GBW Day 3 : Marketing and Brewers & Chewers

Another great day of Good Beer Week stuff with a great branding panel in the afternoon and Brewers & Chewers in the evening

Good Beer Week, Day 3

Wednesday 17 May

THE ROYSTON

In an Uber on the way to The Royston, taking a street that seemed to be packed with endless speed bumps, I realised that perhaps I was a little dusty from the night before. When I got to The Royston in Richmond, I was delighted to find Feral’s Biggie Juice on tap – a beer I’d not managed to try back home in Perth – and I asked the bartender, Ed, to recommend good food for a slight hangover.

That’s when cheeseburger spring rolls entered my life and all the right in the world again!

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Cheeseburger Spring Rolls with Tomato Sauce, Mustard and Pickles and Feral Biggie Juice

MARKETING : MAKE YOUR BRAND TALK

In the late afternoon I headed to Beer Deluxe at Federation Square, otherwise known during Good Beer Week, as the Trade Hub. The hub has been hosting great talks and panel discussions and the opportunity to learn from some of the industries finest.

I attended panel called Marketing : Make Your Brand Talk hosted by Luke Robertson of Ale of a Time, a podcaster and journalist. The panel consisted of Lawrence from Colonial Brewing, Danielle from Two Birds Brewing and Steve from The Honey Bar and Chunky Media.

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L-R : Lawrence from Colonial Brewing, Danielle from Two Birds and Steve from The Honey Bar and Chunky Media

It was a great panel and discussion topic that potentially could have gone for hours if time permitted.

Steve from Melbourne’s The Honey Bar and co-founder of Chunky Media, recommended that if you don’t have much budget for social media, the best approach is to pick one channel and focus on it.

“Dive into something that’s the best reflection of what your brand can be,” Steve said and was quick to point out this isn’t always Instagram.

“Facebook controls the world,” Steve noted about social media advertising, stressing that there can be much benefit from taking the time to learn about Facebook advertising.

Lawrence from Colonial Brewing discussed their approach to social media by using different channels for the different aspects of their business that encompasses two breweries plus several venues across Western Australia and Victoria. Whilst Facebook is used for the venues and the brewery, Instagram is for their overall brand communications so there is lot of forward planning and coordination when it comes to social media.

“We have to be nimble and smart,”

Lawrence, Colonial Brewing

Danielle from Two Birds Brewing discussed the importance of making sure your social media is authentic and personal. “It’s important to have a legitimate voice,” Danielle said.

“We are fortunate enough to have a story that people like to tell,”

Danielle, Two Birds Brewing

“People care about individuals,”

Steve, The Honey Bar

On the topic of dealing with negative comments on social media, Steve, Lawrence and Danielle agreed it’s best to take the conversation out of the public comment section, not to avoid, but to speak directly to that person. The fact that the complaint was made, Lawrence says, can be positive if it means that person wants to engage in conversation with you. Steve agrees and believes they will appreciate that, as the brewer/owner responding to the complaint, they’ll appreciate you’ve have taken the time to acknowledge and reply.

Whatever you do, all three agree, is do not hit back.

“Don’t reply to a direct hit with a direct hit back,”

Danielle, Two Birds Brewing

As a woman in the beer industry, Danielle is often asked about this topic and also the branding of Two Birds which she actually credits to someone else.

“We didn’t come up with the name. Someone else did and we paid them,” Danielle laughed. They loved it and the reference to her and Jayne, the co-founder and brewer, as the ‘two birds’.

‘Believe it or not, not everyone gets it,” Danielle said to a pretty surprised audience.

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Two Birds T-Shirt
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Two Birds Brewery aka Two Birds Nest in Spotswood, Victoria

The brand isn’t, and never was planned, to be about targeting women, instead they see themselves as a “gender friendly brand” and much more about the brand being a direct reflection of her and Jayne’s personalities.

When asked about advice for a brands personality and brand plan, the panel had some great tips.

“Try not to be everything to everybody,” Danielle said. “Focus on one thing.”

Lawrence added however that you still need to have some flexibility, such as the opportunity Colonial recently had to get involved with the Essendon Football Club.

“You need to be fluid,” Steve echoed reminding the audience that a business plan is not a business reality until it actually happens.

“The market will tell you who you are,”

Steve, The Honey Bar

Whilst planning is important, Steve reminded people to pay attention to data. Whilst your brand plan might include a particular target audience, you may get data telling you another group are the people getting into your brand. You need to listen to what the data is telling you.

When it comes to making time for journalists and bloggers, Danielle admits that it isn’t always easy to find the time around everything else involved in running a brewery. “It can be frustrating but it is worth investing in,” Danielle said, “and we’ve noticed a dip in sales when we have shied away from PR.”

“There are always interesting stories coming from the brewery,”

Lawrence, Colonial Brewing

BREWERS & CHEWERS AT THE LOCAL TAPHOUSE

This, to me, is a staple on the Good Beer Week calendar. It’s a beer dinner that combines speed dating with a meet the brewer event and it’s held at one of the most iconic beer venues in the country, The Local Taphouse in St Kilda.

Catching up with a table full of great WA people

Over appetizer, entrée, main and dessert, eight brewers take a seat at a table each, giving you the chance to chat before the bell rings and they’re up and off to the next table and you get another brewer to talk to!

Duck and pistachio terrine, mustard fruit chutney and autumn leaves

The evening was expertly MC’d, as always, by Pete “Prof Pilsner” Mitcham who also made sure to get each brewer on the microphone for a short interview throughout the night.

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Adrian Walker from Firestone Walker (US)

Adrian describes the Double Barrel Ale as his “home coming beer”, the beer that, no matter where he drinks it, always makes him feel at home.

The Double Barrel Ale was the first beer they ever released, an English Pale Ale that is partially fermented in their oak barrel brewing system and then blended with beer fermented in stainless, Adrian estimates the approximate blend being 25/75 respectively.

You can follow Adrian on Twitter here.

During his interview with Pete “Prof Pilsner”, Adrian turned the interview into more of a speech and encouraged drinkers to speak up if they see any Firestone Walker older than 60 days and he also encouraged drinkers not to forget about their local brewers, saying “you should drink your local beer.”

Fuller's (UK) Black Cab Stout
John Keeling from Fuller’s (UK) with their Black Cab Stout

Served on nitro, Black Cab is a beautiful roasty stout with a light body, black coffee and dry finish.

“Great beers have personality and character,”

John Keeling, Fuller’s

John strongly believes that in order to have great beers you need to employ people with personality and character too; boring and dull people will result in boring a dull flavour.

My friend Dan looking pretty happy and who can blame him?! Roast pork bell, cumberland stuffing, confit garlic and thyme

 

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Renn Blackman from Blackman’s Brewing (VIC) with Arthur Smoked Porter

This beer is named after brewer and co-founder Renn’s great grandfather Arthur. An easy drinking porter with a smokiness that’s in balance with the beer instead of totally dominating it.

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Stu from Yeastie Boys (UK / NZ) with Big Mouth Session IPA

The Big Mouth Session IPA was beautifully citrusy and lime pithy with a crisp bitterness and the recipe is one that Stu made as a home brewer.

I think it’s also worth nothing the t-shirt that Stu choose for the dinner knowing that Joel (Dutch Trading Co and formerly Cellarbrations Carlisle) would be at the dinner and who had organised these t-shirts back in 2013.

Ryan Schmiege from Deschutes Brewing with their Passionfruit IPA

The passionfruit IPA does what it says on the label with lovely passionfruit flavours and soft malts in support.

Ryan told us about the new two barrel pilot system being installed back home whilst he was in Australia. Previously experimental batches were brewed at their Bend brewpub but Ryan is looking forward to using this new system instead.

Profiteroles
Profiteroles, vaniella creme, salted caramel, pistachio praline

The Wild Beer Co beer that was served was the Wild Goose Chase Farmhouse Ale, Andrew described this beer has an introductory sour beer. It was a beautiful farmhouse ale and made using their apple yeast culture. Andrew said the culture came from one of their employees who had a small orchard, they collected it and put it into fresh wort and were really happy with the results.

In addition to this apple yeast culture, the brewery uses many others including a house ale yeast, a Saison and Brettanomyces mix, a grape culture, a sourdough culture and a mix lacto and Brettanomyces strain.

 

Having had a few beers and being fans of Bruce Willis movie, The Fifth Element, we asked Dave early about the name Akasha which refers to the ‘fifth element’ and they have indeed made a beer referencing the movie – the Korben D IIPA.

Sven and Juan from Naparbier with host Pete Mitcham

The guys from Spanish brewery Naparbier, Juan Rodrigues and Sven Bosch, were very interesting to chat with and hence the lack of photos.

Brewer Juan was a home brewery for ten years before starting at Naparbier. Sven, CEO of the brewery, wasn’t shy in proclaiming Juan was one of the best brewers in Europe.

Located near Pamplona, Naparbier exports half of their beer. Their home country of Spain is still largely “wine country” but is now home to around 600 breweries.

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L-R : Steve from Local Taphouse, Stu McKinlay from Yeastie Boys and Guy from Local Taphouse

Congratulations​ to Steve, Guy and the whole Local Taphouse team on another great event!

GBW Day 2 : Lots of Cheese and Kaiju! Dinner

Lunch at Milk the Cow, a licensed fromagerie in Carlton, and for dinner – Kaiju! Beer Degustation at one of Melbourne’s best Japanese restaurants

Good Beer Week, Day 2: Tuesday 16 May

MILK THE COW

Licensed fromagerie. Two of the best words ever to be put together.

Day two of my Good Beer Week adventure in Melbourne was spent with two great friends, Dan and Vicky. We met many years ago over a love of beer but we also share a love of all things cheesey – including so-bad-they’re-good jokes – and so we decided to have lunch at Milk the Cow in Carlton.

Cheese and Beer Flight // Large Size which gives you 90ml each beer and 30g each cheese

There’s also paired cheese flights for wine, cognac/armagnac, sake, whiskym, dessert wine/fortified and cider available.

This flight was –

  1. Midnight Moon with Napoleon’s Pale Ale
  2. Reypenaer VSOP with Palm Amber Ale
  3. Meredith Farm Chevre with Bridgeport Hop Czah IPA
  4. La Tur with Codeo Shiro

Each pairing was lovely and well put together, the stand out for me being the Midnight Moon and Napoleon’s Pale Ale and the most interesting was the La Tur with Codeo Shiro.

5 Cheese Cheesemonger’s Choice

The Cheesemonger’s Choice Cheeseboards change weekly depending on what’s fresh and new, we received (left to right)

  • L’Artisan Mountain Man
  • Mothais Sur Feuille
  • Chimay a la biere
  • Quickes Oak Smoked Cheddar
  • Swiss Gruyere

KAIJU! BEER DEGUSTATION DELUXE

The evening ended with my friends Dan and Vicky and I laughing at a very bad but awesome joke Vicky told whilst we tucked into an amazing dessert that was dish number eight in what was an amazing evening of food and beer.

In summary, wow.

The event was held at Japanese restaurant Kumo Izakaya on Lygon Street in Brunswick East, owner Andre Bishop – and official Dassai Sake ambassador – welcomed the packed restaurant to the evening with a serve of Dassai 50 Junmai Daiginjo sake and lead a resounding group “cheers!”

Dassai 50 Junmai Daiginjo

 

Swordfish Ceviche with Avocado Puree, Apple and Kalamansi paired with Kaiju! Krush

Nat Reeves, one of the co-founding brothers behind Kaiju!, explained that in the case of Kaiju! Krush the name popped into his head and he knew he had to make a beer to match it. It had to be a tropical fruit bomb and it had to be immensely drinkable for the ‘Krush’ part. If you have had this beer then you know that they absolutely nailed the brief, it’s a stunning beer!

Paired with the swordfish ceviche it was a gorgeous match, the tropical fruits in the beer working in harmony with the citrus of the dish.

Vegetable Tempura selection of broccoliini, pumpkin and sugar snap pea paired with Kaiju! Savage Wizard American Pale Ale

Massive passionfruit and guava notes in the Savage Wizard made it an absolute delight and it cut beautifully through the light tempura batter.

Home made vege chips and spiced nuts paired with Kaiju! Metamorphosis IPA

These were some seriously moreish snacks and the beer disappeared just as quickly! Metamorphosis is an Californian style IPA with a heavy use of crystal malt supporting Columbus and Cascade hops.

Traditional bincho-tan flame grilled yakitori with Murray River pink salt paired with Kaiju! Hopped Out Red Ale

The Hopped Out Red Ale was the second beer Kaiju! ever made and another great match to the yakitori which, my friend Vicky said, might have been even better than any she’d had on her recent trip to Japan!

Grilled freshwater Eel with cream cheese, blackberry and pickled ginger paired with Kaiju! Cthulhu on the Moon Black IPA

My first experience with eating eel was the stand out dish and pairing for the night! The light roasty character in the Black IPA paired perfectly with the eel and the hoppy notes complemented the slight sweetness in the dish.

Matt remarked that the beer came about after their designer came up with such an incredible label that they had to put a beer in it!

Saikoro Steak – black Angus strip loin with ponzu and wasabi paired with Kaiju! Aftermath Double IPA

The steak was cooked to absolute perfection. The beer was the first Kaiju! beer ever made with Matt describing it as having “lots and lots of dank American hops.”

Mini cheese platter of comte and savourine with sultanas and candied walnuts paired with Kaiju! Betelgeuse Imperial Amber Ale

Because you can never have enough cheese in one day! More delicious cheese and more delicious beer, the Betelgeuse is basically twice as big at their Hopped Out Red making it twice the fun!

Chocolate mouse with crumbed brownies, honeycomb ice cream and chilli meringue paired with Kaiju! Where Strides the Behemoth Double India Black Ale

What way to close out a dinner – barrel aged beer and a kick ass dessert, a beautiful pairing. The beer was aged in Pedro Ximenez barrels and this was just one keg of the four they made.

Amazing night, congratulations to the whole team at Kumo and Kaiju! on an excellent evening!

 

GBW Day 1 : Beer School and Stomping Ground

My first day of Good Beer Week included a trip to Beer School, hosted by Boatrocker Brewing, and then dinner by Michelin star chef Daniel Burns at Stomping Ground

Good Beer Week, Day 1 : Monday 16 May

Why walk when you can run? This seems to be the way I approach Melbourne’s Good Beer Week.

BOATROCKER BREWING : BEER SCHOOL

I landed in Melbourne around lunch time Monday and was sitting at the Boatrocker Brewing Beer School at Beer Deluxe for the 4pm session of ‘Cut, Contrast and Complement’ hosted by founder and head brewer of Boatrocker, Matt Houghton, and Rob Kabboord, head chef of Merricote.

Together they guided us through a great flavour education session with a plate of individual examples of flavours such as fresh lemon for sour, parmesan for umami and honey for sweet.

Pretzel for salt, honey for sweet, radicchio for bitter, lemon for sour and parmesan for umami

It’s one thing to read about beer and food pairing but it’s another to taste and experience, particularly with industry pros and broken down in this easy to understand format.

After identifying salt, sweet, bitter, umami and sour it was onto some beer and food pairings looking at examples of cut, contrast and complement.

Boatrockers beers are diverse, interesting and delicious so their ability to pair to food is pretty much boundless.

Contrast pairing of Boatrocker Orange Sherbert with Enokitake mushrooms and parmesan

For me, the Orange Sherbert was delicately acidic and definitely sherberty and paired with the Enokitake mushrooms and parmesan it seemed to round out the beer and soften its acidity. Really interesting!

Boatrocker Stout, only available on tap, a gorgeous English style stout

Trying the Boatrocker Stout was a little special since it’s not available in bottles. Gorgeous nutty, chocolate, coffee and fudgy aromas and flavours like black coffee, burnt toast and chocolate. So damn good.

EVENING WITH MICHELIN STAR CHEF DANIEL BURNS (NYC)

What a way to experience Stomping Ground Beer Hall for the first time – with a dinner by Michelin star chef Daniel Burns, co-owner and head chef at Tørst in New York, paired with beers by Stomping Ground and Evil Twin Brewing, of which Daniel is also co-owner.

Read more about Daniel : ‘Have you met Daniel Burns?’ on Phaidon

Justin Joiner (L) of Stomping Ground welcoming everyone to the evening alongside Daniel Burns (R)

The venue is simply incredible and there wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about it. Freaking sensational. The brewery itself is beautiful too and I was stoked and surprised at how many beers they had on tap, it’s not your standard pale ale, pilsner, wheat beer, stout line up that’s for sure!

One part of the Stomping Ground beer list

Co-owner Guy Greenstone gave me a very quick brewery tour in-between courses. Half, single, double and triple fermenters give the brewery lots of flexibility and it’s hard not to get excited at the sight of a handful of barrels stashed out the back quietly doing their work.

The beers are fantastic, I wrote down precisely zero notes as I was too busy eating and drinking my way through a menu of deliciousness but my stand outs were the Bad Seed Berliner Weisse that was bang-on in terms of being delicate, lightly sour and immensely refreshing; the Barrel Aged Saison with just enough barrel influence that doesn’t steam roll over the Saison character and the Upside Down Brown was toasty with great sweet malt character.

Roasted Beetroot and Almond with Stomping Ground Bad Seed Berliner Weisse

 

Beef Tartare, Razor Clam and Shiso with Stomping Ground Bad Seed Berliner Weisse

 

Lobster Relish and Daikon with Stomping Ground Bad Seed Berliner Weisse

 

Mackerel. Poblano and Cucumber with Stomping Ground Market Saison

 

Smoked Celeriac, Scampi Roe and Kohlrabi with Stomping Ground Barrel Aged Saison
Duck, Carrot and Brown Butter with Evil Twin Brett Yeast Helles

 

Roasted Sunchoke, Thyme and Caramelised Apple with Stomping Ground Upside Down Brown

Daniel’s book, Food & Beer, was made available to purchase so I grabbed one and he was also signing them so I got to have a quick chat with him and thank him for a wonderful night.

L-R : Me, Daniel Burns and Wendy Marinich

Big thanks to Matt Marinich and the team at Stomping Ground Beer Hall for inviting me as a guest to this amazing event!

DTC Re-Launched

Last week one of Perth’s destination beer venues invited some beer people down to the venue for a reintroduction, accompanied by a few beers of course.

Last week one of Perth’s destination beer venues invited some beer people down to the venue for a reintroduction, accompanied by a few beers of course.

Much like running into an old friend, DTC is still easily recognisable from before but they have had a few updates to their look. The beer menu boards have been spruced up, the bar top has been upgraded, there’s a dedicated kids area out the back and the function space is looking great with a custom built feature wall boasting some pretty impressive “beer porn”.

Custom shelves by Donegan Services

 

Of course the one thing that hasn’t changed is their 18 rotating taps, constantly changing and featuring a variety of beers from both home and far away. The Double Dutch Rudder hasn’t changed either, for those who haven’t seen the photos on social media, it is a sampling paddle of two tasters of every beer on tap – 36 tasters across 18 beers for $125

You don’t have to be a beer drinker to enjoy DTC, there’s a range of spirits, wines and ciders available that have been picked with the same enthusiasm with which they choose beers.

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DTC’s Joel Beresford introduces the CANary canning machine and the Double Dutch Rudder
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Double Dutch Rudder – 36 tasters – best shared!

Though it’s not a big part of their business, beer geeks will be happy to hear DTC still do growler fills and they’ll fill any branded growler.

One relatively new toy to the bar is a canning machine lovingly nicknamed “the CANary” which is both pun-tastic and a reference to its splash of bold yellow colour. The CANary means you can take home a 375ml can of any tap beer. This is particularly useful for beers that are only available on tap and/or that are limited releases.

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Vincent Van Halen … DTC’s resident personality

 

Whether filling cans or growlers, the bartender will do a gas purge of the vessel before pouring your beer to help ensure the beer stays as close to brewery fresh as possible – remember, oxygen is enemy of beer so the gas purge will help keep nasty oxygen out of your beautiful beer. Having said that, this isn’t one of those moments for cellaring beer, you’ll want to enjoy that beer fresh.

Beau Ferreira is back in the DTC kitchen and as head chef he has put together a new menu of “inspired gastro-pub meals” including a range of burgers, arguably a must-have in a beer dedicated bar, and other dishes such as the Chermoula & Mandarin Lamb Ribs and House Honey & Jasmine Smoked Tassie Salmon alongside a good range of snacky items and a couple of dishes for sweet tooths.

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Chocolate Pretzel with Sesame & Dark Chocoalte Ganache

Overall there aren’t massive changes, it’s still DTC, but the relaunch seemed to be more about the subtle improvements to the offering. It was nice to be invited in to see what the team have been working on; it’s also worth noting that it’s a team that consists of some of WA’s most passionate and knowledgeable beer people. From what I’ve had of the food menu so far it is very tasty and I’m looking forward to heading back to try the rest. Just like Petition Beer Corner, DTC’s high rotational list means it is easy to find excuses to pop in and see what’s new on tap.

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Venue Manager Zack welcoming everyone to the DTC Re-Launch

 

Monk Hop Harvest Dinner

The Monk’s first Hop Harvest Dinner in celebration of their first wet hop beer, featuring wet hops from Albany and paired with food made with and inspired by the same hops

Last month I visited Karridale Cottages and Hop Farm, and I was like a kid in a candy store, and I wrote about it for The Crafty Pint.

Crafty Pint: Where there’s hope, there’s hops

Karridale Hop Farm

Karridale Hop Farm

But Karridale is not the only place you’ll find hops in the south west, the Hops West farm can be found in Albany near the Kalgan River. Certainly not new hop kids on the block, their farm has developed in WA over the last ten years where they grow over 20 varieties.

Last month Matt and Mitch, operations manager and head chef respectively at the Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen, took an epic day trip to Albany to harvest fresh hops and return with their bounty to use in the brewery.

Monk at Hop West Albany

Photo taken from The Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen Facebook page

Matt and Mitch picked hops for three hours and returned to the brewery with more than eight kilos of hop goodness. The hops were to feature in five beers for the Monk’s first Hop Harvest Dinner, held last week, and also in all the food paired to each beer.

Monk Craft Brewery and Kitchen

Event: Hop Harvest Dinner

Where: The Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen

Date: Thursday 24th March

Hop Harvest Dinner at Monk

Matt Marinich at Hop Harvest Dinner

Operations Manager Matt Marinich

ONE

Beer …

Monk Common Ale featuring Kracanup wet hops. Kracanup is a hybrid style of Cascade and Chinook.

Paired with …

Chicken Crackle, Pancetta, Lardo with House Pickle, Hop Smoked Deviled Egg and Nasu Dengaku.

This was a heck of a way to kick off the dinner, an absolutely gorgeous pairing of big passionfruit and lime driven flavours in the Common Ale and it matched in wonderfully different ways with each element of the dish.

“There’s more fat than meat so, you know, the perfect amount,”

Head Chef Mitch on the pancetta

Monk Common Ale

TWO

Beer …

Monk Seasonal – Autumn Red Ale featuring Red Earth wet hops.

Paired with …

WA Carrots and Hop Leaf Emulsion.

You’ve never had carrots so damn good, pickle, roasted and if you were to turn vegetarian based on this dish no one would blame you.

Monk Autumn Red Ale

WA Carrots and Hop Leaf Emulsion at Hop Harvest Dinner at Monk

THREE

Beer …

Monk Wet Hop Ale – an American Pale Ale base using whole hops throughout the brew and absolutely no hop pellets. Brewers Mal and Rhys used three varieties, Kracanup, Challenger and Flinders at various stages over two days of brewing but they were largely unsure of what effect the hops would have on the final product having no specifications or measurements on the hops.

“It was a beautiful blank canvas,”

Head Brewer Mal on the hop varities

The result was a beer with a hop profile that is “very elegant” says Mal.

Paired with …

Poached Jindong Pork Lion and Zucchini

Poached Pork Loin at Hop Harvest Dinner

FOUR

Beer …

Monk Extra IPA featuring Challenger and Kracanup wet hops and served through a firkin at the table.

Described enthusiastically by brewer Rhys as being the “dankest offering”, the beer had the longest contact time with the hops with hops literally shoved into the firkin so that the beer was hopped from tank to glass.

Monk Extra IPA

Food …

21 day aged Macabee Dorper Mutton and Cauliflower

Macabee Dorper Lamb can be found on Baillee Farm in the Avon Valley. They use sustainable farming practices and head chef Mitch was more than a little excited to be working Macabee Dorper Lamb. The dish featured belly and rack with Mitch saying, “this is something I am very proud to serve.” Anthea  Brown from Macabee Dorper Lamb was also at the dinner and was equally appreciative, “it’s great to work with people like Mitch and Sam who appreciate meat with some fat on it.”

Hop Harvest Dinner at The Monk

FIVE

Beer …

Monk Speciality – Belgian Speciality Ale, a blend of sour brown ale and Belgian Quad that spent six months in red wine barrels with brettanomyces.

Paired with …

Custom made wheel of ‘Hopped Up’ Vintage Ale Cheddar Cheese. Anyone who has had Mitch’s cheese before will know it’s absolutely killer. This version used the Monk’s own Vintage Ale with hop leaf thrown in too.

Cheese and Belgian Speciality Ale


Big thanks to Matt, Mitch, Sam and the whole team at The Monk for inviting me along to a great night! Already looking forward to next  years! Extra special shout out to Mitch, this dinner marked this last night at The Monk, and wish him all the best for the next food adventure! 

The Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers

Alright, folks. It’s that time of year again and as always I have left my voting to the last minute. I am, of course, talking about the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beer poll

Alright, folks. It’s that time of year again and as always I have left my voting to the last minute.

I am, of course, talking about the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beer poll.

Finding out what the most loved Australian beers of year has been is always fun, always brings some kind of debate and, generally ends with Feral Hop Hog taking out number one position. If they repeat this, who cares? Well a lot of people probably, but it doesn’t mean the poll isn’t any less interesting or fun. Don’t forget folks, beer is about the fun!

So,  here’s what I voted for and, as always, it didn’t take hours for me to put this list together, it’s a list of beers I have loved and would recommend any beer lover to seek out (if able to, of course).

    1. Nail Red Ale – love this beer and love that I work for Nail now. Damn right I’m voting for this gorgeous beer.
    2. Pirate Life IIPA – crazy great beer, epic 500ml can and beautiful branding.
    3. Boatrocker Orange Sherbet – I’m so in love with Boatrocker and this beer is perfect.
    4. Colonial Small Ale – the reduced alcohol beer that still tastes great and all inside a super fun can. Seriously, I love the POP it makes!
    5. Feral War Hog – Wow. A beer that slaps you around a bit but damn if it isn’t one of the finest beers to come out of Feral.

If I could fit more, well Monk R2D8 would be in there for sure. As would Boatrocker Banshee and Eagle Bay Citrus IPA. Damn it’s hard to fill just five spots.

Voting closes at 11.59pm AEST TODAY (Monday 18th January) so get voting now if you haven’t already!

 

 

 

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.

 

 

Perth Royal Beer Show: Awards

On Friday 31 July the River Room at the Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre was filled with some of the countries best people in beer. The occasion was the Perth Royal Beer Show awards dinner.

This year saw a significant increase in entries in both the commercial and amatuer sections of the competition, upwards of 40%. When Sean Symons, chief judge, spoke on the night he commented that not only had the number of entries increased but “year on year there is a steady increase in quality”.

“Great beer is simple and elegant”

Sean Symons, Chief Judge Perth Royal Beer Show

Of the 186 medals awarded in the commercial section of the competition, 128 of them (if my math is correct) were awarded to WA breweries.

The Crafty Pint did a great wrap up of the awards which you can read here.

I spent a little time looking through the results and here’s what I counted –

WA breweries amassed 128 medals – 13 Gold, 59 Silver and 56 Bronze. Nail Brewing took out the most medals with 13, closely followed by Feral Brewing with 11.

Nail Brewing – 1 Gold | 8 Silver | 4 Bronze

Feral Brewing – 1 Gold | 6 Silver | 4 Bronze

The Old Brewery – 1 Gold | 4 Silver | 3 Bronze

Homestead Brewery – 1 Gold | 3 Silver | 4 Bronze

Mash Brewery – 2 Gold | 4 Silver | 2 Bronze

Gage Roads Brewing – 1 Gold | 3 Silver | 4 Bronze

Colonial Brewing – 2 Gold | 2 Silver | 3 Bronze

Eagle Bay Brewing – 1 Gold | 4 Silver | 2 Bronze

Duckstein Brewery – 1 Gold | 5 Bronze

Boston Brewery – 4 Silver | 2 Bronze

Billabong Brewery – 1 Gold | 2 Silver | 2 Bronze

Young Henry’s Beer Farm – 3 Silver | 2 Bronze

Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen – 1 Silver | 5 Bronze

Cowaramup Brewery – 2 Silver | 2 Bronze

Northbridge Brewing – 3 Silver | 1 Bronze

Cape Bouvard Brewing – 2 Silver | 1 Bronze

Indian Ocean Brewing – 1 Gold | 1 Silver | 1 Bronze

Cheeky Monkey Brewery – 1 Silver | 2 Bronze

Matsos Brewery – 1 Silver | 1 Bronze

Elmars in the Valley – 2 Silver

Last Drop Brewery – 2 Bronze

Blue Mile Brewing – 1 Silver | 1 Bronze

Little Creatures Brewing – 1 Gold | 1 Silver

Neighbourhood Brewing | 1 Gold 

Old Coast Road Brewery – 1 Bronze

Bickley Valley Brewery – 1 Bronze

Blackwood Valley Brewery – 1 Bronze

The Grove – 1 Bronze


The trophy tally was nine for WA breweries with trophies going to –

Indian Ocean Brewing for Mumme Returns

Little Creatures for Return of the Dread

Nail Brewing for Flaming Lamington

Mash Brewery for Purple Stain

Gage Roads Brewing for Pils 3.5

Billabong Brewery for Billabong Wheat

Duckstein Brewery for Duckstein Hefeweizen

Mash Brewery for Copy Cat and Best WA Brewery 


For the full list of results click here.

 

 

Perth Royal Beer Show: Judging

In April I received an email with the subject line “Invitation to Officiate as an Associate Judge – Perth Royal Beer Show 2015”. I was delighted, a bit nervous and most of all felt pretty lucky to have been considered by the Perth Royal Beer Show (PRBS) committee. Being an associate judge basically means I have my training wheels on. It is an opportunity to learn from some of the best in the business and hopefully I can continue on to become a certified judge. PRBS Associate Judge badge

Judging was held over two days, last Monday and Tuesday, and it was an amazing experience and a surprisingly exhausting one. It turns out that tasting beers from 9am to 4:30pm is a really tiring thing but, as many of the experienced judges told me, no one except the other judges will actually believe you. Judging panels were made up of four to six people with at least three of those being certified judges. There were six panels of judges which, I believe, is an increase from previous years and that is a good thing because the number of entries into the show continues to rise year on year. Each judge has their own table, on it is a number system since the beers are served blind so you need to know which is which. There is also, of course, plenty of water, cheese and crackers to ensure judges don’t end up sideways. I don’t think I’ve consumed so many bite sized cubes of cheese ever before in my life.  Beers come out in flights of anywhere up to eight or nine beers within the same category.

PRBS Judging table

I was on a panel with Justin Fox from Colonial Brewing, Brendan O’Sullivan from Mash/3 Ravens and Will Irving from Feral Brewing. In short, some amazing palates and all round good guys.

Will, Justin and Brendan at PBRS Judging

The judges were all really helpful and made efforts to help me through my first judging experience, something that I very much appreciated as it was a little daunting so it was a lot easier with friendly faces and plenty of advice. Though I have had a lot of beers, written my share of tasting notes for myself and discuss beer in a daily basis, it does feel like a whole different ball game when sitting at a table and blinding assessing the beer in front of you.  In fact there is a lot happening when you are judging beers.

Scoring

It’s one thing to give a rating on Untappd but quite another to allocate scores in a judging scenario. At times I found my notes on a beer didn’t quite meet up to the score I had given so there is certainly a learning curve just in the scoring.

Time

You have to be mindful of how much time you spend on each beer. As much as I would have liked to have lingered on each beer for a long time you just don’t have that luxury. I’m certainly not saying there isn’t enough time but as a beginner it’s something I had to be conscious of. As much as I would have liked to have given each beer thirty minutes of my time I’d still be there now if that was the case; I’d also be very drunk.

Language

There are times when I taste or smell a beer and there’s just something I can’t put a word to. I search my brain looking for the word, it feels like it is on the tip of my tongue, pardon the obvious pun, until I either find it or finish the beer.

Guidelines

Not only does the beer need to be tasting great but it needs to fit within the style guidelines for the category of beer it is entered into. Each style has an acceptable range of appearance, aroma and flavours so you can have a beautiful tasting beer that doesn’t fit into the category and would therefore not be scored as high if it had fit the guidelines.


Big thanks to the Perth Royal Beer Show committee for inviting me to be an Associate Judge, I loved every minute!

Porter & Stout Tasting at Northbridge Brewing Co.

On Wednesday 15 July Northbridge Brewing Co will have their next beer club, in preparation I look back at the last one …

Every two months Northbridge Brewing Co hold their Beer Club, a beer tasting around a particular style/s hosted by head brewer Ken Arrowsmith. It’s held on the rooftop Sky Deck bar, perfect for a cool Northbridge evening.

I have been lucky to have been invited to these tasting where Ken guides the group through up to eight generous samples and the Northbridge Brewing Co kitchen sends out an assortment of picky food.

Stout and Porter Beer Club at Northbridge Brewing Co

The next Beer Club is an extra special one – a Trappist Beer Tasting – with a line up of beers that includes the ‘best beer in the world’ – Westvleteren  12. Other beers listed for tasting are Westvleteren 8, Westvleteren Blonde, Rochefort 10, Orval and La Trappe Triple.

Trappist Beers – beers brewed within the walls of a Trappist monastery by their monks, beers are produced not for profit but for the maintenance of the monastery with any extra funds going to charity

[Beer Reading] Business Insider: How a tiny brewery run by monks came to make the best beer in the world

Northbridge’s Trappist Beer Tasting is on Wednesday night, tickets and more information found here.

In the mean time, just to get your taste buds tingling, here’s the beers we tasted at the last Beer Club – Porters & Stouts … Hope to see you Wednesday for Trappists!


Samuel Smith Teddy’s Porter | 5.0% ABV | North Yorkshire

I enjoyed this one, a lot going on but the body was much lighter than I was expecting.

Billabong Porter | 5.0% ABV | Perth

Fuller’s London Porter | 5.4% ABV | London

Northbridge Brewing Co Japanese Porter | 5.0% ABV | Perth

Beer Club usually coincides with the breweries own limited release beer. Their Japanese Porter, which there may still be one keg left if you hurry, was brewed with the Japanese Sorachi Ace hop variety which added a citrus lemon.

Northbridge Brewing Co Japanese Porter

Feral Smoked Porter | 4.7% ABV | Perth

Gotta love a beer that promotes itself as having “bacony undertones”

Nail Oatmeal Stout | 6.0% ABV | Perth

I had only just started my job with Nail Brewing at the time of this event so I was keen to hear what Ken had to say, “it’s a bit of a legend and rightly so in my opinion”. Thanks Ken!

Coopers Best Extra Stout | 6.3% ABV | Adelaide

This was a really great and interesting inclusion because I’ve had this beer on many an occasion but rarely break it down like I would a beer I’ve not tried before. Comparing it with the other beers reinforced my love for this beer; I found it really interesting that I got bigger roasty flavour and fruitiness than in the previous beers.

Heretic Shallow Grave Porter | 7.0% ABV | California

I think Ken’s description said it all – “delicious, luscious and rich”. This is one of the first beers I had from this US brewery and I was mighty impressed when it had it then and still like it very much now. The nose, to me, just smells like fresh chocolate cake.

Stouts and Porter Beer Club at Northbridge Brewing Co