girl + tusk

Feral Tusk is big … you’re not surprised are you?!

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss living in the south west, being less than a five minute walk to the beach and driving through the Tuart Forest. Ah the serenity …

However there are plenty of good things about Perth, such as going to Five Bar and drinking Feral Tusk on tap!

Tasting Tusk at Five Bar on Friday Night
Tasting Tusk at Five Bar on Friday Night

On Friday afternoon Fremantle’s Sail & Anchor and Mt Lawley’s Five Bar each tapped a single keg of freshly brewed Tusk – Feral Brewing’s imperial india pale ale.

Tusk is BIG though this is not really surprising

Booze. It’s big in booze. Tusk clocks in at 9.8% abv and it’s the sort of boozy that creeps up on you, gives you a warm embrace but later you realise it’s cheekily stuck a “kick me” sign on your back.

Hops. This again is not a revelation for the IPAs from Feral brewers Brendan and Will. Huge tropical fruits both on the nose and palate carried by a viscous mouth feel that ensures you remember you are drinking Tusk. But really, how could you possibly forget?

I love the huge flavours that are strangely balanced yet abrasive, great for sipping on but very moreish at the same time. If you can find any of this on tap be sure to get acquainted!

One of the tasty boards at Five Bar - cheese, meat, bread, olives and other tasty items to keep this girl happy
One of the tasty boards at Five Bar – cheese, meat, bread, olives and other tasty items to keep this girl happy

 

girl + indi brew day

Invite me along to a brewery and I’m going to be a very happy girl, it’s really that simple.

Last Saturday I was at the Indian Ocean Brewery in Mindarie for their annual Indi Brew Day, a day offering brewery tours and tastings of the full Indi range with the brewer, Dave.

Invite me along to a brewery and I’m going to be a very happy girl, it’s really that simple.

Last Saturday I was at the Indian Ocean Brewery in Mindarie, invited along to their annual Indi Brew Day – a day offering brewery tours and tastings of the full Indi range with the brewer, Dave.

For those who don’t know the Indi it’s a brewpub in the Mindarie Marina. To get there just drive along freeway north until you can’t go any further, then go a little further. Soon you’ll see the signs to take you to the clear blue water of the marina where you’ll see plenty of boats belonging to far wealthier folk than me.

Mindarie Marina
Mindarie Marina – Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina

I have to admit that it had been many, many years since I visited the Indi , mostly due to the distance required to drive there.

Now that I’ve been I have to say quite simply that if you like beer it’s well worth the trip

The Indi Brew Day was a great opportunity to catch up on all that was happening at the brewery, meet their brewer Dave Brough and, of course, taste the range of beers on offer.

I also did an interview with Dave that you can read here where Dave talks about his beers, being awarded WA’s best brewery at last years Perth Royal Beer Show and gives us a sneak peak into his beer for Melbourne’s Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS) coming up in May.
Photo courtesy of Indian Ocean Brewing
Dave Brough, brewer at Indi – Photo courtesy of Indian Ocean Brewing

Dave took the group through his beers starting with the White Cap, a Belgian-style witbier and finishing things off with the Stout.

The White Cap is a great example of the style, showcasing big bubblegum aromas, rounded citrus flavours and just a hint of spice. It’s not hard to see why the beer took out a gold medal at the 2013 Perth Royal Beer Show.

Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina

Bohemian Pilsner: Generally speaking a more full bodied pilsner compared to German counterparts, it originated in Pilsen in the Czech Republic with Pilsner Urquell

Personally my favourites from the range were the Indi Pils and the Big Red.

It’s always nice to stick your nose into a glass of pilsner and get big interesting aromas. Dave’s Indi Pils is based on a bohemian style pilsner with light cereal malt aromas, some stone fruit aroma and flavour with a lingering bitterness. Well balanced and easily worthy of a pint or four.

The Big Red is an American style red ale with fresh tropical hop aromas, I got a lot of mango, that follows through in flavour with a little toasty malt to keep things balanced.

Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
Big Red – Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina

It doesn’t matter how many brewery tours I go on I always learn something new and the tour with Dave through his brew house was no exception.

Good Beer Week is an annual ten day celebration of beer in Melbourne, happening this year May 17-25. GABS happens on the last weekend and showcases more than 100 new beers. Very exciting stuff!

Dave is the only brewer at Indi which, as he pointed out, there isn’t much room for anyone else anyway. “It’s a brewery shoehorned into a broom closest,” he said with a laugh at the start of the tour. He took the group through the brewing process and finish things off with a tasting straight from the fermentation tank of his Belgian Blonde, his entry to this years GABS – the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS) in Melbourne during Good Beer Week. Can’t wait to try the finished product in May!

Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
Belgian Blonde straight from the tank – Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina

Big thanks to all involved in the Indi Brew Day and for inviting me along to take part!

Thank you Laura Moseley, social media & event consultant and passionate foodie for inviting me.

Thank you to Mindarie Marina, all the staff at Indi Ocean and a huge thank you to Dave for taking the time to talk through his beers and take us through the brewery.

girl + Indi Ocean Brewing

At the end of freeway north, what do you think you’ll find? A set of lights? Yes. The continuing WA coast line? Yes. A brewery with some damn fine beer? Yes, very much so.

At the end of freeway north, what do you think you’ll find? A set of lights? Yes. The continuing WA coast line? Yes. A brewery with some damn fine beer? Yes, very much so.

Indian Ocean Brewing is in Mindarie and whilst a fair distance for most Perth-ites it’s definitely worth the travel for those who love a good beer. The brewer is Dave Brough who’s brewing passion and extensive experience has resulted in beer that make drinkers stand up and take notice.

Photo courtesy of Indian Ocean Brewing
Brewer Dave – Photo courtesy of Indian Ocean Brewing

Dave kindly gave me his time to participate in an interview for girl+beer and I also got to meet him over the weekend during Indian Ocean’s “Indi Brew Day”, an annual event inviting people to taste the beer and tour the brewery with Dave.

Without further delay here’s my interview with Dave about brewing at Indi, his GABS beer and reflections on taking out WA’s Best Brewery award at last year’s Perth Royal Beer Show …

What were you doing before joining Indian Ocean Brewing?

My career in the brewing industry spans almost 20 years. I have built, managed and brewed in facilities here in Australia, the south pacific and Europe. …Bit of a vagabond brewer. Prior to this position I ran an iconic brewery in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne.

What was the allure to moving to WA?

The job sounded like a challenge – which is my specialist brewing field, “cometh the hour, cometh the pom”

What was the biggest challenge you faced coming into Indian Ocean Brewing?

I had a lot of maintenance work to do and needed to change most of the beer recipes, so really it was like starting from scratch, but the results have proved to be worth the effort.

What were you most looking forward to when you joined Indian Ocean Brewing?

Getting my hands dirty – I was previously in an admistrative position at my former brewery. All brewers love to play around in the brewhouse – even the ones with flattened backsides from sitting at a desk too long!

Photo by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
What is your brewing philosophy behind Indi’s core range of beers?

Excellence! Plus a broad appeal, we have a beer for everyone, almost, we aim to deliver quality WA beer to challenge the local palate.

Which is your favourite beer style to brew and why?

Lager, as they are the most unforgiving of beer styles as any flaw in the beer stands out. thus you have to get it right every time.

How did you feel winning Best WA Brewery at last years Perth Royal Beer Show?

Just reward for all my endeavours here & elated at being recognised for producing great beers, it is a fantastic accolade for the Indi, particularly given it’s position of obscurity 20 months ago. I hope that people will come and try the beer for themselves – taste the best in the west!

What do you think makes Indian Ocean beers unique?

They are true to style – you get what is stated on the tap, not an approximation to the style. A feature of many of my beers is the malt -my preferred characteristic in a beer – thus their maltiness may distinguish the beers as being mine, and therefore from the Indi.

What process do you go through when developing a new beer?

That’s the brewers art: knowing what you want and how to get it – understanding your raw materials, your processes and how that translates to your ‘brief’ or target product. Oh yes, there is also a bit of maths involved.

Which beer of yours do you think is the ‘sleeping giant’, the one just waiting to be discovered by the masses?

Big Red – it’s an American style red ale ,but quite confronting as it has a hefty malt and hop character, not to mention 5.4% Alc/Vol. It’s certainly a challenging beer for the Mindarie palate, but on the other hand is a beer that gets rave reviews in iconic beer halls & festivals!

Photo by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
Big Red with staff member Paul in the background. Photo by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
Is there anything new coming up for the brewery?

A pale ale (Aussie) is about to be released –light on the malt, light on the hop.. a summer/autumn quaffer basically. 4.2%. Then the GABS beer…A belgian blonde of 6% with a big, sweet phenolic aroma, malty (surprise surprise) but light body and a touch of alcoholic warmth in the finish. A great beer for the fall!

What is the inspiration behind the Indi Brew Day event?

It’s the second year of this event – Sarah [Marketing Manager for the Mindarie Marina complex] can enlighten you as to the philosophy behind it:

‘It’s All about the Beer’ – to re-connect people with the fact that they have their own Brewery and Pub right on their doorstep. In this day and age of multi-nationals and conglomerates, where you do not know where something is made, who owns the company and who is making the profits we want to show that we are a WA owned and operated business, employing local Australians to produce award winning beer that is up there with the best in the world…..made right here in Mindarie! We want to show that what we do is REAL, it is traditional, it is local and it takes skill and knowledge, we want to show our customers that we care about what we sell and where it comes from and that they can be involved and have a say in what we do! [Thanks to Sarah!]

Will you be brewing a beer for this years GABS* festival?

Yes, A Belgian Blonde..(which gentlemen prefer). Similar to a Leffe Blonde (the defining beer of the style). Soft, slightly sweet with distinctive phenolics on the nose (see above).

*Great Australasian Beer Spectapular in Melbourne, May 23-25 featuring 115 specially brewed beers

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

Lager.

Thanks so much to Dave for his time both with this interview and at the Indi Brew Day last Saturday which I’ll feature in my next post … stay tuned!

 

GABS edition: 5 Minutes with Alex from Cheeky Monkey

5 minutes with Alex, brewer at Cheeky Monkey, about their entry for this years Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular ….

The year is passing quickly, Easter is just a few weeks away and that means May isn’t far behind. You might be asking “what’s so special about May?” and if that’s the case I have three words for you –

Good

Beer

Week

It’s ten days of beer love in Melbourne with more events than your liver could possibly fantasise about. I popped my Good Beer Week cherry last year and it was as amazing as everyone said it would be, so much so that I am heading back for a second taste this year, May 17-25.

Part of Good Beer Week is the epic adventure that is the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS for short (and much easier communication after many beers). It is a celebration of brewing creativity with the heart of the festival lying in the “GABS beers”, beers brewed especially for and launched during the festival. The result is 115 beers that are totally unique and available for very first time.

This years GABS will be 23-25 May at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, Melbourne.

One of the many, many GABS beers will be a Belgian Stout from Margaret River’s Cheeky Monkey. Brewer Alex Poulsen had the big brew day last week and took a few photos too, here is 5 minutes to find out more about this drop …

What’s so exciting about GABS?

GABS, what’s not to love? A whole weekend featuring never before seen beers from pretty much every Australian brewery!

Tell us about your GABS beer …

We are brewing a Belgian stout. A sort of Belgian dubbel meets Oatmeal stout.

image

What do you think will be the trickiest part of the brew?

The whole thing is pretty ridiculous. I’ve never brewed this kind of beer before commercially. We’re using malts I’ve never used before and if that isn’t enough we’re making the dark candi syrup during the mash rest.

What are the malts you are using that you’ve not worked with before?

I’m using Simpson’s malts for the first time. Specifically Simpson’s Chocolate and Black malt which I’m using to give hopefully awesome, rich coffee/chocolate/toast flavours.

What made you choose to make the dark candi syrup rather than just get some in?

It’s pretty easy to get but I’ve always wanted to make it myself and this seemed like the perfect time to try it!

image

What was your favourite beer from last year’s GABS?

I can’t pick between Feral Barrique O’Karma, Brooklyn Brewery Grand Cru or Two Birds Taco.

Who’s beer are you most keen to try?

There’s a number of breweries who’s beers I’ve never tried so getting a first impression when they’re brewing balls to the wall is going to be awesome.

Alex and Ross hard at work in the brewhouse

girl + re-store

It’s hard to believe you can go to one place for a pasta maker, a bottle of Moon Dog beer, thinly sliced Spanish prosciutto, my favourite rubbery taleggio cheese, authentic balsamic and countless wine and spirits.

I’ve got nice childhood memories of going to the Re-Store in Leederville with my dad. He’d always get some salami, mortadella, ham and a loaf of crusty Italian bread.

Now, as an alleged adult, I go to The Re-Store and I’m like a kid in a candy store – well, a candy store that is filled with cured meats, the best lunch rolls you’ll find in Perth, handmade pastas and great booze that is.

Walking into the store is intoxicating, the hustle of bodies crowding around the glass cabinets of olives and cheese whilst the smell of curd meats wafts up your nose and draws you in. I freakin’ love this place.

Our recent haul from The Re-Store ... amazing!

My partner’s parents gifted us a voucher for Christmas and it’s a gift that keeps on giving! We picked up olives, cheese – taleggio, manchego, cashel Irish blue and pecorino, prosciutto, chorizo, sherry vinegar, proper balsamic, several beers including Nail Huge Dunn Brown Ale, and some fresh bread to accompany it all.

It’s hard to believe you can go to one place for a pasta maker, a bottle of Moon Dog beer, thinly sliced Spanish prosciutto, my favourite rubbery taleggio cheese, authentic balsamic and countless wine and spirits.

In short, get into The Re-Store. It’s amazing!

The Re-Store | 231 Oxford Street, Leederville | Find them on Facebook

5 Minutes with Jayne from Two Birds Brewing

If you’re not familiar with Two Birds it’s definitely time for you to get acquainted – here’s Five Minutes with brewer bird Jayne Lewis …

Not long ago the Australian beer loving people got some pretty exciting news – Two Birds Brewing will be opening their own brewery this year! You can read all about it here at Crafty Pint.

If you’re not familiar with Two Birds it’s definitely time for you to get acquainted. First they hit us with Golden Ale, an immensely drinkable, summer-in-a-glass kinda drop. Then they followed it up with Sunset Ale, bursting with gorgeous stone fruit and biscuit flavours this one reminds me of my birthday and drinking it on the beach.

Enjoying my 30th birthday beachside
Enjoying my 30th birthday beachside

Their Taco Beer, released for last years Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, is now a cult classic for good drinking beer nerds. Inspired by holiday fish tacos, it’s a wheat beer with coriander, lime and corn and just might soon end up in your closest beer loving bottleshop if this Tweet is anything to go by …

Taco Tweet

All in all it looks like another exciting year for brewer bird Jayne Lewis and other bird Danielle Allen. Both were kind enough to participate in “Five Minutes with …” – be sure to check out Five Minutes with Danielle if you haven’t already and here is Five Minutes with Jayne …

What beer did you drink last night?

Nothing last night, but the last beer I had was a Sunset Ale, as we packed up our stall after The Melbourne Beer Fest on Sunday.

Finish this sentence – Craft beer is like …

… my happy place. I love the drink, the process and the people.

Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed?

Little Creatures Pale Ale, for the role it’s played in craft beer in Australia.

What is the best thing you have learnt from the other bird?

The other bird has taught me that anything is possible with heard work and she has an amazing propensity to get things done. She has taken to the craft brewing industry like the proverbial duck to water and I’m so proud of the way she’s embraced the industry and gotten involved.

What is the very first thing you will do when the new Two Birds Brewery is ready?

Shed a few happy tears while drinking fresh beer, brewed in our own brewery!

Catching up with Pizey from Bootleg

Pizey is always great for chat but for those who didn’t get to say ‘hi’ at the South West Craft Beer festival or haven’t yet met him, here’s a chance to get to know the brewer a little better …

The last time I saw “Pizey” aka Ryan Nilsson, brewer at Bootleg Brewery in Margaret River, he was happily drinking their Coconut Hefeweizen at the South West Craft Beer Festival in Busselton.

For many it was the first opportunity to sample Bootleg’s latest limited release and its safe to say it was a hit with the beer taking out both Critics Beer Choice and Peoples Beer Choice of the festival.

South West Craft Beer Festival

The Coconut Hefeweizen does exactly what it says on the box – it still tastes very much like a Hefe and the toasted coconut folds in nicely, as if it had always been there. It has big coconut aromas that had me burying my nose in my glass more often than normal but coconut doesn’t totally dominate the beer, there is still plenty of banana and a hint of vanilla.

The brewery has also been busy pumping out their Speakeasy IPA, an evolution of their Settlers Pale Ale that’s found its way into IPA territory with an emphasis on ‘fresh is best’. Drinking beautifully, it’s a sensational IPA that’s thankfully made it’s way into craft beer loving bottleshops like Mane Liquor (who I am now a dangerous ten minute drive away from my front door!)

Ryan happily sampling Coconut Hefeweizen

Pizey is always great for chat but for those who didn’t get to say ‘hi’ at the South West Craft Beer festival or haven’t yet met him, here’s a chance to get to know the brewer a little better …

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am a brewer at Bootleg Brewery and have been working there for 6 years now. I learned the craft there after a few years of putting down my own brews at home and hanging around the craft beer scene with a job in the bar and grounds at Cowaramup brewery when they first opened.

My home life revolves around my 11yo son Nick and fiance Kelley and trying to fit in sport while my body still holds up! Also try to fit a bit of fishing in when I can….

What is the best part of living in Margaret River?

I like everything about Margaret River,  Im from a settlement family so I  love the small town community hidden behind it’s tourism front.  Getting down the beach on a sunny summers day to relax and wash all the beer dust away… and going to eat the great food that is produced in the region keeps a nice roundness to my belly.  But what I love the most is that whenever I get the urge to go to a local brewery I can try something different every time, the diversity of Margaret River is what makes it so great. Nature, tourism food and BEER (apparntly wine is made here too)!

What has been your favourite Bootleg beer to brew and why?

My favourite bootleg beers to make are the big and bold ones! But the Speakeasy IPA has been my favourite because it required alot of tinkering to get it right, slowly changing the settlers over a year to balance the malt characters that we wanted before blasting it with added hops and alcohol to create Speakeasy. And it will always be a work in progress to try and make it even better….

Bootleg Brewery

What was the inspiration behind the Coconut Hefeweizen?

The Coconut Hefeweizen was Brookesy’s [Michael Brookes, fellow Bootleg Brewer] inspiration, we wanted to recreate our old hefe as a seasonal but were trying to think up ways to spruce it up a little and give it a unique Bootleg character.

Were there any surprises in the brewing process for this beer?

It was brewed a little different, a little birdy passed on to us that the very original Redback in the 80’s was brewed with 10% rolled oats in the mash so we added that in which gives a slight sourness to flavour and fullness to the palate which will lend itself well to the Hefeweizen style.  We toasted the coconut meat in the brewery kitchen and added it post ferment…  Breakfast in a glass….. Oats, coconut and banana’s.

What was your first reaction on tasting it?

I have to admit to being a little apprehensive about whether or not the coconut would overpower the flavour’s of the hefeweizen which is important to me, I don’t want to brew a novelty beer I wanted to add a new flavor but keep the original characteristics of the style. A bit of research went into the amount and time of the toasted coconut and plenty of tasting to get the right mix of flavors after the coconut addition so the first tasting bought a smile to my face as I realised the fusion of flavors was going to work out perfectly.

The core range of beers has changed a little, in particular the transition from Settlers Pale Ale to the new Speakeasy IPA, what inspired this?

Me and Brookesy both enjoy drinking a fuller, hoppier beer than the Settlers was and being huge fans of American Style IPA’s such as HopHog we wanted to make one for ourselves.  Sick of all the imported IPA’s having old hop character due to the travel time it was time to step up a notch with the Pale Ale so we could fill our fridges with fresh IPA. With both of us being big craft beer fans surely if that’s what we want to drink then others will too!

How has the Speakeasy been received?

The Speakeasy is doing really well and has quickly became one of our fastest moving products, doing smaller batches and keeping it super fresh has worked wonders for the beer and customers. It is doing particularly well in craft beer bottleshops in Perth, particularly at Mane Liquor and Cellarbration’s Carlisle.

Are you working on a beer for this years GABS and if so, can you give any clues?

We are and all I can tell you is it will be something very different and may involve working very closely with a NSW brewery…..

Thanks heaps to Pizey for his time and, more importantly, such great beer! See you at GABS!