Weekend Reading #21

This weeks beery reading features another WA Beer Week event recap, the closure of an Australian brewery and some words from Sierra Nevada

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

Queen of Bad Timing | Beer 101 at The Brisbane Hotel

Beer 101 was a beer event held by The Brisbane Hotel and Little Creatures Brewing during WA Beer Week where they did a little beer education, sampled their new summer menu and even did a little bar-top brew. Though I didn’t make it to the event I did stop by The Brisbane a week later to try the beer – a brew done on the bar-top and made with every variety of malt and hop that Steven (Little Creatures) could get his hands on. The result is a bit rough but let’s face it, it was brewed on a bar so it is about the fun of the exercise but if you are a hop head who likes aggressive beers then I hope you managed to try some!

Gizmodo | Five Craziest Aussie Craft Beers

Don’t be put off by the image, it doesn’t match the article but move past that. It’s a nice little list of which I’m happy to say I’ve had three out of five of these beers.

Charlotte Business Journal | Sierra Nevada founder says quality is the key to growth for N.C brewing industry

If I see an article on Sierra Nevada I almost always read it, the more I read the more I like the sound of their business and their approach which makes drinking their beers even better!

Crafty Pint | White Rabbit’s on the Hop

Boo! I remember when White Rabbit opened; I was working for Little Creatures at the time and during our sales conference, held in Melbourne, we were lucky enough to get a tour through the newly opened White Rabbit brewery in Healesville. It was the first time I’d seen an open fermenter and the little “warren” reminded me of breweries in our own south west. To hear it is closing is really kinda sad.

 

girl + Perth

A quick visit to Perth for a few Saturday night drinks and delighted to find that there was excellent beer at every corner.

Meelup Beach

It has been almost two years since my partner and I moved from Perth to the south west. Swapping a city for country lifestyle is easily one of the best decisions we have made.

We regularly return to Perth for quick overnight visits, see a few friends and family before heading home and wishing we had more time to see more people.

On this particular visit we went out for a few Saturday night drinks and was delighted to find that craft beer wasn’t at all hard to come by.

First Stop – Tan Po Po

Damn I have missed this place! Teriyaki Fish for under $7, love love love. Please if anyone knows of anywhere in the south west who’s not charging more than $12 for the same dish I’d love to know. Great food, amazing prices AND BYO. Happy days!

Liquor Barons Mt Lawley is just up the road and carries a great selection of craft beer. We decided a 6 pack of Stone & Wood Pacific Ale would do quite nicely with dinner.

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Second Stop – Defectors

Upstairs at The Flying Scotsman with cosy couches and a balcony for people watching, Defectors is a nice little spot.

A good range of beers on tap and in bottle, I opted for a 330ml bottle of Saison Dupont. It had been far too long since I’d had one of my favourite beers. Spicy, musty, dry and a little fruitiness, I’ve missed you.

Third Stop – The Mechanics’ Institute

There has been an explosion of new bars opening in Perth in the last 18 months. Rather than tasking ourselves with the hangover inducing adventure of tackling them all we simply picked one. We chose The Mechanics’ Institute.

From what I’ve seen on their Facebook page they are mostly known for some fabulous cocktails but it was great to see a fine selection of bottled beer too. I spied Two Birds Sunset Ale, Burleigh 28 Pale Ale, Feral Hop Hog, Rogers’ and Brewdog Punk IPA cans. Happy Days!

Fourth Stop – 399 Bar

Time for a Campari …

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Fifth Stop – The Brisbane Hotel

It’s not long ago that the craft beers on tap at The Brisbane were Beez Neez and Redback, both of which I have enjoyed many a pint of don’t get me wrong, but the word “craft” is debatable. Now you can find the likes of Little Creatures Single Batch on tap and a respectable bottled list with the likes of Two Birds, Brewdog, Holgate, Sierra Nevada and Mountain Goat. On this particular night we enjoyed a couple of glasses of Monteith’s Dopplebock Winter Ale. I’ve not really rated Monteith’s beers in the past but their Winter Ale is lovely – rich and with a drunken raisin sort of taste going on.

Craft beer is emerging, I guess we all knew that, but from what I saw finally more and more beer lists have had as much thought put into them as any other menu in the bar – Fantastic!

Saturday Sunshine + Mt Lawley

Five Bar and The Brisbane Hotel – both in Mt Lawley and both former employers of mine and both amazing venues. Get acquainted or simply visit again and again like an old friend. Just be sure to get a beer whilst you’re there …

Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley
During Beaufort Street Festival 2011

Driving up to Perth inevitably results in visiting places with friends behind the bar, so it was not a surprise that my boyfriend and I found ourselves hanging out at Five Bar & The Brisbane Hotel on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Located along Beaufort Street in the always evolving suburb of Mt Lawley, it is the sort of strip you can spend a whole day exploring. Book shops, almost endless cafes, clothing, knickknacks stores, day spa, florists, furniture stores, and don’t forget the pubs, the bars and the places to eat. What’s best is that you could spent a fortune in a day or you could spend very little. I have had many happy days doing a delightfully cheap n’ cheerful feed at Taka’s before grabbing a pint at The Flying Scotsman then walking around Hyde Park on a nice sunny day.

We arrived at Five Bar just before lunch and as my most recent ex in terms of employers, where I was Assistant Manager, it’s always nice to drop back for a visit! We sat at the bar and watched as it slowly filled with hungry Saturday lunch people. We had gone straight for the Feral taps, sighting Barrel Fermented (Hop) Hog and Karma Citra (India Black Ale) on offer. It made sense for us to get one of each and share since we are both wildly in love with Feral Brewing.

This may be a good time to congratulate Brendan and his team on Feral Hop Hog taking out #1 spot in the 2011 The Critics’ Choice Australia’s Best Beers!

Five Bar is a bit unique in that although they are a James Squire Ambassador Venue, offering 5 James Squire Beers and their Orchard Crush Cider on tap, they are also able to offer 2 Feral beers from a second set of taps. This second set of taps is also set a little differently, both in appearance and function. They stand out as two old wooden barrels on the bar, it’s hard not to wander down and take a look (though the barrels don’t actually store any beer) and secondly, the temperature is set a fraction higher and the carbonation a fraction lower. This has been done with consultation from Brendan, Owner and Head Brewer at Feral, meaning his beers are served with a little less chill to enhance flavours and with a little less bubble which, I find, results in a smoother, fuller mouth feel. Five Bar tend to get a couple of kegs of this and that from Brendan so it always pays to look down the end of the bar and see what’s there. More often than not it’s something offered normally only at Feral Brewing and always something sensational.

The B.F.H (Barrel Fermented Hog) remains the American IPA style of Hop Hog but, as though been sent to a naughty corner, has spent time in new French oak. The result is some delightful vanilla flavours lingering on the front of your palate. Dominant American hops are still very much present and very much welcome!

Sometimes I think beer tastes better out of glasses with handles …

The Karma Citra, always a favourite of mine, is an India Black Ale, or Black IPA, or whatever you want to call the style. On it’s first appearance at the bar, I explained the style to people as a porter and an IPA who had a baby. It seemed to get the idea across in the most time efficient manner. Dark malts for chocolate overtones, and we’re talking proper dark chocolate here, the 70% and above cocoa stuff. It’s a wonder they even manage to get to your nostrils with all the big hop aromas going on but they manage nicely. Citra refers to the hop variety used, which was created in a cross breeding hop program in 1990 and so named for a heavy citrus characteristics it brings to the table. Tropical fruits tag along for the ride too. It’s jet black in appearance with a smooth tan head and then those fruity flavours jump out at you with hop bitterness and malts. Love.

We left, intrigued by the Mash Up, a New Zealand collaborative brew reportedly by 44 NZ craft breweries but had a lunch appointment at The Brisbane.

One of my favourite city beer gardens that has been meticulously cared for since The Brisbane re-opened her doors in 2005. Perhaps it’s a bit on the cliche side but when you’re sitting there and the sun is shining through healthy green trees, it’s just a wonderful place to be! The Brisbane is another one of my former employers, a place I spent many happy years with, and it always makes me smile to come back and visit.

We sat in the back corner of the beer garden and I had decided to re-visit a beer I hadn’t had in quite some time, Redback Original Wheat (no lemon), and HELLO BANANA! I don’t remember tasting that much banana on it in the past. I was quite pleased and it had to be said, the beer looked sensational too. That distinctive shape, the red streak, the clarity and the sun, well, we were soon ordering another. Also, if you go to The Brisbane and don’t get the Homemade Sausage Rolls, you’ve done yourself a grave disservice and you should slap yourself on the wrist, write it down in your phone and make sure you order it next time.

A clear Redback branding win in the sunny Brisbane beer garden

All in all a rather successful afternoon in Mt Lawley and that only covered two spots!

You can visit Five Bar any day from 11am for tasty Feral beers on tap and be sure to ask the bar staff if there’s anything new in the fridges.

You can drop by The Brisbane any day too if you fancy indulging in Homemade Sausage Rolls with a pint in the beer garden.