Weekend Reading #51

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 (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.

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 (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.


Forbes | NBA Star Chris Bosh Crafts Beer with Dogfish Head Brewery

Whilst not a huge NBA fan, that’s more my partners department, I am, of course, a fan of beer so that’s how this article came across my screen.  Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head created and hosted a web series called ‘That’s odd, let’s drink it’ where he brews unique one-off brews with special guests and it’s fabulous! This article covers the episode with Chris Bosh.

Trailer for First We Feast Presents – That’s Odd, Let’s Drink it!

Australian Brews News | Get better at marketing, craft brewers told

I think I pretty much agreed with everything said here. As much as we would like to think that making great beer is enough, it isn’t. Marketing isn’t optional, it’s critical. There is a lot marketing efforts in the industry that feel like the brewery is “going through the motions”, doing things perhaps purely on the basis of “well, that’s what beer companies have always done”. Craft breweries should be making noise about the one thing that the mega companies can’t replicate – honest, genuine and passionate stories. It’s web content like what Dogfish Head are doing (reference to first link) that is unique and engaging and really speaks to craft beer.

Here’s the link to the full article.

The Wall Street Journal | Constellation Brands to Buy Craft Beer Maker for $1 Billion

Another buy out, there’s not a great deal to add really. The articles linked to this news tend to be the same – bigger company A is set to buy out craft brewery B, company A says they recognise the growth in craft beer and are excited to take company B to the next level, company B are also excited to take their beers to more people and thank their drinkers for supporting them. Article fleshes out the rest with craft beer definitions and statistics and comments on the growing trend of bigger companies buying craft breweries.

 

 

a few words on truth in beer advertising

When it comes to beer there are other truths I’m much more interested in than a kilojoule count

The ‘Beer the Beautiful Truth’ campaign by Lion Nathan has been kicking around for a few months and up until now I haven’t commented much on it.

For those who’ve not seen it, the advertising campaign is coupled with nutritional information on Lion Nathan’s beer brands. It’s not part of any government requirements on labelling but instead a voluntary move that Lion claims is a response to consumer demands for nutritional information when it comes to the beer we drink.

Read: Beer, the Beautiful Truth campaign details via Australian Brews News article – Beer the Beautiful Truth Campaign has it’s risks: Lion

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When I first caught wind of this campaign I screwed up my nose. I didn’t, and still don’t, like the new labelling on Little Creatures, the additional panel looks just that – additional – and I find it distracting from the old oval shaped label. Admittedly it’s a very minor detail and given the addition of a nutrition panel I guess there wasn’t much in the way of options. But more importantly I don’t really care about the nutritional information of the beer I’m drinking so this campaign does zero for me. This aside, I thought to myself, who I am to judge? Perhaps consumers ARE crying out for this sort of information, I don’t know, clearly I’m not the target market for this particular campaign so maybe I shouldn’t go on a rant.

Fast forward a couple of months and well I can’t help myself.

a few words on beer and advertising …

Beer advertising doesn’t exactly have a history of truth telling, its been predominantly about middle aged overweight men trying to find ways to get away from their wives or looking super cool to get pretty women to sleep with them. It’s been about men doing manly things and this narrative hasn’t changed much despite a big truth that yes, indeed, women also drink beer. Advertising of any kind isn’t really rooted in truth and honesty so why should we take this particular beer advertising has pure 100% truth?

The Source …

It goes without saying that Lion Nathan want you, me, everyone to drink more beer – in particular their brands of beer.

The ad campaign alone implies, at least to me, that their beers are preservative free and sugar free. This in turn implies that everyone else’s beers are not. Digging around the website I found they do acknowledge that “many beers sold in pubs and bottle shops today are preservative free” but the campaign’s main advertisements aren’t going out of their way to acknowledge this.

On the subject of sources, it’s probably worth mentioning that given I don’t really like this campaign then my own writings on it are inherently biased!

A Fad …

It’s really hard not to view this whole thing as a play for the current “sugar is bad” trend. Much like the claims of “zero fat” or “99% fat free” it doesn’t mean that the product is any good for you. I’m sure broken glass is 99% fat free but you don’t see me having a bowl of it for breakfast.

A great article on AdNews called ‘Booze Ads go Sour’ elaborates on this much better than I could, here’s a little excerpt –

Obesity Policy Coalition executive manager Jane Martin said Lion were deliberately “capitalising” on the concern around sugar, and labelling beer as 99.9% sugar-free “only tells part of the story.”

“The nutrition panel doesn’t show you where the energy is coming from because alcohol isn’t listed. It’s the alcohol that contains the kilojoules.”

“It’s like saying marshmallows are 99.9% fat free. The messaging is making the products appear healthier than they are,” she said.

We have seen this before with the boom of low carb beers a few years ago. Remember Pure Blonde? I remember when it was one of the biggest selling beers at the pub I used to work at, nowadays I see it less and less. Sure, Pure Blonde is making/trying to make a comeback but their own advertising is questionable as fellow Australian beer blogger ‘Beer is Your Friend’ highlights wonderfully in his post ‘The Pure Blonde Ad I hate’. Low carb was a thing, now zero sugar is a thing, then something else will be.

Trying to be healthy …

Consume less alcohol or none at all. I’m no health expert but surely it’s the BOOZE that is bad for you. Below is a great read from 2010 which addresses a lot of beer and health myths and misconceptions. Granted it’s longer than looking at a 30 second television spot but I found it full of good information.

Read: Australian Brews News – Beer Lovers’ Guide to Good Health

As with all alcoholic drinks, the primary focus should be in the effects of alcohol on the body first rather than carbohydrates or other component.

[Excerpt from Beer Lovers’ Guide to Good Health article]

I drink beer, Here is the truth I’d like …

I drink a lot of beer and I can say with a great deal of certainty that I don’t care about nutritional information on the label. I’ve never looked at a label and thought “gee, I wonder how many calories are in this?” but you know what I have thought – “who brews this beer?”, “where is this brewed?” and “who owns this beer?” This goes for draught beers as well, not just bottles and cans.

I can’t be alone on this – take Beck’s for instance, who’s parent company AB InBev recently got pinged in a law suit for misleading their consumers into thinking that all Beck’s beer is produced in Germany.

Read: Beck’s beer settlement includes payouts for up to 1.7m US households

Sure, they included it’s US production on the packaging but from what I have read you really had to go looking for that information in order to find it. What was more prominent were words and symbols implying it was brewed in Germany. Where is the truth in that sort of labelling?

A little closer to home where last year the ACCC, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, fined Carlton United Breweries for misleading consumers with their Byron Bay Lager, a beer that was brewed more than 700km away in Sydney.

Read: ABC News – Byron Bay beer label not-so-fine

Further interesting reading on Australian Brews News on the Cole’s brand ‘Steamrail’ that, prior to the Bryon Bay Lager incident, didn’t mention anything about who was behind Steamrail beers.

Read: Australian Brews News – Who is Steamrail Brewing?

More beer labels followed suit and changed their labels to put a little more honesty about where the beer was brewed.

Read: Australian Brews News – Beers change beer labels to appease ACCC

By no means am I saying that beer brewed for Coles is rubbish or that brewing under contract is bad, what I do believe is that it’s relevant information for consumers and they are intelligent enough to do with that information whatever they like.

I am clearly not the target market for the Beer, the Beautiful Truth advertising campaign. I’ll accept that some people do want nutritional information on their beers, though I’d be interested to see if any other alcoholic beverage follows these footsteps, but I think when it comes to beer there are other truths I’m much more interested in than a kilojoule count.

5 Minutes with Zack Garcia

5 minute/5 question interview with great beer loving people

5 minutes with … a 5 minute/5 question interview with great beer loving people …

This edition of 5 minutes with features Zack Garcia, beer loving bartender and beer educator.

If you’ve been hanging out in bars in Mt Lawley and Northbridge then chances are  you have been served by this man – Zack. He was the beer dude at Five Bar for a while and now you can find him at Dominion League and Mechanics Institute in Northbridge. He also conducts regular beer education sessions for Lion Nathan. Enthusiastic, knowledgable and just down right great fun, here is 5 minutes with Zack Garcia.

What was your epiphany beer?

Shiraz (2009) barrel aged gluten free low carbon non drowsy vegan friendly low fat no yeast was harmed in the naming of this beer Belgian black frozen fermented quad non hopped IPA!

It was actually Deneb, a Munich style dunkel brewed by Mal at the Sail and Anchor, it was about 3-4 weeks into my life of bartending and it blew me away. Biscuits, caramel and light toasted characters. My eyes lit up like a cat sniffing catnip for the first time.

What does the term “craft beer” mean to you and do you think it’s still relevant?

The term itself to me has no meaning anymore. It used to, but anyone who pays attention to the beer itself knows terms like that mean as little as the snobbery (is that even a word?!) that attaches itself to beer.

What beer do you think is really under rated?

This was hard, there’s a lot of beer that needs attention.

Kooinda Milk Porter. Incredibly versatile, ridiculously well balanced, can be used in cooking, can be thrown in a barrel (I hope Kooinda reads this and does just that) and is just downright delicious. Giddy up!

Honourable mention to Cheeky Monkey NZ Pilsner

What is the biggest beer myth you think needs to be corrected?

I’ve been drinking beer for 10 years with no gut, awww yeah!

What three beers would you recommend to non beer drinkers and why?

Stone and Wood Pacific Ale
Mountain Goat Steam
Feral Barrel Fermented Hog

I’ve chosen the above for a number of reasons, they’re approachable, award winning, pioneering beers that have helped put Australia on the map. Non beer drinkers get to know!

Bonus Question for WA Beer Week!

What WA Beer Week events are you most excited about?

Anything involving me + Mabel, beersine, Monk and Co-Op. Those guys aren’t in the same league, they’ve made their own sport. Everything they do is just so on point and they’re paving the way for beergustations, dessert matchings, balance and downright deliciousness.

and the cans keep coming

Colonial can’t can fast enough and Cheeky Monkey have just released their own cans too!

Photo from Cheeky Monkey Facebook page

When it comes to craft beer everyone is talking about cans. It’s been a growing trend in the United States for a while and here in Australia we are happily embracing the tinny too!

Read: Washington Times – Yes we can, trendy American craft brewers say

Pirate Life Brewing in South Australia started brewing towards the end of last year and right from the beginning they committed their beers to cans. Also they created a fantastic infographic on why cans are great, I’ve nabbed it to post below but you can also click the image to go straight to the source.

Why Cans? Pirate Life Brewing

Here in WA we have seen Colonial Brewing delve into cans, first with their Draught Ale in November 2014 and followed by Small Ale about six months later. In nothing less than a positive and upbeat tone, it feels like Colonial’s cans have been around forever. Ordering a can of Small Ale just feels so natural and normal now! Chatting with head brewer Paul Wyman, he estimates they have produced 30,000L or 80,000 cans of Small Ale, no wonder it feels like it’s everywhere!

Though it seems like a bit of a staple now, Paul is still surprised at the demand for his Small cans (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

Colonial Small Ale cans

“This was a beer we created for ourselves so we could have a full flavoured beer but still drive around the expansive areas of the Margaret River region,” Paul says.

Two beers down, the big question is “what beer will Colonial put into cans next?” and it sounds like it is a pretty open question. There’s no shortage of excellent Colonial beers and of course there are plenty of ideas floating around the brewhouse, we’ll just have to wait and see. With any luck it won’t be too much of a wait, “fingers crossed we will have them all out by the end of next year!” Paul says.

Meanwhile over at Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery they have recently released two of their beers, the Old Reliable Pale Ale and Blonde Capuchin Blonde Ale, plus the Crooked Tale Apple Cider in 330ml cans.

The Blonde Capuchin has a nice soft fruity body, a little nectarine sweetness and a crisp lime bitterness. The Old Reliable Pale Ale is dominated by citrus like lemon and grapefruit, grassy flavours and biscuity malt in the back.

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Photo from Cheeky Monkey Facebook page

Chatting with Cheeky Monkey’s head brewer Ross Terlick, he’s clearly stoked to see his beers wrapped in tin. It’s the result of eight months of planning and also resulted in a bit of a rebrand to clean up the look and feel of the logo.

Cheeky Monkey logo

Being both cheeky and helpful monkey’s, the back of the can gives a few notes on “see”, “smell” and “taste” plus the hops and malts used.

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The next beers to get the canning treatment are already planned with the popular mid-strength Travelling Monk set to go into 500ml cans. Ross also hopes to put some seasonal releases into the big 500ml cans and the more popular Southern Wailers beers may also get a release.

Read: Crafty Pint – Cheeky Monkey Cans

Cheeky Monkey’s website is currently under construction but check out their Facebook page for a list of can stockists.

 

WA Beer Week 2015

WA Beer Week | 7 – 15 November | Events galore for all tastes and pockets!

WA Beer Week is getting really close, so close I am both terrified and excited.

Terrified because due to my working within the industry it’s a super busy time with some days where I have about an hour to get from one place to the next assuming all goes well. Excited because, well, HOT DAMN it’s WA Beer Week, baby!

It all kicks off on 7th November and runs until the 15th. Yes, keen date enthusiasts will note that it’s not actually one week, it’s nine days.

Nine days of glorious beer celebrations that will see stacks of great events held all over Perth and even a few in the south west.

If you’re in a festival mood …

WA Beer Week starts and ends with a festival so even if you can’t make it to events on a school night, you can still get a tasty of the beery action –

Friday 6 – Sunday 8 November

Bar Pop Beer Fest, Beers Ciders and Sliders | Perth Urban Orchard

Saturday 7 November

Mane Liquor Beer Spectacular Carpark Festival | Mane Liquor

Thursday 12 – Monday 16 November

Bob’s Fest | Bob’s Bar

Saturday 14 & Sunday 15 November

Fremantle Craft Beer Festival | Fremantle Esplanade

Fremantle Beer Fest 2014

If you’re just as much a foodie as you are a beer geek …

Sunday 7 November

Monk Iron Chef: Knife Fight | Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen

Share | Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen (upstairs)

Belgian / French Beer Degustation | STIX Bar

Monday 9 November

Sweet & Sour | Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen (upstairs)

Wednesday 11 November

Feast with Moon Dog | Budburst Small Bar

Cantina 663 Artisan Brewing Beer Dinner | Cantina 663

Asian Sensations Dumpling Degustation | Canton Bar

Where the Wild Things Roam | The Dutch Trading Co.

Thursday 12 November

Long Table Brazillion BBQ | The Old Brewery

Brewer vs Butcher | The Boulevard Hotel

Friday 13 November

Glazed & Brewed with Boatrocker | The Pourhouse Bar & Kitchen

 

Sunday 15 November

Palate Cleanser Perth | Petition Beer Corner

Barefoot Bowls and Beers | North Fremantle Bowling Club

If you’re into sours and funky things …

Monday 9 November

Sweet & Sour | Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen (upstairs)

Tuesday 10 November

Sour Power | Mane Liquor

Wednesday 11 November

Where the Wild Things Roam | The Dutch Trading Co.

Palate Cleanser Perth | Petition Beer Corner

Matt - Boatrocker

Matt at 2014 Melbourne Good Beer Week Palate Cleanser event

If you like tap takeovers …

All Week

Little Creatures Family Tap Takeover | Little Creatures Brewery

Mrs Brown’s Birds | Mrs Browns Bar

Tuesday 10 November

Birds of a Feather Tap Takeover | Swings Tap House & Kitchen

Nail Brewing Tap Takeover | Petition Beer Corner

If you like a bit of education with your beer …

Saturday 7 November

Open House | Eagle Bay Brewing Co.

Sunday 8 November

Little Creatures Beer School | Little Creatures Brewery

Wednesday 11 November

NBC Rockin Quiz Night | Northbridge Brewing Co.

Mane Liquor Beer Quiz Night | The Precinct

L-R: Elliot (Mane), Josh (Precinct), Josh (Mane) and Roxy (Bridge Road Brewery)

Last Years Beer Quiz at The Precinct

Thursday 12 November

Women in Craft Beer 101 Presented by The Classroom & Mash Brewery | The Classroom

If you want to meet a brewer or two …

Saturday 7 November

Open House | Eagle Bay Brewing Co.

 

Tuesday 10 November

Sour Power | Mane Liquor

Wednesday 11 November

Feast with Moon Dog | Budburst Small Bar

Where the Wild Things Roam | The Dutch Trading Co.

Cantina 663 Artisan Brewing Beer Dinner | Cantina 663

Thursday 12 November

Meat the Brewers | Porky’s Northbridge Bar & BBQ

Meet the Brewmaster Matthew Houghton | Petition Beer Corner

Women in Craft Beer 101 Presented by The Classroom & Mash Brewery | The Classroom

Beer Skool: Fight Club 2 | Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen

East Versus West Fight Club | The Firestation Beer and Wine Bar

Friday 13 November

Beer Through the Ages | The Dutch Trading Co.

Little Creatures Family Reunion | Little Creatures Brewing Co.

Little Creatures at Gourmet Escape 2012

Sunday 15 November

Palate Cleanser Perth | Petition Beer Corner

If you also have a love for whiskey …

Thursday 12 November

Boiling Point | Petition Beer Corner

Friday 13 November

Beer & Whisk(e)y Night | Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen

If you have a sweet tooth …

Monday 9 November

Sweet & Sour | Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen (upstairs)

Friday 13 November

Glazed & Brewed with Boatrocker | The Pourhouse Bar & Kitchen

If you wanted to try a new beer …

Monday 9 – Thursday 12 November

Nail Clout Stout Tours Clancys | Across all Clancy’s Fish Pubs

Wednesday 11 November

The Jester & The Minstrel Beer Launch | Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen (basement)

Friday 13 November

Beer Through the Ages | The Dutch Trading Co.