5 minutes with Guy Southern aka Goodtimes Craft Beer

Alright, let’s kick off with an apology and a confession.

First, sorry for the absence here! Hopefully, you’ve been following along on my Instagram where I am much better at regularly posting.

Speaking of Insta, that brings us nicely into my return to my blog with this post featuring Instagram legend, Guy Southern, aka Goodtimes Craft Beer.

(and if you’re wondering about the confession, it’s quite simply that this is not going to be a 5-minute read but I can tell you for sure, it will be fun and interesting!)

I always love catching up with Guy because he brings a unique perspective to the beer industry and articulates it perfectly. His articles on Crafty Pint are some of the best reading in Australian beer and he’s also one of the nicest and most fun guys to have a beer with. I’ll say it once and I’ll say it again and again, beer people are the best people.

Grab yourself a beer, get comfy and get to know Guy a bit better as he talks about how he started writing about beer, the idea of a WA brewing identity, the Instagram accounts that inspire him and a list of breweries, locally and internationally, who are impressing him.

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Guy during the launch of his collab brew with Rocky Ridge and Devine Cellars at Petition, November 2018

What inspired you to start writing about beer?

I’m not sure if it was inspiration but around 2013/14 I formalised what I’d been posting about beer on Facebook into the original Goodtimes blog. There wasn’t much to draw from back then so I pretty much ripped the concept off Girl + Beer – you might know her. The following year, Joel Beresford (The Dutch Trading Co.) introduced me to a man that I’d literally bumped into while trying to order a beer at Beer DeLuxe during Good Beer Week. As a result of a that 45 second conversation, I began writing long form articles and reviews for James Smith AKA the Crafty Pint. In hindsight, the naïve arrogance that I might have something to contribute has served me well.

As far as writing goes, I can thank my Dad for a love of language which was supported by a couple of high school teachers.  This led to a half-completed English / Public Relations degree which was rudely interrupted by a lengthy retail career. From this viewpoint, nothing has really changed in over 20 years – I’m still writing, mitigating and encouraging people and businesses to be more than they might think they can be, or at least be curious about opportunities they might not have considered.


Read: The Story of: Hop Hog at Ten at Crafty Pint by Guy Southern


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Dan (Billabong), Guy and Steve (WA Beer Runner/The Good Beer Project) during 2017 WA Beer Week

Which three breweries are currently impressing you and why?

I’m lucky to have great friends that share great beer so I’m not going to answer the question directly. Haha.

Internationally, Cornish brewery Verdant is consistently delicious. Noting them is also a halo for the broader UK scene of Cloudwater, Left Handed Giant, Northern Monk and others. From Europe I’ll drop Spanish brewery Garage Beers into this and Cantillon is undeniably hype-worthy. From the US, Perennial, Cycle and Hill Farmstead have also been delicious this year. All amazing beers but also amazing artwork – design is not an afterthought!

Nationally, I been lucky to try a lot of Range Brewing’s beers through trades that have been great. Wildflower continues to excite and Philter’s new IPA is crushable. 3 Ravens and Boatrocker keep building momentum with exceptional releases and I love what Van Dieman and Ocho are doing.

Locally, it’s never been better to be a WA beer drinker. The diversity and quality coming of WA breweries is insane. I really don’t want to single anyone out so I’ll just note Rocky Ridge purely for the opportunity to collaborate on Devine Goodtimes – Barrel Aged Sparkling Saison.

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What are some of your favourite Instagram accounts and why?

I really enjoy Instagram and have made some great friends through the platform. For Goodtimes Craft Beer I mainly follow beer accounts although there are few others that inspire me. I’m less interested in the lifestyle – ‘here’s me with a beer’ – side of Insta and more interested in creativity.  Most importantly, I respect well curated, engaging accounts with a consistent visual language.

Beer and booze:

Sips and Sessions – Ash inspires me and never fails to deliver, Beer Thread – Leon has a consistent tone and some world class beer hustle!, Elitraks – seriously good photo work, Craft Beer Deer – for consistent tone and use of different scale within the square ratio to create interest, Beautifulbooze for styling ideas, Eagle Bay Brewing Co. – probably the most cohesive brewery account in Australia and likewise for Mane Liquor in retail.

[update: Guy also notes Phineasphrog as another good one to follow]

Architecture and design:

Mymodernmet, Kmsalvagedeisgn, Designboom and boluddha – these speak for themselves in their own way.

Lifestyle and photography:

Slice of Pai – I love the composition and cohesion of this account. It’s a great example of using colour to create a visual narrative flow through different locations, JR – not only is his art wonderful and subversive but the account is equally well curated, Tannaka_tatsuya – the sheer creativity makes you look at the whole world differently, Magnum photos – everyone should be following this account. As legendary co-founder Henri Cartier-Bresson said “Magnum is a community of thought, a shared human quality, a curiosity about what is going on in the world, a respect for what is going on and a desire to transcribe it visually”, Peter McKinnon – check his gregarious YouTube videos for tips on improving your Insta game. A quick scroll through the account is a great example of moving from ice landscapes to desert to cityscapes through composition and tone. Likewise, Create Explore uses composition, especially by using colour, tone and really subtle visual symbols through the account to create visual narrative flow.

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I stole a ‘behind-the-scenes’ photo of Guy as he got his Instagram on at his beer launch!

Read: The Collaborators: Zendoke on Crafty Pint by Guy Southern


Finish this sentence: The WA craft beer scene needs more …

Identity.

When Phil Sexton and mates fired up the Freemasons’ Hotel in 1984, they started the idea of better beer in Australia and, courtesy of the America’s Cup defence, sparks were also sent to San Diego – and those folks seem to have done OK with the idea. Matilda Bay, Little Creatures, Feral, Eagle Bay, Cheeky Monkey, Rocky Ridge and plenty more have followed. For a state that’s birthed even this short list of world beaters, why aren’t we known globally for beer?

Of all the challenges that face WA breweries, venues and retailers – ownership / authenticity questions, consistent quality, tap contracts, market saturation, consumer knowledge, container deposit schemes and constantly changing algorithms – the hard truth is most punters don’t care and no one is coming to help. No one. The only thing that transcends all of that is a strong, cohesive and professional identity that all Western Australians can be proud of: WA Beer.

Over 2.5 million people live here and they have a rich beer history to be proud of, if we can get them engaged and involved with WA beer. Moreover, four billion people live just to our north who might be interested in a WA beer but that won’t happen in isolation nor should it be at the exclusion of the rest of Australia.

Western Australian breweries have supported the careers of many that are killing it nationally and internationally so a parochialism isn’t required, just a shared identity that we can all embrace, no matter how big or small the brewery is or what part of the beer industry people are involved in. WA Beer should be about retailers, venues, sales reps, journalists and bloggers as much as breweries not only because these people facilitate getting great beer to punters but because beer is inclusive – it loves everyone equally.

Lastly, without a strong identity, WA beer will, in time, be consumed by others with a stronger identity and agenda that has no regard for what has come before. It will be incremental and before you know it there will be no legacy and nothing to be proud of together.

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Guy, Kyle (Otherside) and Reece (Nowhereman)

What was the last beer you had that made a lasting impression?

I talk about context a lot. Timing, place and company have so much to do with how we enjoy not just beer but life in general. For the most part, I’ve stopped chasing beers and have put my trust a mangled thought I lifted from faded bumper stickers: Beer happens. The beer magic happens when you least expect it because you’ve helped others.

So, to actually answer the question, during the Devine Goodtimes brew day at Rocky Ridge I shared a fresh Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus with the collaborators. There were quite a few of us so the pours were small. An hour or so after sharing I saw Rocky Ridge rouseabout Jacob Nesbitt walk past sniffing the 80mls that I’d been able to share with him – he still hadn’t tried it. Lost in the aroma and grinning, he said that he’d never been able to try Cantillon before and really wanted to savour it. We were all blown away by the beer but that moment is a lasting impression for me. So much about beer is about everything that happens around the glass – the context just as much as the liquid and what went into making it. That’s the stuff that I think is lasting.

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Adam (Feral/Beer Sucks), Rhys (Otherside), myself, Guy and Brendan (Cheeky Monkey/Beer Sucks) at last years Getting Blind with Crafty, a blind tasting event, at Dutch Trading Co for WA Beer Week 

 

 

Weekend Reading #22

This week features a great piece on beer writing, beer marketing to women, a great review of Mash CopyCat IPA and a look at trends in the US …

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.

First We Feast | How Craft Beer Fails it’s Female Fan Base

I am not interested in seeing craft beer marketed to women, I’d rather marketing was inclusive, on brand and honest, not gender specific.

Crafty Pint | The Pondering Pint: Beer in the Media

This piece was shared a lot across social media and for very good reason, it’s an excellent piece of writing that looks at how craft beer is portrayed by mainstream media. Aside from excise, perception is a major problem for craft brewing because of misguided and lazy pieces that reinforce an idea that craft beer is a fad, something for hipsters and the over indulgent and is always considerably more expensive than mainstream beer.

If you only read one of the articles on this list, let it be this one.

Slate | Americans now drink more craft beer than Budweiser 

Lots of the time I hear people saying that our craft beer scene is following in the foot steps of America’s. Perhaps this is a glimpse into the future of craft beer in Australia.

Ale of a Time | Mash Brewing Copycat IPA

This comes from a great Australian beer blog by Luke who co-hosts the Ale of a Time Podcast with Dave and it’s one of my favourite podcasts to listen to on my way to work. Highly recommend if you like beer chat with nice, genuine people and no gimmicks.

I liked this piece from Luke on the Mash CopyCat because it’s great to read how WA beers are received on the other side of the country, especially when you’re talking about a beer that’s won lots of awards recently and it’s so dependent on being as fresh as possible.

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.

 

Weekend Reading #5

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.

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.

An unusually busy week resulted in a lot less writing than I’d normally do but I still caught some good reading which I hope you like!

Paste Magazine | The World’s Next Great Beer Town? Paris, France
Pop culture website covering everything from gaming, food and drink, tech and entertainment

I read somewhere that “beer is to Belgium what wine is to France,” but judging from this article some French palates are craving a more frothy beverage. Romantic as hell, beautiful countryside and great cheese and now great beers too?! Oh my, Paris you are looking damn fine.

Serious Eats | Cheese 101: The Stinky World of Washed Rind Cheese
Food blogs and tasty stuff

Almost any article with “cheese” in the headline gets my full and complete attention like a kitten chasing a laser pointer. I’m a cheese-hopeless, if that’s a thing. Throw in the word “stinky” and I’m even more signed on. This is a great read that covers off an overview of what washed rind actually means, how they are made and the all important examples with droll inducing descriptions. My favourite description from the article is definitely this one:

Though it stinks up their air with shockingly rude odors, the flavor is deliciously meaty.

lingot d’argental
lingot d’argental

Serious Eats | Your Guide to Father’s Day Drinking

More from the Serious Eats page. It was father’s day in America recently so the usual articles appeared but I liked this one for the tasty food and drink recommendations that are normally not so enticing in a fluffy insert-celebratory-day-here piece.

Australian Brews News | On the Definition of Craft Beer
One of the best sources of information on beer in Australia

This topic isn’t very new, it is a debate that has kicked around for a bit. Personally I don’t really see the need for everyone to agree on a definition but when you consider how often the term is used it is unsurprisingly people want to define it in specific terms. How you would do this I have no idea. This article does not attempt to put a definition out there but does give us two very different examples which is an interesting talking point in itself. Well, interesting cause I’m a massive dork, hopefully you all are too!

Crafty Pint | A Spooning Spectacular
The other awesome Australian craft beer source of what’s happening

It’s collaboration fever, last month’s Good Beer Week attracted lots of international brewers to our sunny country so it’s only inevitable that some ended up brewing whilst they were here. The Fingerlime Saison sounds divine!

Beer of Tomorrow | There is only one thing you need to turn your wife or girlfriend into a Craft beer lover and you won’t believe how simple it is
Craft beer website from LA

I saw this title and almost didn’t click on it because I didn’t want to subject myself to another hideous “how to make women like beer” article. I just get mad and then feel compelled to open a stupid percent barley wine just to spite them. Anyway, I got a pleasant surprise when I read it. The last dot point is my favourite.

 

Weekend Reading #2

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 is excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

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.

For those who didn’t notice from my ridiculous rate of Instagram-ing, Twitter-ing and Facebook-ing I have recently returned from 9 days of Good Beer Week action so I might be a little light on for reading material for you but I was busy drinking beer! Whoops!

The Guardian | Cooking with Beer: Ale and Hearty Ideas

The Australian edition of The Guardian news website

A post by Perth based writer, Max Brearley in the ‘Australia Food Blog’ section featuring my good friend and great chef Mitch Mitchell aka Beersine. Mitch shares two of his favourite recipes accompanied by photography by another talented person I’m fortunate enough to call friend, Jessica Shaver.

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver Photography
Photography by Jessica Shaver

Craft Beer | Sustainable Uses of Spent Grain

American craft beer website

You can read about Game of Cones here if I can be so bold as to plug my own blog within my blog … which apparently I can

Inspired by Beersine’s spent grain pretzels at the Good Beer Week ‘Game of Cones’ event, I went looking for a few related articles on using spent grain. This was a really interesting read on what some American breweries are doing with their spent grains. It’s more than cattle feed!

Spent Grain on a Brew Day for Colonial Baltic Porter
Spent Grain at Colonial Brewing, Margaret River

Crafty Pint | Good Beer Week 2014 Review: De Vrolijke Boot

One of Australia’s very best craft beer news website

Naturally most of my beer reading has been orientated around Melbourne’s Good Beer Week and living vicariously through others by reading reviews of events I wasn’t able to attend. In my defence there were hundreds of events and the week only goes for nine days! This event was held at Merricote along with beers by Boatrocker Brewery and stretched across six courses. The cacao cigar paired with Ramjet, a whiskey barrel aged imperial stout, sounds like something I would really, really like!

Beer is Your Friend | Good Beer Week Recap

One of my favourite Australian beer blogs by Glen Humphries

Summing things up nicely, an art I am yet to master due to my tendency to simply spew words, Glen writes about discovering Feral Watermelon Warhead and Rodenbach, going to GABS and eating lots of cheesesteaks.

girl + Hottest 100 wrap up

There are already a couple of good wrap ups of this years Hottest 100 Australian Craft Beer countdown but I did want to do a little rambling too. I blame my delayed response on being in the middle of moving house, sleeping on an inflatable mattress does strange things to a girl, but here we go …

For those of us who choose Triple J as their radio station and good beer as their over-indulgence, the term “hottest 100” means two things on Australia Day –

  1. Triple J count down their Hottest 100 songs for the year as voted in one great big musical democracy, and
  2. The Local Taphouse, all round wonderful beer venue in Melbourne, runs their own hottest 100 on Australian craft beers with the support of Crafty Pint and Australian Brews News.

Thankfully this year our ears weren’t subjected to Thrift Shop whilst our taste buds appeared to be unmoved from 2012 with Feral Hop Hog returning to claim number 1 position.

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There are a couple of good wrap ups from my favourite beer literature already out there (links below) but I wanted to do a little rambling too.

Victoria is how but WA and NSW still on top – James Davidson

Australian Brews News

Hottest 100, where to from here? – Glen Humphries

Beer is Your Friend

The top three – Feral Hop Hog, Stone & Wood Pacific Ale and Little Creatures Pale Ale – were unsurprising considering they’re very tasty beers that are widely available.

What I’m wondering … Is the inclusion of Little Creatures Pale Ale in the top 3 for the fourth consecutive year and owned by brewing giants Lion Nathan, reflect the continued quality of the beer or wider distribution or even a growing embrace of less “mainstream” beers?

2009 Results – click here

2010 Results – click here

2011 Results – click here

2012 Results – click here

So whilst the top three wasn’t a roller coaster of emotions, the other 97 are interesting.

One notable exception to the list was Little Creatures Rogers’. It’s appeared in the last four years, admittedly at varied spots – #58 in 2009, #32 in 2010, #80 in 2011 and #85 in 2012 – but was M.I.A this year. I don’t feel like the beer has dropped off in terms of quality, it’s still a great tasting reduced booze beer with decent availability so what’s changed? Perhaps just the landscape of Australian craft beer has changed – the beers keep coming but there’s only ever 100 spots.

Rogers
Photo taken at Five Bar by Sandra Megan

Still in the Lion Nathan side of the beer world, another notable exception are the beers brewed under the Malt Shovel  and James Squire brand. In previous years the James Squire Porter, Golden and Amber Ale have all appeared in the countdown and last year it was the limited release “Mad Brewers” Hoppy Hefe but this year, like it’s cousin Rogers’, both Malt Shovel and James Squire beers are M.I.A. Good thing for Lion the rest of the Little Creatures and White Rabbit brands are well represented.

What I’m wondering … Is the countdown attracting more “hardcore” craft beer nerds who have long left behind their James Squire days or are people discovering craft beer at the pointer end of craft beer? For me, I think it started with Matilda Bay Redback but maybe for others it’s beers from smaller players like Stone & Wood and 4 Pines that are sending people on the craft beer juggernaut.

On the other end of the distribution spectrum there were some limited release and hard-to-get beers in the countdown too. Beers like Feral B.F.H Barrel Fermented Hog, which I only ever really see at the brewery and has not made it into bottle production, and limited release beers such as Stone & Wood’s Stone Beer and my personal favourite Nail Clout Stout clearly made an impression across the country on what was likely to be just a few tastings.

2012 Clout Stout ... from opening the box to pouring it into a glass
2012 Clout Stout … from opening the box to pouring it into a glass

It was also nice to see a few GABS beers, those brewed specifically for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular festival back in May, appear in the countdown. Beers like Bacchus White Chocolate & Raspberry Pilsner (#59), Feral’s Barrique O Karma (#33) and Two Birds Taco (#25) all made the cut. A surprising omission, at least surprising to me, was Brew Cult’s Acid Freaks – a Balsamic Baltic Porter that had all the hallmarks of gimmicky but worked amazingly well, so much so that I hung my head in beery shame that I ever doubted the idea. My hat, if I wore one, to it’s creator Hendo is very much being tipped.

Brew Cult Acid Freaks

Personally, one of the things I love about the countdown are the beers I haven’t gotten my beer-grabby little hands on. My beer wish list grows and grows; this years list gave me beers like Holgate Road Trip, Fortitude Golden Ale, Doctor’s Orders Cephalopod and 2 Brothers Grizz to name a few.

What I’m wondering … Does this list influence your perception of these beers? If you genuinely didn’t like Feral Hop Hog, would you admit it or think you’re taste buds were wrong? I’d love to know you’re thoughts on the countdown, whether it’s interesting, just a little bit of fun or what it says about our countries love for good beer …

For me the countdown is fun, what’s most interesting to me is what happens after the top three. I like seeing what breweries keep making appearances year after year, I like seeing if American IPAs and Pale Ales are growing or shrinking in representation and clearly, I like talking about it too.

Cheers!

5 Minutes with Danielle from Two Birds Brewing

5 minutes and 5 quick questions with one half/one bird of the Two Birds Brewing team, Danielle Allen

“Two Birds are Brewing” – that was the article headline recently on Crafty Pint and those four little words set the Australian craft beer world into simultaneous smiles. Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen, the aforementioned birds, are set to open their brewery sometime in 2014.

Jayne & Danielle Two Birds Brewing Image from Two Birds Brewing website
Jayne & Danielle
Two Birds Brewing
Image from Two Birds Brewing website

[writers advance apology – brace yourself for my awful bird related puns, sorry, don’t get yourself in a flap (BOOM!)]

After hatching back in 2011 and contract brewing their beloved Sunset Ale and Golden Ale in both VIC and WA, the birds are finally making themselves a nest to call their own.

This can only mean good things for those of us who get child-like excitement when they see Two Birds in shops and bars – more Two Birds goodness flying into our grateful hands. Yippee!

Two Birds was the word on Twitter as their new brewery news broke! Follow the ladies on Twitter - @TwoBirdsBrewing
Two Birds was the word on Twitter as their new brewery news broke! Follow the ladies on Twitter – @TwoBirdsBrewing

With this great news it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get to know the birds a little better, so first up on ‘5 minutes with …’ we have Danielle [insert round of applause here please]

What beer did you drink last night?

hahah..so typical of me…..Sunset Ale in bottle – I dropped into a local bar on my way out to dinner and spotted it in their fridge. I thought I better do some quality checking. My husband had a Murray’s Whale Ale on tap, so I had some of that too!

Finish this sentence – Craft beer is like …

… the start of a new exciting world for me.

Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed

Stone & Wood Pacific

What is the best thing you have learnt from the other bird? / Brewer Jayne?

The art of beer, the science of beer, beer ‘talk’, patience and how to party with beer people!

What is the very first thing you’ll do when the new Two Birds Brewing is ready?

Sit at our spots we’ve chosen by the window in the sunlight with our ‘Nest’ brewed beer, cheers each other, probably cry & embrace what’s ahead.

Celebrating my 30th birthday in style on the beach
Celebrating my 30th birthday in style on the beach

Big thanks to Danielle, hope to see you soon (Good Beer Week, perhaps?!) – next up, it’s Jayne’s turn!