Pia joins us from girl + beer, a beer blog about the Western Australian beer scene and just beer in general! She also does the occasional post for Crafty Pint. Pia’s love of beer bounces between simply drinking the stuff, enjoying great venues and events, and pairing it with food. When she’s not drinking or writing about beer, Pia reads everything she can get her hands on about the subject. Check out her blog, or follow her on Facebook or Twitter for ongoing updates. 

This article is part of an ongoing series about “conversion beers” – the story of getting hooked on great craft beer. To see all articles, go here.

This is Pia’s Conversion Beer

If my memory serves me right my first beer was Carlton Cold. My friends and I were certainly not underage drinking when we got some Carlton Colds and Strongbow Ciders. Thankfully I have been a lot nicer to my palate since then.

From that 6 pack of Carlton Cold stubbies to the empty bottle of Lindeman’s Curvee Rene currently sitting on my desk, I can pinpoint two conversion beers that significantly contributed to my craft beer journey.

I already had a soft spot for Matilda Bay beers with memories of being a kid and going to the Fremantle Markets with my parents, we would stop at The Sail & Anchor so Dad could have a pint of Redback so perhaps it is unsurprising that my first conversion beer was Matilda Bay’s Beez Neez. I liked the fact it was made in WA, because back then it actually was, and I liked the honey taste, it was something I had not come across in a beer before. For a couple of years Beez Neez was my go-to beer. Then I got a job at a bar serving lots of Belgian beers.

I had been working as a waitress at a functions centre for about a year, my first hospitality job, and I had decided I had enough of serving plates of chicken breast and steaks at weddings. I then got a job at the almost-open Belgian Beer Cafe Westende in Perth’s CBD and when I stepped behind the bar a whole new world of beer opened up to me. I fell head over heels in love with Hoegaarden’s fluffy white head, coriander and orange peel and from there I worked my way through the bar. Besides the array of flavours in the beers I was equally smitten with the stories behind them, like the fish retrieving a lost wedding ring (Orval) or the Trappist monks who were so dedicated to their craft. To say a whole new world of beer had opened up to me is an understatement, it was like Alice falling down the rabbit hole into Wonderland.

Craft beer has rewarded me with delicious beers, interesting stories, genuine and generous friends, it has even flown me around the country and I have laughed A LOT. Since that Beez Neez that led to Hoegaarden my love for craft beer has grown; I’ve stayed in Wonderland and I’m not leaving.