Weekend Reading #36

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From the American craft beer scene, local beer news and anything else that tickles my beery fancy, there is a lot of excellent reading material out there! Every weekend (though I may miss the occasional one due to forgetfulness!) I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have enjoyed and hope that you will too!


Beer Is Your Friend | The Problem of “Pacific Ale”

[Published 25 May 2015]

A great read on the question of whether pacific ale is a style and how Thunder Road are, once again, in a trade mark argument.

If pacific ale is a style I don’t think I could easily describe it; what I am more interested in is one question – what on earth were Thunder Road thinking? No good was ever going to come of this, whether it’s intended or not, it feels like a poor attempt to hitch their wagon to the Stone & Wood Pacific Ale juggernaut. If you want your beer to be forever compared to one of the best in the country you had better be making a damn good beer first and foremost, surely far more important than debating who owes two words.


Draft Mag | Master Cicerone Rich Higgins Demystifies Beer and Food Pairings

[Published 15 May 2015]

Always like a good beer and food article, I like the way Rich has broken things down and thrown in a couple of suggestions that are not seen in typical ‘how to match beer and food’ articles.


Broadsheet | What Exactly is Sour Beer?

[Published 13 Jan 2015]

A short but good introductory article on sour beer. Just forget what the article says about drinking them in summer – sours are for always!

 

 

 

 

Italian Beers: Birra dell’Eremo

A look at some of the Birra dell’Eremo beers from Italy now available at Perugino Restaurant in West Perth

In our day jobs my partner and I have both visited West Perth’s Perugino Restaurant and so we have wanted to go for dinner for some time now. A few Fridays back we finally got our act together and went for a lovely dinner for two.

Perugino Restaurant | Facebook | Website | 77 Outram Street, West Perth

Perugino Restaurant is everything you’d expect from a fine dining Italian restaurant; beautiful food, bursts of Italian from the staff to those customer who share their tongue and a passionate chef who’ll happily tell you about the new pasta he made for the evenings special.

The wine list is extensive and their Italian beers selection is equally impressive. Perugino’s manager Francesco is in the process of putting pen to paper to detail his extensive Italian beer list. Until then he generously provided me with samples of all his beers; since then I’ve been slowly making my way through a lot of bottles. Almost all the beers I’ve never seen before, they’re from breweries I’ve never heard of and have labels I can’t read.

Birra dell’Eremo beers are imported by Mediterraneo Wines

First up I have worked my way through a few beers from  a brewery called Birra dell’Eremo, brewed in Assisi, Italy in a province of Perugia. This province is the same place where Francesco and his family are from.

A little time on Google informed me that the brewery was established in 2011 by a husband and wife team.

I really like the labels on these beers, particularly the Fiera and Terra, the close up of the animals face made it feel like they were staring right at me. I reached out to the brewery on Facebook and they were kind enough to get in touch to tell me a little about the labels, I have included their explanations below.


Saggia | Belgian Wit Beer | 5.0% ABV

Big spice and citrus rind, zesty and pretty ballsy for a wheat beer.

The Label: “It’s called “Saggia” that means “wise”, and together with Manifica (American Amber Ale) and Nobile (Golden Ale), closes the circle of the most important and ancient families of Assisi. “Saggia” is also the name of a jury composed of internationally renowned experts, who judges the two sides in which Assisi is divided: the Nobile’s part and the Magnifica’s part. These two parts are in competition with each other during the celebrations of “Caldendimaggo”, a medieval representation celebrated in May in Assisi.”

Birra dell'Eremo Saggia

Fiera | American-style IPA | 6.5% ABV

The floral and citrus notes are there that you’d expect from this style though it’s always tough to be an imported IPA when we have so many incredible local examples that you can drink super fresh.

The Label: “The name “Fiera” comes from “fera”, beast, as St Francis of Assisi wrote in his most famous pom, ‘The Canticle of the Creatures.”

Birra dell'Eremo Fiera

Magnifica | American Amber Ale | 5.5% ABV

Pineapple, mango, pepper and brown sugar nose. Taste is full of stone fruit with more subtle notes of toast and soft bitter finish.

The Label: “The name “Magnifica” comes from one of the most important and ancient families of the Assisi’s history, while the image of the horse seems to emphasise the idea that this beer represents the “workhorse” of the brewery.”

Birra dell'Eremo Magnifica

Terra | Oatmeal Stout | 5.2% ABV

Easily my favourite of the bunch – rich and with a dusty dry finish, packed with chocolate, red fruit, coffee and citrus rind.

Birra dell'Eremo Terra Oatmeal Stout

Thank you Francesco & Peruginos for providing these beers for me to try.


More Reading: Italy’s craft beer scene –

Oct ’13: Why the Italian craft beer scene is so exciting | Matching Food & Wine

March ’15: Why you should get to know Italian beer (and 9 must-try bottles) | Serious Eats

Jan ’15: Top 9 Italian craft beers | Tasting Rome

Jan ’15: Falling in love with Italian beer | All About Beer

 

AIBA 2015 – WA Results

The Australian International Beer Awards were held last week during Good Beer Week in Melbourne.

The Crafty Pint published a great write up including details of the Champion Trophy and Major Trophy winners from the night. You can read it here. A full list of trophies and medals can be found here.

Our fantastic WA breweries were collectively awarded 88 medals across a variety of beer styles and packaging/design.

I have complied a list of medals awarded to WA breweries so if you’re into summaries and lists then you’re in for a treat!

Let’s break it down …

Total medals awarded to WA breweries:

8 Gold, 29 Silver and 51 Bronze Medals


Most medals for a WA Breweries:

Nail Brewing with 16 medals, followed closely by Gage Roads with 13.


Medal Tally by Brewery (alphabetical order):

Bootleg Brewery – 2 Silver, 4 Bronze
Cape Bouvard – 1 Bronze
Cheeky Monkey Brewery – 2 Silver, 2 Bronze
Colonial Brewing – 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 4 Bronze
Eagle Bay Brewing – 4 Bronze
Feral Brewing – 1 Gold, 5 Silver, 4 Bronze
Gage Roads Brewing – 1 Gold, 5 Silver, 7 Bronze
Homestead Brewery – 1 Gold, 2 Silver, 3 Bronze
Indian Ocean Brewing – 1 Silver, 3 Bronze
Mash Brewery – 1 Gold, 1 Bronze
Nail Brewing – 2 Gold, 5 Silver, 9 Bronze
Northbridge Brewing Co – 1 Bronze
Sail & Anchor – 1 Silver, 2 Bronze
The Old Brewery – 3 Silver, 1 Bronze
The Monk Brewery – 1 Gold, 1 Silver, 5 Bronze


Gold Medals awarded to:

BEST IPA
Mash Copy Cat (Draught) – American Style

BEST AMBER / DARK ALE
Nail Beazle 2015 (Draught) – American Style

BEST STOUT
Nail Stout (Packaged) – Other Stout

BEST REDUCED OR LOW ALCOHOL
Gage Roads Pils 3.5 (Draught) – Reduced Alcohol Lager

BEST WHEAT BEER
Homestead Kaisers Choice Hefeweizen (Draught) – German Style Hefe
Feral Watermelon Warhead (Draught) – Other Wheat Beer

BEST BELGIAN / FRENCH STYLE ALE
The Monk Sir Ryesalot (Draught) – Saison

BEST PACKAGING
Colonial Draught – Labels / Surface Graphic on Bottles or Cans


WA Results:

BEST EUROPEAN STYLE LAGER
Silver – Munich Style Helles – Homestead Brauhaus Lager (Draught)
Silver – Vienna – The Old Brewery Red Raw Lager (Draught)
Bronze – Dortmunder – Indian Ocean Kraken Export (Draught)

Homestead Grand Opening

SILVER: Homestead Brewery Brauhaus Lager (draught)

BEST PILSNER
Silver – Other Pilsner – Cheeky Monkey Hatseller Kiwi Pilsner (Draught)
Bronze – Other Pilsner – Gage Roads Small Batch Lager (Packaged)

BEST AMBER/DARK LAGER
Bronze – German Style Schwarzbier – Mash Blacklist Black Lager (Draught)

BEST AUSTRALIAN STYLE PALE ALE
Silver – Australian Style Pale Ale – Gage Roads Breakwater Pale Ale (Draught)
Silver – Australian Style Pale Ale – Nail Ale (Draught)
Silver – Australian Style Pale Ale – Gage Roads Single Fin Summer Ale (Packaged)
Bronze – Australian Style Pale Ale – Gage Roads Breakwater Pale Ale (Packaged)
Bronze – Australian Style Pale Ale – Nail Ale (Packaged)
Bronze- Australian Style Pale Ale – Gage Roads Single Fin Summer Ale (Draught)

BEST INTERNATIONAL PALE ALE
Silver – British Style – Cheeky Monkey Old Reliable Pale Ale (Draught)
Bronze – British Style – Gage Roads Atomic Pale Ale (Packaged)
Bronze – American Style – Feral Hop Hog (Draught and Packaged)
Bronze – American Style – Eagle Bay Pale Ale (Packaged)
Bronze – American Style – The Monk Pale (Draught)
Bronze – Other International Pale Ale – Feral Hopfen Fahrt (Draught)

BEST BRITISH STYLE ALE
Bronze – English Summer – Nail Golden Nail (Draught and Packaged)
Bronze – English Summer – Indian Ocean New World Kolsch (Draught)
Bronze – English Summer – Sail & Anchor Golden Ale (Draught)
Bronze – Other British Style Ale – The Monk Rauch (Draught)

BEST EUROPEAN STYLE ALE
Bronze – Kolsch – Colonial Draught (Draught and Packaged)
Bronze – Kolsch – Eagle Bay Kolsch (Packaged)

BEST IPA
Silver – British Style – Gage Roads Sleeping Giant IPA (Packaged)
Bronze – British Style – Gage Roads Sleeping Giant IPA (Draught)
Gold – American Style – Mash Copy Cat (Draught)
Silver – American Style – Colonial IPA on Tour #05: Chief Pontiac (Draught)
Silver – American Style – Bootleg Speakeasy IPA (Draught)
Silver – American Style – The Monk The Chief IPA (Draught)
Bronze – Imperial / Double IPA – The Old Brewery Tomahawk IPA (Draught)
Bronze – Other IPA – Homestead Black Swan (Draught)
Bronze – Other IPA – Eagle Bay Black IPA (Packaged)
Bronze – Other IPA – Cheeky Monkey Hagenbeck Belgian IPA (Draught)
Bronze – Other IPA – Gage Roads Narrow Neck Session Ale (Draught & Packaged)

BEST AMBER / DARK ALE
Gold – American Style Red – Nail Beazle 2015 (Draught)
Bronze – American Style Red – The Monk Mosaic and the Red Sea (Draught)
Bronze – American Style Red – Nail Beazle 2015 (Packaged)
Bronze – American Style Red – Nail Red (Draught and Packaged)
Silver – Other Amber / Dark Ale – Sail and Anchor Amber Ale (Draught)
Bronze – Other Amber / Dark Ale – Sail and Anchor Amber Ale (Packaged)

BEST PORTER
Bronze – Robust Porter – Bootleg Raging Bull (Draught)
Bronze – Robust Porter – The Monk Porter (Draught)
Silver – Other Porter – Feral Boris (Draught and Packaged)
Silver – Other Porter – Nail HUGE Dunn (Packaged)
Silver – Other Porter – Feral Smoked Porter (Packaged)
Bronze – Other Porter – Nail HUGE Dunn (Draught)

BEST STOUT
Silver – Imperial Stout – Nail Clout Stout (Draught and Packaged)
Bronze – Imperial Stout – Nail Clayden Brew (Draught and Packaged)
Gold – Other Stout – Nail Stout (Packaged)
Silver – Other Stout – Nail Stout (Draught)
Silver – Other Stout – Bootleg Up and About Breakfast Stout (Draught)

Nail Oatmeal Stout

GOLD: Nail Stout (packaged)

BEST REDUCED OR LOW ALCOHOL
Bronze – Reduced Alcohol Ale – Eagle Bay Mild (Packaged)
Bronze – Reduced Alcohol Ale – Colonial Small Ale (Packaged)
Bronze – Reduced Alcohol Ale – Cheeky Monkey Travelling Monk Mid Strength Red Ale (Draught)
Gold – Reduced Alcohol Lager – Gage Roads Pils 3.5 (Draught)
Silver – Reduced Alcohol Lager – Gage Roads Pils 3.5 (Packaged)
Bronze – Reduced Alcohol Lager – The Monk Mild (Draught)

BEST WHEAT BEER
Silver – Belgian Wit – Indian Ocean Bonny Wit (Draught)
Bronze – Belgian Wit – Colonial Wheat (Draught)
Bronze – Belgian Wit – Feral White (Draught)
Gold – German Style Hefe – Homestead Kaisers Choice Hefeweizen (Draught)
Silver – German Style Hefe – The Old Brewery Heritage Wheat (Draught)
Bronze – German Style Hefe – Cape Bouvard Wheat Beer (Draught)
Gold – Other Wheat Beer – Feral Watermelon Warhead (Draught)

BEST BELGIAN / FRENCH STYLE ALE
Silver – Tripel – Feral Kelis (Draught)
Gold – Saison – The Monk Sir Ryesalot (Draught)
Silver – Saison – The Old Brewery Eliza’s Saison (Draught)
Silver – Saison – Homestead St Isidore Saison (Draught)
Bronze – Saison – Northbridge Brewing Beerland Saison (Draught)
Bronze – Other Belgian / French Style Ale – Homestead No 1 Premier (Draught)

BEST SPECIALITY BEER
Silver – Wood Aged – Feral BFH (Draught)
Bronze – Wood Aged – Bootleg Bucking Bull (Draught)
Bronze – Wood Aged – Homestead Cuvee Oak Aged Dark Ale (Draught)
Bronze – Other Speciality Beer – Indian Ocean Mumme Returns (Draught)

BEST PACKAGING
Gold – Labels / Surface Graphic on Bottles or Cans – Colonial Draught
Silver – Labels / Surface Graphic on Bottles or Cans – Gage Roads Single Fin Summer Ale
Silver – Labels / Surface Graphic on Bottles or Cans – Colonial Small Ale
Bronze – Labels / Surface Graphic on Bottles or Cans – Bootleg x Mane Liquor Ryezilla
Bronze – Consumer retail packaging (Outer Case) – Colonial x Emergence Small Ale

Colonial CansGOLD: Colonial Draught

Chatting Beer + Cheese on RTRFM

A few of my favourite and most dependable beer and cheese pairings

The Food Alternative is a food segment on RTRFM’s Tuesday Drivetime program with the aim of sharing things that don’t normally get a lot of coverage on mainstream media. Produced by Ai-Ling and Laura and presented by Simon and Anth, the program has covered home brewing, pickles, smoked meats and BBQ and ramen.

You can check out past episodes of The Food Alternative here.


Ai-Ling Truong: Blog | Facebook

Laura Moseley: Blog

Each of these two women wear about seven hats each, involved in several side projects on top of producing The Food Alternative and also holding down their full time jobs. If you have enjoyed Perth’s only food truck festival, Food Truck Rumble, then you have Ai-Ling to thank for organising the whole thing. If you have been one of the tens of thousands of people who descend on Mt Lawley’s Beaufort Street Festival every year then you have enjoyed Laura’s work as she is heavily involved with the success of the festival.


I have been lucky to have been asked on to The Food Alternative on several occasions to chat about beer. Last week I was delighted to be back to discuss two of my favourite things – beer and cheese. Being on the radio makes me nervous as hell but I do enjoy it very much, Simon and Anth are great fun to chat with.

At the end of the latest show I promised to put up a few of my favourite beer and cheese pairings so I have put together three. Certainly nothing really revolutionary, many beer and cheese articles will reflect what I have written here but I have tried to give some local beers to try and cheese which is pretty easily found at your nearest small goods deli, farmers market or even decent IGA.

The most important things to remember about beer and cheese pairing are:

1. It’s FUN! Any excuse to put more beer and cheese in the fridge, right? Experiment and find things you like.

2. Intensity – that’s pretty much the only rule for beer and cheese matching and even though I’m using the word “rule” in a very loose sense. Big beers want big cheese, mild beers want mild cheese, matching the intensity is a good place to start. The rest is totally up to you!

Kolsch + Chèvre

BRING HOME THE BRONZE! Eagle Bay and Colonial Brewing both awarded bronze medals for their Kolsch beers at this years AIBAs, Australian International Beer Awards.

A lovely little pairing that brings together beer and cheese from the lighter end of the spectrum. I presented this alongside Eagle Bay Brewing at the 2013 Fremantle BeerFest and I’ve gone back to the pairing time and time again.

Grab yourself something locally brewed like Eagle Bay Brewing Kolsch or Colonial Brewing #1 Draught Kolsch, both pretty widely available in good beer bottle shops.

For a chèvre I really like Meredith Dairy Chèvre Ash from Victoria, it’s widely available and sound be pretty easy to find.

Why I love it: On top of the light bready malt of the Kolsch is some beautiful bright, zesty and citrusy notes. The chèvre has a similar citrusy profile so I find that the beer enhances all those similar qualities in the cheese, making the two brighter. The texture of the cheese is soft and creamy and the fact that beer is carbonated means those wonderful bubbles cut through and lift the cheese off your palate perfectly.

Eagle Bay Kolsch & Chevre

Eagle Bay Kolsch + Meredith Ash Chèvre – Photo taken at home after I did the radio, I was craving beer & cheese pretty badly!

Barley Wine + Blue Cheese

If the first pairing is a friendly smile then this pairing is a fierce but passionate embrace. Barley wines are ballsy beers and so they need an equally ballsy cheese to go with it.

Barley Wine has it’s origins in Britain though the style has now been split into American style and British style Barley Wines. Typically these beers are high in booze, very fruity and rich.

There aren’t heaps of WA local examples but they do exist – look out for Feral Brewing’s Razorback, which has just been re-released for this year, and Bootleg’s Grandfather  – both these beers are yearly releases and not available all the time.

If you are looking to grab something imported then your choice widens, though again normally they are seasonal releases. One of my favourites is Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (US).

As we head into winter you’ll find more and more of these style of beers available, seek them out from your nearest beer loving bottle shop.

A winter barely passes without a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot finding its way into our house. I almost always end up enjoying this with an English Stilton.

Why I love it: There is something magical about the pairing of a big, ballsy, rich, sweet barley wine against a strong, salty, earthy blue that just works every time for me.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and Cashel Blue

 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barley Wine + Cashel Blue | Beer & Cheese Experience 2013 at The Local Taphouse St Kilda

Pale Ale + Cheddar

In both instances you want something pretty flavourful, not necessarily powerful or overwhelming, but just make sure you get yourself the good stuff.

Beer wise I’d be looking locally again, in these style of beers it’s the hops that are king and when it comes to hops, the fresher the better. You know those people who take milk from the very back of the shelf at the supermarket? Yeah, that’s the mind set you want here too, even a few days can make a difference! We are stupidly lucky in WA to have so many gorgeous pale ales on offer – try Colonial Pale, Eagle Bay Pale Ale or Nail Ale to name a few. Heading interstate I’d go for Pirate Life Pale Ale (SA), Mornington Peninsula Pale (VIC) or Holgate Mt Macedon (VIC).

If you want to go international then I’d look at Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (US) or Camden Town Pale Ale (UK) for reliable and consistently tasty pale ales.

For the cheddar skip the supermarket and get some from your favourite little deli. I’d ask the staff for their recommendations because nine times out of ten you’ll walk away with something amazing.

Grab yourself some pale ale and a wedge of Maffra Cloth Aged Cheddar, another Victorian cheese that is pretty widely available.

Why I love it: There is a few complementary flavours happening here like tropical fruits, a little citrus and I enjoy the sharpness of the cheddar against the hop bitterness of the beer.

Lagonda IPA and Healey's Pyengana Cheddar

 Lagonda IPA+ Healey’s Pyengana Cheddar | Beer & Cheese Experience 2013 at The Local Taphouse St Kilda


Hungry for more? Check out these great articles and videos on beer and cheese –

Crafty Pint | Beer & Food: Cheese

Craft Beer | Pairing Beer and Cheese, Do’s and Don’ts

Serious Eats | How to Pair Beer with Cheese

Behind the Burner | Beer & Cheese Pairing with Brewmaster Garrett Oliver at Murray’s Cheese Shop

NPR | In a Match Up with Beer and Cheese, Everybody Wins – With a Good Coach

Australian Brews News | Beer and Cheese, Please!

Weekend Reading #35

This week features articles on tea bags for beer, transparency (in two different ways) and another big-guy buying a not-so-big-guy

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene, local beer news and anything else that tickles my beery fancy. There is a lot of excellent reading material out there so every week I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.


Washington Post | Can a simple tea bag turn Coors Light into something worth drinking?

[Published May 10]

I remember being at last years GABS (Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular) in Melbourne at The Local Taphouse tent they had a variety of single hop tea bags so you could infuse your beer with a few more hops. I loved the idea and promptly sniffed my way around the selection, grabbed a few and proceeded to happily dunk them in my beer. How much difference it made, I can’t honestly say, one year on and my memory is a touch fuzzy. That’s Good Beer Week for you!

Fast forward to present day and this is the second article I have read around the same idea. The first was a crowd funded program called Hop Theory in which the bags were filled with hops and spices, the other which I refer to now, is literally a blend of tea to enhance the beer. I’m not sure whether I love these ideas or not. In my mind I can’t help but think that there wouldn’t be many/any brewers who’d let their beer out of the brewery unless it was exactly how they wanted it to be enjoyed (certain styles withstanding).


Australian Brews News | Brewers change beer labels to appease ACCC

[Published May 15]

It will be very interesting to see how this plays out. I think transparency is great for both the industry and consumers. I am curious to see who does it voluntarily, who resists the changes and what impact, if any, it has on consumers decision making process.


250 Beers | To watermark or not to watermark?

[Published May 6]

250 Beers is a Brisbane beer blog run by a very nice guy named Darren, we got to meet briefly over lunch during last years Good Beer Week. I say “briefly” because as few of us beer blogging types got together for lunch but Darren’s flight was unexpectedly delayed on landing. The result of which was him sitting on a plane that was grounded in Melbourne whilst the rest of us chowed into burgers. Anyway, I have gotten side tracked.

The title of this article gives it away but it’s interesting for me to read because I have also had my photos used but, of the ones I am aware of, I have always been asked first. About a year into my blog I started to watermark, even though I had yet to see any of my photos anywhere else but my own blog and social media. After a few weeks of this I stopped because frankly I got too lazy and it annoyed me to edit every single image.


Food Magazine | SABMiller acquires Meantime Brewing Company

Another purchase of a brewery considered craft by a bigger one not considered craft – makes you wonder how many more of these sorts of acquisitions we will see merely in the next twelve months.

GABS Edition: 5 minutes with John from Nail Brewing

Q&A with John Stallwood of Nail Brewing about their GABS beer – Flaming Lamington

Melbourne’s Good Beer Week is well and truly underway with another four days to go and one of the biggest events of the week kicks off tomorrow – the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS.

GABS: Imagine a really beautiful building and inside are all your favourite Australian breweries, plus a handful of international brewing superstars, with their beers ready for you to taste and brewers keen to have a chat. There’s a variety of beer seminars with people who really know their stuff, plenty of food and live music and on top of all this there’s over 100 unique beers, GABS festival beers, which have been brewed especially for the event and all are on their debut outing because that’s one qualification to be a GABS festival beer. Oh and it’s three marvellous days of this!

My blog has been pretty free of Good Beer Week activity this year and I can only put this down to an act of self preservation as I am not at GBW this year. Every time GBW is mentioned I get a pang of beer envy but, nevertheless, I cannot ignore the thirst-inducing creative GABS beers that our fab WA brewers have put together for this years festival.

Over the past week or so I have been posting Q&As with various WA brewers talking all about their GABS beers.


 

Here is the last Q&A before GABS kicks off tomorrow with head brewer and owner of Nail Brewing, John Stallwood about their GABS beer – Flaming Lamington.

GABS Festival Beer: Flaming Lamington | 5% ABV | Sweet Stout

The Official GABS Guide says: “A moderately bitter chocolate Stout blended with coffee, coconut and finished with chilli to add some fire to the brew.”

What is so exciting about GABS?

Seeing lots of people enjoying craft beer is a great sight. The industry has gone a long way and getting better by the day. I still have scarring memories of people back in the early 2000’s that would say things about Nail like – “this is beer?” and “you make money from selling this?”  It’s such a great site seeing people want to try as many way out beers as they can. It’s always a great atmosphere with lots of drinking but no thugs causing trouble. The organisers do a great job and it gets better each year.

Last year Nail had Copper Hopper which ended up being revved up to become Nail Red and part of the core range. I don’t think Flaming Lamington will …

Tell us about the Flaming Lamington and what was the inspiration for it?

About 4 years ago I did some chilli and stout testing where I would put full chillies in bottles. Hugh [Hugh Dunn, ECU brewing and lecturer] said back then it was the best chilli beer he has ever had, not hot but spicing with a slight after taste. That was what I was hunting for this time. Adding the coconut and cocoa was a test of something I haven’t brewed before. Dan [Dan Turley, assistant Nail brewer] brewed a perfect base chocolate like porter and I just finished it off.

How was the coffee added and what sort of chilli did you use?

We used about 4kg of coconut, 2kg of cocoa and 6 kilos of chilli (jalepeno and birds eye)

What was the trickiest part of the brew?

The trickiest part of this brew will be when we brew a 5000 litre batch at Bassendean in June, which will be the Nail Brew Log Collection #7 Flaming Lamington.

Who’s beer are you most keen to try this year, and why?

Sorry, too hard a question.

GABS Edition: 5 minutes with Mal & Joel from Indian Ocean Brewing

Q&A with Mal and Joel from Indian Ocean Brewing on their GABS beer – Mumme

The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS,  is on again as part of the annual amazingness that is Good Beer Week, a nine day festival throughout Melbourne which kicked off on 16th May.

Good Beer Week: 16-24th May

GABS: Imagine a really beautiful building and inside are all your favourite Australian breweries, plus a handful of international brewing superstars, with their beers ready for you to taste and brewers keen to have a chat. Upstairs there’s a variety of beer seminars with people who really know their stuff. There’s plenty of food and live music and on top of all this there’s over 100 unique beers, GABS festival beers, which have been brewed especially for the event and all are on their debut outing because that’s one qualification to be a GABS festival beer.

My blog has been pretty free of Good Beer Week activity this year and I can only put this down to an act of self preservation as I am not going to GBW this year. Every time GBW is mentioned I get a pang of beer envy but, nevertheless, I cannot ignore the thirst-inducing creative GABS beers that our fab WA brewers have put together for this years festival so I have been pestering our great brewers to ask them about their GABS beers …


Next  in the series we have Mal and Joel, the brewing team at Indian Ocean Brewing, talking about their GABS beer – Mumme.

White Cap at Indian Ocean

Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina

GABS Festival Beer: Mumme | 5.6% ABV | Altbier

The Official GABS Guide says: “A traditional style of beer originally from Dusseldorf. ‘Alt’ refers to the ‘old’ style of brewing (i.e. making top-fermented ales) that was common before lager brewing became popular. A well balanced, bitter yet malty, clean, smooth, well-attenuated amber-coloured German-style ales.”

What is so exciting about GABS?

The prospect of seeing such a wide range of amazing and different beers under one roof; having the opportunity to access brewers interpretations and translations of all kinds of styles and sub-styles. Offers up not only an awesome sensory experience, but also an educational opportunity as well.

Tell us about the Mumme beer?

Well it was the fore-runner to the modern Dussledorff Altbier which Joel and I share a great fondness for. Mumme is an extinct Medieval ale that was at one time a global phenomenon; if my memory serves me correctly it was the first style to be exported to numerous countries and inspired brewers throughout various parts of Europe to brew their own versions – such was its appeal. Mumme was purportedly a brown, syrupy, thick and bitter strong ale, often brewed with the addition of an eclectic array of herbs and spice, while increasingly hops were introduced as well. Our interpretation uses a floor malted base malt, smoked malts and caramel wheat malt, in our minds at least, providing the elements we felt were critical to the original beers profile.

What is it about this style of beer that appealed to you?

As you know it stems from having a long-standing interest in extinct or little known beer styles, and Joel shares the same interest. We both enjoy beers that show quality malt characteristics as opposed to being more hop-driven and this style, because of its body and depth, invites generous hopping without that necessarily being the dominant presence. The opportunity to play with smoked malts is another motivating factor as well…but using them in such a way that they bring complexity and personality to a beer.

What was the trickiest part of the brew?

Building balance and drinkability into the design and execution of the beer….not necessarily an easy chore on this brew-kit 😉

Who’s beer are you most keen to try this year, and why?

We will be looking for sours, smoked and examples of rarely brewed or esoteric beers