As the birthplace of the Sail and Anchor, Matilda Bay and Little Creatures, Freo will forever warrant a special place in the hearts of Aussie beer lovers. Today, with the likes of Clancy’s Fish Bar and The Monk Brewery & Kitchen adding to its fine craft heritage, it’s a must visit destination for any discerning drinker. The Monk picked up a trophy at this year’s Australian International Beer Awards and, with events such as its USA Craft Beer Week, is carving out a solid reputation of its own, so we thought we’d ask brewers Steve Brockman (right above) and Paul Wyman (left) to tell us what makes them tick.
Favourite Australian beer (other than your own)?
Steve: Toughy. Would you ever ask a mother which child was her favourite? Ah I'll go with the Knappstein Reserve Lager. Always on my order if I see it at a restaurant over here.
Paul: Yeah pretty tough call. Thinks for ages Hmmm… Probably Murray's Angry Man Brown Ale.
Epiphany beer – the one that set you on the road to becoming a brewer?
Paul: Matilda Bay's Fat Yak. I'm from Queensland and Fat Yak was the beer that really stood out from everything else at the time. It encouraged me to find more beers with flavour.
Steve: Being a WA boy, I supposed I've been spoilt with choice, due to the great brewing scene over here. Can't remember the epiphany beer, but I do remember being rather surprised at how much flavour a Little Creatures Pale Ale had. I had it when it was fairly new on the scene over here.
Desert island beer – the one to keep you going if you were stranded for the rest of your days?
Paul: Why it'd have to be the seasonal we have at the moment, our delicious Coconut Stout! Plenty of coconuts on islands to compliment the beer too!
Steve: Fresh Stone & Wood Pacific Ale, we went over to work with Brad and the team for a uni excursion. Fresh Pacific Ale is seriously sessionable, can't get sick of it at all. Be great on a warm beach!
Favourite beer and food match?
Paul: Roast Lamb with IPA. We had a dinner during the Monk's American Beer Week (before I was a brewer here) with lamb three ways (roast, grilled and something else) and it went down perfectly with the hoppy American IPAs we had in at the time.
Steve: I like stuff that makes people re-think their position on beer. A nice smoky rauch and cheese often surprises those wine wankers who think wine's the best match for cheese. It's not. Beer is. Dark bitey Porters with dark chocolate… mmmm I'm now hungry.
What are we likely to hear cranking from the stereo on brew days?
Paul: I like my doof doof, love to keep the beats blazing as I'm mashing in. It's varied though, Goyte has been given a bit of a run lately.
Steve: The ex-Monk brewer, Justin Fox, tried to convince us that different beers need different music, Chief (American IPA) needs 80s glam rock, Mild needs softer acoustic style stuff etc. We're yet to really muck around with it, it's usually Triple J blasting away.
Favourite place to enjoy a drink?
Steve: That'd be with mates, down on any of the wonderful beaches in the South West of WA, around Margs. Yes it's technically illegal, but I reckon as long as you grab your rubbish, and don't overdo it and get blitzed, no harm done.
Paul: There's a pub in Mt Tambourine (QLD) called the St Bernard Hotel. The beer garden has the backdrop of the Gold Coast Hinterland. It's a great spot to sit and watch the world go by, sipping a few good beers, looking out towards the coast.
If you were a beer style, what would you be?
Steve: Hefeweizen. Dense, thick head, popular with the ladies! Hahaha!
Paul: Hahaha! You wish. I'd be a Porter. People are always surprised how good I taste!
The best thing you've ever traded for beer?
Paul: I don't know… Couple of good dinners?
Steve: I traded a six-pack for a very old children's tricycle once. It lasted half a day before my mates ruined it. The four-year-old was stoked with the six-pack though.
When I'm not making or drinking beer, you'll find me...
Paul: Watching my beloved Wallabies, Reds or Broncos. Gotta love Queensland Rugby! Pretty much any sport. Sport nut.
Steve: Studying beer? We're both still finishing off our postgraduate diplomas at Edith Cowan University with Hugh Dunn. Other than that, getting out and about with mates.
Your hope for beer in Australia?
Paul: Gradual improvement of education of knowledge of quality craft beer in Australia. Getting the average punter more aware of what real beer tastes like!
Steve: I'll agree, improving the collective knowledge of good beer. There's a lot of places in the world where beer sits alongside, if not above, wine on a dinner table. Australia's getting there but there's still a while to go before we accept craft beer in the same breath as premium wines or spirits. A more cosmopolitan approach to beer would be nice, bring on more beer specialist small bars!
Steve would also like to point out that he doesn’t offer six-packs to children. The six-pack in question went to the tip operator.