Fremantle Beer Fest 2014

Show rides, live music, stand up comedians, a basketball hoop and A LOT of beer – welcome to the Fremantle Beer Fest 2014.

Show rides, live music, stand up comedians, a basketball hoop and A LOT of beer – welcome to the Fremantle Beer Fest 2014.

Returning to the Esplanade in Fremantle under the shade of the Norfolk pine trees and with the cooling breeze of the “freo doctor” The Fremantle Beer Fest kicked off for another year.

Fremantle Beer Fest

I visited on Saturday and it confirmed that this event is my favourite stand-alone beer festival on WA’s calendar. It seems to attract the largest number of brewers and the range of entertainment and other beer related fun on the day is quite extensive.

New additions to this years festival included kids showground-style rides making it more family friendly though a few bigger kids also enjoyed them! The Sail & Anchor Comedy Tent which was jam-packed every time I walked past, I think next year they’ll need a much bigger tent!

The Sail & Anchor Comedy Tent at Fremantle Beer Fest 2014

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Another newcomer to the Freo Beer Fest line up was the crew from Cocktail Gastronomy who set up their Cocktail Lab and shook, strained and stirred four beer cocktails including –

  • Cacao Espresso Martini
  • Saison Meringue Pie
  • Matso’s Lycee Mojito
  • Two Birds in Mexico

Andrew Bennett of The Cocktail Lab at Fremantle Beer Fest 2014

Eagle Bay Cacao Stout + lots of chocolate – my blog post on the launch of this beer in August 2014

For the Cacao Espresso Martini the Eagle Bay’s brewers series Cacao Stout was reduced down to a syrup that was a concentrate all the beers wonderfully delicious flavours.

Two Birds Bantam IPA: session IPA | 4.7% ABV | read more about the beer here

The Two Birds in Mexico was a twist on the classic Margarita using tequila, agave syrup, lime, fresh basil and strawberries and topped with Two Birds Brewing Bantam IPA [pictured above]. This was also the drink that Andrew presented during his Master Class called ‘Hoptails’ for those who love beer, mixed drinks and word play.

Master Classes at Fremantle Beer Fest 2014

Andrew took guests through the inspiration and technique behind the ‘Two Birds in Mexico’ drink and employed audience volunteer Cam to assist in making up some samples for us to try.

“It’s a margarita that’s pimped up and loved up,”

Andrew Bennett, Hop Tails Master Class

In using strawberries and basil Andrew voiced his love for using seasonal ingredients both for freshness and affordability. The drink throws away the usual Cointreau addition, “see you later Cointreau, that’s for pedestrians,” Andrew joked and used agave syrup as well as using chilli and salt to rim the glass.

You can catch Andrew at The Classroom in North Perth for more tasty cocktails and banter

“We add beer to make a great cocktail even better,” Andrews said as the Bantam IPA was added as the final touch.

Two Birds in Mexico cocktail at Fremantle Beer Fest

Another Master Class held on Saturday was the home brewing panel with Ken from Northbridge Brewing Co, Justin from Colonial Brewing, Aaron from Gage Roads Brewing and Jeremy, an award winning home brewer. Questions ranged from malt use, mead and how to use things like chilli in your beers. All this made me think about how long it would be before we started home brewing too … what a slippery slope that would be!

Master Classes at Fremantle Beer Fest 2014

Later in the day I hosted a Master Class with Margi from Eagle Bay Brewing called ‘We Love Beer & Cheese’ which we loved and had a lot of fun at … but I’ll leave the details for another post!

Master Class at The Fremantle Beer Fest

As for the beer … there was so much beer, so much great beer.

I’m pretty familiar with many WA brews so I took the day to catch Master Classes and go hunting for beers that I hadn’t tried yet.

Last Drop Brewing – Sour Cherry Ale

Not lip puckering or abrasive Jan brewed this last year and I hadn’t managed to try any until the festival. At 6.2% ABV it’s a beer I would class as being “dangerous” because I’d never pick it as been that boozy and I could easily drink many of these bad boys before I even realised. Rather than being in-your-face cherry it’s more subtle and reminded me of cherries in a black forest cake. The finish is very dry and makes you want to have another.

Jan and his team at Last Drop at Freo Beer Fest

Last Drop Sour Cherry Ale at Fremantle Beer Fest

Boston Brewery – Rye IPA

Part of Denmark’s Willoughby Park Winery, I got to meet Boston Brewery’s head brewer Tyson who has been brewing there for about seven months. Keen to hit the road and talk to folk, Tyson happily chatted with me as I tried their Rye IPA. “It’s like a spicy mango!” I exclaimed at the time and I’ll be keen to check out their other beers at this weekend’s Gourmet Escape Village.

Eagle Bay – Steam Ale

This is their latest in the Brewer’s Series range and just in time for summer. Aromas of toast, shortbread, apricot and mango, there’s almost no bitterness in his very clean and refreshing drop. Flavour-wise there’s some apricot, a little citrus and just a hint of toffee. Bring on summer!

As for the rest, you’d need a week to get through them all. Feral had the vast majority, if not all, of their beers available and their tent was packed for most of Saturday. Nail was just as full and I hear they were also serving tastings of their incredible, you-have-to-taste-it-to-believe-it Clout Stout. The Old Brewery’s Tomahawk was popular with beer geeks whilst this paricular beer geek kicked herself for once again missing out due to her own forgetfulness and amazing ability to be distracted by shiny things.

New beer kids on the block, Homestead Brewing had their four core beers available and I happily reacquainted myself with their Black Swan Black IPA whilst chatting with head brewer Ron. These guys are making beautiful beers and have some exciting limited release beers in the works, in fact Ron has even started thinking about what beer to release on the breweries first birthday which is ten months away!

Speaking of Colonial … have you seen they are about to release CANS?!? Check out their FB page for more or stay tuned!

At Colonial Brewing they had six different beers pouring and offered up a chance to win prizes, prizes, prizes bringing their basketball hoop that normally lives at the back of Colonial and transporting it to the event. Those who had a taster of all of Colonial’s beers over the course of the day were allowed to have a throw, depending on how many you got in there were beer glasses, t-shirts and even growlers up for grabs.

Paul (Colonial Brewing) at Fremantle Beer Fest

Colonial’s Paul Wyman shows folks how it’s done

Paul at Colonial Brewing


Fremantle Beer Fest

All I can say is “bring on next year!” because I love this festival and it seems to get better every year.

For more Fremantle Beer Fest reading check out this post from The Beer Pilgrim.

I’d love to hear what beers you liked on the day? What beer did you fall in love with? 

Beer Cocktails

Beer cocktails are as simple as they sound – cocktails with beer in them. Beer is just another ingredient like any other so it’s kinda like calling a martini a “spirit cocktail” but I digress a little

The Fremantle Beer Fest is happening this weekend – 15 & 16 November – on The Fremantle Esplanade Reserve (in case you hadn’t figured out from my posts all week!) and I think it’s going to be kinda epic. The usual suspects of WA brewing will be there – Eagle Bay, Colonial, Feral, Nail and Gage just to name some, alongside new kids on the block Northbridge Brewing Co and Homestead Brewery.

Whilst indulging in your favourite WA brews and discovering some new ones there are also free master classes happening all weekend long. From home brewing advice to cooking with beer, there is a class to interest everyone.

One of the more unique classes will be held by Andrew Bennett, one of the men behind North Perth bar The Classroom and upcoming crowd-funded bar Lucky Chan’s Laundry & Noodle Bar. It’s called ‘Hoptails’ and  it’s a master class on beer cocktails.

The full schedule of master classes at this years Fremantle Beer Festival

Beer cocktails are as simple as they sound – cocktails with beer in them. Beer is just another ingredient like any other so it’s kinda like calling a martini a “spirit cocktail” but I digress a little.

I’ve noticed beer cocktails are appearing here and there and I have been reading more articles that mention them in the last few months. Articles like – 10 Great Beer Cocktails in Paste Magazine or 26 Drinks that Prove Mixing Beer is a Great Idea on Buzzfeed. Locally I even spotted a beer cocktail in the pages of Australian Bartender Magazine not too long ago.

On a recent trip to Margaret River at the start of October I walked into one of my favourite south-west venues and found their feature cocktail was one of the beery persuasion. Hello, Morries Anytime! Bar manager, Billy, created a gorgeous beer cocktail using Bootleg Speakeasy IPA together with elderflower liqueur, tequila, a splash of juice and fresh rosemary that tickled my nose as I sipped my drink. This was a really beautiful drink.

Please pardon my average photography but there were several drinks consumed before this!

[I would like to add that Billy was awarded AHA Mixologist of the Year earlier this week – CONGRATULATIONS BILLY!]

Billy in action
Billy in action

So if this all sounds tasty and delicious then I think you’re probably right and should head in to see what Andrew Bennett, who also received an Award of Excellence at the AHA Awards, will be stirring and shaking up on Saturday at the Cryer Malt tent at 5pm!

Bring on more beer cocktails!