Crafty Pint /
As you may have noticed, we’ve had a couple of ads up on The Crafty Pint for the past few weeks. With no mysterious silent backer, no trust fund to pillage and all attempts at alchemy having proved as fruitless as the time we attempted to glue the Geography teacher to his chair but forgot to use clear glue, it’s thanks to the likes of Micro Beer Club, Aussie Brewery Tours and The Beer Boys – as well as the support of the breweries, bars and bottleshops on the site – that we hope to survive and, ultimately, expand and thrive.
Now, with Good Beer Week out of the way (although watch out for exciting news about the future on here very soon), we’ve got enough time on our hands to tell you that there are a few spaces up for grabs. The premium front page slots have been tied up until the end of July but there are still others elsewhere on the front page and on the NEWS and FEATURES pages. They’re offered at what we believe are excellent rates for an introductory period until the end of July, especially considering traffic has risen considerably since they were calculated a month ago.
In keeping with the Crafty Pint ethos, we’re only interested in advertising businesses or organisations that are in some way craft beer-related. It doesn’t have to be beer – it could be tourism, artisanal food or wine, events, etc – but it does have to be in line with what we’re all about. You won’t find any ads on here for UDL or XXXX Gold, that’s for sure, folks. If you’re interested in finding out more, send an email to email@example.com and we’ll fire a media pack with all the info you could possibly need your way. Cheers!
Pic: The campest hawker ever serving up sweet, tasty BBQ chicken and innards on Bantayan
Crafty Pint /
Here at Crafty, we’d like to think beer was the winner from the first ever Good Beer Week in Melbourne. But as the brewers got to win stuff, it was only fair to give you guys the chance to pick up prizes as well. The Crafty Crawl was a little bit of fun designed to help more venues get involved in Good Beer Week and to reward those punters who got fully into the spirit of the event.
In the end, more than 30 individuals and teams set about documenting their attendance at events and participating venues. And from day one the spirit was encapsulated by the team of pirates behind the From Beer To Eternity blog. Going by the monikers Long John Pilsner, Captain Blackbeer and Vlad the ImPaleAle, they pillaged their way through Good Beer Week with many a “Yaaaarrrrrgggghh!”, capturing other Crawlers – and Ol' Crafty at one point – on their way. They even inspired the appearance of a female pirate on the Crawl.
They weren’t the only ones setting a rare pace, however. Operating solo, Matt Michalowski got off to a flyer, racing around inner Melbourne’s venues. Likewise Josie Barker, assisted latterly – and very ably – by Ali Millhouse, came blasting out of the blocks and never let up, hitting the afterburners late in the week to hint at an all-female victory. Then there was Team Davidson, who had the advantage of James' attendance at some of the industry-only events to aid their cause. And what about Vic Beer O'Clock, whose VB emblazoned baggy green has graced bars at all points north, south, east and west? Or Adrian Pua, who arrived from Sydney possessed with a zeal to make all others quiver, determined to take first prize interstate? We might have expected more from Chris McBeer, who named himself Project 100 for the week, as he attempted to sample 100 different beers in one week (note – “sample”, not drink 100 big ones). Sadly, the need to update Untappd constantly hampered his cause.
Only brewer AG took advantage of Mornington Peninsula’s treasure
So, when it was all done and dusted, who came out on top? Well, perhaps fittingly given the way they set the tone, Team Pirate won out with 30 events or venues visited. In second, with 27, was Josie Barker. And in third was Matt Michalowski with 21. They pick up the three top prizes listed here, while we’re also going to lump together some of the remaining prizes as a special award for Adrian Pua, who came fourth despite flying in from Sydney, not being in Melbourne all week and having a cold when he landed. Congratulations to one and all.
We also ran the Kooinda Triangle, which required participants to pick up a Kooinda beer at Deco, Speakeasy Cellars and Penny Blue throughout the week. While some managed to hit up one or two, only three people managed all three – the pirates, Josie and her partner-in-crime Ali Millhouse. We asked the Kooinda boys to pick a winner at random and the girls landed the prize: a keg of Kooi beer and their pop-up bar delivered to their house by the brewers. Perhaps they’d like to invite their fellow competitors along to share in it too?
That leaves the funniest / most creative photo comp too. Given the efforts that people have gone to, we’ve decided to offer up five prizes here. The BrewDog pack from Chapel St Cellars remains the biggy so what we’ve done is create a Facebook album of the top 16 – featuring no more than one from each entrant – and you have until midnight on Thursday to vote for your favourites by liking those that tickle your fancy. The most popular five win something, with Rob and Jo at Chapel St Cellars picking the winner from those five.
We’ve also passed on what we regard as the weirdest ones to Moon Dog for them to select the recipient of the “piece of metalwork” and will see what’s left in the pool for a random draw for anyone who missed out. Thanks to everyone who took part. Hope it added something to Good Beer Week. See you again next year!
Main photo courtesy of Jenn Davidson, capturing the moment Ol' Crafty was keelhauled.
Crafty Pint /
It was a night of surprises – and familiar faces – as the winners of the 2011 Australian International Beer Awards were announced in Melbourne at the weekend. Serial winner Feral picked up the Champion Ale trophy for the third year running, with the Hop Hog regaining the crown it won in 2009 from its little brother, The Runt. It was one of five trophies heading to WA as the state backed up its brewers' claim that it’s the home of craft beer in Australia. Cowaramup, a small brewery in the Margaret River region, took out Champion Lager for its Pilsner, Freo’s Monk Brewery & Kitchen won Champion Reduced Alcohol Beer for Monk Mild and Bootleg, also from the Margaret River, picked up Champion Wheat Beer for the Sou West Wheat. Meanwhile, Champion Packaging Award went to Gage Roads Brewing.
Elsewhere, 2 Brothers laid claim to the Premier’s Trophy for Best Victorian Beer for the second year with the Guvnor picking up the trophy previously held by the Voodoo Porter. The Guvnor, which was also named Champion Scotch Ale and Barley Wine, pipped Hix Pale, from the Dromana-based brewery, and Boatrocker’s Hoppbier to the Premier’s Trophy – a nice reward for Boatrocker’s Matt Houghton who was part of the small band that got Good Beer Week off the ground. Over the border in NSW, there was triumph for the Thirsty Crow’s Vanilla Milk Stout, which picked up the trophy for Champion Hybrid Beer – not bad for a brewery that’s only been going three months!
Speaking of Good Beer Week (or Good Weer Beek as it was announced at one point), it was great to see the inaugural event recognised at the awards, from the decision to open the night with the Beer Song video Crafty shot with ElbowSkin and The Post Project for the week to multiple acknowledgements throughout. After the awards, Chief Judge Peter Manders, who played a starring role in Saturday night’s first Great Beer Debate, said: “The AIBA extends our thanks to this group. We are thrilled to be a part of this exciting new initiative and will continue to support their endeavours.”
ElbowSkin’s Beer Song takes to the big screen at AIBA 2011
Five awards were also picked up by American breweries, with two – Champion Small Brewery and the RASV’s Champion Exhibitor going to Moylan’s, a brewery from California who responded with a couple of joyous acceptance speeches recorded on their iPhones.
Yet the big story of the night – on these shores at least – was the ongoing prominence of WA’s brewers. Feral’s Brendan Varis said that while recent events suggested Victoria was the “hotbed” for craft beer in Australia, the “real heart and home of craft beer in Australia is in WA.”
John Stallwood, whose Nail Brewing picked up a third straight gold medal for its Nail Pale – the only Aussie pale ale to pick up three in a row – agrees. Speaking to Crafty before the awards, he said: “The WA microbrewing industry is as strong as it has been and has gone a long way since the Sail and Anchor first introduced craft beer to Australia. WA craft beer quality is as strong and deep. For many years WA breweries have been winners in beer awards but probably since the Perth Royal Beer Show was introduced in 1997 the WA industry has lifted a level.”
He said the quality of pubs in the West was also helping their cause.
“Though the Sail is no longer producing beer it’s selling more craft beer than ever before. New manager Matthew Marinich has used his Jedi skills to add new force to WA Craft beer with not only a huge range of local beers but also industry education,” he said. “The pioneers, Clancy’s Fish Pub, who were the first to push craft beer on taps 10 years ago, have now opened their third pub in City Beach with another starting in Margaret River. Many other WA pubs are now following suit, with the availability of some of the small independent breweries like Feral becoming more and more popular. Thanks to Little Creatures, which is one of the biggest tourist attractions in WA, education about craft beer in WA is changing by the day.”
John Stallwood serving beers at the 2011 Perth Royal Beer Show
On top of that, he cites the opening of new breweries – Beaten Track, Artisan, Boston, Cheeky Monkey, Eagle Bay, Yallingup and Settlers – and the decisions by established ones to upgrade not only with more fermenters but bigger brewhouses. The WA Brewers' Association has relaunched and plans are underway to start a WABA festival in November. For more, check out the WABA online.
Their successful beers will get another chance to prove themselves when the results of the Royal Perth Beer Show are announced next month. There has been a slight increase in entrants this year, including more than ever from SA, Victoria and NSW after free interstate freight was introduced for the first time.
Chief Judge Sean Symons says: “WA continues to impress with a real maturity across a diversity of styles that demonstrates the market has developed from a ‘point of difference to mainstream to a competitive market in its own right. Having judged across a number of regional, national and international competitions, I believe that this is underpinned by a quality amateur category, which in WA continues to showcase beer of considerable quality and trueness to style. The number of commercial craft breweries is still growing, and it is the most prosperous category in a beer market that overall is in slow but steady decline.
“This year, we have a fantastic panel of experienced local and interstate judges, with a keen sense of style and a depth of experience in detection of some of the variations in good brewing practice that can manifest as complex flavors in beer. As always, it will be a great competition, with the judges keen to give feedback to exhibitors on their entries.”
Judging is held on June 13 and 14 with the Awards Dinner on June 17.
For the full list of AIBA winners, head here.
Photo at the top shows WA’s successful brewers giving it the big “W” at the awards dinner.
Crafty Pint /
The long wait is almost over. The old school trucks are bedecked in their bold livery, the snazzier-than-thou brewery is up and running, the brewers have purpose once more and the beer is about to be put out for public consumption. After a lengthy gestation period – it’s a year since they took a stand and a posse of promotional peeps to the Beer & Brewer Expo – Thunder Road Brewing has beer. Tomorrow night at the Great Beer Debate, one of the taps will be pouring a beer called Scream Time Action, which we’re told is a close relation to the “Local Ale”, a bitter made using all Victorian ingredients that will ultimately become the second major release from the brewery following the Full Steam Pale Lager.
According to the brewery’s jazzy tasting notes flier, the beer’s a 4.5% ale that’s “sparkling, orange, honey” in colour, has an aroma of “light caramel, orangey and aley” and a “robust, quenching, juicy” flavour. It was first poured at a trade day organised by Bintani as part of Good Beer Week on Thursday and, says the brewery’s Justin Trail: “It was really well received.”
The Full Steam is due for a trade launch on June 8 at Josie Bones and will be launched to the public the following week at Beer DeLuxe and the Cherry Tree) in Cremorne as the brewery in East Brunswick is cranked into life.
“It’s starting to smell and look like a brewery. We’re starting to feel a bit more like the real deal,” says Justin. “It’s all very well doing development and building a brewery but having tasted the Scream Time and the lager it’s gone up another gear. The brewers have come into their own and are brewing at a furious rate. Smiles are rising on their faces. We’re really excited about what’s coming up and focused on getting the beers out.”
Initially, Thunder Road will not be open to the public other than for samples and the cellar door style sale of growlers. The intention is to open a 30 tap in-brewery bar further down the line, while the historic bluestone cottage that fronts the warehouse containing the brewery has been given a classy refurb and now houses a beer-focused library, collections of beer memorabilia and private tasting rooms.
As for the Scream Time Action Beer, there are only 50 kegs being made – and two of those have already been “knocked off” at the trade day – so keep your eyes peeled if you’re keen to find out what Thunder Road and the “quest for the perfect beer” are all about.
Crafty Pint /
OK. So little over 24 hours into Good Beer Week and we’ve had some cracking entries for The Crafty Crawl as you can see above. We’ve also had a few queries raised about it too. We thought we’d made it as simple as we could and tried to explain it on the event guide but it seems the concept still needs a little further explanation. Even Mountain Goat head brewer Jayne Lewis, a woman with a brain the size of Jupiter, said there were parts she found confusing (although she was wearing an animal’s skull on her head at the time, so allowances must be made). So here goes again:
There is a mountain of stuff to be won during Good Beer Week. Check it out at the bottom of this story here.
To be in with a chance of winning these prizes, take photos of yourself at any Good Beer Week event or venue taking part in the Crafty Crawl. This includes every venue on the Good Beer Week map.
Post said photos to @TheCraftyPint on Twitter including #craftycrawl and the venue’s name in the tweet.
For a bit of fun, we have asked the venues to nominate their own “treasure” – something for you to have your photo taken with. Unfortunately, not every venue has remembered to tell their staff, it seems, but we’re working on that. You can find out which ones have already been “discovered” in the Crafty Crawl Facebook gallery, while we’ll accept pics without treasure if the venue’s staff look at you like you’re on day release when you ask.
We’ve got loads of prizes for those who prove they’ve been to the most events and venues during Good Beer Week, plus random draws and a keg and popup bar from the Kooinda boys – delivered to your house – for anyone who buys a Kooinda beer from Speakeasy Cellars, Deco and Penny Blue during the week and posts photos as proof.
Crafty Pint /
It seems like only a few days have passed since the idea was first mooted, but today – in the same venue that the idea for Good Beer Week was first discussed back in February – it all kicks off. The launch of the North Coast range of beers from the States at Beer DeLuxe (complete with live music and burlesque dancer) is the first official event, followed later in the evening by the Gold Medal Dinner at The Terminus in Clifton Hill. Of course, various week long elements of Good Beer Week kick off today too, including a couple of our own: the Crafty-curated tap lists at the Terminus and Royston and The Crafty Crawl, the hunt that rewards you for getting stuck into the program.
Before it wraps up with some tastings, a recovery roast and a closing party at Penny Blue on Sunday, there will have been a veritable cavalcade of awesome beeriness: new beer launches, beer-themed comedy, Australia’s first Great Beer Debate, a whole variety of beer and food matches at breakfast, lunch and dinner, free tastings, the 2011 AIBA Gala Dinner, showcases and, hopefully, a great deal of enjoyment of good beer.
There’s no real need to say anything more, other than get out there, have lots of fun and help us spread the word about Australia’s beer revolution!
But if you do need something more to get you in the mood, here’s the team behind the one-off Good Beer Week collaborative brew, filmed by The Crafty Pint on the day the unnamed beer was created.
CraftyPint - GoodBeerWeek Abbotsford Collaborative Brew from Alister Robbie on Vimeo.
The beer, a Belgian-style Dubbel with added raisins, dark muscovado sugar and waffles, will be launched on Wednesday evening at Mountain Goat and will also be on tap at the Great Beer Debate on Saturday night.
Oh, and in case you missed it first time around, here’s Good Beer Week’s unofficial theme song:
Beer Song by ElbowSkin from Alister Robbie on Vimeo.