“It’s probably a stupid answer but we want everyone to come,” says Alè Alberti of LiquidBred, a new consumer orientated beer education offer he has co-founded with brewer Mal Secourable. LiquidBred launches in Perth in September and will bring beer education to some of the most important people – those who are buying and drinking it.
‘Liquid bread’ is an age old colloquial term for a fermented beverage made from malted cereal and flavoured with hops (commonly) or spices, roots or fruit (historically). Its application reflects the belief that the two staples, bread and beer, emerged simultaneously in the Cradle of Civilisation – Mesopotamia
Aside from the recent run of ‘Beer School’ events at the Belgian Beer Cafe hosted by Scott Earley from Mash Brewing, Alè was surprised to find it almost impossible to locate any beer appreciation lessons for consumers to learn more about beer. Given the growth of craft beer and wine appreciation courses being fairly commonplace, it seemed to Alè and Mal that beer wasn’t getting the attention it deserves.
A beer education program for consumers was an idea Mal says was first raised at a meeting of the Western Australian Brewers Association (WABA) many years ago. The idea continued to resurface in conversations and meetings from time to time it never seemed to get off the ground. Perhaps it was just a matter of the right people coming together, people like Mal and Alè.
“The good thing about that is that Mal is one step at a time and I’m a million at a time so we just bring each other in so it’s a really good balance,”
Previously from an education and a wine background, Mal appreciates the impact that engaging information can have on people and often wondered why it seemed the wine industry was so far ahead of beer when it came to educating their drinkers.
Having collaborated on beer projects in the past, like the brew they did with Artisan Brewing called Tripel Treating: A Belgian in Mango Land, Mal and Alè got to chatting about the idea of beer appreciation sessions and these chats eventually lead to action.
“It just came up as a topic of conversation and Alè being a really proactive individual basically just said “f**k it,” Mal says with a laugh.
Alè began by gathering expressions of interest to see if their idea had legs, posting a notice at Cellarbrations Superstore where he works, and also across a couple of beer and local Fremantle community Facebook groups. Alè says the response was “overwhelming”.
“The beer community are supportive, the non-beer community are supportive, I think there’s a need for it,” Alè says.
LiquidBred has two options – an ‘Introductory Half Day Masterclass’ and a ‘6 Week Beer Odyssey’. Each title was picked carefully, steering clear of words like “program” and “course” because they are not about achieving learning outcomes or walking away with a laminated certificate.
“What we are trying to do is actually feed people’s imagination, to give them a little bit of a background to where the beer has come from because they all have a history,” Mal says and then they will link this history with their influence and journey on the craft brews we enjoy today.
“It’s more about going through the history of it all as opposed to saying ‘this how you pour a beer’, ‘this is the ingredients’,” Alè says.
“We aren’t taking ourselves too seriously,” Mal assures, “but there’s going to be a lot of information in there, and the information is in the tasting.”
All sessions will feature tastings and they will be conducted blind so people can decide if they like the beer based on how it looks, the flavour and aroma, free from marketing and brand influence.
“People drink with their eyes and we kind of want to rob people of that a little bit so they’re actually tasting free of prejudice, to help them actually understand beers a little better and maybe drink labels or brands they wouldn’t have thought of before”
It’s not about telling people that one beer is better than another but about engaging people to talk about beer and find out what they like, or don’t like, and get an understanding of the stories and reasons behind those flavours.
“Everybody experiences taste individually so the strong message will be there is no right or wrong but sharing and working with people around you.”
The first Introductory Half Day Masterclasses will be held at Collabor8, the mezzanine space of The Mantle in Fremantle with two dates already set in September. Perfect for those who “have had their curiosity aroused and want to learn more” about craft beer, the four hour session includes 12 tastings, a LiquidBred beer glass and nibbles by Don Tapa.
Dates for the first 6 Week Beer Odyssey are still to be determined, stay tuned to LiquidBred social media for the announcement. Each week is designed to explore a different beer style in a beery adventure from birth to contemporary craft brewing, tasting beers along the way of course!
So where do Alè and Mal see LiquidBred’s evolution? “I get to retire on a tropical island,” Mal says laughing. “For me I see this expanding north of the river and then the south west and then over east and then we hire people, that’s my vision” Alè answers. “My vision is to get bookings for the first two masterclasses and then the odyssey,” Mal counters with another laugh. “See? Me, a million steps and Mal, step-by-step,” Alè says and it seemed as good a place as any to end the our interview, with a laugh and enthusiasm.