Disclaimer: Though this is the second round, none of these events are second rate when compared to the five as mentioned in the original Ultimate Paddle post!
|That's a paddlin'!|
The Cicerone’s Table
Stomping Ground Brewery & Beer Hall
Weds 16 May 2018 (Several sessions).
Transport: Collingwood station is 200m away.
Anything you like, except Tim Hicks’ “Stompin’ Ground”!
Guy Greenstone and Steve Jeffares are two of the most seminal figures in Melbourne’s beer scene. The two are the guys behind one of the city’s finest craft beer bars: The Local Taphouse, and they even spearheaded The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular. You could be forgiven for thinking that these would be satisfactory accomplishments, but oh no. Certainly not when the world of beer is the ever evolving, ever exciting beast it is. For them, the next logical step was to start their own brewery.
Moreover you don’t rise to the top of your game without the intent of staying there. In order to do that you must capture the now, the new, the cutting edge. To that end Greenstone and Jeffares have embraced the Cicerone Certification Program wholeheartedly.
Stomping Ground Brewery & Beer Hall, located in the inner northern suburb of Collingwood whose boundary once habituated 40 breweries until 1900, is staffed by five Certified Cicerones alone. One Cicerone (who has yet to be announced) will take you on a guided tour of the brewing facility before a sit-down session featuring a selection of Stomping Ground beers. You will have the opportunity to explore beer ingredients (literally at your fingertips) while also learning what being a Certified Cicerone is all about. (Hint: They probably won’t disclose much about the exam I recently took!)
There are several sessions to choose from that day, with each running for 45-50 minutes. When you’re all done why not stop in at the beer hall for a Gipps St pale ale or two? Stomping Ground is a destination in and of itself.
|A Certified Cicerone has a strong baseline knowledge of all things malt.|
Pint of Origin: USA @ Carwyn Cellars
Transport: Tram route 86 (stop 41) or Thornbury station.
Jakatta: “American Dream.”
In my previous Ultimate #GBW18 Paddle post I featured destination craft beer bar Carwyn Cellars’ Good Beer Week flagship Garage Project event. It could therefore be stated I am a little biased, but the heck with it! Any bias in this case is well deserved. The team at Carwyn Cellars has once again gone above and beyond in bringing the USA to those of us for whom a trip to the States is, for now in my case at least, merely a pipe dream.
The full itinerary of events at Carwyn Cellars’ Good Beer Week Pint of Origin: USA was released on social media on Friday 27 April, and it reads like a who’s who, and refreshingly “who’s that?” of American craft beer royalty. Luminaries including Steve Wagner of Stone Brewing Co (Monday May 14), Weihenstephaner’s Marcus Englet (as part of the Sierra Nevada X Weihenstephaner collab launch - Sat 12 May) the crew from (estranged from Aussie shelves but recently returned again) Sixpoint (Weds 16 May) and Adrian Walker of Firestone Walker (Fri 18 May) head up the list of familiar breweries. Naturally they will be bringing with them a selection of beers you won’t want to miss, with exclusive, elusive beers from Stone’s Liberty Station being a notable highlight.
Less familiar names on the bill include Abnormal Beer Co. (also from San Diego), Anchorage Brewing Co (Alaska), Three Wavers (LA), Against the Grain and Stillwater Artisanal.
Abnormal Beer Co. is best known for its range of hazy IPAs produced at a brewhouse/winery/restaurant situated in an unassuming business park to the north of San Diego. Anchorage is a small operation based in the Alaskan town by the same name. Brewer Gabe Fletcher recently relocated Anchorage across town where his beer undergo oak fermentation. Los Angeles’ Three Weavers has bolstered the city’s young commercial craft beer scene with its range of hop-forward ales. If your curiosity is equal to your thirst you’d do well to visit Carwyn Cellars while these fine producers’ brews are flowing.
Against the Grain by name and against the grain by nature: This Louisville brewery has been pushing brewing boundaries and displaying an unhealthy obsession with Rick Astley and big beer pisstaking (where its beer naming flair is concerned) since 2011. Meanwhile Stillwater Artisanal is a brewery familiar to the most geeky of beer geeks but may be relatively unknown to the casual observer. The Baltimore brewery established in 2010 and backed by founder Brian Strumke’s strong homebrewing background is well regarded for its unconventional, eccentric beers brewed with all manner of herbs, spices and more.
Throughout the week it is likely a great deal of craft beer’s full stylistic spectrum will be covered. Beer writer Michael Jackson once said words to the effect that the range and depth of beer being produced in North America far outweighed his wildest imaginings - and that was quite a few years ago. Things only keep getting better, reaching fever dream proportions, and thanks to this year’s Pint of Origin and Carwyn Cellars, there is a real opportunity to sample a sizeable chunk of the USA’s hefty craft beer output.
Oh, and mustn’t forget the American-style barbecue to help soak up all that beery goodness, courtesy of Bluebonnet BBQ. Franklin’s eat your heart out!
I will be covering appearances by Steve Wagner, Three Weavers, Sixpoint and Adrian Walker as well as the Garage Project masterclass, in later posts.
|Firestone Walker's Adrian Walker will be making an appearance at Carwyn Cellars on Friday 18 May.|
Good Beer Mates
Transport: Tram routes 86, 96 (stop 12: Melbourne museum).
Lowkey & DJ B Roc: “London” (Key to the Game vol. 1).
It could be said Good Beer Week 2018 has a Trans-Atlantic thing going on. The Catfish is set to host some of the best brewers and names in craft beer from across the pond - London to be exact. The only thing growing faster than Melbourne’s population is London’s beer scene. It has exploded to life in recent years and some of the best brewers from The Capital are headed to Melbourne. And why not when English craft beer is not as omnipresent on Melbourne’s taps and shelves as that from the US, Scandinavia or New Zealand?
On Saturday 12 May the brewers who made The Bermondsey Beer Mile famous will take over the Fish showcasing their wares. The Bermondsey Beer Mile is to London what the Route 86 Tram Crafty Crawl is to Melbourne, although instead of tram tracks there are historic rail arches. The string of brewpubs now spans more than its original mile too. Expect the likes of Wild Card Beer Co, Fourpure Brewing Co and more!
The following Monday sees highly esteemed London beer writer Melissa Cole join Luke Robertson for a recorded episode of Ale of a Time. This one is not to be missed, for Cole has done it all within and beyond the world of beer writing. Her book Let Me Tell You About Beer is an engaging, informative, fun and easy to comprehend introduction to beer styles and food matching; and she has even had a hand in brew days at Fuller’s, Goose Island and Odell. A Certified Cicerone, Melissa Cole has even helped curate the beer list at Fergus Henderson’s St. John restaurant (one Anthony Bourdain’s sentimental favourite). This is an event not to be missed.
Throw in chances to meet the brewers of Fourpure (Sun 13 May), Affinity Brew Co (Tue 15 May) and Wildcard Brewing Co (16 May) plus loads of London beers across The Catfish’s taps and you have yourself a loaded up Oyster Card’s worth of Cockney inflected Good Beer Week goodness. Innit blud...
|For Good Beer Week The Catfish might as well temporarily call itself The Perch given the number of beers and breweries it will be showcasing from London.|
Mikkeller Pop Up Bar
Thurs 17 May 2018 (12noon-11pm)
Transport: Victoria Park station. South Morang / Hurstbridge line services will get you there.
ABBA: “When I Kissed the Teacher.”
From London Good Beer Week heads across the North Sea to Denmark, via Abbotsford’s Dr. Morse Bar & Eatery. For one night only one of the global craft beer scene’s most creative and eccentric brewers comes to town: the one and only Mikkeller.*
Seasoned beer geeks mahy already know Mikkel Borg Bjergsø was a high school maths and physics teacher. His already sound knowledge of all things Plato served him well as he rose from humble homebrewer in 2006 to the craft beer stalwart he is today. Mikkeller has also started brewing out of San Diego in recent years and Mikkeller bars can be found all over the world - even in Singapore.
Dr. Morse is the perfect venue for such a brewer’s showcase, for much like Mikkeller it is eccentric (a café, bar, eatery and pumping night spot all rolled into one) and creative (the Asian-inflected food here is top notch). The program entry promises cult classics and a few limited releases on draught and from tinnies, so you might find any one of the beers in Mikkeller’s Spontan, Beer Geek or Berliner-weisse range. Hopefully I’ve not said too much!
And don’t miss out on getting involved with the Can Art Auction while you’re there.
*Well not quite the only Mikkeller... Mikkel Borg Bjergsø’s brother Jeppe Jarnit Bjergsø is the man behind Evil Twin Brewing. Fun fact: The two are indeed identical twins!
|A particular favourite Mikkeller beer of mine: Spontanraspberry.|
Bodriggy X The Old Bar Collaboration Release Party
The Old Bar
Fri 18 May 2018 (4pm-late).
Transport: Tram route 11 (stop 16) or tram route 86 (stop 19).
Mike Brady: “Up There, Cazaly.”
What do muddy football boots, unicorns and sticky carpets have in common? Well not a lot frankly, unless a pub famously devoted to original live music has a colourfully characterful footy team playing in a local pub league. When the good folks at The Old Bar aren’t doing what makes this place special, they’re up there like Cazaly on the footy field, playing against other pub squads based in and around inner-suburban Melbourne.
Because the odds of a great grab being captured on video are Shane Buckley’s and none (not due to lack of talent, not even, but because sod’s law dictates the video recorder will die three femtoseconds prior to that Almost Football Legends-submission worthy screamer being taken...), Bodriggy Brewing Co and The Old Bar have teamed up to immortalise every Unicorns speccy ever. In beer form.
Speccy Juice is set to be a tribute to the on-field heroics of the Unicorns, while also being the perfect post-match session refresher hoppy IPA. It’s rather sweet to see a Good Beer Week event co-hosted by a celebrated local iconic music venue and equally characterful local brewery, and in so doing really embracing the flavour and culture of the Fitzroy neighbourhood. Naturally the party will get going good and proper from 8pm when the bands hit The Old Bar’s hallowed stage.
* I should have included a song by The Clash in there somewhere, not for cliché value but because, like any festival in the history of ever, there are clashes - and lots of them!