News - Crafty Pint /news 2014-07-30T00:00:00Z Band of Brewers /news/post/band-of-brewers/ 2014-07-30T00:00:00Z james <p>
It was only a matter of time before something like Band of Brewers happened in Brisbane. There&rsquo;s an unfathomable amount of beer love around town so it should be no real surprise that local craft brewers have taken the community spirit one step further and come together as one.
 Spearheaded by Fortitude Brewing Co&rsquo;s national sales manager Dan Rawlings, the Band of Brewers is a new collective of brewers from South East Queensland that plans to release a collaboration beer every few months. And it&rsquo;s one that will evolve too because the representative craft breweries &ndash; and their brewers &ndash; will diversify every so often. 
</p> <p>
The plan is that every participating brewery will take a turn in hosting and producing a batch of beer. The first brew took place recently at Fortitude&rsquo;s Noisy Minor brewery. In the driving seat were Ian Watson (Fortitude &ndash; above left), Simeon Bonetti (Brisbane Brewing Co &ndash; above right) and Mark Howes (Newstead Brewing &ndash; above centre).
The next brew will take place at Newstead and the third will be hosted by Brisbane Brewing Co.</p> <p>As the foundations are laid and the Band grows, more breweries will come into the mix and others will take a step back.
</p> <p>
"There are no set rules with the Band of Brewers,&ldquo; says Dan. "It&rsquo;s supposed to be fun with no set timeframes and certainly no boundaries. It&rsquo;s a great opportunity for local production brewers to stamp their name on a beer and shine.</p> <p>&ldquo;This time around, for brew number one, three head brewers have taken the reins. However, next time there&rsquo;s absolutely no reason why somebody that works in the background at, say, Newstead for example, can&rsquo;t devise the concept for our second beer.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s also a fantastic chance for everybody to learn new techniques on different, unseen brewing systems. It really is all about sharing the love that is craft beer in Brisbane.
&rdquo;</p> <p>As for the beers that will bear the Band of Brewers banner, Dan hopes that they will explore new avenues or experiment with new ingredients rather than plunder reserves of hops or aim for massive alcohol content.</p> <p>
"We all want to use the Band of Brewers as a platform to explore things that we&rsquo;ve never tried before such as brewing with ingredients that aren&rsquo;t used everyday,&ldquo; he says. "This will be a common theme. We aren&rsquo;t out to set records with big ABV beers. We want to show Brisbane what can be achieved by funnelling our communal desire to brew good, craft beer.&rdquo; 
</p> <p>For 
Mark, the appeal is very much around engaging with his crafty comrades.</p> <p>
"The whole concept of Band of Brewers is very exciting. We get to share ideas and thrive on each other’s perspectives,&ldquo; he says. "We want to give something back to Brisbane that we &ndash; as a craft beer community &ndash; can be proud of. As a collective with a single identity we&rsquo;re able to showcase what we can do at a different level.&rdquo;</p> <p>With such an enthusiastic beginning to what promises to be an adventurous journey, Brisbanites can certainly expect a few treats. At present, there are no immediate plans to bottle any of Brisbane&rsquo;s free flowing beer love; instead each brew will generate a limited amount of kegs which will be tapped at selected venues across Queensland&rsquo;s capital.</p> <p>The brewing of the first batch appears to have passed without incident.</p> <p><img alt="Band-of-Brewers-logo" class="med_right" src="" title="Band-of-Brewers-logo" /></p> <p>
"We had a blast!&ldquo; says a jovial Sim. "The hosting brewery was super hospitable. Special thanks to the Dan Rawlings personal taxi service up and down the mountain complete with cock-rocking beats and corny jokes! Everyone enjoyed an eye-opening exposé of the brewery and went home with a new trick for their own kit. Beery ideas and anecdotes were thrown around like paper planes in a playground.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was such a good feeling being surrounded by like-minded people who share, love and care for the good beer industry."
</p> <p>Details surrounding the inaugural Band of Brewers beer are currently a closely guarded secret. What we do know is that it will feature at the Band&rsquo;s official launch at South Bank&rsquo;s Tomahawk Bar on a date yet to be finalised. To maintain an air of suspense in the lead up to this and future releases the Band of Brewers are urging those with an interest to keep an eye on social media for clues.
Follow the Band of Brewers of <a href="">Facebook</a>, Twitter and Instagram (@bandofbrewersbrisbane).</p> <p><em>Darren Magin is the author of the increasingly inaccurately named <a href="">250 Beers blog</a>.</em></p> The Best Of Aussie Craft /news/post/the-best-of-aussie-craft/ 2014-07-29T00:00:00Z james <p>A new competition that will allow Australian craft brewers to pit their beers against each others launches next week. The inaugural Craft Beer Awards: the Best of Australian Brewing is a new venture by the Craft Beer Industry Association (CBIA) that will focus its attention solely on beers produced by smaller Australian breweries. Entries open next week with judging set to take place over two days during this year&rsquo;s Sydney Craft Beer Week before awards are presented at a ceremony on October 24 at which beer lovers are encouraged to join brewers at the Giant Dwarf Theatre for a night of Aussie craft beer, canapes and BBQ food.</p> <p>The awards are open to any brewery or brewing company based in Australia that is eligible for CBIA membership, which includes those with an output of up to 40 million litres per annum.</p> <p>“We are very excited by this,” says CBIA chair Dave Bonighton. “The CBIA’s purpose is to be the independent voice shaping and driving the future of Australian craft beer and holding our own awards has always been an important part of achieving this.</p> <p>“Competitions have many benefits for the industry: quality improvement, professional development for participants and providing further marketing opportunities for the successful beers among them. Being able to put Champion Australian Craft Beer on the side of the bottle will be a major coup for one Australian brewer.”</p> <p>The awards will slot in alongside a number of existing commercial beer competitions in Australia. The Australian International Beer Awards is now a quarter century old and pits the best of Australia &ndash; craft and otherwise &ndash; against hundreds of entries from across the globe. Then there are a number of state-based awards, such as the the Sydney Royal Beer &amp; Cider Show, the Perth Royal Beer Show, the Royal Adelaide Beer Awards and the Royal Queensland Food &amp; Wine Show Beer Competition.</p> <p>The aim with the Craft Beer Awards is to offer something that is exclusively Australian and craft by CBIA&rsquo;s definition and also truly national.</p> <p>Says Dave: “Up until now the Australian brewing industry has been lucky enough to have had the Australian International Beer Awards and the respective state based competitions but we have never had a national competition focused solely on craft beer. The Craft Beer Awards will allow Australia’s craft brewers to have their beers benchmarked against those of their peers."</p> <p>The lineup of judges features a host of experienced faces, many of whom have judges overseas as well as at Australian competitions, including two from overseas <em>(see below for full list)</em>. The CBIA is also establishing an Associate Judges programme to &ldquo;bring on the next generation of judges&rdquo;; details to follow soon.</p> <p>Entries will be judges in nine categories (to be confirmed next week) with trophies awarded to the best beer in each category. The trophy winners will then be judged against each other with the winner taking the title of Champion Australian Craft Beer.</p> <p>Awards will also given out to the best performing Large (300,000 to 40 million litres per annum), Medium (50,000 to 299,999 litres per annum) and Small (up to 49,999 litres per annum) breweries .</p> <p>A new award is also being introduced: the CBIA Services to Australian Craft Beer award, which &ldquo;will be the chance for the industry to recognise one of the many individuals whose tireless efforts have helped build this fantastic industry,” according to Dave.</p> <p><a href="" title="Craft_Beer_Awards_Logo_PRIMARY" > <img alt="Craft_Beer_Awards_Logo_PRIMARY" class="med_right" src="" title="Craft_Beer_Awards_Logo_PRIMARY" /> </a></p> <p>Entries open on August 4, with judging taking place on October 21 and 22 and awards being presented at a ceremony on October 24. Full details of the Craft Beer Awards including style guidelines, entry fees and the judging system will be available on the Craft Beer Awards 2014 page of the <a href="">Craft Beer Industry Association website</a> from August 4.</p> <p>The awards presentation ceremony will be held at the Giant Dwarf Theatre, 199 Cleveland Street, Redfern. Guests will be able to sample from a wide range of beers that have been entered in the awards while dining for the evening will be provided by David O’Brien of Food Rascal: a range of canapés and a BBQ serving Ranges Valley Wagyu brisket and Kurobuta pork-shoulder rolls.</p> <p><em>Tickets cost $95 and are available through the <a href="">Sydney Craft Beer Week website</a>. The full program for this year&rsquo;s festival is now live too.</em></p> <p><strong>CRAFT BEER AWARDS JUDGES</strong></p> <ul> <li>Richard Adamson &ndash; <a href="">Young Henrys</a></li> <li>Dave Bonighton &ndash; <a href="">Mountain Goat</a></li> <li>Neal Cameron &ndash; <a href="">Australian Brewery</a></li> <li>Michael Capaldo &ndash; <a href="">Sydney Brewery</a></li> <li>Dave Edney &ndash; Mountain Goat</li> <li>Sam Füss &ndash; Young Henrys</li> <li>Justin Fox &ndash; <a href="">Colonial Brewery</a></li> <li>Andrew Gow &ndash; <a href="">Mornington Peninsula Brewery</a></li> <li>Chuck Hahn &ndash; Lion</li> <li>Scott Hargrave &ndash; Byron Bay Brewery</li> <li>Paul Holgate &ndash; <a href="">Holgate</a></li> <li>Matt Houghton &ndash; <a href="">Boatrocker</a></li> <li>Will Irving &ndash; <a href="">Feral</a></li> <li>Brennan Fielding &ndash; <a href="">Burleigh Brewing</a></li> <li>Owen Johnston &ndash; Hop Products Australia</li> <li>Ian Kingham &ndash; Woolworths</li> <li>Ben Kraus &ndash; <a href="">Bridge Road</a></li> <li>Jayne Lewis &ndash; Two Birds Brewing</li> <li>Lachlan MacBean &ndash; Grainfed</li> <li>Tina Panoutsos &ndash; CUB</li> <li>Warren Pawsey &ndash; <a href="">Little Creatures</a></li> <li>Nick Sanderly &ndash; <a href="">Stone &amp; Wood</a></li> <li>Shawn Sherlock &ndash; <a href="">Murray’s</a></li> <li>Bradford Tetlow &ndash; Lion Nathan, NZ</li> <li>Brian Watson &ndash; Good George, NZ</li> <li>Brendan Varis &ndash; Feral</li> <li>Scott Vincent &ndash; <a href="">Matilda Bay</a></li> <li>Chris Willcock &ndash; <a href="">4 Pines</a></li> </ul> Copy That /news/post/copy-that/ 2014-07-28T00:00:00Z james <p>There is an American style India pale ale brewed in the heart of WA’s Swan Valley that took home the trophy for Champion Australian Beer at this year&rsquo;s Australian International Beer Awards. By name it’s an animal, but it’s probably not the beast you think it is&hellip;</p> <p><a href="">Mash Brewing</a>, based in WA&rsquo;s Swan Valley, took out the top beer trophy for Copy Cat, an American style IPA (AIPA) first brewed earlier this year as a draught-only release but now out in bottles too. Head brewer at Mash, Charlie Hodgson <em>(above left at the brewpub)</em>, named the beer as a tongue in cheek reference to the proliferation of AIPA beers being released by craft brewers across the country.</p> <p>&ldquo;We thought we would play copy cat with the style and essentially turn our Pale into something big and brash and go to town with some of our favourite hops,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>It is Charlie’s first stab at an AIPA and not too shabby for that, whether according to the AIBA judges or those hop-loving drinkers who have been lucky enough to try the beer. Normally someone who favours traditional English style beers &ndash; the ones with which he cut his teeth as a home brewer &ndash; Charlie found the buzz around heavily hopped pale ales hard to ignore and decided to challenge himself to create his own.</p> <p>“I love designing and refining beers and get a huge amount of job satisfaction out of what I do here,” says Charlie of his two-and-a-half years at Mash, the brewery he joined after time spent at fellow WA brewery Gage Roads. Already a fan of Mash beers when he started &ndash; and the man the brewery&rsquo;s owner had wanted to install as head brewer from day one before he opted for Gage – when he finally arrived at the brewery in West Swan Road, he felt it needed a little focus and began working at putting his own spin on the beers.</p> <p>“We are fairly traditional brewers with a subtle twist,&ldquo; he says. "We love to throw in old school raw materials like peat and rauch [smoked malts] and always have something with rye in it.”</p> <p>The latest rye brew is a 4 percent ABV rye porter which Charlie describes as “a classic, subtle new age spin on a beer style that originated a couple of hundred years ago &ndash; without going nuts on it."</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="Mash-Charlie-and-awards" class="med_right" src="" title="Mash-Charlie-and-awards" /> <blockquote><p>Charlie and his AIBA trophy haul</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>With the release of their new rye porter just around the corner and their Copy Cat AIPA unleashed in bottles it feels like Mash are about to make a little noise. It&rsquo;s a noise that should be heard on a much wider scale than it would have been just a couple of years ago. After some earlier, less than successful, attempts to send beer across the Nullarbor to the east, Mash owner Brad Cox had been looking for a second brewery on the East Coast where the brewery&rsquo;s beers could be brewed fresh for the country&rsquo;s largest beer market.</p> <p>When Melbourne&rsquo;s <a href="">3 Ravens</a> was put up for sale following a dispute between its owners, he stepped in, Mash became the new owners and the brewing team in Melbourne added some of Charlie&rsquo;s recipes, such as the Challenger English IPA, to their schedule.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a combination that has delivered results Brad could never have imagined. As well as Mash taking home the Champion Australian Beer, 3 Ravens took out Best British Ale and Champion Small Australian Brewery this year. The hook up means that Copy Cat isn&rsquo;t just been brewed in greater volumes for the West Coast but is now being brewed, kegged and bottled at 3 Ravens for the rest of the country too.</p> <p>“We need to make hay whilst the sun shines and while our name and brand is in the spotlight,&ldquo; says Charlie, "and show the public how good and consistent all our beers are.</p> <p>&ldquo;Mash in my opinion is and has been a bit of a sleeper in the craft beer drinkers' opinions. Hopefully this will earn us some cred and we can show off what we can and have been doing week in and week out since the brewery opened in 2006.&rdquo;</p> <p>Mash Copy Cat is available at <a href="">Cellarbrations at Carlisle</a>, <a href="">Mane Liquor</a>, Aubin Grove Liquor and <a href="">Cellarbrations at Willagee</a> in WA already with more stockists to come and deliveries of the East Coast version (whose hops pretty much destroyed the filter at 3 Ravens) began to craft beer venues last week.</p> <p><em>Pia Poynton writes the <a href="">girl + beer blog</a> and handles the <a href="">Crafty Pint WA</a> Twitter account.</em></p> Craft On The Rise /news/post/craft-on-the-rise/ 2014-07-24T00:00:00Z james <p>New figures just released from a nationwide survey seem to support what we know: craft beer is on the march. Figures from a pool of approximately 20,000 Australians questioned about a range of habits by Roy Morgan Research indicate that the number of people in Australia over 18 drinking a &ldquo;craft beer&rdquo; in any given four-week period rose from 3.5 percent in 2010 to 5.7 percent in 2014. They believe this means the number of Australian adults trying craft beer has crept past the one million mark for the first time.</p> <p>Before we go on – and without wishing to be drawn into any debate over exactly what craft beer is or isn&rsquo;t – a little clarification as to how the research was carried out. The questionnaire completed for Roy Morgan by 20,000 people includes questions on a whole range of topics, including habits surrounding alcohol. In both 2010 and 2014, respondents were asked if they had consumed any of the following five beer brands in the preceding four week period: Matilda Bay Beez Neez and Fat Yak, Cascade Pure (now discontinued), James Squire and Little Creatures.</p> <p>Leaving aside how &ldquo;crafty&rdquo; you might consider some of these, that the same spread of people responded to the same questions about the same brands four years apart and the results indicated an increase of more than 60 percent over the four years is a positive sign. What&rsquo;s more, respondents told researchers that those of them consuming mainstream beer had declined from 36.7 percent to 31.9 percent, with imported beer consumers up from 14 per cent to 17.3 percent. This research is different from that measuring volume of beer consumed, where total &ldquo;craft beer&rdquo; consumption is believed to have crept beyond 3 percent, including Matilda Bay, James Squire and Little Creatures, with approximately 1 percent of beer volume consumed in Australia produced by the country&rsquo;s small, independent breweries.</p> <p>According to the report from Roy Morgan, entitled &ldquo;Nothing bitter about craft beer’s rising popularity&rdquo;, the growth is strongest among 25 to 34-year-olds:</p> <p><em>&ldquo;The growing popularity of local craft beer is being driven predominantly by those under 50, with 25-34 year olds leading the way. In 2010, 7.9 percent of 25-34 year olds drank craft beer in an average four weeks, but this has since grown to 10.7 percent.</em></p> <p><em>People from New South Wales and Queensland have taken to craft beer with particular zeal. Between 2010 and 2014, NSW’s craft beer drinkers grew by 186,000 people, while in Queensland an extra 99,000 developed a taste for it.</em></p> <p>Lead researcher Angela Smith told The Crafty Pint: &ldquo;You are seeing most alcohol in decline, so it&rsquo;s a nice story to see [craft beer] is growing. There is a lot more interest. The good news is that it&rsquo;s got over that one million mark.&rdquo;</p> <p>You can read more about how they carried out their research &ndash; and find out how to order more detailed reports &ndash; <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <a href="" title="Roy-Morgan-craft-beer-research" rel="lightbox"> <img alt="Roy-Morgan-craft-beer-research" class="med_right" src="" title="Roy-Morgan-craft-beer-research" /> </a> <blockquote><p>The rise and fall of Aussie beer habits</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>Dave Bonighton, co-owner of Melbourne&rsquo;s Mountain Goat and head of the national Craft Beer Industry Association (CBIA), says: &ldquo;Those figures don&rsquo;t seem crazy. It&rsquo;s really hard for me to speak with any certainty [without knowing more about the research] but I&rsquo;m really optimistic about where craft beer is going. We&rsquo;re still working off a low base and still have a long way to go to catch up with countries that we compare ourselves to, such as New Zealand and the US.</p> <p>&ldquo;But if we can double the number of people drinking craft beer and double it again then we can start talking about good numbers.&rdquo;</p> <p>In Spring, CBIA will send out its own surveys to all Australian breweries as it looks to assess the size and growth of the local industry, measuring employees, total output and the like. The first survey was sent out in September last year.</p> <p>*Anyone wishing to find out more about the Roy Morgan research can reach Angela Smith on (02) 9021 9101 or by emailing <a href=""></a>.</p> Melbourne's Top Pubs /news/post/melbourne-s-top-pubs/ 2014-07-22T00:00:00Z james <p>Several of Melbourne&rsquo;s top craft beer venues were among those honoured at the inaugural Time Out Melbourne Pub Awards. Pub of the Year went to <a href="">The Terminus</a> in Fitzroy North, People&rsquo;s Choice went to <a href="">The Local Taphouse St Kilda</a> and Best Beer List went to the startling success story that is <a href="">The Park Hotel</a> in Werribee. Other gongs on the night went to Fitzroy&rsquo;s Rose Hotel, which picked up the Legend Award, the Builder Arms took Best Pub Food and the owners of Footscray&rsquo;s Reverence claimed Publican of the Year, with Best Family-Friendly Pub going to the Edinburgh Castle in Brunswick, Revival Award to the Savoy Tavern in the CBD and Best Entertainment to Mick Thomas' Yarra Hotel.</p> <p>The awards took place last night (Monday) at the Gasometer, opened by Time Out editor and recently published author of <em><a href=";book=9781760110819">Cherry Bomb</a></em>, Jenny Valentish, before the mic was handed over to <a href="">Good Beer Week</a> co-founder Miro Bellini for the remainder of the evening, which, in a neat touch, ended with him handing the top prize to the owner and manager of the pub that has been Good Beer Week&rsquo;s Festival Hub for the past two years.</p> <p>Being named Pub of the Year continues a fantastic run for The Terminus. Long renowned for the quality of its restaurant, it was transformed little more than a year ago when a drive-thru bottleshop was demolished and replaced with a &ldquo;craft bar&rdquo; and beer garden. Now it has 32 taps pouring 16 frequently changing beers, two kitchens offering differing cuisine and staff that know their stuff &ndash; yet remains a pub where you go and watch the footy too. In the space of six months, it has been named Melbourne&rsquo;s best by both the Herald Sun and Time Out Melbourne.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was shocked,&rdquo; said owner Russell Griggs <em>(pictured above holding the award)</em>, who teared up while accepting the award with manager Edward Harley. Having invested heavily in improving the pub over the past four years, he said: &ldquo;It&rsquo;s great to win it against a fantastic list of pubs; I said beforehand I thought it would go to the <a href="">Great Northern</a>.</p> <p>&ldquo;We invited a load of the staff along, not because we thought we were going to win but as a thanks, so this is great for them. At the end of the day, as good as the beer is and as good as the food is, the main thing people take away is the type of experience they have and that is down to the staff &ndash; they make the place.&rdquo;</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="The-Park-Time-OUt-Pubs" class="med_right" src="" title="The-Park-Time-OUt-Pubs" /> <blockquote><p>The Park crew celebrating Best Beer List</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>For the team from The Park, which opened in nothing less than a craft beer desert less than two years ago promising to bring 16 taps of quality beer to Melbourne&rsquo;s west &ndash; plus heaps more in bottle &ndash; it was yet more confirmation that there was method in their apparent madness. Seriously, who would have forecast a pub in Werribee winning Best Beer List in Melbourne two years ago?</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d have said, &lsquo;Bullshit!&rsquo;,&rdquo; says Park co-owner Isaac Zietek.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had as many as 500 beers on our list and they fly out the door. With each week that goes by we sell more of the good stuff.</p> <p>&ldquo;People [in that area] were asking for a good place to go and have appreciated what we are trying to achieve and enjoy the variety of what we offer.&rdquo;</p> <p>The People&rsquo;s Choice Award will have to squeeze into the trophy cabinet at The Local Taphouse alongside all their others, with co-owner Guy Greenstone saying: &ldquo;It means that people are enjoying what we&rsquo;re doing.&rdquo;</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="Taphouse-Time-Out-Pubs" class="med_right" src="" title="Taphouse-Time-Out-Pubs" /> <blockquote><p>Another gong for The Local Taphouse</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>It&rsquo;s no mean feat, with the venue opening as a dedicated 20-tap craft beer bar seven years ago &ndash; well before the craft beer scene took off in earnest and south of the Yarra where the beer scene lags well behind the north &ndash; and it has continued to blaze a trail, coming up with a host of firsts in terms of events, tap takeovers and more. The secret to keeping things fresh, says Guy, is &ldquo;encouraging our staff to come up with new ideas, whether that&rsquo;s in the kitchen or behind the bar.</p> <p>&ldquo;Ultimately, it&rsquo;s about great craft beer, great food and a great environment but also about having fantastic staff.&rdquo;</p> <p>The winners appear alongside other pubs in a new publication from Time Out Melbourne: <a href="">a guide</a> to the city&rsquo;s 50 Best Pubs according to their writers.</p> <p>The full list of winners from the Pub Awards is:</p> <p><strong>Best Pub</strong><br/> <a href="">The Terminus</a></p> <p><strong>People&rsquo;s Choice</strong><br/> <a href="">The Local Taphouse St Kilda</a></p> <p><strong>Legend Award</strong><br/> The Rose Hotel</p> <p><strong>Best Pub Food</strong><br/> The Builders Arms<br/> Highly Commended &ndash; <a href="">The Fitzroy Pinnacle</a></p> <p><strong>Best Beer List</strong><br/> <a href="">The Park Hotel</a><br/> Highly Commended &ndash; <a href="">Gertrude Hotel</a></p> <p><strong>Best Entertainment</strong><br/> The Yarra Hotel<br/> Highly Commended &ndash; Northcote Social Club</p> <p><strong>Family Friendly</strong><br/> Edinburgh Castle<br/> Highly Commended &ndash; Reverence Hotel</p> <p><strong>Revival Award</strong><br/> Savoy Tavern<br/> Highly Commended &ndash; Prahran Hotel</p> <p><strong>Publican of the Year</strong><br/> Reverence Hotel<br/> Highly Commended &ndash; The Terminus</p> Beer Me In, Scotty /news/post/beer-me-in-scotty/ 2014-07-21T00:00:00Z james <p>Technology has been used to enhance beer tastings in Australia before. Venues such as <a href="">The Local Taphouse St Kilda</a> have beamed in brewers and experts via Skype or other means to take part in their appreciation sessions from wherever they are in the world. But now a Sydney bottle shop is planning to take things a step further and beam a brewer into the homes of anyone around the country wishing to take part.</p> <p><a href="">Beer Cartel</a> has long been at the forefront of using technology smartly on its award-winning website and now plans to use the site to run beer appreciation / meet the brewer sessions that anyone can attend without leaving the comfort of their armchair. The first of their Sofa Sessions will feature David Padden from <a href="">Riverside Brewery</a> <em>(pictured above)</em>, who will be filmed at Flat Rock Brew Cafe &ndash; where there will be a live audience &ndash; discussing his brewery and the four beers being showcased on the evening, with the video streamed live over the Beer Cartel website. Those wishing to play along at home just need to order a mixed pack of said beers from the bottleshop, which will arrive on their doorstep in time for the event.</p> <p>We posted a listing for the event a couple of weeks ago but figured we should find out a little bit more about what the guys at Beer Cartel hope to achieve with this new concept so posed a few questions to one of the store&rsquo;s owners, Geoff Huens.</p> <p><strong>Where did the idea come from?</strong><br/> Geoff: A couple of years ago I was on a beach in Fiji thinking of ways we could do things differently with our tastings utilising technology. The idea of &lsquo;Skyping&rsquo; in brewers who were in situ in their breweries to an audience sitting in our tasting room came to mind. However, within a week of being back, The Local Taphouse in Sydney announced their first Ale Star Skype session with Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewery!</p> <p>Fast forward a couple of years and the initial idea had stuck with both Richard and I. Building on this, Richard suggested instead of &lsquo;Skyping&rsquo; brewers in, why don&rsquo;t we &lsquo;Skype&rsquo; them out to peoples' homes and mail them out beer packs prior to the event using our existing relationship with Australia Post. We then went about approaching Riverside and Flat Rock to see if they would be interested in being part of the first Sofa Sessions Tasting event.</p> <p><strong>Has it been done before elsewhere?</strong><br/> As far as we can tell this is the first time in the world this format has been done, i.e. a live in-venue and in-home online beer tasting run concurrently with beers sent out prior to the in-home audience, encouraging those at home to host friends for the event to make it more social. The format will also be very interactive for participants and we will be recording it too so that anyone can then view it afterwards.</p> <p><strong>How interactive will the sessions be?</strong><br/> In a nutshell: very interactive! During the event the platform will not only allow us to broadcast live audio and video but it also comes with the following functionality:</p> <ul> <li>Q&amp;A board for the home audience &ndash; they will be able to type questions that we can ask Dave live during the event.</li> <li>Voting polls during the event, e.g. how they rated each of the beers they are tasting or ask them what they thought of the overall event</li> </ul> <p>Further to this we will be:</p> <ul> <li>Encouraging attendees to ask questions via Twitter &ndash; this can be from either the live audience or the in-home audience</li> <li>Encouraging attendees to send photos via Twitter or post them to our Facebook page. For those hosting a few friends on the night at their house and participating in the event we&rsquo;ll have a prize to give away which they can enter simply by tweeting us a photo on the night of the group enjoying the beers.</li> <li>We will have a roaming microphone allowing the live audience to ask Dave questions which will also be broadcast live.</li> </ul> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="Flat-Rock-Brew-Cafe-1" class="med_right" src="" title="Flat-Rock-Brew-Cafe-1" /> <blockquote><p>Home from home for the Sofa Sessions</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p><strong>Do you think people will set up their own groups at their homes?</strong><br/> Yes, we&rsquo;ve already had people buy a couple of packs to be delivered to the same location indicating that there are multiple people heading to the one person&rsquo;s home to participate. Also, initial chatter on social media has also indicated people will be getting together to make a night of it, which is great as craft beer is better when shared with like minded people.</p> <p><strong>If it goes well how often do you plan to do them?</strong><br/> After this event we have another one already in the works for Sydney Craft Beer Week with an innovative international brewer. Once the SCBW team have listed the events online (July 28), tickets for this will be available &ndash; we&rsquo;ll keep the brewer under wraps for now!</p> <p>Once these two are done we’d be looking to make it a regular thing, with the main consideration being lead times to ensure we can get beers out to people before the event, so it’d probably run every two months.</p> <p><em>The first Sofa Session kicks off at 7pm on August 19. Anyone wishing to take part can order packs of beer for $25 via the <a href="">Beer Cartel website here</a>, where they&rsquo;ll also find details of what technology is required &ndash; essentially a working computer with internet connection and sound should get you where you need to be. There are tickets available for anyone wanting to attend the event at Flat Rock Brew Cafe too.</em></p> Barossa Beer Is SA's Best /news/post/barossa-beer-is-sa-s-best/ 2014-07-19T00:00:00Z james <p>An IPA from a brewery located in the heart of South Australian wine country has taken out the top beer prize at this week&rsquo;s Royal Adelaide Beer Awards. The Canis Majoris from <a href="">Barossa Valley Brewing</a>, named after one of the largest stars in the known universe, won the Most Outstanding Beer in Show trophy. The Tanunda brewery <em>(pictured above)</em> also picked up the trophies for Champion India Pale Ale and Champion South Australian Exhibit.</p> <p>Other trophy winners included WA’s award hoarding masters of malt Nail Brewing, which took out the Champion Small Brewery title as well as Best Porter for its <a href="">HUGhE Dunn Imperial Brown Ale</a> and the Publican&rsquo;s Choice for its <a href="">Imperial Porter</a>. The latter has been out for a few weeks now, while a fresh batch of the epic HUGhE Dunn, which also won Best Porter at this year&rsquo;s Australian International Beer Awards, is out this week.</p> <p>Brewer John Stallwood said: “It&rsquo;s a great honour winning gold and even a greater honour to get Hugh Dunn&rsquo;s name on the trophy. Hugh has been a mentor for myself for many years as he has for most of Western Australia’s young brewers.”</p> <p>Past winner Goodieson Brewery, a family brewery based in McLaren Vale, picked up a trophy for its Brown Ale, while perennial SA favourite Coopers collected the Champion Large Brewery title, Champion Other Ale for its Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale and Champion Stout for its Coopers Best Extra Stout.</p> <p>The Chief Judges Award &ndash; awarded to the beer exhibit which achieves the most improved score on the previous year &ndash; was awarded to West End Brewery for its Hahn Superdry. The remaining two awards went to newcomers Prancing Pony from the Adelaide Hills, which won the Champion Amber/Dark Ale class with its Prancing Pony Amber Ale, and Matilda Bay Brewing Company, whose Redback Pale won the Champion Wheat Beer medal.</p> <p>The awards are an initiative of the Royal Agricultural &amp; Horticultural Society of South Australia and were presented on Friday (July 19) at The Gallery on Waymouth in Adelaide. For the first time in 2014 cider was included, with the Champion Perry (pear cider) trophy going to Flying Brick Cider Co, from Victoria’s Bellarine Peninsula and the Champion South Australian exhibit going to the Adelaide Hills’ Sidewood Estate for their Sidewood Apple Cider.</p> <p>Chief beer judge Simon Fahey said the number of entries had increased substantially on the previous year, with 152 entries judged over two days.</p> <p>“Of the total number of entries, seven percent received gold medals, 28 percent were awarded silver and 41 percent received a bronze medal,” he said.</p> <p><strong>TROPHY AND MEDAL WINNERS</strong></p> <p><strong>THE CRYERMALT MEDALLION for CHAMPION INDIA PALE ALE</strong><br/> Barossa Valley Brewing &ndash; Canis Majoris</p> <p><strong>THE CELLARBRATIONS MEDALLION for CHAMPION AMBER/DARK ALE</strong><br/> Prancing Pony Brewery &ndash; Prancing Pony Amber Ale</p> <p><strong>THE BINTANI AUSTRALIA MEDALLION for CHAMPION OTHER ALE</strong><br/> Coopers Brewery Ltd &ndash; Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale</p> <p><strong>THE ECOLAB MEDALLION for CHAMPION WHEAT BEER</strong><br/> Matilda Bay Brewing Company &ndash; Redback Pale</p> <p><strong>THE AIR LIQUIDE MEDALLION for CHAMPION PORTER BEER</strong><br/> Equal first medals awarded<br/> Goodieson Brewery &ndash; Goodieson Brown Ale<br/> Nail Brewing &ndash; Nail Hughe Dunn Brown</p> <p><strong>THE ANDALE MEDALLION for CHAMPION STOUT BEER</strong><br/> Coopers Brewery Ltd &ndash; Coopers Best Extra Stout</p> <p><strong>THE LANCER BEVERAGE SYSTEMS TROPHY for CHAMPION SMALL BREWERY</strong><br/> Nail Brewing Australia</p> <p><strong>THE CELLARBRATIONS TROPHY for CHAMPION LARGE BREWERY</strong><br/> Coopers Brewery Ltd</p> <p><strong>THE KINGS TROPHY for CHAMPION SOUTH AUSTRALIAN EXHIBIT</strong><br/> Barossa Valley Brewing &ndash; Canis Majoris</p> <p><strong>THE ORORA GROUP TROPHY for MOST OUTSTANDING BEER IN SHOW</strong><br/> Barossa Valley Brewing &ndash; Canis Majoris</p> <p><strong>CHIEF JUDGES AWARD</strong><br/> West End Brewery &ndash; Hahn Superdry</p> <p><strong>PUBLICAN’S CHOICE AWARD</strong><br/> Nail Brewing Australia &ndash; Nail Imperial Porter</p> <p><strong>THE ASHTON VALLEY FRESH TROPHY for CHAMPION PERRY</strong><br/> Flying Brick Cider Co &ndash; Flying Brick Pear Cider</p> <p><strong>THE WINEQUIP TROPHY for CHAMPION SOUTH AUSTRALIAN EXHIBIT</strong><br/> Sidewood Estate &ndash; Sidewood Apple Cider</p> A Very Crafty Beer Book /news/post/a-very-crafty-beer-book/ 2014-07-17T00:00:00Z james <p>In a couple of weeks, copies of <em><a href="">150 Great Australian Beers &ndash; Your Guide To Craft Beer and Beyond</a></em> will appear on shelves across Australia. It is written by the founder of The Crafty Pint, James Smith, a situation which posed a minor dilemma at Crafty Towers. Namely, when you spend your life writing about other things, what do you do when it comes to writing about yourself? So, we decided that the best approach was to hand the reins over to Crafty Pint NSW, Nick O, to carry out the interview&hellip;</p> <p><strong>Nick: I hear you&rsquo;ve got a book due out about Australian beer. I occasionally write for an Australian-based beer website that&rsquo;s focused on craft beer and I&rsquo;m sure our readers would love to hear your thoughts about the upcoming release. If you could spare a few minutes out of your busy schedule, I&rsquo;d like to pose the following questions to you:</strong></p> <p><strong>Getting asked to write a book about beer seems like a pretty tough gig. How does one find themselves being presented with such an opportunity?</strong><br/> James: A couple of years back, a chap from Hardie Grant, which publishes the <em>James Halliday&rsquo;s Wine Companion Magazine</em> that I write for, asked over pizza whether I&rsquo;d ever considered writing a book. That planted the seed, a while later I pitched couple of concepts to their head of books, we agreed upon a way forward and, just before Christmas last year, I got the green light.</p> <p>I&rsquo;d always figured that launching The Crafty Pint could lead to spin-offs in the beer world and, along with opportunities such as becoming involved in Good Beer Week, the chance to write a book has proven that to be true.</p> <p><strong>There have already been plenty of books written about beer in Australia. What makes yours different?</strong><br/> It&rsquo;s the most recent. It&rsquo;s the only one with cover artwork inspired by Primal Scream&rsquo;s epochal <em>Screamadelica</em> album. And it&rsquo;s probably the only one to reference Fozzie Bear.</p> <p>On a more serious note, I&rsquo;d like to think that my travels of the past six years to, I&rsquo;d imagine, more Australian microbreweries than anyone else on the planet means there is a broader representation of Australian breweries and beers than in any book of its ilk. And that, in keeping with my overriding mission of promoting good Australian beer to a broad audience, it is pitched at a level that is approachable and entertaining enough for newcomers to non-mainstream beer yet has enough to interest the hardcore beer geeks too. What&rsquo;s more, it&rsquo;s beautifully presented &ndash; really beautifully.</p> <p><strong>A decade ago you might have struggled to find 150 Australian beers but now there is more than that number of breweries. With the choice having never been so great, how do you go about whittling the list down to 150 beers?</strong><br/> Some of the practicalities surrounding the book helped with the whittling. The idea was that each of the 150 beers in the list should be available to anyone in Australia – even if they were only released in bottle once a year and had to be ordered direct from the brewery. Therefore, any one-offs or draught-only beers were excluded. Aside from that, on top of the beers I had already sampled, I tried to get my hands on as many bottles as possible to ensure as many breweries that had a beer worthy of entry (that I had tasted, obviously) were included.</p> <p>There is a section at the end listing a number of breweries that don&rsquo;t have any packaged beer that are worth checking out although even this approach means that there are some brewing companies who make some great beers, such as Grifter or Doctor&rsquo;s Orders, who have neither bottle product nor a brewery at which you can visit them (yet), thus are only mentioned in passing. And, despite my best efforts over the past six years, there remain breweries still to be visited and a fair few who have appeared on the scene in the months since the list was compiled. That said, if the book doesn&rsquo;t make you thirsty, inspired to check out more breweries, and excited for the present and future of Australian craft beer then I don&rsquo;t know what will.</p> <p><strong>Beer drinkers can be fiercely loyal and generally not shy of an opinion. Are you concerned about the book&rsquo;s feedback? For example, if you&rsquo;ve left out someone&rsquo;s favourite beer and they accuse you of being tasteless?</strong><br/> I fully expect there will be the occasional: &ldquo;Why the hell is that beer in there?&rdquo; but taste in beer, like any art form, is subjective. I once cracked an aged bottle of beer with friends at a barbecue that had spoiled so badly over the years it tasted like a combination of battery acid and cheap sherry. Two of the people at said barbecue thought it was fine. What&rsquo;s more, debate is great anyway.</p> <p><strong>On that note, should we expect any controversial inclusions?</strong><br/> Define controversial. I guess Twitter will reveal all…</p> <p><strong>Do you think the book has appeal beyond beer drinkers?</strong><br/> If by &ldquo;beer drinkers&rdquo; you mean the dedicated beer drinker, then that&rsquo;s the plan. As my wife has pointed out, however, she&rsquo;s unlikely to be buying a copy for her aunt&hellip;</p> <p>As I said above, the aim has been to write it in a manner that is entertaining as much as informative. I&rsquo;m still very much learning about beer – both the product and its incredible millennia-long history – so in many ways, outside of the 150 beer entries themselves, the other sections of the book are an attempt to pass on as much of what I have learnt to date to people in a way that will fast track them to a greater level of understanding of what beer is, why it is what it is, and why it matters. And hopefully they&rsquo;ll enjoy the odd chuckle along the way at some of the stories and characters that make the contemporary Aussie beer scene such fun. If it inspires people to further reading, great. If it just makes them more adventurous on their next road trip or visit to the bar, then that&rsquo;s a win too.</p> <p><img alt="150-BEERS---3D" class="med_right" src="" title="150-BEERS---3D" /></p> <p>It&rsquo;s being launched in time for Father&rsquo;s Day as well so will hopefully land in the laps of the few non-beer drinking dads, pique their interest, and we&rsquo;ll find them attending the headline Beer Geek events at next year&rsquo;s Good Beer Week.</p> <p><strong>What&rsquo;s the best beer to have when you&rsquo;re sitting down to write a book about beer?</strong><br/> Generally, it&rsquo;s best to have a beer when you&rsquo;ve finished sitting down to write a book about beer. Unless you&rsquo;re suffering writer&rsquo;s block, in which case it&rsquo;s the one closest to hand.</p> <p><strong>How many beers do you think it took to make this book?</strong><br/> God knows how many different Australian beers have been sampled since I ordered a Mountain Goat Hightail on my first full day as an Aussie resident in 2008; it was the only beer on a very short list at the restaurant I hadn&rsquo;t heard of and I remember being amazed at its colour. &ldquo;A dark beer in Australia… Well I never!&rdquo; If only I&rsquo;d known then what lay ahead…</p> <p>That said, an equally appropriate question would be: &ldquo;How many drugs do you think it took to make this book?&rdquo; A fortnight after the book was commissioned, I suffered a herniated disc in my spine and spent the subsequent two months writing it in rather a lot of pain, lying flat for most of the day, and munching on various pain medications of increasing strength.</p> <p>This had its benefits, not least in occasionally giving me what was effectively a fresh set of eyes when editing early drafts as there were a couple of occasions when I would read over my writing and have absolutely no recollection of writing the words on the screen. I guess, referring back to an earlier question, this may also make it unique among Australian beer books &ndash; the first written while under the influence of something other than beer! It does mean that, should this first run sell out, there are a couple of minor revisions required for the second edition. It will be fun seeing if any of the beer cognoscenti spot them&hellip; I also owe a massive thanks to editor Rihana Ries who kept assuring me everything was fine and no one was fretting at Hardie Grant when I missed deadlines as a result of said incapacitation &ndash; only to admit once it was done that there were plenty of people fretting but she&rsquo;d sheltered me from the storm.</p> <p><strong>Lastly, when&rsquo;s it out?</strong><br/> It will be on shelves in good bookshops nationwide from August 1 and is available for pre-order via Bookworld online <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>We&rsquo;re also holding a very laid-back launch at Moon Dog Brewery on July 31 where there will be books for sale as well as a one-off beer on tap I&rsquo;ve created with the guys there for the night. More details are in the events diary.</p> The Bigger They Are... /news/post/the-bigger-they-are/ 2014-07-16T00:00:00Z james <p>One of the new breed of high quality New South Wales micros is celebrating after coming out on top in a two-year battle with one of the world&rsquo;s global brewing giants. SABMiller India, a subsidiary of the company that owns brands including VB and Carlton Draught, challenged Wayward Brewing&rsquo;s application to trademark the name Wayward on the grounds that the name would cause confusion among Australian drinkers with their brands Haywards 5000 and Haywards 2000; yes, those beers you may have spotted in the fridge of the odd Indian restaurant.</p> <p>The battle cost Wayward&rsquo;s founder Peter Phillip approximately $15,000 to fight &ndash; plus an estimated $10,000 in lost time &ndash; but proved worthwhile when the Hearing Officer ruled this month that the Wayward trademark could be registered in Australia. Costs were awarded against SABMiller India, albeit nowhere near the costs incurred. But, says Peter <em>(pictured above left after winning Best Beer at last year&rsquo;s Australian Hotel Beer Festival)</em>: &ldquo;It was almost worth the $15,000 to win.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not like something where you can just say, &lsquo;This is stupid &ndash; I don&rsquo;t want to defend it.&rsquo; If I didn&rsquo;t, it would have been decided against me. You just wonder whether they think that [Wayward] is a one-man band which doesn&rsquo;t have the money to defend itself, but it pissed me off so much I kind of thought, &lsquo;Screw you!&rsquo;. As much as anything, I wanted to defend it on principle.&rdquo;</p> <p>Funnily enough, this wasn&rsquo;t the first trademark issue Peter had faced with his brewing company. Initially, he had planned to call the business Square Peg Brewing but discovered that in Australia wine and beer are considered the same product and there was already a Square Peg wine brand in existence. Thus, Wayward became its replacement – a name that he he has grown to prefer and one that still infers the same sort of meaning upon the brewing company&rsquo;s ethos: being off the beaten path and having a sense of adventure.</p> <p>&ldquo;I found it wasn&rsquo;t trademarked in Australia, the UK, the USA or Canada so I got up at 4am one morning and said, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to register it everywhere!&rsquo;,&rdquo; says Peter. &ldquo;Three months later the trademark office accepted it then during the advertising period SABMiller India&rsquo;s lawyers challenged it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Initially it was challenged on every ground possible, although as the process developed the argument came down to the Wayward / Haywards issue.</p> <p>“We always believed that the opposition was totally without foundation as our WAYWARD trademark is completely different in sound, appearance and meaning to their brands,” says Peter. “For me it was always personal as I have put my heart and soul into building this business.”</p> <p>His hasn&rsquo;t been the only notable trademark issue involving small Aussie brewers in recent years. The most high profile saw Melbourne&rsquo;s Thunder Road challenge CUB over the use of a number of the latter&rsquo;s unused heritage trademarks. That case was decided in favour of CUB, although Thunder Road will no doubt have taken succour in the fact that since then they have been named Champion Medium Australian Brewery at the Australian International Beer Awards &ndash; the first time they have entered a beer competition. It&rsquo;s a win that sets up an enticing possibility should the people behind the awards continue with their policy of inviting the Australian Small, Medium and Large Brewery champs to brew a collaboration beer as the winner in the Large category was&hellip; CUB.</p> <p>More recently, Melbourne start-up Monster Mash was forced to change its name to Kaiju! Beer after a challenge from the maker of Monster energy drinks.</p> <p><img alt="Wayward_Brewing_Company_01" class="med_right" src="" title="Wayward_Brewing_Company_01" /></p> <p>As for Wayward, which has hit the ground running with a series of high quality beers, such as the Charmer India Red Ale <em>(pictured right)</em>, Keller Instinct Bavarian keller bier and Raconteur Biere de Garde, there is much more to celebrate too. Having operated as a gypsy brewer – brewing on other people&rsquo;s systems – until now, Peter has just secured a site in Camperdown, directly across the road from the Malt Shovel Brewery, and hopes to start brewing their early next year.</p> <p>“We can’t wait to open our doors to the public and finally have our own brewery”, says Peter. “We have been holding back on releasing a number of new Wayward brews that we think people are going to love.”</p> <p>The plan is to have a small tasting room alongside the 20 hectolitre brewhouse. It will require Peter stepping back as much as possible from his first business, which deals in superannuation technology. He had originally stepped down as CEO a year ago to focus on Wayward only to watch the business getting busier than ever, increasing from 35 staff to 90.</p> <p>&ldquo;The intention is that I&rsquo;ll spend at least two days a week in the brewery but I&rsquo;ll be taking on a full-time brewer and a sales guy,&rdquo; says Peter. &ldquo;My wife will be working in the business too.</p> <p>&ldquo;Whatever happens, I&rsquo;ll be there two days a week to cause trouble.&rdquo;</p> <p>Something at which SABMiller India presumably think he&rsquo;s rather good.</p> <p><em>You can keep in touch with progress on or via the brewery&rsquo;s <a href="">Facebook page</a>.</em></p> Sylvanian Family Ties /news/post/sylvanian-family-ties/ 2014-07-10T00:00:00Z james <p>There’s a minor obsession in the craft beer world with market share. Depending on who you believe, and which breweries you argue should be lumped in with the crafty crowd, in Australia the figure is generally considered to sit somewhere between one and four per cent of total beer consumption. What’s not up for argument is how this section of the market is growing; gobbling up pieces of the pie like girthsome man at a cheap buffet. The question is more along the lines of how much can be eaten before the <a href="">&ldquo;wafer thin mint&rdquo;</a> arrives.</p> <p>Part of the answer lays with how many new people can be introduced to craft beer. While market share for craft is increasing, total beer consumption is falling. This adds another dimension to the pursuit of market share in that it’s not simply a game of stealing pie off the bigger kids, but also helping to bake a larger one. And a key ingredient in doing so is introducing new people to the joys of better beer. That inevitably means taking craft beer to areas where it’s seldom, perhaps never, previously been. Places like the Sutherland Shire.</p> <p>‘The Shire’, as it’s more commonly known, is an area just south of Sydney proper. Its population numbers approximately 200,000 but its craft beer venues number approximately zero. If there’s an area ripe for growth, this could well be it. That’s certainly something the Cochrane family are banking on because it’s where they’ve recently opened the Blackrock Brasserie.</p> <p>The new venue, in the suburb of Sylvania, is run by siblings Lance (General Manager), Bryce (Head Brewer) and Lisa (Marketing Manager). It is, to most eyes, a brewpub. However, it’s also not. A matter of semantics it may be, but the Cochranes view Blackrock as a restaurant and brewery, not the other way around. They’re planning to win over a traditionally non-crafty community to better beer by taking a food first, fine dining approach. It’s a slightly different approach than most, but one that has merit, as Lance explains.</p> <p>“We’d wanted to do a family restaurant for a while, but we wanted to differentiate ourselves,&ldquo; he says. "The brewery side developed from my love of craft beer and my brother playing around with home brew.</p> <p>We explored the idea of setting up a 200 litre system and the idea just grew from there. Once we started looking at the restaurant and microbrewery together we could see that there was a whole world of craft beer and food pairing that hadn’t really been explored fully in Australia. There’s still a stigma in Australia where beer is only seen as something to be had at a pub, rather than something than can go hand in hand with, and often be the inspiration for, good food.”</p> <p><img alt="Blackrock_Brasserie_Sydney_23" class="med_right" src="" title="Blackrock_Brasserie_Sydney_23" /></p> <p>The venue they’ve created to take on the apathetic Aussie drinker is nothing if not spectacular. Several dining areas sit snugly against the backdrop of a pristine, customised 1200 litre brewhouse. Fully enclosed in glass, guests are able to see every movement the brewer makes and it means that, however much the focus might want be on the food, the brewery remains the major point of difference and the star attraction.</p> <p>The beer being produced will eventually serve 10 independent taps although, with production still in its infancy, the range &ndash; produced under the label of Blackhorse Brewhouse thanks to an existing trademark on the name Blackrock &ndash; is currently limited to a Kolsch, Australian Ale, Red Ale and Stout. But they’ve already done their first one-off release &ndash; a Dark Kolsch which debuted at GABS &ndash; and plans are afoot for an Amber Ale, Double Bock and Blueberry Wit.</p> <p>Says Lance of the beer range: “The idea is that we’ve got our core beers and as we crank up production we’ll start filling the rest of the taps as well. But to have ten of your own beers on tap at any one time can be a bit of a juggle, so the plan is always to put a few guests on”.</p> <p>To date, those guests have included the likes of fellow NSW brewers <a href="">HopDog BeerWorks</a>, <a href="">Illawarra Brewing Company</a> and Doctor’s Orders &ndash; brewers not shy of producing an upfront beer when offered half a chance. Which begs the question: how is it all being received?</p> <p>“The locals are really starting to embrace us and, more importantly, the beer,&ldquo; says Lance. "We’re finding our customers range from first time craft beer drinkers to those who know what good quality beer tastes like. We get comments from people saying they’ve travelled the world &ndash; in particular America &ndash; and have visited brewpub venues and had been waiting for a venue like that to open up in Australia. We also still get the odd request for a VB or Corona so it makes for an interesting mix of customers.”</p> <p>An interesting mix it may be, but the whole idea is to keep them interested. To do so parts of the menu have been designed to pair the food with Blackhorse beer, such as the bite-sized tasting menu and the Brewer’s Choice Degustation which takes the same approach but on a main meal scale. Those that have attended brewer’s dinners elsewhere will be familiar with the concept and mightn’t find it groundbreaking, but for a sizeable chunk of Blackrock’s customers this style of beer and food matching is likely to be foreign to anything they’ve seen, tasted or experienced.</p> <p><div class="captioned medCaptioned"> <img alt="Blackrock_Brasserie_Sydney_03" class="med" src="" title="Blackrock_Brasserie_Sydney_03" /> <blockquote><p>Lance at the helm</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>It’s a fair reflection of Sydney’s rapidly expanding and increasingly exciting beer scene that not only has Blackrock been created the way it has, but that it exists well outside what you might call a safe catchment area for beer lovers.</p> <p>The Shire is now well and truly on the beer map.</p> <p><em>You can keep up to date with everything at Blackrock Brasserie via its <a href="">Facebook page</a> and <a href="">Twitter account</a>. Look out for its listing in our craft beer directories of awesomeness soon too.</em></p> Taking On The Taps /news/post/taking-on-the-taps/ 2014-07-09T00:00:00Z james <p>Such is the rapid growth rate of craft beer today, it is enough of a challenge trying to stay up-to-date with every new Australian beer release, let alone the hundreds arriving from overseas. Thus, while many have considered trying to find a means of keeping eager beer lovers up-to-date with what is on tap at the country&rsquo;s beer venues and breweries, it is a monumental task. Not only is there an avalanche of new beers – not to mention new breweries and new venues – but any such scheme relies on the ability and willingness of the said venues and breweries to maintain it.</p> <p>There are social media-based approaches, most notably the <a href="">Pouring In&hellip; Twitter accounts</a> that began in Melbourne early last year. The concept has since spread to other cities and looks to keep people updated on what is pouring when and where via regular tweets and retweets. As of this month, there is also a &ldquo;Pouring in&hellip;&rdquo; Android app that allows venues or users to upload photos of venue tap lists and find listed venues by map.</p> <p>Another Aussie-based tap list app first saw the light of day just before this year&rsquo;s Good Beer Week, however. <a href="">Now Tapped</a> is the brainchild of a Melbourne web developer who also happens to be the brother of one of the Brewers at 7 Cent Brewing. It was launched for iOS and Android in May and to date has managed to sign up many of the country&rsquo;s leading venues which, with varying degrees of success, are maintaining their own tap lists.</p> <p>These can be viewed by drinkers online or via said app. What&rsquo;s more, by hooking into the community-powered resource that is Untappd, creator Angus Bremner has set up a second form of tap list that attempts to calculate what is on tap at venues by looking at what beers are being &ldquo;checked in&rdquo; on Untappd by visitors to a venue.</p> <p>&ldquo;It started out of frustration at not having a single place where you can get tap lists that are up-to-date,&rdquo; says Angus. &ldquo;Currently you can trawl through Twitter, Facebook, venues' websites or their own apps but it is always difficult having to go through all of them. The idea was to create a central location for venues to maintain their tap list and for users to easily find what is on tap.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s quite a lot of Twitter accounts that do a good job of re-tweeting what is on tap but there is also a world beyond Twitter.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m a craft beer enthusiast myself and consulted with [brother and 7 Cent brewer] Doug who offered a lot of industry advice and was able to help with a lot of venues that they supply to.&rdquo;</p> <p>As such, working in evenings and at weekends over a six month period he created Now Tapped. Based on the simple, stripped down iOS 7 aesthetic, it offers users the chance to see what is currently on tap at a particular venue, search for a brewery to find out which of the venues in its database is pouring their beers, or view a map to see what venues are in the vicinity and what they have on tap. If a brewery, venue or beer has detailed information on Untappd, that can be viewed too.</p> <p>&ldquo;The only true way to get an accurate list is for venues to update it themselves,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;But venues are often simply too busy to update [their lists] so I made a second app specifically for venues that is as easy to update as possible. [I figured] staff would always have a phone with them and, using the venue app, it just takes a matter of seconds to add or delete a beer.&rdquo;</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="Now-Tapped-1" class="med_right" src="" title="Now-Tapped-1" /> <blockquote><p>Angus doing what he does: drinking beer and checking out taps</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>On top of the venues who are using the site themselves, he created lists for other venues based on Untappd check-ins. This means there are two types of lists currently available on Now Tapped: &ldquo;Official&rdquo; ones that venues maintain and &ldquo;Reported&rdquo; lists that are generated from Untappd.</p> <p>&ldquo;Untappd has become extremely popular and has a wealth of information so I&rsquo;m able to use their database of beers. Venues [maintaining "Official&rdquo; lists] just search for the name of a beer and when it comes up they can add it and it&rsquo;s instantly updated on our website and on the users' app."</p> <p>While it remains in its infancy, already there have been several updates based on feedback from users and venues and there are plans for more too, such as the ability for beer geeks to check in their beers on Untappd without leaving the app.</p> <p>One of the first venues to sign up was <a href="">The Terminus</a>. The Melbourne pub had previously been using the US-based site Taplister, but found few Aussies were using it.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s great,&rdquo; says bar manager Dave Langlands. &ldquo;I think it has longevity. The potential of Now Tapped is that people are actually using it. It&rsquo;s really easy to use for a venue &ndash; it takes literally ten seconds to update our list.</p> <p>&ldquo;From a user&rsquo;s perspective, it&rsquo;s all in one place. You can go into the app and see what&rsquo;s on at various venues and you can search by brewery and see where their beers are pouring, which is great.</p> <p>&ldquo;The simplicity is the main thing that makes it so appealing. It&rsquo;s not very detailed but has a lot of the information you need and ties it all together.&rdquo;</p> <p>For now, it is free for venues to sign up for an account and free for users to download too.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m already hearing about users pushing venues to get on board,&rdquo; said Angus. &ldquo;Feedback has been generally very positive. People have enjoyed using it.&rdquo;</p> <p>If you would like to add it to your phone, simply search for Now Tapped at the appropriate app store. Any venues wishing to jump on board can head to <a href=""></a> and sign up for an account, then download the venue app.</p> <p>Happy hunting!</p> A Pint of Parma, Please /news/post/a-pint-of-parma-please/ 2014-07-07T00:00:00Z james <p>For the most part, the ever-growing band of people who have taken advantage of <a href="">Cavalier</a>&rsquo;s &ldquo;community brewery&rdquo; is as you&rsquo;d expect. The brewery based in Melbourne&rsquo;s west, which allows others to buy and install their own tanks there and use their brewery, has attracted a colourful mix of brand new brewing companies looking to get their foot in the door and more established ones needing some extra capacity for one-off brews. It has also attracted a couple of ladies best known for parmas (or parmis, depending on where you&rsquo;re reading this).</p> <p>Earlier this year, Fiona Melbourne and Melissa Leaney &ndash; better known as the pair behind Melbourne establishment <a href="">Mrs Parma&rsquo;s</a> &ndash; decided to make their own beer. After almost eight years serving Victorian craft beers alongside comforting delights such as the fiery Parmageddon, the Red Dirt red ale became the latest step in a journey that began when they met in Alice Springs, continued through many fine dining restaurants before seeing them opt for an old school pub (with New World beer) approach to life.</p> <p>&ldquo;We figured it was about time we started making some,&rdquo; says Mel. &ldquo;It just gives us another string to our bow &ndash; another opportunity to stick our fingers back into the pie because we felt we had stepped back a little bit and been working more <em>on</em> the business rather than <em>in</em> it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Rather than pay a contract facility to knock something up for them, they contacted the team at Cavalier and asked about buying their own tank. Originally discussions were over a 1,000 litre tank; somehow it became 3,000, with Mel laying the blame squarely at the feet of her eager partner.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think Fi just wanted to call herself a brewer,&rdquo; she says. As such, when brew day came around: &ldquo;I have never seen her so happy!</p> <p>&ldquo;We want to do beers that are left of centre to fill up the profile of our taps. Things that are not so normal. The plan is to do a lager in summer and to bring a few different brewers in to work with us.&rdquo;</p> <p>The plan is to brew &ldquo;four or five&rdquo; beers a year, all of which will only be available at Mrs Parma&rsquo;s. It represents a slight &ndash; and rare &ndash; tweak to proceedings at a CBD venue that is a true one-of-a-kind. For a start, it predates pretty much every good beer venue in the city as it has been serving nothing but Victorian beers since opening in 2006. And it is located at the end of Melbourne&rsquo;s grid where you&rsquo;ll find many of the city&rsquo;s trendiest fine dining eateries, yet has survived &ndash; thrived even &ndash; longer than most on a diet of little more than parmas done multiple ways.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have plonked ourselves in the middle of the market,&rdquo; says Mel. &ldquo;We are giving people part of the Australian staple diet.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not going to be in and out of fashion and we&rsquo;re not going to do fine dining. Fi and I have already lived that, so when we opened Mrs Parma&rsquo;s we just wanted a place that was really accessible to everyone like the good old pubs were.&rdquo;</p> <p>It has proved a successful formula, with their longevity and unstinting support of the local industry ensuring they have ready access to limited release beers to pour alongside staples on their 10 taps. They even mirror terminology of the industry they partner with, calling their parmas &ldquo;handcrafted&rdquo; and embellishing their core range of parmas with their own limited releases &ndash; even creating crazy one-offs for Good Beer Week each year.</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="Mrs-Parmas-beer-1" class="med_right" src="" title="Mrs-Parmas-beer-1" /> <blockquote><p>Mel and Fi celebrating the first glass of Red Dirt</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>&ldquo;We were the first and only venue that was only serving Victorian beers when we first started. It was pretty tough at the start,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;We had Carlton Draught because it was still classed as a Victorian beer. When they [CUB] sold out [to SABMiller] it was D-Day for us because we thought it wasn&rsquo;t Victorian any more.</p> <p>&ldquo;We worked really hard to build good relationships with brewers from day dot. When we started out it was a case of one in, all in. We&rsquo;d help each other and that hasn&rsquo;t dissipated over the years.&rdquo;</p> <p>What has changed is drinking habits. So it&rsquo;s not just been &ldquo;See ya!&rdquo; to Carlton but also &ldquo;G'day!&rdquo; to a wider range of often bigger and more challenging beers on tap and in bottle over the years. That said, the aim when designing their own beers is to create something that is &ldquo;connected to the food&rdquo; but also sessionable. And following good feedback from regulars on the Red Dirt (named after the Red Centre where they first met) they are now lining up a Scotch ale for next month. They have lined up their first collaborator too: Brendan O'Sullivan of Boneyard Brewing, thanks to a longterm association with his Boneyard partner-in-crime, Chris Badenoch, who worked at Mrs Parma&rsquo;s in pre-<em>Masterchef Australia</em> days.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been mates with him for ages,&rdquo; says Mel. &ldquo;We got in touch with them as we really liked their beers. It&rsquo;s good for us to be able to get involved with more brewers and understand their uniqueness.</p> <p>&ldquo;Ultimately, we would like to fly in some brewers [to create beers for us] and will work on that a bit later.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Red Dirt is on tap now. Look out for Hopscotch around the end of August / early September.</em></p> Good Beer Week '15 Dates /news/post/good-beer-week-15-dates/ 2014-07-03T00:00:00Z james <p>The dates have been confirmed for next year&rsquo;s Good Beer Week festival in Melbourne and Victoria. The organisers today announced that the fifth festival will run from May 16 to 24. Registrations for anyone wishing to run an event open on October 1 via the <a href="">festival website</a>. For the first time, Good Beer Week is also putting out applications for the Festival Hub and Pint of Origin venues to tender (see below).</p> <p>The organisers of the <a href="">Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular</a> have also announced their dates. GABS 2015 will take place at the Royal Exhibition Building on the closing weekend of Good Beer Week (May 22 to 24).</p> <p><strong>Media Release: 2015 Dates Announced!</strong></p> <p>Good Beer Week is delighted to announce the dates for the 2015 festival. The fifth Good Beer Week – yes, that’s right, the fifth already – will take place across Melbourne and Victoria from May 16 to 24.</p> <p>Now firmly established as one of the world’s leading celebrations of great beer, Good Beer Week will see another kaleidoscopic array of fantastic beer-centred events take over the state’s best breweries and venues. Already plans are afoot to bring more international stars Down Under to join our homegrown brewing heroes for the week and also to take the festival and good beer itself further into the public sphere.</p> <p>“After another record-breaking year, we are already well into planning for the fifth Good Beer Week,” says festival director James Smith. “We can’t wait to see what breweries and venues come up with and look forward to springing a few surprises ourselves.</p> <p>“It has been great to witness the flourishing of the craft beer industry in Australia over the past few years and we’re honoured that Good Beer Week has taken up such a central role within the country’s beer calendar.”</p> <p>Once again, the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular will return to the Royal Exhibition Building on the closing weekend. It will take place from May 22 to 24.</p> <p>&ldquo;There are tremendous synergies with GABS and Good Beer Week working together as we are accomplishing far more together than we could do separately. We both began in 2011 and it&rsquo;s really exciting to be part of a dynamic week that has done so much, in a relatively short time, for the advocacy of craft beer and its brewers,” says festival co-director of GABS Steve Jeffares.</p> <p>Registrations for the 2015 festival open on October 1 and will close on October 31. Anyone interested in taking part for the first time should contact to ensure they are on the festival’s industry mailing list.</p> <p><em>You can view the tender application forms for the Festival Hub and Pint of Origin <a href="">here</a> and <a href="">here</a>.</em></p> Moving Home /news/post/moving-home/ 2014-07-01T00:00:00Z james <p>The Australian National Homebrewing Conference is on the move. As the fourth conference approaches, the baton has been passed from the organising team in Melbourne to a crew in Canberra, who will take ANHC outside Victoria for the first time. Australia&rsquo;s biggest gathering of home brewers and brewing experts will come together in the capital from October 16 to 19, with the main days of the conference on October 17 and 18. <a href="">Tickets are on sale from today</a>.</p> <p>Past favourites return, such as the popular Club Night, the Gala Awards and Pairing Dinner (featuring more beers than ever before) and heaps of talks and seminars. There will also be a &ldquo;Magical Mystery Tour&rdquo; of Canberra beer venues on the Thursday before the festival kicks off, with judging for the Australian Amateur Brewing Championships also taking place on October 16.</p> <p>Once again, the organisers have attracted some big names from the world of brewing, not least in securing Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River, creator of some of the best, most sought after and genuinely innovative beers in the world. John Keeling from London&rsquo;s Fullers is also flying in, while mead makes a first appearance on the program with Michael Fairbrother of Moonlight Meadery (USA) coming to Canberra. The world&rsquo;s most popular beer podcast, Brewing Network, is sending one of its hosts, Nathan Smith, over, while master of yeast, Chris White of White Labs, will be presenting too.</p> <p>The international guests are joined by homegrown talent, including Hendo from <a href="">BrewCult</a> and Brendan Varis from <a href="">Feral</a>, with CUB&rsquo;s Tina Panoutsos bringing her sensory masterclass back to the conference.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is extremely rewarding to see the baby we brought to life continue on in its fourth incarnation,&rdquo; says ANHC co-founder Andy Davison. &ldquo;At the end of the day we work hard for 18 months to deliver a great experience to brewers across the country, and seeing everyone having a great time and learning at he same time is the reward we cherish.</p> <p>&ldquo;The conference was born when John Preston, owner of <a href="beer/bar/grain-grape/">Grain &amp; Grape</a>, brought four of us together at a VicBrew meeting in Melbourne in 2007. Back then we knew that we wanted to bring together brewers across the nation, not just in Victoria. So the idea of moving around the country was initially floated, but put on the back burner because we were struggling just to keep our heads afloat running the 2008 event.</p> <p>&ldquo;We started thinking about how to move it in 2010, but is took us a couple of years to get to the point where we felt the conference was mature enough to let it loose on the rest of the county. So now in 2014 we’re really happy to see the conference take its first steps outside of Victoria, into the very capable hands of the enthusiastic committee in Canberra.&rdquo;</p> <p>One member of that enthusiastic committee is Kevin Hingston, who told us: &ldquo;[Fellow organisers] Billy, Charles, and I attended ANHC Three in 2012 and had an absolute ball. We learnt a bunch, drunk a bunch, and made a heap of friends.&rdquo;</p> <p>As such, when they caught wind that there was a chance the conference could hit the road and the preference was to keep it on the East Coast, they grabbed it with both hands.</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="ANHC-4-stars" class="med_right" src="" title="ANHC-4-stars" /> <blockquote><p>Some of the stars of ANHC 4. From top left clockwise &ndash; Peter Aldred of Ballarat University, Hendo, Caleb Defrees of Gladfield Malt, Brendan Varis</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>&ldquo;The move has been a baptism of fire for the Canberra team. We started work about 12 months ago and really ramped up after the Nationals last October. Getting the program down pat and tickets on sale has been a big milestone for us, but things are just hotting up for getting the conference off the ground.</p> <p>&ldquo;ANHC is an amazingly fun event, but it’s also hugely educational. The exposure to styles, techniques, and ideas is second to none in this country. Whether you’re a serious all grainer, or a K&amp;K [kit and kilo] brewer just starting out, you will learn more in the two days of ANHC than you will in the two years you spend waiting for the next one.&rdquo;</p> <p>They are introducing a few ANHC firsts that include broadening the invite to the worlds of mead and cider, with local cidermakers David Pickering and Garry Watkins-Sully appearing. At the Gala Dinner, they will be pairing two different beers with both the main and dessert courses, taking the total beer list for the dinner up to six.</p> <p>&ldquo;We’re working with one of Canberra’s key cultural institutions to provide a completely new take on the Gala Dinner entertainment – details are still under wraps,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>The conference is being held at University House, a classic building on the grounds of the ANU. Tickets are available in a number of formats, from the full package that includes conference, Gala Dinner and Club Night, for $390 to tickets that allow guests to choose which elements they would like to attend.</p> <p>As for the elements he is most looking forward to, Kevin says: &ldquo;Vinnie Cilurzo is definitely a huge drawcard. He’s an expert on renaissance brewing techniques like sours and barrels, as well as the classic holy grail of the perfect IPA. He’s also bringing some amazing beers with him that you just cant get in this country.</p> <p>&ldquo;We’ve also got the Brewing Network coming out. They have a huge following here in Australia – our Facebook page went off the charts when we announced their involvement.</p> <p>&ldquo;In terms of education, Tina Panoutsos' sensory session is sure to be a hit again, giving people a scientific understanding of their flavour and aroma thresholds to help improve their judging.&rdquo;</p> <p>Anyone interested in attending can find everything they need to know on the <a href="">ANHC 4 website</a>, including speaker profiles, the full conference program, details on accommodation partners and, of course, ticket sales. You can also sign up to the festival&rsquo;s mailing list, Facebook and Twitter feeds.</p> <p>As for what the future might hold, Andy says: &ldquo;We certainly hope to continue moving the conference around the country, but only where and when it makes sense. At the end of the day, although no one wants to, you need to look at the conference as a business to make sure it keeps running. So if we had someone approach us with a plan that shows that people will come and the event can be run successfully we will definitely consider it.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d personally love to see it head over west to Perth, or perhaps even find its way over to our cousins in New Zealand.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Photo at top shows Chris Badenoch presenting at ANHC Three in Melbourne in 2012. Photo by <a href="">Joel Larson</a>.</em></p> Stone Cold Certainties /news/post/stone-cold-certainties/ 2014-06-30T00:00:00Z james <p>As an independent craft brewer, it&rsquo;s fair to say that when you own a grain silo you&rsquo;ve made it. So, when you&rsquo;ve got two grain silos, well… Such is the situation these days for <a href="">Stone &amp; Wood</a>, the New South Wales brewery that has been playing a game of catch up with demand since putting the first beer through its new facility in Murwillumbah a few weeks ago. That first beer was Pacific Ale, the most stunning success story of the last decade in the Australian beer world and, for the foreseeable future at least, the only beer that will be filling the 250,000 litres worth of tank space at the $4m facility.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not just a case of two grain silos, either, as they now have two breweries. Their original site in Byron Bay is still operational – and looking rather more like it used to before Australian&rsquo;s insatiable desire for their beer forced founders Brad Rogers, Jamie Cook and Ross Jurisich into a state of almost constant expansion. The old haunt is now responsible for producing Lager, Jasper, Stone Beer, Garden Ale and any other limited release beers they choose to brew, such as those from side project The Mash Collective, which drinkers are likely to see more of now that the new facility is online. It will also remain the venue for semi-regular events.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a nirvana site,&rdquo; says head brewer Brad of their new home in Murwillumbah. They had first laid eyes on &ndash; and fallen in love with &ndash; it in 2011 but dismissed it as beyond their wildest dreams. When it became blatantly apparent that they would never cope at Byron Bay, they returned and took possession last year. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a perfect building for us,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>According to Jamie, with tongue somewhat in cheek, when it came to filling the space it was simply a case of taking the scrap of paper they&rsquo;d drawn the original brewery on and making it bigger. And while that is true to an extent, in that there is the same physical flow from utilities through brewhouse (the same make as before but twice the size), tanks and packaging, it&rsquo;s also a considerable step up. The extra space has allowed them to plan wisely, with plenty of room to manoeuvre around the steel towers that rise like a mini-CBD between brewhouse, complete with steepling hot and cold liquor tanks (&ldquo;A giant phallic symbol,&rdquo; jokes Ross), and a packaging line that can push through 10,000 bottles an hour and features a high end German filler that has been attracting inquisitive owners from other larger craft brewers like moths to a bulb.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s an impressive setup because it has to be. Despite huge shortages of Pacific Ale across the country, Brad, Jamie and Ross chose not to bridge the gap via contract brewing. While many other Australian breweries have managed their growing pains by paying others to brew their beer, it was never a consideration for Stone &amp; Wood. Instead it was a case of keeping their independent customers as happy as possible and cranking out as much beer as possible, 24 hours a day, through Byron Bay; then, once the new place was ready, the fermenters were transported the short drive to Murwillumbah and were being filled within 24 hours.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been very difficult,&rdquo; admits Brad of the time spent repeatedly telling retailers and in turn drinkers that, sorry, we got no beer. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s been difficult across the business, not just the brewers but the guys on the road and in the office. We don&rsquo;t want to go through that again.&rdquo;</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="Stone-and-Wood-2-1" class="med_right" src="" title="Stone-and-Wood-2-1" /> <blockquote><p>Their celebratory beer: Cloud Catcher</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>With the Murwillumbah brewery fully operational, The Crafty Pint was invited on a whistle-stop tour alongside a handful of other drinks journos. A former Bunnings trade warehouse site, it sits under the gaze of Mt Warning, which lends its name to the beer they&rsquo;re releasing to commemorate its opening. Cloud Catcher is a single batch (unless it proves hugely popular), all-Aussie affair brewed in Byron Bay with Galaxy and Ella hops and rather delicious to boot.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a celebration of where the business is &ndash; not just opening the brewery,&rdquo; says Brad.</p> <p>Where the business is, especially with Pacific Ale tasting great at the new site, is at the start of a new era, ready to take another leap forward, to put craft beer into more new hands, and possessed of a seemingly irresistible force. In fact, such has been its incredible growth despite the owners frequently taking tough decisions, such as buying back the 20 per cent share that had been owned by Little World Beverages (owners of Little Creatures and White Rabbit) once that was taken over by Lion, it&rsquo;s easy to forget how young the business is.</p> <p>It feels like Stone &amp; Wood has always been there, that its rise was inevitable, what with its founders' skills and past experience &ndash; including many years spent within the craft arm of CUB &ndash; combined with an easy charm, a sense of community and, not least, a beer that has made incredible inroads into the mainstream while remaining loved and respected by beer geeks. Yet it wasn&rsquo;t always thus.</p> <p>During the tour, the three reminisce over the early days, when they would share tiny digs and pound the streets trying to sell beer. Brad would have a batch of kegs ready to go and would call Ross to see how the sales were going.</p> <p>&ldquo;I only sold one keg,&rdquo; Ross would tell him.</p> <p>&ldquo;Just one today?&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;No. One all week.&rdquo;</p> <p>2008: one keg. 2014: two silos. Little wonder they&rsquo;re celebrating.</p> <p><object width="580" height="435"> <param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&lang=en-us&page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fcraftypint%2Fsets%2F72157645022662568%2Fshow%2F&page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fcraftypint%2Fsets%2F72157645022662568%2F&set_id=72157645022662568&jump_to="></param> <param name="movie" value=""></param> <param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><embed type="application/x-shockwave-flash" src="" allowFullScreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&lang=en-us&page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fcraftypint%2Fsets%2F72157645022662568%2Fshow%2F&page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fcraftypint%2Fsets%2F72157645022662568%2F&set_id=72157645022662568&jump_to=" width="580" height="435"></embed></object></p> Mismatch Makers /news/post/mismatch-makers/ 2014-06-25T00:00:00Z james <p>At the start of last summer, the first beers went through the system at <a href="">Big Shed Brewing</a>. But not all of them were brewed by Big Shed&rsquo;s founders Jason Harris and Craig Basford. The pair had always planned to set up their Adelaide venture as something of a communal brewery, one where use of the brewhouse and fermenter space was available for other brewers to hire. The idea was to offer startup brewing companies the chance to brew their own beer on a commercial scale without having to invest in their own brewery, while also helping them cover their own setup costs.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s an approach that is growing in popularity in Australia &ndash; just look at how many brewing companies are taking up residence and brewing at all times of the day and night at Melbourne&rsquo;s <a href="">Cavalier</a>, for example. At Big Shed, the first to step up and take advantage of the opportunity was the team behind Mismatch Brewing, a group of experienced hospitality and drinks industry mates who have now knocked out close to a dozen brews on Jason and Craig&rsquo;s system.</p> <p>Their brewer, Ewan Brewerton <em>(pictured above)</em>, who arrived at <a href="">Mismatch Brewing</a> via <a href="">McLaren Vale</a>, <a href="">Little Creatures</a> and a stint studying brewing in Edinburgh, got chatting to the pair before Big Shed was even a reality and saw in it a chance to make his desire to form a beer brand a reality. Thus, after having a first batch of his first release, Archie&rsquo;s Red Ale, brewed and packaged at BrewPack in NSW, he has taken control of all subsequent (and, to date, draught only) brews himself.</p> <p>“It’s working really well,&ldquo; says fellow Mismatcher Toby Kline, who runs Adelaide&rsquo;s Lion Hotel and is part of the team behind the Hills Cider Company, based in the Adelaide Hills. "The Big Shed Brewing guys have been very good with us and we’ve been very good with them.</p> <p>&ldquo;It’s still early days and we&rsquo;re still learning about each other; still learning how to maximise efficiency in the brewery, how to make better day every time we brew.&rdquo;</p> <p>Alongside Toby and Ewan are three others from the beverage and hospitality industry. Or, as Toby puts it: &ldquo;Everyone that works with us knows and loves food and booze.</p> <p>&ldquo;Some of us run other beverage companies and have always been beer lovers. An opportunity came up when discussing with Ewan his desire to branch out and build a beer brand. A few of us decided that would be a great idea – as happens when beers are involved. Some of the beers that he showed us with some of the most balanced beers that we had seen in a long time, so the whole thing really started from those conversations.</p> <p>&ldquo;We got really excited with his trial batches to not just have a craft offering but one that exhibits real balance and something a little different. You can get products – wine, beer, cider – that lack fundamental balance between hops and malt or acid and sugar.</p> <p>“I’d always investigated the opportunity to branch out into the beer industry. I&rsquo;m not a brewer so I can talk about beer or drink it till I’m blue in the face but I can’t make it. When Ewan started talking it just made sense."</p> <p>For now, pretty much every drop of Mismatch beer has been sold and consumed in SA. They&rsquo;re on to their fifth batches of both Archie&rsquo;s Red Ale and a golden Session Ale at Big Shed, both of which are being increasingly dry-hopped over time, and are about to release the first a Dark Ale.</p> <p>As for why they chose to &ldquo;buy into&rdquo; Big Shed rather than continue having their beer brewed under contract, there were no political considerations, no thoughts of &ldquo;Contract brewing isn&rsquo;t the way to go&rdquo;.</p> <p>“One of the things that we have always been about is being open and honest,&ldquo; says Toby. “We are not people that see contract brewing as the devil. Contract brewing is fine as long as you&rsquo;re honest. Communal [brewing] is fine as long as you’re honest. Having your own brewery is fine as long as you are honest about it. It&rsquo;s about the quality of the beer and being totally transparent.&rdquo;</p> <p>His words are refreshing and hint at the case of the misleading packaging for Byron Bay Pale Lager last year, which led to fines and reprimands for CUB earlier this year. While many were quick to jump on the Byron Bay case as an example of bad practice by one of the major brewing companies, there are smaller businesses making false claims about their beers' provenance on packaging too.</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="Big-Shed-Brewing-4" class="med_right" src="" title="Big-Shed-Brewing-4" /> <blockquote><p>The Big Shed setup</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>&ldquo;People get their noses out of joint,&rdquo; says Toby of misleading labelling. &ldquo;There will be resentment if people don’t get all the facts.</p> <p>&ldquo;We’re just straight up front as consumers deserve that. We put on every keg tag and every bottle label what ingredients, IBUs, the EBC [colour of the beer] and so on are, just to be exactly clear. It’s something with Australian labelling laws that has been lost.&rdquo;</p> <p>While he and his partners take their first steps in the craft beer world as Mismatch, Toby will be hoping for similar success to that enjoyed by his cider business. Formed in 2010, it continues to grow as, he reckons, does the interest in and knowledge of craft ciders.</p> <p>&ldquo;Everything [for Hills Cider] is sourced from the Adelaide Hills. We get fresh apples and have full control from paddock to pint – one of the few cider companies in Australia who can decide if our fruit is good enough to go into our cider; the majority are using Chinese concentrate. It’s just been another fun odyssey, making well-balanced booze with soul.</p> <p>“The cider boom has been going for three years and we’ve been going four so are one of the old people on the block. The growth in the market compared to craft beer or wine is much quicker. It&rsquo;s happening more rapidly than in other drink sections before. Everyone has an iPhone or an iPad so can find out about what they&rsquo;re drinking. "</p> <p>Expansion for Mismatch is on the cards too. For now, all of the beer is sold around Adelaide but there are plans to head into Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and WA in the coming months. Beyond that, all being well, a time will come when it will be time to bid their hosts farewell and set up a brewery of their own.</p> <p><em>For more on Mismatch and their beers, check out their <a href="">website</a>.</em></p> Crafting A Win /news/post/crafting-a-win/ 2014-06-24T00:00:00Z james <p>Several of Sydney&rsquo;s craftiest venues were among the big winners at last night&rsquo;s <a href="">Time Out Sydney Pub Awards</a>. It wasn&rsquo;t too long ago that beer lovers were bemoaning the lack of quality beer outlets in the city but how fast the tide is turning. And proving just how fast the tide can turn, a couple of the big winners at the awards night at The Glenmore in The Rocks have been serving craft beer for little more than a year &ndash; if that.</p> <p>The main award on the night – Pub of the Year – went to The Welcome Hotel in Rozelle <em>(pictured above)</em>, which up until the middle of last year was just another run-of-the-mill pub but today has 14 taps serving craft beer and a kitchen creating such good food that its owners also went home with the coveted Best Pub Food title. <em>(You&rsquo;ll be able to read all about the venue when a listing for the pub is added to the site this week)</em></p> <p>Best Beer List went to another newcomer to the world of craft. The <a href="">Quarryman&rsquo;s Hotel</a> in Pyrmont took the title just a few months after opening its doors following a major renovation of the old venue. That the venue has been transformed by one of the city&rsquo;s major pub groups &ndash; The Laundy Group &ndash; not previously known for craft beer but which has not so much dipped its toes into craftier waters at the Quarryman&rsquo;s but dived in headfirst is a great sign for things to come. Runner up in that category was the <a href="">Royal Albert Hotel</a>, which has recently expanded its tap lineup too.</p> <p>It was a pub awards that was as much about the publicans as it was the pubs: the people that become so synonymous with a venue that it’s a bit of a disappointment when you turn up on their day off. Publican of the Year went to Ray Reilly of The Henson, with Dan Ryan of the <a href="">Dove &amp; Olive</a> runner up.</p> <p>The Henson also picked up the Family-Friendly Award. As well as being a great supporter of the local community and local breweries since coming under new ownership, the Marrickville venue has replaced its pokies with a video arcade, converted an old garage into a kids play area and now hums to the sound of young families.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the Revival Award went to Minskys Hotel, the Legend Award to Green Park Hotel and People&rsquo;s Choice to Balmain Hotel. The Vic on the Park took out the Best Entertainment category and continues to dabble in craft beer with increasing frequency. Their events range in diversity from craft beer festivals (including hosting the opening party of Sydney Craft Beer Week), to roller hockey and a raucous New Year’s concert from You Am I.</p> <p>It’s worth noting that these aren’t craft beer awards, however, so the choices of the judges make it an interesting measure of how some of the city’s specialist venues are stacking up against the rest. Pleasingly, they’re doing rather well. It seems to be in keeping with a growing trend; the most recent list of Melbourne&rsquo;s 25 Best Pubs in the Herald Sun had Good Beer Week Festival Hub <a href="">The Terminus</a> in the top spot with many other craft beer specialist venues also in the list. In fact, one of the most notable things about that list was that it is practically impossible – in Melbourne at least – to be regarded as a decent pub without having at least a smattering of quality beer on your tap list.</p> <p>The inaugural <a href="">Time Out Melbourne Pub Awards take place next month</a>, with a venue to be confirmed soon. Again the odds look good for some crafty winners. But for now, congratulations to all of the Sydney winners &ndash; here&rsquo;s hoping the success enjoyed by those who took the gamble of switching to craft encourages many more to follow suit.</p> <p>Vive la Revolution!</p> <p><strong><em>You can vote for the People&rsquo;s Choice Award for the Melbourne Awards <a href="">here</a>.</em></strong></p> Feathering Their Nest /news/post/feathering-their-nest/ 2014-06-20T00:00:00Z james <p>The departure lounge at LAX airport in Los Angeles may not seem the most likely setting for the birthplace of an Australian brewery, but it was while awaiting a flight back from last year&rsquo;s Craft Brewers Conference in the US that the seeds were sown for Two Birds Brewing&rsquo;s &ldquo;Nest&rdquo;. Brewery co-founder Jayne Lewis' husband was filling his time scanning property websites in Australia when an industrial unit in Melbourne&rsquo;s west caught his eye. A little over 12 months later and that unit is now home to one of Australia&rsquo;s newest and shiniest breweries and will soon open the doors of its brewery bar to the public.</p> <p>They were opened temporarily during Good Beer Week for Two Birds' Brewer&rsquo;s Blend, at which point it was very much a work in progress. Today, the six taps are in place and pouring, all the walls that had to be removed have been removed and those that needed to be erected have been erected, the kitchen is almost ready to go and the fermenters are full of beer. Much of the work has been done by Jayne&rsquo;s husband, Dr Louis Bucci, who has quit his career as a geologist to become the latest male bird in the team – and even has a part of the brewery named in his honour; as you enter the brewery itself, you cross Bucci&rsquo;s Landing, so called as as it took him so long to build…</p> <p>&ldquo;The area is so ready,&rdquo; says Jayne of Melbourne&rsquo;s west. The brewery is located in Spotswood, close to the West Gate Bridge and only a few hundred metres from the excellent <a href="">Junction Beer Hall</a> that has been bringing great beer to the area for a couple of years now. &ldquo;We are getting a lot of people coming through the door asking if we&rsquo;re open yet.&rdquo;</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="Two-Birds-Brewing-1" class="med_right" src="" title="Two-Birds-Brewing-1" /> <blockquote><p>The Nest</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>As a local – Lewis and Louis live just a few kilometres away – the intention from the earliest days of Two Birds, when it started out with beers brewed under contract (bottles and WA kegs will still come out of Gage Roads for now), was always to open a brewery in the area if possible.</p> <p>&ldquo;The brewery has become a pretty big focus for us, and the local area always was,&rdquo; says Jayne.</p> <p>The building that houses the brewery used to be home to Goetz &amp; Sons, a toolmaker that, amongst its range, built tools for the manufacture of steel beer cans. Today, that business may have departed but one of the other new tenants is a business selling barbecues, suggesting that Two Birds have found a suitable spot to be brewing and selling beer.</p> <p>The first brews went through the 18 hectolitre system last week, under the guidance of brewing legend Brian Watson, who has set up many breweries across Australia and New Zealand and today is part of Good George in Hamilton. He oversaw three brews on consecutive days and, according to Jayne, &ldquo;it was, touch wood, so fuckin' easy!</p> <p>&ldquo;Even Brian was pretty chuffed with it all.&rdquo;</p> <p>The final piece in the jigsaw – other than the outstanding building work – is their licence to open as a venue. It&rsquo;s imminent, with a date of July 3 pencilled in for the first public opening. When the opening does take place, not only will there be several of Jayne&rsquo;s beers pouring (Golden, Sunset, Taco, Sesame Snap Chat and &ldquo;one other special&rdquo;) plus a guest tap, but there will be food designed by the chefs at Rockwell &amp; Sons.</p> <p>&ldquo;There will be no fried chicken and no double patty smash. We&rsquo;ve got a whole new lineup of things that [Rockwell head chef] Casey is doing here,&rdquo; says Jayne, before adding while swooning: &ldquo;The chilli dogs are sooooo good.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Given that we are in the western suburbs, it will be wonderful with the demographic here to show them that food with beer doesn&rsquo;t have to just be a Parma,&rdquo; says Louis.</p> <p>As for future beer releases, the Two Birds mantra of &ldquo;drinkable and balanced&rdquo; will remain central to their ethos but there is also talk of some more &ldquo;crazy and out there stuff&rdquo;. The new beers will be concocted in partnership with Wilson Hede, who was snapped up to be Jayne&rsquo;s assistant brewer from 3 Ravens, where he played a role in developing and tweaking some of the beers that helped the Thornbury brewery collect the Champion Small Australian Brewery title last month.</p> <p><div class="captioned medCaptioned"> <img alt="Two-Birds-Brewing-3" class="med" src="" title="Two-Birds-Brewing-3" /> <blockquote><p>Jayne and &ldquo;rock star&rdquo; assistant Wilson</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>&ldquo;We have been chatting for ages,&rdquo; says Jayne. &ldquo;When he was still at Beer DeLuxe he wanted to get into brewing. We had a chat then about how he might get into the industry and then he went and did the things I suggested. It meant he was a natural choice when I was looking for a brewer.&rdquo;</p> <p>As for the emotions surrounding finally taking control of her own brewery after a career that has taken in the likes of <a href="">Little Creatures</a>, <a href="">Mountain Goat</a> and <a href="">Matilda Bay</a>, they are understandably high. Louis couldn&rsquo;t be prouder, while it could be some months before the smile leaves Jayne&rsquo;s face.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s so, so good. Last week I couldn&rsquo;t punch the smile off my face,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>&ldquo;I find myself walking around going, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m here, just making beer in my own brewery&hellip;&rsquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Tuesday was pretty great. Wednesday was pretty great. Thursday was pretty great,&rdquo; she adds. &ldquo;Then Friday was our third birthday.&rdquo;</p> <p>What&rsquo;s not to like?</p> <p><em>Two Birds' Nest is at 136 Hall Street, Spotswood. It opens to the public for the first time at 4pm on July 10.</em></p> Man About Town /news/post/man-about-town/ 2014-06-18T00:00:00Z james <p>Like many beer enthusiasts before him, Gavin Croft&rsquo;s appreciation for fine beer began with a familiar route: via cartons of Tooheys and Carlton. For Gavin, beer was and still is a fantastic reason to bring people together. He describes beer as an &ldquo;equaliser&rdquo; &ndash; a simple liquid that when shared and enjoyed &ldquo;eliminates any pretentiousness&rdquo;. Share a beer in Gavin&rsquo;s company and you&rsquo;re on level ground. It&rsquo;s a sensible approach and one that has enabled him to keep his feet firmly on the ground since his rise from cracking open cold Carlton cans to launching Croft Brewing Co later this month in Brisbane.</p> <p>Gavin describes his yearning to brew beer as akin to a small, inextinguishable fire burning deep inside from a young (but legal) age. He found himself continually trying different beers and recalls three notable instances.</p> <p>&ldquo;I remember when the James Squire range of beers was first released and thinking how novel it was to have easy access to beer with more flavour,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>A chance meeting with Ian Watson (now Fortitude Brewing Co.) around the same time at Toowoomba&rsquo;s Spotted Cow Cellars was a huge eye-opener. Ian introduced him to a wider spectrum of choice.</p> <p>However, it was a European vacation circa 2007 that fuelled and eventually solidified Gavin&rsquo;s flames of desire.</p> <p>&ldquo;Travelling around Europe trying beers that I&rsquo;ve never seen or tasted before gave me more of a hunger to do things for myself,&rdquo; he recalls. &ldquo;Being part of beer festivals, drinking in large, historic beer halls and spending time in Abbeys was almost overwhelming.&rdquo;</p> <p>The inevitable foray into home brewing occurred a year later with a partial mash. Being &lsquo;promoted&rsquo; to Assistant Home Brewer to Andrew Sydes (now Green Beacon Brewing Co) was another turning point. He reminisces about those early days sharing a house with Andrew and brewing all-grain beers.</p> <p>&ldquo;I learned a lot with Andrew. He taught me so much about all-grain that my own recipes started turning out really well.&rdquo;</p> <p>Yet another familiar face from Brisbane&rsquo;s craft beer industry appears in Gavin&rsquo;s past too.</p> <p>&ldquo;Johann Ulrich Van der Walt (now Green Beacon Brewing Co) helped me construct my kettle. He even loaned me a mash tun!&rdquo;</p> <p>After perfecting his home brews, Gavin studied for the Graduate Certificate of Brewing and notes that he never completed his undergraduate, with his application to the course initially rejected. Some begging, pleading and proving his worth to course director Peter Aldred followed and eventually he overturned the original decision.</p> <p>Between the beginning of 2012 and the end of 2013 things escalated. Not only did he commence growing and cultivating his own hops but triumph in a home brew competition saw Gavin&rsquo;s winning beer tapped at The Scratch Bar. The encouragement gained from watching patrons part with their cash to drink his beer was enough to provoke a job application to Bacchus Brewing, which proved successful. During his tenure at <a href="">Bacchus Brewing</a>, Gavin was exposed to an intimate education with a fun-loving team and almost every hop variety and malt type under the sun at his fingertips.</p> <p>Two work experience trips were also tucked under his belt during this busy two-year period. Another visit to Germany enabled Gavin to spend some time with his beloved smoked beers at the famous Schlenkerla brewpub in Bamberg. However, an entire week spent at <a href="">4 Pines</a> excited him immensely.</p> <p><div class="captioned medCaptioned"> <img alt="Croft-Brewing-2" class="med" src="" title="Croft-Brewing-2" /> <blockquote><p>Gavin in action</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>&ldquo;Those guys were great. I got involved in every single aspect of production from opening sacks of grain to seeing bottles of beer leave on a truck. It was eye opening to say the least.&rdquo;</p> <p>Eight months then spent working behind the bar at <a href="">The Scratch</a> with &ldquo;a collective of weirdly wonderful, expressive people&rdquo; saw Gavin gain an insight into how an excellent bar operates as well as an appreciation for what customers really want. Since the inception of The Scratch&rsquo;s weekend Alementary classes, Gavin has appeared on a number of occasions as a guest speaker as well as attributing his voice and knowledge to speaking arrangements with the Ministry of Handmade &ndash; a local group dedicated to all things craft&hellip; not just beer.</p> <p>With such an illustrious recent past, Gavin Croft is cherishing the present, as he explains: &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve been working with and for Mark Howes at Newstead Brewing for three months now and it&rsquo;s great &ndash; especially with his shiny new brewery! My employment came about by simply being in the right place at the right time. I was enjoying a meal with my wife at Newstead one evening when Mark and I got chatting. One thing lead to another and the rest is history&hellip;&rdquo;</p> <p>With jobs brewing beer at working breweries few and far between, he counts himself as being very lucky, adding: &ldquo;I&rsquo;m also learning to do more concise analysis due to Mark&rsquo;s laboratory experience and science background. It&rsquo;s very rewarding. I&rsquo;m planning to continue at Newstead part time.&rdquo;</p> <p>But, more crucially to the Croft story: the imminent future.</p> <p>After registering the business name Croft Brewing Company back in 2012, Gavin has commenced brewing for himself on a contract arrangement at All Inn Brewing at Banyo.</p> <p>&ldquo;A croft is a lawn, a paddock, a farm, a green space and a crofter is a farmer,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;My father, grandfather and great grandfather were all farmers and I’m proud of this heritage. I’m using our family name because I want to create beers that are synonymous with hard work, honesty, good company and green spaces. It will be a family owned business not subject to shareholders and quality will come before everything.&rdquo;</p> <p>These are respectable words from an engaging man with a promising future ahead of him. Furthermore, it is utter proof that the burning sensation deep inside wasn&rsquo;t due to any ill effects sustained by drinking Tooheys.</p> <p>Details of the official launch will be available soon. There will be four beers in Croft Brewing Co&rsquo;s stable, released in clutches of two at a time.</p> <p>First up is Saison Grenade (pronounced in French as &ldquo;say-zon gre-nard&rdquo;) which is a pomegranate saison. Gavin lists saisons as one of his favourite styles and his first commercial beer promises to be dry and spicy yet bitter with tart characteristics &ndash; one for the sour fans. The grenade is in reference to the explosion of flavour being generated by the inclusion of pomegranate.</p> <p>The second beer is a sessionable, hoppy American pale ale called Wolf Scratch, named not after the bar where Gavin worked but instead in reference to the hop plant itself and its aggressive nature. Gavin has personally endured countless scratches whilst tending to his own hops. Plus, of course Lupulus – as in Humulus Lupulus – is Latin for wolf.</p> <p><img alt="Croft-Brewing-logo" class="small_right" src="" title="Croft-Brewing-logo" /></p> <p>The third and fourth in the lineup will be a 3.0 percent brown ale (Southern English Brown) – a super malty and chewy mid-strength, and a 4.7 percent smoked German pale beer called Smoked Helles which has been designed as an easy drinking lager with a hint of Beechwood smoke.</p> <p>Keep an eye on <a href="">Croft Brewing’s Facebook page</a> for news of the launch that is likely to occur either late June or early July.</p> <p><em>You can keep tabs on the Queensland beer scene via Darren&rsquo;s blog <a href="">250 Beers</a>.</em></p> Sip & Savour in Sydney /news/post/sip-savour-in-sydney/ 2014-06-16T00:00:00Z james <p>The teams behind some of Australia&rsquo;s biggest beer festivals are joining forces to bring Sydneysiders a major event to close out this year&rsquo;s Sydney Craft Beer Week. Sip &amp; Savour will bring craft beer, entertainment and education to the city&rsquo;s iconic Carriageworks over the weekend of October 25 and 26. It is a joint venture between the Australian Beer Ambassadors, who run Geelong&rsquo;s Great Australian Beer Festival, and BEST Australia, which has run the Fremantle, Esk and Melbourne Beerfests in the past 12 months.</p> <p>According to Michael Ward, from the Australian Beer Ambassadors: &ldquo;Carriageworks is unbelievable. This event lends itself to the week of celebrations that is Sydney Craft Beer Week. It is a great way to raise awareness and also to close the week.&rdquo;</p> <p>Sip &amp; Savour will run over three sessions, two on Saturday and one on Sunday, with the organisers hoping to attract up to 3,000 people to each. They plan to have more than 200 beers and ciders on offer as well as live acoustic music, educational seminars on topics such as beer and food matching, home brewing and starting your own brewery, plus entertainment for families, with a particular family focus on the Sunday.</p> <p>Australian Beer Ambassadors director Kieran Blood says the event will celebrate &ldquo;the craftsmanship, artistry and passion&rdquo; that goes into creating craft beer.</p> <p>“It will promote and encourage awareness, appreciation and understanding while delivering a cultural experience befitting of the great space,&ldquo; he says. "Carriageworks is ideal. The historic and heritage venue is a home, an inspiration for the development of creative work and the perfect location to showcase the very artisan nature behind craft brewing.”</p> <p>The organisers also hope to introduce a film festival element into the event. The hope is to encourage people to create short films about craft beer that can be shown at Carriageworks throughout Sip &amp; Savour. BEST Australia&rsquo;s James Harding says the aim is to create &ldquo;an experience that stimulates more than just taste buds and engages on a sensory and intellectual level.&rdquo;</p> <p>Adult tickets will cost $39.50 plus booking fee, which covers entry to each session. Once inside, attendees can then purchase drinks tokens that allows them to sample beers and ciders.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is important to engage people on multiple levels,&rdquo; adds Michael. &ldquo;We don&rsquo;t just want to be serving up beer. The people that drink craft beer deserve more.&rdquo;</p> <p><img alt="SipSavourSydney_FA" class="small_right" src="" title="SipSavourSydney_FA" /></p> <p>The full program for this year&rsquo;s Sydney Craft Beer Week will be revealed on at July 28. Tickets for Sip &amp; Savour will be on sale next month too.</p> <p><strong>Session times</strong></p> <p>Saturday October 25<br/> Session 1: 11.30am to 4.30pm<br/> Session 2: 6pm to 11pm</p> <p>Sunday October 26<br/> 12pm to 6pm Carriageworks is at 245 Wilson St, Eveleigh.</p>