Weekend Reading #26

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

Goodtimes Craft Beverages | Homestead Brewery: Ron Feruglio Interview

A great local Perth blog by Guy Southern who I frequently run into at beer events either just as I’m leaving or as he is leaving, we sadly appear destined not to share a beer together ever! That aside, I really enjoyed this interview Guy did with Homestead brewer Ron Feruglio. Homestead, if you haven’t been out there, is the newest brewery in the Swan Valley and Ron brings a heck of a lot of knowledge and experience with him to this new venture. The result, I think, is an excellent core range of beers that aren’t afraid to be a bit challenging and a genuinely exciting limited release range that I think will bring lots of beer geeks to their knees frequently as they are released throughout 2015. If that all sounds like your cup of tea, and I’m assuming since you’re reading then the odds are fairly good, I’d be reading this interview. Probably with a beer too.

Homestead grand opening

L: Homestead Brauhaus Munich Lager | R: Homestead Curvee Belgian Ale

All About Beer | Sweden Rising: Beer Culture Booms in Scandinavian Country

I really enjoy reading about how craft beer culture is developing in countries other than Australia and America as most of my reading tends to centre around these two countries. To glimpse into the craft beer world of Mexico or Sweden, as this article links to, is a nice reminder of how far reaching the love for craft beer is.

Broadsheet | What Exactly is Sour Beer?

A nice and relatively brief article introducing sour beer – what it is, what you can expect and a handful of recommendations. Sour beer has been growing in popularity here and whilst it can be a very abrasive experience for some, it can also be a game changer. I recently heard some great advice on how to try sour beers, it came from a new beer podcast I have been listening to – The Sour Hour by The Brewing Network – and they talked about a ‘three sip rule’. Why three? Because the first sip is a shock, you’ve just slapped your palate! The second sip gets you into it, you start to taste more flavours and then the third sip, you’re in, you’re getting it.

5 Minutes with Ross from Cheeky Monkey

There has been a changing of the guard at Margaret River’s Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery with assistant brewer Ross Terlick taking over the reigns as head brewer from Alex Poulsen.

There has been a changing of the guard at Margaret River’s Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery with assistant brewer Ross Terlick taking over the reigns as head brewer from Alex Poulsen.
The change comes as Alex swaps beer for spirit, moving over to Hippocampus Memorable Drinks to add distilling to his list of talents.
Alex and Ross at Cheeky Monkey
Alex and Ross at Cheeky Monkey

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For Ross this role is exactly what he has been working towards. Ross caught the home brew bug whilst working with Jeremy Good at Cowaramup Brewery, whilst there he was awarded ‘Beertender of the Year’ by Beer & Brewer Magazine in 2012 (which you can read more about here), he then moved to Cheeky Monkey late last year. It’s been a great journey which now brings Ross to his dream job.

What was your first reaction to your new job role?

Shock.  I was really surprised when Alex told me he was moving on.  After that it was equal parts elation and trepidation.  I had really been expecting to spend a couple more years in an assistant role before moving up, but was absolutely stoked to get the opportunity.

What has been the best thing about working with Alex?

His knowledge of lab practices and the like.  I really learnt a hell of a lot from him about QC [quality control] and ensuring we had a good level of consistency to the beers.  The fact that we shared a similar taste in beer and music certainly helped as well!

What is your favourite Cheeky Monkey beer and why?

Travelling Monk was awarded the trophy for Best Reduced Alcohol Draught at this years Perth Royal Beer Show

Tough one…
Whichever beer is freshest and drinking the best, depending what mood I’m in.  If I absolutely had to pick one it would be the Hagenbeck Belgian IPA.  I love my big hoppy beers and really enjoy the difference that the Belgian yeast throws into the beer.

You just gotta love a bit of funk,

Having said that the beer I drink the most of is the Travelling Monk Red Ale.  Having to drive back up Bussell Hwy to Busselton every day means a mid strenght just makes sense.
Cheeky Monkey Bar

What will be your first Southern Wailer beer?

Souther Wailer – Cheeky Monkey’s limited release beer series

I have a couple of ideas.   First up I’m thinking of an Extra Special Belgian.  Use a blend of British and Belgian malts, with British and European hops and our Belgian yeast strain from the Hagenbeck.  I’m also pretty keen to try my hand at a Grodziskie.

What do you have planned for the future of Cheeky Monkeys beers?

All the beers are drinking pretty well I think so I won’t be making any wholesale changes.  I may do a little bit of tweaking in the future but not too much.  We have got a new core beer coming out in the next few weeks.  It will be an easy drinking Golden Summer Ale.  Using Maris Otter, Wheat and Caramunich malts and Australian Summer hops.
Thanks for your time Ross and huge congratulations on your new role, I can’t wait to see what beers you send out! You’ll be able to catch up with Ross at this weekend’s Gourmet Escape at the Gourmet Village Brewhouse, be sure to visit him at the Cheeky Monkey tent!

Weekend Reading #14

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

Good Beer Hunting | Episode 20 – Keith Villa of Blue Moon Brewing Co. [PODCAST]

This is 76 minutes of great story telling. The interview is casual enough that it feels like you’re in a room with old friends but not so casual that you don’t understand any of the jokes. It’s also structured enough to make sure there is an actual story being told but not so much that it’s painful to listen to.

Literally Coors didn’t know what to do with me”

Keith Villa, Blue Moon Brewing

Regardless of your feelings for what defines craft beer, wherever you believe the boundaries are, this interview is a fantastic listen. Not only is it the story of Blue Moon and Keith’s own personal journey but it is an interesting insight into the early growth of craft beer in the US.

“We were doing extreme beers before there was a name for it,”

Keith Villa, Blue Moon Brewing

Business Review Weekly | Meet BeerBud, the online marketplace for craft beer

It’s on-line craft beer shopping but it kinda takes away what I love about my craft beer shopping. I like asking the staff what they’ve been drinking, what’s new and what’s been flying off the shelves. I like grabbing more beers than I can carry.

BeerBuds website

Of course the idea of beer delivered to my door is equally appealing, especially if the price is right.

Beer shopping is always delightfully good fun!
Beer shopping is always delightfully good fun!

TribLIVE | Bartenders are discovering some inventive ways to use craft brews

I am working through some emotions, emotions relating to the idea of beer cocktails. It is something I’ve been seeing rising up slowly and I’m interested to see where it goes. This article quotes a few bartenders and I certainly like the idea of a beer viewed as another flavour ingredient, bringing something more to the drink.

I experienced more confused emotion as I read the following:

“Women are often the core market for beer cocktails, because they have a lighter alcohol content, are fruitier and not heavy”

Brewbound | $1.9 Million and Counting: How Stone Brewed up the Largest Brewery Crowdfunding Campaign Ever

The whole crowd funding thing is interesting, particularly when the person/people doing the funding are perceived to be able to easily fund the project themselves. It makes you wonder, if you crowd sourced raising money for charity how far would you get?

This campaign for the building of a Stone Brewery (US) in Berlin appears to have gotten off on the wrong foot, upset a few folk and then turn it around into, well, I think the headline sums it up nicely.

“The chief complaint was that Stone, the country’s tenth largest craft brewery, shouldn’t be asking customers to help finance expansion”

Serious Eats | Ask a Cicerone: How to Pair Beer and Chocolate

I found this article from February this year when I was drinking the Eagle Bay Cacao Stout and doing a little research.

I love the idea of a smokey rauch beer with chocolate as it’s not something I would have given great consideration to. Trying to get more sour beers in my life, this article has encouraged me to increase my chocolate consumption too. Win!

food by beersine: Bahen & Co Chocolate Mousse with hazelnuts
food by beersine: Bahen & Co Chocolate Mousse with hazelnuts at SouWest Smackdown

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

GABS Edition: 5 Minutes with Alex from Southern Bay Brewing

Here’s 5 minutes with Alex Lovelock, brewer at Southern Bay Brewing and it’s a special GABS edition so prepare to get thirsty!

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 with the heart of the festival lying in the “GABS 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.

Last years GABS guide - there are even more beers this year!
Last years GABS guide – there are even more beers this year!

Sounds good doesn’t it?!

Alex Lovelock, brewer at Southern Bay Brewing, is one of the many brewers heading along and contributing a beer for GABS this year. Here is a special GABS edition of ‘5 minutes with’ so Alex can tell us all about Southern Bay’s GABS beer, warning: prepare to get thirsty!

What is so exciting about GABS?

Is it the beers on offer, the punters or the amazing venue? I think it’s all three that gets me excited about GABS. Where else in the world can you try 130 new beers that have been made just for this event and may never be produced again. The buzz of the crowd is great as well, chatting to people about what they are going to sample next and the way they go about trying to get the most out of the session. The Royal Exhibition Building, what better place to have some of the world’s best exhibiting their craft in what becomes a great beer hall just a stunning venue.

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

“Smokin Pope IV” is my take on a Texas Brown with a couple of twists, in that it’s got smoked and acidulated malts. So I am hoping that it will act as a bit of a palate cleanser as people are trying some of the bigger or more extreme beers. I wanted to create a beer that has a really good balance between the hops, smoke and just the right amount of tartness so that these attributes are all playing in harmony.

What will be the trickiest part of the brew?

It was brewing on a six hectoliter single infusion Brewhouse at Federation University in Ballarat where I am studying. At home and work I can do different temperature rests to get the most out of the malts being used so it will be interesting to see how the body of the beer comes out. Not being able to test and taste the beer on a daily basis is hard as I live in Melbourne but work in Geelong. So it is a beer about having faith in others and considering that a Doctor of beer is looking after it, it should be just fine.

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

Good Beer Week and GABS was a total disaster for me last year. The day of Steve “Hendo” Hendersons Hop Zone launch I was diagnosed with Glandular Fever and the weekend of GABS I had to go home to New Zealand for family reasons. I do have vague memories of drinking something Belgian that my pal Alex Troncoso had made while he was still at Little Creatures/White Rabbit the year before.

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

The Sixpoint 150% Citrus, extra super special hoppy IPA. When I visited New York a couple of years ago this Brooklyn brewery was one of the stand outs of the trip. Be interesting to see how it stands up against the “Resin “which is another of their super hopped beers that I tried recently at The Alehouse Project.

Thank you Alex for taking some time to answer my questions and I’m looking forward to having a beer with you in Melbourne!

Cheers!

girl + Indi Ocean Brewing

At the end of freeway north, what do you think you’ll find? A set of lights? Yes. The continuing WA coast line? Yes. A brewery with some damn fine beer? Yes, very much so.

At the end of freeway north, what do you think you’ll find? A set of lights? Yes. The continuing WA coast line? Yes. A brewery with some damn fine beer? Yes, very much so.

Indian Ocean Brewing is in Mindarie and whilst a fair distance for most Perth-ites it’s definitely worth the travel for those who love a good beer. The brewer is Dave Brough who’s brewing passion and extensive experience has resulted in beer that make drinkers stand up and take notice.

Photo courtesy of Indian Ocean Brewing
Brewer Dave – Photo courtesy of Indian Ocean Brewing

Dave kindly gave me his time to participate in an interview for girl+beer and I also got to meet him over the weekend during Indian Ocean’s “Indi Brew Day”, an annual event inviting people to taste the beer and tour the brewery with Dave.

Without further delay here’s my interview with Dave about brewing at Indi, his GABS beer and reflections on taking out WA’s Best Brewery award at last year’s Perth Royal Beer Show …

What were you doing before joining Indian Ocean Brewing?

My career in the brewing industry spans almost 20 years. I have built, managed and brewed in facilities here in Australia, the south pacific and Europe. …Bit of a vagabond brewer. Prior to this position I ran an iconic brewery in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne.

What was the allure to moving to WA?

The job sounded like a challenge – which is my specialist brewing field, “cometh the hour, cometh the pom”

What was the biggest challenge you faced coming into Indian Ocean Brewing?

I had a lot of maintenance work to do and needed to change most of the beer recipes, so really it was like starting from scratch, but the results have proved to be worth the effort.

What were you most looking forward to when you joined Indian Ocean Brewing?

Getting my hands dirty – I was previously in an admistrative position at my former brewery. All brewers love to play around in the brewhouse – even the ones with flattened backsides from sitting at a desk too long!

Photo by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
What is your brewing philosophy behind Indi’s core range of beers?

Excellence! Plus a broad appeal, we have a beer for everyone, almost, we aim to deliver quality WA beer to challenge the local palate.

Which is your favourite beer style to brew and why?

Lager, as they are the most unforgiving of beer styles as any flaw in the beer stands out. thus you have to get it right every time.

How did you feel winning Best WA Brewery at last years Perth Royal Beer Show?

Just reward for all my endeavours here & elated at being recognised for producing great beers, it is a fantastic accolade for the Indi, particularly given it’s position of obscurity 20 months ago. I hope that people will come and try the beer for themselves – taste the best in the west!

What do you think makes Indian Ocean beers unique?

They are true to style – you get what is stated on the tap, not an approximation to the style. A feature of many of my beers is the malt -my preferred characteristic in a beer – thus their maltiness may distinguish the beers as being mine, and therefore from the Indi.

What process do you go through when developing a new beer?

That’s the brewers art: knowing what you want and how to get it – understanding your raw materials, your processes and how that translates to your ‘brief’ or target product. Oh yes, there is also a bit of maths involved.

Which beer of yours do you think is the ‘sleeping giant’, the one just waiting to be discovered by the masses?

Big Red – it’s an American style red ale ,but quite confronting as it has a hefty malt and hop character, not to mention 5.4% Alc/Vol. It’s certainly a challenging beer for the Mindarie palate, but on the other hand is a beer that gets rave reviews in iconic beer halls & festivals!

Photo by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
Big Red with staff member Paul in the background. Photo by Danica Zuks, kindly provided by Mindarie Marina
Is there anything new coming up for the brewery?

A pale ale (Aussie) is about to be released –light on the malt, light on the hop.. a summer/autumn quaffer basically. 4.2%. Then the GABS beer…A belgian blonde of 6% with a big, sweet phenolic aroma, malty (surprise surprise) but light body and a touch of alcoholic warmth in the finish. A great beer for the fall!

What is the inspiration behind the Indi Brew Day event?

It’s the second year of this event – Sarah [Marketing Manager for the Mindarie Marina complex] can enlighten you as to the philosophy behind it:

‘It’s All about the Beer’ – to re-connect people with the fact that they have their own Brewery and Pub right on their doorstep. In this day and age of multi-nationals and conglomerates, where you do not know where something is made, who owns the company and who is making the profits we want to show that we are a WA owned and operated business, employing local Australians to produce award winning beer that is up there with the best in the world…..made right here in Mindarie! We want to show that what we do is REAL, it is traditional, it is local and it takes skill and knowledge, we want to show our customers that we care about what we sell and where it comes from and that they can be involved and have a say in what we do! [Thanks to Sarah!]

Will you be brewing a beer for this years GABS* festival?

Yes, A Belgian Blonde..(which gentlemen prefer). Similar to a Leffe Blonde (the defining beer of the style). Soft, slightly sweet with distinctive phenolics on the nose (see above).

*Great Australasian Beer Spectapular in Melbourne, May 23-25 featuring 115 specially brewed beers

Finish this sentence: The WA craft beer scene needs more …

Lager.

Thanks so much to Dave for his time both with this interview and at the Indi Brew Day last Saturday which I’ll feature in my next post … stay tuned!

 

GABS edition: 5 Minutes with Alex from Cheeky Monkey

5 minutes with Alex, brewer at Cheeky Monkey, about their entry for this years Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular ….

The year is passing quickly, Easter is just a few weeks away and that means May isn’t far behind. You might be asking “what’s so special about May?” and if that’s the case I have three words for you –

Good

Beer

Week

It’s ten days of beer love in Melbourne with more events than your liver could possibly fantasise about. I popped my Good Beer Week cherry last year and it was as amazing as everyone said it would be, so much so that I am heading back for a second taste this year, May 17-25.

Part of Good Beer Week is the epic adventure that is the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS for short (and much easier communication after many beers). It is a celebration of brewing creativity with the heart of the festival lying in the “GABS 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.

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

One of the many, many GABS beers will be a Belgian Stout from Margaret River’s Cheeky Monkey. Brewer Alex Poulsen had the big brew day last week and took a few photos too, here is 5 minutes to find out more about this drop …

What’s so exciting about GABS?

GABS, what’s not to love? A whole weekend featuring never before seen beers from pretty much every Australian brewery!

Tell us about your GABS beer …

We are brewing a Belgian stout. A sort of Belgian dubbel meets Oatmeal stout.

image

What do you think will be the trickiest part of the brew?

The whole thing is pretty ridiculous. I’ve never brewed this kind of beer before commercially. We’re using malts I’ve never used before and if that isn’t enough we’re making the dark candi syrup during the mash rest.

What are the malts you are using that you’ve not worked with before?

I’m using Simpson’s malts for the first time. Specifically Simpson’s Chocolate and Black malt which I’m using to give hopefully awesome, rich coffee/chocolate/toast flavours.

What made you choose to make the dark candi syrup rather than just get some in?

It’s pretty easy to get but I’ve always wanted to make it myself and this seemed like the perfect time to try it!

image

What was your favourite beer from last year’s GABS?

I can’t pick between Feral Barrique O’Karma, Brooklyn Brewery Grand Cru or Two Birds Taco.

Who’s beer are you most keen to try?

There’s a number of breweries who’s beers I’ve never tried so getting a first impression when they’re brewing balls to the wall is going to be awesome.

Alex and Ross hard at work in the brewhouse

5 Minutes with Jayne from Two Birds Brewing

If you’re not familiar with Two Birds it’s definitely time for you to get acquainted – here’s Five Minutes with brewer bird Jayne Lewis …

Not long ago the Australian beer loving people got some pretty exciting news – Two Birds Brewing will be opening their own brewery this year! You can read all about it here at Crafty Pint.

If you’re not familiar with Two Birds it’s definitely time for you to get acquainted. First they hit us with Golden Ale, an immensely drinkable, summer-in-a-glass kinda drop. Then they followed it up with Sunset Ale, bursting with gorgeous stone fruit and biscuit flavours this one reminds me of my birthday and drinking it on the beach.

Enjoying my 30th birthday beachside
Enjoying my 30th birthday beachside

Their Taco Beer, released for last years Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, is now a cult classic for good drinking beer nerds. Inspired by holiday fish tacos, it’s a wheat beer with coriander, lime and corn and just might soon end up in your closest beer loving bottleshop if this Tweet is anything to go by …

Taco Tweet

All in all it looks like another exciting year for brewer bird Jayne Lewis and other bird Danielle Allen. Both were kind enough to participate in “Five Minutes with …” – be sure to check out Five Minutes with Danielle if you haven’t already and here is Five Minutes with Jayne …

What beer did you drink last night?

Nothing last night, but the last beer I had was a Sunset Ale, as we packed up our stall after The Melbourne Beer Fest on Sunday.

Finish this sentence – Craft beer is like …

… my happy place. I love the drink, the process and the people.

Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed?

Little Creatures Pale Ale, for the role it’s played in craft beer in Australia.

What is the best thing you have learnt from the other bird?

The other bird has taught me that anything is possible with heard work and she has an amazing propensity to get things done. She has taken to the craft brewing industry like the proverbial duck to water and I’m so proud of the way she’s embraced the industry and gotten involved.

What is the very first thing you will do when the new Two Birds Brewery is ready?

Shed a few happy tears while drinking fresh beer, brewed in our own brewery!

Catching up with Pizey from Bootleg

Pizey is always great for chat but for those who didn’t get to say ‘hi’ at the South West Craft Beer festival or haven’t yet met him, here’s a chance to get to know the brewer a little better …

The last time I saw “Pizey” aka Ryan Nilsson, brewer at Bootleg Brewery in Margaret River, he was happily drinking their Coconut Hefeweizen at the South West Craft Beer Festival in Busselton.

For many it was the first opportunity to sample Bootleg’s latest limited release and its safe to say it was a hit with the beer taking out both Critics Beer Choice and Peoples Beer Choice of the festival.

South West Craft Beer Festival

The Coconut Hefeweizen does exactly what it says on the box – it still tastes very much like a Hefe and the toasted coconut folds in nicely, as if it had always been there. It has big coconut aromas that had me burying my nose in my glass more often than normal but coconut doesn’t totally dominate the beer, there is still plenty of banana and a hint of vanilla.

The brewery has also been busy pumping out their Speakeasy IPA, an evolution of their Settlers Pale Ale that’s found its way into IPA territory with an emphasis on ‘fresh is best’. Drinking beautifully, it’s a sensational IPA that’s thankfully made it’s way into craft beer loving bottleshops like Mane Liquor (who I am now a dangerous ten minute drive away from my front door!)

Ryan happily sampling Coconut Hefeweizen

Pizey is always great for chat but for those who didn’t get to say ‘hi’ at the South West Craft Beer festival or haven’t yet met him, here’s a chance to get to know the brewer a little better …

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I am a brewer at Bootleg Brewery and have been working there for 6 years now. I learned the craft there after a few years of putting down my own brews at home and hanging around the craft beer scene with a job in the bar and grounds at Cowaramup brewery when they first opened.

My home life revolves around my 11yo son Nick and fiance Kelley and trying to fit in sport while my body still holds up! Also try to fit a bit of fishing in when I can….

What is the best part of living in Margaret River?

I like everything about Margaret River,  Im from a settlement family so I  love the small town community hidden behind it’s tourism front.  Getting down the beach on a sunny summers day to relax and wash all the beer dust away… and going to eat the great food that is produced in the region keeps a nice roundness to my belly.  But what I love the most is that whenever I get the urge to go to a local brewery I can try something different every time, the diversity of Margaret River is what makes it so great. Nature, tourism food and BEER (apparntly wine is made here too)!

What has been your favourite Bootleg beer to brew and why?

My favourite bootleg beers to make are the big and bold ones! But the Speakeasy IPA has been my favourite because it required alot of tinkering to get it right, slowly changing the settlers over a year to balance the malt characters that we wanted before blasting it with added hops and alcohol to create Speakeasy. And it will always be a work in progress to try and make it even better….

Bootleg Brewery

What was the inspiration behind the Coconut Hefeweizen?

The Coconut Hefeweizen was Brookesy’s [Michael Brookes, fellow Bootleg Brewer] inspiration, we wanted to recreate our old hefe as a seasonal but were trying to think up ways to spruce it up a little and give it a unique Bootleg character.

Were there any surprises in the brewing process for this beer?

It was brewed a little different, a little birdy passed on to us that the very original Redback in the 80’s was brewed with 10% rolled oats in the mash so we added that in which gives a slight sourness to flavour and fullness to the palate which will lend itself well to the Hefeweizen style.  We toasted the coconut meat in the brewery kitchen and added it post ferment…  Breakfast in a glass….. Oats, coconut and banana’s.

What was your first reaction on tasting it?

I have to admit to being a little apprehensive about whether or not the coconut would overpower the flavour’s of the hefeweizen which is important to me, I don’t want to brew a novelty beer I wanted to add a new flavor but keep the original characteristics of the style. A bit of research went into the amount and time of the toasted coconut and plenty of tasting to get the right mix of flavors after the coconut addition so the first tasting bought a smile to my face as I realised the fusion of flavors was going to work out perfectly.

The core range of beers has changed a little, in particular the transition from Settlers Pale Ale to the new Speakeasy IPA, what inspired this?

Me and Brookesy both enjoy drinking a fuller, hoppier beer than the Settlers was and being huge fans of American Style IPA’s such as HopHog we wanted to make one for ourselves.  Sick of all the imported IPA’s having old hop character due to the travel time it was time to step up a notch with the Pale Ale so we could fill our fridges with fresh IPA. With both of us being big craft beer fans surely if that’s what we want to drink then others will too!

How has the Speakeasy been received?

The Speakeasy is doing really well and has quickly became one of our fastest moving products, doing smaller batches and keeping it super fresh has worked wonders for the beer and customers. It is doing particularly well in craft beer bottleshops in Perth, particularly at Mane Liquor and Cellarbration’s Carlisle.

Are you working on a beer for this years GABS and if so, can you give any clues?

We are and all I can tell you is it will be something very different and may involve working very closely with a NSW brewery…..

Thanks heaps to Pizey for his time and, more importantly, such great beer! See you at GABS!