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After finishing in the top five twice in the last two years, Dutch Trading Co in Perth have continued their impressive rise to be named Beer & Brewer’s top Australian beer venue for 2018. We caught up with co-owner Joel Beresford to find out a little more about this craft beer oasis.
HOW DID THE DUTCH TRADING CO START?
We were established in 2015, so we’re getting close to our third birthday. I’ve been in the craft beer scene for 18 years, but I was solely in retail, responsible for getting craft beer up and running in retail. I got approached by some mutual friends about opening a bar and I was really curious. On-premise was a whole new kettle of fish. I jumped right in. It was a massive learning curve.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED?
I get the validity of draught, especially in Western Australia (WA). I always found it exciting that we couldn’t get certain beers in WA. Logistical issues make Western Australians appreciate what we can get a bit more. A massive number of Western Australians go to GABS in Melbourne to get involved and see that scene. So we tried to do the same thing here. It was hard getting the weirder kegs that I was used to getting in bottles, but I just tried a little bit harder and now we’re getting stuff I would never have dreamed of seeing.
I’m just about to get my biggest shipment of craft beer and we’ve got some kegs which will hopefully blow some lines. We’re all about broadening connections and building bridges between North America and Europe, and bringing their beers over here.
WHAT EXCITES YOU MOST ABOUT THE ON-PREMISE CRAFT BEER SCENE?
Probably the most exciting thing is having a kitchen and having the luxury of pairing the beer with the food. We’re expanding and bridging the gap between beer and food in one venue. We’ve got a very talented head chef whose palate is extreme. He brews beer himself and some of the pairings that he comes up with are amazing.
What’s also happened with the wave of new brewers coming out is they’re working with specific venues and building that rapport. Collaborations with venues and bottleshops – that’s really new. I think it’s really exciting, all those one-off beers. It’s really great to keep people interested. Of course, if you go down too far, people will be expecting a new beer all the time. The relationship between the brewer and the people who sell their beer has to strengthen. It’s a double promotion to the public. People get to understand more and get face to face with the brewer. Breweries have their own stories intertwined with the beer they’ve brewed and the ability to tell your story direct to your customer – that’s a special thing.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FOR A VENUE IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA?
The desert is a bit of a barrier to a lot of Australian breweries. It’s an expanse that could destroy beer if it’s not transported properly. I can get a freight of beer from California without too much trouble compared to from eastern Australia. It’s one of those things – it’s a bit more expensive.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER TO OTHERS IN THE BUSINESS OF SERVING GREAT CRAFT BEER?
You can’t just plonk something down and expect it to work. If you can get a reputation for good, fresh, local craft beer – especially for a new business – that’s great. I think local is a good start. It’s a sensible step and it’s what people need to do. A lot of people are doing that. We dedicate six taps to locals permanently, and then another six to our interstate beers and six more for international beers. They change daily, but we keep to six of each because we have an amazing offering locally and you’d be crazy not to take it up.
Range is up there – you have to have several things on offer. You need local stuff and stuff I’ve never seen before. The location and ambience definitely plays a part, but it has to be a local ambience – I don’t want to go to an American bar in Europe. I want to soak in the local vibes.
Stock rotation is key. We buy a lot of stock but we buy small volumes. One keg and that’s it and we run through it. Hoppy beers get precedent on tapping. We don’t hold onto them. Everything is cold. We’ve got a refrigerator sea container out back. It was quite cheap and works out fantastic. We fill that up with kegs for long storage. That’s a necessary purchase and worth every penny. There’s nothing worse than getting a good beer and ruining it.
Prancing Pony brewers are well known for their philosophy of brewing their beers with malt, water, hops and yeast, only.
Established in 2011, the Adelaide Hills Brewery has created a range of bold flavoured beers including the India Red Ale which has won a Supreme Champion Trophy at the International Beer Challenge in London in 2016. Their Magic Carpet Midnight Ride stout received a Gold medal in 2017 and, rightly so.
Super-smooth and with a big mouthfeel, the Magic Carpet Midnight Ride is a full bodied Russian Imperial Stout, appropriately presented in a 330ml bottle. Flavours of coffee, dark chocolate and malt are evident as soon as you open this bottle and pouring this black beauty into a glass immediately reminds us of dark, moonless nights, the comfort of a cosy fires and the depth of conversations that we have on long winter nights. As the glass empties slowly, laces appear on its sides to inspire our imagination and creating the magic that this beautifully balanced beer promises.
As the tasting notes promise, this beer will take you to the eternal Stout Nirvana where the malt gods will put our weary souls to rest.
Created, brewed and bottled by an independent Brewery
Corinna Steeb (CEO and Co-Founder of Prancing Pony Brewery)
Dutch Trading Company (DTC) in Perth has taken top spot in Beer & Brewer’s Top 50 Beer Venues for 2018.
The venue, which placed second in last year’s standings and fifth in 2016, has climbed the ladder and finally reached the pinnacle, becoming the first venue from Western Australia to claim the honour. Opening its doors back in 2015, DTC has provided the people of Perth with an incredible range of of draught and packaged beers from the local area, the wider country and around the world.
“It was a funny couple of weeks beforehand when we were guessing where we would sit on the ladder,” recalls co-owner Joel Beresford. “I never thought that we would win it. This is amazing, to get number one nationally – it was quite a surprise. There are so many great guys around, just a lot of esteemed venues. I don’t like thinking ‘we’re the best’ because I think people and venues can be great in many different ways.
“The year before we were second and the year before that we were sixth. We’re improving ourselves and that shows on the listing. It’s really good to get a nod from peers and be recognised. We made a lot of effort to get proper craft beer in public view. We couldn’t do that without the team. We’ve got a really strong team. They were more excited than I was. I think I was in denial!
“Looking forward we want to be improving what we’re already doing basically – better beers, better quality beers, better at acquiring beers, improving how our beer is received and pours from the taps. We want more events, more special events, bigger events. We want to become more collaborative, not just the stuff with breweries, but more organic iterations with other venues and other restaurants and stuff. We’re trying to refine what we do already and hopefully getting more national and international recognition. We’d love to be a place that people from America or Europe stop by when they come to Australia.
The runner-up this year was another Perth venue with Petition Beer Corner, who moved up from number six last year, followed by Carwyn Cellars in Thornbury, Victoria, and Caboose in Perth, WA. Last year’s winner Bitter Phew in Sydney took fifth spot. Completing the top 10 were The Local Taphouse in St Kilda, the Royal Albert in Sydney, The Alehouse Project in Brunswick, The Catfish in Fitzroy and Helsby’s Ale House in Brisbane.
The Top 50 list comprised of venues in state capitals only, with Regional Venues celebrated in our Top 15. Newcastle’s Grain Store took the top spot there, with The Goose in Busselton claiming second and The Cambrian Hotel in Bendigo completing the podium.
The list was compiled with the help of 23 industry experts, including the likes of Ian Kingham, Matt Kirkegaard, Kirrily Waldhorn and Tim Charody, aka The Beer Pilgrim. Each expert voted for their five favourite beer venues, with the scoring weighted so those at the top of the panellists’ lists scored higher than those at the bottom. There were no strict criteria, judges voted based on a range of factors such as the quality of beers, service, staff knowledge, and venue atmosphere.
The complete list of the top 50 beer venues, together with judges’ comments, can be found in the Spring Issue of Beer & Brewer, which is on sale now in newsagents, liquor stores and home brewer shops. You can subscribe to Beer & Brewer here.
Did we miss your favourite craft beer spot? Tell us on Facebook what your top craft beer venue is, and the spot with the most mentions will be announced as the Beer & Brewer People’s Choice Top Beer Venue.
The Australian Hotel and Brewery has been sold by Momento Hospitality to Redcape in an off-market transaction.
The brewpub based in Sydney’s north-west was sold to the national pub group, brokered by John Musca of JLL Hotels & Hospitality. This is the second western Sydney pub acquisition announced by Redcape in as many days, with the group also purchasing the Vauxhall Inn in Granville for well in excess of $30 million.
Australian Brewery also has approvals to double its production capacity and establish on-site packaging and canning facilities. While the Colosimo family, who founded the brewery and have grown business over two decades, will remain involved, Redcape will foster the growth of the brewery through its resources, and will distribute the beers through its 30 pubs nationally.
“The Colosimo family have done an excellent job at building up this hotel and positioning it for long term growth,” comments Dan Brady, Redcape’s CEO. “Anyone who has been to The Australian Hotel and Brewery will have first-hand experience of the personal touches evident across the vast range of food, drink and entertainment offered. This is a classic local pub that is integral to the social fabric of the community and we intend to ensure this continues. We look forward to being part of The Brewery’s ongoing success story and providing support to the team there so that they can continue to grow their creatively authentic craft beer brands.”
Redcape continues to target hotels in high-growth, high population areas. According to 2016 Census data the north-western Sydney corridor is forecast to grow by 47 per cent by 2036 to more than 250,000 residents. CEO Marcello Colosimo said that Australian Brewery will flourish even more with Redcape’s investment in the business.
“Our family is very proud of the Australian Hotel and Brewery, it is has developed into a wonderful community asset that will continue to service the hills district under the guidance and care of Redcape.
“We are excited to maintain an interest in the brewery and anticipate the beer to only improve with the resources and depth of Redcape’s distribution and skillset. The team we have built up will continue to innovate and produce great product for all our current customers both in the domestic and international markets.”
Colosimo told Australian Hotelier that while the sale had come with “mixed emotions”, the group had plenty of projects coming up, with its new pub The Governor set to open next week and two other venues to open next year.
Craft breweries at the Sunshine Coast have become an increasingly important attraction for holiday-goers, according to Josh Donohoe, who runs craft beer tours in the area.
This comes on the back of the Sunshine Coast’s Moffat Beach Brewing Co winning the Champion Small Brewer of Australia award in the Indies along with two gold medals, while Maleny-based Brouhaha Brewery also took two golds, and silver medals were awarded to Macleod Brewing Co in Maleny, Sunshine Brewery and Land & Sea in Noosa.
“One of the most interesting sessions at BrewCon was the ‘Will Travel for Beer’ section, because it highlighted how craft beer can add a distinct ‘taste’ to a region’s tourism offer, and complement the destination’s other food and natural attractions,” Donohoe states. “The Sunshine Coast’s craft breweries can be found in picturesque locations along the coast and in the Hinterland, and because they are now considered amongst the best in Australia they have become an attraction in their own right.
Donohoe’s Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours has seen its scheduled tour numbers grow by 150% and the number of private tours triple over the past 12 months. In addition, the region held its first ever Craft Beer Festival in 2017, attracting over 3,500 visitors.
“The growth in organised craft beer tours reflects the growth in craft breweries operating in the region,” adds Donohoe. “When we began tours in 2016 there were just three onsite breweries operating. Today, we have 12.
“What makes ‘beer tourism’ so attractive for visitors is that it provides a really rich and interesting insight into the character of the destination. Brewers are invariably passionate about their trade and love sharing stories about the trials and tribulations of setting up a brewery and the sweat and tears that go into every brew, as well as sharing experimental and seasonal beers with visitors. Wine tourism is already well established in Australia, but craft beer tourism has just as much potential.”
“Food and wine tourism are already well-established as prime drivers of tourism around the world, and craft beer is now emerging as an equally dynamic growth sector, with the more casual nature and ‘earthiness’ of the product matched by high-quality and very distinctive varietal beers,” adds Simon Latchford, CEO of Visit Sunshine Coast.
Last month, as Bridge Road Brewers celebrates its 13th birthday, Beer & Brewer explores the brewery’s story.
To celebrate the milestone, Bridge Road enjoyed a Birthday Bash at the brewery on Friday 8 June, as well as launching its B2 Bomber Mach 8.0 and Bling Bling (330ml) nationally. Ben Kraus and Maria –Frischmann set out to start a microbrewery at Kraus’ hometown in Beechworth, Victoria, back in 2005, having moving from Tirol.
“That was on the back of at least 12 months of work establishing the site in my parents’ place in 2004,” recalls Kraus. “Reflecting on it now, it was a pretty bold and naïve move for a couple of 24 year-olds with $15,000 as starting capital. I think having such such strong family support from my parents was the real key behind getting the brewery off the ground. And now 13 years later, Dad is building a new kitchen for the venue and mum’s running the venue, while our venue manager takes a holiday, so in the end nothing really changes.”
Over the past 13 years, the brewery has featured at the first microbrewers showcase in Federation Square at the same time as being on tap at Transport Bar, has collaborated with Norwegian brewery Nogne O to create an India Saison – the first commercial beer in Europe to use Australian Galaxy and Ella hops.
“Since then, I have had the pleasure of brewing with Aussie hops in Belgium with De Struisse, California with Stone, Austria with Starkenberger and Bierol, and twice in Italy with Birra del Borgo,” says Kraus. “On the back of the trip to California we were also lucky enough to represent at the Firestone Walker festival and also take over the taps at Mikkeller Bar in San Francisco.”
The business has grown slowly and organically, funded from within. In its first year, Bridge Road produced around 40,000 litres. In the next year, the brewery is on target to reach 1m litres. Two years ago, the brewery launched its Respecting the Craft logos, which was put on all packaging to reflect the brewery’s values, its staff and its beer.
“As we head into year 14, we have more steady expansion underway and I am currently enjoying trying to figure out how to get more out of the unique space here in Beechworth,” says Kraus. “Bridge Road Brewers owes a big part of its success to our hard working team, from the venue in Beechworth through to the sales team on the road around the country. But we also owe the most gratitude to the people who choose to spend their hard earned money on our beer, so I’d like to take the opportunity to extend my biggest thanks to these people.
“We are part of an awesome community, locally here in Beechworth, nationally in Australia as well as internationally, with craft brewers from around the world sharing the same open door philosophy.”
Lion has acquired 100% of Fourpure Brewing Co, a craft brewer from London.
Founded in 2013 by brothers Daniel and Thomas Lowe, the brewery is located in south east London and forms part of the craft brewing hub known as the Bermondsey Beer Mile. Its beers include Pils Lager and Session IPA. Daniel Lowe remains as CEO with his co-founder Tom also staying on with Fourpure.
“Over the past 12 months we’ve been working hard to find the right investment path for the next phase of the Fourpure story,” comments Daniel Lowe. “While in four short years, Fourpure has grown to become one of London’s leading independent modern craft breweries, we knew we couldn’t take the next adventure alone. We met Lion towards the end of our process after a wide range of funding options had been considered and quickly realised we had a shared vision and values.”
Lion currently sells a range of Australian and New Zealand craft beers in the UK and Europe. It is expected that, in time, there will be an opportunity to expand sales and distribution channels in the UK, Europe and global markets.
“We’re thrilled to have the opportunity to back Dan, Tom and the team to take Fourpure into its next chapter,” says Matt Tapper, Lion global markets managing director. “The guys have done a superb job in getting the business to where it is now and we love how innovative they’ve been in both beer styles and the way they have positioned the brand. We’re making real progress in making our craft beers like Little Creatures available in the UK and Europe and we see some great opportunities to work together to get these and Fourpure’s brews in the hands of more beer lovers.”
Red, amber and brown ales can be a playground for modern brewers. As Luke Robertson discovered in Beer & Brewer Winter, there are interpretations aplenty for these categories, which are newer than one might think.
Colour is a funny thing in the beer world. A lot of people drink with their eyes and shy away from anything much darker than a pale lager. Throw in the warm climes of the Australian continent and selling people on a red or brown ale probably isn’t the easiest thing. While they don’t pack the roasty heft of a stout, or palate weight of a big Russian imperial stout, the dark tints still make a few punters wary.
Fortunately we have determined brewers making excellent and varied versions of reds, ambers and browns, and they are finding favour with a wider audience. And because these styles of beer are very much up for interpretation brewers can find their own niche and build their own preference in to the final product.
In Launceston, Tasmania, Paul Morrison of Morrison Brewery says they strive for balance in everything they do and put a large focus on traditional styles. Their Irish Red Ale, he says, is their biggest seller and it was the beer that inspired Morrison to move from homebrew to commercial brewing in 2011.
“The recipe we are using now since homebrewing hasn’t changed,” he says. “It’s still the original recipe. We brew beer that we like. We don’t necessarily brew beer for the market; so as long as we are happy with it then that’s the most important thing.”
Morrison uses a combination of Crystal and Munich malts, with a touch of roasted malt for colour, plus English hops, and Irish yeast with a warm ferment to bring out esters. He says for him the approach is all about building up “layers” in his flagship beer.
Another brewery that has a red ale as their flagship is Modus Operandi on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Like Morrison, Modus’ red ale is unchanged since its launch in 2014. However, its Red India Pale Ale, known as Former Tenant, is a different beast altogether. It may be similar in appearance to the Morrison’s Irish Red, but it’s much stronger (7.8% abv compared to Morrison’s 4.8%), and has a load of New World hops. Co-founder Grant Wearin explains that even though it’s a big beer, like the Morrison Irish Red, balance is still key to the final product. He explains that while many focus on the aroma of the beer, the result of generous amounts of Mosaic and Galaxy as a dry hop component, people might be surprised to learn that it has nine different malts. Wearin says the combination of malt is crucial to achieving the right balance.
“We want it to be layered, complex and we want to support a really heavy hopping regime, and we don’t think we can achieve that with a more simplistic grain bill,” Wearin says.
Like their red cousins, brown ales also offer a chance to play around with personal preference for hops and malt flavour. At Beer Farm, in Western Australia, head brewer Josh Thomas says his team approached theirs with an English influence in mind, and recalls examples such as Newcastle Brown Ale as its main inspiration. It uses a combination of six malts and classic English hop varieties East Kent Goldings and Fuggles. Taking a slightly different approach is Chris Farmer of Mr Banks in Victoria who uses four malt varieties, alongside modern US and Australian hops.
Both brewers, however, speak to the beer being approachable and easy drinking, despite the colour and number of ingredients.
For the rest of the feature, subscribe to Beer & Brewer here.
James Squire has announced the production of a limited run of 2,500 collector’s edition bottles of its The Wreck – Preservation Ale, crafted with yeast from a 220-year old bottle of beer recovered from a shipwreck off the coast of Tasmania.
Until now the beer has only been available in keg, but for those who missed out at GABS – or haven’t been into a James Squire venue recently – this is your chance to get your hands on a bottle and try this truly unique beer.
“The Wreck – Preservation Ale has an amazing story behind it, and the consumer interest in the beer has been phenomenal,” says Gordon Treanor, General Manager Craft Brands at Lion.
“The kegs sold out in record time at James Squire venues across Australia prompting the decision to release a limited quantity of bottles for sale.
“We expect the interest to drive strong demand for the bottles so people will have to act fast. It will be some very lucky dads will receive The Wreck this Father’s Day.”
The retail launch will see ‘The Wreck – Preservation Ale’ bottled in a premium 750ml glass bottle, with gold embossed label and wax dipped seal, and packaged in a hard black casing.
If you’d like to get your hands on one, around 2,200 bottles will be allocated to Dan Murphy’s stores nationwide from 20 August, with each of the limited edition packs to be numbered.
A small quantity of the packaged beer will also be available for purchase in Tasmania through the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery in Launceston, which houses the ‘Sydney Cove’ wreck. The museum, alongside scientists from the Australian Wine research Institute, collaborated with the James Squire brewers to bring the historic and unique beer to life.
A percentage of sales of The Wreck beer will fund further QVMAG research into the Sydney Cove collection.
Described by Robertson as the “spiritual sequel” to the Great Australian Beer Guide and 150 Great Australian Beers by James Smith, the book is aimed at both craft newbies and seasoned veterans.
“I get bored with a lot of beer books and guides which tend to be full of hard and fast rules – this food goes with this beer and needs to be in this glass – so I made sure to avoid clichés,” Robertson told Beer & Brewer.
“Even the seasoned veterans will find something that will surprise them and hopefully give them pause to try something new. On the flipside, if you are just starting out and want a beer to impress your friends, or to drink after work, there are whole chapters for those!”
Interestingly, the beers in the book are divided by occasion rather than style, encouraging people to think slightly different about their beer purchases.
But as Robertson explains, the task of whittling down the list of beers to only 150 wasn’t an easy one.
“I pretty much just made a list of breweries and beers I wanted to include,” Robertson says. “Just anyone I could think of, in a big spreadsheet. Then I whittled it down from there – looking at each brewery’s portfolio, what beers I personally liked and where I think they fit into the book.
“It was pretty difficult; if a beer was discontinued or a brewery had a big change it meant I had to find a new beer, which often had a domino effect… There was definitely room for more too – I’ve already tried a lot more beers from breweries that aren’t included but could be next time around.”
Keg Bottle Can will be available at all good book retailers on 1 August.
“We also really hope the brewers involved will be keen to put in their bars for people to buy, and a few bottle shops have expressed interest too,” Robertson adds.
“All I hope (other than you all buy it) is that people are encouraged and inspired to try new beers and breweries and do it with good food and friends. If we all do that, then I think the world will be a little nicer.”