GABS Edition: 5 Minutes with Alex from Southern Bay Brewing

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

Good Beer Week is fast approaching! 10 days of epic adventuring through Melbourne with beer as your guide, what more could you want?

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

One of the many, many, many events on the GBW calendar is the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS for short (and much easier communication after many beers). It’s a celebration of brewing creativity with the heart of the festival lying in the “GABS beers”, beers brewed especially for and launched during the festival. The result is 115 beers that are totally unique and available for very first time.

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

Sounds good doesn’t it?!

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

What is so exciting about GABS?

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

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

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

What will be the trickiest part of the brew?

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

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

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

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

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

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


Red Duck + Southern Bay

I love being introduced to new Australian breweries and recently Victorian breweries Red Duck and Southern Bay have found their way into my beer filled heart.


I love being introduced to new Australian breweries and recently Victorian breweries Red Duck and Southern Bay have found their way into my beer filled heart.

Red Duck was recommended to me by Mitch, chef at Five Bar and beer/food dude behind Beersine who I may have mentioned once or twice in the past. I think his wording was something along the lines of “you have to get them, they’re f**king fantastic”. Hard to go past that sort of review. [p.s. mum, sorry for the swearing]. I picked up The Bear and Smells like a Pony and damn was Mitch right! My partner and I had these a while back to put some fun into cleaning the house.

Red Duck Beers

My latest Red Duck experience came in the form of their Topaz, a single hop pale ale and another limited release. I loved the big floral aromas with hints of apricots and flavours of lemon, tropical fruits and some grassy characteristics too. I instantly thought it would be a grand love affair with a strong vintage cheddar. Sadly, and rather unusual, there was no cheese in the fridge for me to test my theory.

Topaz is an Australian hop variety that the guys at Red Duck had previously played with for their Hop Bach beer, using it alongside 24 other hop varieties. In doing so they saw a lot of potential in Topaz, you can read more about it here.

Red Duck Topaz

Southern Bay Brewing was recommended to me by Joel at Cellarbrations Carlisle, in particular the Southern Ocean Ale which I took to a great Chinese dinner at The Red Teapot.

This time I had the Southern Bay Requiem, beautifully labelled with a hint of Shakespearean ink and classical music, which boldly makes the statement “lager is not dead”. Light straw in colour with kiwi fruit, citrus, delicate malt, herbs and a soft bitterness to finish, it’s brilliant. Not only does remind you that lager isn’t dead but lager can be subtly amazing.

If you’re heading to Good Beer Week in Melbourne next month there’ll be plenty of chances to indulge in both Red Duck and Southern Bay Brewing. Check out the program of events at the Good Beer Week website.