Goodtimes Craft Beverages

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Category: Beerfest

FREMANTLE BEERFEST 2014

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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!

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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.

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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!

 

http://fremantle.beerfestivals.com.au/

 

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MINDARIE BOARDWALK BEERFEST

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Locals north of Perth were treated to a mini Beer Festival last weekend at the Mindarie Boardwalk Beerfest.
Located about 40 minutes from Perth, the Mindarie Marina boardwalk provided a lovely stroll through craft beers, cider and wine between the Indian Ocean Brewing Company and local pub The Boat.
It’s great exposure for the Indian Ocean Brewing company who have been brewing at the coastal location for years but have, at least for me, always been a little far from home.
The Beerfest listed over ten local breweries sampling a range of Hefewiezen’s to Stouts. It was a great opportunity to talk directly with some of the brewers and get some inside information about products and what’s coming up.

Indian Ocean Brewer Mal Secourable has been tweaking their Pale Ale recipe with the little used Mosaic hop variety. The aim being to move from an Australian Pale Ale to an American Pale Ale but not to slide into a pine-like area.
Sampling the new recipe I can vouch for the Stone-fruit characters from the Mosaic. The 5.4% ABV Pale Ale was a favourite of the beers I tried and I’m looking forward to see where Mal takes this beer.

 

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Little Creatures ‘Beer Bike’

The guys from Little Creatures were busy riding the boardwalk with a ‘beer bike’, handing out sample of their IPA to people between tastings. I talked with Jacob from Little Creatures about the next Single Batch that will be released the 2nd of November, a Saison.
Jacob said that the release was part of a trans-Tasman challenge between Little Creatures and Emerson Brewing in New Zealand. The Little Creatures team had challenged Emerson’s to brew a beer with plenty of hops. In return brewery owner Richard Emerson had challenged Little Creatures to brew something a “little weird and funky”.
The recipe includes Pale and Wheat malts with Saaz and East Golding Kent hops being used. Comments about the yeast were kept a secret at least for the next couple of weeks.
Given Saison’s are one of my favourite beer styles I’m very happy about this coming release.

 

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Last Drop Brewery’s Jan Bruckner hard at work with very crisp Pilsner

Czech born and trained brewer Jan Bruckner from the Last Drop Brewery was on hand to share his award winning Hefeweizen and very crisp Pilsner. He talked about the Last Drop’s respect for the traditional approach to brewing including adhering to the Reinheitsgebot , German Beer Purity Law of 1516. In line with this level of craftsmanship the Last Drop Pilsner undergoes twelve weeks of maturation before being released. The crisp finish and slight herbal characters are a delicious result of this care.

 

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Nail Brewing Wombat Wheat

Nail Brewing had three beers to sample including the clear favourite, Nail Red Ale. Daniel Love from Nail commented on the increasing demand for Nail Red and the level of effort that still goes into making hand-made beers on a commercial scale.
Besides the classic Nail Australian Pale Ale, the other Nail beer on offer was a Wombat Wheat Hefeweizen. Daniel discussed that the locally sourced yeast strain was an expensive outlay for a about a pint of yeast. That said the pint contained about 44 million yeast cells which soon got to work on the 5000 litres of the Nail Wombat Wheat Hefeweizen. Given its bespoke origin this is one beer to get while you can!

 

Plenty of action at the Mash Brewing tent

There was plenty of interest around the Mash Brewing stall with head brewer Charlie Hodgson handing out samples of his 2014 Australian Champion Beer, Copycat IPA and fielding questions. The most question was “Where can I get these beers?” to which Charlie replied that some of the Mash beers are likely to be in Dan Murphy’s stores nationally soon.

 

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Indian Ocean Brewing Company’s Toasted Lamb Wrap with The Drake Pale Ale

 

Of the food options available Goodtimes settled on a very good toasted Lamb wrap at the Indian Ocean Brewing Company complimented by a Drakes Pale Ale.

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While the weather looked to overshadow the afternoon the boardwalk filled with happy punters. The Mindarie Boardwalk Beerfest was a wonderfully casual way to learn more about some of Australia’s best breweries.
Bring on next year!

 

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