Weekend Reading #50

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.


Stone & Wood website | In Beer We Trust

With the sale of Victoria’s Mountain Goat Brewing to beverage giant Asahi, people started to/continued to speculate on “who will go next?” as if the craft beer industry was one giant game of Survivor (or whatever the hell those reality TV shows are).

Perhaps I am naïve but I am not one of those who have been speculating but I can see why people would think Stone & Wood Brewing might be on that list – hugely popular, massive potential for growth. But the vision behind the brewery and the fact they bought back their shares from Little Creatures following the Lion Nathan sale should rule them out entirely. If that didn’t well founders Jamie, Brad and Ross have this to say – read on!

Ale of a Time | Podcast ‘sode 44 Branding with Damien Kelly and Emma Bemrose

I have always been interested in branding and marketing and when it comes to booze marketing my interest doubles. This episode was a great insight into a big brand like James Squire, the approach to managing their brand and what messages they wanted to convey with their rebrand. Several craft breweries also cop a mention and comment, if this sort of thing tickles your fancy you’re in for a more entertaining drive.

The Guardian | Beck’s beer settlement includes payouts for up to 1.7m US households

I found this article after doing some catching up on one of my favourite beer blogs – Beer is Your Friend.

It’s a really situation here as even though, if the article is accurate, Beck’s did nothing illegal they certainly seemed happy to mislead their customers about the origins of the beer. It reads like a case of a company ticking boxes rather than caring or respecting their customers.

Beer & Brewer | Feral to Bottle Watermelon Warhead

Feral have added yet another trophy to the pool room, this time at the recent Craft Beer Awards for Champion Craft Beer for Watermelon Warhead. Founder Brendan Varis reveals plans to bottle Warhead sometime in 2016. To recycle my Facebook comment – HOLY HELL BATMAN! Be still my beery heart, Warhead in bottles! Looking forward to that day!

Beer is Your Friend | The Pure Blonde Ad I Hate

You know the one, the one with the guy ordering beer and it puts a dent in the bar implying it’s heavy with carbs or whatever. Just like Glen over at his Beer is Your Friend blog, I hate the ad. I hate it because I don’t get the relevance. If you’re trying to be healthier then maybe don’t drink alcohol or just cut down or switch to lower alcohol options. I realise I am not the target market but I still find it awful advertising. Aside from this, it’s mislead and Glen delightfully points out how.

a beer list in a make-believe bar

Welcome to my make-believe bar with six taps and five packaged beers; here’s what I am serving right now. Aka an excuse for me to write beer lists

(above) A set of beer taps at Lalla Rookh, Perth CBD

In August I wrote a blog post called ‘A few words on beer lists’ and it was one of my most popular posts for the year. It seems I am not the only one who feels beer lists are often the forgotten lost souls of a venue, doomed to a life of neglect and boredom.

Inspired by the interest from that blog post and just for some fun, I have decided to indulge in a little make-believe and pretend I have a bar. I’m going to pretend that this bar has six taps and not a huge amount of fridge space so just enough for five packaged beers too. As you’d expect, my beer list will change every couple of months.

A few notes things I will consider for my beer lists –

  • Availability – I will try to only list beers that are available here in Perth
  • Price – Whilst I don’t know the cost of goods on all beers, nor am I inclined to go and get them for a make-believe bar, I can have an educated guess so I will try to have a good spread of beers across a reasonable price.
  • My employer – Initially I was going to exclude anything from Nail Brewing but, as this blog will show, I have always loved the beers from Nail so I will not actively exclude the beers from my lists.

Ok, so here’s what my make-believe bar will be serving for the next couple of months and a brief reason why I picked each beer.


a beer list as we come into summer

ON TAP

  1. Colonial Small Ale | One of my absolute favourite low ABV beers
  2. Eagle Bay Kolsch | An easy drinking, approachable, well made beer
  3. Mash Copy Cat | Something for the hop heads and beer geeks, you gotta have a big pale ale on tap
  4. Nail Red Ale | Something a bit ballsy but not too over the top
  5. Last Drop Hefeweizen | Wheat beers can be one of those “love them or hate them” styles but I love them and this is one of the best Hefes going around
  6. Cowaramup Pilsner | A fantastic pilsner and not often seen on tap

Colonial Small Ale - Brews in the Beer Garden at The Blvd

IN THE FRIDGE

  1. Gage Roads Single Fin | Staying local and I like the new(ish) branding 
  2. La Sirene Saison | Love all their beers and you just have to throw a saison in there, right?!
  3. Bootleg Raging Bull | Just one dark beer for a summer list and this is a cracker
  4. Pirate Life Pale Ale | Believe the hype, this beer is just so damn good and I don’t mind having a big hoppy beer on tap as well as this given how popular American style pale ales are.
  5. 4 Pines ESB | Something malt driven and delicious

Weekend Reading #49

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 | The Big Issue: Ownership

A three parter exploring the issue of ownership when it comes to craft beer, a nicely presented infographic on what brands are owned by who in Australia and a blind tasting. A fantastic look at this very big issue with a measured view and a great panel of industry people to comment.

Craft Brewing Business | Colorado’s Big Choice Brewing Announces Use of Reclosable Cans

A can you can close? Isn’t that just a bottle? Well, no, not at all. This is interesting!

Draft Magazine | Who is this ‘Brett’?

I used to get confused about Brettanomyces. Now I think of comedian’s Steve Martin’s act – a wild and crazy guy – which helps me remember that Brettanomyces, aka Brett, is a wild yeast – oh that Brett, what a wild and crazy yeast. This is a great short introduction to brett.

Draft Magazine | Why the DOJ is investigating AB InBev

With the news that AB InBev has made a bid to buy fellow mega beer company SABMiller, the general consensus is that nothing good will come from this. Even though the U.S works on a different model to us, this is still very interesting in how they can use their power and influence to have a major impact on the industry and restrict their competition.

Beer Interpretation #2: Fresh is Best

A few weeks ago I kicked off a new series of posts I am calling Beer Interpretation, the idea being to decipher the weird and wonderful world of craft beer jargon. The first post was on the term “hoppy”, which you can read here and given hops is such a HUGE topic in craft beer this seemed like the logical second post in this series …

“FRESH IS BEST”

Beer geeks can switch from conversations around the importance of fresh beer to then discussing beer cellaring techniques in the blink of an eye.

“Fresh is best” and similar phrases are often linked to craft beers with a lot of hop* character in them, it’s basically just short hand for “this beer is full of hops, drink it NOW, don’t wait”.

*Check out Beer Interpretation #1: Hoppy for more information and links to other hop related article

Whilst encouraging people to drink beer as soon as they get their hands on it might see a little irresponsible it actually isn’t. It is about making sure that the beer you are drinking is in the best possible condition.

The reason for this is that hops are pretty delicate, after all what do you expect from a plant that only grows in very specific parts of the world – namely between 35-55 degrees latitude in the southern and northern hemispheres. To top it all off the hop flowers can only be harvested once a year in each hemisphere. Once harvested the essential oils and alpha acids in the hops, the things that make them so wonderful and useful to beer, begin to deteriorate. It shouldn’t be too surprising really, I mean, can you run as fast as you could ten years ago? I didn’t think so. Age matters.

To combat this, to ensure that hops can be used to brew beer all year around and all over the world, hops are dried and made into pellets like little concentrated pills of awesome, then vacuum packed and cold stored to preserve them. It’s little wonder that hops are not a cheap ingredient in the brewing process. But they are oh-so-worth it.

Anyway, back to the subject of freshness.

The affect that hops have on a beer, namely contributing bitterness and flavour, are also subject to the ageing process regardless of whether the brewers used hop flowers straight from harvest or hop pellets stored in peak conditions.

As hop flavour deteriorates in a beer you stop getting all the lovely flavours and aromas that the brewer intended and instead get unpleasant characteristics like cheesy, sweaty and musty. That’s bad.

So when you’re grabbing a beer where hop flavour and aroma is important, like pale ales, IPAs, golden ales and such, drink them fresh and enjoy them a lot! As Feral Brewing says, “treat like milk”.


GO BUY SOME BEER

Any of the beers I recommended in the previous edition, if they are super fresh, are going to be great.

Add to the list Stone Brewery Enjoy By IPA, an IPA from the US that specifies a very short date range to drink this beer before. There’s even a timer on the website, counting down the hours and minutes of this beer’s peak life.


MORE READING

Draft Magazine | Off Flavours

Beer Sensory Science | Hop Flavor

Serious Eats | How to Buy Fresh beer and Why it Matters

BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog | Brewing Hops Storage: Preserving Precious Hops

A few words on hipsters and craft beer

Above: Brews in the Beer Garden, May 2015 at The Boulevard with lots of people enjoying craft beer who aren’t all hipsters

Beyond the myth of women only drinking fruity sweet beers or that women have to be tricked into drinking beer in the first place, the myth that most craft beer drinkers are hipsters has rocketed to the top of my “things that tick me off about beer” list.

It’s mass media that seems to be feeding this mythical beast. As craft beer grows in popularity, the number of craft beer articles appearing in major newspapers also grows and with every article comes the same lazy-ass reference to hipsters.

Screenshot (7)

For every tight jean shorts, bearded hipster guy drinking a craft beer I’ll show you twenty people who don’t fit that description who love craft beer. It’s not because I am in the beer industry that I know this, it’s because I walk around with my eyes open.

I don’t read about farmers markets being a haven for hipsters just like I don’t read James Halliday saying his top rated wines are the perfect hipster accompaniment. I don’t see hipsters being associated with food trucks, kimchi, ceviche, sliders or any other foodie trend. What has craft beer done to get this association?

I really don’t know how it happened but it needs to stop, please.

Weekend Reading #48

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.


Perth Now | Little Creatures’ founders make crafty return to beer hall

I find it hard to believe that a building in the centre of Perth CBD has been unused for 20 years, it just seems crazy. This week The Petition Beer Corner and their related venues opened their doors for the first time. Seb, ex-beer dude at Print Hall, has moved up the road to be the venue manager and look after the 18 taps of awesome that will be in constant rotation. Between Petition, Bob’s Bar and D.T.C it makes for a fairly incredible beery landscape.

Australian Brews News | Gage Roads defends executive payrises

I have never worked as a brewer so I am probably not well placed to comment on this article except to say that it seems an interesting one. I have read several comments on a couple of social media platforms which are less than positive. It is also intriguing to read what categories are on the rise, and which aren’t, for Gage.

Sydney Morning Herald | How not to kill craft beer as big breweries scoop up smaller rivals

Again, interesting. A former Foster’s chief executive says that craft breweries steering clear of the big supermarkets. It’s the same sentiment that I heard from American craft brewery Deschutes’s vice president of sales, Andrew Tysler, when I met him a few years ago. There’s probably a lot of merit in this advice, it could be argued that with every deal done, exclusivity agreed to or even just ranging agreement the power that the “big guys” have in the market grows and solidifies.

“Stone and Wood has been selling on allocation all its life,” – you have to ask yourself if this was a result of business direction or simply the position they found themselves in having blown the market away with their great beer and being unable to keep up. A great position to be in but I am not sure whether this the certified business decision this article makes it out to be. I obviously have no insight into Stone & Wood so I’m happy to be corrected if my assumptions are incorrect.