The words “beers showroom” are enough to turn my mouth a little dry so walking into the Phoenix Beers Showroom in Morley turned me into a very thirsty gal.
Don’t you just love finding new beery places?
The words “beers showroom” are enough to turn my mouth a little dry so walking into the Phoenix Beers Showroom in Morley turned me into a very thirsty gal.
I know the Phoenix Beers Showroom isn’t exactly new, it’s had it’s doors open for a while but this was my first visit so it was all new to me and besides, better late than never don’t they say?!
The showroom is related to the company Phoenix Beers who are importers and distributors of beloved beers from all over the globe. They bring us beer from Weihenstephan, Sierra Nevada, Yeastie Boys, Rogue, St Bernardus and many, many more. Their portfolio was pretty much my bible when I was designing the beer menu at Five Bar back when I was assistant manager. Some of my favourite meetings were with my Phoenix Beers rep.
The showroom is located near the Galleria Morley shopping centre, around the corner from what I believe is the Mrs Mac’s factory which provides a truck-stop like aroma whilst you shop, maybe that’s your bag, maybe not but at least you can follow your nose to beer heaven.
It’s about here that I should mention the two words that make any bar manager/owner cringe: liquor licensing. The showroom operates under a wholesaler license, rather than a retailer one like your average bottle shop would have, which means purchases must be a minimum of 9lts.
That’s about 27 x 330ml bottles or 4.5 six packs or a dozen big 750ml bottles. If you don’t trust my math, which I wouldn’t blame you, the store has a helpful guideline with the breakdown of what 9lts looks like. The staff are also quick with volume math. If you are anything like me you won’t need the guide and you’ll just think …
“Thank you liquor licencing for a compulsory beery shopping spree!”
Hence my first visit to the showroom ended like this … It’s also worthy of note that we left the house to do food shopping.
My partner and I departed the showroom with over ten litres of pure beer indulgence and big smiles on our faces. This should tide us over for a little while.
Big thanks to Brad for the beery chat, for giving us a sample of a couple of beers and for being patient as we constantly interrupted his processing of our order by adding “just one more” beer.
Perth is blessed with Cellarbrations Carlisle, International Beer Shop, Mane Liquor and Phoenix Beers to service their passionate take away beery needs. Here in the south west things are not as abundant, at least not on the scale of the aforementioned shops. On the other hand us lucky folk in the south west have more microbreweries than anywhere else in the country so it probably evens it up.
Perth is blessed with Cellarbrations Carlisle, International Beer Shop, Mane Liquor and Phoenix Beers to service their passionate take away beery needs. Here in the south west things are not as abundant, at least not on the scale of the aforementioned shops. On the other hand us lucky folk in the south west have more microbreweries than anywhere else in the country so it probably evens it up. But sometimes you want to take the credit card out for a spin by browsing shelf after shelf of gorgeous beer then driving home with a happy tink-tink-tink noise of bottles in a box in your car. Yeah, you know the noise I’m talking about don’t you?
Thankfully bottle shops in the south west are getting on board the craft beer revolution, toot toot! They are stocking not just great local stuff like Duckstein, Bootleg, Feral and Little Creatures but also international favourites like Sierra Nevada, Rogue and Green Flash. I’d say this is due to the great Phoenix Beers, beer distributors with many, many brands whose portfolio was a well used document during my time writing the beer list at Five Bar in Mt Lawley. In Bunbury your best bet Dan Murphy’s, or Man Durphy’s as my partner calls it. In Busselton you’ve got Cape Cellars developing a very decent beer range and with their new (larger) site hopefully coming together before Christmas I’m sure that will mean more great beer. In Dunsborough it’s hard to go past The Pourhouse with a huge bottled list as well as growlers but if they’re not open then Zinn’s Liquor is a good alternative. Further south into Margaret River and it’s gotta be Settler’s Liquor.
Now you can add Cellarbrations Capel to that list of good beer bottle shops. Yup, you read that right – Capel. For those who don’t know the area it’s not where you might stop on your way from Perth to the south west, eager for your relaxing getaway. Not that it’s a bad place, it’s just that it’s easy to miss. Located half way between Bunbury and Busselton it’s just off the highway and also home to a fantastic butcher – seriously, you should stop in for sausages. Trust me, they’re tops. I’ve been buying my Friday afternoon beers from Cellarbrations Capel for a while now. Sometimes it’s a little Garage Project, a Rogue or two or a Nøgne Ø and, more often than not, a 6 pack of Sierra Nevada something. It seems that word is spreading about this little gem of a shop. I was recently went to Bootleg Brewery where I ran into fellow beer enthusiast and Bootleg beer pourer Jamie who told me that his mate had taken him to this great bottle shop in Capel. “Oh trust me, I know!”, I replied. Here’s just a sample of goodies I’ve purchased from Cellarbrations Capel. Thank you Cellarbrations Capel for feeding me good beer and taking the edge off between Cellarbrations Carlisle shopping sprees.
Last Wednesday night at Five Bar, located in Perth’s ever trendy suburb of Mt Lawley where Espresso Martinis are in constant demand, it was beer that took centre stage and Mountain Goat was undisputed King.
Not so long ago I was the Assistant Manager at Five Bar, a small bar with a big beer focus, located in the increasingly trendy suburb of Mt Lawley. In an area where the demand for Espresso Martinis runs rampantly high, to be opening a beer focused small bar was just a little bit exciting. We started running beer events, and to see how many people were interested in and loved their craft beer was the best part of my job. I’ve moved on to another job in another place, but I will happily drive back for great beer and to catch up with old friends.
Wednesday night saw Five Bar host Mountain Goat Co-Founder and Chief Brewer Dave Bonighton for ‘A Night of the Goat’. He had come over from Melbourne for a brief visit to see what was happening here in the West and I think he went back to Melbourne with a smile on his face.
The Mountain Goat story starts in the 1990s with two mates, Dave and Cam, who wanted to make craft beers. Their first beer, Hightail Ale, hit Victorian shelves for the first time in 1997 and their Steam Ale, certified organic, soon followed. Since then we have seen a diverse list of limited release beers (called ‘Rare Breeds’) and collaboration beers (called ‘Cross Breeds’) emerge to show off just what this little Australian brewery can do. Whilst I was working at Five Bar I snapped up lots of Mountain Goat beers and delighted in customers trying them for the first time and instantly falling in love. As you can imagine I was really quite excited at the prospect of meeting Dave; I got to Perth at 3pm so I had 3 hours to kill until the event…
After driving for a couple of hours I felt deserving of a pint and so arranged to meet a friend at The Queens, just up the road. Once it was a pub where the taps were an even spilt between Carlton United and Lion Nathan but nowadays their line up of draught beers is rather impressive, boasting Mountain Goat, White Rabbit, Two Birds and Feral Brewing to name a few. I noticed Vale IPA (South Australia) on tap and since I have only enjoyed it once before from the bottle I had to have it. It’s an extremely well balanced IPA with all the great characteristics I love about American IPAs – the citrus, the pine and the stone fruits and the malt sweetness backs it up perfectly too. That pint went down a little embarrassingly quickly. Opting for something a little more refreshing and with bigger tropical fruits and passionfruit I then chose Two Birds Golden Ale for my next drink and that too disappeared rapidly. The scene was set for a rather beery evening..
It was 5pm when I arrived at Five Bar for ‘The Night of the Goat’ event, still a good hour before it all kicked off so it gave me the chance to say hello to the staff and catch up on what has been happening. My early arrival also came with a beery reward as they had managed to get a hold of a keg of Collaborator – a brew from Feral Brewing (WA) and Two Brothers (VIC) that was created in celebration of 20 years of the Australian International Beer Awards. A schooner would tide me over quite nicely until all things Goat underway (tehehe!).
I sat at the bar enjoying the Collaborator, a really interesting stone fruit/chocolate sort of number (I nabbed two bottles whilst doing my obligatory stop at The International Beer Shop so I’ll be sure to do a separate post shortly on this one) and admired the big blackboard menu. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, it was all hands on deck as the chefs Mitch and Nelly were busy preparing the menu they had specially put together for the night.
With the kitchen buzzing, Mountain Goat pouring from two taps and bottles of Mountain Goat Rare Breed and Cross Breed in the fridges, it was just a matter of time and people. Looking around the bar at 5.30pm it looked like a fairly typical Wednesday night but by 6.15pm I noticed a lot of familiar beer-loving faces. By 6.30pm it was almost a full house and almost half the people had come down to meet Dave and get their fill of all things Goat – both in the beer and the food sense.
Mountain Goat Surefoot Stout recommended with Goat Shoulder + Mushroom Pie
Mountain Goat Hightail Ale recommended with Roast Roulade of Goat Leg, Chevre and Beer Baked Quince
Mountain Goat Two Step Cider recommended with Milk Poached Goat Belly w/ Fennel + Apple Salad
Mountain Goat Steam Ale recommended with Goat Tartare and Toasted Baguette
The Gypsy & The Goat Pepperberry Black IPA recommended with Goat Shoulder Sausage + Plum Chutney
Now I must admit that I didn’t do any of the beer and food matching suggestions, instead drinking mostly Surefoot Stout and Hightail Ale off tap since it’s pretty rare to find those pouring fresh where I am. It was easy to enjoy several schooners of Surefoot Stout, a 4.9% abv sweet stout that is part of the Mountain Goat Rare Breed range, that was once in yearly production. It boasts well balanced bitterness, soft dark malts and hints of chocolate and coffee. I switched briefly to Hightail Ale to enjoy with the food and it was a sensational match with the Goat Tartare; the meat was soft and flavoursome with the spices from Hightail enhancing all the intricacies of the Tartare. Sadly I missed out on the Goat Shoulder and Mushroom Pie and Ryppa Goat Balls, purely from talking way too much, and therefore there will be no jokes about Goat Balls here; Ryppa or otherwise…
[Apologies in advance for the red hue on all my photos – I could say it was a deliberate tactic to emphasis the amber hue of the great beers on the night but it’s just my lack of attention to colour balance on my camera]
The Roasted Roulade of Goat Leg with Chevre and Beer Baked Quince was sensational. Garnished with a little malt that soaked up as much of the sauce as it possibly could (and I don’t blame it), this dish was a little sweet and quite rich; it presented beautifully.
The Goat Shoulder Sausage and Plum Chutney was a delightful little dish that was lightly spiced and soft with just enough fruit from the chutney providing a nice contrast. If I had managed to get a hold of The Gypsy & The Goat (a collaboration between Mikkeller and Mountain Goat) before it sold out, I am sure it would have been a lovely match.
I had not intended on having the Milk Poached Goat Belly with Fennel and Apple Salad as I couldn’t quite get my head around the concept of milk poaching and I have never really enjoyed fennel. However it was ordered for me and it ended up being one of the dishes I enjoyed the most. The meat was falling-apart-soft and against the crispness from the Granny Smith apple it made a simple but amazing contrast. Again, a garnish of malt on top not only looked great but provided a little more contrast and flavour to an already great dish.
One of the best things about beer is the people and meeting Dave was nothing short of a pleasure. Like all brewers I have been fortunate to meet, Dave is delighted to chat all things beer with fellow beer-lovers. He smiles a lot, laughs a lot and he’s curious about peoples journeys, not purely how they found Mountain Goat, but how they came to delve into the craft beer culture in the first place.
As I have said time and time again, I love the stories behind beer and even when those stories are pretty simple it still speaks volumes about beer. To demonstrate, I was in conversation with Dave and one of Five Bar’s regular beer event attendees who was asking Dave how the collaboration between Mountain Goat and Mikkeller came to be. In different industries I am convinced that if you enquired about the origins of an international collaboration you’d get a very long story involving marketing plans and cross promotional branding activities. Dave’s story, however, was more a case of two brewers who were going to be in the same place at the same time and thought it would be fun to make something together, highlighting the open nature of the beer community.
I am pretty sure I walked around with a big smile on my face for the entire evening. Meeting Dave, enjoying the Goat beers and food and chatting with beer folk from all parts of the industry; it’s all why I love beer.
International Beer Shop + Kjetil Jikiun, Head Brewer of Nøgne Ø + 4 great Nøgne Ø beers = a happy beer girl
Nøgne ø … the brewery from Norway that refuses to compromise, committed to taste, committed to craft beer
This is the first sentence you see on the Nøgne Ø website. I like it’s simplicity and directness. There’s no messing around here – it’s not sunshine and lollipops it’s just damn fine beer. Their beers, from the ones I have experienced so far, certainly seem to reflect these elements too. If you have time, read through the story behind Nøgne Ø. It is an interesting read because it feels like a real story from a human being instead of a marketing spiel, edited and changed to a more romantic version of events. You could almost be sitting beside Kjetil Jikiun (Founder, Head Brewer, Owner and All Round Nice Guy) enjoying a beer and listening to the history of the brewery unfold on the bar table. As a side note, he is described in the website as “the bearded giant”. Since it was pretty close to the first thing I thought when I met him, I thought that was worth mentioning.
The International Beer Shop played hosted to Kjetil Jikiun on Monday night for a Nøgne Ø Tasting and Tap Takeover, an hour of beer talk and sampling of four of their beers. With almost 20 beers in year round production and countless other special, seasonal and collaboration brews it was a delight to taste a nice cross section of their different offerings.
#500 Imperial IPA
I wanted to take photos but it proved rather tricky. I had tasting notes in one hand and beer in the other and I didn’t fancy drawing attention to myself as I tried juggling them. For those who know me, hand/eye coordination doesn’t spring to mind as one of my strong points. You’ll just have to head down to The International Beer Shop (or even shop online!) and grab them to see and try for yourselves. In the mean time, perhaps I can tempt you further with a brief run down on how beautiful these beers are.
I first had this a few months ago and recycled the bottle for flowers I was given. Trying it the second time around I was struck by how spicy it was, I didn’t remember that from the first time! It is balanced out very nicely with tropical notes from fresh Australian hops and cheekily weighs in at 7.5% ABV.
Brown Ale – one of their regulars
The carbonation was bigger than I had expected and was a pleasant surprise, giving a delightfully light and playful mouth feel. Putting my nose in the glass reminded me of opening a fresh bag of coffee beans. Spicy and malty and delicious.
#500 Imperial IPA – another of their regulars
Imperial IPA. There’s something great about this style, taking a IPA – a bigger version of Pale Ales – and then just making it bigger again which is great for my already beaten up taste buds. As the name suggests, it’s a celebratory brew, made to signify the 500th batch of ale. It’s nothing short of slap-you-in-the-face big, heaving with hops and bitterness. With the recent explosion of New Zealand hops around, other hops heads might recognise the Nelson Sauvin hop notes in there with very unsubtle fruit thanks to the dry hopping.
Nogne O Kollaborator – in collaboration with Ægir, a fellow Norwegian craft brewer.
It’s a DoppelBock, doppel = strong and bock = lager so the style becomes simple math. Rich, boozy with lots of dark fruits. It’s got great thick texture and just begs to be sipped on whilst reading a good book in winter. Or, in the case of my boyfriend and I last night, devoured in gulps with rich blue cheese and exclaiming how great the two go together!
The International Beer Shop aka That Magical Beery Wonderful Place will be hosting a Meet the Brewer & Tap Takeover on May 21st with Nøgne Ø head brewer, Kjetil Jikiun – mark it in your diaries folks!
The International Beer Shop, otherwise known to me as ‘that magical beery wonderful place’ will be playing host to Nøgne Ø head brewer, Kjetil Jikiun on Monday 21st May from 5.30-6.30pm. He will be pouring 4 of his beers fresh from the taps in this Tap Takeover and Meet the Brewer event.
And what’s better, this is a completely free event, all you need to do is rock up, bring your enthusiasm for beer and try not to drive (as there is no parking on the verge near the store). Free tastings will be on offer and of course your chance to chat with Kjetil Jikiu. You may want to bring your wallet too as growlers will be available and I’m sure you’ll find some beer that is in need a good home.