Slow Beer

Friday, May 25, 2007

New Releases - Late May


Bridge Road Brewers Biere de Garde 2006 $11.50
Dark Isle Black Ale Porter $2.50
Dark Isle Pale Ale $2.70
Cascade First Harvest 2007 $3.00 / $12.00
Fish Rock Leather Jacket Lager $2.90 / $17.00
Fish Rock Red Emperor Ale $2.90 / $17.00
Red Hill Hop Harvest Ale $5.00

Chimay Grand Reserve 330ml $6.90 / 750ml $16.00 - NOW 2007 Vintage
Florisgaarden Strawberry $4.30
Florisgaarden Cherry $4.30
Florisgaarden Passionfruit $4.30
La Guillotine $6.50


Beer News - Micro-brewer Empire Beer pays $3.5m for Perth pub

Micro-brewer Empire Beer pays $3.5m for Perth pub, Elizabeth Gosch, 21 May 2007, The Australian

"WESTERN Australia's newest listed micro-brewer, Empire Beer Group, has bought a metropolitan Perth pub to try to win over city drinkers to its craft beer brand Colonial Brewing Company.

Empire, based in the wine-flooded Margaret River in WA's southwest, has purchased the $3.5 million Royal Bar & Brasserie in East Perth.

Managing director Phil Gallagher -- who boasts a beer- and football-filled resume that would be the envy of most men -- said the acquisition was the beginning of the company's dual growth strategy.

Empire aims to expand its Colonial Brewing Company by developing new micro-brewery sites to add to the Margaret River brewhouse as well as buying stand-alone food and beverage pubs and hotels.

"The acquisition of a profitable stand-alone hotel will allow Empire the opportunity to focus on on-premises sales, maximise its expertise and grow brand presence," Mr Gallagher said. "The Royal Bar & Brasserie is a high-profile, high-traffic tourist location and a leading Perth food and beverage venue, with significant potential for growth in both the local and tourism markets. It will provide the company with significant distribution and volume for its flagship Colonial Brewing Company brands."

The Royal will be cash-flow positive immediately and marks the company's first purchase for the year.

"We're already investigating a number of metropolitan and regional opportunities both in WA and interstate," Mr Gallagher said.

As well as building a portfolio of stand-alone hotels, Empire is planning a network of micro-breweries across the country.

Mr Gallagher is confident that craft beers are the way to go in Australia's diverse alcohol market.

"I'm a real believer in it, I think that's the future of beer," he said. "In the United States, premium beers account for 5 per cent of beer purchased, and in Australia more and more people are drinking imported premium beers."

Empire's shares closed at 21.5c last week, down 12.5c from their ASX debut in January."

Beer News - Stella stars

Stella stars, Willie Simpson, 8 May 2007, The Age

"THE champion lager was an unknown, the best new exhibitor was unpronounceable and the Premier's trophy for best Victorian beer went to, unbelievably, Stella Artois (the Belgian lager is made by Foster's under licence at Abbotsford).

Welcome to the 2007 Australian International Beer Awards, which this year threw up an even wilder grab-bag of surprises, anomalies and brain-snappers than usual.

Perhaps the organisers knew they had a rib-tickling script on their hands when they hired a stand-up comic for the awards dinner (and programmed the event to coincide with the Melbourne Comedy Festival).

Certainly the crowd chortled along when he tried to get his tongue around Bierbrouwerij De Koningshoeven but he really brought the house down when he read out Stella Artois as best Victorian beer.

To be fair, the Premier's trophy is awarded automatically to "the highest-scoring beer produced in Victoria" and the brewers at Foster's probably got as big a surprise as anyone that the Belgian
beer was even eligible for the trophy.

"We're delighted that Stella Artois was honoured at this year's Australian International Beer Awards," said Stella Artois spokesman Garry Hastings. "It's really nice recognition for the brewing team and confirms what premium drinkers have known for some time, that it's a great tasting beer."

But the engraving on the silverware says "Best Victorian Beer" and it's obviously an anomaly if it can be won by a foreign brew; perhaps the Premier's department could clear it all up by inserting a "state-of-origin" clause somewhere, in future.

On a more serious side, Victorian craft breweries performed well, picking up a swagful of medals, while Western Australian trio Colonial, Feral and Little Creatures breweries picked up four major trophies among them. It certainly highlights the two states where most of the craft beer action is concentrated at present.

In just his second year at the awards, young Beechworth brewer Ben Kraus was arguably the state's most successful entrant, with one gold and seven silver medals from 10 entries.

"We've lifted our game but so has the rest of Victoria," Mr Kraus says.

While his beers scored consistently well across a broad range of styles, which includes Bavarian weizen, saison and biere de garde, it was his everyday quaffer, Beechworth Australian Ale, that won gold.

"It was the first beer I made," he says. "We're in a small regional area and I wanted something moderate but well-balanced that would open people's minds to our other beers. "Some people aren't open to big, hoppy styles and we don't want to scare them," he says. "Australian Ale is our most popular beer on tap in the brewery."

The ale is made with Australian hops and malted barley and Mr Kraus says it's "the style of beer that was brewed in the past" but with "good balance, some hop aroma and estery characters".

Other Victorian breweries to win multiple silver medals included Matilda Bay Brewing (3), Holgate Brewhouse (3), Hargreaves Hill (3), Temple Brewing (3), 3 Ravens (2), Grand Ridge (5), Jamieson (2), Red Hill (4) and both James Squire Brewhouses - Portland Hotel (3) and Docklands (2)."

Beer News - Crafting a Market

Crafting a market, Rory Gibson, 1 May 2007, The Courier-Mail

"WHAT is the quintessential Aussie beer? What is the one beer you can say is truly imbued with the character of our nation?

Ask five people those questions and you will probably get five different answers, and the selection would most likely be more influenced by personal choice and brand loyalty than any objective reasoning.

The reality is that much of what gives Australian beer its identity comes from marketing. That is understandable given that beer is basically a combination of water, malt, yeast and hops.

But there is a fledgling craft brewing enterprise -- yes, another one in what is clearly a revolution gathering pace in Australia -- that has added something uniquely Australian to one of its beers and as a consequence has snared a multimillion-dollar distribution deal in the US.
Sydney-based Barons has four beers, including a lager, a pale ale and what it calls its Extra Special Bitter.

But it is the company's Black Wattle Ale that has made the world sit up and take notice.
It is a dark beer based on a Scottish ale recipe, but it has had ground roasted wattle seeds added late in the boil to give the beer its own Australiana taste and a lovely reddish hue.

Barons has signed a $30 million deal with importer United States Beverage, which will see about 1.3 million cases of Barons hitting bars and liquor stores in the US.

USB's national distribution network includes most of the leading independent beer distributors in the US, and it will be putting Barons beers in California, New York, Florida and Chicago to start with.

One of the two brains behind Barons is managing director Scott Garnett, who stitched up the American deal.

"We have worked on this agreement for 12 months, including significant due diligence on the US distribution system," he said. "We are delighted to partner with USB, a US national importer that accesses some of the largest and most experienced US premium beer distributors."
And USB is delighted to have Barons on board. Joe Fisch, USB's boss, said the company had been looking for "a great Australian beer".

"We reviewed the Australian beer market for some time looking for great Australian beers that had export potential," he said.

"We expect that Barons will be the largest Australian premium brand across the United States within a short period of time."

The other brain behind Barons is Richard Adamson, the head brewer. While he is proud of all his beers, he acknowledges the importance of the Black Wattle.

"I doubt we would have signed this contract if it wasn't for the Black Wattle Ale," he said. "It has given us an edge because it is an interesting beer to talk about and is uniquely Australian."

The genesis of Barons isn't unusual -- two blokes meet at university, discover shared love for beer, become home brewers to supply their own parties.

"Meeting Scott at uni, neither of us would ever shut up about beer," Richard said. "From drinking the first Coopers available in NSW to arguing over malt and hop amounts in early brews, we've been building towards Barons for years."

They went down separate career paths, Scott as a chartered accountant and Richard as an IT specialist. But eventually they decided to follow their real passion and make beer for a living.
The company's name comes from the desire by the dynamic duo to be beer barons, although Richard does have the title of Lord Richard Adamson, Baron of Sealand, thanks to a title bought off the internet by his prankster parents as a gift.

The fact they had successful careers in business around the world has no doubt helped them get Barons up and running and imminently successful.

They have a healthy roster of investors, a thoroughly researched business plan and plenty of ideas about new beers that could join Black Wattle as distinctly Australian.

What is unusual about Barons is that they have sought to conquer America before establishing themselves to a wider Australian audience.

"The reason we have gone there first is the size of the craft beer market over there is huge, and they are much more open to trying different beers than Australia is at the moment, although that is changing," Richard said.

This distribution contract will help drive the brewer's growth to the point where it is readily available in Queensland, hopefully, and not just in Sydney or San Francisco. "


Beer News - Big Island chief eyes froth off the top

Good for the promoters I guess..................

Big Island chief eyes froth off the top, Michael Weir, 13 April 2007 The West Australian

"Wine merchant and wireless technology group Wavenet International chairman Mick Stroud stands to be a big winner from his latest business venture, the $20 million float of a new premium brewery.

As well as Mr Stroud being the biggest shareholder in Big Island Brewing with a $6 million stake, according to the prospectus the company is buying his Perth Ice Works business for $2.2 million, leasing factory space from him for $810,000 a year and will take a major stake in his Total Wine Solutions distribution business for an undisclosed sum.

Big Island is attempting to raise $10 million at 40 a share in a float of 48 per cent of the business, but faces an uphill battle to reverse market sentiment that has left investors in some of its listed rivals nursing hangovers.

Perth has seen a flood of boutique beer listings in the past six months and all are trading well below their issue price. Gage Roads Brewings shares closed yesterday at $0.30, Colonial Brewing Co owner Empire Beer Group finished at $0.19, well down on its $0.35 issue price in January, and shares in the fledgling Oz Brewing are trading at $0.11, almost half the $0.20 issue price in late December.

Only Little World Beverages, owner of Fremantles Little Creatures and the veteran of the group with almost 16 months as a listed company, has left shareholders feeling merry. Little World listed at $1 in November 2006 and finished yesterday at $1.69, recently hitting a $1.78 all-time high.

Big Island managing director Shane OHart, a former senior executive of Coles liquor division and former WA manager of global spirits giant Diageo, said the company would stand apart from its competition because of its bigger brewing capacity that would make it a "volume craft brewer, not a boutique brewery".

He said the planned capacity of 9 million litres a year, more than twice that of Little Creatures and Gage Roads, plus the ability to increase to 14 million litres would make Big Island one of WAs biggest brewers.

Big Island is keeping its branding and range of beers, developed by former Swan brewer Hugh Dunn, under wraps but hopes to start brewing by mid-2007 and launch its first products by the end of the year.

"This (premium) segment of the market continues to grow as beer consumers trade up to premium products," he said.

Mr OHart said Big Island did not plan to have its own brew-pub or restaurant but would wholesale packaged beer directly to the big liquor chains and tap beer in some pubs.

Mr OHart said the purchase of Mr Strouds Perth Ice Works, which has 60 per cent of the Perth ice market, gave the company an instant distribution network and infrastructure, with the business to be re-branded Big Island Ice.

According to the prospectus, the Perth Ice Works deal includes paying $160,000 a year to Mr Stroud to rent the property where it operates.

Big Island has also agreed to rent the Canning Vale site of the collapsed fruit processing and juicing company Old Valley, which includes a bottling and filling line, from Mr Stroud for $650,000 a year. It also has an option to buy the property, which Mr Stroud bought from administrators Pitcher Partners for $4 million two years ago, for $6.5 million.

In addition, Big Island has the right to buy up to 10.8 million shares in Mr Strouds Total Wine Solutions.

Mr Stroud, who chairs Big Island, will be paid $228,000 a year plus car. "


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Recent Tasting Notes

Wineglass Bay Hazards Ale (10/20)
Buggar me! You think you know it all and yet another ne Oz micro hits my radar. Thin creamy head sits comfortably over orange / amber. Quite murky. Faintly sweet nose with a hint of banana. Flavour profile is quite unremarkable; more banana (albeit faint), a touch of licorice, but not much else. Thickens through the palate.

Two Metre Tall Forester Pale Ale (12/20)
What is immediately apparent is the high quality packaging complete with neck label that details brew date - nice touch. Dull orange in colour with a nice creamy head and decent, chunky lacing. Plenty of hoppy, herbal notes to smell, quite appealing I have to say. I was expecting a wall of hop action in the mouth but it never really arrived. Quite mild really, and I struggled to see much malt action, but regardless this beer is well put together and has a nice elegant hop kick on the finish. More pale ale than golden me thinks.

Weltenburger Kloster Asam Bock (15/20)
Crikey! The head on this thing dangerous; massive rocky texture, coffe coloured. Body is medium chocolate brown in colour. Aromas are forceful with a malty yeasty note, some burnt toffee and mazipan perhaps. A touch challenging. Palate delivers, mostly, the intensity of the nose. Sweet licorice-infused chocolate, thick malts, some fruit cake and heat on th finish. Low fizz. Drinks bigger than its 6.9%. Good.


Friday, May 18, 2007

New Releases - Fresh Kiwi & Pommy Gear

Emerson's (NZ)
American Pale Ale $8.50
Weissbier $8.00
Bourbon Porter $10.00
Tairie George $9.00
IPA $8.00

Pommy Gear
Guinness Foreign Stout $4.20
Badger Golden Glory $6.50
1698 Celebration Ale $6.50
Cumberland Ale $6.50
Theakstons Old Peculier $6.50
Fursty Ferret 8's $6.50
Badger First Gold $6.50
Thwaites Lancaster Bomber $6.50


Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Recent Tasting Notes

Scheldebrouwerij t Schoenlappertje (9/20)
Dry, understated style. Attractive to look at - thin persistent head and glowing rusty orange. Berry fruits quite apparent to smell but quite elegant. Does give the impression of added syrup. Dry palate structure, much more about crisp ’super dry’ lager notes with only hints of the blackberry fruit coming through. Miles away from dumb sweet Belgians like Florisgaarden. Just ok.

Höss Doppel-Hirsch (14/20)
No head to speak of. Medium brown in colour; murky. Fruity, malty nose with some alcohol dervied sweetness. Quite Belgian-like. Palate seems to be almost split in 2 halves - sweet malt flavours early but surprisingly settles down by the back palate. Weight is about right for 7.2% beer. Pleasant, if not perhaps spectacular.

Red Duck Limited Release Queen Bee Honey Porter (13/20)
The latest limited release from Red Duck. Not totally convinced that ’porter’ is the best classifier given the high alcohol weight and the Belgian Strong Ale-like thickness so happy to be corrected. Tan / chocolate brown in colour; looks good enough to eat. Sweet malts on the nose, a waft of ABV heat, no honey (for me at least). Strength of the beer is much more evident when tasting with sweet malts, thick and chewy, cooked fruits - quite Belgian. Finish is not remarkable as the flavours tail off somewhat, a disappointment given the early and mid palate power.


Monday, May 07, 2007

New Releases releases & fresh stocks for late April.

Red Duck Burton Bitter $3.20 / $19.00 / $67.00
Red Duck Queen Bee Honey Porter $4.20 (only 3 cases available!!)
Redoak Belgian Chocolate Stout $4.50
Redoak Christmas Cheer $4.20
Redoak Honey Ale $3.50
Redoak Irish Ale $3.50
Redoak Organic Hefeweizen $3.50
Three Ravens White $3.20 / $19.00

Affilgem Dubbel $5.50
Archel Bruin $7.50
Chimay Red 750ml $14.00
Chimay White 750ml $16.00
Lindemans Apple $6.90
Lindemans Kriek $6.50
Rochefort 6 $6.50

Greene King Abbot Ale $6.50
Greene King IPA 3.6% $6.50
Green King IPA Expport Strength $6.50
Greene King Strong Suffolk Ale $7.00
Moreland Excalibur Strong $6.50
Morocco Ale $7.00
Wychwood Circle Master $6.50

New Zealand
Monteith's Winter Ale $3.50


Friday, May 04, 2007

Beer News - Murrays Brewing Co

First newsletter from Murray's can be accessed via the link

Great to see that these guys intend to keep pumping out innovative beers. The upcoming Grand Cru and 2IPA should be awesome. In the meantime, and assuming you are a newbie to Murrays, check out the Nirvana IPA...bloody great beer.


Thursday, May 03, 2007

New Releases - Fresh Redoak Gear

Hot off the delivery truck.........

Honey Ale $3.50
Irish Red Ale $3.50
Blackberry Wheat Beer $4.40
Organic Hefeweizen $3.50
Belgian Choc Stout $4.50
Wee Heavy Ale $4.40
Christmas Cheer $4.20


Beer News - Latest Red Hill Newsletter

Click on this link

It's a shame the brewery is at least an hour's drive away as there's some great tastings and beer on this month. Would be interested in getting any feedback on how these sessions go.............


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