Beer sessions at the Food & Drink Symposium (FADS)

Sometimes beer gets forgotten at food and drink events but this isn’t the case at the Food and Drink Symposium. There will be a couple of opportunities to chat beer with a few great beer industry personalities making their way to the day.

WA’s first Food and Drink Symposium, aka FADS, is happening at the Claremont Showgrounds on Sunday May 28 and will “bring farmers, producers, chefs, educators and consumers together for a unique, community creating and sustainable food and drink event, with a day long program of talks, panel discussions and workshops.”

The concept is based on similar events such as Noma‘s MAD conferences and is being organised by Katrina Lane and Ai-Ling Truong, two well-known and active members in the local food scene. Katrina is a passionate local food advocator and Ai-Ling is the food curator and founder of Food Truck Rumble.

If you are interested in where you food comes from, if you use your own cloth shopping bags instead of plastic ones and if you prefer the markets over the nearby Coles, this event should be in your calendar!

Sometimes beer gets forgotten at food and drink events but this isn’t the case at the Food and Drink Symposium. There will be a couple of opportunities to chat beer with a few great beer industry personalities involved in the day. At the Q&A – Exploring the history of WA’s alcohol industry – Jack Purser from Indian Ocean Brewing and Sean Symons from White Lakes Brewing and former chief judge at the Perth Royal Beer Show Awards, will be looking at the craft beer world and how it has evolved.

Jack striking a pose at the Eagle Bay tent at last years Fremantle Beer Fest

After the lunch break, as part of the FADS Conversations sessions, Gerrard “Mitch” Mitchell and Paul Wyman will be hosting two sessions about beer and food. Each session will be focused on a beer style and pairing it with food but the guys don’t want people standing on ceremony, they’re there for a chat with you too! These casual and interactive sessions are free to attend.

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As a beer drinker in WA chances are you have enjoyed many of Paul’s beers. The Chief, a beautiful American Pale Ale that impressed both punters and beer judges, was from Paul’s time as head brewer at The Monk in Fremantle. From there Paul went on to head up the Colonial Brewing Margaret River brewhouse and now he is at the helm of Nowhereman Brewing, a new brewpub in West Leederville due to open mid-year.

Mitch is the executive chef for the Mary Street Bakery venues with extensive experience both locally and abroad, previously heading up the kitchens at Feral Brewing, The Monk and Five Bar. Mitch has established himself not only as a wonderful chef but as the beer and food chef in WA.

Paul (left) and Mitch (right) at Nowhereman Brewing

Within these sessions, Paul will examine one beer style, diving into its history and the style guidelines and Mitch will discuss the food he would pair with it and why. A small amount of beer and food will be provided since all that chatting will most certainly make you thirsty and hungry. But this isn’t a presentation, this is a discussion so the guys welcome feedback and comment, after all, beer and food is about conversation as much as it’s about flavour.

It’s having these sorts of conversations that Mitch and Paul both firmly believe is how food and beer culture will be promoted and shared.

“You need people who are passionate and constantly telling the same story,”

Paul

Small producers and brewers are often mistakenly labelled as each other’s competition but I rarely find any of them think like this, the reality is they are all fighting the same fight and one of the ways they do this is by singing the same tune. It’s about the importance of supporting local, about the stories behind each producer and why they do things a way that results in a better product in favour of something that purely serves to slash production costs.

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver Photography

When I ask the guys about how the industry will get these messages across, their answer is the same – education.

“Talk until someone starts rolling their eyes at you,”

Mitch

“Because all the big guys are constantly in peoples’ faces, you turn on the TV, open a paper, drive down the road, there’s something right there.” Competing with that kind of saturation is certainly challenging but constantly education and conversation is how that battle can be fought.

The conversation is never over because the industry is always changing. Free range eggs, Mitch says, are a great example, where the definition of what a free range egg has changed. “Now they [consumers] have to look for pasture raised,” Mitch remarks, “but we have only just taught people to look for ‘free range eggs’” and so the conversation continues.

Paul says it’s the same with beer, namely the definition of ‘craft beer’ that seems to be an increasingly blurring and overlapping category with global corporations releasing beers with packaging and marketing that echoes the style of a small, independent brewers. Often reading the small print on the back of a label or doing a Google search is the only way to determine if the beer in your hand is made locally by an independent brewery.

2014 : Paul, then with Colonial Brewing, chatting about beer at an event

For Paul and Mitch, presenting beer and food together makes a lot of sense and it’s more than just having something to wash down a messy burger. The increasing interest in food culture and the rise of craft beer are very much linked.

“It is amazing to see it start to come back – the rise of farmers markets, the rise of craft beer, all crafts are getting bigger. People want to know where stuff comes from,” Mitch says.

But the conversation about food culture is more than just knowing the name of the farm your cut of beef came from, it’s the importance of understanding exactly how every bit of food on your plate got there so that kids don’t grow up thinking that bananas come from supermarket.


Three easy ways to be more sustainable – Tips from Mitch

  1. Stop buying the “new” free range eggs and look for pasture raised eggs – if everyone did this tomorrow, “the big boys would have to go back to the farmers and make the system better.”

  2. Eat seasonally – with such easy access to almost anything we want, it is easy to forget that fresh product doesn’t grow in our backyard all year round but eating what is in season won’t just rack up points for sustainability, it will make for more flavourful produce in your cooking too!

  3. Eat 100% grass fed beef – Sure, it’ costs a little more but isn’t it worth it? “A few dollars per kilo in the scheme of things isn’t that much,” says Mitch and “instead of having 300gm of steak just have 200gm”


Like food culture, at the heart of craft beer is a sense of community, a connection with it’s local environment and an appreciation for quality ingredients.

Food and beer, individually and together, have a rich and long history – just look at the monks of old Belgian monasteries making beer and cheese – and bringing the two together is a great way to introduce people to good beer.

“Just getting people to drink craft beer is hard enough but I think if you can break that barrier down with food included, I think that really does impress on a lot of people,” says Paul. Beer is amazing on its own and then, when paired with the right dish, it can be incredible and take the beer to the next level.

The best food and the best beers I’ve ever had have always had two things in common – well put together flavours and an authentic story.


Paul and Mitch will be hosting two sessions as part of FADS CONVERSATIONS and each will feature a different style so if you’re thinking heading to one session, it’s most certainly worth returning for the second – just like any good beer is.

The Food and Drink Symposium is a crowd funded project, you can donate or donate AND get a perk with your hard earned cash here.

 

Beer Interpretation #5: Oxidation // Part Two

Beer Interpretation is an irregular series of posts where I try to decipher the sometimes strange and always wonderful world of beer jargon, phrases and catch cries by drilling into the basics and interpreting the lingo.

Beer Interpretation is an irregular series of posts where I try to decipher the sometimes strange and always wonderful world of beer jargon, phrases and catch cries by drilling into the basics and interpreting the lingo. In short I’m going to try and translate the nerdy beer stuff …


Here we are at part two of this edition of Beer Interpretation looking at oxidation in beer.

You can check out part one here which covered what oxidation actually is, what it can taste like and what causes it. To help me make this post possible, I had the pleasure of chatting with the head brewer of Colonial Brewing Margaret River, Paul Wyman and Lion Co. Craft Beer Ambassador, Steve Blaine.

So let’s get back into it …

Paul at the Colonial Brewing Co. stand at this years GABS Festival, Melbourne
Paul at the Colonial Brewing Co. stand at this years GABS Festival, Melbourne
Steve Blaine at GABS Festival Sydney earlier this year. Photo Credit: The Beer Pilgrim
Steve Blaine at GABS Festival Sydney earlier this year. Photo Credit: The Beer Pilgrim

Where does OXIDATion happen?

“From a brewers point of view it’s [oxygen] is the hardest thing to eliminate,”

Paul Wyman, head brewer at Colonial Brewing Co.

At the brewery …

In the brewery there are any number of moments where oxygen can harm the beer. We talk so much about brewing being a craft that sometimes maybe we forget it’s a science as well. Too much or too little of anything can impact the finished product. “It’s crucial to get oxygen right at the start,” Paul says and whilst up until this point of the post you may have gotten the impression oxygen is always and forever bad there is one point it’s not and that’s when it comes to hungry yeast. The yeast needs oxygen to feed on in order to make booze and bubbles, two pretty critical things for beer. “The oxygen we are worried about is the oxygen post fermentation,” Paul clarifies, “a thimble of oxygen can ruin a beer over time.”

“Once yeast has eaten all the oxygen and it starts fermenting you do not want any oxygen to touch your beer,”

Paul Wyman, head brewer at Colonial Brewing Co.

There are multiple points in the brewing process where oxygen can get in where it’s not wanted but having said this Paul and Steve both agree that if oxidation happens at the brewery it’s most likely to occur at the packaging stage.

“You spend four weeks making a beer and if you don’t package it properly then you’ve basically wasted those four weeks,” Paul says, it’s fact he and his fellow brewers are well aware of when canning Colonial beers and take appropriate measures to prevent it.

Colonial Cans

Some breweries will take what is called “a library” where they take a beer from the start, middle and end of a packaging run. The beers are labelled to know which one is which and then stored for number of months before being compared to a fresh beer. This gives them a good idea of how their beer ages in the market because as much as we in the beer world would love to think that beer is being consumed within a few weeks or couple of months, the reality is sometimes longer.

Many larger craft breweries have a lab on site, something Steve and Paul agree is incredibly important to a brewery to produce not just great beer but consistency great beer.

“If you go to a brewery and they’ve got a lab you should feel a lot more comfortable about the beer,”

Steve Blaine, Certified Cicerone & Craft Beer Ambassador Lion Co.

 

Every place after it’s left the brewery …

Once the beer has left the brewery and it’s out of the brewers hands, it’s now up to a lot of different people to ensure drinkers are getting fresh beer, tasting as the brewer intended.

“I would argue that 99.9% of brewers do an excellent job of eliminated oxygen from the brewing process so if you have an oxidised beer I think that more comes down to the way it was stored and cared for and the beer drinker also has a huge role to play in that.”

Steve Blaine, Certified Cicerone & Craft Beer Ambassador Lion Co.

Operators, managers and staff at bars and bottle shops have a responsibility to handle beer correctly. No one would leave a box of seafood outside in the sun for three hours before putting it into the fridge; beer shouldn’t be any different. As a consumer we are also responsible for the beer we buy. Taking it home and storing it in the garage won’t do you any favours. Beer is a luxury, it’s something to be enjoyed so it makes sense to treat it nicely so that it is really enjoyable. Not treating your beer nicely is like going to the movies then sit facing the wall. I’m stretching my analogy somewhat but hopefully you get my drift.

This all comes full circle to those of us in the beer industry also being responsible for educating people on how to treat beer and why. It’s something the industry does in a number of ways, whether it’s master classes on beer, through marketing and even packaging.

Pirate Life (SA) cans - a great example of beer education which features on their website
Pirate Life (SA) cans – a great example of beer education featuring on packaging

How Can You Avoid Oxidised Beer?

Drink fresh, drink local …

“I think ‘fresh is best’ is the most rattled off line in craft beer and craft brewing but it’s the least understood,” says Steve. We say it but what does it really mean? He points to how often he speaks to beer lovers and they’re almost evangelical about hoppy American beers and whilst some are amazing with equally incredible reputations, it’s not always the case by the time they get to us in Australia. In many cases these beers aren’t very fresh at all. Imagine you just hopped off a non-stop flight from the US to Australia, now ask yourself how fresh would you feel?

In the article I recommended by Professor Beer in Part One of this post, article author George de Piro explains it’s not just heat but motion that can speed up oxidation, “that is why all imported at beers taste oxidised to some degree: the heat and motion experienced during shipping are brutal!”

This isn’t to say all imported beer is going to be oxidised but given what we know about oxidation and the impact time and temperature can have, the sheer physical distance between us and America is something to consider when selecting your next craft beer. There is a reason breweries like Two Beers (USA) and Sierra Nevada (USA) are insistent on their beer travelling cold and being stored cold and it doesn’t hurt to ask your bartender or retail assistant if they know how the beer was transported.

“If you want to drink American beers, visit America and drink it as the brewer in intended,” Steve suggests, “unless someone can guarantee they’ve kept it icy cold the whole trip.”

Both Steve and Paul say that the more they’ve learnt about beer and oxidation, the more their fridges are stocked with locally made beers rather an imports.

“If you’re buying something local, chances are it’s pretty fresh,”

Steve Blaine, Certified Cicerone & Craft Beer Ambassador Lion Co.

Given the amount of imported beers we, as drinkers, have drunk over the years Steve speculates that when it comes to big name imported beers they’ve probably always had a degree of oxidation. “Sometimes people have become so used to drinking beer that they don’t know what fresh beer tastes like,” says Steve. People will often comment that their big name imported beer tastes different when it’s brewed under license in Australia versus imported. Of course this could be for a number of reasons though one of them may be that the Australian brewed version is not, or is less, oxidised.

Ice, Ice, Baby …

“Buy your beer cold and keep it cold,”

Paul Wyman, Head Brewer Colonial Brewing Co Margaret River

There’s not a great deal to elaborate on here. If you want something perhaps a little catchier, Feral Brewing often say “treat like milk” which is basically the same message.

Take a closer look …

Don’t be afraid to look at the ‘best before’ and/or ‘packaged on’ dates on the beer in question. Also remember a ‘best before’ date isn’t a ‘use by’ date, take into account what style of beer it is and where the beer was brewed when looking at dates.

No harm ever came from reading a book …

“Educate yourself on the style of beer you’re drinking so you know what flavours should and shouldn’t be there,” Steve suggests. Certainly this is where the rabbit hole of craft beer can hook you in but if you don’t want to get too nerdy that’s fine. A quick Google search will bring up enough information on the style of beer so you know what it means when a beer calls itself an “American IPA” or “barley wine” just like you might already have an idea of how a shiraz differs from a pinot noir. Knowing this could mean the difference between a great and a not-so-great beer experience.

Final Words

For the craft beer industry it all comes down to education and that goes for everyone, whether you’re making the beer, selling it or drinking it. When it comes to oxidation it’s good to understand it can happen during the brewing process but also long after the beer has left the brewery.

As the craft beer industry grows hopefully education increases too and not only will drinkers know if they get a beer that’s stale but more bar and bottle shop managers be diligent with how they handle their beer just as they already do with food and other perishables.

Drink more beer, talk to more people about beer, read a little, trust your palate and what you taste, and above all enjoy what you drink!

 

 

Beer Interpretation #5: Oxidation // Part One

Beer Interpretation is an irregular series of posts where I try to decipher the sometimes strange and always wonderful world of beer jargon, phrases and catch cries by drilling into the basics and interpreting the lingo. In short I’m going to try and translate the nerdy beer stuff …

Beer Interpretation is an irregular series of posts where I try to decipher the sometimes strange and always wonderful world of beer jargon, phrases and catch cries by drilling into the basics and interpreting the lingo. In short I’m going to try and translate the nerdy beer stuff …


In every glass of beer there’s an incredible amount of passion, hard work and science that has come together to create it. The journey that takes a bag of grains and other ingredients and turns them into beer is simple yet complicated. Getting the finished the beer to you, the happy person drinking it, is equally simple yet complicated. It’s such a long trip from the making of a beer to the drinking of a beer and occasionally something can go wrong, the result is a beer that doesn’t taste the way the brewer intended – a beer with a fault and one example of a fault is oxidation.

To tackle the complicated topic of oxidation I needed to bring in a couple of big guns from the local brewing scene and so I got in touch with Paul Wyman and Steve Blaine.

Paul Wyman at GABS Melbourne earlier this year

Paul is the head brewer at Colonial Brewing Co, Margaret River and Steve is the Craft Beer Ambassador for Lion Nathan in WA, he also recently became a Certified Cicerone. Over a couple of beers at Petition Beer Corner we chatted about oxidation, ate some chips and had a few laughs too.

You can follow both Paul @6foot6brewer and Steve @the_wa_beer_runner on Instagram

Steve Blaine at GABS Sydney earlier this year // Photo Credit: The Beer Pilgrim

Let’s kick this off and dive into part one of a two part post …

“oxidation”

What is it exactly?

Draft Magazine defines oxidation as “an off flavour that transpires when beer is exposed to oxygen or high temperatures, or is otherwise past its prime.”

Basically it’s beer that is stale and old or one that’s been hit with heat or oxygen snuck in where it wasn’t supposed to.

“Heat is the enemy. All chemistry speeds up as the temperature rises.”

Tasting Beer by Randy Mosher

How does it happen?

A great read on oxidation can be found at Professor Beer, an American website written by George de Piro who is the brewmaster at Druthers Brewing Company and a Master Judge in the Beer Judge Certification Program.

“Oxidative reactions are always occurring in beer, regardless of how it is stored,”

Professor Beer

Yep, that’s right, you heard the man, so it’s not surprising to then realise that time itself will bring about oxidation.

Time …

“Every beer will oxidise eventually,” Paul says. “Even beers that are supposed to be aged like barley wines and imperial stouts eventually will get that papery, cardboard character given enough time,” continues Steve.

We seem to forget that beer is a consumable, it’s not supposed to last forever. Sure, there’s pasteurisation that extends beer shelf life – a post for another day I suspect – but this doesn’t magically turn beer into some kind of heat resistant super liquid.

One of the best ways I’ve seen the importance of time communicated is in Stone Brewing (US) Enjoy By series of IPAs. Each release features the date in huge print on the front and it’s the date that the brewers want you to drink the beer by and it’s about five weeks from the date the beer is bottled.

Screenshot (22)

Heat …

“Temperature is an absolute critical component to oxidation, the hotter the beer the quicker it happens,” says Steve. “Yeah, you’re just speeding up the reaction,” confirms Paul.

Steve uses a basic rule of thumb taught to him by Russ Gosling, head brewer at Little Creatures in Fremantle, “A beer will be ‘brewery fresh’ for three days if it’s stored at 30 degrees, thirty days if it’s stored at 20 degrees and 300 days if stored at ten degrees.”

This is why you hear some beer lovers talk adoringly about their favourite brewery that cold stores and cold transports their beers. Keeping beer cold is all about keeping oxidation at bay.

Feral Brewing puts its well, “treat like milk” they say and it’s a great way to think about your beer though probably not something to add to your breakfast routine. A significant difference between milk and beer, in the context of freshness, is that whilst bad milk will make you feel ill, bad beer won’t. “It is this durability that leads people to believe that beer can withstand all sorts of abuse,” Professor Beer writes.

What does oxidised beer taste like?

Sometimes you’ll hear someone describe a beer as being “tired”, “old” or “stale” and that’s oxidation at work. Remember, time is not a friend to many beer styles. There’s a reason that many craft breweries talk about drinking beer fresh.

Obviously “tired” is a bit of an obscure descriptor, well how about “flabby”? That’s one way that Steve describes tired and oxidised beer. “It just falls to the side of your palate,” Steve describes, “and that for me is the biggest indicator of oxidation. You drink it and it just becomes astringent, like you just sucked on a teabag.”

Often oxidised beers are described as tasting papery, like wet-cardboard, or even having a sherry or cheesiness to them. You might notice that these descriptors are pretty varied and that’s because it depends on how badly or in what way the beer is oxidised. It’s also improtant to remember that we don’t all taste beer the same way.

We are all beautiful and unique snowflakes …

Everyone perceives flavours differently, tasting beer is completely subjective. What one person tastes as corn might taste like tomato to someone else, what is green apples to you is pumpkin to the person beside you. The trick is to figure out what oxidised beer tastes like to you, not to anyone else and this takes some time, a little education and, of course, some beer drinking.

Understanding oxidation isn’t easy …

“I’ve only really understood oxidation well in the last six to nine months,”

Steve Blaine, Certified Cicerone & Craft Beer Ambassador

Steve had the benefit of the expertise at Little Creatures Brewing (part of his employer’s, Lion Nathan, portfolio) whose brewers who took him through what he describes as an “intensive session” on how to detect oxidised beers. It involved comparing a nine month old bottle of Little Creatures Pale Ale, their flagship American style pale ale, that had been kept at warm even hot temperatures to a fresh pale ale.

If you want to get your science on, this is absolutely something you can do at home if you don’t mind deliberately harming your beer. Pick something local, something fresh – have a look at the dates on the bottle or can – and leave it in the sun for a few hours and/or up to a day and then put it back in the fridge. Be sure to mark it so you know it’s the beer you have messed with. Give it a few more weeks and then taste it against the same fresh beer and see what the differences are.

To step the science up a notch you can look online for a beer sensory kit that provides you with liquid capsules containing the flavour fault which you then put into a beer.

Once you start to get the idea of what oxidised beer is and tastes like it’s generally agreed that it won’t leave you, you’ll get better and better at knowing when it’s there. “As soon as your brain is switched on to it you can’t switch it off which is a great thing,” says Steve.


Part two of this post will be up soon, continuing with oxidation and looking at where it can happen and how we as drinkers can avoid it.

and the cans keep coming

Colonial can’t can fast enough and Cheeky Monkey have just released their own cans too!

Photo from Cheeky Monkey Facebook page

When it comes to craft beer everyone is talking about cans. It’s been a growing trend in the United States for a while and here in Australia we are happily embracing the tinny too!

Read: Washington Times – Yes we can, trendy American craft brewers say

Pirate Life Brewing in South Australia started brewing towards the end of last year and right from the beginning they committed their beers to cans. Also they created a fantastic infographic on why cans are great, I’ve nabbed it to post below but you can also click the image to go straight to the source.

Why Cans? Pirate Life Brewing

Here in WA we have seen Colonial Brewing delve into cans, first with their Draught Ale in November 2014 and followed by Small Ale about six months later. In nothing less than a positive and upbeat tone, it feels like Colonial’s cans have been around forever. Ordering a can of Small Ale just feels so natural and normal now! Chatting with head brewer Paul Wyman, he estimates they have produced 30,000L or 80,000 cans of Small Ale, no wonder it feels like it’s everywhere!

Though it seems like a bit of a staple now, Paul is still surprised at the demand for his Small cans (sorry, couldn’t help myself).

Colonial Small Ale cans

“This was a beer we created for ourselves so we could have a full flavoured beer but still drive around the expansive areas of the Margaret River region,” Paul says.

Two beers down, the big question is “what beer will Colonial put into cans next?” and it sounds like it is a pretty open question. There’s no shortage of excellent Colonial beers and of course there are plenty of ideas floating around the brewhouse, we’ll just have to wait and see. With any luck it won’t be too much of a wait, “fingers crossed we will have them all out by the end of next year!” Paul says.

Meanwhile over at Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery they have recently released two of their beers, the Old Reliable Pale Ale and Blonde Capuchin Blonde Ale, plus the Crooked Tale Apple Cider in 330ml cans.

The Blonde Capuchin has a nice soft fruity body, a little nectarine sweetness and a crisp lime bitterness. The Old Reliable Pale Ale is dominated by citrus like lemon and grapefruit, grassy flavours and biscuity malt in the back.

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Photo from Cheeky Monkey Facebook page

Chatting with Cheeky Monkey’s head brewer Ross Terlick, he’s clearly stoked to see his beers wrapped in tin. It’s the result of eight months of planning and also resulted in a bit of a rebrand to clean up the look and feel of the logo.

Cheeky Monkey logo

Being both cheeky and helpful monkey’s, the back of the can gives a few notes on “see”, “smell” and “taste” plus the hops and malts used.

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The next beers to get the canning treatment are already planned with the popular mid-strength Travelling Monk set to go into 500ml cans. Ross also hopes to put some seasonal releases into the big 500ml cans and the more popular Southern Wailers beers may also get a release.

Read: Crafty Pint – Cheeky Monkey Cans

Cheeky Monkey’s website is currently under construction but check out their Facebook page for a list of can stockists.

 

“What WA Beer Week events are you keen to check out?”

Sifting through the 60+ events of special release beers, tap takeovers and multi-course indulgent dinners is a somewhat daunting task.
In what may help or hinder your planning, I have asked several WA beer folk what events they were keen to check out

Perhaps, like me, you find yourself flicking through the WA Beer Week event calendar and wondering ‘how could I clone myself in five days?’

If so, you’re not alone! Sifting through the 60+ events of special release beers, tap takeovers and multi-course indulgent dinners is a somewhat daunting task.

WA Beer Week banner

In what may help or hinder your planning, I have asked several WA beer folk what events they were keen to check out … here’s their answers –

Paul Wyman, brewer Colonial Brewing

Mane Liquor Beer Spectacular | Bob’s Fest | A Co-Op Beer Lunch

Matt Marinich, beer dude at The Print Hall / Bob’s Bar

We Want Sour! | Young Henry’s at the Freo Doctor

Matt Marinich at Bob's Bar - WA Beer Week official HQ
Matt Marinich at Bob’s Bar – WA Beer Week official HQ

Margi Wallace, retail & marketing manager at Eagle Bay Brewing

East v West at the Village Bar | We Want Sour!Mane Liquor Beer Spectacular | Beer & Whisk(e)y Dinner

Alex Poulson, brewer at Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery

Brazilian BBQ | Dude Food & Beer Degustation | Not For Profit 8 Course Beergustation | Feral FEST | A Co-Op Beer Lunch | GrainCru Car Park Brewday | Bob’s Fest

(L) Alex (R) Ross at Cheeky Monkey in December 2013
(L) Alex (R) Ross at Cheeky Monkey in December 2013

Dave Bonighton, brewer/founder Mountain Goat Brewing

Bob’s Fest | Night of the Barrel – Aussie Edition

Reece Wheadon, director of WA Beer Week

Note: Reece pretty much listed every event on the calendar so I’ve taken the liberty of including the ones that haven’t already been mentioned!

Two Birds & The Doctor in the Cellar | Hapi Daze Brew | Beer Through the Ages | The Monk & The Goat Collaboration BBQ

GBW 2014: Game of Cones

A Melbourne tramcar restaurant, some silly costumed Colonial men with beer and a food menu by the one and only Beersine

“Tonight, we feast”

These were the words that started the menu for Friday night’s Game of Cones event for Good Beer Week. Held on Melbourne’s iconic Colonial Tramcar restaurant the coincidentally named Colonial Brewery teamed up with beer/food chef Mitch Mitchell aka Beersine to present a menu of beer inspired food matched to hand picked hop driven beers.

We were greeted at tram stop 125 by our Colonial hosts for the night, brewery manager Richard and brewers Justin and Paul who were all suitably dressed in Game of Thrones attire. Recovering from a cold, Paul’s unusually raspy voice added gusto to his already impressive costume whilst Richard’s legs were all too comfortable in black leggings.

Richard and James
I love this photo! [left] Colonial Brewery Manager Richard Moroney [right] Crafty Pint James Smith
On board we filled three tramcars and set off towards St Kilda, each carriage hosted by one of our costumed Colonial friends. The carriage I was on was hosted by Richard who guided us through the menu, discussing the selected beers and the food pairings.

image
Please pardon my awful phone photography here …

To start we tucked into some spent grain pretzels, made with the leftover malt from after mashing in the brewing process, with ‘I can’t believe it’s hop butter’. We were also treated to Smoked Wort Jubes with Hop Sugar made with Cascade hops; wonderful little cubes that melted in your mouth.

Our starting beer was Colonial’s own Small Ale, a reduced alcohol india pale ale that is a full flavoured, tropical fruit and citrusy beer in a 3.5% ABV responsible body.

Kim Chee, or kimchi, a fermented vegetable dish from Korea that generally uses cabbage as it’s main ingredient

Next up was a kim chee omelette which was served up with collaboration brew My Antonia by American brewery Dogfish Head and Italian brewers Birra del Borgo. My Antonia boasts fresh citrus and pine flavours and a medium bitter finish, a great match to the spicy/sweet character of kim chee and base for the omelette’s fresh chilli to play on.

“Bridgeport is my beer spirit animal,”

Richard explains this feelings for this American craft brewery

The main event was a pork shoulder croquette served up on a celeriac romoulade. To accompany there was Mountain Goat’s Rye IPA and Bridgeport’s IPA. The latter is an IPA favourite amongst the Colonial guys whilst Richard spoke of their admiration for Mountain Goat who have been brewing since 1997 and laid the path for many since.

Beersine cheese is available from Mane Liquor and Cellarbrations Carlisle

As we neared the end of our tramcar ride we were served Beersine’s Pale Ale Cheddar, hop honey and lamb bacon – three life changing foods that I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in in the past. True South Black Rock India Lager and New Zealand’s 8 Wired Fresh Hopwired landed on our tables to accompany. The Fresh Hopwired was mind blowing and exactly as it sounds, a fresh and punchy and ridiculously good with the Pale Ale Cheddar and hop honey. Meanwhile lamb bacon in all it’s sweet, fatty goodness happily went with the Black Rock India Lager.

We departed off the tram, some of us smuggling whatever we couldn’t bare to leave behind, whether that be beer or that last precious chunk of cheese, and jumped on a bus to go to The Botanical. More beer and food goodness was unleashed with lamingtons and Colonial’s Gazza, the limited released Australian IPA. Made with all Aussie malts and hops I think Richard says it best:

“It’s big and it’s loud and it’s hairy”

image
… and it ends not with a bang but with a lot of beer The tramcar leaves us at The Botanical

Thank you to Colonial who gifted my seat to this wonderful event, I keep telling them if they spoil me like this I’ll keep coming back. I think they are now stuck with me. But in all sincerity, thank you very much!

girl + Colonial’s Gazza

Gazza is made with all Australian malts and hops resulting in one very smooth Aussie. A background of fresh stone fruit with a layer of toast and borderline creamy finish. Tasty as hell and a cheeky and unexpected 6.3% ABV.

Yep, you’re looking at a thong stuck to a beer tap.

Why? Well, why the heck not?! It marks Colonial Brewing’s new Australian India Pale Ale “Gazza”.

English IPA: English hops, malt & yeast giving a moderately strong pale ale. Less hop and more malt flavours than American IPAs

American IPA: US hops, malt & yeast giving big hoppy and bitter beer.

Source: 2004 BJCP Style Guidelines

We are all pretty well versed in the English and American IPAs, officially recognised BJCP styles, but what is the profile of an Australian IPA? That’s probably a good start to a debate but let’s take a look at Gazza.

Gazza is made with all Australian malts and hops resulting in one very smooth Aussie. A background of fresh stone fruit with layers of toast, melon and grass with a borderline creamy finish. Tasty as hell with a cheeky and unexpected 6.3% ABV.

For Colonial brewer Paul Wyman Gazza is a great mix of an English and an American IPA,

Gazza’s Malts: Pale, wheat, Munich, crystal, dark crystal & a bit of choc

Gazza’s Hops: Cluster, Helga, Summer, Galaxy, Vic Secret

“That’s what I wanted because Australia clearly colonised from the English but now getting lots of influence from the American IPAs”

L: Paul Wyman M: Justin Fox R: Richard Moroney
L: Paul Wyman
M: Justin Fox
R: Richard Moroney

But the most important element about Gazza is that it showcases the high quality malts and hops we are lucky enough to have growing in Australia.

“Not everything is all about crazy beers from America & Europe. When it comes to IPAs fresh is best so drink local”

The drink local, drink fresh approach to hoppy beers is being echoed more and more. I’ve always known this, fresh is best when it comes to hops, but the burden of the beer nerd is over excitement when spotting beers from infamous US craft breweries like Stone, Rogue or Deschutes. You fill your arms with as many as you can carry, take your imports home, open, pour and enjoy. Then you sit down with something local like Gazza or perhaps Feral Hop Hog or Bootleg Speakeasy and that whack of fresh hops taste better than any American hop giant ever could after a journey over the oceans.

Gazza, you’re bloody beautiful and I’ll finish with the write up from the brewers at Colonial themselves …

Sitting smack back in the middle between a deep copper sunset and Ayers rock in colour, Gazza couldn’t look more Australian. The brew stands up with a fistful of Australian hop aroma, full of floral and grassy punch over background notes of melon and pineapple. The nose is backed up with a hearty malt palate showing sweet, nutty and toffee characteristics. The bitterness is mouth coating, just like any good IPA should be, and it lingers on the mid palate which is crisp and dry. All in All, the beer is a lovely balance of malt sweetness and Australian hops, best enjoyed in thongs!
Colonial Growlers, a gift from Paul Wyman cause he's a good good man. Thanks Paul!
Colonial Growlers, a gift from Paul Wyman cause he’s a good good man. Thanks Paul!

 

 

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

5 Minutes with the guys at Colonial Brewing

5 minutes, 5 questions with the guys at Colonial Brewing – Richard Moroney, Justin Fox and Paul Wyman

Before Christmas I visited Colonial Brewing to interview Justin Fox, head brewer, Richard Moroney, brewery manager, and Paul Wyman, assistant brewer for an article that has recently appeared in Crafty Pint.

Our conversation was both informative and very funny, covering the usual beery topics and alstrange brew house games and other things I won’t mention here in case there are delicate eyes reading this!

I closed the interview with 5 quick (at times, not at others) questions and here’s the results:

What beer did you have last night?

Justin: Colonial Kolsch

Richard: Nail Clout Stout

Paul: Green Flash Rayon Vert

Best album to play in the brew house?

[everyone laughs then Justin counts to three]

All together: Wolfmother!

Paul: Kylie Minogue

Richard: Wolfmother, not Kylie Minogue

Best snack to eat with beer?

Paul: Pork

Richard: 12 hour marinated briskett that has been slow cooked on a charcoal BBQ

Me: That’s not a snack!

Justin: Medium rare meat and something massive, black and bitter

Colonial Brewing Brewer's Board
Colonial Brewing Brewer’s Board
Name one Australian beer you’d wish you’d made

Richard: The original Matilda Bay pilsner with the under modified malt and Saaz hops, that would have been awesome

Justin: Mountain Goat’s Andy Reserve Amber Ale, the one they did for GABS. But I’ve got lots, I could say I wish I did Stone & Wood – simply constructed and really accessible and that’s a bit like what we’re trying to do with project, forget all that style shit

Paul: I think I’m the same, Stone & Wood or you wish you had created Hop Hog, something that started a movement.

Justin: Don’t wish that, you beat Hop Hog! [with Monk’s The Chief]

Paul: Just brewing a beer that was the epiphany beer for someone

Justin – I’ve had it for everyone, you’ve had beers where you drink it and you just go “oh man, that’s so good I wish my porter tasted like that at the moment”. You drink Jeremy’s pilsner [Cowaramup Brewing] when it’s on song or you drink a Nail Stout and you’re thinking “Oh John, how do you do it?!” [bangs hands on table] “It’s so good” [continues to hit hands on table]

Finish this sentence – The WA craft beer scene needs more ….

[silence]

Justin: Jedis

[everyone now in hysterics]

Colonial Brewing is COOL Gotta love a little creativity in a coaster!
Colonial Brewing is COOL
Gotta love a little creativity in a coaster!

A bunch of brewers walk into a bar …

… and they drink, share and chat about the collaboration beer they made. If you were expecting a joke, sorry, if you were expecting this to be a very tasty beer, you’re right.

Last month a few brewers from the south west got together and made a beer. If I was to be more accurate I would say that seven brewers made a beer. If I was to be even more accurate I’d say seven brewers threw in some malt, hops and yeast in between long bouts of standing around and chatting and with that in mind the brew was dubbed …

The Council Worker

The Council Worker made it’s debut at Perth’s Five Bar event – South West in the City Festival. It was poured alongside Cowaramup Pilsner, Duckstein Fest Bier, Colonial Small Ale, Cheeky Monkey DIPA and Eagle Bay ESB. In short you could have taken a trip to several south west breweries without getting up from your bar stool.

WA Beer Week – 8th – 17th November | Check out http://www.wabeerweek.com for all the information

With WA Beer Week less than two weeks away it was a nice way to warm up the beer muscles and it was great to see so many faces from the WA beer community like Brian Fitzgerald, President of the Western Australian Brewers Association, Reece Wheadon from WA Beer Week and The Monk brewer Paul Wyman. A few of the brewers responsible for The Council Worker, Jared and Alex from Cheeky Monkey, Nick from Eagle Bay and Jeremy from Cowaramup Brewing made it to the event too, Jeremy fresh off the plane from Sydney’s Craft Beer Week, to mingle, drink and share the beer with some thirsty punters.

I know I look drunk in this photo but I only had two beers, I blame lots of laughing and my own poor timing for my appearance. I should also say that Nick isn’t that tall and under no circumstances was he standing on a couple of wine buckets.

Jeremy (Cowaramup), Jared (Cheeky Monkey), Nick (Eagle Bay), Paul (The Monk) Alex and Dave (Cheeky Monkey), some writer chick and Mitch aka Beersine
Jeremy (Cowaramup), Jared (Cheeky Monkey), Nick (Eagle Bay), Paul (The Monk)
Alex and Dave (Cheeky Monkey), some writer chick and Mitch aka Beersine

Sadly a few of the brewers who made this happen couldn’t make it but a milestone in your child’s life is probably a perfectly valid reason; I’m looking at you Foxy. On the up side it did allow me to insert myself into the photo, after all I did a lot of very important stirring.

Me and some malt

The Council Worker ended up a pretty heavily hopped pale ale thanks to a big dose of Galaxy in the dry hopping. This beer definitely had some balls along with big fruity and piney flavours that you’d expect from an American style pale but balanced out really nicely with big malt that gave it an almost caramel undertone.

Since I was driving I allowed myself just two beers and the second was a tough choice. I had salivated at the idea of Cheeky Monkey’s Double IPA but at 8.3% abv I can’t imagine mister police officer understanding how a beer can be irresistible. Instead I went for Colonial’s Small Ale, indulging once again in my recent love for tasty lower alcohol beers.

It’s that damn good that Paul Wyman, head brewer at The Monk, reckons Colonial’s Small Ale will take out a medal or two at this years Perth Royal Beer Show.

Congratulations to The Monk & brewer Paul Wyman on their Beer & Brewer Magazine Awards!

On the subject of awards Paul was runner up for Young Brewer of the Year and his venue The Monk took out Best Brew Pub/Bar all at this years Beer and Brewer Magazine Awards.

Local produce sourced by Beersine and Katrina Lane (Taste of Balingup)

Like any beer event at Five Bar the beer was accompanied by some sensational food, namely a South West Ploughman’s Board by Beersine, aka Mitch Mitchell. I am proud to say that I devoured this board in a most unladylike fashion.

Smoked big red pork and hazelnut terrine, Colonial pale ale cheese, red cabbage Kim chee, pickled colcotte and salad onions with cooladerra extra virgin olive oil.
Smoked big red pork and hazelnut terrine, Colonial pale ale cheese, red cabbage Kim chee, pickled colcotte and salad onions with cooladerra extra virgin olive oil.

I left this event with a huge smile on my face, a new beer mug and pumped for WA Beer Week!

I don’t know how much of The Council Worker was left at Five but if it’s still there I’d highly recommend checking it out. For those of us in the south west, keep an eye out because it may pop up at the likes of The Pourhouse, Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough and/or participating breweries.

Thank you to Margi and the team at Eagle Bay Brewing for hosting the collaboration and inviting me along, Macca and the guys at Five Bar for letting everyone invade the bar, all the brewers who got involved and of course to all the smiling beery folk who rocked up to support WA beer. See you all in a fortnight!