5 minutes with Guy Southern aka Goodtimes Craft Beer

Alright, let’s kick off with an apology and a confession.

First, sorry for the absence here! Hopefully, you’ve been following along on my Instagram where I am much better at regularly posting.

Speaking of Insta, that brings us nicely into my return to my blog with this post featuring Instagram legend, Guy Southern, aka Goodtimes Craft Beer.

(and if you’re wondering about the confession, it’s quite simply that this is not going to be a 5-minute read but I can tell you for sure, it will be fun and interesting!)

I always love catching up with Guy because he brings a unique perspective to the beer industry and articulates it perfectly. His articles on Crafty Pint are some of the best reading in Australian beer and he’s also one of the nicest and most fun guys to have a beer with. I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again and again, beer people are the best people.

Grab yourself a beer, get comfy and get to know Guy a bit better as he talks about how he started writing about beer, the idea of a WA brewing identity, the Instagram accounts that inspire him and a list of breweries, locally and internationally, who are impressing him.

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Guy during the launch of his collab brew with Rocky Ridge and Devine Cellars at Petition, November 2018

What inspired you to start writing about beer?

I’m not sure if it was inspiration but around 2013/14 I formalised what I’d been posting about beer on Facebook into the original Goodtimes blog. There wasn’t much to draw from back then so I pretty much ripped the concept off Girl + Beer – you might know her. The following year, Joel Beresford (The Dutch Trading Co.) introduced me to a man that I’d literally bumped into while trying to order a beer at Beer DeLuxe during Good Beer Week. As a result of a that 45 second conversation, I began writing long form articles and reviews for James Smith AKA the Crafty Pint. In hindsight, the naïve arrogance that I might have something to contribute has served me well.

As far as writing goes, I can thank my Dad for a love of language which was supported by a couple of high school teachers.  This led to a half-completed English / Public Relations degree which was rudely interrupted by a lengthy retail career. From this viewpoint, nothing has really changed in over 20 years – I’m still writing, mitigating and encouraging people and businesses to be more than they might think they can be, or at least be curious about opportunities they might not have considered.


Read: The Story of: Hop Hog at Ten at Crafty Pint by Guy Southern


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Dan (Billabong), Guy and Steve (WA Beer Runner/The Good Beer Project) during 2017 WA Beer Week

Which three breweries are currently impressing you and why?

I’m lucky to have great friends that share great beer so I’m not going to answer the question directly. Haha.

Internationally, Cornish brewery Verdant is consistently delicious. Noting them is also a halo for the broader UK scene of Cloudwater, Left Handed Giant, Northern Monk and others. From Europe I’ll drop Spanish brewery Garage Beers into this and Cantillon is undeniably hype-worthy. From the US, Perennial, Cycle and Hill Farmstead have also been delicious this year. All amazing beers but also amazing artwork – design is not an afterthought!

Nationally, I been lucky to try a lot of Range Brewing’s beers through trades that have been great. Wildflower continues to excite and Philter’s new IPA is crushable. 3 Ravens and Boatrocker keep building momentum with exceptional releases and I love what Van Dieman and Ocho are doing.

Locally, it’s never been better to be a WA beer drinker. The diversity and quality coming of WA breweries is insane. I really don’t want to single anyone out so I’ll just note Rocky Ridge purely for the opportunity to collaborate on Devine Goodtimes – Barrel Aged Sparkling Saison.

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What are some of your favourite Instagram accounts and why?

I really enjoy Instagram and have made some great friends through the platform. For Goodtimes Craft Beer I mainly follow beer accounts although there are few others that inspire me. I’m less interested in the lifestyle – ‘here’s me with a beer’ – side of Insta and more interested in creativity.  Most importantly, I respect well curated, engaging accounts with a consistent visual language.

Beer and booze:

Sips and Sessions – Ash inspires me and never fails to deliver, Beer Thread – Leon has a consistent tone and some world class beer hustle!, Elitraks – seriously good photo work, Craft Beer Deer – for consistent tone and use of different scale within the square ratio to create interest, Beautifulbooze for styling ideas, Eagle Bay Brewing Co. – probably the most cohesive brewery account in Australia and likewise for Mane Liquor in retail.

[update: Guy also notes Phineasphrog as another good one to follow]

Architecture and design:

Mymodernmet, Kmsalvagedeisgn, Designboom and boluddha – these speak for themselves in their own way.

Lifestyle and photography:

Slice of Pai – I love the composition and cohesion of this account. It’s a great example of using colour to create a visual narrative flow through different locations, JR – not only is his art wonderful and subversive but the account is equally well curated, Tannaka_tatsuya – the sheer creativity makes you look at the whole world differently, Magnum photos – everyone should be following this account. As legendary co-founder Henri Cartier-Bresson said “Magnum is a community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on and a desire to transcribe it visually”, Peter McKinnon – check his gregarious YouTube videos for tips on improving your Insta game. A quick scroll through the account is a great example of moving from ice landscapes to desert to cityscapes through composition and tone. Likewise, Create Explore uses composition, especially by using colour, tone and really subtle visual symbols through the account to create visual narrative flow.

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I stole a ‘behind-the-scenes’ photo of Guy as he got his Instagram on at his beer launch!

Read: The Collaborators: Zendoke on Crafty Pint by Guy Southern


Finish this sentence: The WA craft beer scene needs more …

Identity.

When Phil Sexton and mates fired up the Freemasons’ Hotel in 1984, they started the idea of better beer in Australia and, courtesy of the America’s Cup defence, sparks were also sent to San Diego – and those folks seem to have done OK with the idea. Matilda Bay, Little Creatures, Feral, Eagle Bay, Cheeky Monkey, Rocky Ridge and plenty more have followed. For a state that’s birthed even this short list of world beaters, why aren’t we known globally for beer?

Of all the challenges that face WA breweries, venues and retailers – ownership / authenticity questions, consistent quality, tap contracts, market saturation, consumer knowledge, container deposit schemes and constantly changing algorithms – the hard truth is most punters don’t care and no one is coming to help. No one. The only thing that transcends all of that is a strong, cohesive and professional identity that all Western Australians can be proud of: WA Beer.

Over 2.5 million people live here and they have a rich beer history to be proud of, if we can get them engaged and involved with WA beer. Moreover, four billion people live just to our north who might be interested in a WA beer but that won’t happen in isolation nor should it be at the exclusion of the rest of Australia.

Western Australian breweries have supported the careers of many that are killing it nationally and internationally so a parochialism isn’t required, just a shared identity that we can all embrace, no matter how big or small the brewery is or what part of the beer industry people are involved in. WA Beer should be about retailers, venues, sales reps, journalists and bloggers as much as breweries not only because these people facilitate getting great beer to punters but because beer is inclusive – it loves everyone equally.

Lastly, without a strong identity, WA beer will, in time, be consumed by others with a stronger identity and agenda that has no regard for what has come before. It will be incremental and before you know it there will be no legacy and nothing to be proud of together.

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Guy, Kyle (Otherside) and Reece (Nowhereman)

What was the last beer you had that made a lasting impression?

I talk about context a lot. Timing, place and company have so much to do with how we enjoy not just beer but life in general. For the most part, I’ve stopped chasing beers and have put my trust a mangled thought I lifted from faded bumper stickers: Beer happens. The beer magic happens when you least expect it because you’ve helped others.

So, to actually answer the question, during the Devine Goodtimes brew day at Rocky Ridge I shared a fresh Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus with the collaborators. There were quite a few of us so the pours were small. An hour or so after sharing I saw Rocky Ridge rouseabout Jacob Nesbitt walk past sniffing the 80mls that I’d been able to share with him – he still hadn’t tried it. Lost in the aroma and grinning, he said that he’d never been able to try Cantillon before and really wanted to savour it. We were all blown away by the beer but that moment is a lasting impression for me. So much about beer is about everything that happens around the glass – the context just as much as the liquid and what went into making it. That’s the stuff that I think is lasting.

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Adam (Feral/Beer Sucks), Rhys (Otherside), myself, Guy and Brendan (Cheeky Monkey/Beer Sucks) at last years Getting Blind with Crafty, a blind tasting event, at Dutch Trading Co for WA Beer Week 

 

 

5 minutes with Jacq and Mark from Eat The Street

Happening on 17 March as part of Eat Drink Perth, The Ultimate Craft Beer Tour is hosted by Eat the Street Perth Walking Tours

[ less than a six minute read ]

All photos and images provided by Eat The Street

Eat the Street is a Perth walking tour company owned and operated by Jacqueline Baril and Mark Padgett who, if you’ve ever met them, you’ll know are excellent guides and lovely people. They’re passionate and knowledgeable about what’s going on in Perth and both are particularly in love with craft beer. Late last year Mark became a Certified Cicerone and, along with yours truly, joined a small number of West Australians currently holding such a certification. So who better to show people around Perth to find all the really good beer?!

What is a Cicerone? The word Cicerone (sis-uh-rohn) designates hospitality professionals with proven experience in selecting, acquiring and serving today’s wide range of beers. From Cicerone website. It’s basically like a sommelier but for beer!

On Saturdays, they run a dedicated Craft Beer Tour that kicks off at 3pm, because it isn’t socially acceptable to drink in the morning, and for Eat Drink Perth 2018, they are hosting a one-off special edition. Happening on 17 March, Jacq says The Ultimate Craft Beer Tour will be like their regular Craft Beer tour “but cranked up to 11!”

Eat Drink Perth: 1 – 31 March 2018

“We will have a special guest join us at each stop ranging from brewers to craft beer educators,”

The tour is extra special for Mark as it will be his first event as a Certified Cicerone.

The group will be a little bigger than normal with 15 guests and up to three guides depending on the stop and the special guest* assigned to each stop. The details are still being worked out but you can be sure a stop at craft beer favourites Dominion League and Baby Mammoth will be on the schedule and some pretty special beers and food pairings will be on offer.

*Note: I will be putting the ‘special’ into special guest by appearing on the tour too!

So you can get to know your hosts-with -the-most, I asked Jacq and Mark to answer five questions for this latest edition of ‘5 minutes with …’

Eat the Street’s Jacqueline Baril and Mark Padgett \\ Photo courtesy of Eat the Street

Which Australian breweries should people be watching?

Jacq: Wildflower, Mark and I got to meet Topher while we were in Sydney for Christmas. What he is doing there is pretty spectacular.

Mark: Batch Brewing in Sydney, Aether in Brisbane, 3 Ravens in Melbourne, Artisan are always doing something interesting over this way and great to see some city-based brewpubs!

What’s the most exciting thing about WA craft beer right now?

J: The sheer number of breweries that have opened or are opening. Crafties are taking over. It means better beers on tap at the corner pubs and more adventurous styles are being brewed.

M: I think the quality. There has been a lot of growth in the last five years, but with that the bar has been raised for quality. Our local beer is amazing and certainly holds up to beers I’ve had anywhere in the world.

What was your epiphany beer?

J: Lindemans Pecheresse – there was this small bottle shop in Frank BC Canada that stocked craft beer. When Mark found it he bought the full range of Lindemans that they had available plus a few more choice internationals. Pecheresse and framboise were my favourites. This was the first time I had ever tried craft beer or lambics.

M: I can’t just list one so here’s a few! Weihenstephan Hefe Weiss beer, Jever Pils, Emerson’s Pilsner, Duvel, Cantillon Gueuze, Worthington’s White Shield IPA, Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

What is the most surprising thing one of your guests has said on your Craft Beer Tour?

I don’t drink craft beer! …. Saaaay waaaaht?

What is your favourite beer and food pairing?

J: Baby Mammoth did a Golden Gay Time pannacotta paired with the Golden Stout Time from Big Shed, it was awesome. For an at home pairing you can’t go past a good stout with lamb roast. It’s such a great way to warm up in the winter, and I am lucky that Mark is a great cook. My go-to local is the Nail Oatmeal Stout.

M: As Jacq indicated above, pretty much anything paired at Baby Mammoth ! Those guys are next level! But at home I love cheese and beer! All the cheeses and all the beers. Try a Schlenkerla Urbock with a smoked Gouda and a spicy salami or a Boon Gueuze with a double brie.


DON’T FORGET!

17 March 2018, 3pm : The Ultimate Craft Beer Tour – a special one-off tour for Eat Drink Perth 2018

5 minutes with Sam Fuss from Philter Brewing

Sam Füss is the head brewer at Philter Brewing (NSW) who released their first beer in March last year. Read on for more information on Philter and to spend 5 minutes with Sam …

If you Google “Philter” you’ll discover the Sydney brewery who opened last April. You’ll also find the definition of the word which is “a potion, charm, or drug supposed to cause the person taking it to fall in love, usually with some specific person.” You’ll also discover that Philter is the name of a 30-something Norwegian music artist who wears a big pink bunny head but I am getting sidetracked. With the tagline “Seductively Beer” I think it’s safe to assume the Sydney brewery is named after the love potion, not the pink bunny guy.

Philter Brewing is the result of three Sydney mates who wanted to “make a high-quality, easy-drinking beer with an attitude that was just as simple.”

In December, Philter released their third beer into the range, a lager, joining their XPA and Red, and the brewery got in touch to send me some samples. Big thanks to Melissa, Sam and the Philter Brewing crew for sending six cans all the way to WA!

The branding seems to be pretty divisive, more so than any other beer brand I can easily recall. Self-described as “1980’s Australia”, it reminds me of this ridiculous novelty hat my Dad had when I was a kid. It was in the shape of a top hat and was made from thick knitted wool and beer cans. When I posted photos of the beers, I got positive and less-than-positive responses which I’d imagine isn’t much of a surprise to the brewery. Admittedly, at first glance, I wasn’t a fan but the more I opened my fridge and saw these beers, the more I liked them.

Philter beers are not being stocked in WA just yet but you can get them sent to you through two online shops – The Booze Exchange and BoozeBud if you like great beer being delivered to your door!

Philter’s head brewer is Sam Fuss and her resume includes Matilda Bay*, Little Creatures and Young Henry’s, to name a few. Sam was also one of the founding members of Pink Boots Society Australia, part of a global organisation that supports and promotes women working the beer industry.

*I did attempt to link to the website but I got a security alert, just thought I’d mention in case it looked like I was deliberately leaving it out!

Sam is not only a great brewer with 16 years experience, she’s also just a great person in general and kindly agreed to this Q&A so read on for 5 minutes with Sam Fuss, head brewery of Philter Brewing …

Head Brewer Sam Fuss (right) and Co-Founder Mick Neil (left) at 2017 CBA Award Winners || Photo courtesy of Philter Brewing

Philter is still relatively new, less than 12 months old, what has been the biggest surprise so far?

It’s been a crackin’ year for us so far and taking out the Trophy for Best Pale ale at the CBIA awards was a huge surprise!! I thought they’d read out the wrong name, then I went a bit dumb! I was a little lost for words to be honest (which we all know is not like me at all!!). The other wonderfully surprising and humbling treat is how our beers have been received. We decided very early on that we’d have fun with our approach and why not, beer is fun! We’ve kept true to our word so far and we’re looking forward to upping the ante in 2018.
Loving this XPA, it’s full of passionfruit, grapefruit, toasty malts and a lightly grassy finish.

How long was the process to develop the XPA recipe and was an XPA always going to be the first beer for Philter?

In my head, I guess I’ve been working on a session ale recipe for about 5 years. I brewed a similar version under My “Old Salt” project banner, but have definitely refined it since. That comes from falling back in love with some old favourite hops like Simcoe and Galaxy and new ones such as Mosaic. Hop Flavour and aroma is a really big part of our beers along with keeping them sessionable. Our XPA is our flagship beer and is an awesome beer to brew!

Which beer style do you think is criminally underrated?

Not sure if I’m going to get booed on this one! But I reckon there is so much more to discover in lower to medium ABV style beers, Berliner Weiss, session ales the list Gose on (pun intended). These can be super complex beers and if you adding fruit, herbs or spices that adds even more complexity. A lot of it’s about balance and harmony between all of your ingredients if you achieve that you can make some wonderfully interesting and amazing beers, that aren’t necessarily about who can pee the highest up the wall with big boozy, high alpha, drink backwards, boob beard beers.

[girlplusbeer note: I believe Sam is referencing “gimmick” beers such as American brewery Rogue who made a beer with yeast harvested from one of their brewer’s beard.]

High on drinkability and punchy hop character, this beer is toasty and biscuity with a bright citrus finish.

You’ve done quite a few collabs in your previous brewing roles, who would you want to collab with at Philter?

I’ve had the opportunity to collab with some amazing people! Chef’s, Muso’s and some of the greatest artists of our time, spanning four centuries.

Watch: Inspired by ‘The Greats’ by Young Henry’s, a collaboration with the Art Gallery of NSW

Whilst it’s not on my radar at the moment, I’d like to continue stepping out of the norm boundaries and brew beers with likeminded artists from all over the spectrum. It’s amazing where you can draw inspiration from!

What do you think is the biggest obstacle for craft beer in Australia?

I hate to sound like a broken record, but as you hear from all parts of this brown land we love, it’s EXCISE!!! The Government needs to start to think about the little people, give small business a break, it’s well overdue!
Easily one of the best lagers I’ve had in a while. Delicate lime and grapefruit, bready and grassy with a rounded, dry, bitterness.

Big thanks to Melissa, marketing and branding for Philter, and of course Sam for your time, beers and awesomeness!

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!

 

White Lakes Brewing: One Year On

It’s been just over a year since White Lakes Brewing opened so I sat down and chatted with head brewer Sean Symons

“This is pristine,”

Sean Symons, head brewer, White Lakes Brewing

A few years ago Sean Symons was having a pint of Guinness with John Gastev at the Vernon Arms in Baldivis. He and John, whose family of well-known publicans have a love of beer, were in the early stages of scouting for a location for a brewery. As they sat overlooking Lake Walyungup, Sean said “this is pristine” and thought it was exactly the sort of place you’d want to build a brewery.

Within twelve months an opportunity came up to take over the Vernon Arms and in 2015 they started construction of White Lakes Brewing right next door to the tavern.

It has now been just over twelve months since White Lakes Brewing opened their doors. The whole site is called West Garden, home to the Vernon Arms and White Lakes Brewing.


Construction involved converting the function centre on site into a brewery and this meant lifting a large portion of the ceiling to accommodate the HGM brew kit. What was the kitchen is now what Sean fondly refers to as the “mad brewers lab” where testing and quality control happen. The main function space with large timber ceiling beams and exposed brick walls is now home to fermenters and tanks lined up in neat rows. A couple of the fermenters are sitting where the dance floor used to be.

The brew kit is powered by steam, ticking boxes for the brewery in being both environmentally friendly and ensuring great brewery efficiency. The vapour condenser on the brew kit collects steam from the kettle and converts it to hot water, the condensation goes to the waste water treatment which is used to water the lawns and gardens.

Sean built their malt silo; something he was quick to add that he wouldn’t recommend. “It came from the US, flat packed,” Sean said it took a full week to put together.

“We love our lagers,”

Lagers feature strongly in the line up with the White Lakes Draught and Pilsener, German style and Bohemian style pilseners respectively, along with a seasonal Dark which is a German Schwarzbier.

Their Wit is a Belgian style wheat beer that Sean says is “a big favourite” of his and that won a silver medal at the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) in May.

White Lakes Standard, among their best-selling beers alongside the Pilsener and Draught, won a gold medal at the AIBA and is based on an English Ordinary Bitter. At just 3.5 percent ABV it is their reduced alcohol offering which was an important inclusion in their range given their somewhat regional location. It also reflects the old English beers that were available when the Vernon Arms first opened.

White Lakes Summer and Pale Ale round out the range providing some hoppier ale options.

“The beers that are approachable and sessionable and that you can return to will be the really successful beers,”

5 minutes with Steve Wearing from Homestead Brewery

Head brewer Steve Wearing took some time out of the brewery to answer my five questions so grab a beer, sit back and enjoy this short chat and get a little insight into Homestead, what beers are in Steve’s fridge at home and what it takes to make a really great wheat beer.

You’ll find Homestead Brewery, which was established in 2014, in the Swan Valley and helps make the Valley a great place for beer lovers to go. At the recent Perth Royal Beer Awards, Homestead Brewery received the trophy for Best Wheat Beer Draught for the second year in the row for their beer Kaiser’s Choice Hefeweizen.

Head brewer Steve Wearing took some time out of the brewery to answer my five questions so grab a beer, sit back and enjoy this short chat and get a little insight into Homestead, what beers are in Steve’s fridge at home and what it takes to make a really great wheat beer.

What is the key to making a really great wheat beer?

It’s all in the yeast – start off with a really good quality yeast and from there really get to know how that strain works. Factors such as pitch rate, oxygenation, ferment temperature and pressure all impact the esters produced during fermentation. Take detailed brew logs and manipulate these variables over many batches until you get the result you are after.

What has surprised you most in your time at Homestead?

The massive variety in beer preferences from those that don’t generally drink beer … When we run the brewery tour at Homestead, we give out tasters of each of the beers we have on tap, plus what’s in tank. We get a wide variety of people come in from those that don’t drink beer (they generally get dragged along by their partner) to seasoned craft beer nerds. I find it interesting to see which of the beers the ‘non beer drinkers’ take to – initially I always assumed it would be the lighter, cleaner beers like a lager. But it turns out I was wrong, often they really get into the heavier or more complex beers such as a stout or a big IPA.

So I think the moral of the story is if you don’t think you like beer – keep trying, you just haven’t found the style you like yet!

What do you think is the biggest obstacle for WA craft beer?

Liquor licensing is definitely a big issue. Obtaining a liquor license is extremely expensive, takes 6+ months (in some instances much longer) and there is no guarantee your license will be approved. This is enough to stop the smaller players from even getting into the industry. If the process was simplified, we would see a lot of small brewpubs open up with a focus on production for on-site sales.

Wouldn’t it be great if we all had a local microbrewery just down the road?

What five beers in your fridge at home now?

Delirium Nocturnum, a few different varieties from Rodenbach, 3 Ravens Juicy IPA, Eagle Bay Black IPA and Coopers Best Extra Stout (plus of course some Homestead beer in the keg fridge!)

3 Ravens Juicy IPA

How important do you think it is to have a clear definition of “craft beer”?

The craft beer debate has been going on for quite a while and I personally don’t think there is a good way to define ‘craft beer’. If you try and base it on flavour parameters then it’s too subjective. If you base it on production volumes, then if a ‘craft beer’ brand is popular and successful and as a result expands to much larger production volumes, it doesn’t seem fair that it would then not be considered craft. Personally I don’t think the definition of craft beer is important, as long as there is transparency with all brands as to who owns the brand and where the beer is produced, this is enough for consumers to make an informed decision when making a purchase.

 

5 minutes with Tom from Clancy’s Fish Pubs

Long before Petition Beer Corner, Caboose and Dutch Trading Co, long before tap takeovers were a weekly occurrence, Clancy’s Fish Pub in Fremantle was pouring local craft beer. Tom Fisher from Clancy’s chats about memorable moments and how craft has changed over the years.

Long before Petition Beer Corner, Caboose and Dutch Trading Co, long before tap takeovers were a weekly occurrence, Clancy’s Fish Pub in Fremantle was pouring local craft beer.

When I worked for Little Creatures, the story goes that Clancy’s Fremantle was the first place outside of the brewery to pour Little Creatures Pale Ale. Delivered on the back of Elsie, the Little Creatures truck (geddit? Elsie/LC) who now has a beer named after her, the kegs were driven from the Fremantle brewery and delivered to Clancy’s Freo to be tapped fresh.

The Fisher family opened Clancy’s Fremantle in 1996 and today there are three more Clancy’s Fish Pubs – Canning Bridge, City Beach and Dunsborough. Every Clancy’s continues in the footsteps of Fremantle, supporting local and independent craft beer in a huge way.

Tom Fisher works with all the Clancy’s venues, looking after entertainment, promotions and the overall brand communications. He’s also a musician and a super nice guy.

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Right now Tom is promoting the launch of Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough Cape to Cape Tap List, that will see twelve of their 20-odd taps dedicated to south west breweries and cideries so drinkers can explore the beers and ciders of the south west under one roof.

“We can’t wait to show off the amazing beer from the region. The branding concept ties in with the legendary light-house to light-house hiking trail of the south.”

Tom Fisher, Clancy’s Fish Pub 

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On the other nine taps you’ll find even more craft beer from the rest of WA and, sometimes, further afar.

The Cape to Cape Tap List is less of a promotion and more of a commitment Clancy’s Dunsborough are making to drinkers that you’ll find these twelve breweries and cideries showcasing their stuff at the venue all the time.

29 June : Cape to Cape Tap List Launch at Clancy’s Dunsborough

To celebrate the Cape to Cape Tap List, I caught up with Tom for this edition of 5 minutes with …

What has been your most memorable day at Clancy’s Dunsborough so far?

Being involved with music side I’ve loved some of the concerts down there I’ve put on, like Fat Freddy’s Drop and Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings and one in particular, a Soul man from the USA called Lee Fields. No one really knew much about him but he just blew their minds. I watched side stage with an Eagle Bay Cacao Stout and was a very happy man.

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Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Clancy’s Dunsborough in 2013

What was the last beer you bought?

Ha ha, between being a musician and working for pubs I don’t buy many I must admit but did take home a delicious Canimal of Feral’s Finn Diesel and Eagle Bay Autumn Brown from Clancy’s Freo. (Waiting for you to hook me up a bottle of Clout Stout too ha ha) [girl+beer – maybe … one day Tom!]

Read more about Clancy’s Fremantle canimals here: 5 minutes with Ryan from Clancy’s Fremantle

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What beer style do you think is really under-rated?

I’ve been happy to see winter beers become more widely accepted in WA. The range of stouts and reds are some of my faves. So great to see these so prominent in WA pubs now.

What’s the most exciting thing about WA craft beer right now?

The number and choice is incredible. 12 years ago you’d be lucky to see three reps a week, now it’s more like three a day and quality is super consistent, particularly the WA brews. I think we are leading the way and it’s why Clancy’s has been dedicated to serving WA craft beers since the late 90’s.

Finish this sentence – The WA beer scene needs more …

Hmm…. MORE BEER TAPS! Would love to be pouring and supporting as many as humanly possible. Just love to see punters sipping a craft beer and pouring money back locally and throwing the Coronas in the bin.

Hear hear! Thanks heaps Tom for your time and can’t wait to get down to Clancy’s Dunsborough again soon!