It’s here, it’s finally here! WA Beer Week kicked off today and the official opening event, Mane Liquor’s Beer Spectacular, delivered beer, food and good times in spades, setting the standard for the rest of the week.
Mane Liquor transformed their car park into a mini beer festival that showcased both local and international breweries such as south west favourites Eagle Bay and Colonial Brewing alongside New Zealand’s 8 Wired and Epic. I can’t continue without saying the 8 Wired Saison Sauvin is pretty stunning.
The beers that travelled the farthest were from London’s Camden Town Brewery and included their Hells Lager, Gentlemen’s Wit and Pils. Sarah from Hippocampus Drinks, the Australian distributors for Camden, said the Pils had only landed yesterday – what perfect timing for WA Beer Week! Camden Pils is an unfiltered and dry hopped version of their flagship Hells, it’s clean, lightly malty and seriously drinkable.
Last night Cheeky Monkey was awarded the trophy for ‘Best Reduced Alcohol Draught’ at The Perth Royal Beer Show for their Travelling Monk, a mid-strength red ale. Both Alex and Ross, head brewer and assistant brewer, were at Mane this afternoon and as expected both were pretty stoked with the win. It comes at a bit of a passing of the baton at Cheeky as Ross prepares to take over as head brewer with Alex leaving to expand his career into distilling.
Colonial’s brewers Justin and Paul were also at Mane today and pouring their Kolsch, Small Ale and current release in their IPA series – an English IPA. The next IPA will be an American style which Paul says was brewed last week so keep an eye out for that soon!
Gage Roads showcased their new beers – Narrow Neck, Breakwater and Summer Ale. The Narrow Neck was my pick of the three with a great pineapple/mango nose. The body of the beer really benefits from warming up a little with more malty characters coming through. Narrow Neck is a reduced booze beer, joining the likes of Rogers’, Cheeky Monkey Travelling Monk, Eagle Bay Mild and Colonial Small Ale and expanding the mid-strength craft category in WA, a trend that I hope continues.
Homestead Brewery threw out the conventional methods of sampling with their brewer Jackson roaming the crowd with a keg in his backpack. I had at least half a dozen conversations with people who told me to go and find the guy with the keg in a backpack for a sample of a really good beer. Said beer was Homestead’s Black Swan, their black IPA – a wonderful balance of roasty malts and big hops. I loved this approach to sampling though hope Jackson’s back isn’t too sore tomorrow!
Recommended Reading: Brazilian Truckers – blog post by Laura Moseley on Comida do Sul
Other breweries at the event included Bickley Valley and Nail Brewing, Nail picked up a trophy at last night’s Perth Royal Beer Show for ‘Best Stout Packaged’ for their Hughe Dunn Imperial Brown Ale. Little Creatures showed off their latest Single Batch release – a Saison. Mash Brewing were there fresh from their trophy haul last night where they took out ‘Best Commercial Brewery’, ‘Best West Australian Brewery’ and ‘Best Ale Draught’ for Copy Cat AIPA. Eddie Dickens was solo at the Feral Brewing tent as the rest of the team prepared for Feral Fest, held at the Perth Cultural Centre after the Mane Liquor event featuring over 16 Feral beers, pig on a spit and live music until late.
Recommended Reading: Beer Awards – Perth Royal Beer Show by Crafty Pint
There was no shortage of food alongside all this wonderful beer with Comida do Sul Brazilian Food Truck and Toastface Grillah serving up their tasty treats. The smell of delicious melting cheese wafted through half the festival but I couldn’t go past the Choripan from Comida do Sul – $9 gets you a chorizo sausage in a bun with salsa and mayo and it’s divine.
Still on the food side of things Beersine started their assault of WA Beer Week with samples of his infamous Pale Ale Cheddar, made with Feral’s Hop Hog, and their fermented chilli sauce. Mitch, the man behind Beersine, is involved in an event on every single day of the calendar. Now THAT is commitment to WA Beer Week, folks. Basically if you don’t get to have Beersine’s food at least twice during the week you’d have to conclude that you are doing WA Beer Week wrong.
The event was a fantastic way to start WA Beer Week – excited to see what the rest of the week will bring!