Goodtimes Craft Beverages

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Month: May 2015

NBC Chilli Beer Launch

NBC Chilli Beer with 18" Heatseeker Sub

NBC Chilli Beer with 18″ Heatseeker Sub

Somewhat fresh off the plane from Good Beer Week Melbourne, Goodtimes ploughed head on into the new Northbridge Brewing Company ‘Chilli Beer’. The beer was launched this afternoon as part of the NBC’s Chilli week that includes a themed food menu that the NBC is becoming famous for.

The Chilli beer is based on the NBC Lager with added Birds Eye chilli’s that were donated by local hot sauce maker Firehorse. Admittedly, it’s not a style of beer that I would normally drink however I do love chilli. Tasting shows the a chilli heat that is drinkable and has touches of capsicum sweetness.

NBC Chilli Week Menu

NBC Chilli Week Menu

NBC Chilli week also showcases a range of palate punishing dishes from Chilli Buffalo Wings, Sloppy José Burgers and an 18″ Heatseeker Meatball sub that has all of the Firehorse sauces in ascending heat. The real fun to had with friends is the Russian Roulette Sliders.

Who will get the Trinadad Scorpion, the second hottest chilli in the world,  hot sauce slider?

NBC Chilli Beer and Buffalo Wings

NBC Chilli Beer and Buffalo Wings

I thought that washing down hot food with a chilli beer would be a challenge but with a group of friends this quickly had tables filled with riotous laughter and sweaty brows. This can be shared through the event hashtag #NBCchilliface and the Goodtimes chilli face can be experience can be found on Instagram.

The NBC Chilli week runs until the Monday 1st June and as a bonus the palete cleansing, limited release NBC Saison is still available on tap.

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Thirty minutes north of Perth, Indian Ocean Brewing Co has been quietly evolving over the past six months. With plans underway for a re-branding Goodtimes shared a beer with Head Brewer Mal Secourable and Assistant Brewer Joel Nash to find out more.

Before getting into the future we reached into the past as the beer we shared was the Indian Ocean Brewing Co’s Great Australian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) entry for 2015. I say the past because the Mumme (prounced Moo-meh) beer is a style of beer that is considered to be extinct or with extremely few modern examples. On the beer family tree it’s a parent of the German Altbier style and was popular in the Middles Ages, being allegedly first brewed in 1492.

Traditional recipes do vary however most include a laundry list of herbs, berries, wild flowers, different types of tree bark and spices like cardamon. Some records show that this was then barrel aged for up to two years creating a strong and high ABV beer.  The guys at Indian Ocean Brewing Co. have taken a more restrained approach to the style.  Their modern version is brilliantly autumnal in colour and smoked beechwood aromas that is perfect for a chilly afternoon.

“It’s not an out of the box beer in the sense that it’s really ‘out there’. It’s still meant to be sessionable in it’s own way. Its malt driven and the smoke is really obvious. We’re huge fans of Schlenkerla (famous German Smoked Beer Brewery) and there are elements of that but its obviously more mild” Mal said.

The Smoked Beechwood is the first noticeable aroma along with a malt focused scents. There is a dryness that rounds off the finish that stops this from being to cloying. The 6.2% ABV isn’t noticeable which makes this a different but very drinkable beer.

“A traditional Mumme style may have be a lessor ABV. There are varying records of the attenuation levels but what was very much a part of the traditional beer was significant and quite varied spicing and literally herbing. A lot of different stuff thrown at it. We kind of stayed away from messing with that too much and really tried create a modern version of it” said Mal.

Joel explains the beer design further. “We took elements of what they were saying it was like and thought about how we could do that through other processes or other ingredients. For example we mashed really high that gave body in the beer because they said it was really worty (sweet unfermented beer). The original version was under-fermented, under attenuated so we mashed high for that. We chose a few spicey, peppery hops to give it a little bit of the traditional character.” Joel said.

Mal added  “Staying with the Germanic, Teutonic that suits the style we used very traditional, predominantly German hops. Earth driven ones like Spalt and Tettnager and a little bit of Hallerteau for clean bittering. Tettnager for a  bit of pepper, Spalt for that earthy character”

“Because the malts would have originally been floor malted we used Maris Otter which is an English floor malted malt, one of the only ones that’s still available. Its about building the body underneath it to hang everything else off it because it was originally a very malt driven beer and the herbs were used to try to balance that. That’s where my original love of it all came because I love Altbier”

Indian Ocean Brewing Co logo

The current Indian Ocean Brewing Co. logo looks set to change.

The Mumme release looks to be the start of change at Indian Ocean Brewing as Joel notes.

“It started as a GABS beer but we are looking at where we can have it around Perth. It fits into a lot of things at the moment. We are going through a re-branding exercise at the moment, regenerating the brand. We are trying to create a new future for the Indi brand and a marketing brief has been given to some agency’s”

The team are looking at the whole core range as well as the branding with a relaunch in the next few months to drive the brand beyond it’s home in Mindarie.

“We are definitely hanging on to the Lager. It’s a Dortmunder style and suits our core market at the brewery. The American Pale will stay.
The Kolsch is going to part of that somehow. We’re looking at single dry-hopping the beer to take it through a sequence of different hops over a period of time to shows the hops and for us to experiment”.

“The Wit beer will stay for the moment but it would be good to change that through the winter months with a Robust Porter. The Robust Porter has just been brewed with a subtle smoke malt being thrown at that. We’re hoping for it to be rich and full with that slight hop bitterness and roast character to carry the sweetness. Outside of that there is a whole range of ideas that we’ve been throwing around including sake based beers, extinct beers, a barrel aged  old ale and sours. The thing with this range is to keep us away from the really hop driven beers, the Black IPA’s and all that sort of stuff” said Mal.

Joel  also noted “We don’t want to do what everyone is doing. It’s no offense but everyone is doing a variation of an IPA. Double IPA’s, Imperial IPA’s, Belgian IPA’s and then it’s thrown in a barrel. I wouldn’t mind doing that but I think there’s also room to do something else”.

It’s clear the Indian Ocean Brewing Co. team have a vision for the future and one which will bring something unique to West Coast beer drinkers.

Indian Ocean Brewing Co.

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Pirate Life Thowback Session IPA

New Australian brewery Pirate Life have stormed Western Australia with their debut range of craft beers.  In less than two weeks the team have supported around 15 events to launch the beers and found many new converts. Goodtimes spoke with one of Head Brewers Jared ‘Red’ Proudfoot and Michael ‘Mick’ Cameron from Pirate Life about the the brewery and stories of how hard work leads to great timing.

The core range was launched in Adelaide on the 1st of March with a solid two weeks of launch events. The recent Perth launch was very successful with Red noting that “the reaction here has been fantastic. People are really enjoying the beers”. This week it’s Melbourne’s turn this week which will be a solid lead in to Good Beer Week including the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS) for which Pirate Life have planned something special.

Red shared some of the details about this one-off beer. “It’s going to be a Black Belgian Double IPA, about 10.4% ABV%. It should be fun to brew. It’s going to be around 150 IBU’s (International Bitterness Units). We’ll use Candi Sugar, Belgian Malts, American hops and then either just a single Belgian yeast strain or we might do a concurrent ferment with US and Belgian yeast. We haven’t decided yet”

The hopped up crossbreed beer gives some indication of the intention behind this brewery. They are not mucking around and they have a passion for hops.

This new world brewing passion can be taken in some way from a strong BrewDog connection. Head Brewers Jack Cameron and Red  met while working at the Scottish brewery and Jack’s dad Mick also worked for BrewDog as well as a number of other breweries.

The international experience in a reputable and extremely fast growing company has clearly influenced the Pirate Life brewery. From initial discussions in February 2014 the Pirate Life team signed the lease on a building in Hindmarsh, Adelaide on the 12th of November 2014. Four months later they brewed the first beer of the 12th of February 2015 for release in Adelaide in March.

This confident and focused attitude translates to the clean, modern packaging on the beer cans.

“We packed the way we wanted to package. We just wanted to keep it really simple. Not too much crap on the cans but informative and that’s why we put the recipe on the rounds, to use that space that nobody has used much. We’re pretty happy with it.” Red said.

“The more educated the drinker is the better off they are going to be to make choices in the future. Having that transparency is pretty important I think in the industry.  More brewers should probably do it. The best Craft Beer brewers in the world share everything. There’s no secrets for a lot of them.”


Mick Cameron (L) and Red (R) from Pirate Life Brewing.

Mick Cameron adds that “One of the things that I learnt in the US when I was working with BrewDog and Coopers was that the Craft Beer world is very collaborative. You see that in all of the collaboration brews that go on. There’s communication going on with brewers all around the world. Everyone is open to sharing. It’s like when we wanted to buy our brew kit we spoke with the guy who’s the Head Brewer at the new Stone brewery down in the City of San Diego. Jack (Cameron) had met him in his job at BrewDog so he rang him and said ‘Premier stainless, whats the kit like?’. The bloke said they’d had no dramas at all with it, it terrific. It’s the very same kit that we’ve got and that gave us the faith to say ‘if Stone are using it, it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for us” *laughs*

Red notes that “They’ve got a few more toys on their one. I don’t think that Kris (Ketcham – Stone San Diego) needs to run up and down the stairs as much as us” *more laughter*

The conversation then turned to the recipes. I was interested in the choice of the Mosaic hop in two to the core range.

“It’s the daughter of Simcoe and Nugget. I’ve always loved Simcoe but it doesn’t really have much of the tropical kind of flavour we were going for. So Mosaic has a bit of both and up until about a month before we were brewing it was a completely different hop. It was going to be Centennial, Columbus and Simcoe which was going to be exactly the same as the Double IPA and then one afternoon I popped into the the Wheaty (Wheatsheaf Hotel) on the way home and they had the Deschutes ‘Chasin’ Freshies’ on tap, so a Wet Hop Mosaic beer, and I sent a message back to Mick saying we need to rethink the hops in the Pale Ale and I’m pretty glad we did because it gives a really nice balance” Red said.

It’s this kind of timing that underplays years of hard work. Red was laconic about this but there does seem to be quite a few moments of perfect timing throughout the Pirate Life adventure.

“Ah mate, throughout my whole career it’s been like that. Some you think are good luck or good opportunities but you just gotta put yourself in the right place, at the right time.”

Pirate Life Pale Ale

Pirate Life Pale Ale (Photo courtesy of Pirate Life Brewing)

The core range is currently three beers but this will extend to up to six including an Imperial Red Ale, a Stout and possibly a Saison. This will be dependent of the new tanks that are currently being produced. The current monthly capacity is up to 45000 litres however Red noted that 40000 litres is comfortable and gives the beer the right time in the tanks.

Some other beers are already in the pipeline however one of them is destined to be the ‘lost’ Pirate Life beer.

“We had a Wheat beer lined up. A traditional Belgian style but we were going to use South East Asian aromatics like lemongrass, Kaffir lime, ginger but I’m not sure if we will anymore because Two Birds just launched a very similar beer. We need to do a bit of rethink. It needs to be around that softer, summer style.” Red noted.

“We’ll have a lot of seasonal releases throughout the year, a lot of single batches. We’ve got a Brown Ale only in keg in South Australia and the next single batch we’ll make sure it’s over here (Perth).”

“Because of our BrewDog backgrounds, always having a bunch of different beers in the tanks is something that excites you. So that’s something that’s pretty important to us to keep brewing at Pirate Life”

Pirate Life IIPA

Pirate Life IIPA

This lead to conversation about how Red got into brewing.

“I did two dreadful homebrews and probably wouldn’t even give it a crack anymore. I wasn’t a big homebrewer but I’ve always loved beer. When Creatures (Little Creatures Brewing) I’d just turned 18 and I was working for Western Power so I was away all the time. I’d spend two weeks in Albany or two weeks in Kojonup, you know out in the middle of nowhere. I figured there was no point living in Perth so I moved down south with the folks and befriended Jeremy (Good – Cowaramup Brewing) pretty early on and found out how he got into it and why he got into it. It got to be about four years on and I went ‘Right, I’m going to be a brewer’.

“He (Jeremy) was working as a network engineer and said ‘I’m going to give that away and follow a passion’. I thought why wait until I’m 40 I’m going to have a crack at it when I’m 25 and Jeremy said he’d done this course at the IBD (The Institute of Brewing & Distilling), so I did the course above it. While I was away I started reading instead of going to the pub. I was much better off reading at home in the caravan park, just learning as much as I can and it was around the time in November 2009 when BrewDog released their Penguin beer (Tactical Nuclear Penguin), 32% ABV. There was a big buzz around the brewing world and me being young and excited I spent an afternoon looking at the BrewDog site after watching the Penguin video  and at these pretty cool young chaps at this brewery.

“At that stage they were the bad boys of brewing, they’ve matured now but anyway there was the news page on the website that said “Brewers wanted” and I was like ‘There’s no chance in the world but I sent James and email and told him a bit about myself and then got a response that said ‘What are your five favourite beers and why?’. So I got that back to him a week later. I took me a little while to put it together. So I got it back to him and it was coming into December and I got an email back that said Martin’s (Dickie) Perth for the next two weeks”

“His brother lives here (Perth). In the next two weeks it would be good if you can catch up. I was away working, think I was in Albany at the time and this was before the Christmas break.  I worked Christmas Eve, drove back and went to the office and put away the paperwork for the day and went to Creatures (Little Creatures Brewing) and had a couple of beers with Martin. I got through the first pint of Roger’s and he’s like ‘Your about 70% of the way there’. The next pint I got it over the line and he said ‘Pack up your bags and come over’. I gave my boss two months notice  and my last day of work he dropped me off at the airport. I knocked off at 2 o’clock on a Tuesday and away I fly”. *Laughs*

I asked more about the BrewDog connection and whether Red had met Jack or Mick before working in Scotland.

“We (Jack) met in Aberdeen (Scotland). Pretty randomly actually. I got off the plane and I got a message on my phone from Dickie (BrewDog owner Martin Dickie) saying give this chap a call and he’ll tell you where you’re staying tonight. I knew Jack and Mick from the website because as soon as I got the job I was [researching] BrewDog, BrewDog, BrewDog.”

“Mick was in the US and Jack was in the UK by himself for three or six months and then Mick came over and set up the first BrewDog bar in Aberdeen for them. They were living in San Diego at the time.”

Talking about his new Pirate Life adventure back in Australia, I asked Red about what sparked the choice of Adelaide as the 1000 square foot Pirate Life brewing headquarters.

“We’re in Hindmarsh. It’s about 2 km’s from the city . Adelaide, has been personally has been fantastic . It’s such a good city and me being a country boy it feels like a big county town kinda thing so for me it’s really good. The food and wine scene over there is really strong so it’s exciting to be there.”

“Professionally it’s a good place to set up. For us we want to be as environmentally friendly as possible so shipping beer from Adelaide is a lot better than shipping beer from over here (Perth) to the East Coast. The West Coast is probably going to be 20% of our market so a small amount of beer comes across here, a long way and the bulk of the beer goes a short way and maintains freshness. All of our beer is transported cold.”

As for the future of Pirate Life Brewing Red is already thinking about their first Birthday beer.

“We’ve got a good one lined up for our first birthday which I’ll have to get on to. I’ll probably have to start planning that in November, start brewing it around then and then get it into some barrels. It’ll probably be barrels from the Caribbean I’d say. We need to get a big iconic flagship beer and get into barrels that’s previously held some nice rum. That’s pretty important, Pirates, rum, it makes sense” *laughs*

Pirate Life beers can be found by following this link.


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