introducing a girl+beer exclusive

Don’t you just love being among the first to know something? Something big, something exciting and something beery …

Colonial Brewing

A few weeks ago Mal Secourable said goodbye to Colonial Brewing Company after joining the team back in 2008. He leaves his mark in the form of beautifully crafted beers, both award winning and widely recognised and respected by the beer community.

Now, like many great positions, the torch has been passed to another pair of worthy hands.

girl+beer has been given the privilege of being the first to announce the new head brewer at Colonial Brewing will be …

(insert drum roll here please)

Justin Fox

You may recognise the name, know the man and know his beers. If so you’ll be clapping your hands, rejoicing in the knowledge that Colonial beers are going to remain in good hands.

Justin comes to Colonial after spending some time at the historic Swan Brewery. During this time he was also part of the James Squire Malt Shovel team, brewing at The Generous Squire brewpub on Murray Street Perth and one of his beers, the Shaftos Reward, picked up Best Reduced Alcohol Draught at the Perth Royal Beer Show 2012.

Previous to Swan Brewery Justin was the man behind the beers at The Monk in Fremantle for four years. Not only did he brew some damn fine beers but he also went to great lengths to promote craft beer as a whole. In 2011 The Monk held a USA Craft Beer Week featuring American craft brews not seen often in Australia. Justin sent 108 of his kegs over to the states in order to make it all happen. You can read more about how it all came together at Crafty Pint.

Justin officially joins the Colonial team on Tuesday and there’s no doubt he brings a great deal of experience and passion with him. “I am very excited about joining the Colonial Leisure Group and starting the next chapter of their successful history. I have always had a lot of respect for Mal and his brewing team, and past brewer Dean as well. Colonial have consistently put out a top line up of brews which are currently pouring in several of Perth and Melbourne’s best venues. Add in their big plans for the future and the next few years will be packed with some hard work, plenty of fun and of course some tasty brews”, Justin says of his upcoming brewing chapter.

I’m sure I am not the only one who is looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Colonial with Justin in the brewhouse.

And not forgetting to salute Colonial’s assistant brewer Sorcha Gillen who has not only held the fort but also launched the Colonial Dampfbier, their latest limited release. It’s now on tap at Colonial as well as The RafflesThe Print Hall and The Royal on the Waterfront so get down to your nearest venue, get yourself a pint and make a toast to Justin, Mal, Sorcha and everyone at the Colonial team.

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girl + cow

Moody Cow Brewery operates under the loving care of Grant and Karen McClintock and is just one of two breweries operating in the Ferguson Valley. Grant brews the beers and they have won him a few awards including a Silver Medal at the 2011 Perth Royal Beer Show for his Gruntas Original Ale.

Ferguson Valley

I really like the Ferguson Valley. It’s situated about half an hour from Bunbury and whilst many may not know about it, they have probably driven past the turn off dozens of times. I’ve found the most efficient way I can describe the Ferguson Valley is to say it’s a mini Margaret River … but with more hills.

The Ferguson Valley is full of wineries, breweries and lots of natural beauty, she might not be as big and shiny as her Margaret River cousin but she’s just as beautiful and well worth checking out. I have particularly fond memories of the Ferguson Valley as it was one of the first places we explored when we moved here.

Moody Cow Brewery operates under the loving care of Grant and Karen McClintock and is just one of two breweries operating in the Ferguson Valley. Grant brews the beers and they have won him a few awards including a Silver Medal at the 2011 Perth Royal Beer Show for his Gruntas Original Ale.

Moody Cow - March 2013

My partner and I visited on a Sunday afternoon and, like when the music stops on a game of musical chairs, it was hard to find a vacant spot. We managed to snag a table outside and looked on as kids and adults kicked the footy around whilst others relaxed on the grass with their picnic rug.

When I first met Grant last year we talked a lot about the venue itself, not just the beers, and he was extremely proud to be running a family friendly place. It’s not just family friendly because they serve kids meals and have highchairs but it’s the cricket set, the footballs, the playground and the vast green lawn all within eye line from any of the outdoor seating. There was some live acoustic guitar and, at one point a sing-a-long to ‘My Girl’ followed by singing Happy Birthday to a punter, it all comes together to create an atmosphere where everyone is welcome.

It was evident the kitchen was working hard to feed a venue full of hungry people as plate after plate of food went past our table as we pondered the menu. The steak sandwich looked like a favourite purely based on the sheer number being served. Sadly by the time we ordered they were sold out of steak sandwiches and a few other items, proving the early bird catches the steak sandwich or something to that effect. So we went for the tasting plate for two since it was basically a list of all the food we love – bread, chorizo, cheese, olives, pate, squid, dips …

Moody Cow Tasting Plate

Thankfully Moody Cow weren’t sold out of any of their beers and it was nice to see another familiar face behind the bar in Tim, former Mash Bunbury manager. We started on the lighter scale with a pint of Kolsch and the Black Dog Pilsener. The Kolsch had lovely floral and citrus characteristics and I seemed to detect a little nuttiness too, all with a soft clean bitter finish. The Black Dog Pilsener, probably my favourite from the line up, with malty sweet aromas and medium  bitterness. We followed this up by jumping to the dark side with the Grunta’s Original Ale and Fergus Dark Ale with the latter standing out in my mind with an unexpected creamy texture.

Ah, just another wonderful afternoon in the Ferguson Valley!

Finished Lunch

Feral + Fremantle

Love Fremantle, love The Sail & Anchor and even better when there’s a Feral Tap Takeover and the new Mountain Goat Fancy Pants …

High Street Fremantle

My partner and I recently did a day trip to Fremantle to see his family and play tourists for the day. We walked to The Roundhouse, originally a gaol back in 1831 that is the oldest public building in WA and I learnt that they hung one person in the 55 years it operated. I never knew that! We also did a tour through the HMAS Ovens submarine at the Fremantle Maritime Museum, a highly recommended experience unless you are claustrophobic or considering a career in the navy, if either of these are applicable to you I suggest avoiding it as you would a warm pint of VB.

HMAS Ovens

The destination for lunch was The Sail & Anchor and whilst you may assume this was my idea it was in fact where my partners mum wanted to go. Yippee!

I was, of course, well aware of the Feral tap takeover happening at The Sail for the month of March so I was extra excited about being at The Sail.

To get the bad news out of the way, the Feral Watermelon Warhead continues to elude me. Originally created for the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS) last year, the beer proved popular and thankfully it’s now on regular rotation. I have missed it a couple of times now, clearly indicative of a brilliant beer I reckon, but hopefully there will be a pint in my future.

The first beer I had was the Feral Runt, an American Pale Ale that takes it name from it’s position as Hop Hogs little brother, talk about big trotters to fill! The Runt has big aromas of fresh floral hops that had me compulsively sticking my nose in my glass like some sort of hop addict, a light mouth feel and flavours of grapefruit, pine and resin.  There’s no doubt the Hop Hog genetics are there but just a little softer. I really enjoyed it though I did feel a little taunted by the Feral website, describing the Runt as being for those who “can’t hack the true Hop Hog experience” Oh those cheeky hogs, someone get me a pint of Hop Hog stat!

Feral at The Sail

Next up, and last for that matter since I had no desire to be the intoxicated girlfriend at a family gathering, was the Mountain Goat Fancy Pants. After trying to decide on another Feral beer I noticed Fancy Pants on the list and I just had to have it. Just like Feral The Runt has beeretic links (that was me trying to combine the words “beer” and “genetic”, bare with me folks) to Feral Hop Hog, the Mountain Goat Fancy Pants is a decedent of Mountain Goat Hightail Ale. Like it’s Hightail predecessor the Fancy Pants is also an Amber Ale except a lot bigger and, to quote Crafty Pint, “sans financial constraints”. The nose is toasty with caramel and red fruit and a fuller body than its Hightail brother. The flavours are bold with the toasty aroma following through to the palate, floral and herbal stuff going on, tropical fruit and an assertive, but not aggressive, bitter finish.

According to Crafty, the hops Mountain Goat are using in their Fancy Pants are Galaxy and Cascade, two popular varieties many beer lovers will be familiar with. Galaxy can be found in the likes of Stone & Wood Pacific Ale and Eagle Bay Single Batch Summer Ale. Cascade will be well known by hop heads from many American style Pale Ales and India Pale Ales such as Little Creatures Pale Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

I am more than slightly excited to see what Feral and Mountain Goat will be doing at GABS and Good Beer Week in May … the countdown is on and I’m already mentally packing!

Mountain Goat Fancy Pants

Beer + Beach

Considering it is almost the weekend and the weather appears to have turned sort of wintery on us, here is something light, fluffy and warming for a Friday.

Beer and Beach

Considering it is almost the weekend and the weather appears to have turned sort of wintery on us, here is something light, fluffy and warming for a Friday.

Australia has gorgeous beaches and amazing beers, damn right we’re the lucky country!

So to tip my hat to two of my favourite things – good beer and beautiful beaches (especially the one on my door step!) here’s a few of my favourite photos …

Two Birds Sunset Ale

Fish and Chips on Busselton Beach

Brooklyn Lager

James Squire and Sunset

Pizza + Little Creatures

I love discovering my next favourite place where the staff are smiling, the food is delicious and the drinks are good. Bianco Gourmet Pizza Cafe in Bunbury ticks all these boxes and whilst the drinks aren’t alcoholic they do have a BYO policy and, wait for it, there’s no charge! The Rose Hotel bottleshop is conveniently just up the road so put these two places together and it means I’ve found enablers for my regular pizza and beer cravings.

Bianco Pizza
Bianco Gourmet Pizza Cafe
46 Victoria Street, Bunbury

I love discovering my next favourite place where the staff are smiling, the food is delicious and the drinks are good.

Bianco Gourmet Pizza Cafe in Bunbury ticks all these boxes and whilst the drinks aren’t alcoholic they do have a BYO policy and, wait for it, there’s no charge! The Rose Hotel bottleshop is conveniently just up the road so put these two places together and it means I’ve found enablers for my regular pizza and beer cravings.

Another win is that Bianco are big supporters of local produce and boast that their entire menu including pizza sauce, dough, muffins and cakes are all made in house. I reckons that’s pretty cool.

For those watching their wallets, like me who apparently owes the tax department several hundred dollars … sigh, Tuesdays are the “cheapie” nights – two regular traditional pizzas for just $20. Freakin’ tasty bargain.

When my partner and I first visited it was a Tuesday night so we took up the cheapie night deal and got the BBQ Chicken and Carlotta’s Hot and Spicy Pizza. They ask what intensity you’d like on the Hot and Spicy and I shuddered as my partner opted for an 8/10. Thankfully for me it was just enough but, being the chilli fiend that he is, he was hoping for more heat.

Our next visit was after a trip to the movies to see Django Unchained, which is awesome by the way, and that’s when we learned it was BYO. We decided to try pizzas from the Gourmet menu and got the Prawn and Proscuitto and the monthly special which was a Sweet and Chilli Chicken. I ducked up the bottleshop hoping to find a “2 for” deal on Little Creatures Pale Ale Pint bottles and low and behold, there is was – 2 for $11. Done!  The pint size are just perfect for an occasion like this when a 6 pack is a bit overkill but you’d be just getting a taste for it after a normal 330ml stubby. Pale Ale and pizza is kinda like pale ale and burgers, they’re just meant to be but it went particularly well with the prawn and proscuitto, the Creatures citrus hops acting as a nice cleanser for the rich salty proscuitto to come through.

If you’re in the area be sure to bypass all the random Chinese restaurants and head here, you’ll love it.

Prawn and Proscuitto Pizza Sweet and Chilli Chicken

Beers + Enthusiasm

In recent weeks I have been sent up to Perth for work, staying at The Crown and with the office at Kewdale it means constantly driving past Cellarbrations Carlisle. How can a girl resist?

In recent weeks I have been sent up to Perth for work, staying at The Crown and with the office at Kewdale it means constantly driving past Cellarbrations Carlisle. How can a girl resist?

Beers 1
[Left to Right]
Nail Clout Stout
Temple Saison De Miel
Birra Del Borgo Duchessic
Gage Roads The Convict
Sierra Nevada Celebration Celebration Ale
Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
So here’s some of my recent purchases, with the help of Joel, Josh and the other beery crew, in efforts to keep our fridge at least 25% beer (incidentally I think the remaining breakdown is 25% cheese, 25% condiments and 25% actual food).

John Stallwood’s Nail Ale Clout Stout, a limited release Russian Imperial Stout, has been on my beer wish list for quite some time. Finally, it’s all MINE! [This should be read with the tone of an evil genius, that’s if you’re not already doing so]. It’s currently waiting for the right occasion to be opened and enjoyed. It will have to be a very special occasion for a beer that John told me on Twitter was one of his best batches.

Temple Brewing from Victoria makes beers that are always sensational, it’s as simple as that, so when I saw their Saison De Miel I just had to have it. Saison with honey, yes please! This was opened not long ago and I did a nice little Barramundi and spud dish that went very nicely.

The empty bottle of Duchessic still sits on our bookshelf reminding me of what a truly amazing beer it was. It was the first beer that Joel recommended to me and it was done with such enthusiasm and energy that I realised I’d be insane not to purchase this beer.

Gage Roads limited release The Convict, an Australian Strong Ale, slaps you in the face and reminds you that though they might be owned by a supermarket giant that doesn’t mean that can’t brew a damn fine drop. Smacking you in the face with red fruits, booze and a robust body, it’s gooood. When I held up this bottle up to Joel and Josh in the shop they gave me the thumbs up before I popped it onto the counter with the others.

Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale is one I’ve had a number of times before and loved. The big three citrus piney hops are there – Cascade, Centennial and Chinook and they’re, as always, delicious.

Dogfish Head, another American craft brewery, lured me in with their reputation and I then realised I had never enjoyed a Dogfish Head beer. I felt shameful and didn’t dare admit it as I added their 90 Minute IPA to my latest credit card transaction. Aside from this the name certainly lured me in – 90 Minute IPA, 90 full minutes of hopping, sign me up!

Anchor and Boneyard
[Left] Anchor Brewing Steam Ale
[Right] Boneyard Grapefruit IPA
These two beers were bought during a week long conference where there was no craft beer in sight. I had to remedy the issue and get a crafty hit – enter Cellarbrations Carlisle to rescue me! It was imperative that I purchased beers I’d never had before and that were on my beery wish list.

Anchor Steam Ale marks my first, and certainly not my last, venture into the portfolio of another great American craft brewery. Pouring beautifully into my hotel room goblet, it was either that or a tiny wine glass, it’s a complex beer with spice, apricot, toffee and earthy characteristics. Love.

Back to Australia with the Boneyard Grapefruit IPA, it’s the second beer from the same guys who bring us Josie Bones in Melbourne. A venue I am aching to get to … one day, one day. Spicy honey nose with edgy, tangy bitterness unsurprisingly like a freshly squeezed grapefruit in your face but, you know, in a good way and not in a way that makes you squint and cry.

Beers 2
[Left to Right]
Brewdog Punk IPA
Holgate Nut Brown Ale
Feral Smoked Porter
Moondog Great American Challenge
2 Brothers Taxi Pilsner
Red Duck Topaz
Bridge Road Stella IPA 
Temple Scarlet Sour
Nail Oatmeal Stout
Southern Bay Brewing Requiem
Oh and a Squealer of The Garage Project Pernicious Weed
Now we get into the latest bulk purchase, most of which I am yet to get stuck in to.

The Brewdog Punk IPA cans were the first to go – the novelty of a tinny wasn’t lost on me and neither was the lip smacking hops. Delicious!

The squealer of Garage Project Pernicious Weed went next and the only notes I had on this were “hop, hops and more freakin’ hops”. Josh was more than a little excited about this one, it had made it’s way into his top beers of all time list and that was more than I needed to take the last of it off their hands.

The last one from this batch that I’ve opened is the 2 Brothers Taxi Pilsner, malty sweet but with great balance it’s seriously tasty and I’ll be getting this one again

I’m looking forward to opening the rest, in particular the Temple Scarlet Sour and the guys had big recommendations the Bridge Road Stella IPA. The Southern Bay and Red Duck beers are breweries I’ve discovered in the past couple of months whilst Nail Ale and Feral Brewing are long, long loves.

Big big  thanks to Joel, Josh and the crew at Cellarbrations Carlisle for some sensational beer recommendations, already looking forward to my next visit.

Bravas + Vale IPA

Last month, for the first time in our adulthood, my partner and I were invited to a party at the next door neighbours house. I love “country living”.

John and Kelly's Party

Last month, for the first time in our adulthood, my partner and I were invited to a party at the next door neighbours house. I love country living!  They hired a funky little reggae band and asked everyone to bring along a plate of tapas. I decided to go with the classic Patatas Bravas and used a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie Does …”. Another great Jamie Olive recipe that was easy to make and sensational to eat. Even better was the small mountain of left over sauce – perfect as a pasta sauce following evening.

Jamie Does

Dinner was nice and easy with the sauce all done the only thing I had to do was cook some pasta and garlic bread. More important though was what beer to choose. Considering the spiciness and richness of the sauce I grabbed some Vale Ale IPA from our fridge. Vale IPA is an Australian style India Pale Ale using Galaxy (AUS), Citra (US) and Nelson Sauvin (NZ) hops. As you’d expect there’s citrus and tropical fruits among a good amount of bitterness making for a nice drop, probably my favourite from the Vale range of beers.

The Vale IPA was a fantastic pairing with dinner, matching assertive spiciness with hop bitterness and the richness of the sauce with a good malt body.

Pasta, Garlic Bread + Vale IPA-001

Bravas Sauce, from “Jamies Does …”

olive oil + 1 chopped brown onion + 4 cloves of sliced garlic – cook for 5 minutes

add 1 peeled and chopped carrot + 3 chopped fresh red chillies (deseeded) + few sprigs of fresh thyme – cook for 5 minutes

add 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes + 1 tblspn sherry vinegar + salt + pepper – bring to boil then simmer on low heat for 15 minutes or until carrots are soft. Put through blender or use hand blender until sauce is smooth.

Nail + Clancy’s

What’s not to love about the Clancy’s Fish Pubs? Casual pubs with good food and they’ve always been a haven for craft beer lovers, in fact their Fremantle venue was Little Creatures first customer. It has to be said however that Clancy’s City Beach has the bragging rights to the best views with the gorgeous City Beach practically under the seats.

Clancy's City Beach
Clancy’s City Beach
195 Challenger Parade, City Beach
(08) 9385 7555
No Bookings Required
Open 12noon Daily

What’s not to love about the Clancy’s Fish Pubs? Casual pubs with good food and they’ve always been a haven for craft beer lovers, in fact their Fremantle venue was Little Creatures first customer.

It has to  be said however that Clancy’s City Beach has the bragging rights to the best views with the gorgeous City Beach practically under the seats.

Clancy's City Beach Menu Grid

By my count the beer list boasts more than 70 beers featuring local Aussie rock stars like Temple, Red Duck, 4 Pines, Boneyard, Feral, Two Birds and Moon Dog and international beasts like Anchor, Sierra Nevada, Brewdog, Heretic and Green Flash. The term “spoilt for choice” barely covers it.

It’s rare for me to go into a Clancy’s venue without having a Nail Ale so in keeping with tradition that’s what we ordered. It also saved me from the embarrassment of drooling on a beer list. Fruity hops and clean refreshing bitterness, it’s a classic and a firm favourite on my god-i-love-that- beer list (a list that grows longer by the week).

What makes Nail Ale so special? It tastes amazing and it’s brewed by ONE guy who has been dedicated to this for over 15 years. The best way to understand the Nail Ale story is to read it – here it is.

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Ordering food was another tough decision and resulted in ordering way too much food but it was all delicious.

The Prawns with fresh kiwi fruit and coriander were a stand out, massive prawns cooked perfectly and the zing from the kiwi fruit added a delicious extra dimension. It was impossible to resist the urge to order chilli mussels, just one of those dishes I find hard to pass up, and whilst they weren’t very hot on the fire alarm scale, they were very tasty. Then there’s the Fried Mice, another impossible dish to pass by and a signature dish in all Clancy’s venues however these have a unique City Beach twist. The Fried Mice, jalapenoes stuffed with cheese and deep fried, are done with panko bread crumbs and served with tomato salsa. Panko Bread Crumbs are used mostly in Japanese cooking, which I already knew but what I didn’t know or even think to ask was what makes the bread different? The dough is baked by passing an electric current through it, thus baking bread without crust and making it crisper and airier. Wiki told me so. The result is a lovely crisp but light batter with great texture and a nice change to the usual regular batter. The careful food presentation was greatly appreciated, showing a lot of care from start to finish in the kitchen.

Now I’m making mental notes to try the Clancy’s Cafe, next door to the pub, as I hear they’re food and coffee are tops too!

Chilli Mussels Coconut Crumbed Prawns Fried Mice

Temple + Barra

Temple Brewing is one of those breweries who stop me in my tracks at the bottleshop and create child-like excitement in me if I spot something new. Finding the Saison De Miel generated such excitement – a special edition of their Saison made with honey, hence “de miel”, and therefore had some very big boots to live up to.

Saison Grid
[Left] Saison Dupont pouring at a Five Bar / Beertasters event
[Mid Top] Artisan Saison by Brian Fitzgerald, President of WABA
[Mid Bottom] Romp Ferme Saison by Eagle Bay / The Pourhouse
[Right] Temple Saison
I do love a Saison.

From the family of Farmhouse Ales, the Saison style originated Belgium where farm workers would brew beer in winter to be drunk in summer, hence the name “Saison” which is French for “season”. Not only did it provide beer for summer but it also meant spent grain for the livestock and full time workers still had stuff to do on the farm during winter.

A bunch of farmers brewing beer, now that’s my kind of farm!

So you’ve got farmers, not brewers, making the beer so they’re not out to sell it to the public. As far as my knowledge of the topic goes, this seems to be the reason why there’s not much history on what these beers would have tasted like or even made with. After all, if there’s not enough hops on your farm, you’re going to have to find something else to flavour the beer with. Hello spices! As for grain, well it could have been a matter of whatever was lying around whether that be barley, spelt or wheat or, very likely, a combination.

For a brewer it seems the Saison is whatever you want it to be, whatever herbs or spices you wish to play with, and put your mark on the style. Of course there is a generality that Saisons are usually a little boozy, dry, hopped, fruity and golden but again, it’s wide open to interpretation you don’t want to open a beer with any expectations.

Which brings me to Victoria’s Temple Brewing Saison De Miel.

Temple Grid
[Left] Temple Bicycle Beer
[Mid] Temple Saison De Miel
[Right Top] Temple Midnight IPA
[Right Bottom] Temple Scarlet Sour
Temple Brewing is one of those breweries who stop me in my tracks at the bottleshop and create child-like excitement in me if I spot something new. Finding the Saison De Miel generated such excitement – a special edition of their Saison made with honey, hence “de miel”, and therefore had some very big boots to live up to.

Temple Saison De Miel pours a beautiful golden straw colour with a thick bubbly head that just screams “Consume Me!” I got aromas of mandarin, peach and honey and flavours covered off burnt orange, honey and a hint of nuttiness and a nice clean bitter finish.

Of course I’m not the only one who loves their stuff, this brew gets a mention from James Smith of Crafty Pint fame in his article for James Halliday, a Year in Beer – along with 49 other great Australian Brews, check it out here.

I decided to match it with some grilled barramundi, BBQ potatoes and zingy chilli salsa. The pairing was nice but could have been improved with some sweetness in the dish to really enhance the citrus/honey flavours in the beer, perhaps some honeyed green veggie or mango based salsa.

Temple Saison De Miel with Barramundi

girl + festival [part 3]

With the madness of Saturday now behind us it was time to see what the Sunday edition of the South West Craft Beer Festival would bring and with that thought in my head I awoke to the sound of rain. I looked out the window to see that Saturday’s bright sunshine and blue skies had been replaced with cloud.

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With the madness of Saturday now behind us it was time to see what the Sunday edition of the South West Craft Beer Festival would bring and with that thought in my head I awoke to the sound of rain. I looked out the window to see that Saturday’s bright sunshine and blue skies had been replaced with cloud.

Eventually the sun came out but it bought along a friend in the shape of some gusty wind. There were no queues when my partner and I arrived, in fact there was no lining up for anything. In so many ways Sunday was indeed shaping up to be a very different day.

Sunday was family day so admittedly it shouldn’t be surprising that the two days were so different but it was a strange contrast none the less.

Free kids activities seemed popular with countless kids running around with painted faces and balloon animals.  The bouncy castle resembled a containment area for hyperactive kids.

Time for beer.

Since Duckstein Brewery were the first stall in the line up we decided it was a good starting point. Having had the Wolf Pale Ale the day before it was time to try the Pilsner. Toasty, citrusy and with a little green apple it is a really great pilsner and now available in bottles, brewed under license by Gage Roads Brewing Company.

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It was impossible to walk past Colonial Brewery without sampling a Kolsch and Jerry Fraser’s sensational freshly shucked oysters. Knowing Jerry from working together on Sundays at Five Bar in Mt Lawley, it was great to see his smiling face and catch up. Oh and did I mention, I got to eat oysters?! Mmmm oysters …

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Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery were pouring their new limited release Southern Wailer Ginger Pale Ale. It’smone of those beers that stops you in your tracks and completely engages your brain. All I could think was “wow, where has this marriage of hops and ginger been all my life?!” In my notepad I wrote down a few words on this one but I think it says it all when I’ve written “ginger + hops = awesome”.

Head Brewer Jared Proudfoot has used a kilo of fresh ginger during fermentation and ground ginger in the boil. The hops are American Columbus and Centennial, both known for their big citrusy characteristics and typically found in American Pale and IPAs. The result is the citrusy/piney hop bitterness you’d expect from an American Pale Ale that’s been softly wrapped in fresh ginger. To say it’s balanced feels like an understatement. I’ll be seeking out more of this for sure!

It has been a while since I’ve had the ciders from Custard Cidery Donnybrook so it was nice to revisit their delicious Scrumpy Cider and try their new Original Sparkling Apple Cider. Chatting with Ian and Tom, it is clear the guys are super passionate about cider and they love it, their energy is infectious. It’s a good thing they have so much energy because they’re set to open a venue near Meelup Beach appropriately called ‘The Cider Room’ and hope to open the doors sometime near Easter. The Cider Room will feature a fully local line up of food and endeavour to be as environmentally low impact as possible.

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Time for cheese.

We headed over to see the brilliant Mitch, Chef at Five Bar and the man behind Beersine who makes hops and beer a key ingredient in his food. Luckily for us Mitch had something special to try, his new Beersine Malty Wit Cheese made with Colonial Brewing Witbier and whole grains of malt. It was served picnic style with a fresh bread roll, wooden knife and some hop honey and … holy mother of …. WOW. It’s amazing. I’ll be honest, he’s my friend, a great chef and all round top guy so you may think I’m a bit biased but trust me – eat this! The hop honey is made with Saaz hops which is a little based on availability and also based on their lower alpha acid content which means lower bitterness and thereby less aggressive with the honey.

Keep an eye out for an upcoming beer and cheese event with Mitch at The International Beer Shop.

Malty Wit Cheese

My final beer for the day was the Eagle Bay Vienna Lager, lovely toasty aromas and rich malty character, it was nice to finish with a beer I’ve not had in a while.

Eagle Bay Vienna

The last stop of the day, however, wasn’t for a beer but it was for a beer related product. The Brewers Dray, run by husband and wife team Matt and Mara, make a mean Spiced Stout Chutney that’s featured on many a beef burger in our house and we were in dire need of a top up. Matt and Mara were kind enough to give us their chutney and also their Tomato Chilli Hopped Relish as a gift, thank you!. I’m looking forward to dishing these up with some home cooking soon!

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