May 20th, 2014 by Crafty Pint
Event: Good Beer Week Presents the Masterclass of Madness
Venue: Moon Dog Brewery and Rockwell & Sons
Date: May 17
Good Beer Week Stream: Beer Geek
This was the third Good Beer Week local/international collaborative brew event following the Masterclass of Champions featuring Moylan’s and Nogne O at Hargreaves Hill in 2012 and the Big Apple and the Goat featuring Mountain Goat and Brooklyn Brewery last year.
As soon as the festival had received confirmation that John Maier, the head brewer at Rogue Ales for the past quarter century, was coming to Melbourne there was no question of who he should be brewing with. And thus it was that on the opening Saturday of Good Beer Week he rocked up to Moon Dog to oversee the creation of a rather large barley wine that will feature, among other things, some hops smuggled in specially for the brew by John from Rogue’s own 40 acre hop farm in Oregon. It was also see the inside of three different Rogue spirit barrels and be released four ways.
The 30 guests arrived with the brew underway, tucked into some breakfast and coffee (okay, no one really wanted coffee when there were four Rogue and four Moon Dog beers on tap and flowing freely and free of charge all day) and the day was introduced. Once settled in, the group was split into two, with one joining Josh and Karl from the host brewery for a tour, tank tastings and to throw some hops into the beer. The other group joined yours truly and Mr Rogue and his wife, Stacey, for an intimate Q&A session all about his life in brewing and some of the crazier beers he has attempted over the years. As a softly spoken chap, there may have been some guests straining in to hear what he said but what he had to say was never less than fascinating and he was open and honest about the origins of some of the wilder releases from Rogue.
It was also fascinating to discover that much of his inspiration comes from still hanging out with all of his homebrewing buddies, some of whom have appeared on the labels of his beers.
Pouring at the brewery on the day were beers that included Rogue’s latest release, the delicious 7 Hop Ale that features all seven varieties grown on their farm.
The two groups swapped over after an hour and then, as lunchtime approached, a bright pink pole dancing bus appeared outside the brewery to move everyone to the second part of the day. The choice of music wasn’t everyone’s taste on the bus â with the journey rather longer than it needed to be after the driver headed down a dead end at the rear of CUB’s Brewery â but one game guest did get up for a spot of dancing on the pole; the day was entitled the Masterclass of Madness so what other transport would have sufficedâ¦?
The second part of the day was a superb, beery feast at Rockwell & Sons. Head chef Casey Wall had created a fantastic four course lunch based around four beers from each brewery. The restaurant may have become best known for its Double Patty Smash and incredible fried chicken but here his culinary skills really came to the fore, with dishes that were both elegant and thoughtful and in some cases wildly creative. John and Stacey moved through the four tables, the beer continue to flow and the guests can now look forward to returning to the brewery in a few months time when the beer is ready to be launched so that they can be the first to taste the beer they help brew and take a bottle home.
The aforementioned 7 Hop was a cracker, while Moon Dog’s Jukebox Hero shone even in the company of Rogue’s Yellow Snow IPA.
Drinking Rogue’s Beard Beer within half a metre of the beard from which its yeast was originally sourced was rather entertaining. Meanwhile, in the company of Casey’s malty, chocolatey, fruity dessert, even the latest Voodoo beer (beers which Jon admits come from the marketing department and which tend to lead him to shake his head in bemusement) was rather delicious.
The arrival of the Pole Dancing Bus raised more than a few eyebrows.
The Beard Beer moment.
And a suggestion to John that we take a swab from the poles on the bus to create another beer…
Having yet another top international brewer in one of our local breweries just chillin' and having a great time.
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Copyright David Lynch