GABS Edition: 5 minutes with Ross from Cheeky Monkey Brewery

Q&A with Cheeky Monkey Brewery’s Ross Terlick about their GABS Festival Beer – Death Dancer

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, all kicking off today.

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 am hoping to bring you a few Q&A’s with the brewers over the next week or two.

Facebook: Cheeky Monkey

Twitter: Cheeky Monkey

Twitter: Ross Terlick

The first was with Craig from The Monk which you can read here. Next was Ryan from Bootleg Brewery (read here) and we stay in the Margaret River this time with Ross Terlick from Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery.

Alex and Ross at Cheeky Monkey

L: Alex, former Cheeky Monkey brewer | R: Ross, current Cheeky Monkey head brewer

GABS Festival Beer: Death Dancer.

The Official GABS Guide says: “A black Red IPA (or RIPA) brewed with a ridiculous amount of rye to give it a heap of spice and pizzazz. They’ve then dry hopped this bad boy twice to give aromas of pine, resin and tropical fruits and finished it all off with a Belgian Abbey yeast for a touch of funk.”

What is so exciting about GABS?

Paradise. Unfortunately I am yet to make it over there and will be unable to again this year. But with so many fantastic brewers kicking around and everyone really pushing the boat out, it can only be a good thing. Plus Beer People are Good People, so to be in a heaving hall full of such people enjoying great beer … yeah, I’m definitely going next year!!!!

Tell us about Death Dancer and what was the inspiration for it?

Dry Hopping: Adding hops after fermentation for a huge boost to hop aromatics

Basically Death Dancer is an all US hopped Black RIPA. The inspiration comes from the fact I love BIPA and dig a lot of rye in my beers. We pushed the rye pretty far with this one too – nearly 40% of the grist. We bumped the IBU up pretty high (75) and dry hopped it twice too. We’re prettt happy with it.

What was the trickiest part of the brew?

With the amount of rye in the grist I had been having nightmares all week in the lead up about a horror lauter. When it came down to the day though, it ran like a dream.

Why have you gone with a Belgian Abbey yeast for this one?

Being GABS I wanted to try something different and the Safale Abbaye is fairly new on the market so I figured I’d give it a crack.

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

Basically any I can get hold of over here.

5 Minutes with Ross from Cheeky Monkey

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

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

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

What was your first reaction to your new job role?

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

What has been the best thing about working with Alex?

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

What is your favourite Cheeky Monkey beer and why?

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

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

You just gotta love a bit of funk,

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

What will be your first Southern Wailer beer?

Souther Wailer – Cheeky Monkey’s limited release beer series

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

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

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

5 Minutes with Ross from Cheeky Monkey

Five quick questions with Cheeky Monkey’s new assistant brewer – Ross Terlick

5 minutes, 5 quick questions, get to know your local brewer better!

Here’s 5 minutes with Ross Terlick, newly appointed assistant brewer at Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery

L: Alex, head brewer R: Ross, assistant brewer At Cheeky Monkey Brewhouse
L: Alex, head brewer
R: Ross, assistant brewer
At Cheeky Monkey Brewhouse
Finish this sentence : The WA craft beer scene needs more …

… excise relief.  Make it cheaper for us to make and we can charge less for it, making it more accessible for people and we can continue to grow the industry.

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

Moon Dog Great American Challenge.  First beer I tried with Brettanomyces and I absolutely loved it.

What beer did you have last night?

Last night I was drinking home brewed Rye Pale Ale

Best beer for drinking at a BBQ?

While cooking the BBQ a nice crisp, bitter Pilsener. While eating a robust, hoppy IPA.

Favourite beer and cheese pairing?

I’ll go for the old chestnut of Imperial Stout and blue cheese.

That's one big hunk of stinky Stilton!
That’s one big hunk of stinky Stilton!


Thanks Ross! Don’t forget to check out the article, ‘Hey, We’re The Monkeys’ at Crafty Pint about Alex and Ross and their future plans for Cheeky Monkey!

Next up will be the boys from Colonial Brewing and the 5 quick questions I put to them after my interview for another Crafty Pint article, coming soon!