GBW 2014: The Cheese & Cask Ale Experience

My intentions for Good Beer Week was to go to events I hadn’t attended last year but there were two events I couldn’t bare to miss because they were so good last year – one of them was the cheese and beer experience at The Local Taphouse in St Kilda.

My intentions for Good Beer Week was to go to events I hadn’t attended last year but there were two events I couldn’t bare to miss because they were so good last year – one of them was the cheese and beer experience at The Local Taphouse in St Kilda.

This year the team at the Taphouse teamed up with Milk the Cow, a licensed fromagerie also located in St Kilda, to present five cheeses matched to five cask ales. Hosts for the night were James, resident beer geek at the Taphouse and Laura from Milk the Cow, together they presented some great matches that this cheese and beer loving gal happily indulged in.
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Meredith Farm Chevre + Red Duck Secret Squirrel English Brown Ale
The fresh goat’s milk cheese with it’s uber-creamy texture, big citrus flavours and tart finish was a beautiful way to start the evening. It was a really good and really unexpected match to the Red Duck beer, it’s nuttiness and fruitiness mingled nicely with the cheese’s fruity citrus flavours. The beer itself was by Derek Hale, an award winning home brewer who was invited to brewed with Red Duck, and he added crushed and toasted hazelnuts alongside some Frangelico.
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Quickes Mature Cheddar Truckle + Timothy Taylor’s Landlord Pale Ale
The English cheddar, a cows milk clothbound cheddar is aged for twelve months and was everything you want from a strong cheddar – sharp, bitey and a little dusty. “Make fantastic nachos with this!” Laura suggested and I’m sure she’s right! The stone fruit flavours in the cheddar softened the hop bitterness in the beer and acted as a good complement to the English Pale Ale’s soft sweetness.
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Wensleydale + Bright Traditional English Best Bitter
Many of us associate Wensleydale with claymation cartoon Wallace & Grommit but we were all surprised to hear that sales jumped huge 27% when the movie was released. Laura also surprised us with the fact the recipe for this cheese originated with a French Cistercian monk who moved to Wensleydale. The cheese is sharp, citrusy and a little dirty, like it was stored in a container that previously held a strong blue. Bright’s traditional English Best Bitter was one of my favourite beers of the night. I loved the sweet malt combined with spicy, peppery and biscuit flavours. The malt sweetness softened the bite from the cheese but didn’t dominate the pairing.

Reypenear VSOP + Illawarra Black IPA
Laura declared this to be her favourite cheese, “cut off a wedge and just chew on it” is a serving suggestion I could really great behind. Biting into this cheese, you can see why she loves it so much. Reypenear is a two year old Dutch cow’s milk Gouda, the long aging process actually results in a 25% loss in original weight. It is washed in hot water to remove the lactic acid and showcase sweetness and caramel flavours. This cheese is hard to come by in Australia so it was extra special to have it on our plates. Paired with the Black IPA with it’s sweet malt and slightly roasty flavours it was a gorgeous complement of sweet cheese and sweet malty beer whilst the roasty bitterness provided just enough contrast to keep things really interesting.
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Herve Mons Brillat Savarin + Prickly Moses Barrel Aged Brett Red Ale
The night finished with a bang with this ultra oozy creamy triple cream brie, bloomy mushroom and salty flavours and at 75% fat you just know it’s going to taste amazing. The Prickly Moses Red Ale showed a little funk with sweet plum and raisin notes. Together it was a nice match, funk playing nicely with the mushroom in the brie.
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Good Beer Week 2014

Here’s my calendar for the “week” and I cannot wait to drink beer, over indulge in meat and cheese, soak up as much beery knowledge as I can and, most of all, hang out with some really great people!

It’ just over a week until Good Beer Week kicks off for 2014 and to say I’m excited is a small understatement. It’s like saying that having a TARDIS would be a really nifty way of travelling. No it wouldn’t, it would be freakin’ amazing, just like Good Beer Week is going to be!

Planning for this began last year. I work for a big company so they ask you to submit your requests for annual leave for the year towards the end of the previous year. This meant I booked off my holiday for Good Beer Week many months in advance. Did I know for sure I was going? No. Did I book the time off work just in case? Hell yes.

Months went by, 2014 arrived and before you knew it the Good Beer Week program was coming up! I needed to get my act together if I was going, I needed flights and a bed to crawl into.

Hello Jetstar sale! Love cheap flights, I snapped up those bad boys quick smart. I rang the hotel I stayed in last year. Got an available room? Great weekly rate that didn’t cost the earth? Yup! Done! I was just short of a packed bag and it was only March.

Then the Good Beer Week program was released … Mother. Of. God. This thing is EPIC! The program is one great event after another; my copy will be dog eared before I’ve even checked my bags.

Here’s my calendar for the “week” and I cannot wait to drink beer, over indulge in meat and cheese, soak up as much beery knowledge as I can and, most of all, hang out with some really great people!

Saturday 17 May

A free day, I haven’t bought any tickets for events at all. Perhaps a good chance to check out Pint of Origin venues, tap takeovers in selected Melbourne bars based on geography – all corners of Australia are represented along with New Zealand, Europe, USA and The Rest of the World.

There are also a tonne of free entry, week long events I’d like to check out, including Cookie’s Daily Food and Beer Matching, Rogue Beer and Burger at Beer DeLuxe and Mystery Cellar Dwellers at The Local Taphouse.

The Royston - one of the many PoO locations

Sunday 18 May
The Event: Brew vs Cru featuring Garrett Oliver [sold out]

Why I’m going: Because I’d kick myself, punch myself, slap myself, if I did not go to this event. First, its Garrett Oliver – brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and beer author, I need to hear what this man has to say! Second, it is being held at Vue de Monde Rialto – a restaurant I have heard outstanding comments about. Third, not that I really need one, is the five courses of food, beer and wine pairing.

Excitement Level: Kid who has skulled red cordial and has a free pass to Disneyland.

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t going to Brew vs Cru I’d be at Barrel and Beast at The Local Taphouse, barrel aged beers matched to slow cooked meats from the Taphouse’s American smoker.

Monday 19 May

The EventRussian Imperial Banquet

Why I’m going: I love Russian Imperial Stouts, they’re like a loving embrace – lingering, comfortable and they always leave you wanting more. How I’ll be after an entire night of them is anyone’s guess but I’ll be sure to keep you updated. I’m also fortunate enough to be representing Crafty Pint at this event, hopefully I’ll be capable of writing something coherent and mildly entertaining the following morning.

Excitement Level: When you wake up in the morning after a big night out and smell bacon cooking

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t at the Russian Imperial Banquet I’d be at An Evening with Yeastie Boys at East of Everything for 6 beer and 6 courses with one of my favourite NZ brewing guys!

 

Tuesday 20 May
The EventGarage Project & Moon Dog’s Local Taphouse Tag Team Tap Takeover

Why I’m going: Aside from the accurate and astounding alliteration (geddit?!) this event showcases two of my favourite breweries

Excitement Level: Kid in candy store but instead of a kid it’s me and instead of candy it’s awesome beer!

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t at Garage Project & Moon Dog’s Local Taphouse takeover I’d be at The Baird Beer Omakase.

Wednesday 21 May
The Event: Sourfest II [sold out]

Why I’m going: I need more sour beers in my life, I truly do. This event was a sell out last year and I didn’t get along. I hear it was amazing so I’m super keen to check it out in 2014.

Excitement Level: When you finally see that band you love live in concert and you sing too loud during every song

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t going to Sourfest II I’d be at Brewers and Chewers at The Local Taphouse. Much like Sourfest this was a sold out night in 2013. Speed dating crossed with a meet the brewer session over a fantastic dinner with the wonderful Pete Mitcham hosting, if last year was anything to go by, this event is a highlight.

Brewers and Chewers 2013
2013 Brewers and Chewers – the venue, the menu and the line up of brewers being interviewed by MC Pete Mitcham

Thursday 22 May
The Event: The Cheese and Cask Ale Experience

Why I’m going: It’s a cheese event, enough said. Plus I went to last year’s edition, which was not cask ale, and it was great! The pairings were genuinely tasty and interesting, I can’t wait to see what they do with cask ales.

Excitement Level: Whenever I step foot into The Re-Store in Leederville … times a hundred.

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t at The Cheese and Cask Ale Experience I’d be at the AIBA Awards Presentation Dinner to cheer on and mingle with the great beer people.

Beer & Cheese Experience at The Local Taphouse last year. This years edition is featuring all cask ales!
Beer & Cheese Experience at The Local Taphouse last year. This years edition is featuring all cask ales!

Friday 23 May
The Event: Game of Cones

Why I’m going: To see some of my favourite people doing their favourite things – Colonial Brewing and Beersine team up for a beer and food matching session on board a tramcar. I’m sooo on board for this one (toot toot!)

Excitement Level: When you’re six years ago and just about to go to your best friend in the whole wide worlds birthday party and you know there’s going to be a magician, fairy bread and lots of cake!

Sophie’s Choice: No choice, it was always going to Game of Cones!

Saturday 24 May
The Event: The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular

Why I’m going: Because it would borderline on insanity not to go. This is the beer festival to end all beer festivals, like a great barley wine this event gets better with every year. Food stalls, craft beer college, the beer market place and the shining diamond on the crown – the festival beers. Over 100 beers brewed just for the festival. Where else can you try that many brand new, never before released, beers in one place?!

Excitement Level: Remember that kid from earlier who drank the red cordial and went to Disneyland? Now they’re at the gift shop being told they can take whatever they can carry.

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t as the first Saturday GABS session I’d be at Woods of the North at 3 Ravens Brewery for barrel-aged brews, whiskeys, BBQ and boilermakers! Breweries like Feral, Moondog , Boatrocker and Starward will be there for your drinking pleasure.

The Event: Mega Dega II [sold out]

Why I’m going: I missed out last year, opting not to follow a multiple course lunch with a degustation dinner, I was keen to get along this year. Four chefs, six brewers and I think I’ll be rolling out the door of this one!

Excitement Level: When they finally announce the new Doctor Who series (sorry for the second Doctor Who reference of the post but I’m getting frustrated at waiting so long between seasons).

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t at Mega Dega II I’d probably be at the GABS Saturday night session!

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Sunday 25 May
The Event: Boatrocker Palate Cleanser

Why I’m going: This was the wild card event of my GBW experience last year. It’s on the last day of the week and it is an EPIC week of palate abuse and indulgence and this event, though ever so slightly earlier than others at 11am is such a welcome treat for those who like their wild and sour beers. They welcome you like family, hell even one of the brewers friends even dropped my partner and I back to St Kilda in her own car last year, and it a really lovely few hours at the Boatrocker brewery.

Excitement Level: When you step off the plane in that city you’ve always wanted to explore.

Sophie’s Choice: Let’s face it, if I wasn’t at Boatrocker I’d be at the last GABS session. Hell, if I made haste I could even catch the last 30mins of GABS straight after Boatrocker!

From last years Palate Cleanser event, can't wait to see what's been happening in these barrels for the last 12 months!
From last years Palate Cleanser event, can’t wait to see what’s been happening in these barrels for the last 12 months!

girl + Hottest 100 wrap up

There are already a couple of good wrap ups of this years Hottest 100 Australian Craft Beer countdown but I did want to do a little rambling too. I blame my delayed response on being in the middle of moving house, sleeping on an inflatable mattress does strange things to a girl, but here we go …

For those of us who choose Triple J as their radio station and good beer as their over-indulgence, the term “hottest 100” means two things on Australia Day –

  1. Triple J count down their Hottest 100 songs for the year as voted in one great big musical democracy, and
  2. The Local Taphouse, all round wonderful beer venue in Melbourne, runs their own hottest 100 on Australian craft beers with the support of Crafty Pint and Australian Brews News.

Thankfully this year our ears weren’t subjected to Thrift Shop whilst our taste buds appeared to be unmoved from 2012 with Feral Hop Hog returning to claim number 1 position.

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There are a couple of good wrap ups from my favourite beer literature already out there (links below) but I wanted to do a little rambling too.

Victoria is how but WA and NSW still on top – James Davidson

Australian Brews News

Hottest 100, where to from here? – Glen Humphries

Beer is Your Friend

The top three – Feral Hop Hog, Stone & Wood Pacific Ale and Little Creatures Pale Ale – were unsurprising considering they’re very tasty beers that are widely available.

What I’m wondering … Is the inclusion of Little Creatures Pale Ale in the top 3 for the fourth consecutive year and owned by brewing giants Lion Nathan, reflect the continued quality of the beer or wider distribution or even a growing embrace of less “mainstream” beers?

2009 Results – click here

2010 Results – click here

2011 Results – click here

2012 Results – click here

So whilst the top three wasn’t a roller coaster of emotions, the other 97 are interesting.

One notable exception to the list was Little Creatures Rogers’. It’s appeared in the last four years, admittedly at varied spots – #58 in 2009, #32 in 2010, #80 in 2011 and #85 in 2012 – but was M.I.A this year. I don’t feel like the beer has dropped off in terms of quality, it’s still a great tasting reduced booze beer with decent availability so what’s changed? Perhaps just the landscape of Australian craft beer has changed – the beers keep coming but there’s only ever 100 spots.

Rogers
Photo taken at Five Bar by Sandra Megan

Still in the Lion Nathan side of the beer world, another notable exception are the beers brewed under the Malt Shovel  and James Squire brand. In previous years the James Squire Porter, Golden and Amber Ale have all appeared in the countdown and last year it was the limited release “Mad Brewers” Hoppy Hefe but this year, like it’s cousin Rogers’, both Malt Shovel and James Squire beers are M.I.A. Good thing for Lion the rest of the Little Creatures and White Rabbit brands are well represented.

What I’m wondering … Is the countdown attracting more “hardcore” craft beer nerds who have long left behind their James Squire days or are people discovering craft beer at the pointer end of craft beer? For me, I think it started with Matilda Bay Redback but maybe for others it’s beers from smaller players like Stone & Wood and 4 Pines that are sending people on the craft beer juggernaut.

On the other end of the distribution spectrum there were some limited release and hard-to-get beers in the countdown too. Beers like Feral B.F.H Barrel Fermented Hog, which I only ever really see at the brewery and has not made it into bottle production, and limited release beers such as Stone & Wood’s Stone Beer and my personal favourite Nail Clout Stout clearly made an impression across the country on what was likely to be just a few tastings.

2012 Clout Stout ... from opening the box to pouring it into a glass
2012 Clout Stout … from opening the box to pouring it into a glass

It was also nice to see a few GABS beers, those brewed specifically for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular festival back in May, appear in the countdown. Beers like Bacchus White Chocolate & Raspberry Pilsner (#59), Feral’s Barrique O Karma (#33) and Two Birds Taco (#25) all made the cut. A surprising omission, at least surprising to me, was Brew Cult’s Acid Freaks – a Balsamic Baltic Porter that had all the hallmarks of gimmicky but worked amazingly well, so much so that I hung my head in beery shame that I ever doubted the idea. My hat, if I wore one, to it’s creator Hendo is very much being tipped.

Brew Cult Acid Freaks

Personally, one of the things I love about the countdown are the beers I haven’t gotten my beer-grabby little hands on. My beer wish list grows and grows; this years list gave me beers like Holgate Road Trip, Fortitude Golden Ale, Doctor’s Orders Cephalopod and 2 Brothers Grizz to name a few.

What I’m wondering … Does this list influence your perception of these beers? If you genuinely didn’t like Feral Hop Hog, would you admit it or think you’re taste buds were wrong? I’d love to know you’re thoughts on the countdown, whether it’s interesting, just a little bit of fun or what it says about our countries love for good beer …

For me the countdown is fun, what’s most interesting to me is what happens after the top three. I like seeing what breweries keep making appearances year after year, I like seeing if American IPAs and Pale Ales are growing or shrinking in representation and clearly, I like talking about it too.

Cheers!

Hottest 100

I get stuck when people ask me what my favourite beer is, it’s a super tough question because it changes constantly depending on mood and how much time the other person has whilst I mentally flick through beers I have enjoyed – of which there are many, a tribute to both how many great brewers are out there and how dedicated I am to my hobby.

So when faced with this time of year – voting in the Hottest 100 Australian Craft Beers – I had two options:

Option 1:

I treat it like a round of “fast money” on a game show, run with gut instinct and pick the first 5 beers that come to mind.

Option 2:

Sit down. Dedicate however long it takes to go through the beers I’ve sipped, gulped and loved in the past twelve months. Score them based on drinkability, creativity and style. Then of course I’d have to decide how many spots I give to regularly brewed beers and how many to once-off/limited release beers – then I’d have to question myself as to whether it really matters if the beer is a regular or seasonal, after all it’s a poll of the best beers of the year, not of the sub-category of core beers versus limited release beers versus collaboration brews. Then I’d have to …

… and I think you see where I am going here. Option 2 ends in me sitting on the floor beside the refrigerator, faced pressed to the cooling aluminium, rocking back and forth holding crumpled pieces of paper and muttering about Vic Secret hops, wheat malt and wild yeast.

My Hottest Aussie Beers of the Year
My Hottest Aussie Beers of the Year

So sensibly I chose to take the path of Option 1 and came up with this list, the first five beers that came to mind, that made me think magic was real.

Hottest 100 - 2013

Feral Hop Hog – Consistency terrific, hits the spot and it’s the Aussie IPA that you hold the others up to.

Nail Clout Stout – So much hype around this beer, how could it possibly live up to it all? Well that’s easy, it does it by being truly awesome.

Moon Dog / Nogne O Selvmordstokt – My favourite beer from this years Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, genuinely interesting and beautifully balanced, teasing you to peel back the layers.

4 Pines ESB – I had the first, loved it. I got another. Loved that too. It reminded me of when I feel in love with IPAs, this beer reminded me how amazing ESBs can be.

Stone & Wood Pacific Ale – I still get child-like excited when I see this beer, it’s almost irresistible.

Inevitability there are some amazing beers I could have spent hours considering, fitting them into the final list including Brew Cult Acid Freaks, Mountain Goat Hightail, Boatrocker Ramjet, Colonial Small Ale, Eagle Bay / Mane Liquor Saisonnay, The Monk Chief, The Monkn Bounty, Two Birds Taco …

The poll is proudly supported by The Crafty Pint and Australian Brews News, click here for the info.

Voting closes on 16th January and there’s a chance win some beer too!

Why My Wife’s Bitter … and other Brewers & Chewers stories

A beer event that combines elements of a meet the brewer session with musical chairs and speed dating is destined to be sensational.

Brewers and Chewers Collage

A beer event that combines elements of a meet the brewer session with musical chairs and speed dating is destined to be sensational.

That’s exactly how the Brewers and Chewers event was described in the Good Beer Week programme and that’s exactly what we got – minus the potential awkwardness of speed dating and lack of seats at musical chairs of course.

Brewers and Chewers found a handful of Australian and International brewers and tempted them to The Local Taphouse in St Kilda for a dinner party with the twist.

Here’s how it worked – Eight brewers, eight tables and about twenty minutes on each table before the bell would sound and it was time for the brewer to move on.

The food was plentiful and delicious. The main of roast pork featured some heart stopping good cracking and social etiquette was the only thing stopping me from licking the plate clean from the beet cured ocean trout.

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The beers, as you’d expect, were all stunning. Each brewer had one of their beers represented and the taps flowed freely. Picking a favourite would be like choosing your favourite child … but since I don’t have any I guess it should be easier. I’m going to go with Bright Brewery’s Fainters Dubbel – it still stands out in my mind and after nine days of Good Beer Week, that means I really, really liked it.

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It was a fantastic event with great food, tasty beers and magnificent company. What made the evening a complete stand out was all this combined with excellent service from the staff at the Local Taphouse and having Pete Mitcham aka Professor Pilsner to host proceedings.

“In no particular order but starting with number one …”, Pete Mitcham

On stage Pete got the event started by introducing each brewer with a few words and a round of applause before they were sacrificed/seated at their first table.

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The story of the beer from Camden that almost didn’t make it

Jasper Cuppaidge – Camden Town Brewing (UK)

“We love lager!”, Jasper told our table so it’s not surprising he chose his Camden Town USA Hells Lager to bring along to Brewers and Chewers. The USA Hells Lager had lovely citrus, cereal and apricot notes and light stone fruit flavours and is an American hopped version of their regular Hells Lager.

But the beer nearly didn’t make the journey from UK to Melbourne and at the last minute Jasper was left with little option but to put the beer on a plane. Jasper joked, “it cost more to get the beers here than it did me!”.

Jasper also chatted about what’s coming up soon for Camden Town including plans to go to cans and a twice yearly keg swap with Stone & Wood (Byron Bay, Australia). Exciting!

The story of how Eric was destined to become a brewer          

Eric Ottaway – Brooklyn Brewery (USA)

Eric said that for him it’s all about good beer and friends, he was clearly in good company at Brewers and Chewers.

I asked Eric how he got into brewing, “do you believe in fate?” he asked in reply. Eric was in health care before he began as a brewer and has since discovered that his great, great, great, great, great uncle had links to a hop farm in Brooklyn. It seems Eric may have been destined to brew great beer for us!

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The story of why My Wife’s Bitter

Brennan Fielding – Burleigh Brewing (QLD)

Burleigh Brewing make a beer called ‘My Wife’s Bitter’. It begs the question, why? It’s an obvious question and one that Brennan seems to be asked frequently. I asked him at our table and then later the host, Pete Mitcham, asked him to tell the story for the crowd.

“How many nights did you sleep on the couch?”, Pete asked Brennan.

“You guys have it all wrong”. Here’s the story.

It was actually Peta’s, Brennan’s wife, idea to name the beer. Whilst in Hawaii Brennan made beer and named one after their daughter and another after their son. “Why don’t I have a beer named after me?” Peta asked Brennan. There was no reason, the right beer just hadn’t come up yet. Then one day, whilst hanging out the washing, Peta had a lightbulb moment. “My beer’s name is My Wife’s Bitter”, she exclaimed, as in a bitter beer for her not a statement about her. However Brennan didn’t feel the meaning would translate in Hawaii where there’s no English heritage for the traditional English style. “Hold on to that name”, he told her.

At Burleigh Brewing the beer started life as a special release beer and now is part of their regular line up, so Brennan made an English Bitter as a gift for his wife.

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The story of many, many new beers        

Jos Ruffel – Garage Project (NZ)

I had to ask about the Garage Project their 24/24 concept – 24 new beers in 24 weeks – I had to ask “why?”

“The more you brew the better you get” Jos remarked and after brewing 40 new beers in their first year of operation he would know what he’s talking about. Initially gaining brewing inspiration from chefs and restaurants in what ingredients they use and how they use it, they now have their own library of ingredients. The brewery itself has transformed into it’s own source inspiration. With this in mind, check out their GABS beer – Death from Above.

The story of beer battles in Italy        

Leo DiVincenzo – Birra Del Borgo (Italy)

I only know two things about beers in Italy,

1. Moretti

2. Birra Del Borgo’s Duchessic is one of the best beers I’ve ever had.

The Italian craft beer scene is clearly very healthy; Leo estimates there are more than 500 craft brewers – “we are all fighting against Peroni, Moretti and Heineken”.

With so many craft brewers in a country known for it’s wine I couldn’t help but find some similarities between Italy and Margaret River. Given a recent article that threw up the idea that breweries in the south west were harming the reputation of the Margaret River wine region, I asked if there was any competition between craft brewers and wineries.  The answer was simply no. A sentiment that I am confident is shared by the vast majority of the south west but I was interested to ask.

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The story of Scott’s first ever barley wine

Scott Brandon – Bright Brewery (VIC)

We talked about the Great Australiasian Beer SpecTAPular and his entry into the festival – the Supermucilaginisticepialidocious. Not only is it a mouth full but it’s a barley wine. They went for this style because he had never brewed one before which begged the question, “how is it?”, we asked.

“It’s awesome”, he replied.

I had the Bright Fainters Dubbel with dessert and it was an amazing match. The dessert of honeycomb ice cream, chocolate stout brownie and butterscotch sauce was chewy and decedant, nutty and sweet. The dubbel’s richness, raisins and spice was a perfect compliment.

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All brewers were fantastic company, each time the bell rang it was much too soon. Other brewers who I haven’t mentioned yet are Tim Thomas from Hop Dog (NSW) and Ashur Hall from Illawarra Brewing Company (NSW) who were also excellent company but sadly my note taking wasn’t perfect.

Thanks to Steve, Guy, Ashley, Head Chef Paul and all the staff at The Local Taphouse for going to great lengths to ensure we all had a lovely night, never wanting for anything.

Thanks to Pete Mitcham for being the host with the most, it was great to meet you and I hope to cross paths again with you soon, preferably where there’s beer of course.

And of course thank you to the Tim, Scott, Ashur, Jasper, Leo, Jos, Brennan and Eric, it was a genuine pleasure to meet all of you. So long and thank you for all the beer.

Good Beer Week Match Report

Good Beer Week was 9 days, that’s 216 hours
There were 140 events, that’s 1.5 events for every single hour. If you factor in sleep, let’s be generous and say eight hours, that’s ONE event for every waking hour.

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Good Beer Week, Melbourne. I think ‘Epic Beer Week’ would be more accurate, let’s do some numbers!

Good Beer Week was 9 days, that’s 216 hours
There were 140 events, that’s 1.5 events for every single hour. If you factor in sleep, let’s be generous and say eight hours, that’s ONE event for every waking hour.

The words ‘beautiful madness’ spring to mind.

My blogging intentions for Good Beer Week were simple but perhaps a little ambitious – a blog post every morning about the previous days events. I got through a couple before realising it was not going to happen. Over the next few days though, I’ll be reliving the rest of my Good Beer Week adventures and updating my beer list … in the meantime, here’s a bit of a summary –

Highlights of the Week (in no particular order)

GBW Local Taphouse

GBW - The Goat

Pint of Origin

Dim Sum

East v West

GABS

Cheese

Dim-lights of the Week (once again, in no particular order)

Having our hotel room on the same floor as the hotel gym. Seeing people exercising as we left for another day of beer and food overindulgence seemed cruel and unusual. The urge to tackle someone on the treadmill was almost irresistible.

Dropping an entire wedge of lovely cheddar on the floor during The Big Apple versus The Goat lunch at The Mountain Goat … then contemplating the validation of the ten second rule out loud and been denied.

Rambling like a giggy school girl when telling Birra del Borgo brewer Leo DiVincenzo how much I loved Duchessic.

Headbutting a taxi door whilst trying to get inside.

A few words that made me laugh

Hearing someone confirming their booking at the hotel by yelling “boo-ya!”

“If all the West Australians could please fuck off”, Chris Badenoch of Josie Bones giving a kind send off just for the WA folk at East versus West: Beer and Food Title Fight

“Is it true that you are a mid level drug lord?”, Pete Mitcham to Birra del Borgo brewer Leo DiVincenzo referring to the anchovy oil he bought from Italy to Australia for a collaboration brew with The Wheaty called My Anchovia.

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“This morning in the theatre whilst we were sleeping …” @DrRiggsy talking about sharing a hotel with @6foot6brewer

“On behalf of The Local Taphouse we’d like … *sound of glass smashing *, Pete Mitcham being interrupted at the end of Brewers and Chewers at The Local Taphouse St Kilda

Best on Ground – Beers that made me say “mmm”

Brooklyn Brewery Anniversary Lager – stunning copper colour and great citrus, piney and candied sugar flavours

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Mountain Goat Rye IPA – ruby red grapefruit aromas that had me nose deep in my glass for a few minutes

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace – always stunning

Mornington Peninsula Imperial Stout – rich, lush and dangerously drinkable

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Cavalier Juniper Pale Ale – beer and gin had a baby

Bright Fainters Dubble – rich, spicy and fantastic

Croucher Black IPA – fruity hops with a great dose of coffee malt flavours with a little burnt toast finish

Brewcult Acid Freaks – balsamic vinegar and beer, who’d have thought? A sinful pairing.

Duckstein Coconut Porter – brings me back to being a kid and having lamintons at morning tea.

Feral / Wig & Pen Pig Pen – slightly tart and oh-so-refreshing

Moon Dog Selvmordstokt Cherry Wheat Porter – black cherry, chocolate and coconut. My GABS notes say “YUMMY”

Two Birds Brewing Taco – I am definitely a mexi-can

This list could go on and on … I should stop now and probably get myself a beer.

If found please return to … aka: Where I’ll be during Good Beer Week

Holy hop flowers Batman, I am SO excited. It’s just days until Melbourne’s Good Beer Week!

good beer week logo

Holy hop flowers Batman, I am SO excited. It’s just a couple of days until Melbourne’s Good Beer Week!

For those who aren’t aware Good Beer Week, as the name suggests, is a week long celebration of all things beer. There are events across Melbourne to suit everyone whether your’re a beer-nerd or just a little beer-curious.

Meet brewers, drink beer, have fun and survive – that’s my agenda for Good Beer Week but to be more specific, here is what I’m going to during Good Beer Week. Thank heavens for Google calendar …

Saturday 18th May

The Apple & The Goat – a lunch degustation with the guys from Melbourne’s Mountain Goat Brewery and New York’s Brooklyn Brewery

The Gathering – a Stone & Wood event showcasing their 2013 edition of Stone Beer is something I don’t want to miss and with these words included in the blurb it was hard to resist “Entry is free… and so are hugs from the brewer Brad Rogers”

Sunday 19th May

East versus West – Beer and Food Title Fight – Josie Bones in one corner representing Melbourne with Five Bar in the opposite corner punching for Perth. Who will win? Naturally I will be cheering on Five Bar with chef Mitch Mitchell, aka Beersine since he’s not only a great chef but all round good guy and once upon a time I was assistant manager at Five. Come on West!

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver Photography
Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver Photography

Monday 20th May

Prickly Moses Rare and Wild – four words, “rare aged reserve beers”. Sold.

Tuesday 21st May

Cavalier Creation Degustation – small batch experimental beers matched with amazing food, this will be a cracker! Plus I get to write about it for Crafty Pint and look extra super nerdy with my Google tablet for note taking. God I’m a dork.

Wednesday 22nd May

Brewers and Chewers – it’s three events in one – meet the brewer, musical chairs and speed dating; I’m in.

Thursday 23rd May

Beer and Cheese Experience – I’ve never been to The Local Taphouse so I figured what better way to introduce myself to the venue than to combine it with two of my favourite things – beer and cheese.

Friday 24th May

Birra del Borgo Collaboration Celebration – for me the Birra del Borgo Duchessic was one of those beers that comes along, totally blows you away and stays with you for ages. That’s why I want to go to this event – to meet the brewer and shake his hand and say thank you.

Duchessic (frame)

Saturday 25th

GABS baby! Oh year – the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular – jam packed with beers brewed especially for the festival aka “festival beers” all in the name of brewing creativity. I’m so very there!

Eagle Bay and Monk Collage
Brew Day – Eagle Bay and The Monk collaborating for the Cacao Cabana, one of the many many festival beers being debuted at GABS

Sunday 26th May

Boatrocker Palate Cleanser – finishing the week off on a sour note.

Oh and somewhere in those days I would like to fit in Pint of Origin too …

I’ve already packed a 30 pack of Berocca and extra strength Asprin, I think I’m going to need it!