WA Beer News #12

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 and 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 new beery goodness our state has to offer.

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


Honest Ale

Honest Ale is a partnership between Black Brewing Co. and local surfing pros – Taj Burrow, Dino Adrian and Jay Davies. The beer has already launched in Margaret River with the first keg tapped at Margaret River Brewhouse in April and now it’s Perth’s time.

The first Perth venues to get kegs are Bather’s Beach House, El Grotto and The Cottesloe Beach Hotel. 330ml bottles are available from the usual great shops you’d find local craft beer.

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Rocky Ridge Rock Juice

Rocky Ridge have gotten together with two great WA beer guys – Adam Lesk from Cellarbrations Carlisle and Ricky Watt from Cape Cellars in Busselton to make Rock Juice.

“It’s the most hops I’ve ever used in my life!”

Hamish Coates, Rocky Ridge Owner/Brewer

The beer will be available from 1st July at just a handful of venues, it is a seriously limited release, so best to check out their Facebook page for the details.

Colonial Porter

The Colonial Porter is their winter seasonal release featuring five malts – Pale, Vienna, Amber, Crystal and Chocolate – alongside three hop varieties – Goldings and Fuggles from the UK and Wakatu from New Zealand.

Mash Brewing Little NEIPA

Mash have taken the current love affair with the New England IPA, aka NEIPA, and created their own for limited release but have managed to brew one at just 3.5 percent ABV.

Whilst there’s nothing more important than the beer inside, you gotta love great artwork and I think the tap decal for this beer is brilliant, funny and cute.

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Indian Ocean Brewing x Dainton Family Brewery x DTC Sacred & Profane

A collaboration between two breweries and a beer bar, Sacred & Profane is an Imperial Stout that was first brewed in mid-2016. Just 50 bottles are available from DTC in Victoria Park.

Eagle Bay Cacao Stout

Part of their Brewers Series, the Cacao Stout comes around every year and, for me, it’s a signal that winter is really here! To brew this beer Eagle Bay team up with local bean-to-bar chocolatier, Bahen & Co and use the cacao husks which are a by-product of their bean-to-bar chocolate making process.

The result is a fantastic stout every year with the subtle features of whichever variety of cacao bean the husk has come from.

Eagle Bay Fusion Beet Pale & Orchard IPA

Gotta love Eagle Bay Brewing for pumping out the single batch beers, here’s two more and they’re both kick-ass!

The Fusion Beet Pale Ale is a beetroot pale ale that I got to try last weekend at the Mane Winter Beer Festival and it’s gorgeous. It’s a little sweet and earthy and once you realise it’s beetroot you realise, “of course it is!”

The Orchard IPA has been brewed using grapefruits from the Eagle Bay Brewing farm, what sounds like more of a spring release beer, it’s ready now because the grapefruit was late to ripen but it’s well worth the wait. Packed with delicious, unmistakable grapefruit aroma and flavour, it’s gorgeous.

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WA Beer Week: Co-Op Beer Lunch

Four chefs, five local beers and lots of happy people – that was the scene at East Perth’s Co-Op Dining where they held their first, and hopefully not their last, beer lunch for WA Beer Week.

Four chefs, five local beers and lots of happy people – that was the scene at East Perth’s Co-Op Dining on Saturday where they held their first, and hopefully not their last, beer lunch for WA Beer Week.

The aim of the afternoon was simply beautiful food and great local beer, a goal that I can safely say was achieved.

Guests were treated to food by Sam Ward from Mt Lawley modern Mexican favourite, el Publico, Kiren from Co-Op Dining, Mitch from Beersine and Sue Lewis, Artisan Chocolatier. Each chef selected the beer to match their dish, bringing the best of WA local brewing and local produce came together.

The afternoon was interrupted/MC’d by yours truly and I was nothing short of thrilled and honoured to have been asked to be part of one of the most delicious events on the WA Beer Week calendar.

finger food by everyone

beer by cheeky monkey – double ipa

All four chefs contributed to the first course of food, a series of small bites presented with Cheeky Monkey Double IPA.

You know you’re in for a great afternoon when the first beer you are presented with is a double IPA – BAM! Personally I love this beer, it is everything you want from a double IPA, big fresh hops balanced by chewy caramel malt in a delicious marriage of flavour.

It’s hard to pick a favourite from the array of finger food. The pork crackle with horseradish, blood crumb and white chocolate was one of the most interesting combinations and the crickets, a signature Sam Ward/el Publico favourite, were crunchy salty and very moreish.

Crickets by Sam Ward
Crickets by Sam Ward
Corn, smoked pork fat, sesame & seaweed
Corn, smoked pork fat, sesame & seaweed

Cuttlefish escabeche by sam ward of el publico

last drop saison by jan bruckner

The acidity from the fresh lime juice and coriander in this dish were perfectly matched to the complex and delicate Last Drop Saison. It was a great example of when the beer and the food are better together, when you try them and you realise that one shouldn’t be enjoyed without the other.

Cuttlefish Escabeche by Sam Ward of El Publico
Cuttlefish Escabeche with salsa borracha, nopales by Sam Ward of El Publico

Smoked leek by kiren of co-op dining

feral watermelon warhead by brendan varis / will irving

Brilliant. You just had to be there. I would have never imagined at match like this but it was harmony. Contrast never tasted so good. Smokey soft leek with some crunch for texture and delicate prawns and that super refreshing acidity of Warhead – brilliant.

Smoked Leek with Coral Prawns, Garum Hollandaise and Leek Ash
Smoked Leek with Coral Prawns, Garum Hollandaise and Leek Ash by Kiren of Co-Op Dining

blackwood valley beef sirloin, brisket & tongue by Mitch of beersine

Nail hughe dunn imperial brown ale by john stallwood / jake brandish

Hello meat, Hello malt. Imagine the best date you’ve ever been on and that’s what happened between the rich malts in the Nail Hughe Dunn Imperial and trio of meaty goodness served up by Mitch.

I loved the compliment of the malty beer and rich meat of the dish plus the added contrast of sharp kimchee and chilli in the food with the sweet/roast imperial brown ale.

Blackwood Valley Beef Sirloin, Brisket & Tongue with Fermented Spring Garlic, Daikon Radish Kimchee by Mitch of Beersine
Blackwood Valley Beef Sirloin, Brisket & Tongue with Fermented Spring Garlic, Daikon Radish Kimchee by Mitch of Beersine

chocolate tart by sue lewis of sue lewis artisan chocolatier

eagle bay cacao stout by nick d’Espeissis

A divine chocolate dessert and a smooth-like-Barry-White stout, there was never going to be a better way to end lunch.

Sue’s decadent chocolate tart was like the best friend that Eagle Bay’s Cacao Stout always wanted. The dessert featured Bahen & Co chocolate ice cream and, at the base of the tart, thick wort caramel.

Chocolate Tart with Wort Caramel and Bahen & Co Chocolate PNG Ice-Cream by Sue Lewis of Sue Lewis Artisan Chocolatier
Chocolate Tart with Wort Caramel and Bahen & Co Chocolate PNG Ice-Cream by Sue Lewis of Sue Lewis Artisan Chocolatier

Thank you to Kiren and Kelli for hosting the event at Co-Op Dining, thanks to all the chefs involved who donated their time and efforts to spoil us and thanks to everyone who came along. Thank you especially to Mitch, from Beersine, who asked me to be a part of this event and saved me a seat at the table.

WA Beer Week: Dude Food Feast

Eating sticky chicken wings with my hands at the beautiful venue like The Trustee Bar & Bistro is kinda like wearing a gorgeous evening dress and a pair of thongs. It’s kinda wrong but there’s no denying that it’s really, really good.

Eating sticky chicken wings with my hands at a beautiful venue like The Trustee Bar & Bistro is kinda like wearing a gorgeous evening dress and a pair of thongs. It’s kinda wrong but there’s no denying that it’s really, really good.

On Tuesday night I was lucky enough to be invited to the ‘Dude Food Feast’ presented by The Trustee and Mane Liquor as part of WA Beer Week. Imagine the tastiest dude food you’ve ever stuck into your face paired with fresh WA beer and set in one of the city’s most beautiful venues and you have a good idea of what my Tuesday night was like.

Roxy and Josh

The beers were selected and presented by Roxy and Josh from Mane Liquor and the food was created by The Trustee Executive Chef Michelle Forbes who, to quote my good friend Jess Shaver, is “so f**king kick ass it’s not even funny”.

Jess was right, Michelle and her food was nothing short of kick ass.

Canapes

Pork Slider + Colonial Small Ale

The pork had been marinated for 15 hours and its richness was a great match to the bold hops in the Small Ale and the bread was a little on the sweet side highlighting the subtle caramel malt in the beer.

First Entree

Crispy Squid + Cheeky Monkey New Zealand Pilsner

“It’s real tasty”

How Alex, head brewer Cheeky Monkey, described his beer to Josh, Mane Liquor

The squid was thick crumbed and served with chilli aioli and dill mayonnaise, it was also a serving so big that I fear there are no more squid in the oceans. The beer, brewed by Alex and Ross at Cheeky Monkey, uses three New Zealand hop varieties – Dr Rudi, Motueka and Wakatu and the resulting beer was a gorgeous mix of soft tropical fruits and citrus notes. The beer cut through the thick crumb on the squid and the hops were drawn out by the chilli aioli. My favourite part of this dish was the dill mayonnaise cutting through the fresh hops and adding another layer of flavour. Paired with the food, the beer started to take on a kind of sweet glazed ham flavour which may not sound amazing but it really was.

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Second Entree

Sticky Chicken Wings + Bootleg/Mane Liquor Ryezilla

Sticky Chicken Wings & Ryezilla
Sticky Chicken Wings & Ryezilla

The serving of chicken wings made the plate of squid look tiny. Biting into my first wing my palate got a big whack of coriander. Also made with honey, soy, chilli and lemongrass, the wings were deliciously sticky and fabulous fun to eat. Ryezilla, the collaboration beer between Mane Liquor and Bootleg Brewery, is still boasting heaps of juicy pineapple and mango Enigma hop character though it has rounded out nicely. The wings coaxed out the spice in the beer whilst the sweetness from the glaze on the wings and the caramel malt in the beer worked nicely together.

Sticky Chicken Wings
Sticky Chicken Wings

Main

Beef Short Ribs Slow Braised with Sticky BBQ Sauce, Espresso Aubergine Puree + Eagle Bay Cacao Stout

At this stage of the event I was very full, not just regular full but Christmas-dinner-I-went-back-for-thirds kind of full. Then the ribs landed and they were impossible to resist. The meat was rich and stupidly soft, barely holding on to the bone. The sauce had a subtle sweetness and the espresso aubergine puree provided a nice contrast to the richness of the meat, it also lifted the coffee notes from the Cacao Stout.

Pouring Cacao Stout

The Eagle Bay Cacao Stout is their annual winter release and I was a little sad to realise it would probably be a year until this beer was in my hands again. Made from cacao bean husks, the by-product of the chocolate making process, from Margaret River chocolate maker Bahen & Co, the beer is ultra smooth, chocolatey, roasty and with hints of berry fruit.

Beef Short Ribs
Beef Short Ribs

Dessert

Salted Caramel Beer Ice Cream + Feral Brewing Razorback Barley Wine

“I’m glad it’s not cheese”

Me reflecting on the final course with words I never thought I would say

When I had the first bite of this dessert it was clear that despite being ready to either burst or fall asleep I was going to eat every part of this amazing dish. The dessert was served with a caramel sauce made with Feral Hop Hog creating a pairing of sweet with sweet when paired with the beer. The roasty flavours of the beer cut through the vanilla wafers and delicate ice cream, this pairing was a great example of when beer and food come together to be amazing and you wouldn’t want to have one without the other.

Salted Caramel Beer Ice Cream
Salted Caramel Beer Ice Cream

Thank you Mane Liquor and The Trustee for inviting me to this fantastic event!

Eagle Bay Cacao Stout + lots of chocolate

This years Eagle Bay Cacao Stout is the third annual release brewed using cacao husks from Margaret River’s Bahen & Co Chocolate. The launch was held at Mane Liquor with food by Me & Mabel …

I try not to have chocolate in the house which has nothing to do with anything other than my complete lack of self control. Anyone who saw me at the Eagle Bay Cacao Stout launch at Mane Liquor on Friday will be able to attest to this.

Black Forest Pots made with Bahen & Co Chocolate by Me & Mabel
Black Forest Pots made with Bahen & Co Chocolate by Me & Mabel

This years Eagle Bay Cacao Stout is the third annual release, each year offering a slight variant to the previous but always brewed using cacao husks from Margaret River’s Bahen & Co Chocolate. The bean to bar chocolate maker only uses traditional methods for making their chocolate and strive to deal 100% directly with farmers.

The last Eagle Bay Brewer’s Series was their Black IPA, also launched at Mane Liquor, you can read all about it here

When first brewed in 2012 Eagle Bay brewer Nick used 60% Brazilian cacao husks and 40% Madagascan cacao husks but this year some Papua New Guinea husks were added to the mix. When you smell these husks there is much more of a bright red berry aroma compared to the richness of the Brazilian and Madagascan, the result being that this years Cacao Stout is softer with gorgeous red fruit layered into its chocolate and roasty flavours.

Eagle Bay Cacao Stout launch

And what better food to go with this beautiful Cacao Stout than some gorgeous hand made chocolate desserts. Enter Me & Mabel …

Want to know more about Me & Mabel? Check out my short Q&A with Wendy here

No stranger to beer events and beer matching, Me & Mabel by Wendy Marinich provided delicious home made desserts that paired perfectly with Eagle Bay’s Cacao Stout. All desserts were made with Bahen & Co Chocolate.

Homemade Oreo Cookies by Me & Mabel
Homemade Oreo Cookies by Me & Mabel – Thin rich biscuits, stamped with EBBC (Eagle Bay Brewing Co) and homemade marshmallow shmushed in the middle, giving the beer a light base to showcase all its chocolate, roasty flavours
Me & Mabel brining back the best of the 70s with chocolate fondue with sticks of strawberry, banana and homemade marshmellow
Me & Mabel brining back the best of the 70s with chocolate fondue with sticks of strawberry, banana and homemade marshmallow. It was nice to kinda feel healthy on this one! The fruit playing nicely with the beers red berry flavours.
Black Forest Pots - if I had taken my handbag I would have stolen as many of these little bad boys as I could
Black Forest Pots – if I had taken my handbag I would have stolen as many of these little bad boys as I could. In the background – salted chocolate brownies, I had about three of these.
L-R: Josh (Mane Liquor), Margi (Eagle Bay) and Wendy (Me & Mabel)
L-R: Josh (Mane Liquor), Margi (Eagle Bay) and Wendy (Me & Mabel)

 

 

 

girl + sou’west smackdown

It was Colonial Brewing going head-to-head with local beer brothers-from-another-mother Eagle Bay Brewing but were we going to witness a friendly play fight or an all out brawl? That was the question I was asking myself as I walked into The Freo Doctor liquor store for the Sou’West Smack down last Wednesday.

The Freo Doctor – 27 Arundel Street, Fremantle – Facebook

The event was held in the cellar of The Freo Doctor where the dim lighting, wooden barrels and long wood tables are a cosy boozy delight. The food was matched by Mitch from Beersine and served with a beer from each brewery. Happy days!

Mitch (Beersine), Margi and Edge (Eagle Bay)
Mitch (Beersine), Margi and Edge (Eagle Bay)

In terms of fighting fair I think Eagle Bay may have missed the memo, bringing along not just their brewer, Nick d’Espeissis but also his partner, his brother and Eagle Bay’s marketing manager, Margi. Over in the Colonial corner was head brewer Justin Fox standing on his lonesome, all by himself but he seemed in very good spirits …

Head Brewer at Colonial - Justin Fox
Head Brewer at Colonial – Justin Fox

The night kicked off with a straight Kolsch versus Kolsch, Colonial’s more traditional brew versus Eagle Bay’s perhaps more modern interpretation with the addition of some New Zealand hops.

“Kolsch is the everyman’s beer”

Justin Fox, Colonial Brewing

I think Justin put it well when he described Kolsch as being the beer that craft beer nerds reach for when they don’t want to think too hard about what they are drinking. This is definitely not to be confused with the idea of not caring what you are drinking. It is a super refreshing style that you can sit back, chat with mates and enjoy a few but at the same time you can pair it with a sharp chevre goat’s milk cheese and it blows you away.

“Stylistically Speaking – Kolsch”, a great article at All About Beer Magazine if you wanted to know the history of the style and who is brewing the real stuff

Kolsch is a beer style protected by an appellation controllée, that same fancy law that says you can’t call a champagne a champagne unless it’s from, you guessed it, champagne so a kolsch needs to be brewed in Köln (Cologne, Germany) to be a real, true blue kolsch. According to Justin some German brewers take this definition even further by saying you need to be able to see the dome of the iconic Cologne Cathedral. So you might be wondering how Colonial call theirs a kolsch, Justin answered this with a cheeky grin – “well, we have a picture of it [the cathedral] at the brewhouse,”

“Oh and ours doesn’t have the two dots over the o,” he says referring to the difference between a kolsch and a kölsch.

“Don’t tell the Germans!”

Justin Fox, Colonial Brewing

Our Kolsch beer were matched by Beersine to local beef, rye bread from Abhi’s Bread and horseradish cream and it was beautiful, for a beer that could be easily overpowered the dish was full of flavour yet simple and went nicely with the bready, slightly tropical fruit flavours of kolsch.

food by beersine: beef, rye bread and horseradish cream
food by beersine: beef, rye bread and horseradish cream

GABS: The Great Australasian Beer Spectapular

Next up we had Colonial’s Gary Le Bron Musk Saison, this years GABS entry that used a very unsubtle amount of musk lollies in the brew.

“We really just had a lot of fun. We put musk everywhere, we had musk hats, shit got real”

Justin Fox, Colonial Brewing

Against the musk saison was Eagle Bay’s Pale Ale, an American style beer that was so fresh it was only bottled the day before the event.

“The three P’s: Pale ale, pork and pineapple, they work every time”

Mitch, Beersine

Beersine served up braised pork, spicy rice and pineapple confident that the “three P’s” as he referred to them – pork, pale ale and pineapple, would always work in beautiful harmony together. He was right.

food by beersine: braised pork, pineapple and spicy rice
food by beersine: braised pork, pineapple and spicy rice

The most unexpected match was the dish with Gary Le Bron the musk saison. The pineapple and the musk just hung out together, being really good mates. The sweetness between the two were complimentary but with enough acidic contrast to not become an overbearingly one dimensional sweet pairing. Plus the dishes spices were great with the background herbal saison that was still lingering under the musk.

“I thought that Gary would take a little better in your mouth”

Mitch, Beersine explains his thinking behind the musk saison pairing

Then came the battle of the black IPAs – Eagle Bay’s Black IPA, their brewers series limited release, and Colonial’s French Black IPA.

L: Eagle Bay Black IPA R: Colonial French Black IPA
L: Eagle Bay Black IPA
R: Colonial French Black IPA

‘A French Black IPA?’ I hear you say. Yup, within a style like IPA where there seems to be no rules or boundaries, Colonial wanted to do something different whilst breaking away from the American IPAs that are dominating the market. The result is this more grassy and spicy IPA as opposed to buckets of tropical fruits and citrus.

“There is so much to do with IPA, the IPA label really can be anything”

Justin Fox, Colonial Brewing

As in keeping with the night, Justin dobbed in one of the Eagle Bay entourage to talk about their beer, his way of taking the edge off their potential power in numbers (not that there was any score keeping going on). Justin nominated Margi, Eagle Bay’s fabulous marketing manager.

“It’s one of my absolute favourite beers of ours” Margi said after hesitating a bit at the prospect of speaking without any preparation, “I can’t dazzle you with the hops and the malt cause I don’t know but I know that it’s delicious” Margi’s enthusiasm was contagious and wonderful.

Gorgonzola: Italian blue cheese made from cow’s milk, punchy and delicious

Beersine paired these beers with a Gorgonzola and poached pear tart. “It will probably work well with Colonial because I’ve not tried it before,” Mitch had joked since it was his first time trying the French black IPA too along with the rest of us.

food by beersine: Poached pear and gorgonzola tart
food by beersine: Poached pear and gorgonzola tart

The last round was my favourite, Colonial served up their Truffle Tripel – a beer brewed in a single small batch for the Truffle Kerfuffle with truffles donated by The Wine & Truffle Company.

Eagle Bay has been making their Cacao Stout every winter starting in 2012, you can read about their first batch here and last year’s here.

Eagle Bay poured their winter favourite, a limited release Cacao Stout brewed using cacao husks from Bahen & Co, a bean to bar chocolate maker in Margaret River. Brewed each year since 2012 with each year a little different depending on the type of husks used. This year sees a mix of three cacao husks – Brazilian, Papua New Guinea and Madagascar. Eagle Bay had bought along boxes of each type of husk and the Papua New Guinea was my stand out favourite with it’s divine big red berry fruit aromas. Indecently good.

Beersine served up a Bahen & Co Chocolate mousse with hazelnuts that didn’t just melt in your mouth, the mousse laid itself out on your tongue and then just cuddled it. The mousse and Eagle Bay’s Cacao Stout wanted to be together, they wanted to be best friends. The way the hazelnuts lingered after all the chocolate had begun to fade was gorgeous.

As a contrast, the mousse was great with the Truffle Tripel – the rich fruity chocolate stood up against the earthy truffle with it’s spice and banana and it worked very well in a way I wouldn’t have expected from an earthy/chocolate match.

food by beersine: Bahen & Co Chocolate Mousse with hazelnuts
food by beersine: Bahen & Co Chocolate Mousse with hazelnuts

Thank you to Eagle Bay Brewing for inviting me to be a guest at this event.