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...