When Rabbits Attack

There were a few possible titles for this blog post – alternatives included “bunnies plague”, “bunnies take Melbourne” and “no, its rabbit season!”, the latter in my best Elmar Fudd voice.

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There were a few possible titles for this blog post – alternatives included “bunny plague”, “bunnies take Melbourne” and “no, its rabbit season!”, the latter in my best Elmar Fudd voice.

The bunnies and rabbits I am referring to are those of the beer variety, more specially those from the White Rabbit Brewery in Healesville, about an hour out of Melbourne. As a brand under the Little World Beverages (aka Little Creatures, aka Lion Nathan, aka Kirin) White Rabbit did a takeover of the Little Creatures venue in Fitzroy for Good Beer Week.

Takeover is certainly the best way to describe it. Not only did the taps pour wild with only White Rabbit beers but the venue itself was transformed. Yellow hazard tape covered every red cherub / flying baby / Little Creatures logo and a small forest was moved inside the venue.

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Each day they featured a brand spankers new White Rabbit beer. On the day we went it was the Grace Burn Ale, named after the pedestrian path going over the creek behind the White Rabbit brewery. It used American hop varieties simcoe and palisade, and a warm fermentation.

Hazy golden straw, fruity, soft and a little bitter, it was just lovely! It was a great warm up for another evening of Good Beer Week goodness and had we not have an event to go to we would have happily stayed for a few more!

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You can see the invasion of bunnies in this short video from the Little Creatures guys featuring my old work colleague and all round top guy Dave Myers.

And as a final send off for this post and something funny for Friday, did you know that there are two bunnies having “special time” on all White Rabbit packaging? Check the base of the tree towards the back left hand corner, seriously.

White Rabbit + Merrywell

The Merrywell (1)

I had not visited Crown, aka the casino formerly known as The Burswood since, well … since it was no longer The Burswood. A recent visit to Perth put me at The Crown Promenade so I had the chance to check out the area.

I have to say that I was impressed, now it actually looks and feels like a destination spot rather than a there’s-nowhere-else-open-at-3am-for-a-drink spot.

My partner and I decided to check out The Merrywell for dinner after which we rolled, full bellied and smiling, back to the hotel.

The inspiration for The Merrywell is loosely based on a kind of American diner feel, mashed up with lots of wood and dark browns, and thankfully without all the gaudy diner paraphernalia.

It was the usual beer list mystery bet when opening the menu. Will there be anything crafty or will it all be generic? Whilst it’s not a craft beer lovers delight it’s certainly got a few notables to keep you away from the bland end of the scale. Great names like White Rabbit, and Mountain Goat are there and there’s even long necks of Swan Draught.

I picked White Rabbit White Ale as my beer for the night, something soft and refreshing with lovely subtle spices and banana. Most of the dishes we selected had very bold flavours so the White Rabbit found it hard to match up with the assertive foods like BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas and Lollipop Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Fondue. However, it was a decent partner to the Pink Snapper Tacos, a slightly softer flavoured meal with subtle spices and White Rabbit also washed nicely over the Mini Beef Burgers.

Buffalo Wings & Tacos at Merrywell (2) Quesadillas and Mini Beef Burgers

girl + the big 3-oh

It’s my 30th birthday and I’ll drink beer if I want to … that was my motto last weekend and here are the main attractions …

It’s my 30th birthday and I’ll drink beer if I want to … that was my motto last weekend and here are the main attractions:

Friday 

Coopers Pale Ale

An Australian classic, consistently good, very tasty and a great starting point for delving into craft beers and very beery weekends!

Coopers Pale Ale
4.5% abv | 375ml bottles
Australian Pale Ale
Coopers Brewing | South Australia

Temple Midnight IPA

Soft, dark and down right lovely; a black IPA with great fresh hop characteristics and rich bitter roasty notes. It’s made from roasted “midnight” (hence the name) American wheat and Columbus, Centennial and Simcoe hops.

I picked it from the fridge to go with dinner which was Deep Fried Chilli Prawns with Hoi Sin Sauce & Garlic Prawn & Chorizo Pizza. I must admit I picked it without registering it was Black IPA so it wasn’t a food match win but it was still damn enjoyable!

It is the first Temple beer I have ever had, having heard nothing but rave reviews so when it came back into stock at The International Beer Shop I just had to have some.

Temple Midnight IPA
7% abv | 500ml
Black IPA
Temple Brewing Company | Melbourne, Australia
Friday Dinner
Deep Fried Chilli Prawns with Hoi Sin Sauce
Garlic Prawn and Chorizo Pizza

Saturday 

White Rabbit Dark Ale

As I was working at Little Creatures during the time White Rabbit was coming to life I was lucky enough to get a glimpse into the brewery before opening day and watch both the White Rabbit Dark Ale and White Ale hit the shelves. Like it’s sister brewery, Little Creatures, it’s making craft beer accessible in both price and taste.

The sun was out on Saturday but it has still been a chilly few days lately so I was looking for something dark but not heavy and White Rabbit Dark Ale fitted nicely. A good amount of hops in some subtle dark malts and not too much bitterness. It went very nicely with a couple of games of giant dominoes too!

Giant Dominoes + Beer

Colonial Keutebier – Limited Edition

An angry 5.6 % abv wheat beer; but angry in a really good way … feisty banana tones, spicy and and refreshing. A cloudy rich honeyed colour, it just begs to be consumed! I can’t wait to check out the next limited edition, a Baltic Porter, that is due for release in the coming weeks – luckily for me I got to  see the first batch being brewed!

Colonial Keutebier
5.6% abv | on tap at Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough
Keutebier (wheat ale)

Sunday

Feral / 2 Brothers Collaborator – Special Release

I’ve not had that much experience with brown ales but there’s plenty of time for me to fix that however the Feral / 2 Brothers Collaborator may have set my standards rather high. Beautifully hoppy with rich caramel sweetness, hints of stone fruit and spice and since it was made to celebrate 20 years of AIBA (Australian International Beer Awards) it seemed a fitting beer to celebrate my own little milestone – a mention of girl+beer in The Sunday Times STM!

The Collaborator takes its hat off to the AIBAs and the Australian brewing industry as a whole by using nothing but all Australian ingredients. Galaxy, Stella and Summer hops are used along with Pale, Crystal and Australian Oats. Read more about the Collaborator at Australian Brew News. Only 16 hectolitres were brewed for the AIBA awards and Melbourne’s self proclaimed beer-obsessed venue, Beer Deluxe, so getting my hands on two bottles from The International Beer Shop was quite the feat! I wonder how long until we open the second bottle!?

Feral / 2 Brothers Collaborator
5.5% abv | 330ml bottle
Feral Brewing (WA) + 2 Brothers Brewery (VIC)
Australian Brown Ale

Two Birds Sunset Ale

The two birds themselves, Jayne and Danielle, brew their beer at Southern Bay in Victoria and grew up right here in Perth. Sunset Ale is their second beer, following the summery fruity Golden Ale, and I thought it was going to be best enjoyed on the beach. We opened two bottles and sat down in the sun, on the sand and enjoyed the beach that was almost completely absent of people. It was an oh-so-lovely way to end a weekend!

Great rich stone fruit and biscuit characteristics, the Sunset Ale is brewed with US Citra and Australian Cascade hops with Pale, Wheat and crystal malts. This was another find from The International Beer Shop though you can find the Two Birds Golden Ale on tap at The Queens, Mt Lawley.

Two Birds Sunset Ale | Best Enjoyed on the Beach
4.6% abv | 330ml bottle
American Style Red Ale
Two Birds Brewing (VIC)
Loving Life with Two Birds Sunset Ales

So that was my great beery 30th birthday weekend – what more could a beer-loving girl ask for than her amazing boyfriend, beautiful craft beers, a nice pub and way too much food?! Brilliant!

Little Creatures + White Rabbit

Little Rabbit – a collaboration brew between sister breweries Little Creatures and White Rabbit made especially for the Good Beer Week Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS)

Coming Together …
White Rabbit and Little Creatures

Obviously Little Creatures + White Rabbit = Little Rabbit. It couldn’t have been any other name. There’s something about the words ‘White Creature’ that feel a little politically incorrect.

Whilst enviously reading through the Good Beer Week events I clicked to see what Little Creatures were going to be up to. Being a former Little Creature myself, I like keeping up with what they are doing. I used to spend my days driving around listening to Rage Against the Machine and  selling the almighty Pale Ale to bottle shops and bars. Despite a few years passing by I am fortunate enough to still know a few friendly faces at Little Creatures. As such, when I spotted a collaborative beer between Little Creatures and White Rabbit brewed especially for the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS) at Good Beer Week it caused me to pick up the phone. One email and a phone call later I learnt that a few kegs would be making their way back to Fremantle after Melbourne’s Good Beer Week. Availability outside the brewery was very uncertain, after all we are literally talking about just a handful of kegs, so I decided the only thing to do was to drive up to Fremantle and get it from the source.

Early days at White Rabbit Brewery
Healesville, Victoria
The Back Story: The White Rabbit Brewery in Healesville is brought to you by the same people as Little Creatures so perhaps it was only inevitable that a collaborative brew would hop-up (pun-tastic, I know. I’m sorry, please keep reading). White Rabbit beers, their White Ale and Dark Ale, are driven by yeast and open vat fermentation and letting the yeast be free (to a degree). Little Creatures is driven by hops and a naked flying baby. 

I gathered up two friends to come along for an adventure to Fremantle. We arrived at Little Creatures and head straight for the Brewhouse Bar (not the main hall), where you can taste beer and purchase some to take home with you, along with plenty-o-merchandise. It also gave me a chance to show off a little knowledge and point out where the bunnies are having sex on all White Rabbit branding (bottles, tshirts, packaging, it’s always there!).

Artwork is just one thing you’ll find at the Brewhouse Bar

We had a taste, chatted to the great Brewhouse Bar staff and glanced over the spec sheet. A taste was quickly followed by a pint. We sat in the sunshine, admiring the red Little Creatures bicycles and the assorted herbs and veggies growing in the surrounds.

The beautiful sunny day let Little Rabbit show off her appearance, light golden clarity and fluffy white head. The brew holds true to it’s White Rabbit father with Belgian yeast shining through, dry and a bit spicy. It’s Little Creatures mother imparts a little orange citrus and glimpses of passionfruit from her hops. The bitterness is long lasting and crisp, weighting in at about 37 IBU if my memory of the spec sheet that was at the bar serves me correctly.

Get down to Little Creatures and try this out, I have no idea if it will come around ever again but I know the batch I had won’t be around for long. They had already drained one keg when I was there and there was just two to go. Hop on in …

Check out the new Little Creatures website and if you want to stay up to date be sure to become a Hop Head!