Goodtimes Craft Beverages

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Month: November 2014



Another sunny weekend in Perth delivered the Fremantle BeerFest, WA’s largest beer festival. This years event hosted over two hundred beers over two days in the pine tree dotted park between Little Creatures Brewing Fremantle and the Esplanade Hotel.

Goodtimes arrived Sunday lunchtime with a pre-purchased ticket to a very relaxed and well organised event. Punters I talked to that attended Saturday noted that the second day was far more comfortable.

Over a thousand beer loving people attended the event which highlights the growth in craft beer and beer appreciation in general. It’s so large that the Esplanade Hotel ran ‘BeerFest’ hotel packages for the weekend that included two days admission and necessary supplies.


The Esplanade Hotel’s support pack for BeerFest guests. Picture by Palo Marron

Bands played all afternoon on the main stage and there were laughs a plenty in the Comedy Tent. The inclusion of a kids play area really made this a family friendly festival.

The free master classes from like the Seafood & Beer Matching session by Mitch from Beersine were well informative and well attended. I dropped into a session on Yeast run by the Little Creatures crew. It’s amazing how much these ‘little creatures’ contribute to the overall characters of beer.


Little Creatures ‘Yeast’ Masterclass in action.

The ‘Backyard to Bottleshop’ amateur brewing competition was supported by Gage Roads Brewing. It gives amateur brewers a chance to have their homebrew beer produced on a commercial scale.

Last years winner Jeremy Sambrooks found his ‘Rapid Fire’ American IPA in bars and bottleshops around Australia. He was also part of the judging panel for this years event. It will be interesting to see who wins this years competition.


Regular festival breweries like Feral Brewing, Little Creatures and Nail Brewing were all busy stands but it was the smaller guys that I wanted to catch up with.

The Northbridge Brewing Company presumably caught the Fremantle line train to the event with their new Mango Wheat Beer. The 100% Mango extract is being sought from a supplier in Bibra Lake and if the queues to get are any indicator it will part of the core range soon.


The Northbridge Brewing Company by Beerland’s new Mango Wheat Beer was a popular choice.

I was keen for experiences and beers it hadn’t had before like Cocktail Gastronomy Satellite Bar. This teepee tent was filled with all kinds of experimentation in crafted beer cocktails. Lab coats and Bunsen burners aside this was something really interesting and delicious.


Shaken not stirred: Beer cocktails at the Cocktail Gastronomy Satellite Bar.

As I approached the stand I wondered why the Old Brewery hasn’t been on my radar before. It has an amazing location and provenance but somehow I’ve missed its charms. That oversight was righted with a chat with Head Brewer Mark Reilly and some of his wonderful beers. The double punch of Tommahawk Dopplebock and Tommahawk IPA, both 7.2% ABV, show the high brewing level that is happening under Perth’s nose.

Interestingly the theme amongst my favourites was well crafted mid-range ABV beers. The Old Brewery’s Pale Ale was in my picks of the day. Resinous, balanced and yet clean, this is a beer I need to have more of.



The Old Brewery’s Mark Reilly with his Tommahawk Doppelbock.

I was lucky enough to meet fellow beer blogger the Beer Pilgrim.  It was great to chat with Tim about his experience traveling and writing about beer. He was also impressed by the layout and quality of the event. Hopefully we’ll bump into each other again soon.



The Beer Pilgrim and Goodtimes hard at work.

The South-West of WA was well represented. Beers from Colonial Brewing , Eagle Bay Brewing, Cheeky Monkey Brewing Co, Cowaramup and the Margaret River Ale Co were all flowing. It really shows the boom of craft beer in the South-West.



All smiles from Eagle Bay Brewing and Elliot from Mane Liquor.

The Margaret River Ale Company is a new brewery for me. Based in the iconic Settlers Tavern they produce a Pilsner, a White Ale, an IPA and the Pale Ale pictured below. The Rockin’ Pale Ale uses Pride of Ringwood and Cascade hops to create balanced, approachable beer. I could see a few of these being drunk in the Settlers Tavern courtyard!


Margaret River Ale Co’s Rockin’ Pale Ale

My beer of the day came from the Last Drop Brewery. Their Sour Cherry Saison was the perfect refresher for the warm afternoon. Little did I know it was 6.6% ABV.

Head Brewer Jan Brucker noted that they use unfermented sour cherries in a vacuum sealed process which are then added to Last Drops’ farmhouse Saison.


The Last Drop Brewery’s Sour Cherry Saison.

The Fremantle BeerFest rates as the best beer festival WA has to offer and it is already marked on the Goodtimes calendar for next year!


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My WA Beer Week kicked off on Saturday with the Perth Royal Beer Show 2014 in the Wattle Room at Claremont Showgrounds. It’s the third time I’ve attended this event and it’s always a very social afternoon.
The Mission Statement of the Perth Royal Beer Show is “To showcase the quality, craftsmanship, flavour and diversity of Australian Brewed beer”. With industry experts like Brendan Varis (Feral Brewing), John Stallwood (Nail Brewing and Jan Bruckner (The Last Drop Brewery) involved this statement is being very well supported.
Each year over twenty trophies are given to commercial and amateur brewers throughout a range of beer styles and for packaging.
This year Mash Brewing collected a number of trophy’s including Best Commercial Brewery, Best Western Australian Brewery and Best Draught Ale for ‘Copycat’ AIPA.


Plenty of action in the Wattle Room at the WA Royal Beer Show.

The Monk Brewery & Kitchen in Fremantle won Best Western Australian Beer of Show for ‘The Bounty’, a rich coconut Stout. Tasting The Bounty on the day caused memories of opening a similarly named chocolate bar as a kid and a lot of positive conversation.


On top of the commercial beers, attendees are able to try all of the submitted amateur entries. The hive of activity around the tasting tables continued all afternoon. There was jovial conversation about merits and success of Lagers, Russian Imperial Stouts, Pale Ales and Saisons as more bottles were opened.



Mane Liquor Beer Spectacular

Across town the Mane Liquor Beer Spectacular was being held in their Belmont car park. On top of twenty breweries offering tastings there were food trucks, hot sauces, toasted sandwiches, beer cheese and a barber station!
Events like this bring out wild experimentation like the Gage Roads Brewing x Whipper Snapper Distillery collab ‘Atomic Moonshine’ that was available for tasting on the day only.


Gage Roads x Whipper Snapper “Atomic Moonshine”

Needless to say the car park and store were jam packed. The growler station was also full with punters, including Goodtimes, collecting the one-off Bootleg Brewing x Mane Liquor ‘Ryezilla’ IPA.


Fresh Ryezilla IPA

The following day at Cellarbrations Carlisle the GrainCru Car Park Brew Day returned for the third year with a large number of breweries and beer related products being represented. Jos from New Zealand’s Garage Project and Josh from Melbourne’s Moon Dog were also on hand to create special one-off beer to celebrate the day.

The WA Beer Week program for this event asked “Who else will be involved?”. The answer was of course was Goodtimes!


This is where the “Pretzel” element started.

I was happy to have contributed to this one-off brew by supplying the pretzels seen below in a moment of beery inspiration.
The Salt & Pepper Manuka Pretzel Porter will be available soon. Early indications show that it’s a very active brew. Fermentation is being overseen by Joel Beresford (GrainCru) at the store and Steggles from Bickley Valley Brewing. The results will be available to taste in just over a months’ time.


Josh (Moon Dog) and Jos (Garage Project) with Goodtimes supplied pretzels.

Back in the car park Homestead Brewing was delivering Black IPA’s to punters through a special beer back pack. It tasted fresh and very similar to its Midnight IPA pedigree. Delicious!


The Homestead Beer Backpack in action.

Little Creatures had their new Single Batch available for tasting. The Saison was an enjoyable quaffer but I feel it could have more character. Interestingly news arrived later the following week that this will be a draft only release as the bottling line is struggling with the Saison’s personality. Maybe the lack of character is just my opinion.


Little Creatures Single Batch Saison.

Mitch from Beersine was on hand sampling ‘Beer Cheese’ made from Feral Brewing ‘Hop Hog’, Hop Honey and a Brettanomyces fermented chilli sauce.



Mitch from Beersine with his ‘Beer Cheese’.

Steggles from Bickley Valley Brewing was happy to share authentic European beers from the Perth hills and tales of underground clubs that only stock Bickley Valley beers. Shhhhh. Don’t tell anyone!


Steggles from Bickley Valley Brewery.

Sarah from UK brewery Camden Town showcased a great range of approachable beers. Their flagship ‘Hells’ Lager is crisp, sessionable and Goodtimes has been an advocate for some time now. The unfilitered version was equally enjoyable.

A Goodtimes review of the Camden ‘Gentleman’s Wit’ can be found here.


Sarah from Camden Town Brewery who won the unofficial ‘Best Merchandise’ award on the day with a range of stickers, hats & T-shirts.

A busy week left only a short trip to WA Beer Week Headquarters at Bob’s Bar, Print Hall on Saturday to revel in the last event. Over the final four days Bob’s Bar pushed through 60 kegs of one-off’s and hard to get beer. The quality and scope of this range of draft beer has never been in the one place in Perth before.


Doctor’s Orders ‘Prescription 12’ and Garage Project ‘Mecha Hop’

I tried Doctor’s Orders ‘Prescription 12’ American Strong Ale and two from Garage Project. Firstly the ‘Mecha Hop’ which was over 10% ABV of delicious hoppiness and secondly the ‘Texas Tea’, a chilli Brown Ale. I love chilli but I’m not normally a fan of chilli beers. The subtle heat burn against the malty base of Texas Tea was very good and I will be trying to track some down for a revisit.


Bob’s Bar Saturday Tap List

The bar itself is a provided somewhere new for beer fans to meet and will be welcomed with open arms next year.
This brought WA Beer Week to an end for me. There were many events that I missed this year but what I went to was warm, funny and social. In short the best part of this year’s program was the people. At every event I met someone new and talked lovingly about beer. That is something wonderful.

Cheers WA Beer Week!

NB: Don’t forget to follow Goodtimes Craft Beverages on Facebook for regular reviews and beery news.

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