Snapshot: Baby Mammoth & Rocky Ridge Collaboration Dinner

Snapshot – a post of (mostly) photos –
for a quick look at the recent Baby Mammoth and Rocky Ridge Brewing collaboration dinner featuring their Inglorious Chutney beer

Event:

Rocky Ridge & Baby Mammoth Collab Beer Launch

22 February 2018

 

Rocky Ridge Brewing head brewer and co-owner Hamish Coates
Hamish (left) and Baby Mammoth owners Tania and Ryan Lambson, Ryan is also the head chef as you might have already figured out from his clothes! You can read more about the Baby Mammoth and their dedication to beer and food by clicking on the photo to read the article on Crafty Pint by Guy Southern, aka Good Times Craft Beer
Chicken Sosatie, Green Peppers and Onions paired with Rocky Ridge Ace Pale Ale
Lacto Risotto, Fermented Coffee and Pecorino paired with Rocky Ridge Sour Buffalo
Hemp Seed Taco, Smoked Pickled Mushrooms paired with Rocky Ridge collaboration with Vasse Valley Hemp Farm, Dr Weedy’s Hemp Ale
Bobotie, Banana Leaf Rice and Sambal paired with Rocky Ridge collaboration with Baby Mammoth, Inglorious Chutney. This beer was surprisingly delicate and made using ginger, turmeric, coriander and inspired by chutney. This was a special sneak peek at the beer as it’s currently in four different wine barrels to referment and age for release in champagne bottles in a couple of months.
Grilled Banana Pound Cake, Chocolate BBQ Compote and Honeycomb Icecream paired with Rocky Ridge collaboration with Burnt End Smoking Co, Crimson

WA Beer News #23

So many new beers and not one, not two but THREE new breweries!

There is a lot of stuff happening in WA’s craft beer scene that it’s genuinely hard to keep up with all the new beer releases and WA really is kicking ass when it comes to craft beer and so I thought I’d try and make a regular feature out of all the new beery goodness our state has to offer.

The girl+beer Facebook page has a list of upcoming beer events that you might find worth subscribing to!


Eagle Bay Brewing

Single Series: The Traveller

The local masters of collaborations, Eagle Bay Brewing teamed up with Dunsbourgh’s newest restaurant, Yarri Restaurant and Bar, to create a beer exclusively for them called “The Traveller”.  It is an American wheat ale brewed with all Australian wheat, barley and botanicals and American hops. Head brewer Nick d’Espeissis says it took a little trial and error to get the botanicals right, “the Geraldton Wax adds kind of a kaffir lime taste, while the indigenous saltbush makes the beer really moreish. You can’t stop at just one.”

“The botanicals used in the process are WA indigenous saltbush and Geraldton Wax – a native shrub with needle-like leaves rich in aromatic oils. Both foraged ingredients are used in Yarri’s cooking, adding a great complement between food and drink.”

Photo Credit: Eagle Bay Brewing

Single Series: Barrel-Aged ESB

Not content with just one special beer, Eagle Bay has also released a barrel-aged version of their ESB. Once a core range beer, meaning it was available all year round, their ESB was bumped off its full-time status last year. For those who shed a tear at its demise, perhaps this barrel-aged version will help with the pain. After using Whipper Snapper whiskey barrels to age their Black Vanilla last year, a mighty collaboration brew of a coconut and vanilla imperial stout, Eagle Bay didn’t just leave those barrels empty and so in went some ESB and three months later, we have this brew!

Coming Soon: Brewers Series Nut Brown Ale

From the looks of the Eagle Bay Brewing Instagram story, the EBBC brewers have been playing around in the brewhouse with some hazelnuts to make their next Brewers Series release.

Coming Soon: Original lazy Boy

If you’re heading to the South West Craft Beer Festival next Saturday you can look forward to a bunch of special beers including this one from Eagle Bay, the Original Lazy Boy, a 7.0 percent ABV American wheat.

Nowhereman Brewing*

Age of Aquarius Summer Ale

Another WThe West Leederville brewpub has released their new summer ale, called Age of Aquarius, it is 5.0 percent ABV.  Named after the star sign that the brew falls under, it’s an American wheat beer with well known Australian hop varieties, Astra and Galaxy.

*I will soon be working for this brewery

Rocky Ridge Brewing

Limited Release: Ace Pale Ale

Named after one of Hamish and Mel’s beautiful dogs, Ace, this pale ale uses wet hops – these are whole hop cones picked straight from the bine and, without delay, put into the brew. Because hops can only be harvested once a year in Australia, this beer is available in limited quantities. It’s an American style pale ale so brewers notes tell us to expect citrus, tropical fruit, pine and resin with a little caramel backbone to support lots and lots of hops.

June 2017 Mane Winter Beer Celebration

Limited Release (and coming soon): Inglorious Chutney

Rocky Ridge teamed up with Northbridge restaurant and super beer geeks, Baby Mammoth to create a chutney inspired beer called Inglorious Chutney. My first thoughts on this were hesitant, chutneys are massively spiced and thick and I was cautious of what this would mean when it comes to beer but these guys knocked it out the park.

It was served at last weeks collaboration dinner to celebrate the beer and it’s a surprisingly delicate beer. It drinks somewhere between a saison and a Belgian witbier. Ginger, turmeric and coriander all went into the mash to make this beer. On brew day, for inspiration, Baby Mammoth head chef and co-owner Ryan Lambson took some bobotie, a South African dish, along and Hamish joked, “I spent the whole day eating!”

Bobotie, banana leaf rice and sambal

In a pretty big tease, the beer served up was actually a sneak peek. The rest is currently ageing in barrels, four different ones to be exact – Shiraz, Pinot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon. They have also added apricots, nectarines, ginger and turmeric to the barrels where it will referment. The plan is to then present this beer in champagne bottles. Whether they bottle as individual barrels or blend them together, well Hamish says “that’s down to the barrel Gods at the moment.”

Coming Soon: Rock Juice V.2

This NEIPA collaboration with epic beer retailers, Cape Cellars and Cellarbrations Carlisle, was first brewed in last July but it’s coming back on Saturday 3 March. At 9.0 percent ABV, this beer is big, it’s juicy and it will only be around for a very short time. I’d bet you’ll see it at the South West Craft Beer Festival, if not, keep an eye out on the Rocky Ridge Brewing Facebook page for where you can find it.

Whitfords Brewing

Seasonal Brew: Juice Willis

Whitfords Brewing has jumped on the NEIPA train with Juice Willis*, bringing together two things I love – hops and Bruce Willis. It was brewed at Whitfords Brewing and will be served there and at sister brewery, Northbridge Brewing.

It’s low in bitterness, very easy drinking and the 5.8 percent ABV is hidden extremely well. Tropical and stone fruit juiciness from El Dorado, Citra and Galaxy hops and some flaked oats in the malt bill helps with a silky mouthfeel.

*I was invited to attend Northbridge Brewing Beer Club for the launch of this beer

Innate Brewers

Summer Seasonal: Pale As, Kiwi Pale Ale

A New Zealand pale ale released a couple of weeks ago, available on tap.

Coming Soon: A collab, Autumn Seasonal and Wet Hop ale

Yup, Innate Brewers have three beers all coming soon. Head brewer Joel Nash has been very, very busy! They’ve had the team from iconic Fremantle pub, The Sail & Anchor, in the brewery for a collaboration brew. They also got a delivery of fresh wet Nugget hops from local growers Preston Valley Hops. Their autumn seasonal is going to be a Red IPA called Renegade with 48 IBU using Simcoe and Amarillo hops, it will be launched at Caboose in Mt Lawley on 1 March.

Colonial Brewing

Seasonal Release: South West Sour*

Unless you’ve been detoxing off social media recently, you’ll know that Colonial Brewing has released their summer seasonal. They have opted to go with the simple “sour” label which is probably because it doesn’t completely fit into the Berliner Weisse or Gose category. To me, it drinks like a hybrid of the two. Approachable and well-balanced sourness, there’s some stone fruit – peach and nectarine – character and finishes with a rounded briny flavour.

*I was invited to the Perth launch of this beer, I was also given a 6 pack to sample, and have been invited to the upcoming launch at Colonial Brewing Margaret River

Stomping Ground Brewing

Tinnies hit Perth

After seeing the tinnies being released in their home state of Victoria, Melbourne’s Stomping Ground has now delivered cans of their Gipps St Pale Ale, PRIDElweiss and Watermelon Smash to Perth.

You may have tried the Gipps St Pale Ale a few months ago during Movember when it appeared on tap at venues around Perth to support the Movember Foundation.

Heroes and Villains Beer

A new brewery

Heroes and Villains launched their first beer at Dutch Trading Co a few days ago. Based at Oakover Grounds in the Swan Valley, the brewery tagline is ‘Beer of the New Age’ and so the first beer is appropriately called BOTNA. It’s brewed with Fortnight, the Bintani proprietary blend of five different hops.

Blasta Brewing

Opening March 1st

Blasta Brewing will be opening next week in Burswood after contract brewing for a while. The coffee shop part of the venue is already open so feel free to drop in for a caffeine hit and then from the 1st March, you’ll be able to enjoy a beer.

The brewery is founded by brewer Steve Russell, along with his wife Kate, and they released Blasta’s first commercial beer last May, their Myway Grapefruit IPA. 

The name Blasta comes from Scottish Gaelic and means “delicious” and Steve, who is originally from Scotland, says their guiding principle, therefore, will be to “only brew Blasta beers”. The logo is a geometric unicorn which also links to Steve’s Scottish heritage as the unicorn is Scotland’s national animal, true story, Google it!

The Camfield / Bevy Brewing

Another new brewery!

It won’t be a surprise to anyone to hear that The Camfield, the massive venue in Burswood near the new stadium, recently opened their doors just a few days ago. Not only does this beer have six bars and covers 8,000 square metres, it has its own microbrewery called Bevy. The head brewer is Andy Scade, ex-Little Creatures and all round nice guy.

WA Beer News #22

This week features beers from Eagle Bay Brewing, Innate Brewers and Rocky Ridge Brewing …

There is a lot of stuff happening in WA’s craft beer scene that it’s genuinely hard to keep up with all the new beer releases and WA really is kicking ass when it comes to craft beer and so I thought I’d try and make a regular feature out of all the new beery goodness our state has to offer.

The girl+beer Facebook page has a list of upcoming beer events that you might find worth subscribing to!


Eagle Bay Brewing

Lager + Hoppy Blonde

Eagle Bay Brewing Co has two new beers available, the first is their Lager which joins the year-round brew schedule, and second, their Hoppy Blonde which is part of the Brewers Series of limited releases.

The Eagle Bay Brewing team hosted events across the south-west and Perth called ‘The Lager Saga’ which featured four different lagers, giving people the chance to vote on their favourite.

Lager number three, a new world style hopped lager, took the majority of the votes and, as they promised, Eagle Bay will be making this beer all year round!

Eagle Bay Lager is described as flavourful yet refreshing with hints of spice and citrus, finishing clean and crisp with easy drinkability. It uses Pale, Munich, Crystal, Carapils, Rye and Wheat malt and a combination of hops including Noble hops Tettnang and Saaz and New Zealand’s Southern Cross.

Eagle Bay Hoppy Blonde is fresh from the brewery about a week ago and is the summer release of Brewers Series. It is available on tap and in 330ml bottles, keep an eye on the Eagle Bay Facebook page and Instagram for where to find it.

Photo by Mane Liquor

Innate Brewers

The Juice + Baby Juice

The Juice is a 6.2 percent NEIPA available now on tap and they’ve used a yeast strain that is new to Australia called Lallemand New England. According to the website, the strain is described as having the “specific ability to allow hop flavours and aromas to remain prominent while also providing the fruity notes” making it perfectly suited to the NEIPA style. They’ve used Citra, Galaxy, Amarillo and Mosaic hops plus Citra lupulin powder.


What is Lupulin Powder?

“Concentrated lupulin of whole-leaf hops containing resins and aromatic oils. It is designed to provide intense hop flavour and aroma, enabling brewers to dose large quantities of hops without introducing astringent flavours or vegetative cone material.”

 

hopculture.com


Baby Juice is the aptly named lower ABV interpretation of the NEIPA style, coming in at just 3.8 percent ABV. The hop profile is a little different to The Juice, this one using a trio of US hop varieties of Azacca, Simcoe and Citra.

 

Indian Ocean Brewing

Fruitulus Lupulus

Another NEIPA style beer, Fruitulus Lupulus is 5.9 percent ABV and hides it extremely well and I was lucky enough to be gifted a squealer of this beer by the team at Caboose in Mt Lawley.

There was almost zero bitterness underneath fresh mango, pineapple and mandarin flavours making this beer super easy drinking. Available on tap only, look for the cool Frosty Fruits cereal inspired tap decal.

Rocky Ridge Brewing

Fuck! It’s A Mid

I have to say, I really like this beer name and would like to think it’s exactly what the brewers want people to say when drinking this Mandarin Gose.

I love a good gose for its delicate acidity and touch of saltiness making it extremely refreshing so the term “summer bangers” seems appropriate. They’re also usually under 5 percent ABV so it means having a few doesn’t result in a big headache the next day.

This one is 3.7 percent ABV and will only be available on tap.

If you like the sound of this one, also be sure to try Anderson Valley Blood Orange Gose and Green Beacon 7 Bells Passionfruit Gose.

 

 

Rocky Ridge – Fifth Generation Farming with a Brewery

Rocky Ridge Brewing is no ordinary brewery. They are growing their own barley and hops to use in their beer, the family’s production dairy continues to operate on the farm and they’re pretty close to being ‘off the grid’.

For many people the downturn in the mining boom in WA was a negative but Hamish Coates credits it for setting him on his current path and he has no regrets. With a major in geology and a minor in physics, Hamish describes himself as “basically unemployable” but he says it with a laugh. Unable to get a job related to his field after finishing university, he and his partner Mel Holland started a landscaping business in Perth. After a couple of years they moved back home to Busselton where Hamish started working at Margaret River’s Cheeky Monkey Brewery and whilst there, working alongside head brewer Ross Terlick for two years, the idea for a brewery was born.

Rocky Ridge Brewing is no ordinary brewery. They are growing their own barley and hops to use in their beer, the family’s dairy continues to operate on the farm and they’re pretty close to being ‘off the grid’.

The brewery is located on the family farm near Busselton and Hamish, a fifth generation farmer, says his great, great grandfather named the farm ‘rocky ridge’ after the “massive ridge of ironstone that runs through the center of our property” so naming the brewery turned out to be pretty straight forward.

Hamish Coates and Melissa Holland // Photo courtesy of Rocky Ridge Brewing

“I wanted to use the farm and diversify in a number of ways,” Hamish says of his inspiration to build a brewery and also try to grow all the ingredients needed to make the beer as well, those ingredients being barley, hops and yeast.

“The land in the south west is so phenomenally productive that its always been my view that you can grow absolutely anything you want,” and it’s why Hamish started dabbling with growing hops whilst he was working at Cheeky Monkey Brewery.

“Barley grows really well but malting is another thing entirely,” Hamish says with a smile and a hint of sleep deprivation. “That’s a lot more technical than I think I ever gave maltsters credit for.”

“Learning about the science behind malting was a massive step for me.”

This years barley crop covered ten out of the farms 1000 acres which yielded 40 tonnes of barley and they’ll soon be expanding that to twenty acres and hope to double to yield. Expansion plans can almost be as big as they want given the farms size and that’s not including the additional thousand acres in a couple of blocks around the south west region.

Growing barley // Photo courtesy of Rocky Ridge Brewing

Their barley is taken to Dumbleyung where Hamish’s friend Jamie Frost has a one tonne malting set up. Rocky Ridge have their own base malts plus Hamish says, a “different variety for each beer so that each beer has it’s own unique flavour profile.”

Their hop bines take up just over an acre and they’re aiming to triple that as soon as possible. From this years harvest they got 450 kilos of dry hop weight which Hamish describes as a “fair stash” but for them to grow as a brewery he says they will need to bring that number up significantly.

Hop bines // Photo courtesy of Rocky Ridge Brewing

As a phrase, ‘hands on’ doesn’t seem to do justice to the hand maintenance of the hop farm which includes including harvesting the delicate hop cones. They’re hoping to partner with a couple of other hop farms in the region soon for a mechanical picker they can all share.

Hamish attending to the hops // Photo courtesy of Rocky Ridge Brewing

They are growing quite a few hop varieties and when Hamish lists them off it’s close to an automated response. There’s a couple of well known American varieties, Cascade and Chinook plus Goldings, Saaz, Hallertau, Hersbrucker, Perle, Styrian Goldings and Flinders. He is also keen to see if he can get some Centennial, another popular American variety, to add to the farm.

Hop harvest // Photo courtesy of Rocky Ridge Brewing

Cultivating their own yeast strain has proved to be the most challenging of beers four ingredients. Initial experiments at the University of Western Australia, where Hamish graduated, resulted in an excellent first generation but the second generation “failed miserably”. Whilst their own first generation yeast strains have been used in limited releases, commercial yeast strains are being used in their core range beers until they can get a strain that has a successful second generation. Eventually Hamish hopes to have a healthy yeast bank on site from which to pick and choose from.

“Four ingredients and each and every one of those four has an integral part in the end product”

Their most recent limited release – Rock Juice which Hamish says he used the most amount of hops he’s ever used in a beer to date

Listening to Hamish talk about yeast, water, hops and malt, it’s clear the respect he has for each ingredient and every professional who works with them. The driving force behind Rocky Ridge Brewing is “Everything We Brew, We Grow” and whilst it is not currently 100% true it shouldn’t take away from its wonderfully ambitious goal that they’re working towards every day and how much of their own grown ingredients are currently in use. Whilst something like bean to bar chocolate making or the farm to plate food movement has a certain amount of understanding, this approach to brewing is largely unknown. In the US these types of breweries who grow their own ingredients are commonly called “farm breweries” or “farm to keg breweries” and in New York they have their own type of license. From the handful of articles I have read on the subject, the concept is still emerging in the United States and here in Australia it’s pretty rare. “The concept is hard to communicate,” Hamish acknowledges.


More Reading …

Why Farm-to-Keg Brewing is the Next Big Beer Trend

Farm Brewery versus Microbrewery License in New York

Farm Breweries: When Local Means Your Own Backyard


The brewery // Photo courtesy of Rocky Ridge Brewing

“We have to be pretty careful about the beers we are brewing,” Hamish says. Growing their own ingredients provides Hamish with a unique challenge in selecting what beers to brew. For instance Hamish describes the Rocky Ridge IPA as a more traditional American west coast IPA style which relies on Cascade and Chinook hops, the two US varieties growing on the farm.

Getting creative // Gold Leader, a limited release White Stout that Rocky Ridge brewed earlier this year

They haven’t brewed a traditional stout yet because they don’t have the appropriate malts. “Certainly with our malt profiles we’ve had to think outside the square cause we are not roasting any at the moment so we’re having to really work hard in the brewing process to get different flavours and different body profiles,” he explains.

“The challenge is good because it makes you think more and more about what goes into making good beer and how to get that desired end profile,” Hamish says.

I had assumed that given the scale of the project, getting Rocky Ridge off the ground would have been more difficult than opening a brewery already is but even Hamish admits, “it all happened a lot quicker than I’d anticipated.”

Fermentation tanks ready to go into the brewery // Photo courtesy of Rocky Ridge Brewing

“So pretty much every brewery is going to hate me for saying this but it was actually really easy,” Hamish says somewhat quietly, referring to the council approval process. Rocky Ridge is not open to the public, a conscious decision by all involved due to the fact it is still a productive dairy farm so not particularly visitor friendly and so “everything fell into place because there’s no public access.”

It was roughly four months from concept to council approval and another 14 months between the laying of the slab to the release of their first beer.

“Hands on experience at Cheeky Monkey gave me a good grounding in beer, how to brew a good beer and then I decided to go and handicap myself and grow everything on site,” Hamish laughs.

Another challenge for Rocky Ridge is having a brewery the public cannot visit so having a satellite cellar door venue has always been part of the plan. Updates to the state’s liquor licensing allowed them to fast track their plans and they’re renovating the space as I write this with the aim to be operating before summer.

“It’s really difficult to create a brand identity without a home”

The satellite cellar door will provide their brand with a face and “create an intimate connection” between them and their drinkers. Their license allows them to do tastings on site and also sell packaged beers for takeaway consumption. Hamish is also keen to partner with local food trucks for the weekends. The cellar door will be located on Marine Terrace, just steps from Busselton town center.

Rocky Ridge have been releasing their beers in kegs only so far, a method Hamish describes as being “not a very profitable way to make beer.”

“The last four months having beers out, we’ve been really just making sure that quality control is in place, making sure that we are comfortable with the recipes and that we can supply all the ingredients for those recipes as well,” he says with particular emphasis on the supply aspect since they’re planning on releasing their beers in cans by September.

Another element of brewing Hamish speaks passionately about is building what he calls a “future proof brewery”. They are reusing all the waste from the dairy in the hop and barley fields and get their power from a solar battery bank.

“I don’t see a future in being connected to the electricity network because it’s all archaic”

Hamish feels strongly about being environmentally ethical, “if we don’t do it, who the f**k is going to?”

Solar panels powering Rocky Ridge Brewing // Photo courtesy of Rocky Ridge Brewing

There are so many great stories in the Rocky Ridge Brewing journey so far and it’s still early days. Whether it’s how the brewery came about or what they are achieving so far in growing their ingredients or their commitment to operating an environmentally friendly brewery, chatting with Hamish is stupidly interesting for any booze nerd. Funnily enough though, of all these stories, the one that has resonated strongly from a marketing point of view centers around man’s best friend. Well, Hamish’s best friend – Ace, the border collie brewery dog.

Ace the brewery dog, image from Rocky Ridge Brewing’s Facebook page

Speaking of social media, here’s where you’ll find Rocky Ridge Brewing on Facebook and Instagram

“It’s really surprised me in what works well with marketing and what doesn’t,” Hamish says. “Ace sells beer well,” he laughs. When he posts a photo of Ace on social media it “goes nuts” which Hamish didn’t really expect when he named a beer after him – Ace Pale Ale and used an image of Ace for the beer’s logo. It’s not a case of ‘just a pretty face’ though, the beer is a great pale ale!

Ace modelling the image for Ace Pale Ale in June at Mane Winter Beer Celebration

Keep an eye out for Rocky Ridge beers on tap at good independent beer loving places like Petition Beer Corner, Baby Mammoth, Dominion League and Dutch Trading Co to name a few; keep an eye out for cans in your favourite bottle shops in September and make sure to visit their satellite cellar door in Busselton this summer.