WA Beer News #21

Get comfy because there are a LOT of new beers in this post! There’s an IPA using an experimental hop variety, a berliner weisse, a saison, something barrel-aged and more …

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 and 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 new beery goodness our state has to offer.

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


new beers …

Mash Brewing Little NEIPA

  • 3.5 percent ABV
  • New England IPA

It’s always great to see another tasty craft brewed mid-strength because sometimes you have to be a responsible adult but you don’t want to drink a beer that could easily be a stand-in for soda water.

Colonial Small, Pirate Life Throwback IPA and Eagle Bay Mild have been the go-to mids for a while and will now be joined by Mash Brewing Little NEIPA with 375ml cans available all year round from today.

Super easy drinking, fresh and fruity hop character and low bitterness.

Big thanks to Scott and the Mash team who hosted a few bloggers and writers on Saturday to celebrate this beer hitting stores. 

Gage Roads Alby

  • Brewed with 100% WA barley

There are two versions of Gage Roads Alby, the Draught at 4.2 percent ABV and the Crisp Lager at 3.5 percent ABV. 330ml bottles are available in stores now and word is that these are two of the beers destined for the new Perth stadium.

Innate The Uprising

  • Limited release
  • Available on tap only
  • 7.0 percent ABV

Innate Brewers latest single batch brew is a Belgian IPA. You can find it on tap at Refuge Small Bar in Subiaco.

Colonial The Pioneer

  • Limited Release
  • 7.5 percent ABV
  • Single Hop IPA

Released yesterday in super limited quantities, The Pioneer is the latest in the Colonial Brewing Project Beer series following the super popular The Inquest.

The Pioneer uses a new hop variety from Hop Products Australia that is experimental so it doesn’t have a name yet, simply referred to as HPA-016. They used whole hop cones and a malt bill of pale, wheat, melanoiden and caramel rye with a clean American ale yeast.

List of stockists found here.

Thanks to Colonial Brewing Co and brand ambassador Margaret McCarron for providing me with free samples of The Pioneer.

Feral F-15

  • Limited Release
  • Bourbon barrel-aged brown ale
  • 9.0 percent ABV

First up I’ll say this beer is absurdly drinkable given its complexity and high alcohol content, either that or my palate has some pretty questionable taste buds.

The F-15 was brewed to celebrate 15 years of Feral Brewing and is also a salute to Will Irving, the man behind the brew kit. They made a brown ale and then filled Heaven Hill Distillery bourbon barrels and left the beer to age for six months.

The bourbon influence hits you right away but there’s a lot going on behind it with pear, light toast and nutty aromas. It all follows through on the palate alongside some caramel, subtle toast, vanilla and sweetish, well-rounded alcohol.

Nowhereman Festbier

  • 5.9 percent ABV
  • Limited Release
  • Available on tap only

Nowhereman Brewing got into the German spirit by brewing an Oktoberfest style beer. Festbier is a malt driven lager, a little grassy with just a hint of smoke for a twist on the classic style. Very approachable and full flavoured, you’ll find this beer at the brewery and also at Old Faithful and The Belgian Beer Cafe.

Eagle Bay Double IPA

  • 8.0 percent ABV
  • Available on tap only

This is the first double IPA from Eagle Bay Brewing and it’s super limited release with just 15 kegs available.

Mighty hop character coming from Simcoe, Columbus, Mosaic and Centennial hop varieties and is supported by pale, crystal, wheat and Munich malt.

Look out for this beer at The Norfolk in Fremantle, Five Bar in Mt Lawley and Bar Lafayette and Petition Beer Corner in the CBD.

coming soon …

Black Brewing Saison

  • 4.8 percent ABV
  • 330ml bottles

I had been hoping a local brewery would make a Saison available all year round so it was high fives all round when Nowhereman Brewing in Leederville made a saison, made it beautifully and made it part of their permanent line up.

Now Black Brewing are also coming to the Saison party!

Saison, meaning “season”, originates from Wallonia, Belgium and is a showcase for characterful fruity and spicy yeast flavours.

Black Brewing will release their Saison on Monday and even though it is officially their summer seasonal, national sales manager and all round good beer guy, Tim Hoskins, is hoping it makes a big impression and becomes part of the year-round lineup.

They’ve brewed this with a French yeast strain, a malt bill that includes wheat, corn and oats for added mouthfeel and some mandarin peel for a boost of citrus.

Cheeky Monkey x Mane Liquor x Chico Gelato Frosty Fruit Sour

  • Release Date: Friday 3 November
  • 4.4 percent ABV
  • Berliner Weisse

Two’s company but three is … going to be fantastic! Cheeky Monkey had the guys from Mane Liquor and Chicho Gelato over to brew a passionfruit, mandarin and lime sorbet Berliner Weisse and if you’re not drooling after reading that, I’m genuinely surprised.

This beer used 55kg of local juice and pulp and 10kg of Chicho Sorbet and they say the result is reminiscent of Frosty Fruits icy poles.

A sneak peek of this beer will be at Mane Liquor’s Carpark Party tomorrow.

The beer officially launches on Friday 3 November at The Bird.

news …

Scarborough Cellars get taps

Scarborough Cellars has joined the growing list of bottle shops installing taps so that we can take home more draught fresh beers. They also have a canning machine for 375ml cans to take home.

Rocky Ridge cans now available

Rocky Ridge Brewing from Busselton have recently started canning their beers. They have released their Pale Ale and IPA in 500ml cans plus their Citrus IPA in 375ml cans. 

WA Beer Week event calendar goes LIVE

WA Beer Week might still be a few weeks away – 17 – 26 November – but events are already starting to sell out so head over to check out what’s happening. There’s a 6km beer run, quiz nights, beer dinners, beer versus wine dinners, games and more!

WA Beer News #20

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 and 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 new beery goodness our state has to offer.

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

news …

Of course the big news, and I would be very surprised if you had not heard, is the 100% acquisition of Feral Brewing by Coca-Cola Amatil that was announced on Thursday. There are a number of great articles on this news so I won’t re-hash it in great detail here. Some drinkers are concerned about the quality of the beers but not me, I’m looking forward to seeing what new brews and innovations come out of Feral, just like they have been doing since 2002. I guess what I’m saying is that, let time determine this, not early assumptions.

Huge congratulations to Brendan and Gab Varis, founders of Feral Brewing, and the whole team – past and present – who’ve contributed game-changing beers and worked ridiculously hard over the last 15 years to be true leaders in the industry.

Read the full details at Crafty Pint, Australian Brews News, The West Australian, The Sip  and you can listen to an interview with Australian Brews News and Brendan Varis here.

new beers …

Eagle Bay Citrus IPA

  • 5.1 percent ABV
  • IPA
  • Limited Release
  • 330ml bottles and on tap

This beer is brewed with grapefruit, lemon and orange zest from fruit on their own farm. They’ve made this beer before but it’s been a while and it’s great to see it back! It’s exactly what you’d expect from something called “citrus IPA” with plenty of balanced citrus flavour, moderate bitterness and a dry lime-pith finish.

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Eagle Bay Brewing Heir of the Dog

  • 5.9 percent ABV
  • Collaboration brew with The Balmoral
  • Limited release
  • Available on tap only

The Balmoral crew went down south to hang out with Eagle Bay Brewing and made Heir of the Dog, a hoppy lager. Tasting notes describe tropical fruit character with a crisp and clean finish and caramel malts and moderate bitterness support. You can try it at The Balmoral’s launch event on Sunday where dogs are welcome with prizes for best dressed and you can also chat all things beer with Gerome and Nick from Eagle Bay Brewing whilst you’re there.

 

Bootleg Brewery The Cobbler

  • 4.2 percent ABV
  • American Brown Ale
  • Collaboration brew with award-winning home brewer Dave Baker

Bootleg Brewery hosted a home-brewing competition for the South-West Craft Beer Bogans and after tasting a “variety of high-quality beers” they found their winner in Dave Baker’s American Brown Ale.

Ryan Nilsson-Linne, Bootleg’s head brewer, describes the beer as “super balanced” and “with an earthy character blended with traditional Citra and Cascade hops for a spicy citrus mix.”

There’s a tasting with both Ryan and Dave on the lawn at Bootleg Brewery today from 12noon and on Thursday night it will be part of the Bootleg tap takeover at Busselton’s The Firestation where they will also have their new European style 5.0 percent lager pouring.

Black Brewing Kiwiake

  • 9.6 percent ABV
  • Kettle soured strong ale
  • Limited Release
  • Only 9 kegs available

Black Brewing brewed only nine kegs of this very special beer. Kiwiake is a kettle soured strong ale fermented with Sake yeast with secondary fermentation on 70kgs of kiwi fruit.

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Image from Black Brewing’s Facebook page

Cheeky Monkey Brewing Double IPA – Round Two

  • 8.2 percent ABV
  • 500ml cans and on tap
  • Limited release

This is an encore performance from Cheeky Monkey who first released this beer last month. They’ve made a couple of tweaks to the original recipe, still using Citra, Mandarina Bavaria and Lemon Drop hops but they’ve amped it up and used way more than last time. Expect orange, tangerine, mango and grapefruit character and, from a slight recipe tweak, a drier finish than the first batch offered.

Blasta Brewing Blastaweizen

  • 5.3 percent ABV
  • Weissbier aka German Hefeweizen
  • On tap only

Blasta Brewing, fresh off their planning approval to build their Burswood brewery, released their Blastaweizen yesterday. In the true tradition of the style, Steve Russell has used more than 50% wheat in this beer and describes the beer as having flavours of “banana, stone fruit, nutmeg and clove” along with a “refreshing carbonation and great mouthfeel”. Blastaweizen has been brewed with two yeast strains, from White Labs and German brewery Weihenstephan, for a more complex yeast character (think spices and fruits!) and sounds like an excellent tribute to the classic Munich style!

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So long Charlie and thanks for all the Copy Cat

It was great to sit down with Charlie, literally in between his time at Mash and the beginnings of a new venture over in Brisbane called Helios Brewing, and reflect on his time in WA and what’s coming up!

While I was chatting with Charlie Hodgson last week, on his last day as head brewer at Mash Brewing, it had clearly been a weird day for him, closing such a significant chapter of his life. We sat down over a pint, both choosing local brews by Cheeky Monkey Brewery, and I think Charlie was just happy to stop for a moment in between finishing up at Mash and the removalists coming the next day.

Over Charlie’s six years at Mash he created award-winning beers while the brewery has continued to grow. The brewing schedule has been jam-packed to meet a very thirsty audience, they’ve added a sales team, launched a range of cans and gone through a re-brand, trust me, breweries are busy places.

I’ve known Charlie, we figured out during our interview, for about a decade, starting when we were both at Gage Roads Brewing. It’s where Charlie began his brewing career, coming from the wine industry, and where I also started something new as a sales rep after years of bartending and late nights.

It was great to sit down with Charlie, literally in between his time at Mash and the beginnings of a new venture over in Brisbane and reflect on his time in WA and what’s coming up.


As I write this Charlie is driving to Brisbane, he’s moving from one side of the country to the other to be the head brewer at Helios Brewing. Though daunting to move from WA particularly given Charlie’s self-confessed aversion to change, he is feeling very positive about the move.

Helios Brewing is named after the Greek sun god, a theme that carries through in their beer names such as Poseidon, Aphrodite, Zeus and Hades, and is estimated to open at the end November.

Image from Helios Brewing Facebook

Charlie’s role will be a lot different to the one at Mash, he’ll be brewing plenty of beer, don’t worry about that but he will also be taking on some different tasks which he says will involve a little sales, some bar work and maybe even washing dishes in the kitchen! Charlie listed these tasks all with a smile on his face, he is looking forward to the variety and a less frantic production schedule.

A career in brewing wasn’t always on the cards for Charlie, in-fact he worked in wine before and it wasn’t until his late-twenties he realised beer was where he wanted to be. His brewing career started in 2006 at Gage Roads Brewing where he learnt under Aaron Heary who is still at Gage today, now their Chief Operating Officer.

When the opportunity to take on the head brewer role at Mash came up, it was a chance to showcase what he could accomplish in a leadership role and, like anyone would, at first he had to ask himself, “can I do this?”

Six years on and the answer is pretty clearly ‘hell yeah’.


I asked Jack Purser, head brewer at Indian Ocean Brewing, for a few words reflecting on his time as an assistant brewer with Charlie at Mash.

“He’s been a massive influence in my life so I’d gladly say a few words,” Jack said.

Working with Charlie was hands down the most significant learning curve I have had during my time as a brewer.

Everyone knows how brilliant of a brewer Charlie is. But this isn’t necessarily the reason behind why people in the industry respect him so much.

Charlie once said to me “I won’t ask you to do anything I wouldn’t do myself”. This wasn’t just a statement, he then followed this up during the 3 years I worked alongside him (even if I razzed him for always being upstairs shining his boots).

The most valuable slice of information I gathered from Charlie, is his simplicity in his approach. He preaches knowing your ingredients, simplicity in recipe development and a host of non-negotiables with regards to processing.

Charlie with three of his past assistant brewers (L-R) Charlie, Robin, Eddie and Jack

One of the most significant beers in Charlie’s time at Mash is Copy Cat, an American IPA which, on its very first batch, took out Champion Australian Beer at the 2014 Australian International Beer Awards.

“This was obviously huge for us,” he says with a smile.

A barrel fermented version of Copy Cat

By now it is pretty well documented that an American IPA wasn’t a style Charlie was tripping over himself to brew but Copy Cat is still the Mash beer he is most proud of, though he was reluctant to choose just one of his “children” of beers when I asked him this question.

Charlie had preferred a beer like Challenger, an English IPA, would have been the beer to make a big splash but it was the bold American hops that people wanted and boy, did he give it to them.

Charlie with the Australian International Beer Awards trophies in 2014

“The consumer drives us very hard,” Charlie says and we’re seeing it again with the current hazy IPA trend, one that Mash have jumped on relatively early with only a few local breweries having brewed the style, like Feral’s Biggie Juice. When Charlie read up on the NEIPA style he said he knew exactly what he wanted to brew,

“I thought, man, this reeks of a mid-strength; lower bitterness, enhanced mouthfeel, hop forward, hazy.”

The beer is called Little NEIPA and is available on tap now, “three tanks in and we are having trouble keeping up with it,” Charlie says and 375ml cans will launch towards the end of October.

“I’m a traditionalist with a spin,”

“I like to pay respect to a style and then turn it on its head a little,” he says. Grasscutter is one of his favourite beers and a great example of his brewing style,

“Grasscutter is probably the smartest beer I ever made, ever. It was a light clean beer, fermented on oak, clean, summery but really complex,”

Commissioning the new brewery at Helios will be new ground for Charlie and amongst other factors, appealed to him when considering the role. The brew kit is an 18 hectolitre Premier Stainless setup, the same size as West Leederville’s Nowhereman Brewing.

Helios will open with six core range beers and two speciality brews though Charlie predicts those six are likely to change in the early stages as they play around and see what people respond to.

So what were your highlights at Mash, I asked Charlie.

“Mash, in general, has been a highlight,” he replied and I have to say, it has been for us too. See you later Charlie!