Weekend Reading #44

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days and hope that you will too.


Crafty Pint | Respect

Get to know one of the men responsible for craft beer in Australia – Phil Sexton. Stone & Wood have released a new beer which is a collaboration with Phil – Forefathers Phil Sexton English Brown Ale. S&W intend on making this an annual release, collaborating and paying tribute to a different person each year, someone who has been instrumental in beer in Australia.

Stone & Wood’s Forefathers Phil Sexton English Brown Ale will only be available in a limited number of bars and retailers. Here is a list of bars who will be pouring it –

Royal on the Waterfront, East Perth

Bob’s Bar / Print Hall, Perth CBD

Swings Taphouse & Kitchen, Margaret River

The Firestation, Busselton

The Pourhouse Bar + Kitchen, Dunsborough

The Dominion League, Northbridge

Lalla Rookh, Perth CBD

The Village Bar, Subiaco

The Hop Tripper | The real quality issue: Oxidation

If you’re looking to understand oxidation, how it can happen and the variety of ways it can affect beer then this is a great read.

Good Beer Hunting | Episode 53 – Garrett Oliver of Brooklyn Brewery live at the GBH Studio

Ok so this isn’t reading but if you are driving somewhere and you have some time then you must listen to this interview. I listened to it in two parts, going into work and then coming home. I’ll be listening to this again soon I am sure. Garrett Oliver speaks with genuine passion, unapologetic but not douchey perspective on various craft beer issues and this whole interview is just a delight to listen to.

All About Beer | Shell Game: The Storied Past and Bountiful Resurgence of Oyster Stouts

I have not had a lot of oyster stouts, even though I enjoy them there just aren’t that many around when compared to hop driven beers so I normally don’t end up with an oyster stout in my hand. This was a great article to learn a little more about the style, where it came from, why it works and some brewers producing them in the US.

A few words on beer lists

It isn’t that I think every bar and restaurant should be serving barrel aged Belgian quads, mouth puckering sour beers and barley wines, though it would make for a beer enthusiasts paradise, but every beer list should still be great.

The case of five international lagers …

Sadness is a beer list that is half international lagers; I’m looking at you Stella, Heineken, Peroni, Corona, Becks, Kirin and Asahi. It’s like having a food menu with five chicken breast dishes. Even if you really like international lagers/chicken breast two choices is probably enough. Lets have some variety please.

There’s more than two Australian light beers …

Following in the footsteps of Little Creatures Rogers’, a 3.8% ABV amber ale, more and more craft breweries are adding lower alcohol beers to their range. Responsible drinking never tasted so damn good. By all means, keep a light lager beer but why not a something crafty too?

Everyone has to stock it …

Corona isn’t compulsory. Yes it’s popular but it’s not mandatory. I have had many conversations with people who don’t want to stock Corona yet believe they must. Has anyone ever walked out of a bar because they couldn’t get a Corona? I doubt it. If you want to sell it, that’s fine but if you don’t want to then don’t, honestly, I reckon it will be fine.

Show some beer love …

Weeks if not months of work go into putting a food menu together, same for wine and cocktail lists so why does it sometimes feel like the beer list gets about ten minutes of consideration? It’s like getting dressed up for a black tie event and then wearing your thongs. I am not saying all beer menus should be 100% craft but they should represent the venue. Take pride in a wine list that is all West Australian? It is super easy to approach your beer list in the same way. Make noise about the kitchen sourcing local ingredients from small producers? Chat with local craft brewers.

Bigger isn’t always better …

Really long beer lists aren’t always great. As always it is quality and not quantity that counts most. Extensive beer lists can be great in the right place but in some cases it’s a matter of lots of overlapping beers, hard to view fridges and aging stock. Small and high rotational lists can be just as interesting as long, complex ones.

 

Weekend Reading #43

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days and hope that you will too.


Brew Studs | Up Your Glass Game: An Expert Guide to Proper Craft Beer Glassware

The author, like me, is not 100% convinced about the whole beer and glassware thing. Our house is small so we keep things to a minimum on the glassware front – beer goes into either a pint glass, seamless wine or tulip. However I still enjoy reading these sort of articles, I am very open to being convinced of keeping proper glassware in the house. I just need a bigger kitchen first.

Ars Technica | Lager-brewing yeast was probably born twice

A lot of love and attention is given to the hops and malt in a beer but the yeast provides plenty of the magic though not often given as much love. It’s crazy to think we are still learning about yeast and discovering new strains even now.

Brewers Association | What’s the next IPA?

The impact that Pale Ales and IPAs have had on craft beer is unmistakable but will there be another style that has as much impact and if so, what is that style?

I think Session Ales are on the rise and will be for a bit and sours seem to be growing too, whether either would reach IPA levels, it doesn’t seem likely but you never know.

Beer Is Your Friend | Drink It You Idiot

As someone who says they don’t buy beer to cellar it and yet has still managed to build a small stash of beer that is currently tucked away in the bottom shelf of the a cupboard, I liked this short series of posts very much. Five beers in five days of those “I’ll drink them one day” beers. Enjoy the ride!

 

Weekend Reading #42

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days and hope that you will too.


Australian Brews News | ABCo turns contract brewer as Asahi scales back

Until a few months ago my day job was working for Coca-Cola Amatil and during my time I was lucky enough to get to visit the ABCo brewery. It’s easily the biggest brewery I have ever visited and the only one with bright tanks I could stand under so given the size of the brewery I wasn’t surprised reading this article. My visit was late November last year and I did note a couple of brands that were being brewed under contract already. It would be interesting to know what percentage of production is contract and what is their brands and compare in twelve months time.

Beer Advocate | Fuck eBay

Sometimes people suck. This is one of those times when you have people buying rare beer with the sole intent to sell on eBay for a profit. The salt in the wound is their lack of respect and knowledge for what’s in the bottle. Check out this open letter from a brewer in the US on the matter.

Beer is Your Friend | A Beer Rant

Staying in “rant” mode here is a great short post from Australian blogger Beer is Your Friend on macro beer at social functions. Sure, your mates wedding or the sundowner your boss puts on might all be serving Heineken or Crown Lager but you’re not paying for the drinks so don’t be an obnoxious beer snob, you’re making all of us look bad.

Crafty Pint | Brooklyn Down Under

Having never been to the US I don’t know what super fresh Brooklyn beers taste like but I have enjoyed every bottle I have ever had. Brooklyn’s Sorachi Ace first introduced me to Sorachi hops and I have loved the lemony goodness of that hop ever since. I am looking forward to seeing what Miro, Brooklyn’s newly appointed Australian Brooklyn Ambassador, brings around the country and hope he makes it to Perth!

Draft Magazine | Desperately Seeking Clarity

An interesting read, it’s always good to consider why a beer is cloudy, whether it’s supposed to be and, as always, give it and go and see what your taste buds think!

 

Perth Royal Beer Show: Awards

On Friday 31 July the River Room at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre was filled with some of the countries best people in beer. The occasion was the Perth Royal Beer Show awards dinner.

This year saw a significant increase in entries in both the commercial and amatuer sections of the competition, upwards of 40%. When Sean Symons, chief judge, spoke on the night he commented that not only had the number of entries increased but “year on year there is a steady increase in quality”.

“Great beer is simple and elegant”

Sean Symons, Chief Judge Perth Royal Beer Show

Of the 186 medals awarded in the commercial section of the competition, 128 of them (if my math is correct) were awarded to WA breweries.

The Crafty Pint did a great wrap up of the awards which you can read here.

I spent a little time looking through the results and here’s what I counted –

WA breweries amassed 128 medals – 13 Gold, 59 Silver and 56 Bronze. Nail Brewing took out the most medals with 13, closely followed by Feral Brewing with 11.

Nail Brewing – 1 Gold | 8 Silver | 4 Bronze

Feral Brewing – 1 Gold | 6 Silver | 4 Bronze

The Old Brewery – 1 Gold | 4 Silver | 3 Bronze

Homestead Brewery – 1 Gold | 3 Silver | 4 Bronze

Mash Brewery – 2 Gold | 4 Silver | 2 Bronze

Gage Roads Brewing – 1 Gold | 3 Silver | 4 Bronze

Colonial Brewing – 2 Gold | 2 Silver | 3 Bronze

Eagle Bay Brewing – 1 Gold | 4 Silver | 2 Bronze

Duckstein Brewery – 1 Gold | 5 Bronze

Boston Brewery – 4 Silver | 2 Bronze

Billabong Brewery – 1 Gold | 2 Silver | 2 Bronze

Young Henry’s Beer Farm – 3 Silver | 2 Bronze

Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen – 1 Silver | 5 Bronze

Cowaramup Brewery – 2 Silver | 2 Bronze

Northbridge Brewing – 3 Silver | 1 Bronze

Cape Bouvard Brewing – 2 Silver | 1 Bronze

Indian Ocean Brewing – 1 Gold | 1 Silver | 1 Bronze

Cheeky Monkey Brewery – 1 Silver | 2 Bronze

Matsos Brewery – 1 Silver | 1 Bronze

Elmars in the Valley – 2 Silver

Last Drop Brewery – 2 Bronze

Blue Mile Brewing – 1 Silver | 1 Bronze

Little Creatures Brewing – 1 Gold | 1 Silver

Neighbourhood Brewing | 1 Gold 

Old Coast Road Brewery – 1 Bronze

Bickley Valley Brewery – 1 Bronze

Blackwood Valley Brewery – 1 Bronze

The Grove – 1 Bronze


The trophy tally was nine for WA breweries with trophies going to –

Indian Ocean Brewing for Mumme Returns

Little Creatures for Return of the Dread

Nail Brewing for Flaming Lamington

Mash Brewery for Purple Stain

Gage Roads Brewing for Pils 3.5

Billabong Brewery for Billabong Wheat

Duckstein Brewery for Duckstein Hefeweizen

Mash Brewery for Copy Cat and Best WA Brewery 


For the full list of results click here.

 

 

Weekend Reading #41

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days and hope that you will too.


Beer Pulse | Brewers Association enacts Sam Adams provisions as brewery nears threshold

Another interesting element in the ongoing debate on the definition of craft beer with the American Brewers Association raising the production level for brewers to call themselves “craft”. It’s a change that appears to impact just one brewer right now so what, if anything, does this mean?

Beeroness | Tiramisu Made with Beer

This sounds like another cracking recipe and Jackie introduces it with some great words on how wonderfully different the beer community is. As I’ve said many times over, beer people are the best people.

Crafty Pint | Pirates Plunder the West

The Perth Royal Beer Show awards were held last week and amongst the winners were South Australian brewery Pirate Life and Mash went back to back in taking out Best WA Brewery.

Draft Magazine | One Nation Under Lager

From pale ales to IPAs and now session ales and sour beers, as beer geeks we enthusiastically throw ourselves into the current beer style of the moment. At the same time though we are also on the look out to see what other styles are coming up. Is lager the next big thing? I’d certainly welcome it. Our beer fridge at home is often stocked with big hoppy beers, boozy malt monsters and bottles that often have the word “imperial” or “smoked” on them. The fridge could certainly do with more lagers and pilsners.

Perth Royal Beer Show: Judging

In April I received an email with the subject line “Invitation to Officiate as an Associate Judge – Perth Royal Beer Show 2015”. I was delighted, a bit nervous and most of all felt pretty lucky to have been considered by the Perth Royal Beer Show (PRBS) committee. Being an associate judge basically means I have my training wheels on. It is an opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business and hopefully I can continue on to become a certified judge. PRBS Associate Judge badge

Judging was held over two days, last Monday and Tuesday, and it was an amazing experience and a surprisingly exhausting one. It turns out that tasting beers from 9am to 4:30pm is a really tiring thing but, as many of the experienced judges told me, no one except the other judges will actually believe you. Judging panels were made up of four to six people with at least three of those being certified judges. There were six panels of judges which, I believe, is an increase from previous years and that is a good thing because the number of entries into the show continues to rise year on year. Each judge has their own table, on it is a number system since the beers are served blind so you need to know which is which. There is also, of course, plenty of water, cheese and crackers to ensure judges don’t end up sideways. I don’t think I’ve consumed so many bite sized cubes of cheese ever before in my life.  Beers come out in flights of anywhere up to eight or nine beers within the same category.

PRBS Judging table

I was on a panel with Justin Fox from Colonial Brewing, Brendan O’Sullivan from Mash/3 Ravens and Will Irving from Feral Brewing. In short, some amazing palates and all round good guys.

Will, Justin and Brendan at PBRS Judging

The judges were all really helpful and made efforts to help me through my first judging experience, something that I very much appreciated as it was a little daunting so it was a lot easier with friendly faces and plenty of advice. Though I have had a lot of beers, written my share of tasting notes for myself and discuss beer in a daily basis, it does feel like a whole different ball game when sitting at a table and blinding assessing the beer in front of you.  In fact there is a lot happening when you are judging beers.

Scoring

It’s one thing to give a rating on Untappd but quite another to allocate scores in a judging scenario. At times I found my notes on a beer didn’t quite meet up to the score I had given so there is certainly a learning curve just in the scoring.

Time

You have to be mindful of how much time you spend on each beer. As much as I would have liked to have lingered on each beer for a long time you just don’t have that luxury. I’m certainly not saying there isn’t enough time but as a beginner it’s something I had to be conscious of. As much as I would have liked to have given each beer thirty minutes of my time I’d still be there now if that was the case; I’d also be very drunk.

Language

There are times when I taste or smell a beer and there’s just something I can’t put a word to. I search my brain looking for the word, it feels like it is on the tip of my tongue, pardon the obvious pun, until I either find it or finish the beer.

Guidelines

Not only does the beer need to be tasting great but it needs to fit within the style guidelines for the category of beer it is entered into. Each style has an acceptable range of appearance, aroma and flavours so you can have a beautiful tasting beer that doesn’t fit into the category and would therefore not be scored as high if it had fit the guidelines.


Big thanks to the Perth Royal Beer Show committee for inviting me to be an Associate Judge, I loved every minute!