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 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.

GABS edition: 5 Minutes with Ryan from Bootleg Brewery

Q&A with Bootleg Brewery’s Ryan Nilsson-Linne about their GABS festival beer – Chai Milk Stout

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 later this month.

Good Beer Week: 16-24th May

GABS: Imagine a really beautiful building and inside are all your favourite Australian breweries, even a handful of international brewing superstars too, with their beers ready for you to taste and 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 are 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.

The first Q&A was with Craig, brewer at The Monk in Fremantle, about his GABS beer called Oakey Dokey. You can read it here.

Next up we have Ryan Nilsson-Linne, brewer at Margaret River’s Bootleg Brewery.

Ryan at the 2014 South West Craft Beer Festival

GABS Festival Beer: Chai Milk Sout

The Official GABS Guide says … “Milk Stouts contain lactose, a sugar derived from milk which adds sweetness, body and calories to the finished beer. In the past, Milk Stout was claimed to be nutritious and given to nursing mothers along with other Stouts, such as Guinness. Try this one infused with chai.”

What is so exciting about GABS?

For me GABS is so good because it allows brewers to explore their creative side and make things that they otherwise may not have done.  It opens your eyes to what can be done, how to do it and to the fact that no matter how weird and wonderful the product is someone is going to give it a crack.

Tell us about the Chai Milk Stout and what was the inspiration for it?

Last winter, in a failed attempt to give up caffeine me and Kelley [Kelley is Ryan’s wife] turned to drinking Chai Lattes on the weekend.  I hadn’t really drank a lot of Chai before and enjoyed the different flavour combinations you would get from different venues and really wanted to make a Chai mix for myself. In the general talking of what would be next with GABS I had an inkling that Chai and dark ale would make a good combo and put a teabag into a pint of Raging Bull. It was pretty tasty but not quite right and I thought a sweet stout would be a better combo.

I have had an  itching to make a Milk Stout for a while as I love the creaminess and sweetness of them and thought what better way than making a Chai Latte beer.

Where did you source the chai and how was it used in the brewing process?

The Chai was made by me and our kitchen staff after I did a few trials on different spice combinations at home, I settled on cinnamon, cloves, black pepper, ground ginger and cardamom seeds.

It was added after ferment in small batches until I felt the flavour combination was right.

What was the trickiest part of the brew?

The hardest part was trying to settle on a Chai combination that I felt would work within a beer without completely overpowering it and then figuring out how much I needed to use to get the flavour I wanted.

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

With a hint of jealousy not being able to go this year I have so far refused to read the full list but I love the sound of the Nail Brewing GABS beer – a chilli and coconut imperial stout [Flaming Lamington], how could you say no to that?

GABS edition: 5 Minutes with Craig from The Monk

Q&A with The Monk’s head brewer, Craig Eulenstein, about his GABS Festival Beer – Oakey Dokey

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 later this month.

Good Beer Week: 16-24th May

GABS: Imagine a really beautiful building and inside are all your favourite Australian breweries, even a handful of international brewing superstars too, with their beers ready for you to taste and 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 are 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.

Follow Craig on Twitter

Follow The Monk on Twitter

The first Q&A is with Craig Eulenstein, brewer at Fremantle’s The Monk Craig at The Monk

Photo: Craig Eulenstein, courtesy of the man himself

GABS Festival Beer: Oakey Dokey The Official GABS Guide says … “An oak aged Belgian Double IPA (India Pale Ale) which is effectively an American style Double IPA fermented with Belgian yeast on oak chips”

What is so exciting about GABS?

GABS is a very unique festival. Not only does it showcase extremely limited releases from many different breweries from around Australia and the world, but it does so in a very unpretentious way. I often go with a few non-beer-industry friends and they always have a great time and are always blown away by the beers on show. Mix that with a mini bowling alley, live music, giant jenga and and who wouldn’t love it?!

Tell us about the Oakey Dokey and what was the inspiration before the brew?

My focus as a brewer is to produce approachable beers, beers that are full of flavour but are still sessionable and appealing to all kinds of folks. So when it comes time to brew up a GABS beer, I usually look to different yeast strains I haven’t used before, and different brewing techniques. This year was a Belgian yeast strain I hadn’t used before, with a different fermentation schedule than I have previously done. Higher ferment temps and move the brew in and our of “oaked” fermenters and storage tanks is something of a normal days work! But its great for experimenting, which is what GABS is all about …

Why did you throw in oak chips and where did you source them from?

The oak chips I used were an American oak variety sourced from a wine industry supplier from the Swan Valley wine region here in Western Australia. I opt for infusing the oak during fermentation to reduce the risk of oxidation and flavour spoiling bacteria.

What was the trickiest part of the brew?

The brew itself wasn’t overly difficult, the trickiest part was keeping an eye on the flavour profile whilst on oak and choosing the right time to remove the oak and what hop profile would match it best.

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

I never limit myself to the same breweries but I am always keeping an eye on beers from the smaller boutique guys, they usually have more time to come up with some crazy ideas. Looking over the GABS guide I noticed a number of sour beers on the list, this is a developing market worth keeping an eye on.

GBW 2014: The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular aka GABS

If you’re thinking of heading to the last session of this years GABS festival I highly recommend you do! Read on if you really need more persuading …

Over the last two days I’ve survived two sessions at this years GABS festival held at the Royal Exhibition Building nestled in Carlton Gardens.

Two sessions + 45 different beers = one palate wrecked but very happy girl.

Session Five, the final one for the weekend, kicks off at 12noon with loads of events and activities on top of all the beery goodness. At 1pm there’s a Paddle Race Challenge at The Local Taphouse stall, you can learn about beer and cheese pairing at 2pm in the Coopers Craft Beer Challenge and if you’re feeling strong you can arm wrestle a brewer at the Bridge Road Brewing stall. For more information on these and more events, download the ‘GABS 2014’ app for both android and iPhone or check out the website.

I was impressed with the festival last year and this year they’ve continued to leave me wide-eyed. Improved layout gives you a wider scope of the brewers market where you’ll find stalls from your favourite Australian and International brewers. When I say stalls I’m not talking trestle tables with an ice bucket on top, I’m talking full bars and there’s giant cardboard monsters, lots of fresh hops, a caravan and today there was even a barber on hand for free haircuts!
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Now let’s get into the beer. There is a lot of it, there are easy drinking ones and rich, crazy ones. Here are my top tips from the last two days …

Sharing is caring
Did I mention there are lots of beers at this festival? The festival beers, those brewed especially for the GABS festival, number well over 100 so if you’re looking to try as many as possible then I’d recommend playing team. Share paddles with your friends, consult and get different beers.
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Eat first and eat big
Make sure you have a big feed before you get there and start drinking lots of beer. There’s plenty of food at the festival however if you drink first and then think about food you might find you’re already a few stumbly steps behind.

Talk to people
There are brewers and brewery reps galore who are always up for a chat, introduce yourself, say hello and ask whatever you want to ask. The beer community is generous and full of great stories.
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Remember context
Some of these beers are monsters, rich and truly indulgent. Some are clean pilsners and low ABV ales, remember this when evaluating your beers. You wouldn’t have a steak tartare and complain that it wasn’t cooked enough! Same goes here, there are beers that aren’t meant to be hop monsters or extremely boozy.

Beers to try

Temple Scarlet Super – fresh cranberries, hibiscus flowers from Queensland and bacteria to give you a real cranberry fruit flavour with assertive tartness. This is the best way to start your day.
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True South Spice Market – if you’re like me and have a cupboard full of assorted spices like cumin, curry powder and coriander this beer embraces all these spices within a soft Belgian witbier. I don’t know how but it is so well balanced and flavoursome and still very much a wheat beer at heart.

2 Brothers Creme Caramel – stupidly rich and indulgent, this baby is not subtle and not for the faint hearted. If you’re the sort of person who orders decadent chocolate desserts then this is for you.
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Brewcult Pepper Steak Porter – 60kg of black peppercorns went into this bad boy, the taste is just what it says. I reckon some beef jerky wouldn’t go astray here.

Renaissance Brewing Export Pilsner – full of NZ hops it is clean, refreshing with hoppy tropical fruit. You could easily have a few of these on a Friday night.

Have fun and don’t forget to vote for your favourite beer of the festival!

Apologies if this post is riddled with typos, it has been a rather big day!

GABS Edition: 5 Minutes with Craig from The Monk

5 minutes, 5 questions with Craig Eulenstein, brewer at The Monk in Fremantle, talking all things GABS!

Good Beer Week is fast approaching! 10 days of epic adventuring through Melbourne with beer as your guide, what more could you want?

This years GABS will be 23-25 May at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, Melbourne.

One of the many, many, many events on the GBW calendar is the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS for short (and much easier communication after many beers). It’s a celebration of brewing creativity  and at it’s heart are the “festival beers” – beers brewed especially for and launched during the festival. The result is 115 beers that are totally unique and available for very first time.

Even more at GABS … The marketplace with even more beer, live music, plenty of food and craft beer college

One of these “festival beers” will be from Fremantle’s The Monk Brewery + Kitchen where Craig Eulenstein, previously of Mountain Goat, is brewing his first GABS beer as a head brewer.

So it’s time to spend 5 minutes/5 questions with Craig to talk all things GABS!

Craig at The Monk

What is so exciting about GABS?

For me GABS is a great way to break into the brewing industry as an individual, not just as a member of a brewing team. It is a chance to build up a reputation and release a beer with my name on it… providing people like it of course!!!

What beer are you brewing for GABS and what was the inspiration for it?

It’s a secret till GABS!! Buuuut…. It’s a Belgian Black IPA, the idea came from sampling a few over dinner one night. I really like Black IPA but the extra twist that Belgian yeast gives the beer really tiggled my fancy and I thought “I reckon I could do that!”

What will be the trickiest part of the brew?

Balancing Yeast ester with hop profile, don’t want one to outweigh the other!

Favourite beer from last year’s GABS, and why?

I actually didn’t make it to last years GABS, I was too busy working for The Man… but given that “The Man” was in fact a big hairy Mountain Goat I guess its ok.

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

I’m not too sure really, all of them! I will certainly be keeping an eye on my usual favourites, Feral/Goat/Cavalier/Mash/Bridge Road… just to name a few!

GABS Edition! 5 Minutes with Justin & Paul from Colonial Brewing

5 minutes / 5 Questions with the brewers at Colonial Brewing, talking all things GABS!

Good Beer Week is fast approaching! 10 days of epic adventuring through Melbourne with beer as your guide, what more could you want?

This years GABS will be 23-25 May at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, MelbourneOne of the many, many, many events on the GBW calendar is the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS for short (and much easier communication after many beers). It’s a celebration of brewing creativity  and at it’s heart are the “festival beers” – beers brewed especially for and launched during the festival. The result is 115 beers that are totally unique and available for very first time.

Even more at GABS … The marketplace with even more beer, live music, plenty of food and craft beer college

Now we turn the spotlight on two of my favourite beer people – Justin Fox and Paul Wyman, brewers at Colonial Brewing in Margaret River, to tell you about their GABS beer – Gary Lives On, a musk saison – a beer that has had a life all of it’s own …

GABS 2013 gave us Gary the White but where has Gary been all this time? He returns in 2014 in Gary Lives On
GABS 2013 gave us Gary the White but where has Gary been all this time? He returns in 2014 in Gary Lives On

What is so exciting about GABS?

Paul: What is not exciting about GABS? The fact that you have pretty much every brewery in Australia and the top brewieres from NZ and the world now all brewing a one of beer that you have never ever done before, seen before or even thought of before. Just to blow the palates and minds of the average punter who still thinks beer is just beer…wrong! Beer is so much more, means so much more and is an artistic expression of a passion and love that brewers have for their beers.

Justin: Paul was spot on, there is nothing not to like. The idea of introducing your lips to over 100 new beers appeals to the brewers as much as it does the beer geeks. GABS lets you taste flavoUr combinations you didn’t think possible, styles you have always wanted to brew, and interpretations that open up new doors… It’s a 2 session minimum event.

What beer are you brewing for GABS and what was the inspiration for it?

Paul: I will leave it to Justin to tell the story, he is a lot more romantic than me.

Justin: An occasion such as GABS is just the right time for us to bring back our old friend Gary (Did he ever really leave??).

[girl+beer: from here, we’ll let the pictures tell the story of Gary, the musk saison] …

CLG3558_GaryLeBron_Web_3 CLG3558_GaryLeBron_Web_2 CLG3558_GaryLeBron_Web_1

What will be the trickiest part of the brew?

Paul: I think the use of the candy Musk, these will posses very simple sugars that the yeast will love. Therefore trying to keep the taste, flavours and alcohol percentage under control will be the challenge. Plus getting the right amount of Musk flavour and aroma without being too over the top and still showcasing a well made Saison. 

Justin: Wow Paul is a wise man, the balance is the trickiest part of this brew as it is just about all brews. Showcasing an ingredient like Musk without forcing it down people’s throats is our goal.

Gary Le Bron
2014 is looking a little pink

Favourite beer from last year’s GABS, and why?

Paul: From last year I was impressed with the complexity of Two Birds Taco Beer. Plus surprise surprise Feral was up there with their Barrel Fermented Black IPA – Barrique O Karma. I think it is just awesome that so many beers released at GABS have become core range for some of the breweries now.

Justin: From memory I put Mountain Goat, Two Birds, True South and Feral all on the list. They were all very well constructed beers that gave a hint of something new but maintained that old favourite hype word – sessionability.

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

Paul: Ummm all of them! Just want to taste and try what inspired each brewer to brew what they did. Stand out’s though will be the crazy brewer’s from around Australia like Bacchus from QLD, Doctors Orders from NSW and Moon Dog from VIC and of course anything from WA.

Justin: Considering we plan to spend three sessions at GABS, the full list is well within reach. The thing I like about GABS and Beer in general, is the only real way to decide if a beer is good is to drink it! Beyond all the clever names and tempting tasting notes, you really have to have a few swigs of it all to decide what you like best!

For a full list of beers at this years GABS, click here

Keep up to date with all of Colonial’s GABS shenanigans by liking them on Facebook (cause they like you too!) and stalking them on Twitter