Here at The Crafty Pint we've got a growing band of writers and contributors across Australia helping us provide coverage of the local craft beer scene that's made the site comfortably the most read beer news source in the country. Yet sometimes it's nice to hear from voices other than our own. Sure, we offer a platform to brewers, bar owners, punters and others through the articles we write, but how about letting them take centre stage on their own?
Regular WA contributor Guy Southern figured a great way of finding out what's trending around the country would be to sit down with those right at the coal face: the men and women running the country's craftiest venues. The concept is called Behind Bars (and who in the beer world doesn't love a good pun?) and will see a different beer guru from around the country tell us what they're seeing across their bar each month.
Or, as Guy puts it: "Behind Bars is a regular snap shot of Australian beer culture from the people who serve it."
First up is Josh Edmeades, the venue manager for Petition Beer Corner in Perth, who sat down with Guy for a beer and chat.
What are the bar staff drinking after their shifts?
Josh Edmeades: Staff wise, everyone loves sour beer. At the end of the night you want something crisp and refreshing.
Watermelon Warhead [from Feral Brewing], especially in summer, is one of the biggest go-to's for our staff.
What's the uptake with Watermelon Warhead with punters though?
JE: Ahhh, it can be here or there, but we do a lot education wise so we manage to flip people. It's all about being about to give people tasters and the design of the bar allows us to educate customers by being able to come out from behind the bar.
All of the staff here are Cicerone Beer Server Certified and that's been a great help in our overall education.
What are some general bar trends? What are people asking for?
JE: Because we are in the middle of the city it goes up and down. I've been going through the numbers trying to find and trend but every week it's different. One week it's pale ale, the next it's IPA or helles [German lager]. In the middle of January we were smashed for stouts! *laughing*
It's not so much about the particular style, it's about the availability of that beer. We try to get in exclusive beers and that drives interest.
At the moment, it's the middle of summer in the States so goses [a German sour, salty wheat beer style that is growing in popularity] are coming out left, right and centre, but here it's 13 degrees and we're absolutely hammering through it.
What do you think is the next thing to take off?
JE: Gose has been going pretty well and come next summer that will hit really hard.
Style wise, India pale lager [hoppier, often slightly more alcoholic lagers] is starting to go somewhere. Having something that has flavour, that is nice and hoppy, but is still, not to say "easy drinking", but refreshing at the same time.
Finally, you're at the front of the bar, you see the trends, you see the people; any general comments about where beer is heading?
JE: When we first opened, people were coming in and going straight for a large pour beer. Now, because of our range of pour sizes, even on busy nights, we're starting to get more people coming up to get three or four small pours to be able to try something else.
Now, in the middle of a busy service on a Friday night, there will be people standing in a crowd of 200 people with a tasting paddle in their hand.
Thanks, Josh. More diversity and exploration seems to be the way – whatever the weather!
Look out for more Behind Bars from around Australia in the future. You can also check out our Crafty Crawl guide to Perth's CBD featuring Josh's bar and other great places to visit in the city.
About the author: Guy drinks and writes about beer, goes for a run most mornings and makes his own chilli hot sauce. Find more on Goodtimes Craft Beer via Facebook and Instagram.
*The photo caption originally stated Josh was a Certified Cicerone. He is currently studying for this but is at time of writing is a Certified Beer Server. This has now been updated.