GBW Day 3 : Marketing and Brewers & Chewers

Another great day of Good Beer Week stuff with a great branding panel in the afternoon and Brewers & Chewers in the evening

Good Beer Week, Day 3

Wednesday 17 May

THE ROYSTON

In an Uber on the way to The Royston, taking a street that seemed to be packed with endless speed bumps, I realised that perhaps I was a little dusty from the night before. When I got to The Royston in Richmond, I was delighted to find Feral’s Biggie Juice on tap – a beer I’d not managed to try back home in Perth – and I asked the bartender, Ed, to recommend good food for a slight hangover.

That’s when cheeseburger spring rolls entered my life and all the right in the world again!

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Cheeseburger Spring Rolls with Tomato Sauce, Mustard and Pickles and Feral Biggie Juice

MARKETING : MAKE YOUR BRAND TALK

In the late afternoon I headed to Beer Deluxe at Federation Square, otherwise known during Good Beer Week, as the Trade Hub. The hub has been hosting great talks and panel discussions and the opportunity to learn from some of the industries finest.

I attended panel called Marketing : Make Your Brand Talk hosted by Luke Robertson of Ale of a Time, a podcaster and journalist. The panel consisted of Lawrence from Colonial Brewing, Danielle from Two Birds Brewing and Steve from The Honey Bar and Chunky Media.

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L-R : Lawrence from Colonial Brewing, Danielle from Two Birds and Steve from The Honey Bar and Chunky Media

It was a great panel and discussion topic that potentially could have gone for hours if time permitted.

Steve from Melbourne’s The Honey Bar and co-founder of Chunky Media, recommended that if you don’t have much budget for social media, the best approach is to pick one channel and focus on it.

“Dive into something that’s the best reflection of what your brand can be,” Steve said and was quick to point out this isn’t always Instagram.

“Facebook controls the world,” Steve noted about social media advertising, stressing that there can be much benefit from taking the time to learn about Facebook advertising.

Lawrence from Colonial Brewing discussed their approach to social media by using different channels for the different aspects of their business that encompasses two breweries plus several venues across Western Australia and Victoria. Whilst Facebook is used for the venues and the brewery, Instagram is for their overall brand communications so there is lot of forward planning and coordination when it comes to social media.

“We have to be nimble and smart,”

Lawrence, Colonial Brewing

Danielle from Two Birds Brewing discussed the importance of making sure your social media is authentic and personal. “It’s important to have a legitimate voice,” Danielle said.

“We are fortunate enough to have a story that people like to tell,”

Danielle, Two Birds Brewing

“People care about individuals,”

Steve, The Honey Bar

On the topic of dealing with negative comments on social media, Steve, Lawrence and Danielle agreed it’s best to take the conversation out of the public comment section, not to avoid, but to speak directly to that person. The fact that the complaint was made, Lawrence says, can be positive if it means that person wants to engage in conversation with you. Steve agrees and believes they will appreciate that, as the brewer/owner responding to the complaint, they’ll appreciate you’ve have taken the time to acknowledge and reply.

Whatever you do, all three agree, is do not hit back.

“Don’t reply to a direct hit with a direct hit back,”

Danielle, Two Birds Brewing

As a woman in the beer industry, Danielle is often asked about this topic and also the branding of Two Birds which she actually credits to someone else.

“We didn’t come up with the name. Someone else did and we paid them,” Danielle laughed. They loved it and the reference to her and Jayne, the co-founder and brewer, as the ‘two birds’.

‘Believe it or not, not everyone gets it,” Danielle said to a pretty surprised audience.

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Two Birds T-Shirt
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Two Birds Brewery aka Two Birds Nest in Spotswood, Victoria

The brand isn’t, and never was planned, to be about targeting women, instead they see themselves as a “gender friendly brand” and much more about the brand being a direct reflection of her and Jayne’s personalities.

When asked about advice for a brands personality and brand plan, the panel had some great tips.

“Try not to be everything to everybody,” Danielle said. “Focus on one thing.”

Lawrence added however that you still need to have some flexibility, such as the opportunity Colonial recently had to get involved with the Essendon Football Club.

“You need to be fluid,” Steve echoed reminding the audience that a business plan is not a business reality until it actually happens.

“The market will tell you who you are,”

Steve, The Honey Bar

Whilst planning is important, Steve reminded people to pay attention to data. Whilst your brand plan might include a particular target audience, you may get data telling you another group are the people getting into your brand. You need to listen to what the data is telling you.

When it comes to making time for journalists and bloggers, Danielle admits that it isn’t always easy to find the time around everything else involved in running a brewery. “It can be frustrating but it is worth investing in,” Danielle said, “and we’ve noticed a dip in sales when we have shied away from PR.”

“There are always interesting stories coming from the brewery,”

Lawrence, Colonial Brewing

BREWERS & CHEWERS AT THE LOCAL TAPHOUSE

This, to me, is a staple on the Good Beer Week calendar. It’s a beer dinner that combines speed dating with a meet the brewer event and it’s held at one of the most iconic beer venues in the country, The Local Taphouse in St Kilda.

Catching up with a table full of great WA people

Over appetizer, entrée, main and dessert, eight brewers take a seat at a table each, giving you the chance to chat before the bell rings and they’re up and off to the next table and you get another brewer to talk to!

Duck and pistachio terrine, mustard fruit chutney and autumn leaves

The evening was expertly MC’d, as always, by Pete “Prof Pilsner” Mitcham who also made sure to get each brewer on the microphone for a short interview throughout the night.

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Adrian Walker from Firestone Walker (US)

Adrian describes the Double Barrel Ale as his “home coming beer”, the beer that, no matter where he drinks it, always makes him feel at home.

The Double Barrel Ale was the first beer they ever released, an English Pale Ale that is partially fermented in their oak barrel brewing system and then blended with beer fermented in stainless, Adrian estimates the approximate blend being 25/75 respectively.

You can follow Adrian on Twitter here.

During his interview with Pete “Prof Pilsner”, Adrian turned the interview into more of a speech and encouraged drinkers to speak up if they see any Firestone Walker older than 60 days and he also encouraged drinkers not to forget about their local brewers, saying “you should drink your local beer.”

Fuller's (UK) Black Cab Stout
John Keeling from Fuller’s (UK) with their Black Cab Stout

Served on nitro, Black Cab is a beautiful roasty stout with a light body, black coffee and dry finish.

“Great beers have personality and character,”

John Keeling, Fuller’s

John strongly believes that in order to have great beers you need to employ people with personality and character too; boring and dull people will result in boring a dull flavour.

My friend Dan looking pretty happy and who can blame him?! Roast pork bell, cumberland stuffing, confit garlic and thyme

 

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Renn Blackman from Blackman’s Brewing (VIC) with Arthur Smoked Porter

This beer is named after brewer and co-founder Renn’s great grandfather Arthur. An easy drinking porter with a smokiness that’s in balance with the beer instead of totally dominating it.

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Stu from Yeastie Boys (UK / NZ) with Big Mouth Session IPA

The Big Mouth Session IPA was beautifully citrusy and lime pithy with a crisp bitterness and the recipe is one that Stu made as a home brewer.

I think it’s also worth nothing the t-shirt that Stu choose for the dinner knowing that Joel (Dutch Trading Co and formerly Cellarbrations Carlisle) would be at the dinner and who had organised these t-shirts back in 2013.

Ryan Schmiege from Deschutes Brewing with their Passionfruit IPA

The passionfruit IPA does what it says on the label with lovely passionfruit flavours and soft malts in support.

Ryan told us about the new two barrel pilot system being installed back home whilst he was in Australia. Previously experimental batches were brewed at their Bend brewpub but Ryan is looking forward to using this new system instead.

Profiteroles
Profiteroles, vaniella creme, salted caramel, pistachio praline

The Wild Beer Co beer that was served was the Wild Goose Chase Farmhouse Ale, Andrew described this beer has an introductory sour beer. It was a beautiful farmhouse ale and made using their apple yeast culture. Andrew said the culture came from one of their employees who had a small orchard, they collected it and put it into fresh wort and were really happy with the results.

In addition to this apple yeast culture, the brewery uses many others including a house ale yeast, a Saison and Brettanomyces mix, a grape culture, a sourdough culture and a mix lacto and Brettanomyces strain.

 

Having had a few beers and being fans of Bruce Willis movie, The Fifth Element, we asked Dave early about the name Akasha which refers to the ‘fifth element’ and they have indeed made a beer referencing the movie – the Korben D IIPA.

Sven and Juan from Naparbier with host Pete Mitcham

The guys from Spanish brewery Naparbier, Juan Rodrigues and Sven Bosch, were very interesting to chat with and hence the lack of photos.

Brewer Juan was a home brewery for ten years before starting at Naparbier. Sven, CEO of the brewery, wasn’t shy in proclaiming Juan was one of the best brewers in Europe.

Located near Pamplona, Naparbier exports half of their beer. Their home country of Spain is still largely “wine country” but is now home to around 600 breweries.

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L-R : Steve from Local Taphouse, Stu McKinlay from Yeastie Boys and Guy from Local Taphouse

Congratulations​ to Steve, Guy and the whole Local Taphouse team on another great event!

Yeastie Boys PKB Remix + Gorgonzola

Beer and cheese are two of my favourite things – stupidly delicious with a huge arrays of flavours and they’re just so damn good together. Just like my beer journey, exploring cheese and beer pairings never ends and is first and foremost a lot of fun.

Beer and cheese are two of my favourite things – stupidly delicious with a huge arrays of flavours and they’re just so damn good together. Just like my beer journey, exploring cheese and beer pairings never ends and is first and foremost a lot of fun.

Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black Remix 2013 Black IPA 6.5%
Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black Remix 2013
Black IPA
6.5%

The Beer …

Yeastie Boys PKB (Pot Kettle Black) Remix 2013 – a black india pale ale from New Zealand. It’s got de-husked chocolate malt and three different hop varieties – Sauvin, Motueka and Wakatu … and yeah, you may have guessed it, they’re Kiwi hops.

The aroma of this beer reminded me of chocolate buttons, it took me right back to being a ten year old and walking away from the deli with a paper bag full of chocolate buttons. The beer was silky smooth with a dry and tropical fruit finish, the chocolate mellowed out as it warmed up and the chocolate dustiness jumped up.

The Cheese  …

Piccante is a style of Gorgonzola, more traditional and mature than it’s Dolce counterpart

You know you’ve abused your palate when you’re getting stuck into some gorgonzola and you think, “oh that’s lovely and mild”.

The Gorgonzola was Castel Regio Gorgonzola DOP Piccante from the Blue Cow Cheese tent at the Margaret River Gourmet Escape back in November and we’ve been slowly chipping away at it since.

Together  …

I wasn’t confident when I paired these two together but it really worked. The malty chocolate backbone of the beer seemed to go with the warm richness of the cheese. Perhaps it was also the contrast of tropical fruits in beer and saltiness from the cheese.

A Silly Analogy to sum things up …

Like a sketchy blind date your mum set up for you, going into this pairing felt like it could have gone either way – pretty good or very, very average. Luckily these two are great together!

Should you try this at home?

Definitely. I’d normally pair Gorgonzola with rich IPAs or barleywines but this was a delightful surprise!

Yeastie Boys PKB Remix 2013 and Gorgonzola

New Beer Week

5 nights + 5 incredible beers

My partner and I are in the process of moving back to Perth so we are slowly transitioning between the south west and P-town. This means that we are spending a few nights apart and so to sooth my aching heart I’ve been using beer – one new beer every night I’ve had the house to myself.

Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar 6.2% abv
Night 1: Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar
6.2% abv

This bottle was given to me some time ago accompanied by a boasting verbal review that this beer was sensational, that it was incredible, that it was amazing. With that sort of pressure, would it be possible for this beer to live up to such high expectations?

The answer is yes. Nice initial toffee apple sweetness with hints of green apple and a long dry finish. Each mouth full is warming but it’s hard to detect the six-something % ABV. It’s got a lot going on but is relatively light bodied that caught me by surprise.

Night 2: Boneyard Red Ale 2.9% abv
Night 2: Boneyard Red Ale
2.9% abv

I had no idea this was so low in ABV until I looked at the label. There was so much to smell in this beer – toffee apple, burnt caramel, biscuits, it was hard to keep my face out of the glass. The malts are well balanced with some mid palate fruity hops. The finish had a hint of tart/sour that was nice though I’m not sure whether it was supposed to be there.

Night 3: Brew Cult Acid Freaks 7.5% abv
Night 3: Brew Cult Acid Freaks
7.5% abv

Technically this isn’t a new beer for me. I fell in love with it at last years Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular and then bought some from Cellarbrations Carlisle.

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, this beer is genuinely interesting and well balanced, a great beer to sip on with food. The alcohol and balsamic are perfect together, there’s red berry flavours and a long soft finish that reminda me of red grape skin.

Night 4: Red Duck Gruitest 6.3% abv
Night 4: Red Duck Gruitest
6.3% abv

This is a damn sexy beer.

A beer without hops that instead uses a variety of herbs for putting in flavour. Stone fruit, berry, floral and apple cider aromas. There’s pretty much zip the way of carbonation and a nice dry finish with some under ripe apricots. It’s crisp, funky, more-ish and devilish hiding it’s 6.3% abv.

Night 5: Yeastie Boys PKB Remix 2013 6.5% abv
Night 5: Yeastie Boys PKB Remix 2013
6.5% abv

Another brilliant drop to finish a week of excellent beers. It smelt like chocolate buttons, I wanted to keep smelling it over and over again. The chocolate fades to a dry malty finish with some tropical fruits. As a black IPA this is certainly one of my favourite examples of the style.

Thanks beer for being such good company in lieu of my favourite company.

5 Minutes with Nick from Eagle Bay Brewing

Five minutes and five questions with Nick, head brewer at Eagle Bay Brewing

It’s that time of year when you are reminded how valuable it is to spend time with the important people in your life. I think we would all agree that our local craft brewers are very important people so here’s 5 minutes and 5 quick questions to get to know Nick d’Espeissis – head brewer at Eagle Bay Brewing – a little better.

Weighing husks, Photo Courtesy of Cannonball
Nick weighing cacao husks
Photo Courtesy of Cannonball
Finish this sentence: The WA craft beer scene needs more …

… days in the week!

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

Swan Draught, seriously!

What beer are you drinking right now?

Yallingup Coffee, not even lunch time yet! Loving the Feijoa Pale though

*note: Feijoa Pale Ale is the latest Eagle Bay Single Batch release which is a collaboration with New Zealand’s Yeastie Boys – available now (and I am keen to try soon!)

Best beer for drinking at a BBQ?

Eagle Bay Kolsch, the new hop bill working really well for those lazy summer days

Favourite beer and cheese pairing?

ESB and blue

Eagle Bay Single Batch American Brown Ale 5.6% abv
Eagle Bay beers

Saturday Night + The Pourhouse

The perfect place for a bunch of beer lovers go for dinner in Dunsborough to debate beer in cans versus beer in bottles, eat great food, check out something interesting off the beer taps and above all else, have a chat and a laugh and good catch up.

Anyone who’s worked hospo will tell you that the best thing about the job isn’t necessarily free and/or cheap booze (depending on your current level of alcohol intake/tolerance/consumption/addiction) but it’s the people you meet. Customers, work mates, booze reps and every person in between, there are some fantastic people around and if you’re really lucky, like me, after you’ve left the bar, you keep in touch and get together for wee shandy or two. Saturday night was one of those nights.

It was our first evening visit to ‘the-bar-formerly-known-as-The-Malt-Market’. Normally our trips to The Pourhouse are in the afternoon and involve playing a few board games, usually inventing slightly altered versions such as Speed Chess. This involves going through the game at breakneck speed and though it sounds relatively simple but it’s not, especially when you’re opponent is waving his arms about and screaming “hurry up!” but at least it’s entertaining.

For those who have not been to The Pourhouse, be sure to add it to your South West to-do-list. It’s a fabulous beer bar with a regularly rotating list of tap beers, dominated by local breweries, plus an expansive list of bottled beers. They’ve got great food served in good time by smiling staff members so combine this with interesting beer and it’s no wonder I like this place. Recently they have teamed up with Eagle Bay Brewery to encourage beer culture in Dunsborough, creating Growlers that can be purchased and refilled at either venue. Happy Days! Growlers appear to have exploded in the last couple of months and bring it the F on, I say! [Click here for more details on The Pourhouse and other great Dunsborough spots]

So we were in a great beer venue and now add in great company (apart from each other, of course!), dining and chatting a lot about beer with Scott & Jess, fellow beer lovers and all round super nice people. They also bought me a wonderful present of Mountain Goat Cross Breed Pepperberry IPA. It’s not often I walk out of a bar with a full unopened beer bottle stuffed into my handbag, I’m sure that wasn’t one of the envisioned items Mimco considered when designing their range of bags.

Burger at The Pourhouse
Tasty and Big!

I started my night with the Renaissance Voyager IPA off tap, an English style IPA brewed in New Zealand. Since I’ve been hammering my palate with American IPA for quite sometime it was nice to change it up a little. Floral and a little spicy, my boyfriend noted some upfront toasty qualities in there too. A lovely little IPA as an opening act. They also offered up their Elemental Porter on their taps if you were looking for velvety dark chocolate tones. Since there was driving to be done later I switched happily to Rogers’ from Little Creatures, Fremantle. Perhaps not the ideal match with my dinner of Mussels Cooked in Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier, Garlic and Shallots but neither detracted from the other. The mussels were big and plump and tasted sensational, I’m normally a fan of chilli mussels but this was light and delicate (much like me, *ahem*) and still full of flavour. The Burger was also very tasty and big, no small portions here folks! But there was just enough room to finish the evening by sharing a bottle of Pot Kettle Black, another great New Zealand production, from the Yeastie Boys. Black and hoppy and always a favourite, it’s always far too long between visits because you fall in love with it every single time. Try it and tell me it’s not true!

We had been debating the idea of beer in a can, debating whether it could take off in Australia rather than actually being fans of the idea (which we all were incidentally) and as though it was planned (though it was only coincidence) Brewdog Punk IPA in it’s two lives appeared – can and stubbie. Only 3 months separated the batches.  The bottle was a little hazy with more pronounced bitterness whilst the can was brighter with more floral and grapefruit elements dominating. It was an interesting exercise, thank you Jess! [check out her photography at www.jessicashaver.com] And one I am sure I’ll repeat down the track.

It was great to look around the bar and see growlers hanging from the ceiling, guys and girls with Brewdog Punk IPA, Weihenstephaner glasses, Gauloise Blonde and a variety of glassware for each – beer lovers get down to The Pourhouse, play some games, drink some beer and be sure to get a serve of the Chilli Squid and Chorizo to snack on.

Chilli Squid and Chorizo
The Pourhouse