WA Beer Week Preview: South West in the City II

A look into the upcoming WA Beer Week (25 Oct – 2 Nov) – here is a sneak peak at the South West in the City II event, celebrating collaboration between 8 South West breweries

What is the event about?

It’s collaboration but not as you know it – it’s not just two brewers getting together, this is a collaboration brew between some of the South West’s finest brewers including Cheeky Monkey, Colonial, Eagle Bay, Bootleg, Bush Shack, Duckstein and Cowaramup plus new south west residents Young Henry’s.

Last years collaboration was “The Council Worker” Pale Ale and being that it was such a success they decided to join forces again this year.

Your first chance to try this brew will be at this event. Brewers from the day will also be on hand to chat, laugh and share a beer with you.

SW collaboration brew 2013 L-R: Justin Fox, Sorcha Gillen, Jeremy Good, Alex Poulsen, Jared Proudfoot, Nick d'Espeissis and Shannon Grigg Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver
Last year’s SW collaboration brew at Eagle Bay Brewing
Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver
When is it?

Sunday 26th October, kicking off at 12noon

Where is it?

Five Bar – 560 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley

Five Bar

How much for tickets and where can I get my grubby mits on them?

$50 per person, purchased through here

Tell me more!

The still unnamed beer was brewed at Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery. Brewers bought along something to contribute to the brew. The result is a wide and varied number of hop varieties including Mosaic (from Roxy, Five Bar venue manager), Topaz (Young Henrys), East Kent Golding (Bush Shack), Galaxy (Bootleg), Chinook (Duckstein) and Enigma (Colonial).

Enigma was most recently used in WA for the Bootleg & Mane Liquor collaboration – Ryezilla

Nick, head brewer at Eagle Bay Brewing, threw in a curve ball with his contribution of star anise and cinnamon.

When I asked Alex, head brewer at Cheeky Monkey, what Cowaramup Brewing had bought along to the brew day his answer was simple, “Jeremy”. The respect and love for Jeremy Good, head brewer at Cowaramup, is absolutely clear.

Besides their generous hospitality, Cheeky Monkey’s contribution was their Belgian yeast strain that is used in their Hagenbeck Belgian IPA.

Whilst last years “The Council Worker” was an Australian Pale Ale Alex said they didn’t want to do the same style again but still wanted something to satisfy both the beer-geek and casual beer drinker alike.

Paul, brewer at Colonial Brewing, is a self confessed malt-man rather than a hop-fiend so having an good malt bill was important to him. With this in mind the brew was designed to be a bit of a red ale, having a good malt structure to support all the hops. Paul is hoping that the beer will have a good burnt toffee malt character to play nicely against the bubblegum flavours from the Belgian yeast.

“It was pretty much a ‘wing it’ brew,”

Paul, Colonial Brewer

Roxy’s choice of hop, Mosiac, was added at the end of the whirlpool for a hint of spice and the relatively new hop variety Enigma was used mostly for aromatics, dry hopped alongside Galaxy.

If your OCD is going crazy and you’re wondering what style this beer is, it’s not really clear cut but Belgian spiced red ale was about as close as Alex got to labelling it. Oh and it should clock in at around the 6% ABV mark.

All in all it’s probably best to get along to South West in the City II and decide for yourself.

WA Beer Week Logo

WA Beer Week banner

A bunch of brewers walk into a bar …

… and they drink, share and chat about the collaboration beer they made. If you were expecting a joke, sorry, if you were expecting this to be a very tasty beer, you’re right.

Last month a few brewers from the south west got together and made a beer. If I was to be more accurate I would say that seven brewers made a beer. If I was to be even more accurate I’d say seven brewers threw in some malt, hops and yeast in between long bouts of standing around and chatting and with that in mind the brew was dubbed …

The Council Worker

The Council Worker made it’s debut at Perth’s Five Bar event – South West in the City Festival. It was poured alongside Cowaramup Pilsner, Duckstein Fest Bier, Colonial Small Ale, Cheeky Monkey DIPA and Eagle Bay ESB. In short you could have taken a trip to several south west breweries without getting up from your bar stool.

WA Beer Week – 8th – 17th November | Check out http://www.wabeerweek.com for all the information

With WA Beer Week less than two weeks away it was a nice way to warm up the beer muscles and it was great to see so many faces from the WA beer community like Brian Fitzgerald, President of the Western Australian Brewers Association, Reece Wheadon from WA Beer Week and The Monk brewer Paul Wyman. A few of the brewers responsible for The Council Worker, Jared and Alex from Cheeky Monkey, Nick from Eagle Bay and Jeremy from Cowaramup Brewing made it to the event too, Jeremy fresh off the plane from Sydney’s Craft Beer Week, to mingle, drink and share the beer with some thirsty punters.

I know I look drunk in this photo but I only had two beers, I blame lots of laughing and my own poor timing for my appearance. I should also say that Nick isn’t that tall and under no circumstances was he standing on a couple of wine buckets.

Jeremy (Cowaramup), Jared (Cheeky Monkey), Nick (Eagle Bay), Paul (The Monk) Alex and Dave (Cheeky Monkey), some writer chick and Mitch aka Beersine
Jeremy (Cowaramup), Jared (Cheeky Monkey), Nick (Eagle Bay), Paul (The Monk)
Alex and Dave (Cheeky Monkey), some writer chick and Mitch aka Beersine

Sadly a few of the brewers who made this happen couldn’t make it but a milestone in your child’s life is probably a perfectly valid reason; I’m looking at you Foxy. On the up side it did allow me to insert myself into the photo, after all I did a lot of very important stirring.

Me and some malt

The Council Worker ended up a pretty heavily hopped pale ale thanks to a big dose of Galaxy in the dry hopping. This beer definitely had some balls along with big fruity and piney flavours that you’d expect from an American style pale but balanced out really nicely with big malt that gave it an almost caramel undertone.

Since I was driving I allowed myself just two beers and the second was a tough choice. I had salivated at the idea of Cheeky Monkey’s Double IPA but at 8.3% abv I can’t imagine mister police officer understanding how a beer can be irresistible. Instead I went for Colonial’s Small Ale, indulging once again in my recent love for tasty lower alcohol beers.

It’s that damn good that Paul Wyman, head brewer at The Monk, reckons Colonial’s Small Ale will take out a medal or two at this years Perth Royal Beer Show.

Congratulations to The Monk & brewer Paul Wyman on their Beer & Brewer Magazine Awards!

On the subject of awards Paul was runner up for Young Brewer of the Year and his venue The Monk took out Best Brew Pub/Bar all at this years Beer and Brewer Magazine Awards.

Local produce sourced by Beersine and Katrina Lane (Taste of Balingup)

Like any beer event at Five Bar the beer was accompanied by some sensational food, namely a South West Ploughman’s Board by Beersine, aka Mitch Mitchell. I am proud to say that I devoured this board in a most unladylike fashion.

Smoked big red pork and hazelnut terrine, Colonial pale ale cheese, red cabbage Kim chee, pickled colcotte and salad onions with cooladerra extra virgin olive oil.
Smoked big red pork and hazelnut terrine, Colonial pale ale cheese, red cabbage Kim chee, pickled colcotte and salad onions with cooladerra extra virgin olive oil.

I left this event with a huge smile on my face, a new beer mug and pumped for WA Beer Week!

I don’t know how much of The Council Worker was left at Five but if it’s still there I’d highly recommend checking it out. For those of us in the south west, keep an eye out because it may pop up at the likes of The Pourhouse, Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough and/or participating breweries.

Thank you to Margi and the team at Eagle Bay Brewing for hosting the collaboration and inviting me along, Macca and the guys at Five Bar for letting everyone invade the bar, all the brewers who got involved and of course to all the smiling beery folk who rocked up to support WA beer. See you all in a fortnight!

Girl + GABS

This year saw 90 unique beers hit the taps! Combined with lots of old favourites from dozens upon dozens of brewers, it was enough to blow my Untappd count into the next century (if I could be bothered updating it frequently of course!)

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The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS, was held at the Melbourne Royal Exhibition Hall on Friday 24th – Sunday 26th May. It coincided with the last three days of Good Beer Week so I deliberately didn’t booked any GBW events for my partner and I on Saturday so it could be our “GABS day”.

GABS is the brain child of Steve and Guy, the guys behind The Local Taphouse venues in Darlinghurst and St Kilda. I had the pleasure of meeting Steve and Guy when I visited GABS. They are obviously passionate about craft beer and about providing the right platform for consumers to enjoy, discover and share.

Thursday GABS

So, what is GABS? I’m glad you asked – it’s a beer festival that celebrates brewing creativity. At the heart of the festival are the GABS beers – those which are brewed specially for the festival. This year saw 90 unique beers hit the taps! Combined with lots of old favourites from dozens upon dozens of brewers, it was enough to blow my Untappd count into the next century (if I could be bothered updating it frequently of course!). And it wasn’t just Australian brewers showing off, breweries from the United States, the UK, Italy and Aussie neighbours New Zealand also showed off their brewing flair.

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The folk at GABS were kind enough to provide me with a media pass for the event and our friends at Eagle Bay Brewing provided my partner with a ticket. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I love the beer community, their generosity knows no bounds. Thank you Steve and Guy, thank you Margi and Adrian.

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Best Beer of GABS

The “best of” categories fell into two categories – People’s Choice and Brewer’s Choice.

My vote for the People’s Choice Best Beer of GABS went to the collaboration brew from Moon Dog / Nøgne Ø – Selvmordstokt, a cherry wheat porter. Gorgeous black cherry, coconut and chocolate, a little funky and a whole lot yummy.

The winner was Bacchus Brewing White Chocolate Raspberry Pilsner and sadly one I didn’t have! I did try their White Chocolate Pilsner at Dejavu as part of Pint of Origin and very much enjoyed it. I even thought it had a touch of raspberry to it, perhaps it was my palate trying to tell me something about the future. Congratulations to Bacchus, hopefully we see this make it into their regular line up for more folks to enjoy.

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The winner of the Brewer’s Choice went to a brewery who must have a hell of a trophy cabinet these days – Feral Brewing for their Barrique O Karma. Being one of my favourite brewers and from my home state, I made sure I didn’t miss out on this one. It had a soft and sweet maltiness and the nose on it was great. Being that it’s based on their Karma Citra, a black IPA, that I have enjoyed many times it’s unsurprising I really liked this one.

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More Beery Highlights

Staying with Feral, their collaboration with Richard from The Wig & Pen (ACT) was appropriately called ‘Pig Pen’ tipping its hat to both breweries (not that pigs wear hats of course … actually maybe some do) it was called a ‘free range ale’. What does this mean? I’m not sure, perhaps it comes from the ingredients reading like a global shopping list or perhaps simply because they didn’t brew it to a specific style. Regardless of the reason it is a very good drop. Slightly tart, refreshing and with great drinkability. It was the first beer I wrote “yum” beside.

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Two Birds Brewing (VIC) Taco, “a hoppy wheat beer with inspiration” or as I wrote it “wheat beer with omf”. Twitter and crackbook had provided a few insights into this beer so I knew to expect lime and coriander and that’s exactly what I got. It was inspired after eating fish tacos in San Diego and so I’m not sure whether I read this and expected to taste corn chips or whether I really could taste corn chips. Either way, damn good beer!

Birra Del Borgo (ITA) won me over with their fabulous name – Myrtle’s Bunga Bunga Party. A spiced ale that was just lovely with honey and almost nectar sweetness. Also oddly moreish.

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Speaking of fun names, Cacao Cabana from Eagle Bay (WA) and The Monk (WA) had a smushed banana flavour going on with soft chocolate notes buried inside. It was like peeling back the layers on a dessert!

Gary the White from Colonial Brewing (WA) was a white stout, dry and rich, the flavours were all strangely familiar packaged in the unexpected. Fab!

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The GABS beer from Steve ‘Hendo’ Henderson’s Brewcult had been a bit of a talking point in the lead up to the event. A collaboration brew with Steve’s brother, a craft vinegar maker, it was described as porter infused with barrel aged balsamic vinegar. The aptly named “Acid Freaks” had the beer geeks intrigued. I had met Hendo by chance a few days earlier and asked how Acid Freaks had turned out. He simply replied that he didn’t want to say too much and inadvertently influence peoples opinions but he would say he was happy with it. My notes read: “soft tang, weirdly stunning”. The all important balance of sweet and bitter was spot on. God I hope he sends some to WA.

Taking me back to my childhood, the Duckstein (WA) Porter tasted like lamingtons. I love beers that evoke my memories and this beer did exactly that.

So many beers …. god that was amazing! Thank you GABS, loved every minute!

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girl + festival [part 3]

With the madness of Saturday now behind us it was time to see what the Sunday edition of the South West Craft Beer Festival would bring and with that thought in my head I awoke to the sound of rain. I looked out the window to see that Saturday’s bright sunshine and blue skies had been replaced with cloud.

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With the madness of Saturday now behind us it was time to see what the Sunday edition of the South West Craft Beer Festival would bring and with that thought in my head I awoke to the sound of rain. I looked out the window to see that Saturday’s bright sunshine and blue skies had been replaced with cloud.

Eventually the sun came out but it bought along a friend in the shape of some gusty wind. There were no queues when my partner and I arrived, in fact there was no lining up for anything. In so many ways Sunday was indeed shaping up to be a very different day.

Sunday was family day so admittedly it shouldn’t be surprising that the two days were so different but it was a strange contrast none the less.

Free kids activities seemed popular with countless kids running around with painted faces and balloon animals.  The bouncy castle resembled a containment area for hyperactive kids.

Time for beer.

Since Duckstein Brewery were the first stall in the line up we decided it was a good starting point. Having had the Wolf Pale Ale the day before it was time to try the Pilsner. Toasty, citrusy and with a little green apple it is a really great pilsner and now available in bottles, brewed under license by Gage Roads Brewing Company.

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It was impossible to walk past Colonial Brewery without sampling a Kolsch and Jerry Fraser’s sensational freshly shucked oysters. Knowing Jerry from working together on Sundays at Five Bar in Mt Lawley, it was great to see his smiling face and catch up. Oh and did I mention, I got to eat oysters?! Mmmm oysters …

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Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery were pouring their new limited release Southern Wailer Ginger Pale Ale. It’smone of those beers that stops you in your tracks and completely engages your brain. All I could think was “wow, where has this marriage of hops and ginger been all my life?!” In my notepad I wrote down a few words on this one but I think it says it all when I’ve written “ginger + hops = awesome”.

Head Brewer Jared Proudfoot has used a kilo of fresh ginger during fermentation and ground ginger in the boil. The hops are American Columbus and Centennial, both known for their big citrusy characteristics and typically found in American Pale and IPAs. The result is the citrusy/piney hop bitterness you’d expect from an American Pale Ale that’s been softly wrapped in fresh ginger. To say it’s balanced feels like an understatement. I’ll be seeking out more of this for sure!

It has been a while since I’ve had the ciders from Custard Cidery Donnybrook so it was nice to revisit their delicious Scrumpy Cider and try their new Original Sparkling Apple Cider. Chatting with Ian and Tom, it is clear the guys are super passionate about cider and they love it, their energy is infectious. It’s a good thing they have so much energy because they’re set to open a venue near Meelup Beach appropriately called ‘The Cider Room’ and hope to open the doors sometime near Easter. The Cider Room will feature a fully local line up of food and endeavour to be as environmentally low impact as possible.

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Time for cheese.

We headed over to see the brilliant Mitch, Chef at Five Bar and the man behind Beersine who makes hops and beer a key ingredient in his food. Luckily for us Mitch had something special to try, his new Beersine Malty Wit Cheese made with Colonial Brewing Witbier and whole grains of malt. It was served picnic style with a fresh bread roll, wooden knife and some hop honey and … holy mother of …. WOW. It’s amazing. I’ll be honest, he’s my friend, a great chef and all round top guy so you may think I’m a bit biased but trust me – eat this! The hop honey is made with Saaz hops which is a little based on availability and also based on their lower alpha acid content which means lower bitterness and thereby less aggressive with the honey.

Keep an eye out for an upcoming beer and cheese event with Mitch at The International Beer Shop.

Malty Wit Cheese

My final beer for the day was the Eagle Bay Vienna Lager, lovely toasty aromas and rich malty character, it was nice to finish with a beer I’ve not had in a while.

Eagle Bay Vienna

The last stop of the day, however, wasn’t for a beer but it was for a beer related product. The Brewers Dray, run by husband and wife team Matt and Mara, make a mean Spiced Stout Chutney that’s featured on many a beef burger in our house and we were in dire need of a top up. Matt and Mara were kind enough to give us their chutney and also their Tomato Chilli Hopped Relish as a gift, thank you!. I’m looking forward to dishing these up with some home cooking soon!

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girl + festival [part 1]

Recently the second annual South West Craft Beer Festival was held at 3 Oceans Winery in Margaret River. I went along on behalf of The Crafty Pint, you can read my article for Crafty here, so I was lucky enough to attend both days as a VIP.

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Recently the second annual South West Craft Beer Festival was held at 3 Oceans Winery in Margaret River. I went along on behalf of The Crafty Pint, you can read my article for Crafty here, so I was lucky enough to attend both days as a VIP.

I know a lot of people were unhappy with the festival organisation. There was a long line to get in, a line to buy tokens and more lines for beer. The South West Craft Beer Festival Facebook page reflected these frustrations and it was great to see the organisers jump in, acknowledge the problems and apologise, promising to address these issues next year. I’m sure we’ll see this great event just get better and better.

My partner and I had driven into 3 Oceans and upon seeing the line decided to kill some time at Cowaramup Brewing, a mere 10-15 minutes down the road. A walk through their hop bines and a middy later, we were back at the festival more than ready to get into the swing of things.

Beer and Hops at Cowaramup

First up we tried the Duckstein Wolf Pale Ale, an unfiltered American Pale Ale, that I really enjoyed though didn’t get the typical big grapefruit, pine needle characteristics that I was expecting. I got big aromas of cooked lemon and spices whilst the palate had a nice fruitiness and upfront bitterness. That’s the beer in the top picture if you want to see its hazy glory!

Next up was the latest seasonal from Michael Brookes at Bootleg Brewery, the Bramling Cross. It’s a twist on an extra special bitter using imported Chinese Blackcurrant tea in post fermentation and the English hop variety Bramling Cross, known for its blackcurrant characteristics. This beer completely blew me away with it’s subtle tartness and bitterness that was perfectly balanced with fresh blackcurrant fruit. Initially I tried the Bramling Cross at the start of December and since then this beer has really settled, all the flavours have balanced out and created a very unique and beautiful beer.

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Not to get all boring and talk about the weather but it was a freakin’ sensationally sunny day. So much so that it seemed improper not to stop by the Eagle Bay Brewing stall and have a glass of their Single Batch Summer Ale. Though it had only been a few weeks since we were introduced it was great to revisit such a tasty little number. Tropical fruits, fresh bitterness, citrus and pineapple. Gorgeous.

We pulled on our metaphorical lederhosen and walked back to see the guys at Duckstein Brewery where they were pouring something new. Assistant Manger, Patrick, presented us with their latest limited release, the Unbekannt. German for “unknown” it is a beer with no proper stylistic home. Head Brewer (or as Patrick says, “the hardest working brewer in WA”) Shannon Grigg has used Belgian yeast and German malts to create a complex and tasty ale with funk, toast, chocolate and red fruit all getting along nicely.

It was time for some food and though there was some delicious food being put out in the VIP room I wasn’t about to miss out on a Spicy Goat Balls Sub from my friend Mitch, aka Beersine.

Beersine

Back to the beers again and this time I stole a gulp of a friend’s honey pale ale from Brew 42. It was just enough to think “damn that was tasty, I gotta remember to visit them!” and add it to my long, long beery to-do-list.

I don’t think a beer festival in WA has gone by without me having a Colonial Kolsch and a freshly shucked oyster. It’s now a ritual and one I’m happy to continue until they stop serving me!

I reacquainted myself with the the Cheeky Monkey Hagenback Belgian IPA and had one of those moments when you realise your memory of a beer has barely done it’s justice. Good hits of citrus and tropical fruits, a little honey and a whack of bitterness.

In between trying to serve a long queue of thirsty drinkers Josh, Assistant Brewer at Bush Shack Brewery, managed to find a little of their Old Saint Nick Christmas Ale just before punters had run them dry. Thick and devilishly moreish with big red fruit characteristics I instantly wanted more. I added another brewery visit to Bush Shack to my list of things to do!

By this time it was getting late into the afternoon and there was the People’s Choice Award. Votes had to be counted from punters and the judges added their two cents too – somehow I ended up in that category but that’s all for Part 2 I think …

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Pourhouse + WA Beer Week

WA Beer Week offered an abundance of events to attend through Perth and the South West which, in turn, meant an abundance of excuses to head down to the nearest bar. The Lawn, upstairs at The Pourhouse in Dunsborough, offered up a $20 burger and beer during the week and the beer taps were taken over by only WA beers.

WA Beer Week, 9th-17th November, offered an abundance of events to attend througout Perth and the South West which, in turn, meant an abundance of excuses to head to the nearest bar.

The Lawn, upstairs at The Pourhouse in Dunsborough, offered up a $20 burger and beer during the week and the beer taps were taken over by only WA beers. Plus, just to show off, they also featured limited release beers including Duckstein Maibock, Colonial Kottbusser, Cheeky Monkey Belgo IPA and the Eagle Bay / Pourhouse collaboration the Romp Ferme Saison.

Myself and my boyfriend / partner-in-beer-crime arrived on Monday afternoon. The sun was shining and we had our pick of seats, it was exactly what we wanted.

I kicked off the afternoon with a Colonial Kottbusser; beautifully straw clear in appearance, the taste was something like a dirty, angry mandarin – take from that what you will.

Sunshine and a pint of Colonial IPA and middy of Kottbusser at The Pourhouse

Next up I had the Duckstein Maibock which I thoroughly enjoyed and totally neglected to jot down any notes. That’ll teach me to a) neglect to write notes and b) attempt to write the post some 7 days later. All I can say on the Duckstein Maibock is that it’s delightful and I look forward to getting another taste during the Margaret River Gourmet Escape this coming weekend.

With two beers down it was time to order some food and after consultation with the staff we both decided on The Lawn Wagu Burger – bacon, vintage cheddar and onion rings … oh YEAH! Other seriously tempting options included the Big Blue and the Pulled Pork.

I chose the Eagle Bay / Pourhouse collaboration brew – the Romp Ferme Saison – to go with the burger, for no real discernible reason other than I’ve generally found Saisons to be great food beers. The Romp Ferme Saison, which I am lead to believe roughly translates into “the farmhouse romp”, has got a lot going on – earthy, honey aromas and flavours of maple syrup, pepper and funky stone fruit, perhaps almost a cooked fruit taste.

The Lawn Wagu Burger is as good as it looks, generous on the ingredients (i.e. not one of those moments when the menu reads “bacon” and it’s the fattiest, smallest sliver you’ve ever seen) and genuinely tasty. The accompaniment of Sweet Potato Straw, though very simple, made for a different and tasty side.

The afternoon finished after two games of Monopoly (each of us with a win under our belt) and a final beer – Cheeky Monkey Belgo IPA. It poured a stunning burnt orange with big aromas of fresh grapefruit like any good American Pale Ale. The bitterness was assertive and piney with some orange on the back and definitively worth going back for seconds.

It was another great trip to The Pourhouse and now with summer almost upon us we have The Lawn to enjoy seven days a week from 5pm plus you can get this great $20 deal every Wednesday.

The Lawn
Upstairs at The Pourhouse