Introducing LiquidBred

Alè Alberti and Mal Secourable have teamed up to bring LiquidBred to life, a beer education experience aimed at the drinker and bringing beer to life.

“It’s probably a stupid answer but we want everyone to come,” says Alè Alberti of LiquidBred, a new consumer orientated beer education offer he has co-founded with brewer Mal Secourable. LiquidBred launches in Perth in September and will bring beer education to some of the most important people – those who are buying and drinking it.


‘Liquid bread’ is an age old colloquial term for a fermented beverage made from malted cereal and flavoured with hops (commonly) or spices, roots or fruit (historically). Its application reflects the belief that the two staples, bread and beer, emerged simultaneously in the Cradle of Civilisation – Mesopotamia


Aside from the recent run of ‘Beer School’ events at the Belgian Beer Cafe hosted by Scott Earley from Mash Brewing, Alè was surprised to find it almost impossible to locate any beer appreciation lessons for consumers to learn more about beer. Given the growth of craft beer and wine appreciation courses being fairly commonplace, it seemed to Alè and Mal that beer wasn’t getting the attention it deserves.

A beer education program for consumers was an idea Mal says was first raised at a meeting of the Western Australian Brewers Association (WABA) many years ago. The idea continued to resurface in conversations and meetings from time to time it never seemed to get off the ground. Perhaps it was just a matter of the right people coming together, people like Mal and Alè.


“The good thing about that is that Mal is one step at a time and I’m a million at a time so we just bring each other in so it’s a really good balance,”

Alè Alberti

Previously from an education and a wine background, Mal appreciates the impact that engaging information can have on people and often wondered why it seemed the wine industry was so far ahead of beer when it came to educating their drinkers.

Having collaborated on beer projects in the past, like the brew they did with Artisan Brewing called Tripel Treating: A Belgian in Mango Land, Mal and Alè got to chatting about the idea of beer appreciation sessions and these chats eventually lead to action.

“It just came up as a topic of conversation and Alè being a really proactive individual basically just said “f**k it,” Mal says with a laugh.

Alè began by gathering expressions of interest to see if their idea had legs, posting a notice at Cellarbrations Superstore where he works, and also across a couple of beer and local Fremantle community Facebook groups. Alè says the response was “overwhelming”.

“The beer community are supportive, the non-beer community are supportive, I think there’s a need for it,” Alè says.

LiquidBred has two options – an ‘Introductory Half Day Masterclass’ and a ‘6 Week Beer Odyssey’. Each title was picked carefully, steering clear of words like “program” and “course” because they are not about achieving learning outcomes or walking away with a laminated certificate.

“What we are trying to do is actually feed people’s imagination, to give them a little bit of a background to where the beer has come from because they all have a history,” Mal says and then they will link this history with their influence and journey on the craft brews we enjoy today.

“It’s more about going through the history of it all as opposed to saying ‘this how you pour a beer’, ‘this is the ingredients’,” Alè says.

“We aren’t taking ourselves too seriously,” Mal assures, “but there’s going to be a lot of information in there, and the information is in the tasting.”

All sessions will feature tastings and they will be conducted blind so people can decide if they like the beer based on how it looks, the flavour and aroma, free from marketing and brand influence.

“People drink with their eyes and we kind of want to rob people of that a little bit so they’re actually tasting free of prejudice, to help them actually understand beers a little better and maybe drink labels or brands they wouldn’t have thought of before”

Mal Secourable

It’s not about telling people that one beer is better than another but about engaging people to talk about beer and find out what they like, or don’t like, and get an understanding of the stories and reasons behind those flavours.

“Everybody experiences taste individually so the strong message will be there is no right or wrong but sharing and working with people around you.”

Mal Secourable

The first Introductory Half Day Masterclasses will be held at Collabor8, the mezzanine space of The Mantle in Fremantle with two dates already set in September. Perfect for those who “have had their curiosity aroused and want to learn more” about craft beer, the four hour session includes 12 tastings, a LiquidBred beer glass and nibbles by Don Tapa.

Dates for the first 6 Week Beer Odyssey are still to be determined, stay tuned to LiquidBred social media for the announcement. Each week is designed to explore a different beer style in a beery adventure from birth to contemporary craft brewing, tasting beers along the way of course!

So where do Alè and Mal see LiquidBred’s evolution? “I get to retire on a tropical island,” Mal says laughing. “For me I see this expanding north of the river and then the south west and then over east and then we hire people, that’s my vision” Alè answers. “My vision is to get bookings for the first two masterclasses and then the odyssey,” Mal counters with another laugh. “See? Me, a million steps and Mal, step-by-step,” Alè says and it seemed as good a place as any to end the our interview, with a laugh and enthusiasm.

Big shout to Alè and Mal for taking the time to sit down and chat with me! Looking forward to seeing LiquidBred in action!

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

 

 

 

 

 

introducing a girl+beer exclusive

Don’t you just love being among the first to know something? Something big, something exciting and something beery …

Colonial Brewing

A few weeks ago Mal Secourable said goodbye to Colonial Brewing Company after joining the team back in 2008. He leaves his mark in the form of beautifully crafted beers, both award winning and widely recognised and respected by the beer community.

Now, like many great positions, the torch has been passed to another pair of worthy hands.

girl+beer has been given the privilege of being the first to announce the new head brewer at Colonial Brewing will be …

(insert drum roll here please)

Justin Fox

You may recognise the name, know the man and know his beers. If so you’ll be clapping your hands, rejoicing in the knowledge that Colonial beers are going to remain in good hands.

Justin comes to Colonial after spending some time at the historic Swan Brewery. During this time he was also part of the James Squire Malt Shovel team, brewing at The Generous Squire brewpub on Murray Street Perth and one of his beers, the Shaftos Reward, picked up Best Reduced Alcohol Draught at the Perth Royal Beer Show 2012.

Previous to Swan Brewery Justin was the man behind the beers at The Monk in Fremantle for four years. Not only did he brew some damn fine beers but he also went to great lengths to promote craft beer as a whole. In 2011 The Monk held a USA Craft Beer Week featuring American craft brews not seen often in Australia. Justin sent 108 of his kegs over to the states in order to make it all happen. You can read more about how it all came together at Crafty Pint.

Justin officially joins the Colonial team on Tuesday and there’s no doubt he brings a great deal of experience and passion with him. “I am very excited about joining the Colonial Leisure Group and starting the next chapter of their successful history. I have always had a lot of respect for Mal and his brewing team, and past brewer Dean as well. Colonial have consistently put out a top line up of brews which are currently pouring in several of Perth and Melbourne’s best venues. Add in their big plans for the future and the next few years will be packed with some hard work, plenty of fun and of course some tasty brews”, Justin says of his upcoming brewing chapter.

I’m sure I am not the only one who is looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Colonial with Justin in the brewhouse.

And not forgetting to salute Colonial’s assistant brewer Sorcha Gillen who has not only held the fort but also launched the Colonial Dampfbier, their latest limited release. It’s now on tap at Colonial as well as The RafflesThe Print Hall and The Royal on the Waterfront so get down to your nearest venue, get yourself a pint and make a toast to Justin, Mal, Sorcha and everyone at the Colonial team.

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girl + festival [part 2]

A few days before the South West Craft Beer Festival I received an email from Carolina at Buzz Marketing, the team behind the event, to tell me I had been chosen to participate as a beer judge. Moi? A judge? It seemed a little strange since my only qualification is drinking. I have not studied brewing nor have I home brewed, I’ve just enjoyed drinking and recently done a little typing but hey, I was happy to run with it. It sounded like a good fun!

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A few days before the South West Craft Beer Festival I received an email from Carolina at Buzz Marketing, the team behind the event, to tell me I had been chosen to participate as a beer judge as part of the People’s Choice Award.

Moi? A judge? It seemed a little strange since my only “qualification” is drinking. I have not studied brewing nor have I home brewed, I’ve just enjoyed drinking and recently done a little typing but hey, I was happy to run with it. It sounded like a good fun!

The People’s Choice Award was designed to be a collaborative effort between votes cast by the people and four judges consisting of Brian Fitzgerald, President of the Western Australian Brewers Association; Vic Crossland, beer writer for The West Australian, Jeremy Sambrooks, freelance beer writer for The Crafty Pint, Australian Brews News, Beer and Brewer Magazine and Menu Magazine; and little ol’ me, blogger and occasional Crafty and Brews News contributor.

Voting was done with good old fashioned paper and pen with punters asked to submit their top five. A smiley friendly man in a green beer bottle suit, Scotty, ran around in the afternoon to encourage people to get their votes in.

Next year I’d like to see a smart phone app, or something similar, to make voting even easier. Having said that, Scotty was a great sight running around the festival!

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Whilst the votes were tallied the judges took the chance to sit and chat about beer, certainly not a shocking turn of events I’m sure. The Bootleg Brewery Bramling Cross had really impressed and we all agreed that Jeremy Good’s Cowaramup Pilsener was still sensational. There was a lot of beer to chose from and sadly all of us had a small list of beers we had not been able to get to in time, this is the first world problem of the craft beer judge.

For me, my top 5 was largely made up of new or limited release beers because they were the main ones I tried that day. With just a few hours and a self imposed restriction on booze intake, no-one wants a boozy judge, I skipped over beers like Old Coast Road Wheat, Bootleg Raging Bull, Eagle Bay Pale Ale, Colonial Kolsch and Cowaramup Pilsener because I knew they were great having drunk one or twelve in the past.  Instead I tried to get my hands on new stuff and so my top 5 looked something like this, and in no particular order –

  1. Eagle Bay Summer Ale
  2. Bootleg Brewery Bramling Cross
  3. Duckstein Ubekannt
  4. Bush Shack Brewery Old Saint Nick
  5. Cheeky Monkey Hagenbeck Belgian IPA

The People’s Choice Top Five looked like this –

  1. Colonial Kolsch
  2. Eagle Bay Kolsch
  3. Eagle Bay Pale Ale
  4. Old Coast Road Acres of Wheat
  5. Bush Shack Brewery Twisted Lemon Lager

We were given the people’s choice top five, scrambled so we didn’t know what had been voted number one, and discussed the list for a while. All judges highly rated the Colonial Kolsch brewed by Head Brewer Mal Secourable and when we found out it was the people’s number 1 it was clear that we had ourselves a winner!

I know Mal has worked hard to get the Kolsch to be as close to a true Cologne (German) Kolsch beer as possible, keeping a careful eye over each batch and the result is clear. Fresh citrus, soft bitterness and a delicate mouth feel, it’s always a pleasure to have whether you’re at the brewery, The Royal on the Waterfront in East Perth or The Print Hall in Perth City.

Congratulations to Mal, Sorcha, Rich, Sarah and the rest of the crew at Colonial – looking forward to seeing the trophy behind the bar!

… part two down, one more to go!

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Richard from Colonial Brewing accepting the People’s Choice Trophy for their Kolsch
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Me with Richard from Colonial Brewing