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.

GABS Edition: 5 minutes with John from Nail Brewing

Q&A with John Stallwood of Nail Brewing about their GABS beer – Flaming Lamington

Melbourne’s Good Beer Week is well and truly underway with another four days to go and one of the biggest events of the week kicks off tomorrow – the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS.

GABS: Imagine a really beautiful building and inside are all your favourite Australian breweries, plus a handful of international brewing superstars, with their beers ready for you to taste and brewers keen to have a chat. There’s a variety of beer seminars with people who really know their stuff, plenty of food and live music and on top of all this there’s over 100 unique beers, GABS festival beers, which have been brewed especially for the event and all are on their debut outing because that’s one qualification to be a GABS festival beer. Oh and it’s three marvellous days of this!

My blog has been pretty free of Good Beer Week activity this year and I can only put this down to an act of self preservation as I am not at GBW this year. Every time GBW is mentioned I get a pang of beer envy but, nevertheless, I cannot ignore the thirst-inducing creative GABS beers that our fab WA brewers have put together for this years festival.

Over the past week or so I have been posting Q&As with various WA brewers talking all about their GABS beers.


 

Here is the last Q&A before GABS kicks off tomorrow with head brewer and owner of Nail Brewing, John Stallwood about their GABS beer – Flaming Lamington.

GABS Festival Beer: Flaming Lamington | 5% ABV | Sweet Stout

The Official GABS Guide says: “A moderately bitter chocolate Stout blended with coffee, coconut and finished with chilli to add some fire to the brew.”

What is so exciting about GABS?

Seeing lots of people enjoying craft beer is a great sight. The industry has gone a long way and getting better by the day. I still have scarring memories of people back in the early 2000’s that would say things about Nail like – “this is beer?” and “you make money from selling this?”  It’s such a great site seeing people want to try as many way out beers as they can. It’s always a great atmosphere with lots of drinking but no thugs causing trouble. The organisers do a great job and it gets better each year.

Last year Nail had Copper Hopper which ended up being revved up to become Nail Red and part of the core range. I don’t think Flaming Lamington will …

Tell us about the Flaming Lamington and what was the inspiration for it?

About 4 years ago I did some chilli and stout testing where I would put full chillies in bottles. Hugh [Hugh Dunn, ECU brewing and lecturer] said back then it was the best chilli beer he has ever had, not hot but spicing with a slight after taste. That was what I was hunting for this time. Adding the coconut and cocoa was a test of something I haven’t brewed before. Dan [Dan Turley, assistant Nail brewer] brewed a perfect base chocolate like porter and I just finished it off.

How was the coffee added and what sort of chilli did you use?

We used about 4kg of coconut, 2kg of cocoa and 6 kilos of chilli (jalepeno and birds eye)

What was the trickiest part of the brew?

The trickiest part of this brew will be when we brew a 5000 litre batch at Bassendean in June, which will be the Nail Brew Log Collection #7 Flaming Lamington.

Who’s beer are you most keen to try this year, and why?

Sorry, too hard a question.

GABS Edition: 5 minutes with Mal & Joel from Indian Ocean Brewing

Q&A with Mal and Joel from Indian Ocean Brewing on their GABS beer – Mumme

The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS,  is on again as part of the annual amazingness that is Good Beer Week, a nine day festival throughout Melbourne which kicked off on 16th May.

Good Beer Week: 16-24th May

GABS: Imagine a really beautiful building and inside are all your favourite Australian breweries, plus a handful of international brewing superstars, with their beers ready for you to taste and brewers keen to have a chat. Upstairs there’s a variety of beer seminars with people who really know their stuff. There’s plenty of food and live music and on top of all this there’s over 100 unique beers, GABS festival beers, which have been brewed especially for the event and all are on their debut outing because that’s one qualification to be a GABS festival beer.

My blog has been pretty free of Good Beer Week activity this year and I can only put this down to an act of self preservation as I am not going to GBW this year. Every time GBW is mentioned I get a pang of beer envy but, nevertheless, I cannot ignore the thirst-inducing creative GABS beers that our fab WA brewers have put together for this years festival so I have been pestering our great brewers to ask them about their GABS beers …


Next  in the series we have Mal and Joel, the brewing team at Indian Ocean Brewing, talking about their GABS beer – Mumme.

White Cap at Indian Ocean

Photos by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina

GABS Festival Beer: Mumme | 5.6% ABV | Altbier

The Official GABS Guide says: “A traditional style of beer originally from Dusseldorf. ‘Alt’ refers to the ‘old’ style of brewing (i.e. making top-fermented ales) that was common before lager brewing became popular. A well balanced, bitter yet malty, clean, smooth, well-attenuated amber-coloured German-style ales.”

What is so exciting about GABS?

The prospect of seeing such a wide range of amazing and different beers under one roof; having the opportunity to access brewers interpretations and translations of all kinds of styles and sub-styles. Offers up not only an awesome sensory experience, but also an educational opportunity as well.

Tell us about the Mumme beer?

Well it was the fore-runner to the modern Dussledorff Altbier which Joel and I share a great fondness for. Mumme is an extinct Medieval ale that was at one time a global phenomenon; if my memory serves me correctly it was the first style to be exported to numerous countries and inspired brewers throughout various parts of Europe to brew their own versions – such was its appeal. Mumme was purportedly a brown, syrupy, thick and bitter strong ale, often brewed with the addition of an eclectic array of herbs and spice, while increasingly hops were introduced as well. Our interpretation uses a floor malted base malt, smoked malts and caramel wheat malt, in our minds at least, providing the elements we felt were critical to the original beers profile.

What is it about this style of beer that appealed to you?

As you know it stems from having a long-standing interest in extinct or little known beer styles, and Joel shares the same interest. We both enjoy beers that show quality malt characteristics as opposed to being more hop-driven and this style, because of its body and depth, invites generous hopping without that necessarily being the dominant presence. The opportunity to play with smoked malts is another motivating factor as well…but using them in such a way that they bring complexity and personality to a beer.

What was the trickiest part of the brew?

Building balance and drinkability into the design and execution of the beer….not necessarily an easy chore on this brew-kit 😉

Who’s beer are you most keen to try this year, and why?

We will be looking for sours, smoked and examples of rarely brewed or esoteric beers

 

 

 

 

 

GABS Edition: 5 minutes with Justin from Colonial Brewing

The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS,  is on again as part of the annual amazingness that is Good Beer Week, a nine day festival throughout Melbourne which kicked off on 16th May.

Good Beer Week: 16-24th May

GABS: Imagine a really beautiful building and inside are all your favourite Australian breweries, plus a handful of international brewing superstars, with their beers ready for you to taste and brewers keen to have a chat. Upstairs there’s a variety of beer seminars with people who really know their stuff. There’s plenty of food and live music and on top of all this there’s over 100 unique beers, GABS festival beers, which have been brewed especially for the event and all are on their debut outing because that’s one qualification to be a GABS festival beer.

My blog has been pretty free of Good Beer Week activity this year and I can only put this down to an act of self preservation as I am not going to GBW this year. Every time GBW is mentioned I get a pang of beer envy but, nevertheless, I cannot ignore the thirst-inducing creative GABS beers that our fab WA brewers have put together for this years festival so I have been doing some Q&As to find out more …


Continuing the GABS focused Q&As please read my interview with Justin Fox, brewer at Colonial Brewing from Margaret River who have made a Super Duper Dry and having a playful poke at the mainstream …

Justin Fox - Colonial Brewing

Justin Fox at an event at The Freo Doctor last year

GABS Festival Beer: Super Duper Dry | 8.45% ABV | Belgian Golden Strong Ale

The Official GABS Guide says: “Gary brewed this beer for the people. It is a beer beyond labels and tasting notes; a recreation of something that touched the brewers in their past lives and they hope you enjoy it.”

What is so exciting about GABS?

The atmosphere makes it – thousands of people enjoying beer with friends, the craft geeks, brewers and beer loving folk all coming together in a true festival vibe just makes heaps of fun.

Tell us about your beer and what was the inspiration for it?

Our beer is the 14th of our Project series called Super Duper Dry! In between GABS this year, Gary has spent some time in commercial breweries in the small village of loveadabeer in the mountains of Italy. They use some fancy techniques there that the Craft brewers usually shy away from such as High Gravity Brewing, Enzyme additions and the dreaded “Dilution”. What he discovered is that before the dilution, the beer was actually quite a cracker so we have set out to recreate that!

What was the trickiest part of the brew?

Tracking down a few of the commercial enzymes available for brewing that the craft scene don’t have access to in the levels in which we were chasing!

The GABS Guide mentions the infamous “Gary”, for those unfamiliar, who is Gary and why does he pop up so often in Colonial’s beers and stories?

I actually asked Gary about this the other day and this was his reply “You need not know such things as my past, what is important is that we share beer together on this day, and celebrate the moments in life with our friends, family and good food and drink.”

Who’s beer are you most keen to try this year, and why?

Colonial have a stand this year for the full five sessions so we are all committed to joining the 100 club and getting a little sample of everything this year!

 

GABS Edition: 5 minutes with Elliot from Mane Liquor

Q&A with Elliot Moore from Mane Liquor about their collaboration with Eagle Bay Brewing for GABS beer – Black & Tannin

The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS,  is on again as part of the annual amazingness that is Good Beer Week, a nine day festival throughout Melbourne which kicked off on Friday.

Good Beer Week: 16-24th May

GABS: Imagine a really beautiful building and inside are all your favourite Australian breweries, plus a handful of international brewing superstars, with their beers ready for you to taste and brewers keen to have a chat. There’s a variety of beer seminars with people who really know their stuff, plenty of food and live music and on top of all this there’s over 100 unique beers, GABS festival beers, which have been brewed especially for the event and all are on their debut outing because that’s one qualification to be a GABS festival beer. Oh and it’s three marvellous days of this!

My blog has been pretty free of Good Beer Week activity this year and I can only put this down to an act of self preservation as I am not going to GBW this year. Every time GBW is mentioned I get a pang of beer envy but, nevertheless, I cannot ignore the thirst-inducing creative GABS beers that our fab WA brewers have put together for this years festival so I am hoping to bring you a few Q&A’s with the brewers in the lead up to GABS.


Mane Liquor on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Today we have Elliot Moore from Mane Liquor who have collaborated with Eagle Bay Brewing for a GABS beer called ‘Black and Tannin’. This is the second time the bottle shop and brewery have collaborated, the first was a Saison aged in fresh chardonnay barrels in late 2013 called Saisonnay, 18 months later here they are again doing what they love most, making beer with friends.

(top) Elliot, Mane Liquor and (bottom) Nick from Eagle Bay

(left) Elliot – Mane Liquor and (right) Nick – Eagle Bay Brewing

GABS Festival Beer: Black and Tannin | 6.5% ABV | Speciality IPA

The Official GABS Guide says: “This collaboration brew with Mane Liquor features their three favourite things: IPA, dark malts and Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon. This Black IPA has been aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels.”

What is so exciting about GABS?

It’s the biggest beer event in the country – 150+ beers that have never been released to market to sample in one venue – what’s not to love?!

Tell us about the Black & Tannin and what was the inspiration behind the brew?

It’s no secret we are great mates with EBBC [note: Eagle Bay Brewing Co] – hanging out in the brewery is what we do best – producing Saisonnay was so much fun we had to do another beer – we hope to do a different collab together every year. Margarita [note: retail and marketing manager for Eagle Bay Brewing] had the idea of using this years collab for the GABS event – and we are very honored to be asked. We wanted to do another barrel aged beer and to showcase the local Margaret River area and produce. We are lucky to have access to wine barrels so decided Cabernet would be the best barrels to pair with a winter themed beer.
The Black IPA from EBBC  is one of our favourite beers so I asked Nick [note: Nick d’Espeissis, head brewer at Eagle Bay] if we could pump up the ABV and malt build to create a 7.5% ABV black IPA, we then decided to age the beer for three months before returning the beer to tank and dry hopping.

What was the trickiest part of the brew?

Black & Tan: a beer cocktail of pale ale with dark beer/stout on top

Deciding on a malt build for the beer was the toughest and coming up with a name. Black & Tannin is a play on Black & Tan as a Black IPA is essentially a new world black and tan – Cabernet has a high tannin level – so from this we created Black & Tannin.

Mane have collaborated with brewers in the past, what makes this collaboration special?

Every collaboration is special, it’s such a treat to be invited into the brewery to assist on the beer itself, I also love coming up with the beer style, recipe, name and label design.
This is the first dark beer we have collaborated on, it’s also the biggest beer Nick has ever made so that was by far the most exciting aspect of the brew.
I’m also super excited to see the beer going into 640ml wax coated bottles – our label has been designed by Kyle Hughes-Odgers, an amazing local artist, so in a way it’s a three way collaboration between brewer, bottle shop and artist.

Who’s beer are you most keen to try this year, and why?

Pirate Life Brewing (SA) are doing a 10.4% ABV Black Belgian Imperial India Pale Ale – that’s exciting! The boys from Moondog (VIC) never disappoint on the GABS beers and 8 Wired (NZ) are doing a Hippy Berliner, a Berliner Weise, which sounds amazing. Also keen to try Ryan from Bootleg’s Chai Milk Stout. [Read my Q&A with Ryan about this beer here].

GABS Edition: 5 minutes with Ross from Cheeky Monkey Brewery

Q&A with Cheeky Monkey Brewery’s Ross Terlick about their GABS Festival Beer – Death Dancer

The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS,  is on again as part of the annual amazingness that is Good Beer Week, a nine day festival throughout Melbourne, all kicking off today.

Good Beer Week: 16-24th May

GABS: Imagine a really beautiful building and inside are all your favourite Australian breweries, plus a handful of international brewing superstars, with their beers ready for you to taste and brewers keen to have a chat. Upstairs there’s a variety of beer seminars with people who really know their stuff. There’s plenty of food and live music and on top of all this there’s over 100 unique beers, GABS festival beers, which have been brewed especially for the event and all are on their debut outing because that’s one qualification to be a GABS festival beer.

My blog has been pretty free of Good Beer Week activity this year and I can only put this down to an act of self preservation as I am not going to GBW this year. Every time GBW is mentioned I get a pang of beer envy but, nevertheless, I cannot ignore the thirst-inducing creative GABS beers that our fab WA brewers have put together for this years festival so I am hoping to bring you a few Q&A’s with the brewers over the next week or two.

Facebook: Cheeky Monkey

Twitter: Cheeky Monkey

Twitter: Ross Terlick

The first was with Craig from The Monk which you can read here. Next was Ryan from Bootleg Brewery (read here) and we stay in the Margaret River this time with Ross Terlick from Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery.

Alex and Ross at Cheeky Monkey

L: Alex, former Cheeky Monkey brewer | R: Ross, current Cheeky Monkey head brewer

GABS Festival Beer: Death Dancer.

The Official GABS Guide says: “A black Red IPA (or RIPA) brewed with a ridiculous amount of rye to give it a heap of spice and pizzazz. They’ve then dry hopped this bad boy twice to give aromas of pine, resin and tropical fruits and finished it all off with a Belgian Abbey yeast for a touch of funk.”

What is so exciting about GABS?

Paradise. Unfortunately I am yet to make it over there and will be unable to again this year. But with so many fantastic brewers kicking around and everyone really pushing the boat out, it can only be a good thing. Plus Beer People are Good People, so to be in a heaving hall full of such people enjoying great beer … yeah, I’m definitely going next year!!!!

Tell us about Death Dancer and what was the inspiration for it?

Dry Hopping: Adding hops after fermentation for a huge boost to hop aromatics

Basically Death Dancer is an all US hopped Black RIPA. The inspiration comes from the fact I love BIPA and dig a lot of rye in my beers. We pushed the rye pretty far with this one too – nearly 40% of the grist. We bumped the IBU up pretty high (75) and dry hopped it twice too. We’re prettt happy with it.

What was the trickiest part of the brew?

With the amount of rye in the grist I had been having nightmares all week in the lead up about a horror lauter. When it came down to the day though, it ran like a dream.

Why have you gone with a Belgian Abbey yeast for this one?

Being GABS I wanted to try something different and the Safale Abbaye is fairly new on the market so I figured I’d give it a crack.

Who’s beer are you most keen to try this year, and why?

Basically any I can get hold of over here.