If you like tap takeovers, beer dinners and schmoozing with brewers then WA Beer Week is going to be a pretty busy week. perhaps it’s best you call in sick to work now just to save the hassle later on…
There’s a record number of events this year – more than 60 – all taking place across the state from October 25 to November 2, which festival director Reece Wheadon believes is in part due to a growing number of venues getting behind craft beer [Not before time! – Ed].
“We find the hospitality industry is just so much more receptive,“ he says. "Small bars, management groups, bottleshops: these are the people really helping it grow.”
One such venue is Old Faithful Bar & BBQ on King Street, one of Perth’s newest small bars and one that features meat so lovingly prepared it’s almost a shame to devour it. Almost. Their event, Old Faithful Goes Feral, on October 29 features six Feral beers paired with food that bar owner Talmage Anderson describes as “three courses of fun, no bullshit food”.
“Think smoked mussels and prawns, smoked suckling pigs and beef bone marrows. Big bold flavours are key to this dinner,“he says. "Nothing delicate and complicated, just in your face flavoursome food.”
It’s not just new venues making a first appearance in the WA Beer Week program either; 2014 sees the arrival of a host of brand new events that haven’t been seen on the calendar since its inception.
“We’ve got our first sour beer dinner, our first Pink Boots [the global association representing women in the beer industry] event and our first micro festival,” Reece reports proudly.
Another WA Beer Week first will be the official headquarters at Bob’s Bar, found upstairs at The Print Hall in Perth’s CBD. Bob’s Bar will be hosting a few events including the closing party, aptly entitled The Liver Cleanser, where weary beer week travellers can relax with a beer and a massage. Bob’s Bar will also be offering a complimentary “warm up beer” or “cool down beer” for those attending events, proving that they are taking their title of WA Beer Week HQ very seriously.
Alongside new events will be a couple of repeat offenders like Grain Cru’s Carpark Brew Day – back for its third year. This year’s demonstration brew will feature rather special guest brewers from Garage Project and Moon Dog. The Night of the Barrel event at Fremantle’s Sail & Anchor also returns this year but this time with an all Australian twist.
Joining their WA brewing brethren for the week will be a few friends from across the borders and across the ocean. Heading over from New Zealand to quench our thirst for Kiwi brews will be Jos Ruffell from Wellington’s Garage Project. Interstate visitors include co-founder/brewer Jayne Lewis from Melbourne’s Two Birds Brewing and Mountain Goat co-founder/chief brewer Dave Bonighton.
“There are so many great beers that we just don’t get to try over east, it’s great to get amongst it in its natural habitat,” says Dave of his trip to the west.
Dave will be collaborating with former Goat brewer turned Fremantle resident, Craig Eulenstein, who now heads up The Monk Brewery & Kitchen. Together they have brewed a 6.2 percent New World lager, which will be released on October 31 at The Monk and The Goat Collaboration BBQ.
Whether catching your favourite WA brewer or indulging in some exquisite beer and food pairings there is sure to be an event to suit your tastes. For more information on the full WA Beer Week program, head to the websitehere and be sure to book your tickets to avoid beery disappointment because, let’s be honest, there’s nothing cool about crying into your pint while everyone else is heading into course four of a beer degustation across from the bar.
Pia is the beer-lovin' lady behind girl+beer.