Please ask for craft beer

You, the drinker, are the most powerful element of this whole craft beer revolution and we, everyone who works in craft beer, want to see more people like you drinking craft beer!

I don’t know if you’re aware but you, the drinker, are the most powerful element of this whole craft beer revolution and we, everyone who works in craft beer, want to see more people like you.

A huge part of this becoming a reality is having more bottle shops, bars and restaurants stocking a range of great beer.

I’ve written and re-written this post a number of times over the past two weeks and I’ve reached the conclusion that short and sweet is the way to go otherwise I end up rambling … a lot. So here we go …

Commenting and posting on beer loving Facebook groups is one thing but asking the bottle shop/bar/restaurant manager is another thing. The latter can realistically result in more craft beer on more menus and in more fridges.

As a beer sales rep I can tell you that if one person has asked for a specific beer, odds are that a few others have too and store managers and bar managers remember that stuff and that’s how we are going to get more craft beer all over the damn place. Seriously, ask, that’s all it takes, you’d be surprised how big an impact you can have.

What beers would you love to see in your local bottle shop, bar or restaurant?




Weekend Reading #65

For those quiet moments on the weekend when you’re able to 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 quiet moments on the weekend when you’re able to 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 | Why Patriotism won’t help Budweiser win Market Share from Craft Brewers

I couldn’t agree more with this, if Budweiser’s goal is to solidify their position with existing drinkers then ads like the infamous Super Bowl commercial that poked fun at craft breweries and this latest plan make sense. But this won’t grow their market share or attract new drinkers and they’ll find themselves, if they’re not already, in the same boat I see Victoria Bitter in here in Australia – same old drinkers, no new ones and a disappearing brand.

Further Reading: Sydney Moring Herald | VB Sales Down, SAB Miller Reports

Forbes | Craft Beer Revolution? The Small Brew that is taking on Budweiser, Miller and Coors

I had a few reactions when reading this article. I was sad and disappointed to read about beery snobbery, something I feel is a bug that needs to be squashed. Anyway, I was happy to read the author describe himself as someone who drinks craft beer but doesn’t think of themselves as a craft beer nerd. Don’t get me wrong, nerds are ace but not everyone needs to fall head first into the rabbit hole of craft beer, what we DO want/need is more people to choosing to drink good beer, just like many of us do with food. I don’t consider myself a foodie but I do like to find great places to eat.

I’m getting a little side tracked. This article is about a brewery making ONE beer, a lager, and their strategy is just to bring a good lager to the masses and pull them away from the likes of Bud and Coors. Straightforward goal and it will be interesting to see if the mainstream market are prepared to leave their brands for this new beer on the block.

Chicago Tribune | Beer Stores add Tap Rooms as Retail Reflects Craft Brewing’s Creativity

This reminded me of the great beer retailers we have here in Perth – International Beer Shop, Cellarbrations Superstore, Cellarbrations at Carlisle, The Freo Doctor and Mane Liquor to name just a few.

Mane Liquor were recently listed in RateBeer‘s Best Bottle Shop in Australia for the third year running.

These places don’t have customers; they have supporters, fans and friends. Their love for the shop, their customers and dedication to finding great beer and innovating with things like growler fills, beer events and canning machines is contributing huge amounts to the education and growth of craft beer in Perth and I freaking love that!

Seeing Double Three Times

A post dedicated to double IPAs and ending with a three way side by side of IIPAs from WA, SA and California.

Want to see a lot of beer geeks get ridiculously excited? Put out a limited release double IPA.

Feral Brewing‘s Tusk Day – the release day of their imperial IPA – sees one keg go to a handful of selected bars across the country who commit to tapping the keg immediately. Eager drinkers plan their day to ensure they can get to the selected venues before the keg runs dry and social media is flooded with #tuskday photos. The most recent release in WA at the end of April saw most kegs last a mere couple of hours.

Feral Tusk Imperial IPA at Feral Fest 3 – a lack of tasting notes is explained by the many Feral beers that followed this one!

Recently Mash Brewing, also in the Swan Valley, released their Sarcasm Session IIPA (see what they did there?!) into a limited run of 330ml bottles and Tusk-like excitement once again dominated my social media feed.

With craft beer exploding the way it is and American style pale ales dominating people’s hearts and taste buds, it only makes sense that their bigger siblings – IPAs and IIPAs get people even more excited. After all, you’re taking a thing people love, the pale ale, and adding more of the things that they love – more hops, more booze, more fun.

What is a double IPA anyway?

Double IPA, IIPA, Imperial IPA, Extra IPA, it’s all the basically the same thing – an IPA but bigger, dominated by US and/or new world hops, it’s feisty, bitter, boozy but still balanced.

Double IPA
Information taken/edited from BJCP 2015 & The Oxford Companion to Beer

Of course, not all IIPAs are the same, what a boring beer world that would be. So, when you pour a double IPA into a suitably fancy glass, what’s the most important thing to look for?

Two words – “fresh” and “hops”. Fresh beer is the best beer when it comes to something like a double IPA which is critically defined by its hop aroma and character. Look for local and don’t be afraid to ask the bartender or take a look at the date on the bottle/can whilst you’re beer shopping at your favourite bottle shop. Anything past three months, whilst not off or undrinkable, isn’t in it’s peak condition, the way the brewer wants you to enjoy it and given the sheer number of IPAs and IIPAs available, something fresher is probably easily at hand.

On the release of Mash’s Sarcasm I decided to line up two other double IPAs, the first is a classic and the first very IIPA I ever had – Sierra Nevada Torpedo from California and the second is a modern instant hit – Pirate Life IIPA from Adelaide.

L-R: Mash Sarcasm, Pirate Life IIPA & Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

girl+beer’s tasting notes …

Mash Sarcasm Session IPA | Consumed within days of packaging

At 9.5% ABV it was the booziest one of the three and there was a big alcohol sweetness amongst the pineapple and tropical fruits. Pairing it with some Old Winchester cheese with its fruitiness and tangy flavours took the edge of the booze in the beer. If you like you’re double IIPAs thick and on the sweeter side this hit that spot.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA | BB 11.05.16

My first experience with a double IPA was many years ago and it was this one from Sierra Nevada. Amongst the pioneers of the craft beer revolution in the US, I looked to this beer to show me what a double IPA was all about. I remember being blown away by how hoppy it was.

This particular bottle wasn’t in the prime of it’s life so it was kinda disappointing to come back to it now and find it not as I remember. The tropical fruit aromas were there but sat alongside some candy, lolly and unwanted green apple character too.

With a best before date of 05.11.16, so 11 May 2016 when de-Americanised, it was a good example of why drinking fresh beer matters.

Pirate Life IIPA | BB 20.01.17

I was impressed when I first had this beer and subsequent tries haven’t changed my opinion. Slightly more subdued aromas but spice, stone fruit and lemon are all present and it follows through in flavour with a nice biscuity malt and dry finish. A balanced showcase of hops with real drinkability.

Three double IPAs, three different beers. This is why I love beer! It’s so diverse. Many times I’ve heard people say, “I don’t like wheat beers” or “I don’t like stouts” and I would urge these people to keep an open mind. One or even a couple of beers don’t represent everything that a single beer style can offer; be open to trying more, talk to more people, and I’ll bet you’ll find one you like and what a shame it would have been to miss out.


Weekend Reading #64

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.

The Sip | Lion turns White Rabbit Red

Having worked for Little Creatures pre full Lion acquisition days, I have a soft spot for White Rabbit. I was saddened to hear of the closure of the Healesville brewery and, like everyone I suppose, wondered what the future of White Rabbit would bring. 12 months on and we this super interesting beer, White Rabbit Red styled on a Flanders Red Ale. Hopefully it makes its way west.

Martyn Cornell’s Zythophile | How to Brew like an 18th Century Virginian

A detailed run down of a recent weekend long event at Colonial Williamsburg called ‘Ales through the Ages’ with an impressive line up of speakers.

From here I ended up reading more on Zythophile and thought this was really interesting since I’ve said this and heard this a lot …

Martyn Cornell’s Zythophile | Was water really regraded as dangerous to drink in the Middle Ages?

Oh I’ve definitely repeated the ‘water was unsafe to drink so people drank beer’ thing and now I guess I’ll have to cut that one from the story!

Forbes | From Big Boxes to Breweries: San Diego’s Craft Beer Community protests Anheuser-Busch Owned Brewpub

Usually we read about reactions to the sale of the the brewery itself but this brings things down to a somewhat smaller scale to one location and the views of both sides of beer weighing in.

Vine Pair | The art of craft beer tap handles

Here in Australia we haven’t really gone down the extravagant tap handle path but I reckon we have instead swapped it for our decals. It’s starting to look like an arms race out there, decals – those traditionally round stickers on the beer font that tell you what the beer is – have been coming in all shapes, sizes and materials now from both the craft and less craft sides of the fences. Heineken have one that lights up, 4 Pines and Colonial, to name just two off the top of my head, have custom sized metal badges that do look impressive on a tap. On the other side of things, some bars now specifically ask their beer folks for nothing more than the traditional 80mm round decals so that their taps all look uniform. I’ve kinda been waiting for the tap handle thing to come here, we’ll see I guess.