Thursday, February 25, 2010

Beer Journey of Adelaide

Hi Fellow Beeries,

Just back from a trip to Adelaide. Unfortunately I didn't try a West End lager :(, but did get to try a few beers while over there. First I did a brewery tour of Coopers, which ended up being the best value for money brewery tour i have ever done. Not only was the tour interesting (sorry to all the other tourists for having to endure all the questions I asked), but as you can see, we tried their whole range of beers, including 2 of their vintage ales and we got to keep the tasting glass we used. 
Of these, I quite liked the light, but malty and citrusy taste of the clear (yes, even the tour guide agreed low carb beer is an oxymoron), of course the best extra stout, but the overwhelming best was the 2008 vintage ale. I had never actually tried this one after being slightly disappointed by the 2007 vintage, but was it ever great. low, and well blended level of hops with a velvet dark malty taste, that even after 8 other beers still came through so well. I will be on the look out to find some more of this (if I can find it). The other well remembered part of this experience was to hear from the tour guide that technically, beer does not need hops to be a beer. Take that you american hop heads!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Also, as to be expected, i did make a visit (or two...or three) to the Wheatsheaf Hotel. The first visit i had a Rouge's Pilsner on tap (yep, just too hoppy for me), a Southern Teir Raspberry Ale (hmm, sweet raspberry) and an Ace of Spades Stout (bit too coffee, but velvety texture). The second visit was kept to one beer.
This is a Southern Tier Imperial Chocolate Stout. And did it ever pack a punch. it felt like i was drinking chocolate essence, with a strong bittersweet chocolate taste and 11% alcohol. It took me 2 hours to drink the 650ml bottle and 4 hours to stop feeling drunk afterwards. it was an experience, and almost too much even for me!

Third visit i kept very quiet just having a Samuel Adams Black Lager, in the style of a Carlton Black or Tooheys Old. I actually found this to be very enjoyable and even just sipped it to enjoy it longer and let it warm. it was quiet malty but didn't have the wateriness of a lager. it was quite smooth which was a pleasant surprise.

Another beer of interest was a Maiden Ale by locals Brew Boys, which seem to be quite an experimental brewer.

Two other gastronomical experiences occurred that were of great interest to me. One was a good Lamb and Guinness Pie I had with a Pint of the Black stuff I had at the Irish pub across the road from the Fringe Festival's Garden of Unearthly Delights. Gravy in the pie was awesome. The other is the Top Deck Hot Chocolate and White Mud Pie I had at a place called Cocolat. Good dense cake, and good blend of white and dark chocolate in the drink. I think these say a lot about my taste in beer as well...



Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Beer Journey of Perth

Hi all,
Having come back from Perth early this morning and while the trip is fresh in my mind thought i would divulge my trip to Perth. To be honest, beer became just something to accompany the great time Joel and I had over there. I only really tried a few different beers. 1) Swan Draft. For a mainstream beer is actually went down ok, and the normal yeastiness was not as present. Trust WA to do a half decent mainstream beer. Still, it has a great amount of competition. 2) Monkey Brass Stout by the Sail and Anchor in Freo. Fairly standard aussie stout, but had a good texture and did appreciate the vanilla in it from my own musings. 3) IPA, again by Sail and Anchor. Good hit of malt on impact with the tongue but then overidden by hops which is right for the style.
Ok, so the first beer i had was a Guinness  in Yokine's Mighty Quinn Irish Pub. Suppose to be quite good with the pour and while 2 were quite good for aussie standards, one was not quite with them. good texture even though slightly watery. Also had a beef and guinness pie, which was tender but had something else in the gravy that did not sit well.
Of course the carlton at the rugby (force vs brumbies) was not great, but being midstrength it went down quite too quickly to notice taste, plus as my attention was more on the game.

Anyway, as with most people, Little Creatures is the place to visit when in Perth, so we decided to go both on Saturday and Sunday. As you can see we got excited seeing the big vat of Bright Ale behind the bar, and hoping it had sufficient stock in it. We had two great visits where the atmosphere creates a time warp where 4 hours goes by in 30 mins.

Also on the Sunday, we were lucky enough to have friends with a boat that offered to take us out to Rotto (what is it with shortening words with 'o' in Perth?), so of course we took it and after exploring it by boat we stopped at the Quokka Arms (yes, i thought it would have been small seeing quokka's have small arms. Hey, there's the Dad Joke you were after Em!) for lunch and soak up the great place. 

As you can see, having got a good possie, James Squire Golden Ale became the beer of choice here, and for most of the rounds we had over there. 

Anyway, thanks to Zven, Em and Phil for their great hospitality to go above and beyond to make our trip so amazing. I look forward to heading back over there. Maybe next time we will have time to try out the other renowned breweries we didn't have time (would you believe i didn't make time for that!!!!) to see this time.


- Beef 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Deus, Belgium/France (11.5%)

I just spent a week up at my folks farm and had one night out with my friends Kate and Cam and so hit Silo on the foreshore for dinner. Apart from a local Murray 'Endless Summer' (easy drinking lager with a hit of hops) every other beer I asked for was not available. therefore I just had to spend big on one bottle of this stuff (at $65 for the 750ml bottle). A spiced ale brewed in Belgium and aged for a year in a cave in France, this 2006 vintage sounded more like a wine than a beer, and then when it was served in an ice bucket and champagne flutes I was quite interested to see if it actually tasted like beer. 

Only having tasted 'a few' beers in my time on earth and some concentration could I taste the beer. My mate Cam thought it tasted like a light rum. As you can see in the photos it is clear like a lager and as usual the head did not hang around for long after pouring. The initial taste was a bit of a head spin. I don't really get into spiced beers but with the aging this one had it was quite mellow of the foretaste, then as you would think the alcohol starts to take over as it slips down the throat. However, even this was mellowed and there was no alcohol sting or aftertaste. 
Even the change from spice to alcohol in taste was very easy in this beer, so like a couple of beers of this alcohol i have tasted now, for what it was it was quite easy drinking (unlike the 14% Epic beer i had in Portland over a year ago). I have tasted beer with 7% or 8% that have a harsher alcoholic taste, along with a harsher masking taste to dilute the alcohol or over-stimulate the tastebuds ready for the alcohol hit. While it is not really a beer I enjoy the taste of that much, it had been brewed very well and so can appreciate the effort that had been done to produce it. still, my whole mouth was very furry the morning after. One beer I can say I have tried and don't need to taste (or pay for a taste) again.
Am heading off to Perth today so who knows what beers I may find there...


 - Beefy

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Bright Staircase Porter (5.7%)

Having just done the climb up Mt Bogong on the weekend, and knowing this brewer did a beer named after the track used to get up the mountain, I thought it appropriate i try this when i went into a great bottlo today (am sure to discuss this in later blog entries with shopping for beer). This beer poured dark with very little on the nose which isn't too uncommon for a porter. what little i can get in smell is slight cocoa and even a touch of alcohol (still, not as much as the brandy we drank while on the hike). I am not sure if it is just this batch or individual beer, but upon opening the beer, head started to come out the top, and while it has settled in the glass, everytime i take a sip it heads up in my mouth. I am finding the very hard to overcome to be able to taste the beer. It really is very difficult to taste this beer as carbonation takes over, and finding i have to sip so my mouth doesn't explode with foam. it does seem to be quite standard with a coffee/choc foretaste, but then as it slides over the tongue a chemical mid-palette appears with a dusty cocoa aftertaste. However, this doesn't seem to linger for long, and it not bad enough to make me not want to try it again (in the hope for something better). the carbonation level is so high i am feeling bloated after only a third of the beer, which again is quite disappointing. Like the walk it started with a lot of energy (head) but has become a very slow process as i continue along, with a need for periods of rest. there is also a lot of air/carbonation being processed. one difference is though that unlike a heavy pack, this beer does not sit hard on the stomach, which at least makes it easy in one regard to drink. The further i go along the stronger the chemical taste seems to become (or is it more just the carbonation?), which again only takes me further from enjoying this beer. In a final comparison I think like Mt Bogong, i will probably not be trying this beer again.