GBW Day 6 : Boatrocker + GABS (again)

Good Beer Week, Day 6

Saturday 20 May

AMONGST THE BARRELS AT ONE OF MY FAVOURITE BREWERIES

After another slightly dusty start to the day, easily made better by the Donut Shop on Gertrude Street, I ventured out to Braeside to check out the Boatrocker Barrel Room with my friend, and brewer for the upcoming Nowhereman Brewing, Paul Wyman.

The bar greets you in the middle of the room when you walk in and it’s eye catching bar front is covered in delightfully fun pink flamingos.

The food on offer is simple – a charcuterie and a cheese board and a few pizzas but it’s hard to go past the boards when you are drinking sours beers and such.

Paul Wyman looking pretty happy at the Boatrocker Barrel Room, charcuterie board (left) and cheese board (right)

The tasting trays are the way to go if you’re like me and want to try as many beers as possible. There’s no set trio of beers, you just pick whatever three beers you’d like to try and the staff will line them up on your tray in the order they recommend you enjoy them in.

The beers were all fantastic. From the hoppy beers on offer, the stand outs for me were California Dreamin’, a US style pale ale, that was bursting with tropical fruit flavour but in a very light body so it was super easy drinking. Stepping up next to the Jabber Jaw Double IPA, that had been freshly tapped that day, was another great beer.

Boatrocker California Dreamin’

The Wilde Cherry beer, that is a blend of 12 and 18 month French oak barrique aged Flanders style red ale, and aged on whole, fresh Morello cherries, was stupidly beautiful. Miss Pinky, their raspberry berliner weisse, was on point as always and the Roger Ramjet (2014) was, as you’d imagine, sensational.

You can re-visit one of my previous blog posts about Boatrocker’s 2013 Ramjet which includes an interview with founder and head brewer Matt Houghton.

It’s pretty cool to be drinking beers amongst the barrels some of them have likely come from. The barrels vary from what appears to be clean and unused to others that have clearly been there for a while, darkened and even damp from what was probably a tasting to check how its contents were evolving.

Admittedly Boatrockers Barrel Room is a bit of a distance out of the city but much like recommending someone visiting Perth should go to Fremantle, it is well worth the trip. Paul and I split an Uber to and from Melbourne CBD and it cost just shy of $50 each way.

(Another) GABS session

What better way to follow up tasting a dozen or so great Boatrocker beers than by trying more beers at the Saturday night session of the GABS Festival. During this session, I made a point of checking out some festival beers.

Sierra Nevada Bombastic Monastic

The Sierra Nevada (USA) Bombastic Montastic, a Belgian Brown Ale aged in Brandy barrels with additions of cocoa and mandarin, was beautiful! Lovely and right with dark fruit notes and surprisingly easy drinking even though it’s 10.2 percent ABV.

Another great beer was the Behemoth (NZ) Chocolate Fish Milk Stout that hasn’t got anything to do with actual fish in the ocean. Apparently there is a chocolate lolly in New Zealand called ‘chocolate fish’ that is a pink marshmallow, shaped like a fish, and covered in chocolate. The beer wasn’t at all sickly sweet like you may expect from a lolly inspired beer. It had a lovely raspberry fruit character complete with the raspberry tartness you get in real raspberries, of course, balanced into soft chocolatey stout.

 

GBW Day 5 : GABS

Discovering great new beers all day at the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (aka GABS)

Good Beer Week Day 5

Friday 19 May

ALL ABOUT GABS

GABS aka The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular kicked off on Friday its three day run in Melbourne before the festival hits Sydney on Saturday 27 May and Auckland Friday 16 and Saturday 17 June.

More information about GABS at their website

Feeling mildly hungover from the night before, I devoured a Bahn Mi on my way to GABS which sorted me out nicely. Thanks to Kyle from Gage Roads for recommending N Lee Bakery on Smith Street for really great Bahn Mi (incidentally The Urban List Melbourne also agrees!)

Rather than trying to get around to trying all the GABS festival beers, the unique and one-off brews made especially for the festival, I instead focused on just making sure each beer I had was something I had never tried before and most likely couldn’t get in Perth.

Stomping Ground Hook Turn Pilsner

My first beer at GABS was the Stomping Ground (VIC) Hook Turn Pilsner, something tasty but something that would also be a nice way to ease myself into the festival. It’s quite gutsy for a pilsner with a larger and rounder mouth feel than I was expecting and went down really, really well.

Rodenbach Vintage

I followed this up with Rodenbach (BEL) Vintage, bracing and wonderfully balanced sourness. Then some Fixation (VIC) Squish and Fury & Son (VIC) Grapefruit Session Ale, both were excellent beers!

Fury & Son’s head brewer Craig pouring some Grapefruit Session Ale

On recommendation from several people, I went to the La Siréne (VIC) stand to try their GABS Festival beer – an espresso sour, a dark farmhouse sour ale brewed with espresso and fermented in French oak, soured using their house souring bacteria. Getting this beer from the La Sirene stand meant it was served on nitro so it had a soft creaminess to it. The overall result was deliciously interesting. The aroma reminded me of opening a fresh bag of coffee beans and there was no indication of the sourness inside. The flavour was a clean and good balance of black coffee and sour.

Another recommendation I followed up was the Pirate Life (SA) Vanilla Malt Thickshake, an IPA that tasted a lot like it had been blended with white chocolate. This was delightfully confusing and really quite sessionable.

Pirate Life Vanilla Malt Thickshake

Given my love of beer and cheese I was delighted to see cheese at the Stomping Ground stand. Presented by Milawa Cheese Company, they were serving up great little cheese boards and they even had a couple of beer cheese – King River Gold, a wash rind cheese, that had been brined in wort and washed in Stomping Ground Rauchbier and a blue cheese infused with the Stomping Ground Bricktower Barley Wine.

Thanks to the team at GABS for providing me with media pass for all sessions and including $25 value on my card.