In the last of the four Perth films made with Tourism WA and Taste Master, Rich Keam, we go from beachside breakfast to the ‘burbs to a decadent Chateaubriand lunch in the city. Whitney Ng is Rich’s expert guide and proponent of #yolkporn. She does an excellent job and you must check out Dine Whit Me to get more of Whitney’s take on all things food. This series has been an eye opener. I already knew that Perth folk loved their city but it’s taken me by surprise that pretty much all feedback has been positive. The snide and the snark has been nowhere to be seen. A welcome and all to rare occurance online.
Ok folks, turn away now if you’re irritated by trumpet blowing, gloating and oh how great is this type posts… in equal measures this may be it. To the rest of you, check this out it’s great. I’ve written here qute a bit about the journey I’ve taken over the past 4 or 5 years. I started writing as a way to flex my brain in more than corporate thoughts. It worked, as all these years later I’m writing for a living and beyond that working with great people to produce things like the Perth series I’ve been posting over the last week or so. This one you may have guessed is quite close to my heart… it’s about BEER!
Hope it made you thirsty, or craving a trip to W.A. If it did and you love craft beer, do me a favour and share this one… you know it makes sense.
When I first came to Perth, about 4 years ago, there was a feeling that a shift was underway in the city. Not just in eating and drinking, but across the arts and the mindset of the people. I’d hear comparison to other cities; a sign of a wannabee if ever there was one. I’d also hear plenty of trash being talked about a place that I fell in love with. It’s always the way that you can knock your own city, but woe betide an outsider who tries. Fast forward to 2014 and Perth is a different place in my mind. I’m now a resident, passionate about telling those who’ll listen about this sparky city sat alone on the side of a huge continent. The mindset is different. I don’t hear the comparisons as much anymore. i still hear bitching (sometimes from myself) but that too has subsided. Perth isn’t the wannabee. It’s arrived; recognised by the likes of the New York Times as a must see destination. Carving it’s own place without comparison, there’s things afoot.
So, I feel privileged to be part of a team that is bringing positive stories about Perth to the fore. I posted #RottnestLobster the other week. Now I’m posting #EatPerth, produced by Offshoot Creative for Tourism WA, it features Rich Keam, a winner of Best Jobs in the World and our very own Taste Master WA.
Rich’s guide is Laura Moseley. It’s difficult to describe Laura, but lets’s just say she’s an elegant, effortless, eating machine. I’m sure she’ll hate that description and I’m also sure it doesn’t quite explain the dynamo quality she posseses. Anyhow, that’s enough gushing… enjoy a view of Perth and see you soon for a Danny Zuccho.
The week before Christmas, while most were panic buying those last presents, getting sloshed at the works do and generally winding down, I was having an altogether different experience. We’ve been making some short food films with Rich Keam, who as part of Tourism Australia’s Best Jobs in the World, won the prize position as Taste Master WA. He’s been eating and drinking his way around Western Australia, for nearly 6 months now. If he wasn’t a fellow Englishman, sporter of a Beard and jolly good chap I could take a dislike to him purely on the grounds of envy. But luckily we (Offshoot Creative) were along for part of the ride. In the first of four Rich heads to Rottnest Island, off the coast of Perth. Guided by Kiren Mainwaring, one of W.A’s top chefs they’re on a mission to catch, cook and eat what the locals call Crayfish (AKA Western Rock Lobster). Enjoy!
When i first arrived in Perth, I made my intentions clear. In my own mind first and then in a piece for The West. I would not become a whingeing Pom. By putting it in print it was licence for friends and family to pull me up should I start to opine negatively on aspects of Perth life. I stray from time to time but pull myself back into line and give myself a mental slap. A hard one.
I’m keeping up my attempt at positive over negative, celebrating the great rather than skewering the poor and inept. It lacks a cynical edge that i feel lurks in every Brit but so far, so good; I think. There is of course a difference between a whinge and genuine criticism and I reserve the right of fair and balanced critique, as opposed to a soul sucking whingey tirade. I do find that far from the whingeing Pom, there’s a dissatisfaction amongst the Aussies I know about aspects of Perth life. Whether that’s prices, service, politics, development, you name it. The expats and even eastern state incomers I meet are upbeat and see the positives of life here. We came here by concious choice of course.
Perhaps those raised in Perth see that something has been lost? That expansion and wealth has changed aspects of the City and the State? That Perth will be indistinguisahable from other cities? That parts of what they love will be lost to change – be that good or bad.
I don’t know – maybe you can tell me?
So my point? I think that Perth is a city coming into its own. Changed since I first visited not too many years ago. The hospitality scene grows, imitates and now innovates. There’s a growing confidence that I think will only lead to great things. Speaking to Mechanics Institute bar manager and champion bartender, Ben Tua, the other day it’s clear we are on the cusp. He heads off to Amsterdam as Bols Champion Bartender for Australia and New Zealand. In the last rounds of that comp, 4 contenders were from Perth. He’s up against global competition to bring home the title of Bols World Champ – who knows he may get a statue in Northbridge if he does. He pointed out that Perth 4 years ago was unloved by parts of the drinks industry. Now: “they wouldn’t think of not coming to Perth”. The mushroom cloud that is the small bar scene has doubtless been a main feature of this change. It’s one example repeated. The success of events like the Hawkers Night Market and the Gourmet Escape being others at different levels – feel free to fill the gaps in the comments. So, we should challenge and champion, banish the whinger in us all and see where this take us.
I’ve been locked in a battle that is as old as humans stabbing water with a spear… the battle of Man v. Fish.
I’m not a fisherman by any stretch but give me a bucket of bait and put a rod in my hand and a hardwired need to catch it, kill it, eat it, takes over.
Fishing from the jetty and boat both day and night have seen me catch nothing more than an undersized bream, thrown back to grow an extra few centimetres that will see it stay in the bucket when we next meet.
My first fishing trip had caused a stir amongst the in-laws. My Huck Finn, dangle the rod in the water approach had seen the only proper catches of the day, much to the surprise of the assembled Australians. This time it seemed the fish had smartened up as they tug the bait from my line. I seem to spend my time rebaiting my hook after feeding another. Can fish laugh? I’m sure I heard some gurgled riverbed cackling. Maybe that was just too much sun.
Switching to crab nets saw no more success. As we dropped and raised the nets time after time it was like fishing for plastic ducks at the fair as I’d hook the buoy from the boat, hauling up an empty net, the bait untouched. Nice try, but no prize this time.
You may think that this all a demoralising fishy rout but trying to outwit the little creatures, dolphins darting through the water at a distance, black swans gliding in from above and pulling a cold Little Creatures Pale Ale from the esky isn’t a bad way to spend your time and there’s always tomorrow.
In a first for The Pub Diaries we caught up with Matt Marinich of Fremantle’s Sail & Anchor for a quick Q&A.
What’s most likely to be overheard in the pub?
“I can’t choose, there are too many beers!” I like when I hear a customer say this, its rewarding. With 43 beers taps with 26 different beers running
through them, I like to spoil the beer geek in everyone.
Favourite place to enjoy a beer?
Short of my own haunt, Monk Brewery and Kitchen is about 30m across the road. Great Rauchbier, superb Kolsch and a 6.2% Hibiscus Wheat beer with serious flavour. I worked with the Head Brewer Justin Fox at the Sail back in the day.
If I wasn’t running a pub I’d be…
a commercial brewer. I am an avid home brewer and massive beer geek so I would get certified and would love it.
What’s your definition of a perfect pub?
Tough question…a venue with solid examples of beer styles on tap and in package, not just random beers for the sake of it. Simple offerings, nothing over the top; genuine customer service from staff who really care about the beer.
What’s your vision of Pub hell?
I had a nightmare once that all I could order at this pub was XXXX Gold. It really disturbed me. I woke to realise no one is that mean.
What was the last thing you got excited about?
Becoming BJCP certified. Currently studying with random brewers/beer judges whenever I can. I will be associate judging at this years Perth Royal Beer Show. Secondly, I’m pretty proud of my organisation/execution of FEBREWARY. Also, the Sail and Anchor being voted “BEST BEER VENUE 150PAX+ IN WA.”
What’s happening? Future projects, hopes etc.
Amateur Brewing Competition will see an old school favourite be welcomed back to the taps. Moreover, the chance for some talented Aussie home brewers to shine. FEBREWARY -
Pouring in Febrewary will be a total of 42 beers from:
Rogue (US), Southern Tier (US),
Mikkeller (DEN), Nogne-O (NOR), Dupont (BEL), Lindemans (BEL), BOCQ (BEL), Weinhenstephan (GER), Sunner (GER), Weltonburger Kloster (GER), and Brew Dog (Scot).
Epic (NZ), Renaissance (NZ), 8 Wired(NZ)
For some of these beers it will be the first time they have been poured in WA
Sail & Anchor, 64 South Tce, Fremantle, Western Australia, 6160
Before I had even reached Western Australia I’d had Craft Beer recommendations from friends in Perth and via Twitter. Out in front was a visit to Fremantle and in particular the Sail & Anchor, so it seems fitting that’s its my first Aussie post.
Many see Fremantle as a part of the Perth sprawl but it’s got its own character beyond the mix of colonial and industrial architecture. Freo has a feel and pace different to Perth. Perhaps the presence of 3 great Craft Beer destinations has something to do with it? As much as I loved Little Creatures and The Monk (keep your eyes peeled for these posts soon), the Sail & Anchor spoke more about how you can take an appreciation of Craft Beer and the Aussie pub and put them together to create something great.
Firstly it’s a proper pub. Looking around on a busy Saturday, it’s a real mix of drinkers, all enjoying the 43 taps, 25+ beers and 3 bars. We head up to the first floor and the wrap around balcony where we are meeting friends. Its my last day in Australia and as we sit in the warm afternoon heat with the sound of the buskers below i’m thinking of ways to not get on the plane. A great pub with great beer (which I confess I took a note of and subsequently lost) will do that to you.
It doesn’t stop there as with Iron Brew and Febrewary, the Sail & Anchor shows that it’s is run by beer lovers for beer lovers. Febrewary offering punters the chance to travel the world in 28 days, with a mix of imports and Local Breweries’ international-styled beers. Iron Brew steps beyond celebrating commercial brewers and tips its hat to the humble homebrewer; pitched as an Australia wide search… to find an amateur brewer game enough to clone brew an old school Sail & Anchor brew, the Iron Brew English Strong Ale. The concept of Iron Brew fires my imagination and sat in the departure lounge has me looking for homebrew recommendations. An Iron Brew fermenting as far a field as South East London.
Sail & Anchor, 64 South Terrace, Fremantle, Western Australia, 6160