Crafty Pint /
The sense of community within the craft beer world, both in Australia and elsewhere, is one of its most remarkable aspects. There is a willingness among businesses within the industry to share knowledge not always found in other industries as well as an eagerness to promote better beer as a whole rather than individual breweries or venues.
On top of that, there are frequently projects or ventures that seek to bring beer lovers and brewers together. And now, in the shape of the Community Hop Ale, we have another. It is one conceived by fledgeling Melbourne nanobrewery Make Beer and one in which The Crafty Pint is delighted to be a partner. What’s more, it’s all about hops. In particular, your hops, which are due for harvest any time now.
One half of Make Beer is beer rep Steven Germain (above right with We Make Beer partner in crime Dan). At his home, he has 12 hop plants that he will be harvesting this weekend. His intention was always to create a fresh hop beer with them and, in part inspired by the fact he may not have enough flowers to do a 100 litre batch justice and also by a desire to launch a community project, he decided it would be even more fun if said beer featured hops grown by other people in their respective backyards.
“Last year I had five plants growing at home and brewed a pilsner with them,” says Steven.“I took a bunch of cuttings and doubled the plantings, ended up with all these hops and figured we should do a fresh ale.
“I have friends that grow their own hops too so we came up with the idea of making it a bigger and more interactive project. The idea is that anyone who is growing hops at home and has some to spare can email me with what they have and how much they can donate – even if it’s just a handful or a small baggy – and we will then use all of them to create two kegs of a fresh hop beer called the Community Hop Ale. This never to be repeated beer will then be launched at an event at which everyone who has contributed some hops can come along in the knowledge that part of this commercial beer is theirs.”
Make Beer is one of the latest and most unique additions to the Australian craft beer scene. They brew just two 50 litre kegs of beer in each batch and have created some rather unusual beers in their short life. Ingredients used to date include chamomile, kaffir lime, lemongrass, chestnuts, raisins – even crispy bacon…
The plan is that this project will have rather greater longevity than some of these deliberately one-off beers. Once costs are covered, the intention is to donate proceeds from the sale of the two kegs to Melbourne venues to sponsoring a site through the not-for-profit group 3000 Acres. They do work around Melbourne converting unused plots of land into community gardens; the idea for the money raised by the Community Hop Ale – hopefully embellished by a contribution from the two venues from the sale of the beer – is to create a community hop garden. In other words, bring together the people involved in creating the beer to plant rhizomes on a plot and grow hops to be used in future Community Hop Ales.
The first step is the “call for hops”.
“I imagine that there are a few people around growing hops,” says Steven, “and also salivating over what to do with them. We wouldn’t want to take away from their prized whole cone homebrew so we we’re just asking for a handful or two from willing participants.
“Essentially, we don’t care what type of hops they are, it’s all good stuff. Everyone who throws in will be recognised and invited to participate in a beer event related to the creation they’ve helped shape.”
If you have hops and would like to get involved, all you have to do is email Steven via the address linked here with the title Community Hop Ale and include your name, address, contact number, the type of hops, quantity available and anticipated harvest date. Being on the road as a rep, he is happy to do some traipsing around the city making collections.
At this point, the beer style is yet to be decided; much will depend on what hops and how many are collected. And, while we have an idea of how and when the two kegs will be launched, this is still to be nailed down. However, time is of the essence with hop harvest season upon us. So, if you are about to pluck the cones from your lovingly tended bines, get in touch with Steven pronto.
Crafty Pint /
Almost a year ago to the day, we were sent a tweet from someone who had spotted a sign on the wall of a warehouse in Croydon. The sign read “The Public Brewery” and led to a few responses hoping that this meant craft brewing was about to stretch its tentacles of little further into Melbourne’s outer reaches.
These hopes were not in vain, with The Public Brewery’s opening as imminent as imminent can be. And not only is it almost here, but it’s also rather unique.
As well as operating its own microbrewery setup, it will have eight 50 litre kettles offering “brew on premise” for people wanting to come in and make their own beer, making it something of a kindred spirit of Brisbane’s Bacchus Brewing. And, on top of that, there is a bar with dining hall, a bottleshop, which opened a month ago stocked with beers from independent micros all over the country, and a selection of Victorian wines from the Yarra Valley.
The owners are on the hunt for a head brewer to head up their own production and offer guidance to anyone that wants to come in to brew their own beer (see advert here). And they took time out to tell us a little about their plans.
The brewery and venue is located in a converted seed and grain warehouse. They plan to run the first batch of beer through the system this week and estimate that their kitchen, which will focus on share plates and pizzas, will be ready in three weeks time, with the small batch kettles following soon afterwards; currently they are en route from Italy.
So why did they choose Croydon?
“One of the owners, Dale, has been based in Croydon running a cafe for the last nine years,” says Michael, “and has seen it grow and develop into an area where people are looking for something a bit different.
“Since we opened the bottleshop, there has been some great feedback from the public who are looking to try something new. We’ve been selling a range of products including Two Birds, Holgate, 3 Ravens, Hawthorn and Hargreaves Hill.”
For now, Dale will run The Public Brewery alongside his cafe, while Michael has left Dan Murphy’s after 13 years to handle buying and operations. Their plan for the bottleshop is to focus on independently owned breweries and change stock regularly. And the plan for the bar reflects that approach: once they have their own beers, they will share the taps with beer from fellow Australian brewers.
Not so long ago, criticism could be levelled fairly that Australian craft beer tended to be centred around the inner suburbs of the major centres or within popular wine/tourist regions and with little to be found elsewhere. Look around the country over the past year or so and it’s a situation that is changing rapidly. In fact, it’s becoming almost impossible to predict where the next microbrewery or craft beer bar will rise.
It’s a fantastic situation to witness as for better beer to become truly established it needs to be available to all and not seen as the preserve of inner cities or something you do while on holiday. So the best of luck to Dale, Michael and their team out at The Public Brewery. And don’t forget, if you’d like to be part of that team, they’re after a head brewer.
The Public Brewery is at 13 Lacey Street, Croydon.
Dale and Michael and beer
Dale, the owner & director described himself as an “interested beer consumer”.
Michael, the manager professes an “interest in small batch boutique beer”.
As for their favourite Aussie beers (before theirs are ready, of course…)
Dale – Stone & Wood Pacific Ale, Two Birds Golden Ale
Michael – Two Birds Golden Ale, Hargreaves Hill Hefeweizen
Crafty Pint /
The addition of Barossa Valley Brewing, Cromer Cellars and Embassy Craft Beer Bar to The Crafty Pint’s directories of craft beer awesomeness in the past few days suggest it’s time we did another one of our regular roundups of the brewery, bar and bottleshop listings added to the site in the past few months.
It turns out we’ve added a further 17 to the site since we last posted one of these, and we have many more to come. Apologies to those waiting patiently for their listings in Victoria, touch wood your local rep’s spine will start responding to one of the many forms of medication that’s been prescribed relatively soon so he can get behind the wheel of a car again. And, to those in New South Wales, there may be a slight delay as we’ve granted paternity leave to Crafty Pint NSW, who has just welcomed a Crafty Pot into the world. Congrats, Nick O!
Anyway, without further ado, if you missed their arrival on the site first time around, here are The 17…
Matso’s – Western Australia’s home of fruity, spicy beers that make stars of the local, topical flora and fauna around the brewery’s Broome home.
Thirsty Crow – This Wagga brewery, home of cult craft beer classic, the Vanilla Milk Stout, just turned three and is eyeing up major expansion.
Morrison Brewery – This Launceston microbrewery peddles a fine line in traditional, predominantly British and Irish inspired ales.
Barossa Valley Brewing – One of many Australian micros to call a wine region home, Barossa Valley has even been experimenting with wine in its beer.
Cromer Cellars – A crafty haven in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, run by a beer evangelist converting locals one quality drop at a time.
The Oak Barrel – A Sydney CBD bottleshop with an epic range and a nice line in beer events too.
Barny’s – In less than a year since new owners took over, this New South Wales bottleshop has developed a list of close to 1,000 craft beers.
TRU BRU – Australia’s first dedicated growler store has an aesthetic as unique as its approach, not to mention 20 fresh kegs of craft beer and cider on offer at all times.
McCoppins Abbotsford – Following a significant rebuild and renovation, the sister store to McCoppins Fitzroy has gone from being a good to a great crafty bottleshop.
Archive Beer Boutique – One of the first quality craft beer bars in Brisbane with an impressive tap and bottle list augmented by its adjoining, heavily stocked bottle shop, Next Door Cellars.
Embassy Craft Beer Bar – A major refurb, a fresh dedication to quality beer and a hatted chef in the kitchen has given Brisbane’s CBD a quality beer bar at last.
The Winston – With none of their locals serving good beer, Kris and Caroline Miles took over the pub nearest their home in North Hobart and swiftly made it awesome.
Dove & Olive – The transformation of Sydney’s bar scene in the past couple of years has been a joyous sight to behold, with Dove & Olive among those bringing craft beer to a new and eager crowd.
Prince Alfred Hotel Carlton – This former student pub in the heart of Melbourne’s University precinct has been reinvented as an old school locals' pub pouring beers from its local micros.
Markov – The rear half of this unique two-venues-in-one bar just off Lygon Street in Carlton is possibly Melbourne’s most refined beer bar, complete with 10 taps of craft and schmicko takes on pub classics on the menu.
The Catfish – What happens when a pair of beer, blues and bourbon-lovin' mates take over Melbourne bar. Comes with added Philly cheese steaks…
Belgian Beer Cafe Melbourne – You’ll still find plenty of taps pouring traditional Belgian drops, but in recent times this venue in the base of the Eureka Tower has added heaps of fantastic Australian and international crafties too.
There you go. That should be enough to keep you going a little while…
Crafty Pint /
One of a growing number of new brewing companies to hit the ground running in Australia in the past 12 months was Melbourne-based Monster Mash. The beery wing of the enterprise that had previously launched Golden Axe cider, one formed by brothers Callum and Nat Reeves (above right and left respectively), announced itself with an impressive Double IPA, swiftly followed up with an equally big and boisterous second beer, the Hopped Out Red.
Sadly, Monster Mash is no more. Thankfully, however, the demise is in name only, with the fledgeling company catching the attention of the company behind Monster energy drinks. Apparently, they felt this new brewing start-up threatened to create confusion in the marketplace and demanded they change their name. Thus, KAIJU! – Japanese for “strange creature” or more commonly translated into English as “monster” – is born, with the new business name revealed in time for the brothers' third release, a hoppy IPA called Metamorphosis that first hit taps on Saturday as part of the Craft Beer Rising event at The Terminus.
We posed a few questions to Callum about the unexpected bump in their otherwise smooth entry into the world of beer and cider production and also found out a little bit more about their intentions for Monster Mash/KAIJU!
Where did the Monster Mash name come from in the first place?
Our brewer, Nat, really loves beers with big hop and malt profiles. So that requires us to have bigger than normal, some might say “monstrous”, malt bills in the mash tun. And everyone knows the song Monster Mash from the 1960s, so we thought we could have fun with how we designed the labels and marketed the beers under that name.
When did you first hear that Monster had an issue?
We applied for a trademark on the name Monster Mash and on the very last day its registration could be opposed (several months into production), Monster’s lawyers opposed it. They then lodged a statement of grounds and particulars on the last possible day meaning the process has been pretty drawn out.
What was their reasoning?
They reckon consumers are likely to be mislead or deceived into believing that our beers are actually made by the energy drinks company, and that the mark is substantially identical or deceptively similar to a bunch of their trademarks. To be honest I’ve never had anyone ask me when we switched from making energy drinks to beers, but I guess not too many of our customers are likely to drink that kind of stuff.
Did you try to argue your case?
We’re such a small business that we just don’t have the money or energy to go to court with a huge, multi-national that sells billions of dollars worth of drinks each year. Even if we won, it would be a crippling process. We’ve got better things to do with our time (like make beer!) so we’ve decided to just change the name and put this behind us as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, we have to change immediately, meaning there’s packaging and branding and all kinds of stuff that we have to throw away. We’re up to the challenge though and our first KAIJU! Beer will be the METAMORPHOSIS IPA – I’m sure you won’t be surprised that it packs a pretty hefty whack of alcohol and US hops. Bottles will be a bit further away as we need to get the new branding designed and labels printed.
Why and where does the new name come from?
Kaiju refers to the massive creatures such as Godzilla in Japanese comic and movie culture. These weird creatures wreak havoc over cities and fight each other in epic battles. Since our designer Mikey first sent through the artwork for the Double IPA, we’ve talked about the creatures on our labels as Kaiju. They’re quite terrifying and odd, and sometimes even a bit cute at the same time, if that makes sense.
We’ve had a bit of fun with it, inventing stories around them, about how they look incredibly scary, but all they really want is to eat all the hops in the world. The intent with Monster Mash was to indicate that we make huge beers in terms of alcohol and hops, but also balanced and approachable. So I think the slightly goofy and humongous Kaiju are a pretty good fit with that.
Will it require you changing all of your branding and imagery?
We don’t need to change the imagery, which is a plus, because we’re more attached to the creatures than the name. So we do have a basis to start from. But we still need to get all of our branding re-designed and print up new labels, as well as all the posters, t-shirts and things that we already had made and can’t use or sell anymore.
It’s going to be a really expensive exercise for us to get all that done, so we are going to run a Kickstarter campaign to try to raise some money to go towards re-branding everything. Anyone interested in getting involved can sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep them up to date when it’s launched. We have some fun backer rewards planned.
On the subject of the imagery, who was it that you got to design the labels?
Clara [Callum’s wife] has a day job in computer game production and as part of that she’s always scouting for exciting designers. She had seen the work of Mikey Burton, a young designer from Ohio, and had wanted to work with him for some time but never had the right project.
When we first decided to make Golden Axe Cider, Clara said: “I know the perfect designer for this.” So we got in touch with him and we were all immediately excited to work together. The response to the Golden Axe design has been so positive that we never even considered anyone else for the beers.
So there you go. The hop-devouring monsters will continue to storm the Australian beer world undiminished, just wearing slightly different clothes. We’ll keep tabs on Callum and Nat’s plans for Kickstarter and let you know when the venture is launched.
Crafty Pint /
With less than 24 hours to go until the first Craft Beer Rising kicks off across Australia, there’s little left to be said. Thanks to all of the brewers and venue owners across the country who have put in effort to create an event for the day – a total of 97 Risings across the six states seems a pretty good result for an idea that popped up a few months ago to give the local industry we love so much a fun, little boost.
There’s some really colourful and creative things taking place tomorrow – live brews, sporting events, new brewery and beer launches, a hunt around Hobart, special offers and much more. A fair few places have embellished their original concepts over the past couple of weeks too so make sure you check back in to the website if you haven’t recently. It’s a shame we’ve had to postpone our trip to Newcastle, where we hoped to celebrate with a Pint of Origin Blind Tasting Double Header at the Grain Store, but they have lined up some incredible beers and fantastic brewers for what will be a great day as part of Newcastle Craft Beer Week.
The Crafty Pint team will be out and about calling into what events we can across the country – wearing our Craft Beer Rising T-shirts with pride, of course. Not quite sure how the pink one on the three-year-old Crafty Pot will be received, but what can you do?
If you haven’t yet decided how you will be raising a glass in celebration of our fantastic local brewers, their beers and the venues that support them, then you can find the latest state-by-state listings here:
Don’t forget we are offering up prizes for the best photos submitted to Instagram tagged with #CBR14. If anyone takes up our challenge to head to their nearest crap beer venue with a bottle of their favourite Aussie craft beer to donate to the manager and then gets a photo of him or her enjoying it, we reckon they’re in with a damn good chance of a prize.
So, have fun tomorrow. Feel free to drag (sorry, gently cajole) potential craft beer converts along for the ride. And enjoy the fact that the beer culture we have in Australia now is as wonderful as it is.
Huge thanks once again to the sponsors who have made this possible – Grain Store, Bintani, Hop Products Australia, Cryermalt and Good Beer Week – and to Code Create for the website and Andy Shaw for the awesome artwork.
The Craft Beer Rising Manifesto
Here are some ideas on how you could spend the day…
Head to your nearest brewery and share a beer with the brewer.
Go to your nearest participating venue pouring all Aussie beer for the day and join in the fun.
Take a trip down Memory Lane with the first Australian craft beer you ever enjoyed.
Gift a bottle or glass of your favourite Aussie craft beer to a mate who claims they don’t like beer.
If all your local venues sell crap beer, gift the landlord a bottle of your favourite Aussie craft beer and suggest they get with the program.
Crafty Pint /
The craft beer world is full of great beer, great people and great intentions. And all of those things can be found in a new venture launched today by Hop Products Australia (HPA) in conjunction with the men’s health charity beyondblue. The Tasmanian-based hop grower has announced that it is auctioning off the first 100kg bale of this year’s Galaxy crop, with all proceeds going to the charity’s Man Therapy project, which was launched in recognition of the significant mental health challenges men face, particularly in rural Australia.
The “Premiere Crop of the Hops” auction runs from March 5 to 13 and it is hoped it will attract bids not just from Australia but overseas too, with Galaxy having led the charge of Aussie hops into the hearts and glasses of brewers the world over.
Tim Lord, managing director of HPA (pictured above checking out a previous crop at Bushy Park), says: “The reality of the brewing industry is that it’s a male dominated industry. We chose to support a charity that best connects with the people who work alongside us each day."
He added: “In the past 10 years, HPA has transitioned from competing internationally at the mercy of a commodity based industry to thriving with a differentiated product offering in flavour and aroma hops. Harvest celebrates flavour and variety offered by our proprietary hops which is the key driver of successful beers in the booming craft beer industry.”
Brewers can register their interest here and bid live during an online auction hosted on allbids.com.au from March 5 at 12pm AEST. To ensure the auction appeals to large and small brewing operations, the bale will be auctioned off in 10kg packs and pelletised if required.
“The 2014 Premiere Crop of the Hops charity auction will follow the journey of the bale from paddock to pint,” says Tim, whose business last year conducted the largest replant in its history: propagating some 200,000 plants. “It’s a win-win for brewers. They get to explore an exciting brewing opportunity while helping combat an issue often forgotten – depression – especially amongst men.”
beyondblue CEO Kate Carnell AO says: “Research shows many men think that admitting they are struggling with mental health issues is weak. This is why 70 per cent of Aussie men who have symptoms of depression or anxiety don’t get the help they need.
“Man Therapy is aimed at bringing Australian men up to speed about depression and anxiety using humour. The website is hosted by a fictitious character called Dr Brian Ironwood, a straight-talking, irreverent man’s man who urges men to take charge of their mental health and get their life back on track.
“beyondblue hopes Man Therapy will not only improve understanding of depression and anxiety, but reduce embarrassment and shame, which can often stop men talking about how they’re feeling and stop them from taking action.”
The journey of the first bale will be documented through HPA’s social feeds (Facebook, Twitter and the company’s website), using photos and blog posts along the way to track the bale to the winning bidder. After it’s been awarded, the intention is to interview the brewer about what they plan to create.
Whoever wins and whatever beer the hops end up inside, we’ll let you know.
How the Auction Works
- HPA is auctioning the first Galaxy® bale of the 2014 crop in lots of 10kg with no reserve price.
- At auction close, the highest bidder of a 10kg lot will be offered the opportunity to purchase the entire bale (100kgs) at the winning bid per 10kg pack.
- The unsold packs will then be offered to the second highest bidder at their nominated price, and so on until all 100kgs have been allocated. HPA will cover the transportation costs within Australia and to any of their overseas customers.
- Winners will be notified via the ALLBIDS auction page and direct correspondence through HPA.
- If you require pellets, they will be provided to you in up to 10 x 10kg lots, depending on your share of the bale. HPA will honour the weight of the lots purchased regardless of shrinkage during the pelletisation process.
So, what are you waiting for, brewers – get ready to get bidding!