Show rides, live music, stand up comedians, a basketball hoop and A LOT of beer – welcome to the Fremantle Beer Fest 2014.
I visited on Saturday and it confirmed that this event is my favourite stand-alone beer festival on WA’s calendar. It seems to attract the largest number of brewers and the range of entertainment and other beer related fun on the day is quite extensive.
New additions to this years festival included kids showground-style rides making it more family friendly though a few bigger kids also enjoyed them! The Sail & Anchor Comedy Tent which was jam-packed every time I walked past, I think next year they’ll need a much bigger tent!
Another newcomer to the Freo Beer Fest line up was the crew from Cocktail Gastronomy who set up their Cocktail Lab and shook, strained and stirred four beer cocktails including –
- Cacao Espresso Martini
- Saison Meringue Pie
- Matso’s Lycee Mojito
- Two Birds in Mexico
Eagle Bay Cacao Stout + lots of chocolate – my blog post on the launch of this beer in August 2014
For the Cacao Espresso Martini the Eagle Bay’s brewers series Cacao Stout was reduced down to a syrup that was a concentrate all the beers wonderfully delicious flavours.
Two Birds Bantam IPA: session IPA | 4.7% ABV | read more about the beer here
The Two Birds in Mexico was a twist on the classic Margarita using tequila, agave syrup, lime, fresh basil and strawberries and topped with Two Birds Brewing Bantam IPA [pictured above]. This was also the drink that Andrew presented during his Master Class called ‘Hoptails’ for those who love beer, mixed drinks and word play.
Andrew took guests through the inspiration and technique behind the ‘Two Birds in Mexico’ drink and employed audience volunteer Cam to assist in making up some samples for us to try.
“It’s a margarita that’s pimped up and loved up,”
Andrew Bennett, Hop Tails Master Class
In using strawberries and basil Andrew voiced his love for using seasonal ingredients both for freshness and affordability. The drink throws away the usual Cointreau addition, “see you later Cointreau, that’s for pedestrians,” Andrew joked and used agave syrup as well as using chilli and salt to rim the glass.
You can catch Andrew at The Classroom in North Perth for more tasty cocktails and banter
“We add beer to make a great cocktail even better,” Andrews said as the Bantam IPA was added as the final touch.
Another Master Class held on Saturday was the home brewing panel with Ken from Northbridge Brewing Co, Justin from Colonial Brewing, Aaron from Gage Roads Brewing and Jeremy, an award winning home brewer. Questions ranged from malt use, mead and how to use things like chilli in your beers. All this made me think about how long it would be before we started home brewing too … what a slippery slope that would be!
Later in the day I hosted a Master Class with Margi from Eagle Bay Brewing called ‘We Love Beer & Cheese’ which we loved and had a lot of fun at … but I’ll leave the details for another post!
As for the beer … there was so much beer, so much great beer.
I’m pretty familiar with many WA brews so I took the day to catch Master Classes and go hunting for beers that I hadn’t tried yet.
Last Drop Brewing – Sour Cherry Ale
Not lip puckering or abrasive Jan brewed this last year and I hadn’t managed to try any until the festival. At 6.2% ABV it’s a beer I would class as being “dangerous” because I’d never pick it as been that boozy and I could easily drink many of these bad boys before I even realised. Rather than being in-your-face cherry it’s more subtle and reminded me of cherries in a black forest cake. The finish is very dry and makes you want to have another.
Boston Brewery – Rye IPA
Part of Denmark’s Willoughby Park Winery, I got to meet Boston Brewery’s head brewer Tyson who has been brewing there for about seven months. Keen to hit the road and talk to folk, Tyson happily chatted with me as I tried their Rye IPA. “It’s like a spicy mango!” I exclaimed at the time and I’ll be keen to check out their other beers at this weekend’s Gourmet Escape Village.
Eagle Bay – Steam Ale
This is their latest in the Brewer’s Series range and just in time for summer. Aromas of toast, shortbread, apricot and mango, there’s almost no bitterness in his very clean and refreshing drop. Flavour-wise there’s some apricot, a little citrus and just a hint of toffee. Bring on summer!
As for the rest, you’d need a week to get through them all. Feral had the vast majority, if not all, of their beers available and their tent was packed for most of Saturday. Nail was just as full and I hear they were also serving tastings of their incredible, you-have-to-taste-it-to-believe-it Clout Stout. The Old Brewery’s Tomahawk was popular with beer geeks whilst this paricular beer geek kicked herself for once again missing out due to her own forgetfulness and amazing ability to be distracted by shiny things.
New beer kids on the block, Homestead Brewing had their four core beers available and I happily reacquainted myself with their Black Swan Black IPA whilst chatting with head brewer Ron. These guys are making beautiful beers and have some exciting limited release beers in the works, in fact Ron has even started thinking about what beer to release on the breweries first birthday which is ten months away!
Speaking of Colonial … have you seen they are about to release CANS?!? Check out their FB page for more or stay tuned!
At Colonial Brewing they had six different beers pouring and offered up a chance to win prizes, prizes, prizes bringing their basketball hoop that normally lives at the back of Colonial and transporting it to the event. Those who had a taster of all of Colonial’s beers over the course of the day were allowed to have a throw, depending on how many you got in there were beer glasses, t-shirts and even growlers up for grabs.
Colonial’s Paul Wyman shows folks how it’s done
All I can say is “bring on next year!” because I love this festival and it seems to get better every year.
For more Fremantle Beer Fest reading check out this post from The Beer Pilgrim.
I’d love to hear what beers you liked on the day? What beer did you fall in love with?