Goodtimes Craft Beverages

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Tag: Feral Brewing


Stuck for an office Secret Santa present? Want to surprise someone but don’t know where to start? Want to share your passion with neighbours and friends?
The answer to all of these Christmas questions is of course Beer!
In the lead up to Christmas workplaces, neighbours, friends and family will be in the Christmas spirit by sharing gifts with each other. I thought about my own practice of sharing interesting but approachable beers with family, friends and colleagues whenever there is reason to celebrate.
With this in mind I thought I’d ask some of Perth’s best Beer retailers what they would put in a $30 Kris-Kringle (Secret Santa) beer box present.
The only suggestion was that the beers had to be approachable enough to share in a random Christmas draw. With a $30 limit it’s probably going to rule out any 15% ABV Bourbon Barrel Aged Russian Imperial Stouts anyway!
Over the past few weeks this became an insider’s guide to approachable beer gift giving and Goodtimes has also included a few suggestions as a seasonal bonus!
There are plenty options for a beery yuletide gift. Whether you want to buy a pre-made beer box or get one of the experienced retailers to help you, this really couldn’t be easier. Most of these suggestions are freely available from big-box liquor retailers like Dan Murphy’s to the independent operators featured below. You may even find yourself a Christmas treat!


With over a thousand beers in store and the title of the Ratebeer Best Beer Store in Australia you could easily get lost looking for a gift at Mane Liquor. Luckily the owners of the Ascot store, Elliot Moore and Josh Daly, both agreed on the Feral Brewing Boar Pack as the perfect gift. At $24 a box this is excellent value and comes with a Feral glass.

Mane Liquor’s Elliot Moore with the Feral Brewing ‘Boar Pack’

The team at Mane Liquor are always happy to help more adventurous shoppers buy individual beers for a very interesting beer box.
Mane Liquor also stock a large range of local and imported hot sauces. Goodtimes is happy to recommend anything by local chilli fiend Dr Paul’s Hot Sauces, in particular the ‘Devil’s BBQ’.

Dr Paul’s ‘Devil’s BBQ’ Hot Sauce is available at Mane Liquor.

Joel Beresford and the Cellarbrations at Carlisle team have been building an impressive range of over a thousand different beers in the Belmont / Carlisle area.
Joel suggests the bespoke approach in gift selection. His picks for an approachable mixed pack include:
• Two Birds Brewing – Bantam IPA
• Mash Brewing – Grasscutter
• Nail Brewing – Wombat Hefeweizen
• Victory Brewing – Prima Pils


Joel Beresford with Victory Brewing’s Prima Pils.

He recommends talking through what the receiver would normally drink with staff. If you are not sure, help from staff will ensure the recipient finds something they enjoy.
Cellarbrations at Carlisle has a range of glassware that compliments the recent Belgian beer shipment. A classic beer with matching glass is a very stylish yet affordable gift.

Matching glassware is a simple gifting idea.

Another suggestion is for a refillable Squealer or Growler, a refillable bottle used for draught beer, that the receiver can use all year long.

Squealers (1 litre) and Growlers (1.89 litres) are refillable bottles for draught beer. The gift that keeps giving!

Aside from beer, the ReStore Leederville is a den of delicacies for gift giving. Be warned, you may end up with many more presents for yourself than anyone else!

True to the ReStore’s eclectic mix of goods, beverage guru Nick Odell recommends:
• Bootleg Brewing – Speakeasy IPA
• Stillwater Artisinaal – Classique Saision
• Rodenbach – Rosso Fruit Beer
• Six String Brewing – Golden Ale
• Trappistes Rochefort – 10
• Moo Brew – Pilsner


Nick Odell’s Christmas Beer box

For those who want to splurge there is a bottle three litre of 14% ABV Austrian ‘Samichclaus’ beer for sale. This beer is brewed on the 6th of December each year and then conditioned for ten months before release. At over $200 this bottle will find a very special home this year!


The ReStore Leederville’s beverage guru Nick Odell.

The team at DeVine Cellars has just won the WA Liquor Retailer of the Year award again this year. As such they are well placed to help with a beer based present.
Manager Steve Colangelo recommends the Duval 750ml and Glass gift pack or the Innis & Gunn gift pack of oak aged beers as a point of difference for festive gift giving.
Also available is Rogue’s Santa’s Private Reserve Ale 650ml and a range of over 300 beers to choose from.
Goodtimes recently tried the Holgate ‘Double Trouble’ Dubbel Ale from DeVine and would recommend this for gifting.
Also for sale at DeVine Cellars are sets of vintage beer glassware. This would be perfect for the beer expert who has everything.


Vintage glassware available at Devine Cellars, Inglewood.

Gary Fletcher at Aubin Grove Liquor south of Perth also suggests the Feral Christmas gift pack for about $25. Gary is also more than happy to help select a tailored beer pack for a novice or seasoned beer connoisseur.
For the more adventurous Gary is passionate about hoppy beers including those from New Zealand brewery Garage Project.


Further South, Big Brews in Warnbro has a range of gift packs and 300 individual beers to select from.
A great Christmas offer from the Big Brews team is two for $20 offer on the La Trappe range of authentic Trappist beers. These come in a beautifully presented 750ml bottle and are made in the Netherlands by Trappist monks.
Big Brews also recommends the Trappist monks at Chimay. The Chimay monastic beer box includes three Trappist beers and a glass chalice for around $25.


These suggestions are based around the $30 present limit. Each bottle is about $5 and most retailers will apply a 10% discount for purchasing six individual beers.
Goodtimes has suggested a few themed beer boxes but really the combinations are endless. The key with these selections is that each of the beers is approachable enough to be enjoyed by someone new to the world of beer.


WA Beer Box
• Eagle Bay – Pale Ale
• Bootleg – One-off’s ‘The Coconut One’
• Feral Brewing – Hop Hog
• Nail Brewing – Red Ale
• Mash – Grasscutter Lawnmower Ale

Australian Beer Box
• Mountain Goat – Summer Ale
• Stone & Wood – Pacific Ale
• La Sirene – Saison
• Bridge Road – Bling IPA
• Knappstien – Reserve Lager
• Coopers Extra Strong Vintage Ale 2014

Scottish brewery BrewDog’s seasonal beers.

International Beer Box
• BrewDog – Hoppy Christmas Festive Pale Ale
• BrewDog – Santa Paws – Scotch Ale
• Camden Brewing– Gentleman’s Wit
• Brooklyn Brewing – Pre-prohibition Lager
• Rodenbach – Classic
• Sierra Nevada – Pale Ale


European sharing beer bottles

European presentation beer bottles for sharing.

Some of the great international beers come in wonderfully presented 750ml bottles that are perfect for gift giving. Most of these options are under $20 and the key is to check with staff the style of beer that’s in them.
In simple terms these beers could be separated into the following categories:
Rich or Dark
• Chimay – Blue
• St Bernardus Abt 12
• La Chouffe
• Duvel
• Saison DuPont
• Estrella- Inedit
• Brasserie de Saint-Sylvestre – 3 Monts

Brasserie de Saint Sylvestre – 3 Monts


With so many options there should be some very satisfied recipients this Christmas. They may even find a new favourite.


Hoppy Christmas!


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OKTOBERFEST: Noble biers seek crafty innovation

Oktoberfest - Weihenstephaner Festbier

The worlds largest funfair, Oktoberfest, runs annually in a meadow near the centre of Munich, Germany. While this celebration has continued since 1810 times are changing.

A recent article from the Bloomburg financial news outlet highlighted the decline of beer volume for Oktoberfest. This year 6.4 million litres of beer was served down from 7.7 million litres last year with relatively the same attendance.
Also notable, the article mentions the changing attitude of Germans to beer flavour and styles.
Traditional Oktoberfest beers must come from one of local six breweries, all brewing a similar style of beer, which must be brewed with the Munich city limits.
To be an Oktoberfest beer these breweries must also adhere to the Reinheitsgebot, the German Beer Purity Law, of 1516.
The Reinheitsgebot states that only Water, Barley (Malt) and Hops can be used in the production of beer. Yeast were originally omitted as back in 1516 the brewers microscopic friends were not yet known.
The major reasons for its introduction was to maintain a health standard for beer in 1500’s Bavaria. Interestingly the Reinheitsgebot is the worlds oldest, continuous food standard.
The other major reason was to ensure there was enough Wheat and Rye available for bakers to produce bread. Ensuring bakers had raw materials kept the price of bread affordable for the German public.
While this is no longer part of German Law it’s history looms large. Ironically what was once a mark of esteemed purity has become an anchor to the past leaving little chance for innovation.
In contrast international brewers, unbound by this convention, have used rice, corn and even pumpkin as the base for beer. Additions of common and exotic ingredients (Kopi Lewak – ‘Monkey Poo’ coffee anyone?) have created some of the most sought after beers on the planet.
German Flag
So what does it all mean?
With international beer volume in decline the customer focus is shifting to drinking less but consuming better quality products. No surprises here for a craft beer drinker.
In the Bloomburg article German brewery owner Oliver Lemke comments that “We Germans thought we were making the worlds best beer meanwhile diversity suffered”. Furthermore he says “Craft brewing is an interesting and lucrative niche and it was a mistake not to do it earlier”
Closer to home, the latest Brew Pub release from Swan Valley brewery Feral, ‘Hopfen Pahrt’, is a German IPA. This uses three new German hop varieties to create a very tasty craft beer than could appeal to Bavarians looking beyond what is familiar.
While things haven’t changed dramatically at Oktoberfest it is clear consumers are more savvy than ever before. Oktoberfest is still a fantastic opportunity celebrate with friends, eat too much, drink too much and make pithy comments like ‘Sausage jokes are the wurst’.
That alone is worth raising a glass for.

Feral Brewing - Hopfen Fahrt


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International IPA Day

Big. Flavourful. Bitter.
The India Pale Ale (IPA) style of beer delivers all of these characters through its celebration of the hop cone.
Just as these characters are celebrated they also scare off those new to Craft beer. After drinking milder beer styles like Lagers the step into larger flavors can be a challenge. It can also be a challenge to understand why they are so celebrated.

The first Thursday in August marks International IPA Day.  It’s a great chance to reflect on this iconic beer style and it could be an even better chance to try one for the first time.
My own experience in pushing my palete came through drinking what was at the time was a massively bitter and fruity beer. It was a struggle to get through the pint but there was something there. This curiosity was enough that I ordered another and pushed on, falling in love with the India Pale Ale.
The origins of the IPA are from English beers that were comparatively highly hopped and higher in alcohol to help preserve them on the long sea voyage to India from the English brewing capital of Burton-On-Trent.
Hundreds of years later the American Craft Beer revolution was kick started in the 1970’s by the short lived New Albion Brewing Company and the Anchor Brewing Company. Anchor’s ‘Liberty Ale’ is considered to be the first new world IPA although in 1975 the style name was not used yet.


ANCHOR - Liberty Ale
In essence this beer was Pale Ale (also a term that was not used yet) that used a high hop regime and was also ‘dry hopped’, a process involving the addition of hops after the brew for extra aroma and flavour. It’s a beautiful beer that is mild by today’s IPA standards.
It’s also a drinkable history lesson that’s an easy entry point for those new to IPA’s.
From there Sierra Nevada took these rediscovered brewing techniques and produced their classic Pale Ale, an inspiration for many early Craft Brewers.
These developments were centred in the USA and drew bold on new American hop varieties. The aim of the early Anchor and Sierra Nevada beers was to reference classic English beers styles but put an American stamp on them.
This was done by using only American hops, in particular the Cascade variety which had been released for use in 1972 by the USDA. The Cascade hop is synonymous with Grapefruit like aromas.
It is one of four hop varieties that are regarded as the 4 C’s. They are Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Columbus.
All of these have played a large part in the evolution of IPA. In fact many of the world’s great IPA’s use only these hops either for flavour or aroma.


As the modern IPA style evolved the passion to push the hop boundaries of drinkers lead to the development of the Double IPA or Imperial IPA.  Californian brewer Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing fame is credited with developing this style in the early 1990’s.
Double IPA’s take these bold flavours and turn them up to eleven with massive resinous bitterness and alcohol contents reaching towards 10% ABV.


Russian River - Pliny, the Elder

As with most things the pendulum does swing back the other way and there has been a recent trend towards the “Session IPA”.
These, as the name suggests, are more like a Craft mid-strength beer with a high hop rate.

A very creative example of this is from New Zealand brewery 8 Wired whose very well regarded 8.8% ABV Double IPA “Superconductor” spawned a ‘half’ sibling in the 4.4% ABV Session IPA “Semi-conductor”.

While the modern IPA revolution has had an American focus brewers in the UK have been well aware of its heritage.
Alastair Hook of the Meantime Brewing Company has been producing what are considered to be some of the most faithful recreations of classic beers styles including the IPA.
The UK revival also comes from brash Scottish brewers BrewDog whose ‘Punk IPA’ created a storm when released in 2007.

In the their flagship beer, Punk IPA, BrewDog have focused on new world hops like New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin to create Tropical flavours and aromas to ride over the bitterness.
These bold flavours and audacious packaging have seen BrewDog become champions of the UK Craft Beer movement and respected internationally.

Brewdog - Punk IPA

Locally, Australian beer interest in the IPA has taken much longer but the big flavour train has really gathered momentum in the last few years.
In Australia the American IPA (AIPA) style is driving this growth however some Australian brewers are using only Australian varieties of hops creating an Australian IPA style.
Feral Brewing’s “Hop Hog” American IPA is an icon of Australian IPA Brewing.  It ‘s an American IPA style that has won the Critic’s Choice of Australia’s Best Beer for the last three years running.
From a little further up the road in the Swan Valley, Mash Brewing has won the Champion Beer 2014 award at the Australian Beer Awards with their “Copycat” American IPA.

MASH - Copycat AIPA

While some of this piece focuses on the modern American take on the India Pale Ale style there have been further developments and sub-groups over time . So here is a quick recap on the variations on the style:

ENGLISH IPA: The origin of the style focuses on lots of fruit characters of a bed of sweet malts with a mild bitterness for the style.

AMERICAN IPA: The modern resurrection of the style with a bold hop bitterness, floral or citrus aromas and a caramel base.

SESSION IPA: Essentially a hoppy Pale Ale and easy entry point for those new to the IPA.

BLACK IPA: The marriage of a Robust Porter (another classic beer style) and a hoppy IPA. Imagine coffee or chocolate malt characters with a ramped up bitterness and Citrus or Tropical notes.
The Goodtimes Eagle Bay BIPA post in “Beer Favourites” is a good local example.

A massive example of the Black IPA is Arbor’s 2014 “Freestyle Fridays #44”.

This would rate as the most bitter beer I have ever tasted.
Beer bitterness is graded by the Internal Bitterness Units (IBU) standard. The easiest way to understand this is from some examples.

CORONA is about 15 IBU

FERAL Hop Hog is about 50 IBU

RUSSIAN RIVER Pliny, the Elder Double IPA is about 100 IBU

ARBOR Freestyle Friday #44 2014 is about 1200 IBU

This is a HUGE beer that will challenge the most seasoned beer drinker!

ARBOR - Freestyle Friday #44 2014

So where does the new Craft Beer drinker go with all of this?

I believe it’s all about expectation. If you understand and expect bigger flavours from your beer then you’ll have much more chance of enjoying or at least respecting them.

Unfortunately being blindsided by massive flavours, bitterness and a passionate Craft beer friend may not be the best way to start with this style.

From my experience, treat this style with respect and it will give it back to you in spades.

Some suggested staring points for IPA’s would be:


Cheers to the India Pale Ale!


Drink better. Be good.