WA Beer News #5

There is a lot of stuff happening in WA’s craft beer scene that it’s genuinely hard to keep up with all the new beer releases, beer dinners, free bottle shop tastings, expansion plans, constantly rotating beer taps, beer festivals … WA really is kicking ass when it comes to craft beer and so I thought I’d try and make a regular feature out of all the beery news that our state has to offer.

There is a lot of stuff happening in WA’s craft beer scene that it’s genuinely hard to keep up with all the new beer releases, beer dinners, free bottle shop tastings, expansion plans, constantly rotating beer taps, beer festivals … WA really is kicking ass when it comes to craft beer and so I thought I’d try and make a regular feature out of all the beery news that our state has to offer.

The girl+beer Facebook page has a list of upcoming beer events that you might find worth subscribing to!

Bootleg Brewery

Margaret River’s Bootleg Brewery recently welcomed a new brewer to assist Ryan “Pizey” Nilsson-Linne – Dillon Hunter who was previously in the brewhouse at BrewCorp, the Feral and Nail brewing facility.

The guys have brewed a Gose for the South West Craft Beer Festival on 11 February. The beer style originates in Germany, a wheat beer that is slightly acidic which makes it delightfully refreshing, it also uses a small amount of salt and coriander seed and has very little bitterness. If you’ve never tried this beer style before, it’s well worth giving it a shot. It sounds a little weird but it can taste a little wonderful!

The 10th annual West Australian Circus Festival is happening down in Margaret River 26 – 29 January where Bootleg’s Lunar Lager, a beer created specifically for the festival, will be served alongside the rest of their range as the exclusive beer supplier of the event.

Winter plans are already well under way with an American Barley Wine currently aging in whiskey and wine barrels with plans to bottle and keg the finished product in May. Around the same timeis a  will be this years release of Imperial Bull which is their Raging Bull aged in cabernet barrels.

The brewery branding has also undergone a little face lift, reflecting a more subtle and mature approach. You can read more about it here at The Sip by WA beer writer, Ross Lewis.

Follow The Sip on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Bootleg Brewery

Homestead Brewery

Head to Homestead in early February to try their new Summer Ale. Head brewer Steve Wearing says the beer will be “the perfect session beer”, “light and crisp yet packed with flavour, loads of passionfruit and tropical flavour from generous dry hop additions”.

Artisan Brewing

It’s always a treat to find Artisan beers on tap and in December they released their first ever bottled beer. It’s called Tripel Treating and was a collaboration brew with The Monk Brewery (Fremantle), Boston Brewery (Denmark) and Cellarbrations Superstore (Hamilton Hill). If it hasn’t already been snapped up, you’ll find them at Petition Beer Corner, Singlefile Wines, The Monk and Cellarbrations Superstore.

Artisan Brewing director Julia Fitzgerald says Tripel Treating boasts “classic Belgian yeast aromatics with fresh mango resulting in a peppery and fruity flavour with yeast complexity. The finish is dry and fruit with a berry acidity and lingering mango on the palate.”

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Photo Courtesy of Artisan Brewing

South West Craft Beer Festival

One of my absolute favourite events on the beer calendar is the South West Craft Beer Festival. Exclusively about south west breweries you get to try beers that you might not see at some of the big Perth festivals. From Mandurah to Denmark, this year has more breweries exhibiting than every before.

The festival is on Saturday 11 February at Old Broadwater Farm in Busselton.

Photo courtesy of South West Craft Beer Festival
Photo courtesy of South West Craft Beer Festival

Colonial Brewing Co

There are a couple of new faces at Colonial Brewing both in Margaret River and Port Melbourne. Ash Hazell, previously of Barrow Boys Brewing, will be taking on the Port Melbourne with the Margaret River brewery to be headed up by Ryan Nobbs.

‘Colonial really appealed to me for a number of reasons. The Port Melbourne brewery has great equipment for brewing high quality beer and plenty of room to grow. I haven’t seen a better canning line in another Australian brewery and you really do need the right gear to make consistent beer. There’s been some great innovations from Colonial as well, like the unique can design. I love the focus on hospitality because letting people into the brewery is a great way to educate around what real beer is. There also seems to be a really passionate culture amongst the Colonial team, which is a sure sign that it’s a great company to be part of,’

Ash Hazell

Colonial Brewing Beer Garden 2

The Beer Farm

Everyone loves a good collaboration! Margaret River locals The Beer Farm recently got together with Scarborough’s tequila slinging El Grotto and together they made a lime and grapefruit summer ale. The brew involved a few hours of peeling fruit and the result is a citrusy, zingy and easy drinking summer refresher! On tap, of course, at El Grotto.

Inn8 Brewers

Speaking of collabs, if you’re following Subiaco’s Refuge Small Bar you would have spotted their snap recently of their straight from the tank tasting of their brew with Innate Brewers. Judging from the hast tags we can expect to see a Helles Lager coming very, very soon!

Cheeky Monkey

Cheeky Monkey‘s next Southern Wailer – their limited release series – will be released at the South West Craft Beer Festival. From there it will be made available in 500ml cans throughout WA beer loving bottle shops – head to their website for a list of stockists.

The beer is called Imperial Monk Red IPA, an imperial version of their Travelling Monk Session Red that boosts the ABV up to 8.3 percent ABV, basically tripling the hops, malts and booze from it’s original recipe.

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5 minutes with Jack from Indian Ocean Brewing

‘5 minutes with’ is a 5 question Q&A with great beer people, this edition features Jack Purser, head brewer at Indian Ocean Brewing Co.

This edition of 5 minutes with … features Jack Purser, head brewer at Indian Ocean Brewing Co in Mindarie. The brewery is a slice of heaven in the (quite) northern suburbs of Perth where craft beer taps are not as abundant as in Fremantle, Perth CBD and other key precincts around town.

It’s been about a year since Jack took over the head brewer position from Mal Secourable, who you will find behind the tanks at Fremantle’s The Monk. In just a year Jack has achieved a lot with the brewery and assistant brewer Brody Watts. They’ve updated recipes for the core range of beers and their limited release beers, such as a black IPA called De-Husker Du? and Straight Rollers XPA have been keeping beer geeks happy.

Jack, who’s been in brewing since he was legally allowed to drink, has spent time at WA breweries such as Mash Brewing, The Old Brewery, The Monk and Homestead as well as some time at craft beer venue, Dutch Trading Co.

Here Jack answers five questions and gives us a little insight into the life of a brewer, a couple of hints of beers to come in 2017 from Indian Ocean Brewing and plants the seed for a brewery versus brewery cricket competition.

What has been your most memorable day at Indian Ocean Brewery so far?

Probably the day with, Dan Dainton (Dainton Family Brewery) and Joel Beresford (DTC). Dan was in town and keen to make something wacky. It also coincided with our brewery being in a million pieces for some maintenance so Brody (Indian Ocean assistant brewer)and I brought our home brew kits in and we made about 50L of imperial stout. The thing is a beast, 17% ABV and 200 IBUs.

It’s downright delicious but we’ve been so busy this summer that we haven’t had time to bottle it. We’ll look for a cold night in the dead of winter 2017 to bring it to Perth’s attention.

Joel from DTC and Jack brewing up 50L of Russian Imperial Stout - to be released winter 2017
Joel from DTC and Jack brewing up 50L of Russian Imperial Stout – to be released winter 2017

What do you think is the greatest misconception about craft beer?

Oh that’s a tough one… I guess there’s two questions/answers here. A lot of people perceive the occupation of brewing as a romantic job. It can be bloody hard work. Yes, we have our days where we’re in the loading bay having a ball playing cricket or something. But come chat to us when we’re de-palletising four tonnes of malt in the middle of January or driving to work at 4:30am.

The other side of the question would be behind the markets perception of the product itself. I’m not basing this on any focus groups or anything but you constantly hear complaints about the price points of craft beer being too high. So perhaps the misconception is that we are over charging for our beer? I won’t get into the who, what, where and why’s of craft brewery keg and package prices but you don’t see many brewery owners with gold teeth and treasure chests in their offices.

What is your go-to beer after working a long hard day at the brewery?

Recently I’ve been going to our Little Red Fish. Made with/for the Long Chim Perth guys, it’s a lemongrass, coriander and sea salt session ale. I think we’ve got the salt levels right and the dry hop in balance, so it’s drinking quite nicely.

Little Red Fish at Long Chim Perth
Little Red Fish at Long Chim Perth

What criteria makes a GOOD beer?

A balanced recipe, correct mash temperatures and pre-boil pH, well looked after fresh ingredients, healthy yeast, a clean ferment and careful post fermentation practice!

I think if you have these parameters down to a tee, you are going to be in pretty good shape.

What is coming up for Indian Ocean Brewing this year?

We have some exciting times ahead. We’re going to bring back our XPA which got some love last year. We’re also hoping to get a gig with GABS [Great Australasian Beer Spectapular] too, so we’ll make something interesting for that… maybe even something sour.

We recently fashioned a cricket ball out of duct tape and malt bag strings. So I am really keen to assert the breweries dominance over the bar in hallway cricket. It’s going to take a little bit of work getting Brody’s technique right, he tends to fall over himself with his footwork whilst driving. But a few technical tweaks and I think we’ll be able to post some pretty competitive totals. Who knows, we might even be able to expand the competition to other breweries or the public. Like I said, exciting times ahead.

Jack Purser and Brody Watts, Indian Ocean Brewing Co
Jack Purser and Brody Watts, Indian Ocean Brewing Co. Photo from Indian Ocean Brewing Facebook