Saturday, October 23, 2010

Fed Square Microbreweries Showcase, Oct 2010

Finally had a chance to put up my notes from this journey I did on Wednesday. Overall, I have to say that the beers are getting better, and while there is still that nice experimentation going on (there is even one I tried that I will not speak of so as not to get the brewery in trouble [it was only meant for industry types, but managed to find a way to try it]. Let's just say it would have been nice if one of the brewers were doing a Kolsch beer [├Âlsch_(beer)] that had some white wine aspects with a nice rounded [dare I say 'buttery' Stass?] flavours at 10.2%. Can see why I also liked some altbiers in Germany...) the standard overall seem to be improving. Maybe I have just tried enough now to focus on the new beers and breweries that I like, but also think with ventures like this, the brewers are getting feedback to help them tinker with their brews.

Anyway, here are the beers I tried, however, not in any order. But you should be able to tell which ones I had early with better notes taken. Thanks to Tim for joining me at this event for his own journey. Hope you got some good ideas out of it, even if nothing came close to the Holgate ESB you know and love.

2 Brothers Voodoo Baltic Porter - Actually had one of these with Stass the other day, but thought I would try it from the tap here. I also had their James Brown Belgian Ale on Monday and found the dark bubblegum flavour to be enjoyable, so they seem to be getting better. There is a smokey dark malt smell with a good fine brownish head. This smokey malt translates into taste well, and while there is a decent texture up front, it waters on the back palate. There is also a last minute hit of malt before it leaves with a slight dryness.

Beacon Brewing Bitter (with infused coffee) - while there is a definite smell, there is not so much on the palate and what coffee flavour there is tends to the sweeter side and so dies off to leave no bitter aftertaste. Speaking to the brewer, he confirmed the coffee was added after first fermentation. Still, with it, I could not get much 'beerness' from it. Tim had the uncoffee-ed version and didn't seem to mind it.

Bellarine Queenscliff Ale - nice caramel smell which comes across also in taste, however not much body to go with it. The caramel seems to hold up over the flavour profile to even leave me with the sweet aftertaste. I find this very enjoyable to find, and wonder if they use little to no hops to allow for this to happen...

Bridge Road Breweries - I am unashamed to say this is one of my fav aussie brewers and still saddened a bit I could not go with Ben on the tour of Belgium through them. Still, I did it myself and so was good to be able to speak to Ben about it and the beers he had on offer. I had tried the Saison on Monday night while celebrating Immy's thesis hand-in and found it quite nicely rounded. Unfortunately they did not have the Wheat Dunkel (I did quite get a liking to the Erdinger Dunkel while in Germany) but did try the B2 Bomber (very dark and in their robust porter style, hops rise towards end but melds with malt nicely) and the Chevalier Biere De Garde (don't know this style, and unfortunately speaking with Ben too much to make any notes on it. I think it was a bit dark fruity with a hit of malt to go with it. However, did get some slight sulphur smell from it). I did get Tim to try their Saison, but I had to finish it for him. At least we know that one is not for him.

Bright Fainter's Dubbel - sulphur smell with a bit of malt and cream. Okay, not impressed, and maybe one I had later in the night judging by this note.

Coldstream Spring Dark Lager - Ok, it was dark for a lager, but not really that dark. Again with sulphur smell and only little malt hit. What did I expect?!

Grand Ridge - Very happy to see some new beers come out of here. The American Red Ale had a caramel with hop smell and a quickly diminishing head. The malt flavour leads well into the hop, but the latter spikes a bit (duh, american!) and then lingers in aftertaste. Seems to have some of their scotch ale qualities in it and definitely a bit of alcohol could be tasted. However, even more impressive was the Mirboo Midnight Oaked Dark Ale. Normally I would not start a beer journey on such a beer, but when I saw it was available, I could not help myself. There is a nice licorice and choc smell with a fine head and a dark/black body. Of course there is a ht of malt flavour to go with this with hops mid to late on the palate that lingers a bit. Has a very good texture, and while I could tell there would have been some intensity in the base beer, the oaking has stripped away a lot of harshness to give it the roundness and milder flavours. Still, with the B2 Bomber, probably my fav from the night, especially with the lovely texture to the Midnight.

Holgate Temptress - Okay, when the word came that it was closing made a dash for Holgate to have this beer last. Well, I found I had enough time to try the american red ale from Grand Ridge again (though, I was really trying for the Moonshine. damn it!)

Mildura Tongue Twister Stout - Has a light choc smell and taste with some creamy texture, almost to the point of being a bit sugary. After my experiences in Germany, could not help but remember the cola tasting dunkels, even though this beer didn't go that far.

Mountain Goat Bubble and Sqeak - Has quite a hoppy smell which comes through in flavour, but there is enough body in the beer to cope with it and not leave a bad aftertaste.

Otway Oktoberfest - was getting on in the session and was 'distracted' when experiencing this beer, but did have sulphur and a creaminess to it, but guess it was light on to make it easy drinking as a good oktoberfest beer should be.

3 Ravens Oktoberfestbier - The malt is good, and darker than I would expect for this style of beer, making it sweeter. Also tried their Smoke Beer, which while does have the classic liquified smoked ham aspect to it, is quite lighter, even against the Bamberg Weissrauch beer I had in Germany. Tim didn't like it at all...
I also tried their Noir beer recently and found it quite interesting and well worth a taste. will be keeping an eye out for more new brews to come out of these guys, as previously I had not been too impressed with their beers.

Thunder Road Pale Lager - One brewer I was interested to see, as they are new on the block. The lager had a decent head with a light body and heightened but still subtle hop smell which comes out more in taste but does not linger. Also has a bit of caramel and a decent texture to it. Definitely one for the summer months to come.

True South Wee Heavy - While I had recently tried the Renaissance Stonecutter's Scotch Ale recently, and found it smokey and not to my liking, this one was definitely better with good malt and body but not overly deep. Also had some sulphur smell to it.

White Rabbit White Ale - Hadn't actually tried this before today, and have to say like the change in hops I thought I tasted in the Dark ale from the last Microbreweries showcase (and asked a hop farmer about today), this beer really didn't do much for me. There was sulphur smell to go with the cloudy pale colour. It seemed to have too much carbonation to stope me tasting it too well, apart from some slight honey-like flavour.

So that is all 19, I mean 18 beers I tried at this showcase. Some good stuff coming out of the established brewers I like, others that are improving, and new guys coming into the mix with something interesting to bring. Pretty good result, and did not throw out a single drop of beer. This could not be said for Tim, who I ended up drinking some of the ones he didn't like just so as not to waste the alcohol, or if it was a beer I didn't mind.

Thanks to all involved in getting another one of these up and running. look forward to the next one and what will be new to try then.



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