News - Crafty Pint /news 2014-04-16T00:00:00Z Strings 'N' Tins /news/post/strings-n-tins/ 2014-04-16T00:00:00Z james <p>It may have taken them an interminable length of time before they were able to construct their brewery and brew their first beer but, since <a href="">Six String Brewing</a> poured that first dark red IPA, they have hit the ground running.</p> <p>Last month, the Central Coast brewery celebrated its first birthday with a sell-out dinner and marked the occasion with the release of a double malt, quadruple hop version of their flagship IPA. They are steadily spreading their beers throughout New South Wales, with Queensland next on the agenda, then Melbourne. The limited releases keep on coming, with two plus the anniversary beer out now and another a week away. And, in just a few weeks, they will be installing their very own canning line.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s going from strength to strength,&rdquo; says Cameron Flett, the latest addition to the Six String team as self-titled &lsquo;beer pusher and jack of all trades&rsquo;. &ldquo;The beers are going everywhere at the moment.&rdquo;</p> <p>Among them is the aforementioned first birthday beer, called simply One.</p> <p>&ldquo;The dark red IPA was the first one that Chris brewed here,&rdquo; says Cameron. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s our flagship beer so to celebrate he thought why not make a double version of it. He doubled the malt, quadrupled the amount of hops and ended up with a 10.2 percent monster.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a sleeping giant, though. It&rsquo;s so smooth in terms of alcohol. The hops are dominant as you&rsquo;d expect but it&rsquo;s not bitter, despite being 90 IBUs.&rdquo;</p> <p>The One is the brewery&rsquo;s first packaged beer, presented in rather impressive 750ml bottles with, of course, an axeman giving it some with his guitar on the front. But it won&rsquo;t be the last.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are getting a canning machine sent over from the States,&rdquo; says Cameron. &ldquo;We decided to go for cans instead of bottles for environmental reasons and also the impact on the beer itself. There&rsquo;s also an increase in interest in cans too. Not just here, but in American market.</p> <p>&ldquo;We saw that trend over there and figured it would start here in Australia. We know of a couple of others that are moving into cans as well.&rdquo;</p> <p>They will be the fourth Australian microbrewery to start canning beer. First was the <a href="">Australian Brewery</a> in Sydney then, late last year, Melbourne&rsquo;s <a href="">Mountain Goat</a> began canning Summer Ale offsite – a move that proved so popular they have now followed it up with Fancy Pants, while <a href="">Mornington Peninsula Brewery</a> recently released its Pale in cans too. Discussions at Six String have centred around which beer or beers will receive the package treatment. And it seems it might be a fair few.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had lunch with the head brewer to push for a definite answer on which beers would be going into cans,&rdquo; says Cameron. &ldquo;He says definitely the Pale. And then added that we should do that one. And that one. And that one.&rdquo;</p> <p>In other words, the entire core range – Hefeweizen, Golden Ale, Dark Red IPA and Pale &ndash; are all potentially up for a guernsey.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s not just the beer side of things that is going well for the music-lovin' brewers. The brewery&rsquo;s tasting room, where they host dinners and guests can tuck into the chef&rsquo;s &ldquo;American tapas&rdquo; on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays when the live music is on, is now the number one rated restaurant in the area on <a href="">tripadvisor</a> and is &ldquo;kicking off every time it&rsquo;s open&rdquo; says Cameron, with guests unable to get enough of the sliders, pizzas, softshell crab and the like.</p> <p>With strong support locally, as well as in the bigger Sydney and Newcastle markets, the Erina-based brewery looks well set. The Indie, a British IPA made entirely with British malts, hops and yeast, and Celtic Fusion, an oatmeal stout that has been infused with coffee from local legends Onyx Coffee, are out now, while a rerelease of Torhout &ndash; Werchter, a Belgian dubbel that first saw light of day in 2013, will follow soon.</p> <p>Having had to wait three years to get their doors open, there&rsquo;s little doubt they are making up for lost time.</p> <p>&ldquo;For a brand new job,&rdquo; says Cameron, &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve got a lot of things to do…&rdquo;</p> The Rivers Overrunneth /news/post/the-rivers-overrunneth/ 2014-04-08T00:00:00Z james <p>Scottsdale used to be one of Australia&rsquo;s most significant hop growing regions. Today, there is just one remaining hop farm in that part of northeast Tasmania, one which is growing the increasingly unfashionable Pride of Ringwood hops. But, thanks to the arrival of a new brewery, there is fresh reason for beer lovers to cast their eyes in that direction.</p> <p>Little Rivers launched earlier this year, pouring beers at the equally new Saint John Craft Beer venue in Launceston for Craft Beer Rising and quickly attracting the attention of venues across the state. Already co-owner Chris Cairns has had to give up his other job, working at Pipers Brook Vineyard, to focus on keeping up with demand for his four beers, demand that has seen him working seven days a week, 12 to 14 hours a day.</p> <p>&ldquo;My partner and I both grew up in the northeast of Tasmania,&rdquo; says Chris. &ldquo;We are in a big forestry area and it&rsquo;s struggling. We wanted to get a bit of a buzz back in town and, since we opened, all the locals have really got behind us. We are already in both local pubs and the bottleshops.</p> <p>&ldquo;Demand is just crazy.&rdquo;</p> <p>Although he is a Tassie local, Chris learnt the art of brewing at <a href="">Burleigh Brewing</a> on the Gold Coast after heading there with his partner Jess Coniston when she was studying in the area.</p> <p>&ldquo;I did a stint brewing with Brennan [Fielding] and learnt how to brew,&rdquo; says Chris. &ldquo;I had been winemaking for four or five years before that. He taught me a lot of things and I got the passion for beer and decided to run with it.&rdquo;</p> <p>His training helped guide the four beers that make up Little Rivers' offering to date, with the majority European-inspired: a European dark lager; a Kolsch; Hefeweizen; and a pale ale.</p> <p>&ldquo;Brennan is a Hawaiian brewer who learnt from German brewers,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;He passed that on to me. I do plan to release some seasonals when we are not so busy and play around with IPAs and the like.&rdquo;</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="Little-Rivers-2" class="med_right" src="" title="Little-Rivers-2" /> <blockquote><p>The Little Rivers family</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>Little Rivers is very much a family affair. While Chris handles the majority of the brewing, packaging, labelling and other brewery duties, Jess' stepdad is handling much of the business side of things while Jess learned the ropes – while raising an 11-month-old and working part-time as a nurse.</p> <p>The brewery itself is something of a homespun creation too. Lacking the funds to purchase a turnkey brewery, they created their own double decoction brewhouse, with Chris' uncle using his welding skills and some winery fermenters repurposed for beer. Originally they intended to build it on a family farm but, when a suitable site cropped up in Scottsdale itself, they snapped it up and now hope to add a cellar door ready for next summer.</p> <p>As for their flying start and the subsequent long days and weeks, it turns out that there was demand for their beers before they had even got them ready.</p> <p>&ldquo;Venues found us on Facebook and social media,&rdquo; says Chris. &ldquo;Saint John rang us up and ordered kegs before they had even tasted the beers. I think it was just refreshing to have a another craft brewery in Tasmania.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a good scene down here. We are lucky to have the sort of community that has embraced us. In this area they are traditional Boags drinkers so it&rsquo;s great to see them drinking our beer.&rdquo;</p> <p><em><a href="">Little Rivers</a> is located at 22 Victoria Street, Scottsdale. You can keep tabs with their latest activities via their <a href="">Facebook page</a>.</em></p> Beyond Craft... /news/post/beyond-craft/ 2014-04-03T00:00:00Z james <p>Had enough of craft beer? Then how about cult beer? Clearly, the owners of a new bar in Melbourne feel it&rsquo;s time to take things a little further, with Two Row announcing itself as a home for &ldquo;cult beer, wine and spirits&rdquo;. The intention is to pour nothing but the weird, the wonderful and the downright strange through their five taps and to line their fridges and shelves with off-kilter wines and spirits too. No accident, then, that among the beers pouring when they open today is Hipster Ale.</p> <p>The arrival of Two Row continues the gentrification – or should that be craftification? – of the road once known as Smack Street, with new bars and eateries stretching ever further from the Gertrude Street end into the territory traditionally occupied by clothing outlet stores. Other recent openings in the vicinity include <a href="">Lot 347</a>, a bar offering more traditional craft beer fare directly next door, and <a href="">La Condesa</a>, a new Mexican bar/restaurant a couple of hundred meters away on Johnston Street with a sweet selection of beer on tap and in cans.</p> <p>Two Row, which takes its name from the type of barley most popular in brewing, comes with impeccable craft beer credentials. It was conceived by Chris Menichelli <em>(above left)</em>, the founder of Australia&rsquo;s first craft beer only bottleshop <a href="">Slowbeer</a>, and Tiffany Waldron <em>(above right)</em> who, under the Beer Girl Bites banner, works throughout the craft beer industry advising on everything from social media to beer lists and is also part of the Good Beer Week team. The third owner is Stewart Went, who runs Cloud Wine in South Melbourne.</p> <p>&ldquo;We both wanted a bar and we both had the same idea so it made sense to open one together,&rdquo; says Tiffany. &ldquo;We started planning about a year ago and were originally looking in the western suburbs but nothing popped up.&rdquo;</p> <p>Then the venue on Smith Street became available and they headed to the inner north. There they have created as minimalist a bar as you are likely to visit. Downstairs, the walls are painted plain, decorated with just a handful of wooden crates and lined with small tables and chairs. The centrepiece is a large wooden table that would seem to lend itself to hosted tastings or to encourage communal drinking and socialising among guests. Upstairs, the walls are exposed brick with the room (or rooms) filled with tables, chairs and sofas; it almost feels like attending a house party, which would seem to fit with the laid-back vibe the owners wish to create – despite the &ldquo;cult&rdquo; status.</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="Two-Row-2" class="med_right" src="" title="Two-Row-2" /> <blockquote><p>Communal cult boozing at Two Row</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>&ldquo;We wanted to differentiate ourselves,&rdquo; says Chris. &ldquo;A lot of places are moving across to craft beer so we want to push the fact that we are more than that. Cult is a good term because we are looking to feature beers with a following.&rdquo;</p> <p>Hence why the other beers being tapped for opening include Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta and the latest draught arrival from Italian sour stars Loverbeer, a beer that has got every bar pouring it rather hot under the collar (&ldquo;It goes from one to 100 in a second,&rdquo; we were told by one enthusiast this week).</p> <p>Aside from the five taps, there is a well curated bottle list and a cellar for ageing &ldquo;ultra-rare and ultra-limited brews&rdquo;, plus a small selection of wines and spirits. There will be food, in the form of grilled cheese sandwiches designed to match to different beers on tap, but they&rsquo;re not quite ready to roll (or bubble) just yet.</p> <p>Two Row is more than a bar, according to Tiffany. It is, she says, &ldquo;a place to escape from the mundane and into a haven of intense hops, rarefied botanicals, and quirky vintages. Our mission is to showcase the best, the wildest, and the most passionate expressions of beer, wine and spirits.&rdquo;</p> <p>If that sounds like your kind of thing – and why would it not – then they open for business from 4pm today.</p> <p><em><a href="">Two Row</a> is at 351 Smith Street, Fitzroy, and will be open 4pm to 11pm Wed to Fri and from midday on weekends.</em></p> King Henrys /news/post/king-henrys/ 2014-04-02T00:00:00Z james <p>While they may not have enjoyed Australia&rsquo;s brand of cricket, it seems that the Brits rather like Australian beer. Hot on the heels of the success of Redoak, Hawthorn and <a href="">4 Pines</a> at last year&rsquo;s International Beer Challenge, another Aussie brewer has picked up a top title in the UK.</p> <p>Earlier this year, Richard Adamson, head brewer and co-founder of <a href="">Young Henrys</a>, was invited to England by the organisers of the JD Wetherspoon Real Ale Festival. There he hooked up with Banks Brewery <em>(pictured above brewing the beer)</em> to create a traditional real ale version of his Real Ale. He was one of 10 international brewers invited to make a special beer for the festival – his third invite to take part – with 30 British brewers also creating new beers for the nationwide event.</p> <p>At a launch event at the Trent Bridge Inn in Nottingham, a team of judges from breweries, the festival, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) sampled all 40 beers, with Richard&rsquo;s Real Ale judged best in its class and taking out the Gold Medal as best overall beer in the festival too.</p> <p>&ldquo;I wasn&rsquo;t even aware they did this,&rdquo; says Richard. &ldquo;They used to have an online poll of drinkers in which I managed to take the trophy on the previous two occasions I have taken part, but to take best beer of the festival is fantastic.</p> <p>&ldquo;When I came back to the guys [at Young Henrys] I said, &lsquo;Don&rsquo;t expect too much.&rsquo; I enjoy English bitters and drank some fantastic ones while I was over there so I thought we would get comments that it was a nice pint but not much more, but obviously the Aussie hops shone through. We used Ella, Topaz and Galaxy, with the star of the show probably the Topaz. The result has been backed up with what we are seeing on Untappd as the punters are really enjoying it too.&rdquo;</p> <p>The title is a welcome fillip at what is a busy time for Young Henrys. They turn two this month, after enjoying an incredible start to life in Newtown. A new brewery is due to be installed to make it easier to fill their recently arrived, much larger tanks and they&rsquo;re about to release their 500th brew, a double version of their popular Hop Ale called Hop Van Damme.</p> <p>&ldquo;Since we started, we have doubled our capacity three times,&rdquo; says Richard. &ldquo;[Before launching] we set and together, Oscar, Ben and myself, and decided what we wanted the company to stand for and we have stuck to it. I think that has been the secret to our success: let&rsquo;s make great beer but let&rsquo;s have fun. Let&rsquo;s get into the things that we love, like the arts and culture.&rdquo;</p> <p>Given how synonymous the brewery has become with Newtown, it seems amazing that initially they were looking to open in Surry Hills but were unable to get the requisite permits. Now they are on every other tap in the suburb, as well as its surrounds, and have even brewed a Newtowner beer.</p> <p>&ldquo;The people of Newtown are massively supportive,&rdquo; says Richard. &ldquo;We wouldn&rsquo;t have had this success without them. Being here suits who we are better.</p> <p>&ldquo;Oscar and Ben have lived here many years and I used to come down here as a teenager seeking out inner-city punk bands.&rdquo;</p> <p>With former True South and Old Salt head brewer at Sam Füss in place and settling into the team, things look bright for the brewery. They even have another rockstar collaboration on the horizon. Last year, for their Rockstar Brews event at Cherry Bar during Good Beer Week, they originally intended to have Frenzal Rhomb on the bill. Jay Whalley&rsquo;s nasty illness prevented that taking place, with the event rearranged for Melbourne&rsquo;s Corner Hotel at this year&rsquo;s festival instead. Discussions are underway as to what the beer will be, with a rather unusual ingredient being considered.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are experimenting with Jay&rsquo;s dreads to see if we can get some yeast out of it. But the main battle is over the name,&rdquo; says Richard.</p> <p>They have narrowed it down to two options, however: Dick Sandwich or Punch in the Face.</p> <p><em>The Young Henrys / Frenzal Rhomb beer will be launched at the band&rsquo;s gig on May 23. Support will come from Front End Loader, will be bring a fresh batch of their 666 for the event. Tickets are available <a href="">here</a>.</em></p> Nail On Tap /news/post/nail-on-tap/ 2014-04-01T00:00:00Z james <p>WA&rsquo;s Nail Brewing has been at the forefront of the state&rsquo;s craft beer industry for well over a decade now. Its founder, John Stallwood <em>(pictured above)</em>, has also been instrumental in the rise of the W.A. Brewers Association, the Perth Royal Beer Show and much else that has promoted better beer locally and across Australia. Now, as of today, the brewery is taking possibly its boldest step yet to bring craft beer to the masses. It has hooked up with the local water board for a pilot scheme that will see the brewery&rsquo;s popular Nail Ale pumped straight into almost 200 households local to the brewery in Bassendean.</p> <p>Alongside the Water Corporation and the Town of Bassendean, that they will test 182 fixed beer lines into private home kitchens. The operation, which has been two years in the planning, will start pouring Nail Ale today.</p> <p>The idea was sparked over a beer between the brewers at Nail Brewing and Andy Nylund from Water Corporation and, to date, has seen $1.1 million invested.</p> <p>Brewer Dan Turley believes it will be &ldquo;revolutionary&rdquo;, with the aim to reach an estimated 100,000 people in Australia by 2017.</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="dan_sample_glass_edit_" class="med_right" src="" title="dan_sample_glass_edit_" /> <blockquote><p>Dan checking out the tap supply before the pilot went live today</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>Investment was focused on factors such as:</p> <ul> <li>Cooling the beer before pouring.</li> <li>Keeping beer stability in stagnant lines.</li> <li>Recording volume of beer.</li> <li>Cleaning and rinsing pipe work.</li> <li>Legal licensing issues</li> </ul> <p>Dan says: “It&rsquo;s good for the environment with less glass and less transport. Because we use less packing, less transport and excise on draught beer is cheaper, the consumer will end up saving the equivalent of about $8.85 per carton."</p> <p>To achieve those savings, an average household will need to drink the equivalent of three cartons per week. Once the trial to the 182 homes has been completed, Nail aims to supply fresh beer to homes within 5 km of its brewery. Beyond that, each suburb will be installed with refrigerated serving tanks which can service approximately 1800 houses per week in a 5km radius.</p> <p>Western Australia has a history of pioneering in craft beer, with the Sail &amp; Anchor being the first microbrewery in Australia. This first shows their pioneering spirit remains intact.</p> <p><div class="captioned largeCaptioned"> <img alt="Bassendean-water-plan" class="large" src="" title="Bassendean-water-plan" /> <blockquote><p>An excerpt from the Water Corporation&rsquo;s plans for Bassendean</p></blockquote> </div></p> Getting Noisier /news/post/getting-noisier/ 2014-03-31T00:00:00Z james <p>One of Queensland&rsquo;s newest brewing companies, <a href="">Fortitude</a>, celebrated its first birthday this month with its second annual Noisy Minor Shout, which saw the brewing team take invited guests on the tour of some of their favourite Brisbane bars showcasing beers from its second label. They have plenty to shout about too, having just announced they are taking over the former Mt Tamborine Brewery, thereby expanding their capacity significantly and giving themselves a ready-made, and highly impressive, cellar door.</p> <p>Up until now, head brewer Ian Watson has been producing all Fortitude and Noisy Minor beers at their original home, the former Eagle Heights Brewery less than one kilometre away. The move gives them pretty much five times their existing capacity, which will come as a great relief to Ian who has been struggling to keep up with demand for his beers. The move will take place in April, with the intention to have the cellar door open by May at the latest.</p> <p>&ldquo;It needs some little bits and pieces done to it,&rdquo; says Ian. &ldquo;But we can just get in and go for it straight away. We hope to be bottling by July or August.&rdquo;</p> <p>The impressive venue, which was still producing Mt Tamborine beers right up until the handover, shares a site with Witches Chase Cheese Factory, something which will no doubt appeal to the foodie in the brewer, as well as visitors.</p> <p>The move should also allow Fortitude and Noisy Minor to introduce more new beers. The limited capacity has meant that, to date, other than events such as the recent Shout, the focus has been on keeping up production of Fortitude&rsquo;s Golden Ale and Noisy Minor ANZUS IPA with only occasional supplementary releases. Among them is an Aussie lager that the self-confessed Belgian beer lover has grown rather fond of.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a simple beer,&rdquo; says Ian, &ldquo;but I thought it would be a bit contrary to what everyone else does. We made it for an event in Toowoomba and the whole batch sold in a day. It&rsquo;s not Carlton Draught but it&rsquo;s not Knappstein either. It&rsquo;s what I think it should be – easy to drink and reasonably dry, hoppy and not too assertive. It&rsquo;s just grown really, really strongly.</p> <p>&ldquo;People are always looking to do something different and out-of-the-box. So why not just go for the beer that everyone reckons they despise? We&rsquo;ve been getting some pretty surprising reactions with a few beer geeks saying they don&rsquo;t like lagers and then trying this and saying it&rsquo;s actually pretty good.&rdquo;</p> <p>The imminent move will mean much more beer, which means Ian and brewery founders Ged Connors and Jim O’Connor have brought in a familiar face from the Queensland beer scene to help them spread the word far and wide. Dan Rawlings was involved in getting <a href="">Archive Beer Boutique</a> off the ground and, more recently, has been <a href="">Holgate</a>&rsquo;s man locally.</p> <p>Ged says: “Dan brings a great skills set and a wealth of experience to the role. He has been at the forefront of the craft beer revolution in Brisbane, and as a local boy we believe he is the perfect fit to help us grow our brand &ndash; on the mountain, in Southeast Queensland and interstate.”</p> <p>For Dan it is a new challenge, with his intention to take the beers nationwide.</p> <p>“I cannot thank Paul and Natasha Holgate enough for the opportunity to represent their brewery in Queensland. They are amazing people who will continue to do well in the Sunshine State,&ldquo; he says.</p> <p>&ldquo;I was attracted to the role at Fortitude as a massive personal challenge – helping to grow something local and build a brand which is still less than 12 months old, looking after the whole country for sales and reinvigorating the cellar door on the mountain, as well as the added bonus of improving my brewing skills under the watchful eye of one of the best brewers in the country. Expect big things from Fortitude and its little brother Noisy Minor in the next couple of years.”</p> <p>Once beer is flowing from the new brewery, look out for a series of interstate launches for their beers, which up until now have only been available in their home state.</p> Calling All Ladies /news/post/calling-all-ladies/ 2014-03-27T00:00:00Z james <p>The Australian wing of the Pink Boots Society is continuing its mission to elevate the role of women within the beer industry with a new scheme that is offering two grants worth $5,500 each. The opportunity comes about on the back of fundraising carried out by the society over the past few years. Under the Women of Beer banner they have created a series of collaborative brews, the most recent at <a href="">Young Henrys</a> <em>(pictured above)</em>, and are now using the funds raised to offer these grants to two women currently earning an income from the Australian beer industry.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is an amazing opportunity for a female involved in beer to begin or extend their education, which is one of the core aims of the Pink Boots Society,&rdquo; says Australian Pink Boots Society president Jayne Lewis. &ldquo;We are also excited to offer an opportunity to help turn someone&rsquo;s business idea into reality.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are lucky enough to have a vibrant community of females involved in craft beer in Australia, but we would dearly love to see our numbers grow. We are actively seeking to raise the profile of females in the beer industry and to encourage more females to get involved.&rdquo;</p> <p>One grant will be offered to a female brewer and the other to a woman working in some other aspect of the industry, whether that be for a brewery, a venue or some other role connected with beer.</p> <p>There are no specific requirements on how the grant is to be spent other than that the applicant must be able to convince the selection committee that the grant will be used to increase the knowledge of the applicant, help improve the position of women within the beer industry and make a positive contribution to the industry in Australia.</p> <p>The venture is being run in conjunction with the Craft Beer Industry Association with the winners of the grants being announced on the second day of CBIA&rsquo;s <a href="">Craft Brewers Conference</a>, which takes place during Good Beer Week in Melbourne in May.</p> <p>To apply, all applicants must be Pink Boots members and to be eligible for membership and the grant you must be a woman who earns income from beer. If you are not yet a member, you can sign up today <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>Applications must be received no later than April 30 using <a href="">this form</a>.</p> <p>Good luck!</p> The Happiest Decade /news/post/the-happiest-decade/ 2014-03-26T00:00:00Z james <p>It began as a student teacher&rsquo;s hunt for cheap jugs of beer in Melbourne, graduated to a simple online spreadsheet, slowly spread its tentacles across Australia, now also comes as an app with 75,000 and countng downloads and has its owners batting away interested buyers. As it prepares to celebrate ten years, it&rsquo;s fair to say <a href="">The Happiest Hour</a>, a pub goer&rsquo;s guide to finding drink and food deals that attracts more than one million visits a year, has come a long way.</p> <p>&ldquo;10 years ago, we were going around drinking Tooheys jugs for five dollars at the time when they were trying to buy into Melbourne pubs,&rdquo; says site founder Chris Canty <em>(pictured above)</em>. &ldquo;Then the pub stopped doing it and we didn&rsquo;t know where to go.&rdquo;</p> <p>So they started doing a little research to find out which venues were running offers, created a FrontPage website for free and used it to post a spreadsheet of offers that started to get a following. Soon the site was upgraded, they started adding more content, created the Happiest Hour Awards, and growth continued. Chris even managed to find ways to get students at Melbourne University involved in the project while teaching there.</p> <p>And, all the while, as it has grown it has been done for love &ndash; even maintained while Chris was living and working overseas as a travel writer. Two years ago, the latest step in its growth so him sell half the business to a mate, Karl Kopp, the CEO of an IT company who created the free Happiest Hour app.</p> <p>&ldquo;It didn&rsquo;t make any money for the first nine and a half years,&rdquo; says Chris. &ldquo;We are still wondering what to do commercially but we have over a million hits per year now.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been approached six times in the past year by people who see what it could be. We believe we&rsquo;ve got the right technology and want to build our own army.&rdquo;</p> <p>For anyone unfamiliar with the site, as well as listing food and drink offers (with the former now more popular with users of the site than the latter) they operate a star system that rates the offers, one means of highlighting those featuring better beer. And while they update and approve submitted offers from venues, much of it is user moderated: if a happy hour isn&rsquo;t running, members of the public click a button and Chris and Karl are notified.</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="KArl-Kopp" class="med_right" src="" title="KArl-Kopp" /> <blockquote><p>Karl contemplating how good beer tastes when on offer</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>&ldquo;We started off with Toohey&rsquo;s Red then moved to Toohey&rsquo;s Old then onto other beers and got into craft beer from 2007,&rdquo; says Chris, who also writes about pubs and beer for Fairfax publications in Victoria and Tiger Airways magazine.</p> <p>&ldquo;We rate pubs higher if they have craft beer. For example, Dejavu Bar with its $6 pints of craft beer on Wednesday gets five stars, while if an offer features Coopers, for example, they might get four stars.&rdquo;</p> <p>Now, to mark the momentous occasion of having turned ten, they are hosting a party at the Tote called The Happiest Decade. They have lined up five of their favourite local bands, an all-you-can-eat barbecue and crafty prizes from the likes of Feral, Thunder Road, Birra Italiana and Lost Coast. It takes place on the afternoon of April 6, exactly ten years to the day since the project began.</p> <p>With the app going gangbusters and Chris and Karl on a mission to develop the business side of The Happiest Hour in its second decade, it might feel like a well devised plan. Not so, says Chris.</p> <p>&ldquo;We made this for ourselves,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;Just because we were tight arses.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>The Happiest Decade kicks off at midday. Entry costs $20.</em></p> A Healthy Harvest /news/post/a-healthy-harvest/ 2014-03-24T00:00:00Z james <p>Even before the first beers produced with this year&rsquo;s Bushy Park hops have arrived, it&rsquo;s looking like a successful harvest for Hop Products Australia. An auction of the first 100kg bale of this year&rsquo;s Galaxy crop has raised $10,000 for <em>beyondblue</em>&rsquo;s <a href="">Man Therapy program</a>. Brewers were invited to bid for 10kg bales, with the highest bid coming in from Crown, who paid $1,510 &ndash; six times market value. Malt Shovel made the second highest bid, $1,500, with other 10kg bales of the hop heading to breweries including Stone &amp; Wood, Bright and Bootleg.</p> <p>This was the first such auction by the Tasmanian-based grower but not the only first this harvest. For the first time, Galaxy was their biggest crop &ndash; taking a full five days to harvest &ndash; thus continuing the transformation from a supplier of alpha acid varieties to the major breweries to a grower of aroma and flavour hops. It was also the first harvest at HPA for former Moo Brew head brewer, Owen &ldquo;OJ&rdquo; Johnston, who moved from the brewery last year after eight years at the helm with the aim of helping brewers get the best from the new wave of hops coming out of Tasmania and the Victorian High Country.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s been a really interesting move to get out of the role of running a brewery but still travel around to breweries talking hops,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I tapped [HPA managing director] Tim Lord on the shoulder. I said I&rsquo;d been looking in from the outside for years, thought they had a pretty exciting future in terms of new varieties and a new generation of flavour and aroma hops.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I didn&rsquo;t think they were supporting themselves as well as they could in the market. I was a consumer in Hobart, 15km away, and just didn&rsquo;t feel I knew them well enough. It was a feeling throughout the craft brewing industry, [a legacy] from when they were producing alpha acid for the big brewers.&rdquo;</p> <p>So, after building two breweries from scratch at Moo and gaining a reputation for the quality of his beers throughout the Australian industry, OJ has set about changing brewers' perceptions while also looking to help them get the best out of their hops. As the &ldquo;customer coalface&rdquo; he&rsquo;s advising on which, how, when and in what quantities brewers might wish to use the likes of Galaxy, Ella and Vic Secret in different beers while taking their feedback on board too, particularly when it comes to new varieties.</p> <p>HPA will develop varieties they believe have potential over a number of years, producing simple trial batches of the best or most interesting each year in house (in a very straightforward, mildly hopped Australian lager style beer) but also seeking feedback from brewers. It&rsquo;s where experiments such as Bridge Road&rsquo;s annual Harvest Ales come in handy as they are brewed with unreleased varieties and used in quantities well beyond those of the trial batches at HPA, thus giving a different type of feedback on a hop&rsquo;s viability.</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s a big demand from the US for quite a number of our varieties,&rdquo; says OJ, admitting that what was once HPA&rsquo;s main crop, Pride of Ringwood, &ldquo;is almost done&rdquo;.</p> <p>He says Vic Secret is showing great potential for IPAs with its resinous character, while Ella [formerly Stella] &ldquo;can present quite differently in beer depending on dose rate or when it goes in. It&rsquo;s got a beautiful rounded, stewed fruit character, that you get when it&rsquo;s used in Little Creatures Pale Ale, or can be floral and spicy as well [such as in Stone &amp; Wood&rsquo;s Garden Ale].&rdquo;</p> <p>The latest release is Enigma, which is just a tiny crop this year but was a variety hurried through the lengthy development process faster than any other. Brewers are coming back with a range of feedback on its characteristics, some rather specific; &ldquo;French Chablis&rdquo; when used for dry-hopping says one.</p> <p>The aim, ultimately, is to fill the spaces in the extremities of the company&rsquo;s <a href="">Hop Flavour Spectrum</a>, which was launched last year &ndash; to find hops that offer something different to brewers rather than producing Galaxy clones.</p> <p>As for his first few months outside the brewery, OJ says: &ldquo;The challenge had changed [at Moo]. I built two breweries in eight years and put the brand at a certain point and had the production capabilities to go forward. It was about getting it done, shifting to a logistics and sales role and driving the sales team.</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="HPA-Premiere-Crop-annnouncement-Tully-Hadley_-Greg-Barns_-Tim-Lord-and-Brad-Rogers" class="med_right" src="" title="HPA-Premiere-Crop-annnouncement-Tully-Hadley_-Greg-Barns_-Tim-Lord-and-Brad-Rogers" /> <blockquote><p>The first bale of 2014 Galaxy, with, left to right, Tully Hadley of Crown, Greg Barns, Tim Lord &amp; Brad Rogers of Stone &amp; Wood.</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>&ldquo;I miss being able to drink the fruits of your labours but I don&rsquo;t miss being responsible for 12 full time wages and 12 mortgages. Sometimes hard decisions are made harder because of the human impact. I like to run my brewery with as much humanism as possible.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>The &lsquo;Man Therapy&rsquo; charity that is benefitting from the auction was created by </em>beyondblue<em> as a ‘place for men to deal with manly issues in a manly way.’ Through programs such as Man Therapy and Men’s Shed, beyondblue is working to reduce the impact of depression and anxiety in the community by raising awareness and understanding, empowering people to seek help, and supporting recovery, management and resilience. If you, or someone you know might need the help of beyondblue, please call 1300 224 636 for support.</em></p> Craft Brewers Conference '14 /news/post/craft-brewers-conference-14/ 2014-03-19T00:00:00Z james <p>The man who brewed the very first craft beer in Australia, founded the original <a href="">Matilda Bay</a> and was a founder of <a href="">Little Creatures</a> (as well as building BridgePort in the US) will give a keynote speech at the second Australian Craft Brewers Conference. Phil Sexton, who now runs Innocent Bystander/Giant Steps in Healesville, will tell his story and offer his thoughts on craft beer as part of the two-day event taking place at Melbourne&rsquo;s Arts Centre during this year&rsquo;s Good Beer Week. It is one of the highlights of a busy program of events put together by the Craft Beer Industry Association.</p> <p>Also taking to the stage will be Frank Peifer, head brewer at Weihenstephan, for a talk on yeast management, while there will be a greater number of panel discussions on subjects including starting a brewery, hops, malt and the opportunities and challenges facing craft beer in Australia, as well as specialist breakout sessions. You can download the full program <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>The event follows a highly successful debut in 2013, where it was held at the Lithuanian Club in North Melbourne. Moving to the ANZ Pavilion at the Arts Centre is a significant step up, as acknowledged by CBIA chair Dave Bonighton, co-owner of Mountain Goat.</p> <p>“For ACBC 2014 we have set the bar high for ourselves,&ldquo; he says. "We have secured a great new venue and the program is top class. Our committee has spent many months working on this, trying to find ways to improve on what we did last year and we think we have done that.</p> <p>“Chief among these changes is the introduction of a keynote address to kick off proceedings. We are extremely fortunate that industry pioneer and legend Phil Sexton has agreed to deliver the inaugural ACBC Keynote.</p> <p>“Our industry owes Phil a debt of gratitude for the work he did in establishing craft beer in Australia and we look forward to hearing his views on where we came from and where he sees us heading.”</p> <p>Industry leaders in the area of sales and marketing will present on ­topics including managing relationships with large retailers, exporting and social media. Interactive panels that generated so much discussion last year will also return for the final session of each day.</p> <p>Also returning will be the ACBC Tradeshow, presenting attendees with an opportunity to interact with a number of industry suppliers.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were very happy with last year&rsquo;s Conference,&rdquo; says CBIA&rsquo;s executive officer Chris McNamara. &ldquo;Attendance was a lot better than we had expected or hoped and the feedback from the survey was overwhelmingly positive – just one negative comment out of more than 100 replies.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were keen to expand from last year and the move to the Arts Centre gives us a much more prominent location. The space itself is great.&rdquo;</p> <p>Tickets for the CBIA Australian Craft Brewers’ Conference cost $200 for CBIA members and $350 for non-members. This includes entry both days and catered lunches.</p> <p>Tickets are on sale via the <a href="">Good Beer Week website</a>.</p> Frankenstein of Bickley /news/post/frankenstein-of-bickley/ 2014-03-14T00:00:00Z james <p>Bottleshops with growler filling stations are wonderful things, and not just because they allow us to drink fresh, draught beer in the comfort of our own homes. They also offer an extra point of sale for small, independent breweries that don’t bottle their beer – something that is particularly commonplace in Western Australia. One of the fresher names on the WA scene is Bickley Valley Brewery, whose beers having been pouring from the Pegas at <a href="">Cellarbrations at Carlisle</a> since late last year. Few would have heard of the relatively new microbrewery, yet already Bickley Valley beers are finding their way into the fridges of happy drinkers.</p> <p>Situated in the Perth Hills, 30 minutes from the CBD, Bickley Valley Brewery is a production brewery and the long-time project of its brewer and owner, Brad Harris. We caught up with Brad for a chat about how he came to be in the position of running his own craft brewery.</p> <p>“I started brewing 15 years ago with a trusty Coopers home brew kit, a complete lack of knowledge, and a thirst for real beer,” he says. “After not liking my first introduction to beer, it wasn’t until a mountain biking friend offered me a Coopers Pale that I realised not all beer is the same. One sip and I was hooked, but with the high price and a lack of stockists, I decided I should have a go at making my own.</p> <p>&ldquo;I started with pots and can kits in my kitchen, then moved onto my homemade 50 litre gravity fed nanobrewery for full mash brewing, which I still use for pilot brews and experiments.”</p> <p>What started as a money-saving hobby quickly became a passion and, within a few years, Brad found himself learning firsthand from one of WA’s most experienced craft brewers.</p> <p>“My first taste of professional brewing was ten years ago with Jan Bruckner (of Last Drop Brewery), a Czech master brewer in Perth,” says Brad. “It was by pure luck &ndash; right time, right place &ndash; and it got me even more interested in large scale brewing and the mechanical engineering side of things. Jan is my idol and my mentor.”</p> <p>After his stint at Last Drop with Jan, an opportunity arose for a head brewer at Elmar’s in the Valley, a microbrewery in the Swan Valley. Brad jumped at the opportunity and held the position of head brewer at Elmar’s for six years. Being a German-themed brewery, all the beers at Elmar’s are brewed to the Reinheitsgebot – the Bavarian purity law of 1516 which states that the only ingredients permitted to be used in the production of beer are water, barley and hops (yeast having yet to be discovered). Happily, this was a good fit with Brad’s own brewing philosophy.</p> <p>“My philosophy toward brewing is to keep it all natural,” says Brad. “I am a big believer in the Reinheitsgebot purity law and Bickley Valley Brewery strictly abides by this natural process. I’ve tinkered with the odd experimental home brew with orange peel, coriander etc, but I always go back to the real thing.”</p> <p>It was during his time at Elmar’s that Brad first began working on opening his own brewery.</p> <p>“The concept of starting a wholesale microbrewery was dreamed up in 2007 when a friend of mine offered 50 square metres of a shed on his property in the Bickley Valley,” says Brad. “I came across some heat exchanger plates for a bargain price and bought them, and next thing I knew I was sourcing equipment to construct a brewery piece by piece.</p> <p><strong><em>Article continues below</em></strong></p> <p><div class="captioned largeCaptioned"> <img alt="Bickley-Valley-Brewery-1" class="large" src="" title="Bickley-Valley-Brewery-1" /> <blockquote><p>The brewery&rsquo;s home</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>&ldquo;I registered the business name Bickley Valley Brewery in 2007 and the welding courses I did after high school finally had some real use. I designed, constructed and welded the whole project myself with the odd bit of advice or lend of equipment from friends and a lot of help from my parents – thanks guys! From the original hand drawn design to the finished brewery has been a long hard road, but the final product is very close to the sketch of many years before.”</p> <p>The 20-hectolitre ‘Frankenstein’ brewery now produces two beers under the Bickley Valley name. The first is a German-style Kolsch, which won a bronze medal at the 2013 Perth Royal Beer Show (no higher awards were given for Kolsch). The second is an American-style Pale Ale brewed with a generous amount of Cascade hops. Space permitting, Brad has plans to add an English Bitter and a German Hefeweizen to his lineup in the future.</p> <p>Bickley Valley Brewery’s beers are available for growler sales at Cellarbrations Carlisle as well as on tap at Clancy’s Canning Bridge, the Kalamunda Hotel, Lesmurdie Club, and the High Wycombe Tavern with more venues in the pipeline. There are no plans to bottle the beers, though Brad is looking into the possibility of 5 litre party kegs.</p> <p><em>You can contact Brad on (08) 9258 5552 or by email &ndash;</em></p> <p><em>Follow the author of this article, an award-winning home brewer himself, on Twitter <a href="">here</a>.</em></p> Good Beer Week '14 Is Go! /news/post/good-beer-week-14-is-go/ 2014-03-12T00:00:00Z james <p>Tickets are now on sale for Australia&rsquo;s leading celebration of the best of the local and international beer world. The official program for <a href="">Good Beer Week 2014</a> went live this morning. The fourth running of the annual festival sees 200 events taking place at 160 venues across Melbourne and Victoria. It runs from May 17 to 25, with the exception of the official Opening Party, which is being held on the evening of May 16.</p> <p>Print programs are now available at all participating venues and will be appearing elsewhere across Melbourne and Victoria too. The official program launch takes place this evening and tomorrow at Ormond Hall, part of Village Melbourne, in St Kilda Road, Melbourne. This Good Beer Week Gala Showcase features 25 Australian brewers, free Masterclasses (including some run by The Crafty Pint) and casual beer and food pairings. There will also be a stand for the <a href="">Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular</a> (GABS), which this year runs on the final weekend of Good Beer Week as part of the official program.</p> <p>As in 2013, the program has been split into five streams, although these have been tweaked slightly for 2014. They are Beer 101 &ndash; presented in conjunction with <a href="">Little Creatures</a>, Beer Lover – presented in conjunction with BWS, Beer Geek – presented in conjunction with Bintani, Good Times – presented in conjunction with Time Out Melbourne, and Foodie. For more on what each of those streams represents, we have reproduced the festival&rsquo;s guide to them below. There are more than 60 events with free entry this year too.</p> <p><img alt="PoO-Poster-14" class="med_right" src="" title="PoO-Poster-14" /></p> <p>The Pint of Origin returns, presented once again by The Crafty Pint. As ever, there are venues are dedicated to each Australian state. And, for the first time, we have responded to the popularity of the Pint of Origin concept by welcoming the rest of the world into the fold. As such, there are now four international venues.</p> <p>Closer to the event, you will be able to check what is pouring at each venue via the festival&rsquo;s website as they will be out of update their tap lists online live. For more, head <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>Limited tickets are still available for the Good Beer Week Gala Showcase. They can be purchased <a href="">here</a> and there <em>may</em> be some available on the door both this evening and tomorrow. They cost $30 plus booking fee per person for which you receive 20 tasting tokens for beer samples and a voucher to try four different food pairings prepared by the chefs at Village Melbourne.</p> <p>Tickets for Good Beer Week itself are also on sale via the <a href="">festival website</a>. Dive in, take a look around and get excited. We are!</p> <p><strong>The Good Beer Week 2014 Streams</strong></p> <p><strong>Beer 101</strong></p> <p>The place to go if you are new to good beer, keen to learn the basics or just want to have some simple educational fun with top notch tipples in your hands. Beer 101 is presented in conjunction with Little Creatures, who are turning their Dining Hall in Brunswick Street into Good Beer College for the week. This is your chance to turn yourself from a beginner to a pro. Heck, there’s even going to be a Graduation Ceremony at Good Beer College for star students.</p> <p><strong>Beer Lover</strong></p> <p>If you’ve already embraced good beer and know what you’re looking for, then Beer Lover has heaps of events to satisfy your every beery whim. There are unique cask ale showcases, copious chances to meet brewers from home and abroad, delectable beer and cheese and beer and tea evenings and much more. The headline Beer Lover event could even be the festival’s most spectacular yet: Brooklyn Brewery&rsquo;s brewmaster Garrett Oliver going head to head with Martin Spedding, owner of five star Mornington Peninsula winery Ten Minutes By Tractor, in a beer versus wine battle at Melbourne’s iconic Vue de Monde.</p> <p><strong>Beer Geek</strong></p> <p>Where would Good Beer Week be without the beer geeks? They’re the faithful who are always on the hunt for something new, never shy with their opinions and allow us to be daring with our programming, pushing the boundaries of where beer events can go. Alongside the third Good Beer Week live collaboration brew, this time the Masterclass of Madness featuring Moon Dog and Rogue, there are chances to get involved in brewing, sour beers, spirits and a banquet based around Russian Imperial Stouts.</p> <p><strong>Foodie</strong></p> <p>At the first Good Beer Week, there was a running joke that every beer dinner had to feature pork belly. It makes the evolution of the pairing of good beer and fine food within the festival quite remarkable. In 2014, the Foodie stream is the biggest, crammed with events that elevate the concept of beer and food pairing to new heights and prove that good beer, presented in the right manner, is the match for any beverage in any establishment. The Mega Dega returns too, this time with Matt Wilkinson of Pope Joan heading up an all star team of beer-lovin' Melbourne chefs alongside six Australian and international brewers.</p> <p><strong>Good Times</strong></p> <p>The popularity of events at the 2013 festival at which entertainment came first, such as a Secret Cinema, Rockstar Brews at Cherry Bar and a boat trip of the harbour, led to the creation of the the Good Times stream, presented with Time Out Melbourne. The festival kicks off with a spectacular opening night party featuring live music, awesome beers and star guests and takes in shows at the Coopers Malthouse, beer cocktails, the Blues Train, Puffing Billy, barbecues, live music, comedy, board games – even a workout in Flagstaff Gardens (followed by beers, of course).<img alt="GBW-2013-montage-small" src="" title="GBW-2013-montage-small" /></p> Fill Yer Boots /news/post/fill-yer-boots/ 2014-03-11T00:00:00Z james <p>It takes little more than a cursory glance around the room at an industry event &ndash; or perhaps a quick game of ‘count the beards’ &ndash; to realise the beer world is rather dominated by males. But, ever so slowly, that balance is being redressed. Nowadays, you’ll find an increasing number of women working both in front of and behind the scenes to get some of your favourite local beers from brewery to bottle to bar and beyond. Whether that means doing the physical brewing, having ownership in a company, hitting the road as brewery representatives, hosting educational events, organising festivals, running beer bars and everything else in between, there’s a notable and welcome hint of the woman’s touch.</p> <p>Helping lead the charge in ensuring this trend continues Down Under, Australia has an all-female brewing collective known, rather aptly, as the Women of Beer. It consists of a cast of characters from across the wider beer spectrum whose raison d'etre is to get together annually, brew a collaborative beer and use the occasion as an opportunity to raise the profile of women in the beer industry.</p> <p>On Saturday just gone, the collective assembled for their fourth brew, one that saw a few changes to the usual order of business. The first was that the venture went interstate; where all previous Women of Beer brews had been done in Victoria, this new version was brewed at <a href="">Young Henrys</a> in Sydney (where WoB stalwart Sam Füss recently signed on as a head brewer). The second is that the brew was scheduled to be a part of the International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day (IWCBD). And there was a smattering of fresh faces too, with Allison MacDonald from Matilda Bay and Charlotte Grant and recent Good Beer Week / Temple Brewing Scholarship winner Carrie McLachlan, both of Little Creatures Brewing, along for the ride.</p> <p>&ldquo;The brew day was great,&rdquo; says WoB founding member and Beer Diva Kirrily Waldhorn. &ldquo;We had a few newbies to the Women of Beer Collective, which was fantastic. It&rsquo;s always great to be extending the circle and meeting other inspirational women in our industry.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were super organised with a schedule mash-in at 10am, and by quarter past we had mashed in and were set to go. There were no issues along the way thanks to the incredibly efficient brewhouse at Young Henrys which Sam has well and truly become one with.</p> <p>&ldquo;It all went like clockwork really and by 2pm, we were into fermentation. Another great brew day with the gals.&rdquo;</p> <p>The IWCBD is a global initiative that involved assembling teams of women from the beer industry in various countries and doing much as our own Women of Beer have been doing: brewing a beer and helping make a bit of noise about the growing role of women in the industry. The idea was that each collective would follow the same recipe guideline to produce the same beer, albeit with slight changes allowing for a few local tweaks. That brief was to brew a 4 percent pale ale using Cascade hops.</p> <p>With the Women of Beer not being afraid to dabble in different and somewhat bolder styles (previous releases include a spiced Belgian Tripel called Ninkasi’s Angel, Hildegarde’s Chardonnay barrel-aged Bière de Garde and 2013’s Heilala Vanilla Milk Stout), a lightish pale ale wasn’t necessarily the next logical choice &ndash; notwithstanding the fact that they’d already been plotting the new recipe prior to getting involved with the IWCBD. So, having contacted the organisers to get the OK, it was agreed that the Women of Beer wouldn’t brew a pale ale but they would still follow the general guidelines, such as using Cascade hops. It was, in effect, the same cause but a slightly different beer. Well, perhaps a little more than slightly because what they’ve brewed is a Salted Caramel Ale.</p> <p>&ldquo;We always want to brew something that&rsquo;s a little outside of the box and given the timing of the brew day and the release of the beer being some time in Autumn, we thought a brown ale would be great for the cooling climate,&rdquo; says Kirrily Waldhorn, the Beer Diva. &ldquo;I had just made a dessert using salted caramel and thought, &lsquo;Why not!&rsquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;We chatted about how we could create the flavours starting at potentially brewing a gose [a salty, sour beer of German origin] but then decided a rich, malty brew with the addition of Murrays Pink Salt (a nod to females!) should work. The wort was tasting incredible on the day so we are all really excited for this beer.&rdquo;</p> <p>Some of the profits from the sale of the beer &ndash; as with the rest of the IWCBD brews &ndash; will go towards the Pink Boots Society which encourages females to follow and advance careers in the brewing industry and helps with things such as scholarships. As for when and where the beer will be released, that’s yet to be confirmed but stay tuned for details, including those of the Women of Beer showcase taking place as part of <a href="">Good Beer Week 2014</a>, for which the program goes live on March 12.</p> <p><em>The lineup for the 2014 Women of Beer brew pictured above featured (left to right) Kirrily, Sam, Michelle Payne, Allison, Charlotte, Tiffany Waldron (Beer Girl Bites), Agi, Chloe Lovatt (Matilda Bay), Carrie, Csilla Swain (Spiegelau Glassware).</em></p> The Circle Of Hops /news/post/the-circle-of-hops/ 2014-03-05T00:00:00Z james <p>The sense of community within the craft beer world, both in Australia and elsewhere, is one of its most remarkable aspects. There is a willingness among businesses within the industry to share knowledge not always found in other industries as well as an eagerness to promote better beer as a whole rather than individual breweries or venues.</p> <p>On top of that, there are frequently projects or ventures that seek to bring beer lovers and brewers together. And now, in the shape of the Community Hop Ale, we have another. It is one conceived by fledgeling Melbourne nanobrewery Make Beer and one in which The Crafty Pint is delighted to be a partner. What&rsquo;s more, it&rsquo;s all about hops. In particular, your hops, which are due for harvest any time now.</p> <p>One half of <a href="">Make Beer</a> is beer rep Steven Germain <em>(above right with We Make Beer partner in crime Dan)</em>. At his home, he has 12 hop plants that he will be harvesting this weekend. His intention was always to create a fresh hop beer with them and, in part inspired by the fact he may not have enough flowers to do a 100 litre batch justice and also by a desire to launch a community project, he decided it would be even more fun if said beer featured hops grown by other people in their respective backyards.</p> <p>&ldquo;Last year I had five plants growing at home and brewed a pilsner with them,&rdquo; says Steven.&ldquo;I took a bunch of cuttings and doubled the plantings, ended up with all these hops and figured we should do a fresh ale.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have friends that grow their own hops too so we came up with the idea of making it a bigger and more interactive project. The idea is that anyone who is growing hops at home and has some to spare can email me with what they have and how much they can donate – even if it&rsquo;s just a handful or a small baggy – and we will then use all of them to create two kegs of a fresh hop beer called the Community Hop Ale. This never to be repeated beer will then be launched at an event at which everyone who has contributed some hops can come along in the knowledge that part of this commercial beer is theirs.&rdquo;</p> <p>Make Beer is one of the latest and most unique additions to the Australian craft beer scene. They brew just two 50 litre kegs of beer in each batch and have created some rather unusual beers in their short life. Ingredients used to date include chamomile, kaffir lime, lemongrass, chestnuts, raisins – even crispy bacon…</p> <p>The plan is that this project will have rather greater longevity than some of these deliberately one-off beers. Once costs are covered, the intention is to donate proceeds from the sale of the two kegs to Melbourne venues to sponsoring a site through the not-for-profit group <a href="">3000 Acres</a>. They do work around Melbourne converting unused plots of land into community gardens; the idea for the money raised by the Community Hop Ale – hopefully embellished by a contribution from the two venues from the sale of the beer – is to create a community hop garden. In other words, bring together the people involved in creating the beer to plant rhizomes on a plot and grow hops to be used in future Community Hop Ales.</p> <p>The first step is the &ldquo;call for hops&rdquo;.</p> <p>&ldquo;I imagine that there are a few people around growing hops,&rdquo; says Steven, &ldquo;and also salivating over what to do with them. We wouldn&rsquo;t want to take away from their prized whole cone homebrew so we we&rsquo;re just asking for a handful or two from willing participants.</p> <p>&ldquo;Essentially, we don&rsquo;t care what type of hops they are, it&rsquo;s all good stuff. Everyone who throws in will be recognised and invited to participate in a beer event related to the creation they&rsquo;ve helped shape.&rdquo;</p> <p>If you have hops and would like to get involved, all you have to do is email Steven via the address linked <a href="">here</a> with the title Community Hop Ale and include your name, address, contact number, the type of hops, quantity available and anticipated harvest date. Being on the road as a rep, he is happy to do some traipsing around the city making collections.</p> <p>At this point, the beer style is yet to be decided; much will depend on what hops and how many are collected. And, while we have an idea of how and when the two kegs will be launched, this is still to be nailed down. However, time is of the essence with hop harvest season upon us. So, if you are about to pluck the cones from your lovingly tended bines, get in touch with Steven pronto.</p> Going Public /news/post/going-public/ 2014-03-03T00:00:00Z james <p>Almost a year ago to the day, we were sent a tweet from someone who had spotted a sign on the wall of a warehouse in Croydon. The sign read &ldquo;The Public Brewery&rdquo; and led to a few responses hoping that this meant craft brewing was about to stretch its tentacles of little further into Melbourne&rsquo;s outer reaches.</p> <p>These hopes were not in vain, with The Public Brewery&rsquo;s opening as imminent as imminent can be. And not only is it almost here, but it&rsquo;s also rather unique.</p> <p>As well as operating its own microbrewery setup, it will have eight 50 litre kettles offering &ldquo;brew on premise&rdquo; for people wanting to come in and make their own beer, making it something of a kindred spirit of Brisbane&rsquo;s <a href="">Bacchus Brewing</a>. And, on top of that, there is a bar with dining hall, a bottleshop, which opened a month ago stocked with beers from independent micros all over the country, and a selection of Victorian wines from the Yarra Valley.</p> <p>The owners are on the hunt for a head brewer to head up their own production and offer guidance to anyone that wants to come in to brew their own beer <em>(see advert <a href="">here</a>)</em>. And they took time out to tell us a little about their plans.</p> <p>The brewery and venue is located in a converted seed and grain warehouse. They plan to run the first batch of beer through the system this week and estimate that their kitchen, which will focus on share plates and pizzas, will be ready in three weeks time, with the small batch kettles following soon afterwards; currently they are en route from Italy.</p> <p>So why did they choose Croydon?</p> <p>&ldquo;One of the owners, Dale, has been based in Croydon running a cafe for the last nine years,&rdquo; says Michael, &ldquo;and has seen it grow and develop into an area where people are looking for something a bit different.</p> <p>&ldquo;Since we opened the bottleshop, there has been some great feedback from the public who are looking to try something new. We&rsquo;ve been selling a range of products including Two Birds, Holgate, 3 Ravens, Hawthorn and Hargreaves Hill.&rdquo;</p> <p>For now, Dale will run The Public Brewery alongside his cafe, while Michael has left Dan Murphy&rsquo;s after 13 years to handle buying and operations. Their plan for the bottleshop is to focus on independently owned breweries and change stock regularly. And the plan for the bar reflects that approach: once they have their own beers, they will share the taps with beer from fellow Australian brewers.</p> <p>Not so long ago, criticism could be levelled fairly that Australian craft beer tended to be centred around the inner suburbs of the major centres or within popular wine/tourist regions and with little to be found elsewhere. Look around the country over the past year or so and it&rsquo;s a situation that is changing rapidly. In fact, it&rsquo;s becoming almost impossible to predict where the next microbrewery or craft beer bar will rise.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s a fantastic situation to witness as for better beer to become truly established it needs to be available to all and not seen as the preserve of inner cities or something you do while on holiday. So the best of luck to Dale, Michael and their team out at The Public Brewery. And don&rsquo;t forget, if you&rsquo;d like to be part of that team, they&rsquo;re after a <a href="">head brewer</a>.</p> <p><em>The Public Brewery is at 13 Lacey Street, Croydon.</em></p> <p><strong>Dale and Michael and beer</strong></p> <p>Dale, the owner &amp; director described himself as an &ldquo;interested beer consumer&rdquo;.<br/> Michael, the manager professes an &ldquo;interest in small batch boutique beer&rdquo;.</p> <p>As for their favourite Aussie beers (before theirs are ready, of course…)</p> <p>Dale &ndash; Stone &amp; Wood Pacific Ale, Two Birds Golden Ale<br/> Michael &ndash; Two Birds Golden Ale, Hargreaves Hill Hefeweizen</p> The 17 /news/post/the-17/ 2014-02-27T00:00:00Z james <p>The addition of Barossa Valley Brewing, Cromer Cellars and Embassy Craft Beer Bar to The Crafty Pint&rsquo;s directories of craft beer awesomeness in the past few days suggest it&rsquo;s time we did another one of our regular roundups of the brewery, bar and bottleshop listings added to the site in the past few months.</p> <p>It turns out we&rsquo;ve added a further 17 to the site since we <a href="">last posted one of these</a>, and we have many more to come. Apologies to those waiting patiently for their listings in Victoria, touch wood your local rep&rsquo;s spine will start responding to one of the many forms of medication that&rsquo;s been prescribed relatively soon so he can get behind the wheel of a car again. And, to those in New South Wales, there may be a slight delay as we&rsquo;ve granted paternity leave to Crafty Pint NSW, who has just welcomed a Crafty Pot into the world. Congrats, Nick O!</p> <p>Anyway, without further ado, if you missed their arrival on the site first time around, here are <a href="">The 17</a>…</p> <p><strong><a href="">Matso’s</a></strong> &ndash; Western Australia&rsquo;s home of fruity, spicy beers that make stars of the local, topical flora and fauna around the brewery&rsquo;s Broome home.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Thirsty Crow</a></strong> &ndash; This Wagga brewery, home of cult craft beer classic, the Vanilla Milk Stout, just turned three and is eyeing up major expansion.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Morrison Brewery</a></strong> &ndash; This Launceston microbrewery peddles a fine line in traditional, predominantly British and Irish inspired ales.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Barossa Valley Brewing</a></strong> &ndash; One of many Australian micros to call a wine region home, Barossa Valley has even been experimenting with wine in its beer.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Cromer Cellars</a></strong> &ndash; A crafty haven in Sydney&rsquo;s Northern Beaches, run by a beer evangelist converting locals one quality drop at a time.</p> <p><strong><a href="">The Oak Barrel</a></strong> &ndash; A Sydney CBD bottleshop with an epic range and a nice line in beer events too.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Barny’s</a></strong> &ndash; In less than a year since new owners took over, this New South Wales bottleshop has developed a list of close to 1,000 craft beers.</p> <p><strong><a href="">TRU BRU</a></strong> &ndash; Australia&rsquo;s first dedicated growler store has an aesthetic as unique as its approach, not to mention 20 fresh kegs of craft beer and cider on offer at all times.</p> <p><strong><a href="">McCoppins Abbotsford</a></strong> &ndash; Following a significant rebuild and renovation, the sister store to McCoppins Fitzroy has gone from being a good to a great crafty bottleshop.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Archive Beer Boutique</a></strong> &ndash; One of the first quality craft beer bars in Brisbane with an impressive tap and bottle list augmented by its adjoining, heavily stocked bottle shop, Next Door Cellars.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Embassy Craft Beer Bar</a></strong> &ndash; A major refurb, a fresh dedication to quality beer and a hatted chef in the kitchen has given Brisbane&rsquo;s CBD a quality beer bar at last.</p> <p><strong><a href="">The Winston</a></strong> &ndash; With none of their locals serving good beer, Kris and Caroline Miles took over the pub nearest their home in North Hobart and swiftly made it awesome.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Dove &amp; Olive</a></strong> &ndash; The transformation of Sydney&rsquo;s bar scene in the past couple of years has been a joyous sight to behold, with Dove &amp; Olive among those bringing craft beer to a new and eager crowd.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Prince Alfred Hotel Carlton</a></strong> &ndash; This former student pub in the heart of Melbourne&rsquo;s University precinct has been reinvented as an old school locals' pub pouring beers from its local micros.</p> <p><strong><a href="">Markov</a></strong> &ndash; The rear half of this unique two-venues-in-one bar just off Lygon Street in Carlton is possibly Melbourne&rsquo;s most refined beer bar, complete with 10 taps of craft and schmicko takes on pub classics on the menu.</p> <p><strong><a href="">The Catfish</a></strong> &ndash; What happens when a pair of beer, blues and bourbon-lovin' mates take over Melbourne bar. Comes with added Philly cheese steaks…</p> <p><strong><a href="">Belgian Beer Cafe Melbourne</a></strong> &ndash; You&rsquo;ll still find plenty of taps pouring traditional Belgian drops, but in recent times this venue in the base of the Eureka Tower has added heaps of fantastic Australian and international crafties too.</p> <p>There you go. That should be enough to keep you going a little while…</p> Turning Japanese /news/post/turning-japanese/ 2014-02-24T00:00:00Z james <p>One of a growing number of new brewing companies to hit the ground running in Australia in the past 12 months was Melbourne-based Monster Mash. The beery wing of the enterprise that had previously launched Golden Axe cider, one formed by brothers Callum and Nat Reeves <em>(above right and left respectively)</em>, announced itself with an impressive Double IPA, swiftly followed up with an equally big and boisterous second beer, the Hopped Out Red.</p> <p>Sadly, Monster Mash is no more. Thankfully, however, the demise is in name only, with the fledgeling company catching the attention of the company behind Monster energy drinks. Apparently, they felt this new brewing start-up threatened to create confusion in the marketplace and demanded they change their name. Thus, KAIJU! – Japanese for &ldquo;strange creature&rdquo; or more commonly translated into English as &ldquo;monster&rdquo; – is born, with the new business name revealed in time for the brothers' third release, a hoppy IPA called Metamorphosis that first hit taps on Saturday as part of the <a href="">Craft Beer Rising</a> event at <a href="">The Terminus</a>.</p> <p>We posed a few questions to Callum about the unexpected bump in their otherwise smooth entry into the world of beer and cider production and also found out a little bit more about their intentions for Monster Mash/KAIJU!</p> <p><strong>Where did the Monster Mash name come from in the first place?</strong><br/> Our brewer, Nat, really loves beers with big hop and malt profiles. So that requires us to have bigger than normal, some might say “monstrous”, malt bills in the mash tun. And everyone knows the song Monster Mash from the 1960s, so we thought we could have fun with how we designed the labels and marketed the beers under that name.</p> <p><strong>When did you first hear that Monster had an issue?</strong><br/> We applied for a trademark on the name Monster Mash and on the very last day its registration could be opposed (several months into production), Monster’s lawyers opposed it. They then lodged a statement of grounds and particulars on the last possible day meaning the process has been pretty drawn out.</p> <p><strong>What was their reasoning?</strong><br/> They reckon consumers are likely to be mislead or deceived into believing that our beers are actually made by the energy drinks company, and that the mark is substantially identical or deceptively similar to a bunch of their trademarks. To be honest I’ve never had anyone ask me when we switched from making energy drinks to beers, but I guess not too many of our customers are likely to drink that kind of stuff.</p> <p><strong>Did you try to argue your case?</strong><br/> We’re such a small business that we just don’t have the money or energy to go to court with a huge, multi-national that sells billions of dollars worth of drinks each year. Even if we won, it would be a crippling process. We’ve got better things to do with our time (like make beer!) so we’ve decided to just change the name and put this behind us as quickly as possible.</p> <p>Unfortunately, we have to change immediately, meaning there’s packaging and branding and all kinds of stuff that we have to throw away. We’re up to the challenge though and our first KAIJU! Beer will be the METAMORPHOSIS IPA &ndash; I’m sure you won’t be surprised that it packs a pretty hefty whack of alcohol and US hops. Bottles will be a bit further away as we need to get the new branding designed and labels printed.</p> <p><strong>Why and where does the new name come from?</strong><br/> Kaiju refers to the massive creatures such as Godzilla in Japanese comic and movie culture. These weird creatures wreak havoc over cities and fight each other in epic battles. Since our designer Mikey first sent through the artwork for the Double IPA, we’ve talked about the creatures on our labels as Kaiju. They’re quite terrifying and odd, and sometimes even a bit cute at the same time, if that makes sense.</p> <p>We’ve had a bit of fun with it, inventing stories around them, about how they look incredibly scary, but all they really want is to eat all the hops in the world. The intent with Monster Mash was to indicate that we make huge beers in terms of alcohol and hops, but also balanced and approachable. So I think the slightly goofy and humongous Kaiju are a pretty good fit with that.</p> <p><strong>Will it require you changing all of your branding and imagery?</strong><br/> We don’t need to change the imagery, which is a plus, because we’re more attached to the creatures than the name. So we do have a basis to start from. But we still need to get all of our branding re-designed and print up new labels, as well as all the posters, t-shirts and things that we already had made and can’t use or sell anymore.</p> <p>It’s going to be a really expensive exercise for us to get all that done, so we are going to run a Kickstarter campaign to try to raise some money to go towards re-branding everything. Anyone interested in getting involved can sign up to our mailing list <a href="">here</a> and we’ll keep them up to date when it’s launched. We have some fun backer rewards planned.</p> <p><strong>On the subject of the imagery, who was it that you got to design the labels?</strong><br/> Clara [Callum&rsquo;s wife] has a day job in computer game production and as part of that she’s always scouting for exciting designers. She had seen the work of Mikey Burton, a young designer from Ohio, and had wanted to work with him for some time but never had the right project.</p> <p>When we first decided to make Golden Axe Cider, Clara said: “I know the perfect designer for this.” So we got in touch with him and we were all immediately excited to work together. The response to the Golden Axe design has been so positive that we never even considered anyone else for the beers.</p> <p><em>So there you go. The hop-devouring monsters will continue to storm the Australian beer world undiminished, just wearing slightly different clothes. We&rsquo;ll keep tabs on Callum and Nat&rsquo;s plans for Kickstarter and let you know when the venture is launched.</em></p> Time To Rise Up! /news/post/time-to-rise-up/ 2014-02-21T00:00:00Z james <p>With less than 24 hours to go until the first <a href="">Craft Beer Rising</a> kicks off across Australia, there&rsquo;s little left to be said. Thanks to all of the brewers and venue owners across the country who have put in effort to create an event for the day – a total of 97 Risings across the six states seems a pretty good result for an idea that popped up a few months ago to give the local industry we love so much a fun, little boost.</p> <p>There&rsquo;s some really colourful and creative things taking place tomorrow – live brews, sporting events, new brewery and beer launches, a hunt around Hobart, special offers and much more. A fair few places have embellished their original concepts over the past couple of weeks too so make sure you check back in to the website if you haven&rsquo;t recently. It&rsquo;s a shame we&rsquo;ve had to postpone our trip to Newcastle, where we hoped to celebrate with a Pint of Origin Blind Tasting Double Header at the Grain Store, but they have lined up some incredible beers and fantastic brewers for what will be a great day as part of Newcastle Craft Beer Week.</p> <p>The Crafty Pint team will be out and about calling into what events we can across the country – wearing our Craft Beer Rising T-shirts with pride, of course. Not quite sure how the pink one on the three-year-old Crafty Pot will be received, but what can you do?</p> <p>If you haven&rsquo;t yet decided how you will be raising a glass in celebration of our fantastic local brewers, their beers and the venues that support them, then you can find the latest state-by-state listings here:</p> <ul> <li><a href="">VICTORIA</a></li> <li><a href="">SOUTH AUSTRALIA</a></li> <li><a href="">TASMANIA</a></li> <li><a href="">QUEENSLAND</a></li> <li><a href="">WESTERN AUSTRALIA</a></li> <li><a href="">NEW SOUTH WALES</a></li> </ul> <p>Don&rsquo;t forget we are offering up prizes for the best photos <a href="">submitted to Instagram</a> tagged with #CBR14. If anyone takes up our challenge to head to their nearest crap beer venue with a bottle of their favourite Aussie craft beer to donate to the manager and then gets a photo of him or her enjoying it, we reckon they&rsquo;re in with a damn good chance of a prize.</p> <p>So, have fun tomorrow. Feel free to drag (sorry, gently cajole) potential craft beer converts along for the ride. And enjoy the fact that the beer culture we have in Australia now is as wonderful as it is.</p> <p>Huge thanks once again to the sponsors who have made this possible – <a href="">Grain Store</a>, <a href="">Bintani</a>, <a href="">Hop Products Australia</a>, <a href="">Cryermalt</a> and <a href="">Good Beer Week</a> – and to <a href="">Code Create</a> for the website and <a href="">Andy Shaw</a> for the awesome artwork.</p> <p>Cheers!</p> <p><strong>The Craft Beer Rising Manifesto</strong></p> <p>Here are some ideas on how you could spend the day…</p> <ol> <li><p>Head to your nearest brewery and share a beer with the brewer.</p></li> <li><p>Go to your nearest participating venue pouring all Aussie beer for the day and join in the fun.</p></li> <li><p>Take a trip down Memory Lane with the first Australian craft beer you ever enjoyed.</p></li> <li><p>Gift a bottle or glass of your favourite Aussie craft beer to a mate who claims they don’t like beer.</p></li> <li><p>If all your local venues sell crap beer, gift the landlord a bottle of your favourite Aussie craft beer and suggest they get with the program.</p></li> </ol> <p><img alt="CBR_sponsors" class="large" src="" title="CBR_sponsors" /></p> HPA's Hoppy To Help /news/post/hpa-s-hoppy-to-help/ 2014-02-20T00:00:00Z james <p>The craft beer world is full of great beer, great people and great intentions. And all of those things can be found in a new venture launched today by Hop Products Australia (HPA) in conjunction with the men&rsquo;s health charity <em>beyondblue</em>. The Tasmanian-based hop grower has announced that it is auctioning off the first 100kg bale of this year&rsquo;s Galaxy crop, with all proceeds going to the charity&rsquo;s Man Therapy project, which was launched in recognition of the significant mental health challenges men face, particularly in rural Australia.</p> <p>The &ldquo;Premiere Crop of the Hops&rdquo; auction runs from March 5 to 13 and it is hoped it will attract bids not just from Australia but overseas too, with Galaxy having led the charge of Aussie hops into the hearts and glasses of brewers the world over.</p> <p>Tim Lord, managing director of HPA <em>(pictured above checking out a previous crop at Bushy Park)</em>, says: “The reality of the brewing industry is that it’s a male dominated industry. We chose to support a charity that best connects with the people who work alongside us each day."</p> <p>He added: “In the past 10 years, HPA has transitioned from competing internationally at the mercy of a commodity based industry to thriving with a differentiated product offering in flavour and aroma hops. Harvest celebrates flavour and variety offered by our proprietary hops which is the key driver of successful beers in the booming craft beer industry.”</p> <p>Brewers can register their interest <a href="">here</a> and bid live during an online auction hosted on <a href=""></a> from March 5 at 12pm AEST. To ensure the auction appeals to large and small brewing operations, the bale will be auctioned off in 10kg packs and pelletised if required.</p> <p>&ldquo;The 2014 Premiere Crop of the Hops charity auction will follow the journey of the bale from paddock to pint,&rdquo; says Tim, whose business last year conducted the largest replant in its history: propagating some 200,000 plants. &ldquo;It’s a win-win for brewers. They get to explore an exciting brewing opportunity while helping combat an issue often forgotten – depression – especially amongst men.&rdquo;</p> <p><em>beyondblue</em> CEO Kate Carnell AO says: “Research shows many men think that admitting they are struggling with mental health issues is weak. This is why 70 per cent of Aussie men who have symptoms of depression or anxiety don’t get the help they need.</p> <p>“Man Therapy is aimed at bringing Australian men up to speed about depression and anxiety using humour. The website is hosted by a fictitious character called Dr Brian Ironwood, a straight-talking, irreverent man’s man who urges men to take charge of their mental health and get their life back on track.</p> <p>“<em>beyondblue</em> hopes Man Therapy will not only improve understanding of depression and anxiety, but reduce embarrassment and shame, which can often stop men talking about how they’re feeling and stop them from taking action.”</p> <p>The journey of the first bale will be documented through HPA’s social feeds (Facebook, Twitter and the company&rsquo;s <a href="">website</a>), using photos and blog posts along the way to track the bale to the winning bidder. After it’s been awarded, the intention is to interview the brewer about what they plan to create.</p> <p>Whoever wins and whatever beer the hops end up inside, we&rsquo;ll let you know.</p> <p><strong>How the Auction Works</strong></p> <ul> <li>HPA is auctioning the first Galaxy® bale of the 2014 crop in lots of 10kg with no reserve price.</li> <li>At auction close, the highest bidder of a 10kg lot will be offered the opportunity to purchase the entire bale (100kgs) at the winning bid per 10kg pack.</li> <li>The unsold packs will then be offered to the second highest bidder at their nominated price, and so on until all 100kgs have been allocated. HPA will cover the transportation costs within Australia and to any of their overseas customers.</li> <li>Winners will be notified via the ALLBIDS auction page and direct correspondence through HPA.</li> <li>If you require pellets, they will be provided to you in up to 10 x 10kg lots, depending on your share of the bale. HPA will honour the weight of the lots purchased regardless of shrinkage during the pelletisation process.</li> </ul> <p>So, what are you waiting for, brewers – get ready to get bidding!</p> TransPacific Thunder Nuts /news/post/transpacific-thunder-nuts/ 2014-02-18T00:00:00Z james <p>When he began exploring the idea of launching a microbrewery in Australia, Thunder Road founder Philip Withers spent several weeks on the road in the USA checking out a quite phenomenal number of breweries in a short space of time. There was one brewery above all others that proved his Eureka moment. That was Chuckanut in Washington State, whose Kolsch won him over in an instant.</p> <p>When the time came to start constructing Thunder Road in East Brunswick, Philip went back to Chuckanut for advice and the brewery&rsquo;s owner and head brewer, Will Kemper <em>(above right with Colin Paige)</em>, recommended Harvey Kenney, who had formerly worked for him at his brewery. Harvey, who has now returned to the US, helped design and build Philip&rsquo;s brewery and now the relationship between Thunder Road and Chuckanut has taken a new turn.</p> <p>Will and the current brewing team in East Brunswick have designed a series of four collaborative brews, going by the name Thunder Nuts, that are set to be released later this month. They are:</p> <ul> <li>A Cologne Kolsch Ale utilising Australian hops</li> <li>A Bamberg Smoked Lager (a Rauchbier or “smoked beer”)</li> <li>A Maibock, i.e. a light-­coloured traditional bock</li> <li>A New World Golden Ale using a new breed of Australian hops</li> </ul> <p>We found out a little more about the project…</p> <p><strong>How did the collaboration come about?</strong><br/> We&rsquo;ve been interested in doing a collaboration series of beers with Will for quite some time but travel schedules and other obligations have prevented us from working together until now. But, finally, Will was able to travel to Australia this year with his wife Mari.</p> <p>The first two beers in the series were worked on &ldquo;remotely&rdquo; using a series of Skype calls and meetings between Will and Colin Paige, TRB&rsquo;s Master Brewer and Marcus Cox, our Senior Brewer. The second two beers in the series were brewed with Will on site in early February.</p> <p><strong>Remind us about Philip&rsquo;s first experience of Chuckanut.</strong><br/> When researching the craft beer industry in the US, the Thunder Road team visited scores of breweries all over America. While there were some great beers to be found all across the country, Chuckanut in many ways exemplified the approach we wanted to take in Australia.</p> <p>Chuckanut produces beers with an extreme focus on quality, freshness, and balance. They&rsquo;re also one of the most award-winning breweries in the country for their size, consistently racking up awards at the Great American Beer Festival. From out point of view, this was the right approach to take here, to focus on great quality beers, that are &ldquo;clean&rdquo;, fresh and approachable and offer a taste profile that Australian beer drinkers where just not being offered.</p> <p><strong>You refer to Chuckanut as a &ldquo;brother brewery&rdquo;. What does &ldquo;brother brewery&rdquo; mean in reality?</strong><br/> It&rsquo;s probably fair to say that the term &ldquo;brother brewery&rdquo; refers to the shared philosophy that both companies have in common. Both companies have a belief that if you offer people beer that is extremely fresh, brewed traditionally using the highest quality ingredients, is approachable and has great balance, you will start to bring people back into drinking and enjoying really great beer.</p> <p><strong>Has there been any Thunder Road brewing over at Chuckanut?</strong><br/> Not yet, but this hopefully will be on the cards in the future.</p> <p><em>The collaboration series will be a part of the brewery&rsquo;s limited release program. The beers will be available for tasting and growler fills at Thunder Road, with a limited run of kegs available for pubs and restaurants in the coming months. Look out for them to start appearing on taps in mid to late February.</em></p>