Saturday, 21 March 2015

An Evening With... Yeastie Boys' Sam Possenniskie @ Bob's Bar (Perth) - 9 Jan 2015

Let me say right up front that Bob's Bar is an asset to the city of Perth.  Few pubs and bars across the city and its surrounds, including Fremantle, rival the dedication to craft beer of this awesome place.  Aptly named after Australia's famous beer guzzling Prime Minister Bob Hawke and sat atop Print Hall, Bob's Bar provides the perfect haven away from the "Carlton" and "Tooheys" pubs that in no way accommodate the city's growing number of craft beer drinkers.  Occasionally esteemed brewing guests and their wares make an appearance and on the evening of Friday 9 January 2015 Yeastie Boys' Sam Posseniskie popped in for a fly-in meet and greet.

Bob's Bar - The Venue

The setting could not be more perfect for enjoying a casual brew.  Bob's Bar is one of only a handful of rooftop bars in the Perth city centre and, frankly, is the only one that bears mentioning (the others being the epicentre of the Douchebag Apocalypse).  The West Australian newspaper logo can be seen flanking the left-hand side of the venue as one walks from the entrance to the wooden bar and to the right there is ample, well shaded seating for all.  The atmosphere is infinitely more casual than the venues situated downstairs.  Refreshingly, Bob's Bar has a Tshirt-and-jeans-friendly dress code.  Hence I could think of few better places at which to unwind with a Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA.

 Did I mention the craft beer selection here is among the strongest in the city?  Bob's Bar's tap and bottled beer list is among Perth's most noteworthy.  You can expect to choose from a mostly local selection of tap beers (think breweries such as Colonial, Cheeky Monkey and Last Drop) with guests sometimes coming in from New Zealand breweries including Epic, Renaissance and Yeastie Boys.  American craft brews also make a welcome appearance.  The cocktail list is equally as strong with many ladies among the crowd opting for mixed drinks over craft beers.  Clearly this is not a wine lover's place as few appeared to be requesting it.  The accompanying snack menu leaned towards the American Mexican front where once upon a time Bob's Bar had gone in for more Asian inspired treats.  The nachos topped with a copious layering of guacamole are thoroughly recommended - a great match with your equally copiously hopped New Zealand IPA.

Naturally, as this night was all about Yeastie Boys and Sam Possenniskie, several of this fantastic New Zealand "gypsy brewery's" beers were tapped.  As the glorious Perth evening drew in I found myself sampling the absolutely gorgeous Gunnamatta IPA (infused with Earl Grey Blue Leaf English tea), Pot Kettle Black ale, Digital IPA; His and Her Majesty Belgian style ales.

Yeastie Boys - The Beers

Pot Kettle Black ale

Is it a black IPA or a porter?  Never before has a beer been more indecisive and yet so happy to be so!  As the name suggests, you may call it what you will.  Pot Kettle Black sits alongside BrewDog Libertine black ale as being a hoppy take on dark beers while conversely straddling into black IPA territory.  Pot Kettle Black's hop character is a little too restrained to be considered a black IPA however this is not to say its hoppiness is understated.  But I digress, Yeastie Boys have created a fantastic brew whose aroma and taste centres around dark, roasty malts, chocolate spice, subtle sweetness and even a touch of lactic sweetness; all rounded off with a contrasting tropical fruit finish.

Writers note:  Yeastie Boys has recently updated the livery of its labels - Pot Kettle Black is now known as a "Pacific Porter."

Gunnamatta IPA

For me, Gunnamatta is surely the most impressive brew currently on offer from the Yeastie Boys stable.  Believe the hype, tea-infused IPAs are made of awesome.  Gunnamatta can proudly boast being the People's Choice winner at the 2012 Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (GABS).  Frankly it is not hard to see why as this forward-thinking, Earl Grey tea-laden beer bounds forth with herbaceous, yeasty, citrus and tea aromas; a thoroughly engaging and lusciously smooth mouthfeel; flavours of citrus, bready malt; and of course tea on the finish.  Needless to say I went back for seconds and even thirds on this one whilst awaiting the arrival of Gunnamatta's creator.

"Sipping da def ale" with Sam Possenniskie (Yeastie Boys)

 Even with my eyesight it is possible to spot Sam Possenniskie a mile away.  Donning a pastel pale blue/turquoise T-shirt and apricot orange shorts, Yeastie Boys co-founder arrived on the scene at 7pm.

During the time spent chatting with the loquacious and amiable Possenniskie I learned a great deal about Yeastie Boys' recent activities and ambitions for the future.  Among the most exciting developments was a deal struck with the UK's Adnam's Brewery and the Wetherspoons pub chain for the supply of 50,000L of the once home brewed Gunnamatta IPA.  Possenneskie also made mention of Yeastie Boys' PledgeMe crowd-funding campaign that will see the brewery make its mark on the northern hemisphere beer scene through improved supply channels.  Further, I learned of the Yeastie Boys ethos as well as the trials and tribulations of "gypsy brewing" throughout the conversation.  Suffice to say it is a labour of love, but a fun and highly rewarding pursuit as well.

Conversation flowed as freely as the beer and it soon shifted to Digital IPA.  All you homebrewers out there will be keen to know that the recipe for Digital is completely open-source - the best bit is you can remix and tweak it to your heart's content, as though you were brewing's answer to A-Trak.

Alas, time went by as quickly as that between tunes in an A-Trak set - Possenniskie and his travelling posse could not stay long.  After all, this was a fly-in visit from South Africa to New Zealand via Perth.  As they were staying in Fremantle, the question was raised as to the best place to eat: the inevitable and obvious answer being Run Amuk Hotdogs Unleashed!

A special thanks must go out to Bob's Bar, Yeastie Boys, Sam Possenniskie and everyone involved in staging what was a fun and engaging meet and greet.  Yeastie Boys is without a doubt one of New Zealand and the world's most passionate, innovative, creative and colourful (not least because of the brewers' dress sense) breweries.  Take it from me, Gunnamatta IPA is among the best IPAs doing the rounds at the moment - you would be criminally remiss to overlook it while it is available.  Moreover, if you live in Perth and have never been to Bob's Bar in the past, get your clogs on and get on down!

Bob's Bar
Brookfield Place (Rooftop of Print Hall)
125 St. Georges Tce
Perth  WA  6000
Ph:  +61 8 6282 0077
Twitter:  @Bobs_Bar

Opening Hours
Mon-Sat:  12noon-12midnight
Sun:  12noon-10pm
Public Holidays:  Closed
Please note:  Closing times are subject to patronage.

As Brookfield Place is located on the St. Georges Terrace, it is relatively easy to find.  The easiest way to get here is via William Street.  Head South to the corner of William Street, cross to the Southern side of the Terrace and turn right.  Brookfield Place is located just after the set of pedestrian traffic lights (which may also be used).  If you walk by the Bank of China you have gone too far.

The entrance to Brookfield Place is marked by a board providing directions.  Ignore it.  Instead, continue South for a few paces until you see a lengthy walkway heading to the left.  Turn left here and keep going.  By this point you might be feeling a tad confused but keep going until you see what looks like a fancy bar.  You have found Print Hall.  From here, walk past the outside tables where people can be found drinking until you find a stairwell.  Bob's Bar is located up these stairs.  Alternatively there is a lift inside Print Hall (for those who are disabled or have the equally legitimate excuse of having recently climbed Jacob's Ladder).