GABS edition: 5 Minutes with Alex from Cheeky Monkey

5 minutes with Alex, brewer at Cheeky Monkey, about their entry for this years Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular ….

The year is passing quickly, Easter is just a few weeks away and that means May isn’t far behind. You might be asking “what’s so special about May?” and if that’s the case I have three words for you –

Good

Beer

Week

It’s ten days of beer love in Melbourne with more events than your liver could possibly fantasise about. I popped my Good Beer Week cherry last year and it was as amazing as everyone said it would be, so much so that I am heading back for a second taste this year, May 17-25.

Part of Good Beer Week is the epic adventure that is the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS for short (and much easier communication after many beers). It is a celebration of brewing creativity with the heart of the festival lying in the “GABS beers”, beers brewed especially for and launched during the festival. The result is 115 beers that are totally unique and available for very first time.

This years GABS will be 23-25 May at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, Melbourne.

One of the many, many GABS beers will be a Belgian Stout from Margaret River’s Cheeky Monkey. Brewer Alex Poulsen had the big brew day last week and took a few photos too, here is 5 minutes to find out more about this drop …

What’s so exciting about GABS?

GABS, what’s not to love? A whole weekend featuring never before seen beers from pretty much every Australian brewery!

Tell us about your GABS beer …

We are brewing a Belgian stout. A sort of Belgian dubbel meets Oatmeal stout.

image

What do you think will be the trickiest part of the brew?

The whole thing is pretty ridiculous. I’ve never brewed this kind of beer before commercially. We’re using malts I’ve never used before and if that isn’t enough we’re making the dark candi syrup during the mash rest.

What are the malts you are using that you’ve not worked with before?

I’m using Simpson’s malts for the first time. Specifically Simpson’s Chocolate and Black malt which I’m using to give hopefully awesome, rich coffee/chocolate/toast flavours.

What made you choose to make the dark candi syrup rather than just get some in?

It’s pretty easy to get but I’ve always wanted to make it myself and this seemed like the perfect time to try it!

image

What was your favourite beer from last year’s GABS?

I can’t pick between Feral Barrique O’Karma, Brooklyn Brewery Grand Cru or Two Birds Taco.

Who’s beer are you most keen to try?

There’s a number of breweries who’s beers I’ve never tried so getting a first impression when they’re brewing balls to the wall is going to be awesome.

Alex and Ross hard at work in the brewhouse

5 Minutes with Jayne from Two Birds Brewing

If you’re not familiar with Two Birds it’s definitely time for you to get acquainted – here’s Five Minutes with brewer bird Jayne Lewis …

Not long ago the Australian beer loving people got some pretty exciting news – Two Birds Brewing will be opening their own brewery this year! You can read all about it here at Crafty Pint.

If you’re not familiar with Two Birds it’s definitely time for you to get acquainted. First they hit us with Golden Ale, an immensely drinkable, summer-in-a-glass kinda drop. Then they followed it up with Sunset Ale, bursting with gorgeous stone fruit and biscuit flavours this one reminds me of my birthday and drinking it on the beach.

Enjoying my 30th birthday beachside
Enjoying my 30th birthday beachside

Their Taco Beer, released for last years Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, is now a cult classic for good drinking beer nerds. Inspired by holiday fish tacos, it’s a wheat beer with coriander, lime and corn and just might soon end up in your closest beer loving bottleshop if this Tweet is anything to go by …

Taco Tweet

All in all it looks like another exciting year for brewer bird Jayne Lewis and other bird Danielle Allen. Both were kind enough to participate in “Five Minutes with …” – be sure to check out Five Minutes with Danielle if you haven’t already and here is Five Minutes with Jayne …

What beer did you drink last night?

Nothing last night, but the last beer I had was a Sunset Ale, as we packed up our stall after The Melbourne Beer Fest on Sunday.

Finish this sentence – Craft beer is like …

… my happy place. I love the drink, the process and the people.

Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed?

Little Creatures Pale Ale, for the role it’s played in craft beer in Australia.

What is the best thing you have learnt from the other bird?

The other bird has taught me that anything is possible with heard work and she has an amazing propensity to get things done. She has taken to the craft brewing industry like the proverbial duck to water and I’m so proud of the way she’s embraced the industry and gotten involved.

What is the very first thing you will do when the new Two Birds Brewery is ready?

Shed a few happy tears while drinking fresh beer, brewed in our own brewery!

5 Minutes with Danielle from Two Birds Brewing

5 minutes and 5 quick questions with one half/one bird of the Two Birds Brewing team, Danielle Allen

“Two Birds are Brewing” – that was the article headline recently on Crafty Pint and those four little words set the Australian craft beer world into simultaneous smiles. Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen, the aforementioned birds, are set to open their brewery sometime in 2014.

Jayne & Danielle Two Birds Brewing Image from Two Birds Brewing website
Jayne & Danielle
Two Birds Brewing
Image from Two Birds Brewing website

[writers advance apology – brace yourself for my awful bird related puns, sorry, don’t get yourself in a flap (BOOM!)]

After hatching back in 2011 and contract brewing their beloved Sunset Ale and Golden Ale in both VIC and WA, the birds are finally making themselves a nest to call their own.

This can only mean good things for those of us who get child-like excitement when they see Two Birds in shops and bars – more Two Birds goodness flying into our grateful hands. Yippee!

Two Birds was the word on Twitter as their new brewery news broke! Follow the ladies on Twitter - @TwoBirdsBrewing
Two Birds was the word on Twitter as their new brewery news broke! Follow the ladies on Twitter – @TwoBirdsBrewing

With this great news it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get to know the birds a little better, so first up on ‘5 minutes with …’ we have Danielle [insert round of applause here please]

What beer did you drink last night?

hahah..so typical of me…..Sunset Ale in bottle – I dropped into a local bar on my way out to dinner and spotted it in their fridge. I thought I better do some quality checking. My husband had a Murray’s Whale Ale on tap, so I had some of that too!

Finish this sentence – Craft beer is like …

… the start of a new exciting world for me.

Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed

Stone & Wood Pacific

What is the best thing you have learnt from the other bird? / Brewer Jayne?

The art of beer, the science of beer, beer ‘talk’, patience and how to party with beer people!

What is the very first thing you’ll do when the new Two Birds Brewing is ready?

Sit at our spots we’ve chosen by the window in the sunlight with our ‘Nest’ brewed beer, cheers each other, probably cry & embrace what’s ahead.

Celebrating my 30th birthday in style on the beach
Celebrating my 30th birthday in style on the beach

Big thanks to Danielle, hope to see you soon (Good Beer Week, perhaps?!) – next up, it’s Jayne’s turn!

5 Minutes with the guys at Colonial Brewing

5 minutes, 5 questions with the guys at Colonial Brewing – Richard Moroney, Justin Fox and Paul Wyman

Before Christmas I visited Colonial Brewing to interview Justin Fox, head brewer, Richard Moroney, brewery manager, and Paul Wyman, assistant brewer for an article that has recently appeared in Crafty Pint.

Our conversation was both informative and very funny, covering the usual beery topics and alstrange brew house games and other things I won’t mention here in case there are delicate eyes reading this!

I closed the interview with 5 quick (at times, not at others) questions and here’s the results:

What beer did you have last night?

Justin: Colonial Kolsch

Richard: Nail Clout Stout

Paul: Green Flash Rayon Vert

Best album to play in the brew house?

[everyone laughs then Justin counts to three]

All together: Wolfmother!

Paul: Kylie Minogue

Richard: Wolfmother, not Kylie Minogue

Best snack to eat with beer?

Paul: Pork

Richard: 12 hour marinated briskett that has been slow cooked on a charcoal BBQ

Me: That’s not a snack!

Justin: Medium rare meat and something massive, black and bitter

Colonial Brewing Brewer's Board
Colonial Brewing Brewer’s Board
Name one Australian beer you’d wish you’d made

Richard: The original Matilda Bay pilsner with the under modified malt and Saaz hops, that would have been awesome

Justin: Mountain Goat’s Andy Reserve Amber Ale, the one they did for GABS. But I’ve got lots, I could say I wish I did Stone & Wood – simply constructed and really accessible and that’s a bit like what we’re trying to do with project, forget all that style shit

Paul: I think I’m the same, Stone & Wood or you wish you had created Hop Hog, something that started a movement.

Justin: Don’t wish that, you beat Hop Hog! [with Monk’s The Chief]

Paul: Just brewing a beer that was the epiphany beer for someone

Justin – I’ve had it for everyone, you’ve had beers where you drink it and you just go “oh man, that’s so good I wish my porter tasted like that at the moment”. You drink Jeremy’s pilsner [Cowaramup Brewing] when it’s on song or you drink a Nail Stout and you’re thinking “Oh John, how do you do it?!” [bangs hands on table] “It’s so good” [continues to hit hands on table]

Finish this sentence – The WA craft beer scene needs more ….

[silence]

Justin: Jedis

[everyone now in hysterics]

Colonial Brewing is COOL Gotta love a little creativity in a coaster!
Colonial Brewing is COOL
Gotta love a little creativity in a coaster!

5 Minutes with Nick from Eagle Bay Brewing

Five minutes and five questions with Nick, head brewer at Eagle Bay Brewing

It’s that time of year when you are reminded how valuable it is to spend time with the important people in your life. I think we would all agree that our local craft brewers are very important people so here’s 5 minutes and 5 quick questions to get to know Nick d’Espeissis – head brewer at Eagle Bay Brewing – a little better.

Weighing husks, Photo Courtesy of Cannonball
Nick weighing cacao husks
Photo Courtesy of Cannonball
Finish this sentence: The WA craft beer scene needs more …

… days in the week!

Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed …

Swan Draught, seriously!

What beer are you drinking right now?

Yallingup Coffee, not even lunch time yet! Loving the Feijoa Pale though

*note: Feijoa Pale Ale is the latest Eagle Bay Single Batch release which is a collaboration with New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys – available now (and I am keen to try soon!)

Best beer for drinking at a BBQ?

Eagle Bay Kolsch, the new hop bill working really well for those lazy summer days

Favourite beer and cheese pairing?

ESB and blue

Eagle Bay Single Batch American Brown Ale 5.6% abv
Eagle Bay beers

5 Minutes with Ross from Cheeky Monkey

Five quick questions with Cheeky Monkey’s new assistant brewer – Ross Terlick

5 minutes, 5 quick questions, get to know your local brewer better!

Here’s 5 minutes with Ross Terlick, newly appointed assistant brewer at Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery

L: Alex, head brewer R: Ross, assistant brewer At Cheeky Monkey Brewhouse
L: Alex, head brewer
R: Ross, assistant brewer
At Cheeky Monkey Brewhouse
Finish this sentence : The WA craft beer scene needs more …

… excise relief.  Make it cheaper for us to make and we can charge less for it, making it more accessible for people and we can continue to grow the industry.

Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed?

Moon Dog Great American Challenge.  First beer I tried with Brettanomyces and I absolutely loved it.

What beer did you have last night?

Last night I was drinking home brewed Rye Pale Ale

Best beer for drinking at a BBQ?

While cooking the BBQ a nice crisp, bitter Pilsener. While eating a robust, hoppy IPA.

Favourite beer and cheese pairing?

I’ll go for the old chestnut of Imperial Stout and blue cheese.

That's one big hunk of stinky Stilton!
That’s one big hunk of stinky Stilton!

 

Thanks Ross! Don’t forget to check out the article, ‘Hey, We’re The Monkeys’ at Crafty Pint about Alex and Ross and their future plans for Cheeky Monkey!

Next up will be the boys from Colonial Brewing and the 5 quick questions I put to them after my interview for another Crafty Pint article, coming soon!

5 Minutes with Alex from Cheeky Monkey

Five quick questions with Cheeky Monkey’s new head brewer – Alex Poulsen

Recently I’ve done a couple of interviews with some of the great brewers from the south west and at the end, just for the fun of it, I’ve thrown five quick fire questions at them. The results have been funny, interesting and definitely worth sharing so I thought perhaps it’s something I could turn into a regular thing.

So here’s 5 minutes with Alex Poulsen, head brewer at Cheeky Monkey who I recently interviewed, alongside new assistant brewer Ross, for the Crafty Pint. If you’re so inclined you can find the article here.

Alex and Ross at Cheeky Monkey, December 2013
Alex and Ross at Cheeky Monkey, December 2013

Favourite album to play in the brewhouse?

I don’t really listen to albums in the brew house. We listen to a lot of heavy metal (Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden etc), East Coast Hip Hop (Immortal Technique, Jedi Mind Tricks) and Australian alternative (Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus etc) on Pandora.

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

… bars and restaurants behind it. It’s definitely changing for the better but there’s nothing more frustrating then seeing an in depth and well thought out wine/spirit/cocktail list and a relatively bland list of bottles/taps.

Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed?

Oh man, this is a tough question. Probably Stone & Wood Pacific Ale or [Feral Brewing] Hop Hog.

Dessert or cheese?

Can I say both? [of course you can Alex!]

What beer are you drinking right now?

It’s 9AM so coffee is the name of the game. I had a Garage Project Death from Above last night. It’s such an awesome beer.

Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery

The next five minutes will be with Ross Terlick, new assistant brewer at Cheeky Monkey and includes an awesome beer and cheese pairing!