Monday, April 4, 2011

To Boozy and Busy Weekends

So happily the weekend is over. Nice to have a Monday to recover with.

It was a great Thursday night at the Rainbow Hotel seeing Tim Cannon and Twoks play on the same bill. My friends Brad and Seda came along who are staying with me at the moment, in an effort to make up for the great help they were on my Istanbul leg of my Beer Journey of Europe. Then who should turn up by Jaimi Faulkner who was my other drinking partner during most of my trip and who I had not seen since I was in Berlin. Having started on a Mountain Goat Hightail and then a 3 Ravens Golden with Brad and Seda, I used the $10 Nadene gave me for picking up some cups and saucers from Ikea to get a Montieth's Black, then finished off the night with an Erdinger Dunkel and Holgate Temptress with JF.

Was also a good event to test out my new camera, and have to say it came through pretty well. I very pleasing experience where the beers helped heighten the pleasure.

So to Friday where I was waiting at the front of the Local Taphouse at midday, and was the first to get in to start drinking through the top ten aussie beers they had on tap. The only one they didn't have on tap at the time was the Knappstein, so had the terrible decision of choosing one of the other beers on tap for the two beer flights I had that afternoon, washing it all down with a much needed 3 beer burger.

1) Stone and Wood Pacific Ale (4.4%) - very thirst quenching beer that is perfect for the aussie summer, and which was giving me pineapple when it was cold and passionfruit when it warmed up. Easy drinking and easily accessible to the general beer drinker. A good start for those wanting to take their first steps off mainstream beers, and for the hope that brings me, it is worth giving it the number one spot.

2) Little Creatures Pale Ale (5.2%) - another easily accessible beer. I wasn't getting much from this beer on first taste apart from the nice texture that is the style of LC. But as it warmed the fruitiness did come through. Not quite to the point of my fav LC Bright Ale, but still good none the less.

3) Feral Brewing Hop Hog (4.7%) - Hmm, not being a hop head I found the hops to be too overpowering for the background malt of the beer. The dryness on the back did not satisfy me either, but at least the hop did not linger much on the back palate. My first time trying this beer, and not sure if I will go back...much.

4) Murrays Icon 2IPA (7.5%) - Much better bodied beer to keep up with the hop flavour. Good texture and malt taste to meld nicely into the hop before the hops really spike at the end and linger for a long time after swallowing. Probably a step up from the Red Duck Bengal IPA that I have enjoyed previously.

5) Hargreaves Hill ESB (5.4%) - With no Knappstein on tap at the time, had to jump to this one. Baically the only thing I can say is that I prefer the Holgate ESB over this. I little caramel at the front, but no body or flavour to carry it through. Just sort of goes watery and slides down your throat, which was disappointing for an 'on tap' experience.

6) White Rabbit Dark Ale (4.9%) - Another beer that fails to interest me that much. Yes, I can taste the malt, and yes, there are hops after that, but with a meld from malt to hop that I don't particularly enjoy and a watery texture, it is always going to score badly for my personal taste.

7) Holgate Temptress (6%) - Of course, my pick of the top 10, and am greatly satisfied to see it here. I will just quote the Taphouse notes and say "Luscious chocolate and coffee flavours with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel." Basically, my type of beer!

8) Bridge Road Chevialier Saison (6%) - a bit like the Stone and Wood with the light body but fruity flavour that is easy drinking but with enough flavour to make it interesting to also contemplate over. My second favourite from the line up.

9) Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale (5.2%) - with the use of a bittering hop, is sort of tasted similar to an IPA, so didn't ring any good taste alarms in my mouth.

10) Weihenstephaner Korbinian (7.4%) - What a great find to see a German Doppelbock on tap, so easily a perfect substitute for not being able to try the Knappstein. This beer made me think of all the overtly sweet dark beer I had in Germany and made me think this was the benchmark they were trying to reach but never made. There was much more depth to this beer so the sweetness did not overpower it. In the end I was tossing up between this and the Temptress for my favourite beer of the tasting, but the Holgate won with chocolate flavour, whereas this had caramel (yeah, it was a tight battle).

So after all this I made my way home and got prepared for Stass and I to bottle our latest brew of a Honey Dark Wheat beer. Stass was running late, and seeing I had more tastings to get to I got started without him. Still, he managed to get here in time for capping and to let me know there was still 4 bottles left in a box he had brought over previously, when I thought I had run out of bottles. We did manage a taste and Have to say I am pretty pleased and looking forward to giving them a try in a few weeks. I found the honey was well presented and with the added chocolate malt helps it keep the flavour going across the tongue. Anyway, no judgements yet. While we were bottling I decided I should have a Knappstein, just to make sure I had some on this day. It actually tasted better than I remember, with some good fruitiness.

Stass then joined me for a trip to Purvis for the free beer tasting, and lo-and-behold, there should be tasting of 5 of the beers that made the top 10 in the critics choice, that I had on tap jut before. So went through the Pacific, LC, Saison, Hargreaves and Hop Hog again with Stass and the boys from Purvis. After a quick Mojo Pizza with Stass I made my way across to Slowbeer to catch the tailend of their Haand tasting. I didn't make any notes on these, bu do remember the smoke beer did remind me of the Bamberg Wheat smoke beer. Overall there was not a great amount of depth to them, but had a good European style to them. While I was there I booked in the for the 'Round the World' tasting to happen next month and had a growler filled with the Bre Dog 5am Saint...I am still waiting in anticipation for the Holgate Empress to come on.

Ended up having a quiet Friday night as had about 10 hours of yardwork to do on Saturday. Half with a volunteer group I do some work with, and the other half at Jess and Stass' new place. Stass and I got stuck into setting up out brewing shed and envisaging how it will look all set up with our brewing equipment in it. It was an exciting moment and was great to be there to help prepare it for what it will become.

After a couple Coopers Pales and a quick change at home, I went out to the Edinburgh Castle in Brunswick to see Tim Cannon play another gig. I saw they had Montieth's Black, so after a couple of those, got on the Ranga's with the boys after the gig, played some table tennis out the back, then got a lift with Tim to watch the final of the Cricket World Cup with dodgy Italian beer in cans, a Red Hill Golden and a Samuel Smith Organic Ale at Ben's place.

With 5 hours sleep under the belt (thank good for the extra hour coming out of daylight saving) I did a tip run with Joel, had lunch then watched the Rebels Vs Force game he had recorded from the night before. I grabbed him a Knappstein and I tried a Mussel Inn Dark Horse Stout, which actually reminded me a bit of the Holgate Temptress with the chocolate and texture, however, it did not have the depth of flavour in it. Still, an interesting beer that was worth a try. After a quick kip and some dinner, Kristy drove us out to the Northcote Social Club to see Jaimi do his only pub gig. After the weekend I had had, I kept myself to trying the Carlton Black on tap, which was pretty inoffensive and actually found I could enjoy it, even though I wasn't really focusing on it.

Anyway, after a good night sleep I am feeling a lot better, and just downloaded all the footage I took from his gig last night on my camera. So hope to show him it this evening when he comes round to do a Saison tasting with me. So keep tuned for that...

Ah, now to rest a little...


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