
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Up Close: Inside a hop cone, the golden coloured stuff is called lupulin which is where the acids, oils and resins are, basically all the good stuff brewers want
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Trays at loaded into the cabinet to dry
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Heaters are the bottom, extractor fans at the top, pulling hot air through the whole cabinet.
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As each tray gets filled, each tray is rotated in the cabinet for even drying. The hops in each tray are also shuffled around. These cones will dry overnight, ready for a brewer to use soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 minutes with Jacq and Mark from Eat The Street

Happening on 17 March as part of Eat Drink Perth, The Ultimate Craft Beer Tour is hosted by Eat the Street Perth Walking Tours

[ less than a six minute read ]

All photos and images provided by Eat The Street

Eat the Street is a Perth walking tour company owned and operated by Jacqueline Baril and Mark Padgett who, if you’ve ever met them, you’ll know are excellent guides and lovely people. They’re passionate and knowledgeable about what’s going on in Perth and both are particularly in love with craft beer. Late last year Mark became a Certified Cicerone and, along with yours truly, joined a small number of West Australians currently holding such a certification. So who better to show people around Perth to find all the really good beer?!

What is a Cicerone? The word Cicerone (sis-uh-rohn) designates hospitality professionals with proven experience in selecting, acquiring and serving today’s wide range of beers. From Cicerone website. It’s basically like a sommelier but for beer!

On Saturdays, they run a dedicated Craft Beer Tour that kicks off at 3pm, because it isn’t socially acceptable to drink in the morning, and for Eat Drink Perth 2018, they are hosting a one-off special edition. Happening on 17 March, Jacq says The Ultimate Craft Beer Tour will be like their regular Craft Beer tour “but cranked up to 11!”

Eat Drink Perth: 1 – 31 March 2018

“We will have a special guest join us at each stop ranging from brewers to craft beer educators,”

The tour is extra special for Mark as it will be his first event as a Certified Cicerone.

The group will be a little bigger than normal with 15 guests and up to three guides depending on the stop and the special guest* assigned to each stop. The details are still being worked out but you can be sure a stop at craft beer favourites Dominion League and Baby Mammoth will be on the schedule and some pretty special beers and food pairings will be on offer.

*Note: I will be putting the ‘special’ into special guest by appearing on the tour too!

So you can get to know your hosts-with -the-most, I asked Jacq and Mark to answer five questions for this latest edition of ‘5 minutes with …’

Eat the Street’s Jacqueline Baril and Mark Padgett \\ Photo courtesy of Eat the Street

Which Australian breweries should people be watching?

Jacq: Wildflower, Mark and I got to meet Topher while we were in Sydney for Christmas. What he is doing there is pretty spectacular.

Mark: Batch Brewing in Sydney, Aether in Brisbane, 3 Ravens in Melbourne, Artisan are always doing something interesting over this way and great to see some city-based brewpubs!

What’s the most exciting thing about WA craft beer right now?

J: The sheer number of breweries that have opened or are opening. Crafties are taking over. It means better beers on tap at the corner pubs and more adventurous styles are being brewed.

M: I think the quality. There has been a lot of growth in the last five years, but with that the bar has been raised for quality. Our local beer is amazing and certainly holds up to beers I’ve had anywhere in the world.

What was your epiphany beer?

J: Lindemans Pecheresse – there was this small bottle shop in Frank BC Canada that stocked craft beer. When Mark found it he bought the full range of Lindemans that they had available plus a few more choice internationals. Pecheresse and framboise were my favourites. This was the first time I had ever tried craft beer or lambics.

M: I can’t just list one so here’s a few! Weihenstephan Hefe Weiss beer, Jever Pils, Emerson’s Pilsner, Duvel, Cantillon Gueuze, Worthington’s White Shield IPA, Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

What is the most surprising thing one of your guests has said on your Craft Beer Tour?

I don’t drink craft beer! …. Saaaay waaaaht?

What is your favourite beer and food pairing?

J: Baby Mammoth did a Golden Gay Time pannacotta paired with the Golden Stout Time from Big Shed, it was awesome. For an at home pairing you can’t go past a good stout with lamb roast. It’s such a great way to warm up in the winter, and I am lucky that Mark is a great cook. My go-to local is the Nail Oatmeal Stout.

M: As Jacq indicated above, pretty much anything paired at Baby Mammoth ! Those guys are next level! But at home I love cheese and beer! All the cheeses and all the beers. Try a Schlenkerla Urbock with a smoked Gouda and a spicy salami or a Boon Gueuze with a double brie.


DON’T FORGET!

17 March 2018, 3pm : The Ultimate Craft Beer Tour – a special one-off tour for Eat Drink Perth 2018

Snapshot: Baby Mammoth & Rocky Ridge Collaboration Dinner

Snapshot – a post of (mostly) photos –
for a quick look at the recent Baby Mammoth and Rocky Ridge Brewing collaboration dinner featuring their Inglorious Chutney beer

Event:

Rocky Ridge & Baby Mammoth Collab Beer Launch

22 February 2018

 

Rocky Ridge Brewing head brewer and co-owner Hamish Coates
Hamish (left) and Baby Mammoth owners Tania and Ryan Lambson, Ryan is also the head chef as you might have already figured out from his clothes! You can read more about the Baby Mammoth and their dedication to beer and food by clicking on the photo to read the article on Crafty Pint by Guy Southern, aka Good Times Craft Beer
Chicken Sosatie, Green Peppers and Onions paired with Rocky Ridge Ace Pale Ale
Lacto Risotto, Fermented Coffee and Pecorino paired with Rocky Ridge Sour Buffalo
Hemp Seed Taco, Smoked Pickled Mushrooms paired with Rocky Ridge collaboration with Vasse Valley Hemp Farm, Dr Weedy’s Hemp Ale
Bobotie, Banana Leaf Rice and Sambal paired with Rocky Ridge collaboration with Baby Mammoth, Inglorious Chutney. This beer was surprisingly delicate and made using ginger, turmeric, coriander and inspired by chutney. This was a special sneak peek at the beer as it’s currently in four different wine barrels to referment and age for release in champagne bottles in a couple of months.
Grilled Banana Pound Cake, Chocolate BBQ Compote and Honeycomb Icecream paired with Rocky Ridge collaboration with Burnt End Smoking Co, Crimson

Blasta Brewing Opening Soon

Blasta Brewing and their 20hec kit will be opening their doors on Thursday and among the beers will be something brand new to celebrate!

Steve and Kate Russell’s idea for a brewpub came from a love of good food and drink. “My homebrewing passion escalated a little bit,” Steve said with a laugh when I first spoke to him back in July last year.

Blasta Brewing will open their doors this Thursday 1st March, you can find them in Burswood, not far from the new Optus Stadium, at 84/88 Goodwood Parade.

The name Blasta comes from Scottish Gaelic, meaning “delicious” and Steve, who is originally from Scotland, says this is more than just a name, it is their guiding principle, to “only brew Blasta beers.”

The logo is a geometric unicorn which links to Steve’s engineering background and his Scottish heritage as the unicorn is Scotland’s national animal; true story, Google it! Folklore stories of the unicorn include one where a snake poisons a watering hole but a unicorn uses its horn to purify the water for everyone to be able to drink it again. It’s this transformation of water for all to enjoy that Steve felt resonated with brewing.

Steve and Kate have been living in Perth for ten years and always within the Burswood area. They have seen the suburb change significantly over the years and know there is more urban development on the way. They hope Blasta Brewing will be a positive addition to the local community. Their location on Goodwin Parade, just over 100 metres from the train station, and will have a capacity of more than 350 people.

Steve Russell pouring beers at the Perth Craft Beer Festival

Steve has been gypsy brewing at a couple of different breweries, depending on schedules and availability, and released their first commercial beer in May last year called Myway Grapefruit IPA, brewed using local grapefruit. The first venue to pour a Blasta beer was The Balmoral in Victoria Park and the keg sold out in less than three hours. Myway Grapefruit IPA went on to be awarded a silver medal at the Perth Royal Beer Awards in June.

Since then they’ve been busy not only building their brewery, bar and restaurant but also getting out to beer festivals across Perth, such as Perth Craft Beer Festival and Mane Liquor’s Winter Beer Celebration, to introduce themselves.

In early November they were granted their liquor licence and in January their brewery arrived in Perth.

The brewery is a 20 hectolitre kit that Steve helped to design, his brewing and engineering knowledge leading, perhaps inevitably, to him making a few tweaks.

The coffee shop side of the venue is already up and running, open from 6:30am daily. The booze side, the rest of the brewpub, will have its grand opening on 1st March and will be celebrated with the release of a brand new beer.  Doors open at 11am, from 5 -7pm there will be a private event, after which it will re-open to the public.

WA Beer News #23

So many new beers and not one, not two but THREE new breweries!

There is a lot of stuff happening in WA’s craft beer scene that it’s genuinely hard to keep up with all the new beer releases and WA really is kicking ass when it comes to craft beer and so I thought I’d try and make a regular feature out of all the new beery goodness our state has to offer.

The girl+beer Facebook page has a list of upcoming beer events that you might find worth subscribing to!


Eagle Bay Brewing

Single Series: The Traveller

The local masters of collaborations, Eagle Bay Brewing teamed up with Dunsbourgh’s newest restaurant, Yarri Restaurant and Bar, to create a beer exclusively for them called “The Traveller”.  It is an American wheat ale brewed with all Australian wheat, barley and botanicals and American hops. Head brewer Nick d’Espeissis says it took a little trial and error to get the botanicals right, “the Geraldton Wax adds kind of a kaffir lime taste, while the indigenous saltbush makes the beer really moreish. You can’t stop at just one.”

“The botanicals used in the process are WA indigenous saltbush and Geraldton Wax – a native shrub with needle-like leaves rich in aromatic oils. Both foraged ingredients are used in Yarri’s cooking, adding a great complement between food and drink.”

Photo Credit: Eagle Bay Brewing

Single Series: Barrel-Aged ESB

Not content with just one special beer, Eagle Bay has also released a barrel-aged version of their ESB. Once a core range beer, meaning it was available all year round, their ESB was bumped off its full-time status last year. For those who shed a tear at its demise, perhaps this barrel-aged version will help with the pain. After using Whipper Snapper whiskey barrels to age their Black Vanilla last year, a mighty collaboration brew of a coconut and vanilla imperial stout, Eagle Bay didn’t just leave those barrels empty and so in went some ESB and three months later, we have this brew!

Coming Soon: Brewers Series Nut Brown Ale

From the looks of the Eagle Bay Brewing Instagram story, the EBBC brewers have been playing around in the brewhouse with some hazelnuts to make their next Brewers Series release.

Coming Soon: Original lazy Boy

If you’re heading to the South West Craft Beer Festival next Saturday you can look forward to a bunch of special beers including this one from Eagle Bay, the Original Lazy Boy, a 7.0 percent ABV American wheat.

Nowhereman Brewing*

Age of Aquarius Summer Ale

Another WThe West Leederville brewpub has released their new summer ale, called Age of Aquarius, it is 5.0 percent ABV.  Named after the star sign that the brew falls under, it’s an American wheat beer with well known Australian hop varieties, Astra and Galaxy.

*I will soon be working for this brewery

Rocky Ridge Brewing

Limited Release: Ace Pale Ale

Named after one of Hamish and Mel’s beautiful dogs, Ace, this pale ale uses wet hops – these are whole hop cones picked straight from the bine and, without delay, put into the brew. Because hops can only be harvested once a year in Australia, this beer is available in limited quantities. It’s an American style pale ale so brewers notes tell us to expect citrus, tropical fruit, pine and resin with a little caramel backbone to support lots and lots of hops.

June 2017 Mane Winter Beer Celebration

Limited Release (and coming soon): Inglorious Chutney

Rocky Ridge teamed up with Northbridge restaurant and super beer geeks, Baby Mammoth to create a chutney inspired beer called Inglorious Chutney. My first thoughts on this were hesitant, chutneys are massively spiced and thick and I was cautious of what this would mean when it comes to beer but these guys knocked it out the park.

It was served at last weeks collaboration dinner to celebrate the beer and it’s a surprisingly delicate beer. It drinks somewhere between a saison and a Belgian witbier. Ginger, turmeric and coriander all went into the mash to make this beer. On brew day, for inspiration, Baby Mammoth head chef and co-owner Ryan Lambson took some bobotie, a South African dish, along and Hamish joked, “I spent the whole day eating!”

Bobotie, banana leaf rice and sambal

In a pretty big tease, the beer served up was actually a sneak peek. The rest is currently ageing in barrels, four different ones to be exact – Shiraz, Pinot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon. They have also added apricots, nectarines, ginger and turmeric to the barrels where it will referment. The plan is to then present this beer in champagne bottles. Whether they bottle as individual barrels or blend them together, well Hamish says “that’s down to the barrel Gods at the moment.”

Coming Soon: Rock Juice V.2

This NEIPA collaboration with epic beer retailers, Cape Cellars and Cellarbrations Carlisle, was first brewed in last July but it’s coming back on Saturday 3 March. At 9.0 percent ABV, this beer is big, it’s juicy and it will only be around for a very short time. I’d bet you’ll see it at the South West Craft Beer Festival, if not, keep an eye out on the Rocky Ridge Brewing Facebook page for where you can find it.

Whitfords Brewing

Seasonal Brew: Juice Willis

Whitfords Brewing has jumped on the NEIPA train with Juice Willis*, bringing together two things I love – hops and Bruce Willis. It was brewed at Whitfords Brewing and will be served there and at sister brewery, Northbridge Brewing.

It’s low in bitterness, very easy drinking and the 5.8 percent ABV is hidden extremely well. Tropical and stone fruit juiciness from El Dorado, Citra and Galaxy hops and some flaked oats in the malt bill helps with a silky mouthfeel.

*I was invited to attend Northbridge Brewing Beer Club for the launch of this beer

Innate Brewers

Summer Seasonal: Pale As, Kiwi Pale Ale

A New Zealand pale ale released a couple of weeks ago, available on tap.

Coming Soon: A collab, Autumn Seasonal and Wet Hop ale

Yup, Innate Brewers have three beers all coming soon. Head brewer Joel Nash has been very, very busy! They’ve had the team from iconic Fremantle pub, The Sail & Anchor, in the brewery for a collaboration brew. They also got a delivery of fresh wet Nugget hops from local growers Preston Valley Hops. Their autumn seasonal is going to be a Red IPA called Renegade with 48 IBU using Simcoe and Amarillo hops, it will be launched at Caboose in Mt Lawley on 1 March.

Colonial Brewing

Seasonal Release: South West Sour*

Unless you’ve been detoxing off social media recently, you’ll know that Colonial Brewing has released their summer seasonal. They have opted to go with the simple “sour” label which is probably because it doesn’t completely fit into the Berliner Weisse or Gose category. To me, it drinks like a hybrid of the two. Approachable and well-balanced sourness, there’s some stone fruit – peach and nectarine – character and finishes with a rounded briny flavour.

*I was invited to the Perth launch of this beer, I was also given a 6 pack to sample, and have been invited to the upcoming launch at Colonial Brewing Margaret River

Stomping Ground Brewing

Tinnies hit Perth

After seeing the tinnies being released in their home state of Victoria, Melbourne’s Stomping Ground has now delivered cans of their Gipps St Pale Ale, PRIDElweiss and Watermelon Smash to Perth.

You may have tried the Gipps St Pale Ale a few months ago during Movember when it appeared on tap at venues around Perth to support the Movember Foundation.

Heroes and Villains Beer

A new brewery

Heroes and Villains launched their first beer at Dutch Trading Co a few days ago. Based at Oakover Grounds in the Swan Valley, the brewery tagline is ‘Beer of the New Age’ and so the first beer is appropriately called BOTNA. It’s brewed with Fortnight, the Bintani proprietary blend of five different hops.

Blasta Brewing

Opening March 1st

Blasta Brewing will be opening next week in Burswood after contract brewing for a while. The coffee shop part of the venue is already open so feel free to drop in for a caffeine hit and then from the 1st March, you’ll be able to enjoy a beer.

The brewery is founded by brewer Steve Russell, along with his wife Kate, and they released Blasta’s first commercial beer last May, their Myway Grapefruit IPA. 

The name Blasta comes from Scottish Gaelic and means “delicious” and Steve, who is originally from Scotland, says their guiding principle, therefore, will be to “only brew Blasta beers”. The logo is a geometric unicorn which also links to Steve’s Scottish heritage as the unicorn is Scotland’s national animal, true story, Google it!

The Camfield / Bevy Brewing

Another new brewery!

It won’t be a surprise to anyone to hear that The Camfield, the massive venue in Burswood near the new stadium, recently opened their doors just a few days ago. Not only does this beer have six bars and covers 8,000 square metres, it has its own microbrewery called Bevy. The head brewer is Andy Scade, ex-Little Creatures and all round nice guy.

5 minutes with Sam Fuss from Philter Brewing

Sam Füss is the head brewer at Philter Brewing (NSW) who released their first beer in March last year. Read on for more information on Philter and to spend 5 minutes with Sam …

If you Google “Philter” you’ll discover the Sydney brewery who opened last April. You’ll also find the definition of the word which is “a potion, charm, or drug supposed to cause the person taking it to fall in love, usually with some specific person.” You’ll also discover that Philter is the name of a 30-something Norwegian music artist who wears a big pink bunny head but I am getting sidetracked. With the tagline “Seductively Beer” I think it’s safe to assume the Sydney brewery is named after the love potion, not the pink bunny guy.

Philter Brewing is the result of three Sydney mates who wanted to “make a high-quality, easy-drinking beer with an attitude that was just as simple.”

In December, Philter released their third beer into the range, a lager, joining their XPA and Red, and the brewery got in touch to send me some samples. Big thanks to Melissa, Sam and the Philter Brewing crew for sending six cans all the way to WA!

The branding seems to be pretty divisive, more so than any other beer brand I can easily recall. Self-described as “1980’s Australia”, it reminds me of this ridiculous novelty hat my Dad had when I was a kid. It was in the shape of a top hat and was made from thick knitted wool and beer cans. When I posted photos of the beers, I got positive and less-than-positive responses which I’d imagine isn’t much of a surprise to the brewery. Admittedly, at first glance, I wasn’t a fan but the more I opened my fridge and saw these beers, the more I liked them.

Philter beers are not being stocked in WA just yet but you can get them sent to you through two online shops – The Booze Exchange and BoozeBud if you like great beer being delivered to your door!

Philter’s head brewer is Sam Fuss and her resume includes Matilda Bay*, Little Creatures and Young Henry’s, to name a few. Sam was also one of the founding members of Pink Boots Society Australia, part of a global organisation that supports and promotes women working the beer industry.

*I did attempt to link to the website but I got a security alert, just thought I’d mention in case it looked like I was deliberately leaving it out!

Sam is not only a great brewer with 16 years experience, she’s also just a great person in general and kindly agreed to this Q&A so read on for 5 minutes with Sam Fuss, head brewery of Philter Brewing …

Head Brewer Sam Fuss (right) and Co-Founder Mick Neil (left) at 2017 CBA Award Winners || Photo courtesy of Philter Brewing

Philter is still relatively new, less than 12 months old, what has been the biggest surprise so far?

It’s been a crackin’ year for us so far and taking out the Trophy for Best Pale ale at the CBIA awards was a huge surprise!! I thought they’d read out the wrong name, then I went a bit dumb! I was a little lost for words to be honest (which we all know is not like me at all!!). The other wonderfully surprising and humbling treat is how our beers have been received. We decided very early on that we’d have fun with our approach and why not, beer is fun! We’ve kept true to our word so far and we’re looking forward to upping the ante in 2018.
Loving this XPA, it’s full of passionfruit, grapefruit, toasty malts and a lightly grassy finish.

How long was the process to develop the XPA recipe and was an XPA always going to be the first beer for Philter?

In my head, I guess I’ve been working on a session ale recipe for about 5 years. I brewed a similar version under My “Old Salt” project banner, but have definitely refined it since. That comes from falling back in love with some old favourite hops like Simcoe and Galaxy and new ones such as Mosaic. Hop Flavour and aroma is a really big part of our beers along with keeping them sessionable. Our XPA is our flagship beer and is an awesome beer to brew!

Which beer style do you think is criminally underrated?

Not sure if I’m going to get booed on this one! But I reckon there is so much more to discover in lower to medium ABV style beers, Berliner Weiss, session ales the list Gose on (pun intended). These can be super complex beers and if you adding fruit, herbs or spices that adds even more complexity. A lot of it’s about balance and harmony between all of your ingredients if you achieve that you can make some wonderfully interesting and amazing beers, that aren’t necessarily about who can pee the highest up the wall with big boozy, high alpha, drink backwards, boob beard beers.

[girlplusbeer note: I believe Sam is referencing “gimmick” beers such as American brewery Rogue who made a beer with yeast harvested from one of their brewer’s beard.]

High on drinkability and punchy hop character, this beer is toasty and biscuity with a bright citrus finish.

You’ve done quite a few collabs in your previous brewing roles, who would you want to collab with at Philter?

I’ve had the opportunity to collab with some amazing people! Chef’s, Muso’s and some of the greatest artists of our time, spanning four centuries.

Watch: Inspired by ‘The Greats’ by Young Henry’s, a collaboration with the Art Gallery of NSW

Whilst it’s not on my radar at the moment, I’d like to continue stepping out of the norm boundaries and brew beers with likeminded artists from all over the spectrum. It’s amazing where you can draw inspiration from!

What do you think is the biggest obstacle for craft beer in Australia?

I hate to sound like a broken record, but as you hear from all parts of this brown land we love, it’s EXCISE!!! The Government needs to start to think about the little people, give small business a break, it’s well overdue!
Easily one of the best lagers I’ve had in a while. Delicate lime and grapefruit, bready and grassy with a rounded, dry, bitterness.

Big thanks to Melissa, marketing and branding for Philter, and of course Sam for your time, beers and awesomeness!

The “I’m not drinking” issue

If someone chooses not to drink, whether it’s that round, that night, that month or that lifetime, it shouldn’t be treated like a big deal.

I recently found myself reading about a non-alcoholic beer being launched in Australia. I was fascinated because it reportedly uses a yeast strain that does not produce alcohol during fermentation like “normal” yeast. The beer nerd in me was curious so I did what any curious person today does, I Googled it. After a few minutes, because that’s the attention span now, I couldn’t find a lot of information so I hit up social media and asked a group of fellow beer geeks if they knew about this yeast that made non-alcoholic beer.

Within my question, I inserted the following sentence:

“FYI, it’s really annoying when, as a woman, you refuse a drink and someone instantly thinks you’re pregnant.”

I did this as a preemptive strike because, as almost any woman would know, as soon as you say the words “non-alcoholic” or “I’m not drinking”, someone will ask* if you are pregnant.

* Yes, making a joke about it is also considered asking.

One of my fellow beer geeks understood instantly, saying that when he and his wife purchased non-alcoholic beer, they scratch off the part of the label where it says “non-alcoholic” just to avoid comments and questions.

Of course, it’s not the most offensive thing about being a woman, especially in a male-dominated industry, but it is kinda annoying.  When a woman says she’s not drinking and you reply with “oh, is someone knocked up?” or point at her stomach with a dumb smile on your face, she is probably rolling her eyes and she might even feel a bit uncomfortable.

Not every woman who says no to a drink is pregnant, it’s not a white smoke moment for the whole group and it’s certainly not a guessing game.

This brings me to another issue, a bigger one, that if someone chooses not to drink, whether it’s that round, that night, that month or that lifetime, it shouldn’t be treated like a big deal.

“Oh, come ooooonnnn …”

“What? Are you driving?”

“Laaaame”

I have certainly been guilty of this. In fact, not that long ago, I continuously and enthusiastically used the word “tequila” as a question (“tequila???!!!”) to encourage a friend to stay at the pub and drink. In the morning I felt like a total jerk.

I have also been on the receiving end of this behaviour too and, on rare occasions, I have dumped a drink when the other person has been so relentlessly persistent that it just seemed easier to pretend I had the drink. Maybe it’s a hospitality industry thing, maybe it’s just our current culture and attitude towards alcohol, I am not going to speculate on the reasons why.  What I am doing is just saying that it is something I have been thinking about on and off for a while and that I have been trying to be more conscious of, to respect anyone’s decision to pass on a drink. “No, thanks, I’m not drinking” shouldn’t be followed by someone asking why.