Snapshot: Baby Mammoth & Rocky Ridge Collaboration Dinner

Snapshot – a post of (mostly) photos –
for a quick look at the recent Baby Mammoth and Rocky Ridge Brewing collaboration dinner featuring their Inglorious Chutney beer

Event:

Rocky Ridge & Baby Mammoth Collab Beer Launch

22 February 2018

 

Rocky Ridge Brewing head brewer and co-owner Hamish Coates
Hamish (left) and Baby Mammoth owners Tania and Ryan Lambson, Ryan is also the head chef as you might have already figured out from his clothes! You can read more about the Baby Mammoth and their dedication to beer and food by clicking on the photo to read the article on Crafty Pint by Guy Southern, aka Good Times Craft Beer
Chicken Sosatie, Green Peppers and Onions paired with Rocky Ridge Ace Pale Ale
Lacto Risotto, Fermented Coffee and Pecorino paired with Rocky Ridge Sour Buffalo
Hemp Seed Taco, Smoked Pickled Mushrooms paired with Rocky Ridge collaboration with Vasse Valley Hemp Farm, Dr Weedy’s Hemp Ale
Bobotie, Banana Leaf Rice and Sambal paired with Rocky Ridge collaboration with Baby Mammoth, Inglorious Chutney. This beer was surprisingly delicate and made using ginger, turmeric, coriander and inspired by chutney. This was a special sneak peek at the beer as it’s currently in four different wine barrels to referment and age for release in champagne bottles in a couple of months.
Grilled Banana Pound Cake, Chocolate BBQ Compote and Honeycomb Icecream paired with Rocky Ridge collaboration with Burnt End Smoking Co, Crimson

WA Beer News #1

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!

FERAL BREWING CO

For those who don’t look at any social media, Feral Brewing have started to make some noise about the release of their very first cans.

Photo borrowed lovingly from Feral Brewing Facebook page
Photo borrowed lovingly from Feral Brewing Facebook page

Sly Fox, their summer ale, will be pretty well known to most, particularly if you drink at The Bird or The Flying Scotsman where the beer is often on a kick ass promotion. War Hog will tickle the fancy of all beer nerds; the Imperial IPA started life as a limited release and so the idea of this beer being around all the time will delight and cause many hangovers. I am suitably preparing myself for the War Hog saturation that will hit social media when these are released!

Perth Local, certainly deserving of its own paragraph, will also get the canning treatment as well as being available in 330ml bottles next month. It’s already on tap in a few places -spotted at The Balmoral and Young Love Mess Hall for instance. Perth Lager was released just a couple of weeks ago and is the first beer from Feral that isn’t an ale.

“We wanted to make a great lager celebrated in our own community as being proudly WA made and owned by the people of Perth,” – Feral Brewing Press Release.

I probably have to mention the article in WA Today relating to Perth Local, implying the Feral copied Horn Bros Perth Draught, another Perth lager. Personally I don’t believe this is the case and I think the more local beers we have the better for everyone, regardless of lager or ale.

You’ll be able to get into Feral cans at their annual Feral Fest event on 11 November, $20 gets you in the door with a can in one hand and, according to the event page, “a fistful of pork crackle” in the other.

Another image lovingly borrowed from Feral's Facebook page
Another image lovingly borrowed from Feral’s Facebook page

EAGLE BAY BREWING CO

On 29 September Eagle Bay Brewing launched Forest for the Trees at Mane Liquor. The beer is an epic collaboration brew with WA friends – Mane Liquor, artist Kyle Hughes-Odgers, Whipper Snapper Distillery and Twin Peaks Coffee. The resulting beer style is a Whiskey Barrel Aged Coffee Imperial Porter.

Eagle Bay Forest for the Trees launch at Mane Liquor
L-R: That’d be me, Elliot (Mane Liquor), Margi (Eagle Bay), Aren (Hippocampus Distillery) and Will (Feral Brewing) at the Forest for the Trees launch

“We gathered the gang, the ingredients and brewed an Imperial Porter, a style of beer best suited to the additional elements to be featured. Part of the beer went straight into the whiskey barrel and the other part went into tank which the coffee was added a couple of days after. Fast-forward six weeks and both parts were blended together and “Forest for the Trees” was born.” – Eagle Bay Press Release.

The result is insanely tasty, we bought two so we could drink one and age the other. The beer is ultra smooth and smells of your favourite morning coffee. The taste continues the coffee flavours along with coconut and vanilla sweetness and a soft bitterness.

Eagle Bay Brewing Forest for the Trees

Only a limited number of bottles were produced so I’d recommend grabbing before it disappears. You can find it at Mane Liquor, Cape Cellars, Baby Mammoth and, of course, at Eagle Bay Brewing.

Photo kindly provided by Eagle Bay
Photo kindly provided by Eagle Bay

MASH BREWING

You may have noticed Mash’s new branding slowly rolling out in recent weeks and their eye catching, massive change of image is thanks to local artist Ian Mutch. Inspired by zig zag patterns from writing ‘Mash Brewing’ over and over, the end designs are bright, fun and a welcome new look for the Swan Valley brewery. Mash are also celebrating their tenth birthday this year and are having a celebration at the Belgian Beer Cafe on Saturday 15 October. Keep your eyes out for Mash cans coming soon!

Image cheekily stolen from Mash Brewing's Facebook page
Image cheekily stolen from Mash Brewing’s Facebook page

OTHERSIDE BREWING CO

WA brewery new comers, Otherside Brewing Co, launched their Festive Ale this week, an Australian summer ale. Otherside Brewing comes to us from the same team behind Sunset Events and their head brewer is Rhys Lopez, formerly from The Monk in Fremantle. You’ll find Festival Ale at Petition Beer Corner, Who’s Your Mumma, The Local Hotel, Freo Doctor and Clancy’s Fish Pub Fremantle.

Image swiped from Otherside Brewing Facebook page
Image swiped from Otherside Brewing Facebook page

BOOTLEG BREWERY

This week Bootleg Brewery launched a new limited release beer, a collaboration brew with Mane Liquor called Eureka! It’s a single hop XPA made with, you guessed it, Eureka hops. It’s a relatively new variety from the US and is a bit of a beast of a hop, it’s got huge character that practically crawls out of the glass!

The first thing that hits you is the aroma, it’s all about sticky, bold hops, tropical fruits and marmalade with a bitter finish that reminds me of super fresh lime.

Get it exclusively from Mane Liquor and at $15 per 4 packs it’s an amazingly tasty bargain!

Bootleg Eureka Single Hop XPA

 

 

Seven Brewers Brewing

Breweries from the south west unite for this once off collaboration beer …

L-R: Justin Fox, Sorcha Gillen, Jeremy Good, Alex Poulsen, Jared Proudfoot, Nick d'Espeissis and Shannon Grigg Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver
L-R: Justin Fox, Sorcha Gillen, Jeremy Good, Alex Poulsen, Jared Proudfoot, Nick d’Espeissis and Shannon Grigg
Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver

I recently was lucky enough to be invited along to a collaboration brew day and I know it feels like there’s a new collab every second day but I still love ’em. Perhaps it’s because I’ve yet to come across one that wasn’t a genuinely good beer or perhaps it’s because I just love the idea of brewers getting together to do the thing they love. If you’re super keen you can read more about my love for collaborations here.

This particular collaboration is extra special because it was brewers from the south west coming together under one roof, in one brewhouse and with multiple pints. Despite the fact their breweries are all roughly within an hours drive of each other this collaboration is a first for the region, as far as I am aware anyway. The collaboration included Colonial Brewing, Bootleg Brewing, Eagle Bay Brewing, Cowaramup Brewing, Duckstein Brewing and Cheeky Monkey Brewing and the brew day was done at Eagle Bay. For a full run down check out my article for Crafty Pint here.

The beer will make it’s debut at South West in the City, a Five Bar event where the brewers will also be there to engage in all sorts of beer-geek talk or just say g’day. Each brewery will also bring along one of their own beers so there’s plenty south west goodness available; apologies if that sounded a little dirty. The event will be held on Sunday 27th October, two weeks before WA Beer Week kicks off – think of it as a good warm up exercise!

Anyway, I just wanted to share a few photos I took on the day and some of the more memorable quotes and moments that put a smile on my face …

“Are we putting more hops in this or are we making Swan Draught?”

“I only put honey on my toast or in my Lemsip”

“I want to be in Victoria’s Secret”

“This is the Rolls Royce of brewery drainage”

Nick (Eagle Bay), Jeremy (Cowaramup) and Red (Cheeky Monkey) looking down at a drain, talking about brewery drainage
Nick (Eagle Bay), Jeremy (Cowaramup) and Red (Cheeky Monkey) looking down at a drain, talking about brewery drainage
Cowaramup's Jeremy Good adding some malt
Cowaramup’s Jeremy Good adding some malt
Colonial's Sorcha throws in a bag of malt and shows off her Freo jumper
Colonial’s Sorcha throws in a bag of malt and shows off her Freo jumper
I'm only just the right level of qualified to do this - cleaning out the mash tun
I’m only just the right level of qualified to do this – cleaning out the mash tun
Potential name for the beer is The Council Worker - this photo may explain why
Potential name for the beer is The Council Worker – this photo may explain why
Jared (Cheeky Monkey) and I throwing in handfuls of hops over seven minutes
Jared (Cheeky Monkey) and I throwing in handfuls of hops
Justin (Colonial), Jeremy (Cowaramup) and Nick (Eagle Bay) weighing out hops
Justin (Colonial), Jeremy (Cowaramup) and Nick (Eagle Bay) weighing out hops
Stop! Hop time!
Stop! Hop time!
When asked to make a funny face, this is the resulting photo Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver
When asked to make a funny face, this is the resulting photo
Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver

girl + hopfweizenbock

Untappd entry - Hopfweizen

This was my Untappd check in as I got stuck into the latest Mountain Goat Cross Breed, a Hopfweizenbock made with American beer royalty Brooklyn Brewery.

Though I can’t remember the first time I tried a Brooklyn Brewery beer they are now a firm favourite in my ever growing list of favourite brewers. Not only are their beers kick ass but their brewmaster Garrett Oliver edited The Oxford Companion to Beer, the only book to have permanent residency on my bedside table.

It won’t surprise anyone who knows me, even a little, that I’m a huge fan of Melbourne brewery Mountain Goat. Each goat beer that’s touched my lips has been brilliant. Their beers have been a big part of my continuing beer journey in the last two years, from first discovering Hightail Ale to now frothing at the mouth with each Cross Breed (limited release collaboration brews) and Rare Breed (limited release) that comes my way.

Me at Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat collaborated with Brooklyn Brewery during Good Beer Week in Melbourne earlier this year, you might have read one or seventy tweets and Facebook posts from my time there. The brew day was held the morning of the amazing The Apple and The Goat degustation lunch, a lunch that was my first visit to Mountain Goat Brewery and my first Good Beer Week event, you can check it out here if you want to drool all over your screen. Fifteen eager beavers joined the Goat and Brooklyn brewers to create the Hopfweizenbock and here is the end result.

Mountain Goat Hopfweizenbock

In this collaboration Brooklyn Brewery brings the German yeast strain and grain bill used in their Brooklyner Weisse whilst Mountain Goat contributes big Australian hops in the form of Galaxy from Tasmania. Basically it’s the bastard child of a German wheat beer and an Australian pale ale resulting in an unashamedly complex 6.5% abv gem of a beer.

Hops at Mountain Goat

I served it up with salmon risotto with big squeeze of fresh lemon, button mushrooms and leek. It was a decent pairing, the lemony citrus bringing a nice freshness to the ‘weizen’ part of the beer. Next time I’ll try for something a bit bolder in flavour to go head to head with the ‘hop’ and ‘bock’ (strong) elements.

Mountain Goat Hopweizenbock and Risotto

If you’re keen on some more reading, here’s a few good articles I found on the Hopfweizenbock –

  •  The Crafty Pint – as always my first stop for beery information and again offers up a great run down of the beer, if you don’t subscribe to Crafty already you’re a damn fool!
  • The Oz Beer Baron – one of the lucky 15 to be part of the brew day
  • From the mouths of the Goats themselves

The Cheesy Italian Job

“We are so lucky to be able to create something new in collaboration, wineries can’t” – Leonardo di Vincenzo, Head Brewer at Birra del Borgo

My partner and I had reached Friday of Good Beer Week – day seven of an epic nine days of beer amazingness.

We started our day at The Gertrude for the Tasmanian Pint of Origin, then lunch at Brother Burger and the Marvelous Brew where they were hosting a tap takeover of Kiwi beers and finished the afternoon at The Tramway for the SA Pint of Origin. Our palates were well and truly warmed up and ready for the event for the evening – Birra del Borgo Collaboration Celebration at Slowbeer in Richmond.

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The event promised to be full of great beer, cheese and meat. That is exactly what we got and it was fantastic!

But of course it wasn’t that simple.

The beers were from Italian brewery Birra Del Borgo and all were collaboration brews. The cheese was also all Italian and the meats, well they were just yum.

We were lucky enough to have the head brewer of Birra del Borgo himself, Leonardo di Vincenzo to guide us through his beers and the stories behind their creation.

“We are so lucky to be able to create something new in collaboration, wineries can’t”

Leonardo di Vincenzo

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Beer #1 My Antonia – in collaboration with Dogfish Head (USA)

I’ve heard lots of good things about Dogfish Head but sadly have only tried one of their beers, their 90 Minute IPA, which was pretty damn tasty.

Leo recounted meeting Sam Calagione, head brewer for Dogfish Head, at a beer festival in Montreal, and have now collaborated on two separate beers. The other being Etrusca which makes an appearance later in the evening.

Leo described My Antonia as a traditional European style beer with some “special characters”. It’s an imperial pilsner that is continuously hopped, dry hopped and bottle fermented. It uses saaz hops, true to a European pilsner, in additional to two American hops – Simcoe and Warrior.

My Antonia is brewed by both Birra Del Borgo and Dogfish Head separately. Whilst the recipe is the same Leo says there’s definitely a difference between the two.

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The My Antonia we tasted was brewed by Birra del Borgo. It was a lovely hazy straw colour with a thick mouth feel and big tropical fruits.

It was served with Gorgonzola, an Italian cows milk blue cheese, and cured pork loin that was sweet and peppery.

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Beer #2 Agua Calienta – in collaboration with Opperbacco, Brewfist and Toccalmatto (all ITA)

This is what happens when you get four Italian breweries together – Agua CalientaLeo calls this a “crazy beer”.

The beer is their interpretation of a traditional British India Pale Ale. They used French oak fermenters, normally used for wine production, to increase oxidisation in the beer. It’s their way of representing to the long journey that IPAs of old would have made from Britain to India. They used four types of malt and popular English hop East Kent Goldings with New Zealand Pacific Jade hops.

The result is an earthy, spicy and biscuity beer with hints of raisins and I even got a little caramel.

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Agua Calienta was served with black truffle salami and taleggio cheese. We almost asked if the cheese was cave ripened since we had just been educated about taleggio at the event at The Local Taphouse but you don’t want to be those people. Plus it’s not like we are experts, just shameless cheese eating machines.

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Beer #3 ReAle in Kilt – in collaboration with Brewdog (SCT)

ReAle in Kilt is a reimagining of Birra del Borgo’s flagship ReAle, an American style pale ale, made with Scottish brewery Brewdog.

They started this project with Brewdog last year and says they are pretty good friends, “when we drink beer, we drink strong beer”. This made the 8.4% abv of ReAle in Kilt pretty unsurprising.

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ReAle in Kilt uses wood fermentation and all German hops, showing a definite break from the original ReAle.

It’s an intriguing and rather moreish beer. I got flavours like bacon, smoke, biscuit and toffee. It was a great match to Wagu bresaola, oak smoked cheddar and rocket sliders.

Wagu Sliders

Beer #4 Etrusca – in collaboration with Dogfish Head (USA) and Baladin Brewery (ITA)

Etrusca goes exploring through the ancient Italian Etruscan civilisation, roughly around where we call Tuscany. Leonardo, Sam (Dogfish Head) and Teo Musso (Baladin) traveled to Rome with an archaeologist to examine drinking vessels from 2,800-year-old Etruscan tombs and from there they created Etrusca.

The beer aims to be as authentic as possible and as such incorporates some different fermentation vessels and ingredients to create an ancient ale.

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Ingredients include gentian root, hazelnut, pomegranate and grapes as well as an ancient yeast strain. For variety each brewery used a different fermentation vessel – Dogfish Head using brass, Baladin using wood and Birra del Borgo using terracotta.

Etrusca was served with an Italian cows milk cheese wrapped in walnut leafs and olives.

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Leonardo was asked about his thoughts on beer trends and consumers expectations. It was certainly a relevant question considering the range of beers we tasted throughout the evening were arguably not appealing to the mass beer market. So how does a brewer balance their brewing creativity and curiosity with beers that, without being crass, make money? I strongly suspect this question is not that simple but Leonardo’s response was interesting.

“I don’t care about the expectation of the customer”, he said without a tone of intolerance but more in the sense that it’s not what drives him to create new beers. He doesn’t get into trends either, “if craft brewers think about the trends of the market they lose their soul”. Ultimately Leonardo is looking for something different, something that tastes special. I think Birra del Borgo have certainly achieved that.

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On a side note it seems to me a striking testament to Good Beer Week as a whole that Leonardo flew all the way to Melbourne to speak to us crazy Australian beer fans!

Also, I have heard an unconfirmed report that Birra del Borgo’s Duchessic – a blend of their Saison with Cantillon Lambic – is currently available at The International Beer Shop. If this is true, be still my beating heart …

Two Monks and an Eagle walk into a Brewery …

Two monks and an eagle walk into a brewhouse …

The guys at Eagle Bay Brewing and The Monk Brewery & Kitchen were kind enough to invite myself and my partner to join them on Saturday at Eagle Bay Brewing. We were invited for a special occasion (not merely for our witty banter and captivating conversational skills of course) of the first brew day for their collaboration brew for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular festival.

The guys at Eagle Bay Brewing and The Monk Brewery & Kitchen were kind enough to invite myself and my partner to join them on Saturday at Eagle Bay Brewing. We were invited for a special occasion (not merely for our witty banter and captivating conversational skills of course), the first brew day for their collaboration brew for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular festival.

Eagle Bay and Monk Collage

The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, or simply GABS for short, is a three day beer festival in Melbourne that brings together brewers from Australia, New Zealand and beyond. It’s a great opportunity to taste craft beer and meet the brewers; there is also live entertainment, educational seminars and gourmet food stalls. It’s no wonder the event attracts so much attention … and it only started last year. The 2013 edition of GABS is happening on Friday 24th – Sunday 25th May, coinciding with the final days of the annual Good Beer Week.

The highlight of GABS are the festival beers, beers brewed especially for the festival showcasing brewing creativity and experimentation. Previous GABS beers that have won the hearts of beer fans include Feral Watermelon Warhead and Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta IPA which have gone on to be regular brews for Feral and Yeastie Boys alike.

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The South West’s own Eagle Bay Brewing have teamed up with Fremantle’s The Monk to create a beer for GABS – the Cacao Cabana.

If by this point you don’t have Barry Manilow singing Copacabana in your head then you’re a stronger person than me.

Spending the day with brewers is always both educational and very funny but I’ll save the details of brew day antics for another post, for now here are some beery details to get your palate excited …

Eagle Bay and The Monk Grid

What’s Happening …

Eagle Bay Brewing | Head Brewer – Nick d’Espeissis

The Monk Brewery & Kitchen | Head Brewer – Paul Wyman, Assistant Brewer – Jack

Cacao Cabana | Choc Brown Hefeweizen

Cacao Cabana in Fermentation Tank

The Inspiration …

Paul wanted to make a beer reminiscent of choc/banana lollipops and was also keen to play with a hefeweizen yeast. He threw the idea at Nick and he jumped on board, bringing with him the know-how in using cacao husks in beer (having brewed with them for their winter single batch Cacao Stout), the idea for an English brown ale base and an invitation to come hang out down south.

Brazilian Cacao Husks

The Beer …

The Cacao Cabana uses a hefeweizen yeast with cacao husks from Bahen & Co Chocolate, Margaret River, and an English Brown Ale base.

Hops – English varieties East Kent Goldings and Target. The beer will be yeast driven, Paul and Nick are looking for big fat banana characteristics from the hefeweizen yeast so they don’t want too much hop aroma interfering.

Malts – a pale malt base with the likes of carafa (German roasted malt), caramunich and a touch of wheat thrown in.

Cacao Husks – from Margaret River company Bahen & Co who make stone ground chocolate from bean to bar. During the chocolate making process the cacao beans are broken, separating the nibs from the husks and these husks are a by-product. Thankfully they had somewhere to go – into this beer! Paul and Nick are using husks from Brazilian and Madagascan cacao beans, about even amounts of both, thrown into the mash. There is a chance they will also be used for dry hopping too.

All GABS festival beers are released first at the festival so if you’re heading along to Melbourne be sure to give it a go, I know I’ll be there!

Paul, Nick and Jack

Big thanks to Eagle Bay’s Margi, Nick and Adrian, and also Paul and Jack from The Monk, for inviting us to Eagle Bay Brewing for the day. It’s always an education to hang out with brewers and learn about brewing plus there’s always a laugh and a beer too. Thanks also to the chefs at Eagle Bay Brewing for feeding us during a busy lunch service and spoilt us with amazing pizzas, pate, cheese, bread and fries. 

27 April 2013 | Update

I dropped into Eagle Bay Brewing on Friday, taking advantage of their special $15 growler refills, and Nick kindly have me a sample of the Cacao Cabana. Only just post ferment, the beer has a lovely banana characteristic, real fresh banana. The chocolate is there but very subtle, Nick tells me there might be a case to throw in more cacao husks, “dry husking” you might even call it! Oh how intriguing! I can’t wait for GABS!

Mountain Goat + Mount Lawley

Don’t you just love Mountain Goat? I do. And don’t you just love it when you get the chance to meet a brewer?

Don’t you just love Mountain Goat? I do. And don’t you just love it when you get the chance to meet a brewer? … Brewers on tour !

Mountain Goat has been bringing us great beers since their Hightail Ale first hit Victorian shelves in 1997.

Dave from Mountain Goat will be dropping by Five Bar, Mount Lawley, to showcase some of their damn fine beer. The line up will include regulars such as Hightail Ale, Steam Ale and their new apple cider, 2 Steps. Also on the billing will be their latest Cross Breed, a collaborative brew with Mikkeller – Pepperberry Black IPA – and Rare Breed – a limited release Rye IPA. If you needed another reason to mark the event in your calendar there is something special appearing on tap.

One of the starts of the night – Cross Breed Black Pepperberry IPA

Just because they can, the boys in the Five Bar kitchen – Nelly & Mitch, will be serving up goat signature dishes to match the beers on offer.

Goat brewer + Goat beer + Goat food = I will see you there!

No tickets required for this event

Where: Five Bar | 560 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley
When: Wednesday 13th June 2012
Time: 6.00pm

Little Creatures + White Rabbit

Little Rabbit – a collaboration brew between sister breweries Little Creatures and White Rabbit made especially for the Good Beer Week Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS)

Coming Together …
White Rabbit and Little Creatures

Obviously Little Creatures + White Rabbit = Little Rabbit. It couldn’t have been any other name. There’s something about the words ‘White Creature’ that feel a little politically incorrect.

Whilst enviously reading through the Good Beer Week events I clicked to see what Little Creatures were going to be up to. Being a former Little Creature myself, I like keeping up with what they are doing. I used to spend my days driving around listening to Rage Against the Machine and  selling the almighty Pale Ale to bottle shops and bars. Despite a few years passing by I am fortunate enough to still know a few friendly faces at Little Creatures. As such, when I spotted a collaborative beer between Little Creatures and White Rabbit brewed especially for the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS) at Good Beer Week it caused me to pick up the phone. One email and a phone call later I learnt that a few kegs would be making their way back to Fremantle after Melbourne’s Good Beer Week. Availability outside the brewery was very uncertain, after all we are literally talking about just a handful of kegs, so I decided the only thing to do was to drive up to Fremantle and get it from the source.

Early days at White Rabbit Brewery
Healesville, Victoria
The Back Story: The White Rabbit Brewery in Healesville is brought to you by the same people as Little Creatures so perhaps it was only inevitable that a collaborative brew would hop-up (pun-tastic, I know. I’m sorry, please keep reading). White Rabbit beers, their White Ale and Dark Ale, are driven by yeast and open vat fermentation and letting the yeast be free (to a degree). Little Creatures is driven by hops and a naked flying baby. 

I gathered up two friends to come along for an adventure to Fremantle. We arrived at Little Creatures and head straight for the Brewhouse Bar (not the main hall), where you can taste beer and purchase some to take home with you, along with plenty-o-merchandise. It also gave me a chance to show off a little knowledge and point out where the bunnies are having sex on all White Rabbit branding (bottles, tshirts, packaging, it’s always there!).

Artwork is just one thing you’ll find at the Brewhouse Bar

We had a taste, chatted to the great Brewhouse Bar staff and glanced over the spec sheet. A taste was quickly followed by a pint. We sat in the sunshine, admiring the red Little Creatures bicycles and the assorted herbs and veggies growing in the surrounds.

The beautiful sunny day let Little Rabbit show off her appearance, light golden clarity and fluffy white head. The brew holds true to it’s White Rabbit father with Belgian yeast shining through, dry and a bit spicy. It’s Little Creatures mother imparts a little orange citrus and glimpses of passionfruit from her hops. The bitterness is long lasting and crisp, weighting in at about 37 IBU if my memory of the spec sheet that was at the bar serves me correctly.

Get down to Little Creatures and try this out, I have no idea if it will come around ever again but I know the batch I had won’t be around for long. They had already drained one keg when I was there and there was just two to go. Hop on in …

Check out the new Little Creatures website and if you want to stay up to date be sure to become a Hop Head!

Saturday Night + The Pourhouse

The perfect place for a bunch of beer lovers go for dinner in Dunsborough to debate beer in cans versus beer in bottles, eat great food, check out something interesting off the beer taps and above all else, have a chat and a laugh and good catch up.

Anyone who’s worked hospo will tell you that the best thing about the job isn’t necessarily free and/or cheap booze (depending on your current level of alcohol intake/tolerance/consumption/addiction) but it’s the people you meet. Customers, work mates, booze reps and every person in between, there are some fantastic people around and if you’re really lucky, like me, after you’ve left the bar, you keep in touch and get together for wee shandy or two. Saturday night was one of those nights.

It was our first evening visit to ‘the-bar-formerly-known-as-The-Malt-Market’. Normally our trips to The Pourhouse are in the afternoon and involve playing a few board games, usually inventing slightly altered versions such as Speed Chess. This involves going through the game at breakneck speed and though it sounds relatively simple but it’s not, especially when you’re opponent is waving his arms about and screaming “hurry up!” but at least it’s entertaining.

For those who have not been to The Pourhouse, be sure to add it to your South West to-do-list. It’s a fabulous beer bar with a regularly rotating list of tap beers, dominated by local breweries, plus an expansive list of bottled beers. They’ve got great food served in good time by smiling staff members so combine this with interesting beer and it’s no wonder I like this place. Recently they have teamed up with Eagle Bay Brewery to encourage beer culture in Dunsborough, creating Growlers that can be purchased and refilled at either venue. Happy Days! Growlers appear to have exploded in the last couple of months and bring it the F on, I say! [Click here for more details on The Pourhouse and other great Dunsborough spots]

So we were in a great beer venue and now add in great company (apart from each other, of course!), dining and chatting a lot about beer with Scott & Jess, fellow beer lovers and all round super nice people. They also bought me a wonderful present of Mountain Goat Cross Breed Pepperberry IPA. It’s not often I walk out of a bar with a full unopened beer bottle stuffed into my handbag, I’m sure that wasn’t one of the envisioned items Mimco considered when designing their range of bags.

Burger at The Pourhouse
Tasty and Big!

I started my night with the Renaissance Voyager IPA off tap, an English style IPA brewed in New Zealand. Since I’ve been hammering my palate with American IPA for quite sometime it was nice to change it up a little. Floral and a little spicy, my boyfriend noted some upfront toasty qualities in there too. A lovely little IPA as an opening act. They also offered up their Elemental Porter on their taps if you were looking for velvety dark chocolate tones. Since there was driving to be done later I switched happily to Rogers’ from Little Creatures, Fremantle. Perhaps not the ideal match with my dinner of Mussels Cooked in Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier, Garlic and Shallots but neither detracted from the other. The mussels were big and plump and tasted sensational, I’m normally a fan of chilli mussels but this was light and delicate (much like me, *ahem*) and still full of flavour. The Burger was also very tasty and big, no small portions here folks! But there was just enough room to finish the evening by sharing a bottle of Pot Kettle Black, another great New Zealand production, from the Yeastie Boys. Black and hoppy and always a favourite, it’s always far too long between visits because you fall in love with it every single time. Try it and tell me it’s not true!

We had been debating the idea of beer in a can, debating whether it could take off in Australia rather than actually being fans of the idea (which we all were incidentally) and as though it was planned (though it was only coincidence) Brewdog Punk IPA in it’s two lives appeared – can and stubbie. Only 3 months separated the batches.  The bottle was a little hazy with more pronounced bitterness whilst the can was brighter with more floral and grapefruit elements dominating. It was an interesting exercise, thank you Jess! [check out her photography at www.jessicashaver.com] And one I am sure I’ll repeat down the track.

It was great to look around the bar and see growlers hanging from the ceiling, guys and girls with Brewdog Punk IPA, Weihenstephaner glasses, Gauloise Blonde and a variety of glassware for each – beer lovers get down to The Pourhouse, play some games, drink some beer and be sure to get a serve of the Chilli Squid and Chorizo to snack on.

Chilli Squid and Chorizo
The Pourhouse

Ovila Quad

Gotta love a collaboration brew, especially when it involves Sierra Nevada!

When you say ‘Sierra Nevada‘, I tend to get a little excited. When you say ‘collaboration brew’, I tend to get very excited so imagine my child-like delight to discover Ovila Quad, a collaboration between Sierra Nevada and the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux.

For those not familiar with Sierra Nevada, here’s a brief run down – freakin’ amazing beers …

Ok, really, it’s the heart & soul of Ken Grossman who built a small brewery in California in 1979 with the goal of producing exceptional ales and lagers. Against a back drop of home brewing, chemistry and physics on 15th November 1980 Ken Grossman brewed his first batch of beer. This would then become Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – a beer I personally love and I am yet to meet anyone who has tried it and not enjoyed it. Today I am always keeping an eye out for their limited release brews, the result of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp and anything else they might be up to.

The Ovila Project sees Sierra Nevada closely following monastic brewing traditions dating back centuries by the monks of Abbey of New Clairaux. According to the website there are 3 beers that will be produced, all limited releases and bottled in cage and cork 750ml bottles. However, we had the Quad (not the Spiced that’s due for release later in the year) so how many they are brewing over how long, I’m not entirely sure.

Ovila Quad presents beautifully in the glass and, perhaps because I had been looking forward to opening the bottle for weeks (I was waiting for a slab of stinky blue cheese and a night when I didn’t have to work the next day!) it didn’t smack me in the face when I had the first sip. That’s not to say it’s lacking flavour, it’s just that I was expecting a Hulk-type assault on my senses (sorry, just saw ‘The Avengers’ last night). There are wonderful dark fruits and warmed raisins and spice flavours. There’s also that definite booze sweetness coming through the 10.4% abv in a very pleasant way, all in a medium bodied, well balanced Belgian-inspired ale.

We paired it with Blue Cow Blue Cheese and it has to be said that matching beer and cheese is simply divine. When I co-hosted food & beer events at Five Bar I used to enjoy the cheese matching the most. The contrasting flavours of medium bodied, port-like sweetness from the Ovila against the creamy aggressive blue cheese was absolutely lovely.

If you’re in Perth, the best place to try get a hold of this beer would be the International Beer Shop.

Thank You to Andy Mac for the gift of a bottle of Ovila Quad!

Ovila Quad and Blue Cow Blue Cheese
Not a bad way to end a meal!