Wildflower + Cheese

Sydney’s Wildflower Brewing & Blending teamed up with Little Cheese Shop and Mane Liquor for a fantastic beer and cheese event …

The Wildflower bottles are striking because they look a little lost, beautifully lost.

Image from http://www.wildflowerbeer.com
Image from http://www.wildflowerbeer.com

The labels are beautifully elegant and nothing about them screams ‘beer’ yet their reserved appearance makes them a stand out on the shelf, which, in a market that gets more crowded by the day is pretty damn impressive.

Wildflower Brewing and Blending opened earlier this year and though the word “brewing” is right there on the label, it is actually the word “blending” that should get your attention.


Crafty Pint’s Nick Oscilowski wrote a fantastic article about Wildflower in the lead up to their opening. It’s a long story to tell including a little astrophysics, a European trip and, of course, lots of nerdy beer stuff so grab a coffee or beer, whatever is more time-of-the-day appropriate and settle in.


Wort is basically beer before it’s beer, the liquid before fermentation happens.

You’ll find Wildflower in Marrickville in Sydney’s inner west and they don’t actually brew, instead, they take wort brewed by another local brewery and then it goes through wild fermentation with their unique house yeast that founder Topher Boehm captured and cultivated from flora in the NSW region. Then it’s about barrel ageing and blending and the end results are what they’re calling Australian Wild Ales.

BJCP: Beer Judge Certification Program – training beer judges in 80 or so different styles

Despite how simple it sounds – step one: catch yeast, step two: ferment beer, step three: profit – it is far more complicated. You’ve got beers that are constantly evolving in different barrels, barrels that are imparting their own character, and blending them with other barrels in a way that results in a beer that is better than each individual beers on its own.

Wildflower made the list of Crafty Pint’s Best New NSW Beers for 2017, you can read the full list here.

I first spotted Wildflower on the shelf at Mane Liquor and, as you would have gathered from the opening, the bottles caught my attention so I grabbed one.

I attended Topher’s talk in July at the Australian Craft Brewers Conference in Adelaide where he spoke about mixed culture fermentation. I held on for some of what he talked about and was completely lost in other parts but I loved it.

Mane Liquor, 237 Great Eastern Hwy, Ascot

Little Cheese Shop, 89C Whatley Cres, Bayswater

Just before Christmas Mane Liquor hosted Wildflower along with Little Cheese Shop in an eight beer and four cheese tasting, an event that sold out in minutes of it being announced on the Mane Liquor Facebook page.

Luke, Wildflower’s barrel manager, guided guests through each beer with two beers paired to one cheese selected by Geoff from Bayswater’s Little Cheese Shop.

Elliot (Mane Liquor), Luke (Wildflower) and Geoff (Little Cheese Shop)
All of the cheese
Wildflower Gold Blend #1 and #3

Wildflower Gold Blend #1 is a blend of two barrels and, as the name suggests, was their first beer. Luke described it as being the most savoury of their beers to date.

Wildflower Gold Blend #3 is a blend of one of the original barrels together with a four-month-old barrel. I adored the nuanced fruit characters of nectarine, pear, lime pith and kiwi fruit balanced with a sourdough-like bread flavour.

If you’re interested in more Australian Wild Ales, check out Two Metre Tall (TAS) – here is a great interview with founder Ash Huntington on the Beer Sucks Podcast

These beers were paired with La Tur, a mixed milk cheese of goats, sheep and cows milk, that is bright and creamy with zesty citrus and made a great pairing to these two beers. These were my favourite pairings from the event. The underlying acidity of the cheese complemented the subtle tartness in the beers.

Wildflower Gold Blend #4 and #5
Elliot from Mane Liquor pouring out Wildflower beers

Wildflower Gold Blend #4 was funky and earthy with lime and grapefruit citrus notes.

Wildflower Gold Blend #5 had more acidity than the previous beers but it was well balanced with apple skin, white grapes, pear and vanilla characters.

Geoff paired these beers with Langres, a wash rind French cow’s milk cheese with a wrinkly orange rind. I’ll first say that it’s a really great cheese because my tasting notes may sound a little odd – tangy, tropical fruit and ham hock.

The fruit character in the beer and cheese seemed to cancel each other out so the acidity in Gold Blend #5 felt like it was being emphasised so I thought this cheese was better with #4.

Wildflower Gold Blend #6 and #7

Wildflower Gold Blend #6 is a blend of two barrels, one from February and another from March and had a slightly salty character. Throw in some subtle floral notes, fresh lime, apple and pear flavours and this was a super refreshing and fantastic beer.

Wildflower Gold Blend #7 is a blend of seven-month-old and five-month-old barrels and according to Luke is one of their most popular beers to date. Funky, earthy with sweaty socks, but in a totally good way, with a delicate citrus finish.

Paired with Section 28 Il Lupo, a cheese from the Adelaide Hills that is cave-aged for a minimum of 40 days, is fruity and a little chalky that was a nice pairing to both beers.

Wildflower Gold Blend #8 and #9
Wildflower Gold Blend #8 and #9

Wildflower Gold Blend #8 is the last of their two barrel blends and uses seven and five-month-old barrels. Big citrus pithy notes along with fresh lime and tropical fruit; pineapple, in particular, sprung to mind.

Wildflower Gold Blend #9 is a three barrel blend across four, five and six-month barrels where Luke said they had started to gain confidence in blending some of their younger barrels. Straw, mandarin, funky citrus, subtle briny character and sourdough.

Reypenaer VSOP, aged for 24 months, is one of my absolute favourite cheeses. The first thing you notice in this Dutch cheese is its striking orange colour and subtle white blotches, protein crystals that give it an interesting texture. It’s caramelly, buttery, nutty and has strong tropical and stone fruit notes. In this pairing, the cheese overwhelmed the beers but I was still very happy to see it on the board. Served with a red IPA or gutsy pale ale, I think this cheese absolutely shines.

Follow Wildflower on social media …

Modus Operandi + Cheese

It’s been far too long between beer and cheese posts so here’s a recent pairing …

It has been far too long between beer and cheese posts …

A trip to the Little Cheese Shop in Bayswater inevitably ends in one delicious conclusion – lots of amazing cheese in the fridge at home. Then I spend the next couple of nights wondering whether it’s okay to eat cheese for dinner.

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Cheese! Great recommendations from Geoff and Kelsey in-store

Even though cheese for dinner is pretty damn great, pairing it with beer is even better.

The Beer

Modus Operandi Session IPA

Modus Operandi are based in NSW and their beers have gained a strong beer geek following in WA and rightly so, they’re cracking beers!

The Session IPA is 4.1 percent ABV and hopped with Simcoe, Citra and Chinook. It’s a really nice beer, super easy drinking and I loved the grassy and melon flavours that sit side by side with some stone fruit and a lime citrusy finish.

The Cheese

Reypenaer VSOP

A gouda from the Netherlands that is aged for a minimum of two years; both age and a salt wash contribute to the distinctive orange colour.

The taste reminded me of burnt butter and there are some nice rich caramel flavours, a fruity tang and a little nuttiness.

Together

A lovely pairing! The cheese is full flavoured and there’s just enough guts in the Modus Operandi Session IPA to support it.

The cheese brings out all the delicate fruits in the beer and the beers bitterness compliments the tangy of the cheese.

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Modus Operandi Session IPA and Reypenaer VSOP pictured on the right

Cheese + WA Beer Tasting at Little Cheese Shop

Six pieces of cheese, six beers and 20 happy people at The Little Cheese Shop

 

There is something magical when beer and cheese come together. Both have a huge variety when it comes to flavour from nuttiness, zesty citrus, juicy stone fruit, roast, chocolate and the list continues. It’s not a wonder these two are such good friends. Sure some people will tell you wine and cheese are better but really it’s just a friendship between those two; beer and cheese are true love, the ultimate couple.

My love of beer and cheese is probably fairly well known by now, particularly if you’ve been generous with your time to spend a little of it on my blog or following me on social media. Knowing this you can imagine my disappointment at missing out on earlier beer and cheese tastings at Bayswater’s Little Cheese Shop but a few Saturdays ago I finally got to one.

Little Cheese Shop isn’t just a cute name, it’s certainly small so their events are limited to 20 people. The event is set out like a cocktail style function but there are some seats available if you wish. It’s a nice informal approach and the best way to use the small space. Besides, if it were packed with furniture there would be less room for cheese and that would be absurd!

Little Cheese Shop - Cheese and WA Beer

The tasting went for about two hours across six pairings put together by both Geoff, owner of Little Cheese Shop, and Jake Brandish, former brewer at Nail Brewing, home brewer and all round good man.

All the beers were from local WA brewers and the original five pairings were extended to six because Geoff and Jake liked different beers for one of the cheeses so decided to present both.

Jake at Little Cheese Shop event

Jake Brandish

Delice Cremiers + Feral White

Delice Cremiers

Delice Cremiers | Cows’ Milk Cheese | Burgundy, France

Just like beers, sometimes you get introduced to a cheese that blows you away and you know that cheese will always be one of your favourites. This is such a cheese.

The name Delice Cremiers translates to ‘delight of the cheese maker’ and I think in this case the cheese maker would have been a little more than just delighted. This cheese is freakin’ incredible. Stupidly creamy, rich and indulgent. My kind of cheese.

This was my favourite match for the night and certainly quite surprisingly as I don’t think I would have thought to put such a rich cheese with a more delicate beer like Feral White, a Belgian Wit. There was a beautiful harmony of the cheese’s rich sweetness with the beer’s soft fruity flavours and light spices.

Delice Cremiers + Eagle Bay Pale Ale

As you can probably tell from the heading here is where Geoff and Jake couldn’t decide on one beer to present with the Delice Cremiers so we got to try it with the Eagle Bay Pale Ale as well.

An American style pale ale so it’s big on the tropical fruit and hop bitterness so it was more of a contrast than a compliment. An interesting match but I’d have to say Feral one the day on this occasion.

Roucoulons + Last Drop Hefeweizen

Roucoulons

Roucoulons | Cows Milk | France

This was a nice match, the cheese is more on the mild side, a little mushroomy, a little earthy and a bit fruity. Overall complicated enough to match the Last Drop Hefeweizen but also soft enough not to overpower it.

The Fine Cheese Co. Cave Aged Cheddar + Eagle Bay ESB

 The Fine Cheese Co. Cave Aged Cheddar and Eagle Bay ESBThe Fine Cheese Co. Cave Aged Cheddar | Cows Milk | UK

The cheese is matured in natural caves in Mendip Hills here Somerset, UK. Geoff described it as a “classic style cheddar”. I found it sharp, full and rich and a good match to the soft toffee malts and peppery hops of the Eagle Bay ESB.

Tuma Persa + Feral Hop Hog

Tuma Persa cheese

Tuma Persa | Cows Milk | Italy

This cheese is rubbed in black pepper and comes from Sicily, Italy. The cheese reminded me of a pecorino in that it tasted very sharp and bitey. Many people at the tasting very much liked the pairing but it wasn’t for me. It’s that the great thing about food and booze, everyone is different! Personally I found the big hop flavour of the beer too similar to the bite of the cheese so it felt like sharp on top of sharp. I had some of the previous cheese, the cheddar, left over and quite enjoyed that with the Hop Hog.

Colston Basset Shropshire Blue + Nail Oatmeal Stout*

Colston Basset Shropshire Blue and Nail Oatmeal Stout

 Colston Basset Shropshire Blue | Cows Milk | England

Ah, magic. My second favourite, and it was a close finish to the end, pairing for the night. This is one of Geoff’s favourite blues and once you have it you’ll see why. A buttery, earthy and slightly sweet blue and yes it’s a funny orange colour. That comes from the use of annatto, a natural pigment from South America. This blue against the chocolate, roast and coffee elements in Nail Oatmeal Stout was simply beautiful.

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 *As of 1 June 2015 I started working for Nail Brewing however I had no involvement in organising this event, beers were chosen by co-host for the night, Jake Brandish

Chatting Beer + Cheese on RTRFM

A few of my favourite and most dependable beer and cheese pairings

The Food Alternative is a food segment on RTRFM’s Tuesday Drivetime program with the aim of sharing things that don’t normally get a lot of coverage on mainstream media. Produced by Ai-Ling and Laura and presented by Simon and Anth, the program has covered home brewing, pickles, smoked meats and BBQ and ramen.

You can check out past episodes of The Food Alternative here.


Ai-Ling Truong: Blog | Facebook

Laura Moseley: Blog

Each of these two women wear about seven hats each, involved in several side projects on top of producing The Food Alternative and also holding down their full time jobs. If you have enjoyed Perth’s only food truck festival, Food Truck Rumble, then you have Ai-Ling to thank for organising the whole thing. If you have been one of the tens of thousands of people who descend on Mt Lawley’s Beaufort Street Festival every year then you have enjoyed Laura’s work as she is heavily involved with the success of the festival.


I have been lucky to have been asked on to The Food Alternative on several occasions to chat about beer. Last week I was delighted to be back to discuss two of my favourite things – beer and cheese. Being on the radio makes me nervous as hell but I do enjoy it very much, Simon and Anth are great fun to chat with.

At the end of the latest show I promised to put up a few of my favourite beer and cheese pairings so I have put together three. Certainly nothing really revolutionary, many beer and cheese articles will reflect what I have written here but I have tried to give some local beers to try and cheese which is pretty easily found at your nearest small goods deli, farmers market or even decent IGA.

The most important things to remember about beer and cheese pairing are:

1. It’s FUN! Any excuse to put more beer and cheese in the fridge, right? Experiment and find things you like.

2. Intensity – that’s pretty much the only rule for beer and cheese matching and even though I’m using the word “rule” in a very loose sense. Big beers want big cheese, mild beers want mild cheese, matching the intensity is a good place to start. The rest is totally up to you!

Kolsch + Chèvre

BRING HOME THE BRONZE! Eagle Bay and Colonial Brewing both awarded bronze medals for their Kolsch beers at this years AIBAs, Australian International Beer Awards.

A lovely little pairing that brings together beer and cheese from the lighter end of the spectrum. I presented this alongside Eagle Bay Brewing at the 2013 Fremantle BeerFest and I’ve gone back to the pairing time and time again.

Grab yourself something locally brewed like Eagle Bay Brewing Kolsch or Colonial Brewing #1 Draught Kolsch, both pretty widely available in good beer bottle shops.

For a chèvre I really like Meredith Dairy Chèvre Ash from Victoria, it’s widely available and sound be pretty easy to find.

Why I love it: On top of the light bready malt of the Kolsch is some beautiful bright, zesty and citrusy notes. The chèvre has a similar citrusy profile so I find that the beer enhances all those similar qualities in the cheese, making the two brighter. The texture of the cheese is soft and creamy and the fact that beer is carbonated means those wonderful bubbles cut through and lift the cheese off your palate perfectly.

Eagle Bay Kolsch & Chevre

Eagle Bay Kolsch + Meredith Ash Chèvre – Photo taken at home after I did the radio, I was craving beer & cheese pretty badly!

Barley Wine + Blue Cheese

If the first pairing is a friendly smile then this pairing is a fierce but passionate embrace. Barley wines are ballsy beers and so they need an equally ballsy cheese to go with it.

Barley Wine has it’s origins in Britain though the style has now been split into American style and British style Barley Wines. Typically these beers are high in booze, very fruity and rich.

There aren’t heaps of WA local examples but they do exist – look out for Feral Brewing’s Razorback, which has just been re-released for this year, and Bootleg’s Grandfather  – both these beers are yearly releases and not available all the time.

If you are looking to grab something imported then your choice widens, though again normally they are seasonal releases. One of my favourites is Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (US).

As we head into winter you’ll find more and more of these style of beers available, seek them out from your nearest beer loving bottle shop.

A winter barely passes without a Sierra Nevada Bigfoot finding its way into our house. I almost always end up enjoying this with an English Stilton.

Why I love it: There is something magical about the pairing of a big, ballsy, rich, sweet barley wine against a strong, salty, earthy blue that just works every time for me.

Sierra Nevada Bigfoot and Cashel Blue

 Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Barley Wine + Cashel Blue | Beer & Cheese Experience 2013 at The Local Taphouse St Kilda

Pale Ale + Cheddar

In both instances you want something pretty flavourful, not necessarily powerful or overwhelming, but just make sure you get yourself the good stuff.

Beer wise I’d be looking locally again, in these style of beers it’s the hops that are king and when it comes to hops, the fresher the better. You know those people who take milk from the very back of the shelf at the supermarket? Yeah, that’s the mind set you want here too, even a few days can make a difference! We are stupidly lucky in WA to have so many gorgeous pale ales on offer – try Colonial Pale, Eagle Bay Pale Ale or Nail Ale to name a few. Heading interstate I’d go for Pirate Life Pale Ale (SA), Mornington Peninsula Pale (VIC) or Holgate Mt Macedon (VIC).

If you want to go international then I’d look at Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (US) or Camden Town Pale Ale (UK) for reliable and consistently tasty pale ales.

For the cheddar skip the supermarket and get some from your favourite little deli. I’d ask the staff for their recommendations because nine times out of ten you’ll walk away with something amazing.

Grab yourself some pale ale and a wedge of Maffra Cloth Aged Cheddar, another Victorian cheese that is pretty widely available.

Why I love it: There is a few complementary flavours happening here like tropical fruits, a little citrus and I enjoy the sharpness of the cheddar against the hop bitterness of the beer.

Lagonda IPA and Healey's Pyengana Cheddar

 Lagonda IPA+ Healey’s Pyengana Cheddar | Beer & Cheese Experience 2013 at The Local Taphouse St Kilda


Hungry for more? Check out these great articles and videos on beer and cheese –

Crafty Pint | Beer & Food: Cheese

Craft Beer | Pairing Beer and Cheese, Do’s and Don’ts

Serious Eats | How to Pair Beer with Cheese

Behind the Burner | Beer & Cheese Pairing with Brewmaster Garrett Oliver at Murray’s Cheese Shop

NPR | In a Match Up with Beer and Cheese, Everybody Wins – With a Good Coach

Australian Brews News | Beer and Cheese, Please!

It’s back! Fremantle Beer Fest 2014 …

Hopefully you have recovered from WA Beer Week because you will need your palate to be nice and refreshed for this weekends Fremantle Beer Festival.

Fremantle BeerFest

The Fremantle Esplanade Reserve will be transformed into a beer lovers paradise on November 15 & 16 and feature your local favourite brewers like Gage Roads, Feral Brewing, Eagle Bay Brewing, Mash Brewing and Nail Brewing just to name a few. New brew kids on the block Homestead Brewery and Northbridge Brewing Co will also be there so if you haven’t had a chance to check them out yet this might be a great opportunity to get to know them.

For a complete list of breweries on the day, click here

Not only is the festival a great opportunity to try lots of WA beer and meet the brewers but there are Master Classes running all weekend long. Classes will cover topics from beer and food matching, home brewing advice and cooking with beer and hosted by some of the best people in the industry including Matt Marinich from Print Hall/Bob’s Bar, Gerrard Mitchell from Beersine and so many WA brewers that if I listed them it would look more like a phone directory than a list of presenters.

For a complete list of the Fremantle Beer Festival Master Classes, click here

Last year I teamed up with Margi from Eagle Bay Brewing to present a Beer and Cheese Masterclass which attracted around 60 people. Margi and I were thrilled to share our love of beer and cheese with so many people and we’re lucky enough to have been asked to do it again this year!

Accurately, and maybe even a bit of an understatement, the class is called We Love Beer and Cheese where Margi and I will be talking beer and cheese across four delicious pairings. You’ll be able to find us in the Cryer Malt tent at 3pm on Saturday.

Just like last year it is free to join the Master Classes, all you need is your bum on a seat and we will treat you to some fresh local Eagle Bay beers matched to some tasty cheese.

As diligent researchers, Margi and I have been putting in the hard work to come up with some pairings we hope you will like.

We look forward to seeing you at the Fremantle Beer Festival! Get your tickets here.

More research at Eagle Bay Brewing
Important research at Eagle Bay Brewing with Margi
Researching beer and cheese with Margi
More extensive researching of beer and cheese with Margi, Eagle Bay Brewing

 

 

GBW 2014: The Cheese & Cask Ale Experience

My intentions for Good Beer Week was to go to events I hadn’t attended last year but there were two events I couldn’t bare to miss because they were so good last year – one of them was the cheese and beer experience at The Local Taphouse in St Kilda.

My intentions for Good Beer Week was to go to events I hadn’t attended last year but there were two events I couldn’t bare to miss because they were so good last year – one of them was the cheese and beer experience at The Local Taphouse in St Kilda.

This year the team at the Taphouse teamed up with Milk the Cow, a licensed fromagerie also located in St Kilda, to present five cheeses matched to five cask ales. Hosts for the night were James, resident beer geek at the Taphouse and Laura from Milk the Cow, together they presented some great matches that this cheese and beer loving gal happily indulged in.
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Meredith Farm Chevre + Red Duck Secret Squirrel English Brown Ale
The fresh goat’s milk cheese with it’s uber-creamy texture, big citrus flavours and tart finish was a beautiful way to start the evening. It was a really good and really unexpected match to the Red Duck beer, it’s nuttiness and fruitiness mingled nicely with the cheese’s fruity citrus flavours. The beer itself was by Derek Hale, an award winning home brewer who was invited to brewed with Red Duck, and he added crushed and toasted hazelnuts alongside some Frangelico.
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Quickes Mature Cheddar Truckle + Timothy Taylor’s Landlord Pale Ale
The English cheddar, a cows milk clothbound cheddar is aged for twelve months and was everything you want from a strong cheddar – sharp, bitey and a little dusty. “Make fantastic nachos with this!” Laura suggested and I’m sure she’s right! The stone fruit flavours in the cheddar softened the hop bitterness in the beer and acted as a good complement to the English Pale Ale’s soft sweetness.
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Wensleydale + Bright Traditional English Best Bitter
Many of us associate Wensleydale with claymation cartoon Wallace & Grommit but we were all surprised to hear that sales jumped huge 27% when the movie was released. Laura also surprised us with the fact the recipe for this cheese originated with a French Cistercian monk who moved to Wensleydale. The cheese is sharp, citrusy and a little dirty, like it was stored in a container that previously held a strong blue. Bright’s traditional English Best Bitter was one of my favourite beers of the night. I loved the sweet malt combined with spicy, peppery and biscuit flavours. The malt sweetness softened the bite from the cheese but didn’t dominate the pairing.

Reypenear VSOP + Illawarra Black IPA
Laura declared this to be her favourite cheese, “cut off a wedge and just chew on it” is a serving suggestion I could really great behind. Biting into this cheese, you can see why she loves it so much. Reypenear is a two year old Dutch cow’s milk Gouda, the long aging process actually results in a 25% loss in original weight. It is washed in hot water to remove the lactic acid and showcase sweetness and caramel flavours. This cheese is hard to come by in Australia so it was extra special to have it on our plates. Paired with the Black IPA with it’s sweet malt and slightly roasty flavours it was a gorgeous complement of sweet cheese and sweet malty beer whilst the roasty bitterness provided just enough contrast to keep things really interesting.
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Herve Mons Brillat Savarin + Prickly Moses Barrel Aged Brett Red Ale
The night finished with a bang with this ultra oozy creamy triple cream brie, bloomy mushroom and salty flavours and at 75% fat you just know it’s going to taste amazing. The Prickly Moses Red Ale showed a little funk with sweet plum and raisin notes. Together it was a nice match, funk playing nicely with the mushroom in the brie.
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Good Beer Week 2014

Here’s my calendar for the “week” and I cannot wait to drink beer, over indulge in meat and cheese, soak up as much beery knowledge as I can and, most of all, hang out with some really great people!

It’ just over a week until Good Beer Week kicks off for 2014 and to say I’m excited is a small understatement. It’s like saying that having a TARDIS would be a really nifty way of travelling. No it wouldn’t, it would be freakin’ amazing, just like Good Beer Week is going to be!

Planning for this began last year. I work for a big company so they ask you to submit your requests for annual leave for the year towards the end of the previous year. This meant I booked off my holiday for Good Beer Week many months in advance. Did I know for sure I was going? No. Did I book the time off work just in case? Hell yes.

Months went by, 2014 arrived and before you knew it the Good Beer Week program was coming up! I needed to get my act together if I was going, I needed flights and a bed to crawl into.

Hello Jetstar sale! Love cheap flights, I snapped up those bad boys quick smart. I rang the hotel I stayed in last year. Got an available room? Great weekly rate that didn’t cost the earth? Yup! Done! I was just short of a packed bag and it was only March.

Then the Good Beer Week program was released … Mother. Of. God. This thing is EPIC! The program is one great event after another; my copy will be dog eared before I’ve even checked my bags.

Here’s my calendar for the “week” and I cannot wait to drink beer, over indulge in meat and cheese, soak up as much beery knowledge as I can and, most of all, hang out with some really great people!

Saturday 17 May

A free day, I haven’t bought any tickets for events at all. Perhaps a good chance to check out Pint of Origin venues, tap takeovers in selected Melbourne bars based on geography – all corners of Australia are represented along with New Zealand, Europe, USA and The Rest of the World.

There are also a tonne of free entry, week long events I’d like to check out, including Cookie’s Daily Food and Beer Matching, Rogue Beer and Burger at Beer DeLuxe and Mystery Cellar Dwellers at The Local Taphouse.

The Royston - one of the many PoO locations

Sunday 18 May
The Event: Brew vs Cru featuring Garrett Oliver [sold out]

Why I’m going: Because I’d kick myself, punch myself, slap myself, if I did not go to this event. First, its Garrett Oliver – brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and beer author, I need to hear what this man has to say! Second, it is being held at Vue de Monde Rialto – a restaurant I have heard outstanding comments about. Third, not that I really need one, is the five courses of food, beer and wine pairing.

Excitement Level: Kid who has skulled red cordial and has a free pass to Disneyland.

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t going to Brew vs Cru I’d be at Barrel and Beast at The Local Taphouse, barrel aged beers matched to slow cooked meats from the Taphouse’s American smoker.

Monday 19 May

The EventRussian Imperial Banquet

Why I’m going: I love Russian Imperial Stouts, they’re like a loving embrace – lingering, comfortable and they always leave you wanting more. How I’ll be after an entire night of them is anyone’s guess but I’ll be sure to keep you updated. I’m also fortunate enough to be representing Crafty Pint at this event, hopefully I’ll be capable of writing something coherent and mildly entertaining the following morning.

Excitement Level: When you wake up in the morning after a big night out and smell bacon cooking

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t at the Russian Imperial Banquet I’d be at An Evening with Yeastie Boys at East of Everything for 6 beer and 6 courses with one of my favourite NZ brewing guys!

 

Tuesday 20 May
The EventGarage Project & Moon Dog’s Local Taphouse Tag Team Tap Takeover

Why I’m going: Aside from the accurate and astounding alliteration (geddit?!) this event showcases two of my favourite breweries

Excitement Level: Kid in candy store but instead of a kid it’s me and instead of candy it’s awesome beer!

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t at Garage Project & Moon Dog’s Local Taphouse takeover I’d be at The Baird Beer Omakase.

Wednesday 21 May
The Event: Sourfest II [sold out]

Why I’m going: I need more sour beers in my life, I truly do. This event was a sell out last year and I didn’t get along. I hear it was amazing so I’m super keen to check it out in 2014.

Excitement Level: When you finally see that band you love live in concert and you sing too loud during every song

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t going to Sourfest II I’d be at Brewers and Chewers at The Local Taphouse. Much like Sourfest this was a sold out night in 2013. Speed dating crossed with a meet the brewer session over a fantastic dinner with the wonderful Pete Mitcham hosting, if last year was anything to go by, this event is a highlight.

Brewers and Chewers 2013
2013 Brewers and Chewers – the venue, the menu and the line up of brewers being interviewed by MC Pete Mitcham

Thursday 22 May
The Event: The Cheese and Cask Ale Experience

Why I’m going: It’s a cheese event, enough said. Plus I went to last year’s edition, which was not cask ale, and it was great! The pairings were genuinely tasty and interesting, I can’t wait to see what they do with cask ales.

Excitement Level: Whenever I step foot into The Re-Store in Leederville … times a hundred.

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t at The Cheese and Cask Ale Experience I’d be at the AIBA Awards Presentation Dinner to cheer on and mingle with the great beer people.

Beer & Cheese Experience at The Local Taphouse last year. This years edition is featuring all cask ales!
Beer & Cheese Experience at The Local Taphouse last year. This years edition is featuring all cask ales!

Friday 23 May
The Event: Game of Cones

Why I’m going: To see some of my favourite people doing their favourite things – Colonial Brewing and Beersine team up for a beer and food matching session on board a tramcar. I’m sooo on board for this one (toot toot!)

Excitement Level: When you’re six years ago and just about to go to your best friend in the whole wide worlds birthday party and you know there’s going to be a magician, fairy bread and lots of cake!

Sophie’s Choice: No choice, it was always going to Game of Cones!

Saturday 24 May
The Event: The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular

Why I’m going: Because it would borderline on insanity not to go. This is the beer festival to end all beer festivals, like a great barley wine this event gets better with every year. Food stalls, craft beer college, the beer market place and the shining diamond on the crown – the festival beers. Over 100 beers brewed just for the festival. Where else can you try that many brand new, never before released, beers in one place?!

Excitement Level: Remember that kid from earlier who drank the red cordial and went to Disneyland? Now they’re at the gift shop being told they can take whatever they can carry.

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t as the first Saturday GABS session I’d be at Woods of the North at 3 Ravens Brewery for barrel-aged brews, whiskeys, BBQ and boilermakers! Breweries like Feral, Moondog , Boatrocker and Starward will be there for your drinking pleasure.

The Event: Mega Dega II [sold out]

Why I’m going: I missed out last year, opting not to follow a multiple course lunch with a degustation dinner, I was keen to get along this year. Four chefs, six brewers and I think I’ll be rolling out the door of this one!

Excitement Level: When they finally announce the new Doctor Who series (sorry for the second Doctor Who reference of the post but I’m getting frustrated at waiting so long between seasons).

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t at Mega Dega II I’d probably be at the GABS Saturday night session!

GABS-LOGO-FINAL-WHITE

Sunday 25 May
The Event: Boatrocker Palate Cleanser

Why I’m going: This was the wild card event of my GBW experience last year. It’s on the last day of the week and it is an EPIC week of palate abuse and indulgence and this event, though ever so slightly earlier than others at 11am is such a welcome treat for those who like their wild and sour beers. They welcome you like family, hell even one of the brewers friends even dropped my partner and I back to St Kilda in her own car last year, and it a really lovely few hours at the Boatrocker brewery.

Excitement Level: When you step off the plane in that city you’ve always wanted to explore.

Sophie’s Choice: Let’s face it, if I wasn’t at Boatrocker I’d be at the last GABS session. Hell, if I made haste I could even catch the last 30mins of GABS straight after Boatrocker!

From last years Palate Cleanser event, can't wait to see what's been happening in these barrels for the last 12 months!
From last years Palate Cleanser event, can’t wait to see what’s been happening in these barrels for the last 12 months!