Monkeys on a Plane

When we started this year there was no relationship between Australian independent craft beer and the AFL and you certainly wouldn’t be served your favourite local craft brew on a major airline. Then, by mid-year, things started to change.

When we started this year there was no relationship between Australian independent craft beer and the AFL and you certainly wouldn’t be served your favourite local craft brew on a major airline. Then, by mid-year, things started to change. Colonial Brewing announced they had become an official partner of the Essendon Football Club and just this week Singapore Airlines launched their curated series of craft beer on their airlines starting with Cheeky Monkey here in WA and we will see a roll-out of similar local announcements made across the country soon.

Australian Brews News: Singapore Airlines adds a Green Beacon

Singapore Airlines hosted a launch event on Monday night for their one-year partnership with Cheeky Monkey. From Sunday 1 October, Cheeky Monkey Pale Ale cans will be available in business class on all flights between Perth and Singapore and the full Cheeky Monkey range will be in their SilverKris Lounge at Perth Airport.

Cheeky Monkey and Singapore Airlines Launch Event at Perth’s Bell Tower at Elizabeth Quay

“With interest continuing to increase across the globe for craft beer, we felt it was a perfect opportunity to partner with a local brewery to offer our customers a craft beer option,” said Singapore Airlines Area Manager Western Australia, David Pinche.

The airline began working with New Zealand brewer Garage Project earlier this year, ranging Hapi Daze Pacific Pale Ale on all flights to and from New Zealand. From here it seems the groundwork was laid for the introduction of Australian craft into the Singapore Airlines family.

Perth Station Manager Sunny Sandhu had visited Cheeky Monkey Brewery in Margaret River while on holiday and it clearly made an impression, leading to the brewery being top of mind when Singapore Airlines approached a few WA breweries in their search for a local partner.

“This [airlines] has always been the domain of the big guys,” said Brendan Day, Cheeky Monkey sales and beer ambassador. For the team, it was not only a welcome surprise to be asked to pitch for the partnership but it was also a little validation of all the hard work they’ve put into the brewery and beers in recent times.

“Singapore Airlines are very committed to quality,” Brendan said and as part of the process the airline sent a site inspection team to the brewery to check it from top to bottom to ensure everything was clean and the service and quality aligned with the high standards of their own brand.

The selection of the Pale Ale for the beer served in flight was a choice by the Singapore Airlines team.

“The Singapore guys just loved it,” Brendan said, “I think they really loved the branding on the can as well and there’s a plane on our can, just a little one, so I think the liked that as well!”

Let this be a lesson to anyone looking to re-brand, it couldn’t hurt to put a plane on your branding for future major transport opportunities!

Brendan and Cheeky Monkey Managing Director Brent Burton had a photoshoot on the tarmac as part of the launch and media release and Brendan said the guys were still pinching themselves with excitement to be working with the airline.

The partnership with Singapore Airlines is not only a huge achievement for Cheeky Monkey Brewery but for the local industry as a whole. Maybe this and Colonial’s achievement to break into a major sporting partnership will hopefully lead to more opportunities at places like stadiums, arenas and major music festivals where previously only the “big boys” were able to play. Fingers crossed!

Big thanks to Singapore Airlines for inviting me to the launch event on Monday night!

5 minutes with Brendan from Cheeky Monkey

Thanks heaps to Brendan for taking the time to do this Q&A, here he is chatting about what he loves about his job, his epic epiphany beers and more …

This edition of 5 minutes with … features Brendan Day, sales manager and brand ambassador for Cheeky Monkey Brewery.

Brendan recently became a certified cicerone, a globally recognise certification for beer professionals that covers ingredients, serving, pairing, styles and, of course, tasting.

It’s reported that the certification has a daunting 1 in 3 pass rate in the United States. Here in WA Brendan sat the exam alongside Scott Earley from Mash Brewing and Adam Leske from Cellarbrations Carlisle, and I am stoked to say that all three smashed the 80% minimum requirement to pass.

Read : 5 minutes with … Scott from Mash Brewing

“We had a study group that would meet up weekly for months before,” Brendan says, “so it was a pretty big journey culminating in a four hour exam, so to find out I had passed was pretty special.”

The study group, organised and headed up by Steve Blaine, aka “Blainey” who was one of WA’s first certified cicerones. With Brendan, Scott and Adam, WA now has five certified cicerones.

“I’d like to give a quick shout out to Blainey, who helped all three of us pass the exam!”

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Photo – DTC, January 2017, Study Session for Cicerone Exam

 

Thanks heaps to Brendan for taking the time to do this Q&A, here he is chatting about what he loves about his job, his epic epiphany beers and more …

What makes a beer a really great beer?

A really great beer is one you remember a long time after drinking it. Whether that’s because it’s so enjoyable to drink, a style you’ve never tried before or a beer helping to celebrate a special occasion. There’s a lot of really great beers in my life haha.

What is the most exciting thing about WA craft beer right now?

The WA scene is absolutely killing it at the moment and I think that’s the most exciting part about WA craft beer, the scene. You have brewers that are producing world class beers, reps that live and breathe beer, bottle shops that stock hundreds of different beers and are knowledgeable on them, consumers that are loyal to their locals and a community that supports each other. It’s a pretty amazing thing to be a part of.

What do you think is the greatest misconception about craft beer?

That craft beer is all about the hops. Yes, they may be slightly over represented in bars and on shelves, but if you think craft beer is all about the hops you aren’t spending enough time in your local breweries!

What was your epiphany beer?

I have two that I can’t decide between. Rodenbach Original and Anderson Valley Barrel Aged Stout. Both of these beers really changed my perception of what beer can and should be. I fell in love with them both as soon as I tried them and instantly started researching and hunting for other examples of the styles. Barrel aged stouts and sours continue to be the most memorable beers, although, perhaps not as life changing as those first two!

Finish this sentence: The WA beer scene needs more …

Barrels. More barrel aged beers and sours please.

WA Beer News #4

There is a lot of stuff happening in WA’s craft beer scene that it’s genuinely hard to keep up with all the new beer releases, beer dinners, free bottle shop tastings, expansion plans, constantly rotating beer taps, beer festivals … WA really is kicking ass when it comes to craft beer and so I thought I’d try and make a regular feature out of all the beery news that our state has to offer.

There is a lot of stuff happening in WA’s craft beer scene that it’s genuinely hard to keep up with all the new beer releases, beer dinners, free bottle shop tastings, expansion plans, constantly rotating beer taps, beer festivals … WA really is kicking ass when it comes to craft beer and so I thought I’d try and make a regular feature out of all the beery news that our state has to offer.

The girl+beer Facebook page has a list of upcoming beer events that you might find worth subscribing to!


Cheeky Monkey

The last Southern Wailer, their limited release series, was an American West Coast style IPA called Hop Flinger. Juicy and unapologetically hop forward, the beer is going to make its way into the permanent line up and will be available soon in 6 x 375ml cans.

Cheeky Monkey at Gourmet Escape
Head Brewer, Ross, at the Cheeky Monkey stand for Gourmet Escape 2016

The next Southern Wailer release is scheduled for mid December and, fitting for the hot summer weather, it’s a lager designed to drink easy and satisfy thirsty mouths – Summer Smash Lager. It’s a single malt and single hop beer and both are Australian – pilsner for the malt and summer for the hops. It will be available on tap in selected venues and in 4 x 500ml cans at your favourite craft beer loving bottle shop. Keep an eye on the Cheeky Monkey Facebook page for updates.

Thorny Devil

A crowd funding campaign is currently underway by the Mandurah brewery to fund a new tank and to commission their new bottling line. Thorny Devil have paid the deposits when they say bank loan approval went from ‘yay’ to ‘nay’ and so here kicked off a crowd funding campaign.

You can read more about the campaign and contribute here.

Thorny Devil
Peter from Thorny Devil at Gourmet Escape 2016

Blue Mile Brewing

Busselton’s Blue Mile have a new beer out that is only available on tap called Lambic Pale Ale. Jason Credaro, head brewer, inoculated a pale ale with lactobacillus and pediococcus (both types of bacteria) and brettanomyces (a wild yeast strain) before leaving it in barrels for 18 months. I suspect this beer will be a tough one to find but well worth trying if you do see it, the sourness is pretty mellow and makes the whole beer pretty refreshing.

Blue Mile at Gourmet Escape 2016
Blue Mile at Gourmet Escape 2016

Eagle Bay Brewing

Summer is coming and that means that Eagle Bay’s seasonal Summer Ale is also coming!

Style wise it’s an Australian style pale ale and featuring a trio of Aussie hop – Galaxy, Southern Cross and Vic Secret – and will be available from December to March.

Eagle Bay Summer Ale will be available from the brewery from 5 December with an official launch on 7 December at The Balmoral in Vic Park. The event kicks off at 4pm and head brewer Nick will be there to chat all things Eagle Bay. Eagle Bay will be taking over the taps and it will be $9 pints and $5 middies all night!

If you’re down south then head direct to the brewery on the 9th for their Brewers Series Session where you can go into the brewhouse with the brewers to learn all about the Summer Ale. Cold beers + good eats + good times. Tickets just $35 and available from the brewery website.

Photo Courtesy of Eagle Bay Brewing Co
Photo Courtesy of Eagle Bay Brewing Co

Bootleg Brewery

Bootleg Brewery head brewer Ryan “Pizey” Nilsson-Linne tells me that they’re bringing back two limited releases soon – Boss Taurus, an Imperial Dark Ale aged in whiskey barrels first released last year in collaboration with Cellarbrations Carlisle and the Luna Lager. Keep an eye out for Boss Taurus at Cellarbrations Carlisle and the Luna Lager will only be available on tap at the brewery.

Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen

Freo’s Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen just released a triple collaboration with Cellarbrations Superstore and Artisan Brewing called Tripel Treating, a Belgian tripel brewed for WA Beer Week. Only a small amount was made so if you missed their WA Beer Week event, keep an eye out for some bottles available at Cellarbrations Superstore only and just one keg will be on tap at the Monk sometime soon. Watch their Facebook for details.

Monk have two more limited release beers coming out soon – a summer seasonal which head brewer Mal says will be “a take on the Monastic Enkel/Patersbier tradition”.

According to Wiki, the Patersbier style comes from the Trappist breweries where it is only available at the monastery and is for the monks to drink so usually is a lower strength version of one of their regular beers.

Monk also will be collaborating with Inn8 Brewers to create a Gose but don’t expect it to be a straightforward Gose, Mal hints they’ll be experimenting a bit with this one!

What is a Gose? A very pale beer made with 60% wheat that uses coriander and salt, the style originates in Goslar, Germany after which the beer style is named.

Mash Brewing

Since Mash are celebrating their tenth birthday this year they’re releasing a special beer to commemorate the occasion, suitably called ‘The Tenth’.

Past brewers joined the present Mash brewing team to create the beer which is a bit of a style mash up. Mash’s sales and marketing all round nice guy Scott describes it as “a freestyle Belgian golden / red / IPA”. The beer will be launched at their Tenth Anniversary Party at The Queens on 6 December.

Upcoming Events

Here’s a quick look at beery events coming up! You can also subscribe to the events page on Facebook to stay up to date.

// 25 November // Feral Brewing Tusk Day at selected venues

// 1 December // Tis the Saison at The Dutch Trading Co

// 6 December // Mash Brewing Tenth Anniversary Party at The Queens

// 7 December // Eagle Bay Tap Takeover and Summer Ale launch at The Balmoral

// 9 December // Eagle Bay Brewing Brewers Series Session + Summer Ale at Eagle Bay Brewing

// 12 December // Beer Club – Session Ale at Northbridge Brewing Co

 

 

WA Beer News #3

News and stuff about what’s happening in WA craft beer

There is a lot of stuff happening in WA’s craft beer scene that it’s genuinely hard to keep up with all the new beer releases, beer dinners, free bottle shop tastings, expansion plans, constantly rotating beer taps, beer festivals … WA really is kicking ass when it comes to craft beer and so I thought I’d try and make a regular feature out of all the beery news that our state has to offer.

The girl+beer Facebook page has a list of upcoming beer events that you might find worth subscribing to!


Colonial Brewing

In case anyone hadn’t already figured out, 2016 is the year that WA gets a LOT of cans. Mash, Feral and Nail are all set to release cans before the year is done, meanwhile Colonial Brewing have got their new canning machine in Port Melbourne up and running (I know, I know, Port Melbourne isn’t in WA but I still think of Colonial as being just as much WA as it is VIC). They’ve added two beers, a pale ale and IPA, and a cider, Bertie’s, to their line up. Whilst their pale ale has been part of the draught range for a long time, the Australian IPA started life as a limited release to showcase an all Aussie malt and hop profile which includes Ella, Topaz, Super Pride, Vic Secret and Galaxy.

Colonial Brewing cans
Colonial cans at Mane Liquor Carpark Party 2016

Cheeky Monkey Brewery

For WA Beer Week – 11-20 November – Cheeky Monkey teamed up with local bottleshops Cape Cellars and Dunsborough Cellars and local bar The Fire Station for a collaboration brew called Caped Crusader, named after the south west’s cape to cape region. It’s a 5.5 percent ABV super pale ale that should please those who like their hoppy American style pale ales and will be available on tap and in 500ml cans.

The official beer launch is happening on Thursday 17 September at The Fire Station, event information here.

Photo courtesy of Cheeky Monkey, looks like brew day was good fun!
Photo courtesy of Cheeky Monkey, looks like brew day was good fun!

Also keep an eye out for Cheeky Monkey’s previous limited release, the Hop Flinger IPA which has been earmarked to go into the full time portfolio in draught and 375ml cans. With any luck it will be some time soon!

More Collaborations

WA Beer Week will see a number of collaboration brews in addition to Cheeky Monkey’s Caped Crusader.

and don’t forget …

Plenty of beer events coming up –

  • 11 November – Feral Fest 4
  • 11 – 13 November – Fremantle BeerFest
  • 12 November – Pirate Life Invasion
  • 11 – 20 November – WA Beer Week
  • 16 November – La Sirene at Baby Mammoth

Find more information on these events here

 

and the cans keep coming

Colonial can’t can fast enough and Cheeky Monkey have just released their own cans too!

Photo from Cheeky Monkey Facebook page

When it comes to craft beer everyone is talking about cans. It’s been a growing trend in the United States for a while and here in Australia we are happily embracing the tinny too!

Read: Washington Times – Yes we can, trendy American craft brewers say

Pirate Life Brewing in South Australia started brewing towards the end of last year and right from the beginning they committed their beers to cans. Also they created a fantastic infographic on why cans are great, I’ve nabbed it to post below but you can also click the image to go straight to the source.

Why Cans? Pirate Life Brewing

Here in WA we have seen Colonial Brewing delve into cans, first with their Draught Ale in November 2014 and followed by Small Ale about six months later. In nothing less than a positive and upbeat tone, it feels like Colonial’s cans have been around forever. Ordering a can of Small Ale just feels so natural and normal now! Chatting with head brewer Paul Wyman, he estimates they have produced 30,000L or 80,000 cans of Small Ale, no wonder it feels like it’s everywhere!

Though it seems like a bit of a staple now, Paul is still surprised at the demand for his Small cans (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

Colonial Small Ale cans

“This was a beer we created for ourselves so we could have a full flavoured beer but still drive around the expansive areas of the Margaret River region,” Paul says.

Two beers down, the big question is “what beer will Colonial put into cans next?” and it sounds like it is a pretty open question. There’s no shortage of excellent Colonial beers and of course there are plenty of ideas floating around the brewhouse, we’ll just have to wait and see. With any luck it won’t be too much of a wait, “fingers crossed we will have them all out by the end of next year!” Paul says.

Meanwhile over at Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery they have recently released two of their beers, the Old Reliable Pale Ale and Blonde Capuchin Blonde Ale, plus the Crooked Tale Apple Cider in 330ml cans.

The Blonde Capuchin has a nice soft fruity body, a little nectarine sweetness and a crisp lime bitterness. The Old Reliable Pale Ale is dominated by citrus like lemon and grapefruit, grassy flavours and biscuity malt in the back.

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Photo from Cheeky Monkey Facebook page

Chatting with Cheeky Monkey’s head brewer Ross Terlick, he’s clearly stoked to see his beers wrapped in tin. It’s the result of eight months of planning and also resulted in a bit of a rebrand to clean up the look and feel of the logo.

Cheeky Monkey logo

Being both cheeky and helpful monkey’s, the back of the can gives a few notes on “see”, “smell” and “taste” plus the hops and malts used.

wpid-img_20151104_223744.jpg

The next beers to get the canning treatment are already planned with the popular mid-strength Travelling Monk set to go into 500ml cans. Ross also hopes to put some seasonal releases into the big 500ml cans and the more popular Southern Wailers beers may also get a release.

Read: Crafty Pint – Cheeky Monkey Cans

Cheeky Monkey’s website is currently under construction but check out their Facebook page for a list of can stockists.

 

GABS Edition: 5 minutes with Ross from Cheeky Monkey Brewery

Q&A with Cheeky Monkey Brewery’s Ross Terlick about their GABS Festival Beer – Death Dancer

The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS,  is on again as part of the annual amazingness that is Good Beer Week, a nine day festival throughout Melbourne, all kicking off today.

Good Beer Week: 16-24th May

GABS: Imagine a really beautiful building and inside are all your favourite Australian breweries, plus a handful of international brewing superstars, with their beers ready for you to taste and brewers keen to have a chat. Upstairs there’s a variety of beer seminars with people who really know their stuff. There’s plenty of food and live music and on top of all this there’s over 100 unique beers, GABS festival beers, which have been brewed especially for the event and all are on their debut outing because that’s one qualification to be a GABS festival beer.

My blog has been pretty free of Good Beer Week activity this year and I can only put this down to an act of self preservation as I am not going to GBW this year. Every time GBW is mentioned I get a pang of beer envy but, nevertheless, I cannot ignore the thirst-inducing creative GABS beers that our fab WA brewers have put together for this years festival so I am hoping to bring you a few Q&A’s with the brewers over the next week or two.

Facebook: Cheeky Monkey

Twitter: Cheeky Monkey

Twitter: Ross Terlick

The first was with Craig from The Monk which you can read here. Next was Ryan from Bootleg Brewery (read here) and we stay in the Margaret River this time with Ross Terlick from Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery.

Alex and Ross at Cheeky Monkey

L: Alex, former Cheeky Monkey brewer | R: Ross, current Cheeky Monkey head brewer

GABS Festival Beer: Death Dancer.

The Official GABS Guide says: “A black Red IPA (or RIPA) brewed with a ridiculous amount of rye to give it a heap of spice and pizzazz. They’ve then dry hopped this bad boy twice to give aromas of pine, resin and tropical fruits and finished it all off with a Belgian Abbey yeast for a touch of funk.”

What is so exciting about GABS?

Paradise. Unfortunately I am yet to make it over there and will be unable to again this year. But with so many fantastic brewers kicking around and everyone really pushing the boat out, it can only be a good thing. Plus Beer People are Good People, so to be in a heaving hall full of such people enjoying great beer … yeah, I’m definitely going next year!!!!

Tell us about Death Dancer and what was the inspiration for it?

Dry Hopping: Adding hops after fermentation for a huge boost to hop aromatics

Basically Death Dancer is an all US hopped Black RIPA. The inspiration comes from the fact I love BIPA and dig a lot of rye in my beers. We pushed the rye pretty far with this one too – nearly 40% of the grist. We bumped the IBU up pretty high (75) and dry hopped it twice too. We’re prettt happy with it.

What was the trickiest part of the brew?

With the amount of rye in the grist I had been having nightmares all week in the lead up about a horror lauter. When it came down to the day though, it ran like a dream.

Why have you gone with a Belgian Abbey yeast for this one?

Being GABS I wanted to try something different and the Safale Abbaye is fairly new on the market so I figured I’d give it a crack.

Who’s beer are you most keen to try this year, and why?

Basically any I can get hold of over here.

South West Craft Beer Festival 2015

I didn’t see any roses or any heart shaped boxes filled with chocolates on Valentine’s Day this year and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Instead I was at the South West Craft Beer Festival!

I didn’t see any roses or any heart shaped boxes filled with chocolates on Valentine’s Day this year and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. Instead I spent the years most socially pressured romantic day of the year drinking great locally produced beers in the company of the fabulous personalities who brew it and sell it. Trust me, there was no lacking in love at this years South West Craft Beer Festival which was held last weekend.

Old Broadwater Farm in Busselton is a gorgeous setting for a beer festival, plenty of open space and shady trees and though it’s near the highway you’d never know it.

South West Craft Beer Festival

It was nice to look around the festival, people watching of course, and seeing some familiar faces from Perth, plenty of south west locals and beer-festival-regulars.

I was asked to be part of the Critic’s Choice voting panel again this year to determine the best beer of the festival. Along with Vic (The West Australian), Daniel (Nail Brewing), Jono (What’s Mashing WA blog), Steve (Boilertronics, trophy sponsor), Jason (event organiser) and Brian (West Australian Brewers Association President) I was in pretty damn good company to taste some great beers. We were taken to each brewery tent to sample one beer of their choosing, at the end we had three votes each and then results were:

1st: Bush Shack Brewery Milk Stout – all judges agreed this was a beautiful drop

2nd & 3rd (equal): Colonial Chief Pontiac IPA and Eagle Bay Summer Ale

Highlights and Sneak Peeks from the day:

Colonial Brewing Co.

Colonial’s IPA on Tour series continues with the last of their Chief Pontiac, an American style IPA, floating around and the release of their New Zealand IPA – Lil NIPA hot on its heels. This was the first beer I tried for the day and it was beautiful. The aroma wasn’t as big as I had expected but the flavours were great, bold and well rounded.

Colonial Brewing at SW Craft Beer Festival

Colonial Brewing’s line up of beers for the day

Eagle Bay Brewing Co.

Over a plastic cup of the Eagle Bay Summer Ale, the current Brewer’s Series release of which there’s only about 800L still around, I chatted with retail and marketing manager Margi and found out that, as always, there’s a lot happening at the brewery.

Three brewers are now working hard to bring Eagle Bay beers to thirsty hands with the addition of Shannon (ex-Duckstein) to the brewing team towards the end of last year.

The ESB has been recently released in bottles and soon Eagle Bay’s Vienna Lager will get the same treatment which will mean their full core range will be available in bottles. Margi hopes to see Vienna bottles on shelves by March.

The next Brewer’s Series, their limited release, is almost ready and Eagle Bay fans will rejoice knowing it will be their much loved Black IPA. Keep your eyes on the Eagle Bay Facebook or Twitter page for details on the launch.

Eagle Bay Summer Ale

Eagle Bay Summer Ale

Margaret River Ale Co. / Settlers Tavern

Since I was driving I was restricted in the number of beers I could sample but I did get to try Margaret River Ale Co’s Pale Ale. It’s their best selling beer at the tavern and given its sessionability it’s easy to see why.

Getting briefly distracted from the topic of beer, it was hard not to notice the impressive Yoder smokers they had wheeled down for the day. Fully imported from Kansas to satisfy a desire for real American BBQ, owner and operator of Margaret River Ale Co & Settlers Tavern Rob was proud to handed out finely sliced brisket to all the judges and it was hard not to dive in for more.

Rob - Owner/Operator Margaret River Ale Co and Settlers Tavern

Rob, owner and operator Settlers Tavern & Margaret River Ale Co, at their Yoder Smoker

Cheeky Monkey Brewery

The latest Southern Wailer, Cheeky Monkey’s limited release series, was a sell out at the festival. The ESB – Extra Special Belgian – is an extra special bitter using the same Belgian yeast as their Hagenback Belgian IPA. The result is a delicious twist on a traditional English bitter which clearly many agreed on because the keg was empty by 4pm.

Cheeky Monkey Extra Special Belgian

Cheeky Monkey’s Southern Wailer ESB: Extra Special Belgian

Young Henry’s

The newest brewery to the south west, Young Henry’s is making an impact. The smiling faces at their tent were contagious was locals discovered YH beers for the first time whilst proud ‘sparkies’ who have been working on the ‘beer farm’ enjoyed the beer they’ve had a little part in helping get from brewery to hands. I got to chatting with Chloe, brewer and all round great gal, about how it has all been going and she was overwhelmingly positive.

Young Henry's

Young Henry’s Natural Lager

Chloe – Young Henry’s brewer on Twitter

Replicating the Real Ale was her first big challenge, aside from getting the brewery up and running of course, to bring the same brew loved in Sydney to the south west. She is keen to show off the beer farm and is hosting the WA International Women’s Brew Day at her brewery on Sunday 8 March for any women in the beer industry who would like to get involved.

Bush Shack Brewery

Anyone who has been to Bush Shack knows the name is more than a name, it’s an accurate description of the brewing facilities owner and brewer Danial Wind works with. Different to his neighbouring breweries Danial brews what some may label as “novelty” but their Milk Stout should be in the list for any self respecting beer geek to actively seek out. I remembered this beer from last year and it tasted gorgeous then too, even though the sun was out this lush, chocolatey beer went down a treat. So much so that the myself and the other judges all voted it in our top three beers for the day, the result being Bush Shack’s Milk Stout took home the trophy for Critic’s Choice beer for the festival.

It also has to be said that despite the busy day the Bush Shack staff were washing and rinsing everyone’s glass, that’s pretty damn good I reckon.

Bush Shack Brewery

Danial, owner and brewer Bush Shack Brewery, pours Milk Stouts for the judges

Another great festival and it seems to keep getting better each year (except more toilet paper in the girls toilets please!) and makes me pretty happy to see so many great breweries serving up fresh local beers. Big thanks to event organisers Buzz Marketing for inviting me along and asking me to participate in the judging panel. See you next year!

5 Minutes with Ross from Cheeky Monkey

There has been a changing of the guard at Margaret River’s Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery with assistant brewer Ross Terlick taking over the reigns as head brewer from Alex Poulsen.

There has been a changing of the guard at Margaret River’s Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery with assistant brewer Ross Terlick taking over the reigns as head brewer from Alex Poulsen.
The change comes as Alex swaps beer for spirit, moving over to Hippocampus Memorable Drinks to add distilling to his list of talents.
Alex and Ross at Cheeky Monkey
Alex and Ross at Cheeky Monkey

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For Ross this role is exactly what he has been working towards. Ross caught the home brew bug whilst working with Jeremy Good at Cowaramup Brewery, whilst there he was awarded ‘Beertender of the Year’ by Beer & Brewer Magazine in 2012 (which you can read more about here), he then moved to Cheeky Monkey late last year. It’s been a great journey which now brings Ross to his dream job.

What was your first reaction to your new job role?

Shock.  I was really surprised when Alex told me he was moving on.  After that it was equal parts elation and trepidation.  I had really been expecting to spend a couple more years in an assistant role before moving up, but was absolutely stoked to get the opportunity.

What has been the best thing about working with Alex?

His knowledge of lab practices and the like.  I really learnt a hell of a lot from him about QC [quality control] and ensuring we had a good level of consistency to the beers.  The fact that we shared a similar taste in beer and music certainly helped as well!

What is your favourite Cheeky Monkey beer and why?

Travelling Monk was awarded the trophy for Best Reduced Alcohol Draught at this years Perth Royal Beer Show

Tough one…
Whichever beer is freshest and drinking the best, depending what mood I’m in.  If I absolutely had to pick one it would be the Hagenbeck Belgian IPA.  I love my big hoppy beers and really enjoy the difference that the Belgian yeast throws into the beer.

You just gotta love a bit of funk,

Having said that the beer I drink the most of is the Travelling Monk Red Ale.  Having to drive back up Bussell Hwy to Busselton every day means a mid strenght just makes sense.
Cheeky Monkey Bar

What will be your first Southern Wailer beer?

Souther Wailer – Cheeky Monkey’s limited release beer series

I have a couple of ideas.   First up I’m thinking of an Extra Special Belgian.  Use a blend of British and Belgian malts, with British and European hops and our Belgian yeast strain from the Hagenbeck.  I’m also pretty keen to try my hand at a Grodziskie.

What do you have planned for the future of Cheeky Monkeys beers?

All the beers are drinking pretty well I think so I won’t be making any wholesale changes.  I may do a little bit of tweaking in the future but not too much.  We have got a new core beer coming out in the next few weeks.  It will be an easy drinking Golden Summer Ale.  Using Maris Otter, Wheat and Caramunich malts and Australian Summer hops.
Thanks for your time Ross and huge congratulations on your new role, I can’t wait to see what beers you send out! You’ll be able to catch up with Ross at this weekend’s Gourmet Escape at the Gourmet Village Brewhouse, be sure to visit him at the Cheeky Monkey tent!

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.

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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!

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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

girl + SWCBF

A new venue at Busselton’s Old Broadwater Farm, tucked in behind Fairway Drive, gave the festival a bit of a make over for its third year (if my beer soaked brain recalls the years correctly)

Let’s just get it out the way early shall we? 2013 was not a good year for the South West Craft Beer Festival. From the moment those ticketing machines failed and the queue of people got progressively longer festival organisers were facing an uphill battle. I felt for them; sometimes shit goes up and there’s a fan waiting to spread it all over the place.

2014 was much brighter. Luminescent in fact.

A new venue at Busselton’s Old Broadwater Farm, tucked in behind Fairway Drive, gave the festival a bit of a make over for its third year (if my beer soaked brain recalls the years correctly). More space, more trees to relax under and a much improved layout with food and beer stalls scattered amongst each other rather than being separated like troublesome kids. I had a brief chat with organisers on the day, very happy with Saturday’s turn out, and they say next year there will be even more shade for relief from February heat. Of course having said that it rained the first year of the festival so who knows.

I walked in just after 1pm on Saturday, traditionally the busier day of the weekend long festival, and wasn’t greeted by queues, only friendly security and festival staff. Happy days!

Immediately I set about my mission, to taste the eight beers submitted for judging for the Critic’s Choice Award since the organisers were nice enough to ask me to be one of aforementioned critics. I was in fine company too – joined by fellow beer writer and award winning home brewer Jeremy Sambrooks, WA Brewers Association President Brian Fitzgerald and the Busselton-Dunsborough Mail rounding out the judging panel.

Here are the beers that were up for judging …

SW Craft Beer Festival Critic Choice

The Cheeky Monkey Hagenbeck Belgian IPA has always been a favourite of mine. When Jared “Red” Proudfoot was head brewer my tasting notes on my first pint was all praises for it’s strong bitterness, orange and piney hops. Now it’s Alex Poulsen at the brewing wheel, so to speak, and the Hagenbeck is still amazingly tasty. It’s fresher and crisper than ever with a little spice and great stone fruit flavours to whisk you into a happy IPA place.

Cheeky Monkey taps - aren't they pretty?!

Buck Shack’s Milk Stout was full of milky, chocolately, vanilla goodness but perhaps suffered from the almost overwhelming heat of the day. In fact this silly judge wore jeans so I was extra uncomfortable. It was a beer rated highly by all judges on the day.

On the other end of the weather-to-beer chart was Eagle Bay’s Summer Ale, another highly rated beer with all judges. Summer in a glass … that’s all I will say. Summer in a freaking glass.

Eagle Bay tent decked out nicely as always!

The stand out beer of the festival for all four judges was Bootleg’s Coconut Hefeweizen, taking out the Critic’s Choice best of the festival.

“Freaking awesome” I wrote on my piece of paper on the day. Bootleg brewers Michael Brookes and Ryan Nilsson-Linne have created a little tropical monster with this one. The beer is so good that it almost makes me forget about the girl with the coconut boobs on the logo, sorry boys not my cuppa tea. The Coconut Hefeweizen still tastes very much like a hefeweizen should with banana and slight vanilla flavours. The toasted coconut folds in nicely, slipping into the style as if it’s meant to be there the whole time, it’s like an uninvited guest who turns out to be the life of the party. I could barely keep my nose out of the glass long enough to drink it.

And it turns out the drinkers agreed with us with Coconut Hefeweizen, taking out the People’s Choice award for best beer of the festival too! Nice work Bootleg!

Ryan happily sampling Coconut Hefeweizen