News - Crafty Pint /news 2014-09-01T00:00:00Z Hoppier Dogs /news/post/hoppier-dogs/ 2014-09-01T00:00:00Z james <p>Having celebrated turning three with four days of festivities in Sydney and its hometown of Nowra, one of Australia&rsquo;s most out there breweries is bigger, older and wiser. Well, the first two at least. After all, how many of the fans of the weird and wild beers that have spewed forth from <a href="">HopDog BeerWorks</a> in the past three years would want co-owner and head brewer Tim Thomas getting all sensible?</p> <p>Signs are he&rsquo;s not, certainly judging by some of the beers due for release in the coming weeks and months. Superbeast 2014 is on its way and sits &ldquo;somewhere between a double IPA and barley wine&rdquo; and features $600 of malt and $600 of hops in a mere 800 litre brew. And that&rsquo;s pretty tame compared to another couple.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve done a collaboration with Adam from Platinum Liquor,&rdquo; explains Tim. &ldquo;The idea was to create a beer to drink with the Coen brothers reimagination of True Grit so we created an American strong ale with some smoke and a little bit of rye that is currently ageing on Bourbon chips.</p> <p>&ldquo;Then I was talking about it to the guys at Plonk in Canberra and they said they had access to the Australian film archives. So for Canberra Beer Week we are brewing a beer for a screening of the 2003 film Undead, an Australian zombie horror film. We&rsquo;re trying to get in contact with the writers of the film to let them know and have sourced some locally grown seaweed so that we can create a Japanese/Norwegian IPA inspired by one of the lines in the film.&rdquo;</p> <p>So maybe not wiser but certainly bigger. Four times bigger these days, in fact. The brewery started out operating a 200 litre Braumeister brewhouse &ndash; capable of no more than four kegs per batch to put things in perspective &ndash; yet remarkably had beers in venues across the country within the first year. With an eye-catching schtick and unique releases regularly featuring unusual ingredients or untried combinations of ingredients and ageing processes, HopDog beers were soon being clutched close to many a beer geek&rsquo;s heart and, as consistency has improved and demand has continued to grow, Tim and wife Tess had little choice but to upgrade. Thus, earlier this year a new brewery and additional tanks went in.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was around Christmas last year when we ran out of beer again and went, &lsquo;Screw it!&rsquo;,&rdquo; says Tim. &ldquo;We had to upgrade as we were pedalling backwards.</p> <p>&ldquo;[In some ways] it&rsquo;s a great position to be in. The terrible part is when places are calling you wanting your beer and you have to tell them you don&rsquo;t have any or that they need to wait a couple of weeks.</p> <p>&ldquo;We figure that 800 litres is probably the size we are happy to go with so we got my wife&rsquo;s cousin in to convert a couple of tanks – an English cellar tank became our kettle [named Gorak] and one that was sat in a yard at the back of a local starch plant that is now our mash tun [called Sir Mashalot]. We&rsquo;ve got a couple of 10 kW elements inside the kettle which are like giant light sabres.&rdquo;</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="HopDog-12" class="med_right" src="" title="HopDog-12" /> <blockquote><p>Tanks</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>Continuing with the themes of expansion and Start Wars, the fact they have more beer to package and distribute led Tim and Tess (&ldquo;general manager, main maker of decisions in terms of buying stuff, the person who when she calls about an overdue invoice you know you <em>have</em> to pay, reiner in of my excesses&rdquo;) have recently taken on their first permanent employee, going by the name Jedi Matt, although Tim admits Dogsbody Matt would be just as fitting as he handles cleaning, packaging, distribution and the like.</p> <p>As for how HopDog managed to get as far as its third anniversary having started out on such a tiny system, based in a town with little in the way of craft beer credentials and making frequently insane beers, Tim says: &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t know!</p> <p>&ldquo;My wife and I always say that if we want to do it, will make it happen.&rdquo;</p> <p>A recent challenge that threatened to torpedo the business involved their bank. They went to see their existing one with regards to financing the expansion and were told they would be getting no more money.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were freaking out,&rdquo; says Tim. &ldquo;Then we went around the corner to another bank and they said, &lsquo;How much do you want?&rsquo;.</p> <p>&ldquo;Now we are kind of back at the same spot we were at three years ago: do it now [the expansion] as there&rsquo;s no perfect time. It&rsquo;s fantastic and just this week we have had our celebration beers and there&rsquo;s been more new people come in and say they didn&rsquo;t even know we were here, people who had driven past every day and said they never saw our sign <em>(pictured at top)</em>.&rdquo;</p> <p>In terms of highlights from the first three years of HopDog, Tim plumps for this year&rsquo;s Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular in Melbourne during Good Beer Week. His beer, Brett the Bloody Orange, polled ninth out of more than 100 beers in the People&rsquo;s Choice. He admits to having a soft spot for Horns Up too, the rye IPA that is one of his longest and most commonly brewed beers (look out for more now that he has secured a fresh supply of Riwaka hops from NZ) as well as the All Hallowed Ale that he releases each Halloween that has proved hugely popular.</p> <p><div class="captioned medCaptioned"> <img alt="HopDog-11" class="med" src="" title="HopDog-11" /> <blockquote><p>The event-friendly (if leaky) brewery bar</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>They have also hosted sit down events inside the brewery this year and plan to do so again in the future, making full use of the brewery bar that was opened on Australia Day.</p> <p>&ldquo;I finally got my dad to come to the brewery to do some things,&rdquo; says Tim. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s an engineer and designed our tap set up in the brewery. Unfortunately, it leaks like a sieve so I guess that&rsquo;s what engineers do. Let&rsquo;s just say it&rsquo;s a work in progress&hellip;&rdquo;</p> <p>If you&rsquo;d like to check out the work in progress, <a href="">HopDog BeerWorks</a>&lsquo; home in Nowra is open from 10am Wednesday to Saturday. Look out for a host of HopDog collaborations and events during this year&rsquo;s Sydney Craft Beer Week as well.</p> A New Modus Operandi /news/post/a-new-modus-operandi/ 2014-08-26T00:00:00Z james <p>For six months Grant and Jaz Wearin lived the beer lover’s dream; travelling around the West Coast of the USA visiting every brewery they could. But it wasn’t a holiday. Well, it was &ndash; but it wasn’t just a holiday. The Aussie couple had a loose idea to open up a brewery of their own back home, so this was effectively R&amp;D.</p> <p>Says Grant: “The idea had always been simmering away, but then when we were in the States we thought, ‘This can definitely be done’. From the day we got back, which was January 2013, I worked pretty much full time on it &ndash; my wife’s still at work &ndash; and here we are 18 months later.”</p> <p>&ldquo;Here&rdquo; is Mona Vale, in Sydney’s Northern Beaches, where the Modus Operandi brewery opened at the end of July. It’s not an area known for beer, but when you pull up to the gates and see tables full of happy drinkers it’s clear that there’s as much thirst for it here as anywhere else. Part of the appeal is in the venue itself, with the brewery, bar and casual dining venue benefiting from the Wearins having taken note of what they liked most about the breweries they visited and trying to incorporate the best elements into their own business.</p> <p>“We definitely picked and chose,&ldquo; says Grant. "We took a lot of inspiration from Portland and Colorado in particular.”</p> <p>While they may have taken inspiration from those areas, they took something else too: brewer DJ McCready. Having worked at the famed Oskar Blues brewery, DJ’s move to Australia just happened to work out, as he explains in his laid back North Carolina drawl.</p> <p>“I was planning on coming over here anyway just to do some travelling to Australia and New Zealand and I knew the craft brewing scene was taking off, so thought maybe I might be able to land a job somewhere &ndash; or maybe just have a cool holiday.</p> <p>&ldquo;But I started talking to one of my buddies at Rogue about it and he called me a few weeks later saying, &lsquo;If you’re serious about it, these guys are opening up a brewery right outside of Sydney and I think it’d be right up your alley &ndash; they want to do all these cool different beers.&rsquo; And it just worked out, so here I am!”</p> <p>He’s made his presence felt immediately. Where many new breweries in Australia are the project of a homebrewer-turned-pro and invariably involve a bit of a ‘settling in’ period as they come to terms with the larger equipment, DJ’s experience has meant Modus Operandi has hit the ground running. Indeed, it takes a certain level of gumption to open a brewery with seven beers, including two saisons. The rest of the initial range is made up of a cream ale, pale ale, two IPAs and a porter. As Grant suggests, it’s a deliberately expansive selection designed to make a bit of a statement.</p> <p>“We knew from our travels that first impressions really last so it was important for us to have a good lineup and be able to say, &lsquo;This is what we’re going to be doing&rsquo;. We’re going to have more, but seven was really all we could pull off in a couple of months.”</p> <p>And pulled it off they have, with the first batch of brews proving a hit from top to bottom of the list. Says Grant: “The cream ale’s designed to be highly sessionable &ndash; a classic California Common style and our unashamed gateway beer, but it’s got flavour. We actually had a debate about whether Australia was ready for a cream ale. DJ won and he’s still winning because it’s really popular.”</p> <p>At the other end of the spectrum, if you were to pick one brew that will have hardcore beer lovers hooked, it’s likely to be the Former Tenant, an unashamedly bold, Mosaic hop-fuelled, 7.8 percent US-style IPA.</p> <p>“Former Tenant has been our biggest selling big beer,&ldquo; says Grant, "which I’d call anything over about 6 per cent. I’m super stoked with how it turned out. We’ve had a few beer geeks in here chewing our ear off about it which is nice.”</p> <p>As well as brewing nous, DJ has brought with him to Australia an acute awareness of beer trends happening in the USA, the country so often cited as being the leader of the pack. To that end, Modus Operandi is set to take the canning revolution up a gear by becoming only the second brewery in the world to offer one litre takeaway cans that are filled directly from the brewery taps (the first was, naturally, his former employer Oskar Blues).</p> <p>Fill your own cans, you might ask? DJ explains&hellip;</p> <p>“Basically it’s a turn-of-the century food can seamer that, at Oskar Blues, we re-did to fit one litre aluminium cans. We fill off our taps, the can goes into the seamer on the bar, spins them around, puts a lid on them and there’s your ready-to-go packaging.</p> <p>&ldquo;We’re still testing it out to make sure it works but at Oskar Blues, where they have the proper testing equipment &ndash; whereas I’m just filling them, shaking the shit out of them and leaving them out for a week and seeing if they still taste good &ndash; they were saying they were getting almost two months out of them. I think you’re probably getting around the same oxygen content as as 330ml bottle but because it’s such a big vessel the amount of oxygen contact is small in comparison.</p> <p>“But we’ll still treat it like a growler and tell people it’s not like a regular can of beer &ndash; you want to drink it pretty quick so hopefully it won’t be a problem. I mean, when I buy beer I have a hard time getting it home before I open it!”</p> <p><img alt="Modus_Operandi_08" class="med_right" src="" title="Modus_Operandi_08" /></p> <p>In the meantime, there are several new beers to focus on. A couple of old Lark Distillery barrels sit atop the chiller, one filled with porter and the other likely to house the red IPA. There are some white wine barrels on the way in anticipation of a sour beer program, a Double IPA in the pipeline, a light summer IPA to come with the changing seasons and a Black Coffee Lager ready to go. The latter is a collaboration done with their the business next door, the Coffee Brothers, who brewed and added the coffee to the tank while it was still warm.</p> <p>Getting their neighbours involved is reflective of what Modus Operandi is already achieving in their new home, namely getting more people interested in beer.</p> <p>“I’ve had so many people come up to me in the brewery and say, &lsquo;I’ve never thought about how beer was made before&rsquo;,&ldquo; says DJ. "It’s a real ‘Whoa!’ moment for them and it’s really cool to be able to educate people, for example, that certain characters you taste or smell come from a hop. Hopefully folks will just be receptive enough to keep trying the beer.”</p> <p>With a great venue pouring some great beer, chances are they will be.</p> <p><em><a href="">Modus Operandi</a> is found at 14 Harkeith Street, Mona Vale.</em></p> Surf Coast Suds /news/post/surf-coast-suds/ 2014-08-21T00:00:00Z james <p>On a recent trip to the Great Ocean Road, a post-beach drink at the Wye Beach Hotel threw up some pleasant surprises. On tap was a choice that included <a href="">Mountain Goat</a>, <a href="">Prickly Moses</a>, <a href="">Southern Bay</a> and <a href="">Forrest Brewery</a> with far more options in the fridge. And if the owners plan to keep supporting their local breweries, they&rsquo;ll soon be able to add another to the list following the opening of Blackman&rsquo;s Brewery in Torquay.</p> <p>The brewery, bar and restaurant that welcomed its first guests through the door earlier this month has been opened by brewer Renn Blackman and his partner Jess Guidice <em>(pictured above)</em> on the town&rsquo;s Bell Street. Just a short walk from the beach, they have installed the brewery formerly found at True South in Blackrock, where Renn used to be the head brewer, at the rear of a restaurant and bar and are already pouring three of Renn&rsquo;s beers: a Belgian-style witbier, a hoppy golden ale and a West Coast-style IPA. And in the kitchen they have Mitch from Beersine, the WA chef who specialises in cooking with beer and beer&rsquo;s ingredients.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d always thought Torquay, Geelong or somewhere on the coast would be amazing for a brewery,&rdquo; says Renn, who grew up half an hour from the brewery. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a great space to live too and is becoming a lot less seasonal.&rdquo;</p> <p>In his six years as a commercial brewer, Renn has covered a lot of ground. His brewing career started out when he trained at Edith Cowan University in WA, with his first professional job at <a href="">The Monk</a> in Fremantle, supplemented by a spot of keg washing at the <a href="">Sail &amp; Anchor</a> across the road. Then there were a few months spent at the Old Swan Brewery before he moved to London and worked at Camden Town, becoming one of many Aussies to spend time there. After a spot of travelling, he returned Australia and became head brewer at True South before setting out on his own.</p> <p>&ldquo;Me and Jess travelled for six months before coming back to Australia and went to some classic beer towns like Pilsen [birthplace of the pilsner], Bamberg [home to Schlenkerla&rsquo;s smoked beers] and Cologne [home of Kolsch] and drank lots of beers,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;We went to quite a few breweries; Cantillon was the most amazing, along with Pilsner Urquell. We&rsquo;re definitely going to do an unfiltered lager as part of our core range because of that experience at Pilsner Urquell and one that Camden used to do.&rdquo;</p> <p><img alt="Blackman_s-Brewery-4" class="med_right" src="" title="Blackman_s-Brewery-4" /></p> <p>The three beers already pouring take their names from his dad and other family members: Bob the witbier, a soft, smooth, fruity and gently spicy number featuring lemon zest, coconut and coriander; Ernie the golden ale, with big tropical hop aromas and plenty of grapefruit hop flavour; and Reginald, the punchy US-inspired IPA that Renn hopes will become the brewery&rsquo;s flagship beer. All three were brewed when the system was still in place at True South before they moved it down the coast.</p> <p>Now that the brewery is in place and commissioned, everything will be brewed onsite and, initially at least, the beers will only be available at the venue itself before they look to send some to local craft beer-supporting venues.</p> <p>&ldquo;We have more tanks coming so we can smash more beer out for summer,&rdquo; says Renn. &ldquo;There have been quite a few local people approach us, like <a href="">Vue Grand</a> that are into their beers, who are keen to get some.&rdquo;</p> <p>As for the decision to bring Mitch over for a couple of months to set up the kitchen and design the menu, apparently it was a case of: &ldquo;Come and cook awesome food, Mitch. We love you!&rdquo;</p> <p><img alt="Blackman_s-Brewery-3" class="med" src="" title="Blackman_s-Brewery-3" /></p> <p>Say Mitch: &ldquo;We worked together at The Monk and when I came over for Good Beer Week I stayed with him and Jess and whenever they come out to WA they stay with us. They love the food we did at The Monk so I submitted a whole heap of ideas, they chose what they wanted, then I came over and looked to see what was left over from the old place and tried to keep costs down as much as possible [ while setting up the new kitchen].&rdquo;</p> <p>Among the beery dishes on the menu are spiced meatballs in a spent grain sauce &ndash; &ldquo;similar to a dish that Renn used to eat a gazillion of at The Monk&rdquo; &ndash; locally made sausages featuring IPA and served with beer mustard, Mitch&rsquo;s pale ale cheese and his hop honey. As well as designing the menu, Mitch will train up a permanent chef before heading back to WA.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have two weeks with the new guy when he arrives,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;He&rsquo;ll have a nice base to start from and can go wherever he wants. We&rsquo;ll be over once every three months to do seasonal beer dinners, which will be a lot of fun and will give me the chance to work with someone that knows my food.&rdquo;</p> <p>As for the decision to open a brewpub on the Surf Coast, Renn feels the time is right in the region. There have been a number of breweries operating there for some time, the likes of <a href="">Bellarine Brewing Company</a> and <a href="">Southern Bay</a> close to Geelong and <a href="">Forrest Brewery</a> and <a href="">Prickly Moses</a> slightly further afield. With venues like the aforementioned Vue Grand as well as <a href="">Frontbeach</a> in Torquay itself and the Odyssey Tavern just up the road embracing craft beer, things were on the up while the opening of Little Creatures in Geelong has taken things to the next level.</p> <p><img alt="Blackman_s-Brewery-1" class="med_right" src="" title="Blackman_s-Brewery-1" /></p> <p>&ldquo;Little Creatures is changing people&rsquo;s views on what beer is,&rdquo; says Renn. &ldquo;Their beer&rsquo;s great and that venue has gone absolutely bananas since it opened. They&rsquo;re great for doing what they&rsquo;ve done.&rdquo;</p> <p>He and Jess will be hoping to do the same for Torquay. Their venue was previously the iconic Surfrider restaurant, &ldquo;a bit of an institution here&rdquo; according to Renn, that has been &ldquo;pulled to bits: we redid the bar, polished the floor, basically took six months renovating to get it ready. In fact, we&rsquo;re still going…&rdquo;</p> <p>The latest addition is the beer garden, which will feature long beer hall style tables made out of Western Australian timber built, like much of the venue, by Renn&rsquo;s dad.</p> <p>Tasty beers, creative food, a beer garden and the beach a few hundred metres away&hellip; what more could you want? How about Brettanomyces fermented chilli sauce? Well, they got that too. See you there!</p> <p><em><a href="">Blackman&rsquo;s Brewery</a> is at 26 Bell Street, Torquay and is currently open Fridays from 6pm and weekends from midday. Hours will be extended from next month.</em></p> Little Emerson /news/post/little-emerson/ 2014-08-19T00:00:00Z james <p>Other than play around with its younger sibling, <a href="">White Rabbit</a>, when creating the Little Rabbit beer for the 2012 Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, <a href="">Little Creatures</a> has kept its brewing mitts to itself. Yet a few weeks ago, we heard there were plans for a collaboration with another brewer, one that the staff at the brewery were excited about but keeping close to their chest.</p> <p>&ldquo;Who could it be?&rdquo; we wondered. And when the answer was revealed it was one that made perfect sense: the Challenge was to feature Creatures and Emerson&rsquo;s, the iconic Dunedin brewery that was bought by Lion in 2012, just a few months after the multinational took 100 percent control of Little World Beverages, owner of Creatures and White Rabbit. The first of two brews took place in Dunedin a couple of weeks ago, when brewers from Freo headed to New Zealand, with the return brew taking place in WA last week, where Max Brearley was on hand to ask what it was all about&hellip;</p> <p>With Richard Emerson heading over The Ditch to brew at Little Creatures in Freo, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was a collaboration brew. But Richard and Freo head brewer Russ Gosling are quick to point out that this is a Challenge brew.</p> <p>&ldquo;What&rsquo;s a Challenge brew?&rdquo; you ask.</p> <p>Well, in this case, each brewing team threw down a style and hop varietals for the others to have a crack at, for what could become an annual trans-Tasman challenge. No pilot brewing allowed, with the recipe worked out and honed on the day.</p> <p>While the two breweries are Lion owned, there’s a wealth of differences between their set ups that spice up the challenge, from largely computerised (Creatures) to old school hands on (Emerson). Emerson explains that “it’s a challenge to each other and to the brewers. It’s about what we can learn. We brew in isolation so the opportunity to learn from each other is what this is about.”</p> <p>The New Zealand leg of the challenge saw Russ and Brett Shore head to Dunedin, where they laid down the challenge of brewing an Australian red IPA using Topaz and Ella hops. It’s not a style Emerson’s had attempted previously, added to which the hop varieties were also a new to them. For Emerson, this is what the challenge is all about. That and the odd game of brew house pool, where the rivalry really came out.</p> <p>It set the tone for the return challenge.</p> <p>Russ explains: “It’s a saison that Richard has challenged us with. Traditional and true to style, no going mad with hops [they used just East Kent Goldings and Czech Saaz].</p> <p>&ldquo;It’s a style that’s well structured and unforgiving. It’s a technically difficult beer, so it can be very right or very wrong. Of course it’ll be very right!”</p> <p>Historically the saison is perhaps the perfect seasonal offering to take us from Winter to Spring, which is a good thing as both beers will be out in late October in keg and available at all Single Batch stockists, which can all be found at the Little Creatures website <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p>There was one more unexpected challenge too: that of getting Richard back to New Zealand.</p> <p>&ldquo;We didn&rsquo;t want to let him go,&rdquo; says Creatures marketing manager Ash Cranston. &ldquo;He was great!&rdquo;</p> <p><em>Max Brearley writes on beer for all manner of publications in Australia and overseas and is one half of <a href="">Offshoot Creative</a>.</em></p> <p><object width="580" height="435"> <param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&lang=en-us&page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fcraftypint%2Fsets%2F72157646197047770%2Fshow%2F&page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fcraftypint%2Fsets%2F72157646197047770%2F&set_id=72157646197047770&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%2F72157646197047770%2Fshow%2F&page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fcraftypint%2Fsets%2F72157646197047770%2F&set_id=72157646197047770&jump_to=" width="580" height="435"></embed></object></p> All Aboard For Beerland /news/post/all-aboard-for-beerland/ 2014-08-14T00:00:00Z james <p>Who wouldn’t want to go to Beerland? Aside from the fact that it just sounds so damn appealing, it’s also conveniently located in the heart of Northbridge, Perth’s nightlife centre&hellip;</p> <p><a href="">Northbridge Brewing Company by Beerland</a> (NBC) is the latest WA brewery to open its doors to a thirsty public. It is a project many years in the making, with beer geeks across Perth long wondering when the doors would open. Their question was answered last week as the founders welcomed their first customers to a soft opening.</p> <p>Commanding the 12 hectolitre brewhouse at NBC&rsquo;s heart is Ken Arrowsmith, who was coaxed out of brewing retirement after just over four years spent running his own business. His love of beer goes back many years; in fact, he was involved in brewing Redback in its early days and speaks highly of Phil Sexton of Matilda Bay and Little Creatures fame. From there, his career takes in an impressive list of roles with larger breweries, including Swan and Toohey’s. You may well have &ldquo;met&rdquo; him too as it&rsquo;s his caricature that features on cans of Emu Bitter.</p> <p>“It sounded like too much fun not to get involved,” Ken says of his return to brewing at NBC. “I’ve always been interested in science and brewing and it’s just a wonderful industry to be involved in.”</p> <p>The new, state-of-the-art brewhouse features a reverse osmosis water system, up to eight fermentation tanks upstairs, and serving vessels that will send the beer straight from the tanks to the drinker&rsquo;s glass. The brewery fits snugly into its custom brewpub surroundings, while the building is textually interesting: a combination of exposed red brick, neon signage and industrial additions.</p> <p><div class="captioned med_rightCaptioned"> <img alt="NBC-3" class="med_right" src="" title="NBC-3" /> <blockquote><p>The impressive two-storey brewpub</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>Being a part of the community is literally built into the two-storey venue, complete with rooftop Skydeck, with parts of the bar taken from historic Perth buildings such as the old Ford factory and Perry Lakes stadium. It&rsquo;s clear the NBC team hopes to become a part of the greater Northbridge community and is proud to be supporting other local businesses like Torres Butchers.</p> <p>It’s a brewpub for the beer curious and newcomer as much as the beer geek. The initial Beerland range provides accessible craft beer while the bottle menu includes offerings from the likes of Sierra Nevada, Two Birds and 4 Pines to broaden the drinking experience.</p> <p>In creating the core range, Ken brewed up to 30 prototypes before launching with a wheat, pale ale, lager and mild.</p> <p>“Given our location we wanted a core range that was easily accessible,” he explains.</p> <p>The Beerland Wheat is a Bavarian style beer, with unmistakable banana and spice on the nose and a soft, fruity and lightly spiced palate. The Beerland Pale Ale is fresh and crisp, using Galaxy hops and then dry hopped with Cascade. For anyone who likes a clean lager, the Beerland Lager carries a good dose of spice from the use of Saaz hops and a solid all German malt body.</p> <p>The final core beer in the Beerland range is the Mild, not available at the time of writing but set to run through the brewhouse soon. Ken is promising a darker beer with more malt character and plenty of complexity. He also has plenty planned for one-off special brews, the first of which will make its way into production in the coming few months.</p> <p><div class="captioned medCaptioned"> <img alt="NBC-2" class="med" src="" title="NBC-2" /> <blockquote><p>Glistening stainless steel</p></blockquote> </div></p> <p>Visitors can line up a few of his wares to sample with a tasting tray, sign up for a Brew Master tasting package or dive in deep with what&rsquo;s described as &ldquo;a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a Brewer for a Day with Ken&rdquo;.</p> <p>“We’ve long recognised Western Australia as the home of the craft beer revolution in Australia and we were thrilled when Ken agreed to head up our brewery,&ldquo; says Beerland brewing director Michael Rasheed. "NBC aims to deliver a relaxed hospitality experience where exceptionally well-made beer is the focus.”</p> <p>Since starting out as an assistant chemist at The Swan Brewery, Ken reflects positively on his career to date: “It has been filled with constant challenge and change,” he says.</p> <p>But as much as the beer industry has evolved since our palates were introduced to Redback, he says it is still all about the beer.</p> <p>“Make a good beer,&ldquo; he says. "Sell it to people who enjoy it.”</p> <p>And who can argue with that?</p> <p><em>NBC is adjacent to the Northbridge Piazza, on the corner of James and Lake Street in Northbridge. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, offering a full menu with various dining options throughout the day and night.</em></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> Coopers Collaborates /news/post/coopers-collaborates/ 2014-08-13T00:00:00Z james <p>Yesterday, Coopers brewed a pale ale.</p> <p>&ldquo;So what?&rdquo; you may ask, with good reason. &ldquo;They must brew heaps of the stuff every week.&rdquo;</p> <p>And you&rsquo;d be right. Except this pale ale wasn&rsquo;t the familiar green-labeled Coopers Pale and the batch wasn&rsquo;t their usual 85,000 litres, but a mere 1200 litres. What&rsquo;s more, instead of using just Pride of Ringwood, the rather old school hop used in Coopers Pale, it featured that variety plus Cascade (for bittering) as well as Galaxy and French variety Triskel for flavour and aroma. Perhaps most crucially of all, it was brewed with a unique crop of barley. And, last but not least, it was the first time in its 152 year history that the largest Australian-owned brewery has ever collaborated with another brewer.</p> <p>Their partner in this experimental brew was Alistair Turnbull <em>(above right admiring the malt in the mash tun on brew day)</em> from <a href="beer/brewery/lobethal-bierhaus-sa/">Lobethal Bierhaus</a>, who had first met Tim Cooper <em>(above left)</em> at a beer industry conference before he&rsquo;d even open the doors to his venue in the Adelaide Hills. And he wasn&rsquo;t the only partner in the venture, as the original instigators of this unique brew were the people at the Botanic Gardens of South Australia.</p> <p>They had grown some Navigator barley as part of an ongoing mission to highlight the connection between nature, agriculture and what we consume, and had approached Coopers to sponsor the project. Given the amount of barley being produced, it &ldquo;wouldn&rsquo;t touch the sides&rdquo; of Coopers' brewery, according to brewery operations manager Nick Sterenberg, so they approached their friend in the Hills and the first collaboration in 152 years of unbroken brewing was born.</p> <p>&ldquo;We grew this barley in the Botanic Garden to bring home to people the connection between agriculture and what we all eat and drink,&rdquo; explains Nick.</p> <p>&ldquo;Last year, the Botanic Garden grew wheat and used that to make some artisanal pasta. This year, they grew barley and asked us to sponsor it and we said we should try to turn it into beer.</p> <p>&ldquo;The quantity was so small that it wouldn&rsquo;t touch the sides of our brewery. We know and love Alistair and we thought, &lsquo;Coopers has never done a collaboration brew with anybody in 152 years, if we are going to work with another brewer, let it be Alistair and let&rsquo;s have a bit of fun.&rsquo;'</p> <p>The barley – a variety developed by the University of Adelaide &ndash; was malted by Joe White before being transported to Lobethal, where Al and a couple of brewers from Coopers used it to create a pale ale more in the New World tradition of the one Lobethal brews year round.</p> <p>Dr Tim Cooper said: “The amount of barley available was too small for us to process through our brewery, so we looked for alternatives and our friends at the Lobethal Bierhaus had the right equipment for the job.</p> <p>“We approached them about collaborating with us on the project and Alistair Turnbull, the owner and brewer of the Lobethal Bierhaus, was happy to help."</p> <p>He certainly was, describing the people he has come to know at Coopers over the past eight years as part of a business that &ldquo;really does behave like a family&rdquo;.</p> <p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;ve done things for me in the past – water samples and so on – and are lovely blokes,&rdquo; says Al. &ldquo;I met Tim Cooper at an IBD conference in 2006 before I opened Lobethal. We had registered as Adelaide Hills Craft Brewing and that must have caught Tim&rsquo;s eye as he came up and introduced himself to us. We didn&rsquo;t even have the brewery yet, but he was a total gentleman.&rdquo;</p> <p>As for this week&rsquo;s venture, he says: &ldquo;In the process [of the barley growing project] Nick Sterenberg rang me and said they wanted to do a brew with this barley but the amount was too small. I thought, &lsquo;#$%^ing hell! Collaborate with Coopers!&rsquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;d always had this false illusion that one day I&rsquo;d brew a 100,000 litre batch of my double-hopped IPA at Coopers and spread it all over Australia&hellip;&rdquo;</p> <p>While that may remain a pipe dream, being chosen as Coopers' first brewing partner is no mean feat and follows his multiple collaborations with the Yeastie Boys and <a href="">The Wheaty</a> &ndash; not bad for someone whose father warned him off becoming &ldquo;a drunk&rsquo;s labourer&rdquo; and who spent 20 years in the world of banking before following his brewing dream.</p> <p>The beer, called Botanic Ale, will be available in keg and bottle from October 29 at Lobethal Bierhaus and the bar at the Adelaide Botanic Garden, with proceeds going to the Botanic Gardens, whose director Stephen Forbes <em>(above centre)</em>, said: “Our visitors watched the barley crop grow, experiencing agriculture in the heart of the city, and through the production of Botanic Ale are able to make the link between cultivating a crop and creating a great product."</p> <p>But will it lead to further collaborations by Coopers?</p> <p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s no plans to do any more collaborations,&rdquo; says Nick. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve always been a friend to the craft brewers and microbreweries – those who are the more genuine ones. We are all fellow brewers and we all want to help them prosper.</p> <p>&ldquo;[As we said to Alistair] he only has to keep it up for another 145 years to be as big as us.&rdquo;</p> Awards On The Move /news/post/awards-on-the-move/ 2014-08-12T00:00:00Z james <p>The organisers of the Australian International Beer Awards (AIBA) have announced a new format for next year&rsquo;s competition as well as confirming the identity of the Head Judge for 2015 and 2016. Judging will take place in the three days immediately leading up to Good Beer Week allowing the judges, many of whom travel to Melbourne from overseas, to stay on for the festival and attend the Gala Dinner. Previously, judging took place several weeks before the festival.</p> <p>And, having stepped into the Head Judge role in an interim manner in 2014, Little Creatures head brewer Warren Pawsey has been confirmed in the role for the next two years.</p> <p>“It was a great privilege to lead a team of talented judges with a diverse mix of backgrounds and a wealth of experience for the first time this year,&ldquo; he says. "When the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria approached me to continue my role as Head Judge I was thrilled to accept. The awards are incredibly important to the global brewing industry and a wonderful opportunity for brewers of all sizes to mix with the best in the business.&rdquo;</p> <p>Warren has more than 27 years of experience in the beer and brewing industry and has been a judge at the World Beer Cup, the Great American Beer Festival and the New Zealand Beer Awards.</p> <p>“Warren’s extensive experience and global knowledge has made him a valuable part of our dedicated team and we are thrilled that he has agreed to stay on as Head Judge,” says RASV CEO Mark O’Sullivan. “Many thanks also go to our previous Head Judge, Brad Rogers. It’s been a privilege to have such a passionate and prolific judge in our midst.”</p> <p>In response to industry feedback, the AIBA will hold its judging period from May 13 to 15, in the lead up to the 2015 Good Beer Week, which runs from May 16 to 24. The awards are conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV) in partnership with Federation University Australia.</p> <p>The key dates for anyone wishing to enter their beer for the awards are:</p> <ul> <li>Entries Open: January 27</li> <li>Entries Close: March 6</li> <li>Judging: May 13 to 15</li> <li>Awards Presentation: May 21</li> </ul> <p>Registrations for venues wishing to take part in Good Beer Week 2015 open on October 1.</p> Expanding The Flock /news/post/expanding-the-flock/ 2014-08-07T00:00:00Z james <p>Like a sculptor chipping away at a giant block of granite (albeit a block that keeps growing at a rate of knots), we&rsquo;re steadily making progress through the list of venues and breweries keen to be featured in our various directories. It&rsquo;s been a while since we last did a roundup of the latest to join the fold so figured it was about time we did another in case you missed any when we announced their arrival via social media. What&rsquo;s more, there have been nine new additions since we last did this and that&rsquo;s a perfect number for creating one of our postcard montage photos as above.</p> <p>Anyway, without further ado, and in no particular order&hellip;</p> <ul> <li><p><strong><a href="">Low Buy Liquor</a></strong><br/> A goldmine of great beer on the edge of the Yarra Valley. Ever since deciding to embrace the world of craft beer wholeheartedly, the staff have gone nuts, filling ever more of this bottleshop in a Lilydale mall with the best beers from Australia and overseas. They hold regular, sold out beer dinners at nearby Lilydale General too.</p></li> <li><p><strong><a href="">Hotel Sweeney&rsquo;s</a></strong><br/> Like a new government in its early days in power, the hotel group that owns the four-storey Sweeney&rsquo;s in Sydney&rsquo;s CBD has been indulging in a spot of top down reorganisation. The rooftop has become a city centre haven for beer lovers amid the Sydney skyline, hosting regular tap takeovers and meet the brewer sessions.</p></li> <li><p><strong><a href="">Welcome Hotel</a></strong><br/> New owners took over the Welcome in Rozelle and gave it such an amazing new lease on life that this year it was named Time Out Sydney&rsquo;s Pub of the Year. It&rsquo;s a turnaround centred on great craft beer, delicious food and creating an old school community vibe, just how pubs should be.</p></li> <li><p><strong><a href="">Ekim Brewing</a></strong><br/> Based in a small industrial unit in Mount Kuring-gai in the north of Sydney that it shares with Habby Goblin, Ekim is a brewery with a love of hops, especially big, punchy American ones. They&rsquo;re a feature of pretty much every release, with the beers winning over drinkers all along the East Coast.</p></li> <li><p><strong><a href="">Clifton Hill Brewpub</a></strong><br/> This former live music venue and haunt for Melbourne&rsquo;s Irish community has been reinvented (not for the first time) by its owners. Today, it&rsquo;s a smart pub, bar and restaurant, with a busy and craftily stocked drive thru bottleshop attached and, most crucially, its own 600 litre microbrewery smack bang in the middle pumping out beers you can enjoy just metres from where they&rsquo;re brewed.</p></li> <li><p><strong><a href="">Green Beacon</a></strong><br/> One of the driving forces behind the craft beer boom in Brisbane, Green Beacon opened its doors in early 2013, turning a warehouse in Teneriffe into a brewery and bar. A colourful core range is embellished with a series of regular limited releases, with a number set to be released locally in cans soon.</p></li> <li><p><strong><a href="">Beer DeLuxe</a></strong><br/> The original Beer DeLuxe in Fed Square is much changed since originally featured on the site. Significant investment has gone into developing its two urban beer gardens and the beer selection covers a broader spectrum than at the most pointy-headed times in its past. CUB has installed copper tanks and takes up residence on a few taps with the remainder free to feature an evolving array of craft beers, from the approachable to the outlandish, with the fridges offering further choice.</p></li> <li><p><strong><a href="">Quarryman&rsquo;s</a></strong><br/> Another big pub chain entered the world of craft beer and did it with all guns blazing at the Quarryman&rsquo;s. They took a faded venue, injected much-needed love and began pouring 20 taps of craft beer and hosting a regular lineup of popular beer events.</p></li> <li><p><strong><a href="">King St Brewhouse</a></strong><br/> This former James Squire Brewhouse changed owners last year, with the new ones bringing in a new brewer to create a range of beers under the Red Tap Brewing Co banner. They tap regular seasonals, play around with nitro and filling a &ldquo;Randall&rdquo; with hops, fruit, spices and more &ndash; and all in the heart of Darling Harbour.</p></li> </ul> <p>We&rsquo;ve got heaps more in the pipeline that we&rsquo;ve already visited and then a bunch more after that so look out for more great venues to visit and breweries whose beer you can hunt down over the coming weeks and months. If only there were more hours in the day&hellip;</p> The Flight To Beervana /news/post/the-flight-to-beervana/ 2014-08-05T00:00:00Z james <p>In less than three weeks, what&rsquo;s becoming an ever larger annual trans-Tasman migration of Aussies to Wellington will be well underway. The goal is Beervana, New Zealand&rsquo;s biggest craft beer festival, as well as the lure of checking out one of the craftiest cities in the beer world. The festival itself takes place over two days and four sessions at the city&rsquo;s Westpac Stadium and, both inside and outside the stadium, visitors can look forward to plenty of awesome beery action, drawn not just from New Zealand but across the globe too.</p> <p>Around 12,000 people are expected to attend sessions, sampling hundreds of beers, eating great food, meeting marvellous people and soaking in the atmosphere of a city where Yeastie Boys Stu McKinlay reckons 50 percent of the draught beer poured is craft.</p> <p>“It’s an exciting time to be part of the craft brewing industry in New Zealand, with Beervana showcasing some of the best in the country as well as profiling beers from some of the newer breweries to hit the scene,” says Beervana director David Cryer.</p> <p>“With the additional element of our &lsquo;Beervana Exchange&rsquo;, where three award winning brewers will be here from Portland, as well as other events within Beervana such as specialist beer seminars, home brew and media brew competitions and the launch of the New Zealand chapter of the Pink Boots Society, which supports women in the brewing industry, there will be something for everyone.”</p> <p>With so much going on, here&rsquo;s a snapshot of some of the highlights for those lucky enough to be making the trip.</p> <p><strong>The beers</strong></p> <p>More than 250 beers from 60-plus breweries will be showcased over the four sessions. With the Kiwi beer industry a few steps ahead of that in Australia, if it&rsquo;s your first visit you can expect to be dazzled, as you&rsquo;ll find some incredible beers on offer from breweries whose beers never make it to Australia &ndash; as well as from those whose do.</p> <p>More Aussie breweries are sending beer across than before too, while The Crafty Pint&rsquo;s founder might even pop up at the Australian bar at some point for a Kiwi launch of <a href="">this</a>. You can check out the brewers (both Aussie and otherwise) on display <a href="">here</a>; NB there will be a few more Aussies than listed after we prompted a handful to get on board with a keg or two after this list was published.</p> <p><strong>Amazing food</strong></p> <p>We returned from our first visit to Beervana in 2012 having been as impressed by the food as the beer; who wouldn&rsquo;t be when breakfast on day two was black pudding, scallops and chorizo next to the Tuatara stand, with freshly shucked oysters to follow later in the day?</p> <p>Once again, the culinary side of the event is being curated by one of the city&rsquo;s most respected chefs, Martin Bosley, who says: “I’ve brought together some of Wellington’s best restaurants, ensuring that each provides a sensational variety of food, all different, yet all complementing or contrasting the craft beers available. “As the quality of craft beers has improved, so has our understanding of just how important it is to match the food to them. Frankly, this year’s lineup shows just how much craft beer has been embraced by the capital’s restaurants.”</p> <p>The eateries include: Boulcott St Bistro, Big Bad Wolf, Epicure, Grill Meats Beer, House of Dumplings, Monsoon Poon, The Fire Truck, The Goose Shack, The General Practitioner and Tommy Millions.</p> <p><strong>Beervana seminars</strong></p> <p>David Cryer says: “Through the seminars attendees can experience Beervana at different levels, whether it’s about extending their knowledge of brewing, or how to pair beer with food, or having the opportunity to taste award winning craft beers from other parts of the world.”</p> <p>The inaugural Taste of Portland seminars offer a chance for attendees to meet the brewers and try the beers of the World Beer Cup Medal Winners from Portland: Gigantic Brewing Company; Commons Brewing; and Widmer Brothers. Portland-inspired culinary delights will be presented by specialist beer chef Paul Kasten, also from Portland.</p> <p>Look out for Home Brewing Masterclasses led by brewers from Panhead Custom Ales, Fork Brewing, Liberty and Epic, as well as Beer and Cheese seminars run by local cheese expert Wendy Adams. All seminar spots are booked in advance when buying your festival tickets &ndash; and some are already sold out &ndash; so jump online quick <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p><img alt="Beervana-crafty-5-small" class="med_right" src="" title="Beervana-crafty-5-small" /></p> <p><strong>Media Brew Beers</strong></p> <p>Also on offer will be the largest collection of Media Brews yet. Each year, Beervana organisers invite media to pair up with a brewer to create a new beer (this time with the theme &ldquo;Spring&rdquo;) to be judged by industry professionals. There will be a Media Brew bar this time around too.</p> <p>In the past, the experiments have led to commercial beers such as Epic&rsquo;s Epicurean Coffee &amp; Fig beer, while we seem to recall Yeastie Boys experimenting with the sort of technique in 2012 that they&rsquo;ve used in their recent Spoonbender Defender collaborations with Some Young Punks.</p> <p>Sadly, our plans to enter following the win for the Auld Bulgin' Boysterous Bicep with Murray&rsquo;s in 2012 have been scuppered by some dastardly unforeseen circumstances at both Crafty Towers and for head brewer Shawn Sherlock. There will be other Aussie entries from Brews News and The Shout as well as one from the US to check out though.</p> <p><strong>The City of Wellington</strong></p> <p>You could head to Wellington in any of the other 51 weeks of the year and still have an amazing, beer-themed trip. The city is awash with amazing venues and has a growing number of breweries too, such as Garage Project, Panhead Custom Ales and ParrotDog.</p> <p>The city is also home to a forward-thinking city council that has helped fund <a href="">Craft Beer Capital</a>. It&rsquo;s a resource and promotional tool for all things craft in Wellington and also one of the best places to start when planning a spot of self-guided beer touring while over for Beervana. Here&rsquo;s hoping more Australian councils take a leaf out of Wellington&rsquo;s book and start backing some of the great festivals and events taking place here too.</p> <p><strong>Trade Show</strong></p> <p>The Beervana Trade Show is being held on the afternoon before Beervana opens to the public (August 21) and is for the brewing industry, retailers, restaurants, bars, caterers, media and others wanting to develop their business with the brewing industry.</p> <p>It is being held from 2pm to 4pm in the new Mezzanine Lounge at the stadium, with craft beer tastings will be on offer during the afternoon. Anyone wishing to attend can register <a href="">here</a>.</p> <p><em>Photo of Westpac Stadium at the top by Jed Soanes.</em></p> The Kings of Queenscliff /news/post/the-kings-of-queenscliff/ 2014-08-04T00:00:00Z james <p>An iconic Victorian hotel which only started stocking a handful of local craft beers a few years back has been awarded the Best Beer List title for 2014 in the <a href="">Australian Wine List of the Year</a> awards. The <a href="">Vue Grand</a> in Queenscliff now has an evolving list of around 90 beers on its list and, as of last year, has a dedicated beer bar – the Vue Street Bar &ndash; where it showcases a mix of tap and bottled beers alongside fine beer-friendly food.</p> <p>The hotel pipped Melbourne&rsquo;s The Botanical and the Precinct in Perth to the award, which is presented by Fine Wine Partners and Gourmet Traveller Wine each year. Last year&rsquo;s winner was the Healesville Hotel in the Yarra Valley. The aim of the awards is &ldquo;to recognise and reward the efforts of restaurants, cafes, bistros, international hotels, wine bars, pubs and clubs, whilst promoting and rewarding excellence in these venues with Australia’s wine and food enthusiastic public.&rdquo;</p> <p>For the team at Vue Grand, it is validation for the changes introduced over the past five years, with Australian Wine List of the Year Award judge Ken Gargett calling their beer list “a sensational collection of beers and a worthy winner" and describing it as a cleverly constructed collection of cracking, well-priced beers with an eye very much on the craft beer scene.</p> <p>“It is such an honour to be recognised by the judges for what we do, and to be considered amongst undoubtedly the best restaurants, hotels, pubs and bars in Australia,” says the hotel&rsquo;s food &amp; beverage manager Caleb Fleet. He&rsquo;s the creator of the list and a passionate beer advocate who is ably assisted by a team of beer loving staff, not least the home brewers in the kitchen who are always keen to add beer, hops or malt to their recipes.</p> <p>“It’s such a huge win, and a huge compliment for the hotel,&ldquo; adds Caleb.</p> <p>&ldquo;We decided about five years ago to start to showcase some of the local Bellarine beers on our wine list [as we] pride ourselves on using the best local produce on the menu and showcasing the wonderful wines of the region, so it made sense to show off these great beers. It has now turned into somewhat of an obsession.”</p> <p>That first craft beer was the Honey Wheat Ale from locals <a href="">Bellarine Brewing Company</a> but today you&rsquo;ll find plenty from the region&rsquo;s other breweries, including <a href="">Forrest Brewery</a>, <a href="">Southern Bay</a>, <a href="">Prickly Moses</a> and <a href="">Red Duck</a> as well as a host of other Victorian beers and many from cutting edge breweries in Europe and the US.</p> <p>“We essentially buy the beers that we like and are excited by, and ultimately that we want to drink,&ldquo; says Caleb. "The staff are passionate and excited about the beers too.”</p> <p>More than 370 restaurants, clubs, pubs, hotels and brasseries entered the awards this year, with winners announced in 27 categories. As well as taking out Best Beer List, the Vue Grand was also awarded a one glass rating for its wine list, one of only three listed for the Greater Geelong Region.</p> Crafty's Book Is Out! /news/post/crafty-s-book-is-out/ 2014-08-01T00:00:00Z james <p>It&rsquo;s International Beer Day! No, we&rsquo;re not really sure what it&rsquo;s all about either, but what we do know is that it coincides with the launch of the new book by Crafty Pint founder James Smith. Copies of <em>150 Great Australian Beers – Your Guide to Craft Beer and Beyond</em> are on the shelves of bookstores around the country from today in plenty of time for Father&rsquo;s Day. We&rsquo;ve already written a little about it on the website <a href="">here</a> and you may well be hearing plenty of James' voice on radio across the country in the coming weeks so we don&rsquo;t need to say too much more here.</p> <p>The book is designed to be a snapshot of where the Australian beer world is today as well as giving readers an insight into how the beer industry got where it is today. It looks to give readers some knowledge about beer so they are able to better enjoy it and become inspired to discover more. And it features a bunch of stories and anecdotes about the beers and brewers that are featured therein.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s been beautifully designed by the publishers, Hardie Grant, and pitched to have broad enough appeal to act as another weapon in the armoury to aid our ongoing mission to encourage Australians to drink better beer and to explore the wonderful, diverse industry that is flourishing today.</p> <p>If you can&rsquo;t get to a bookshop, you can get hold of the book online <a href="">here</a>. And if you do pick up a copy, we hope you enjoy it and find some great new beers inside.</p> <p><em>Thanks to <a href="">Moon Dog</a> for hosting the launch and collaborating on the delicious Austro-Belgian Peated Scoth [sic] Ale for the night &ndash; let&rsquo;s brew a big batch of it!</em></p> 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>