Monday, May 30, 2011

Back to Hobart

After a short detox after Good Beer Week, I made my way down to Hobart, and went straight to Monty's for my customary Cascade Export Stout over lunch, getting in contact with Moo Brew to book a tour and talk to Jon about catching up with him before the tour the next day.

With the weather good, I went for a walk around town, ending up at the New Sydney Hotel where I tried a Stark Raven Stout with a wallaby pizza before hitting a Brew Dog Tokyo, that was on tap! The local Stark Raven had a very luscious licorice flavour to it that made me think the alcohol was quite high, but after heading back to the bar to ask, found it was only 6%, so felt much better going for the Brew Dog after that. Still, getting half a pint of it with a pint of water, I sat at the bar (to make sure someone noticed if I fell off the stool) and slowly sipped away at it for over an hour. As a little experiment, I had a bailey's after the Tokyo, and apart from a very slight taste of alcohol, it was basically like drinking a chocolate milkshake...a very strange experience. With only a few drinks under the belt, I was able to get to bed early for a big Friday.

Getting on the first boat out to Moorilla the next morning, I spent a few hours going through the new MONA building that was not open last time I was down here. Meeting up with Jon to taste a few of the beers in the bar, I checked out one of the only 13-odd 55% 'End of History' Brew Dog beers, that the owner of Moorilla payed something like $2,500 for a scottish costume wearing taxidermic squirrel stuffed with a bottle of this beer in it. The Hop Harvest was pretty strong in hop aroma, with a somewhat sharp bitterness at the back, but found the hop flavour did not come through as much. The Saison was tasting better than my last try, but still getting some wateriness towards the back. Still, a few more weeks has helped build some body to it. The current stout has some decent roastedness to it, which is diminished in the previous years stout. In both I did get a strange taste I am not use to in stouts, but found it hard to pick what it was, but was less in the '10 stout.

I quick trip from there, Jon took me out to the new brewery to show me how much better they are now set up, and how they are looking to increase the range and amount of beer they can get from this new facility. Of particular interest was seeing the pinot noir oak barrels holding the current stock of Vintage Stout that they will be bottling as I write this, and filled me with excited anticipation to try the latest version. After seeing a few familiar faces, and meeting a few new ones that the new facility has helped bring into the fold of Moo Brew, we tasted a second batch of the Saison, that I have to say I prefer, with an even fuller body of taste and less wateriness to it.

Scotty is one of the newer members of the Moo Brew crew, who has come across from the states to help build the range of the brewery and bring his own touch to the beers they brew. As he was going to be taking the tour that afternoon, he took me back to Moorilla, where I met up with Mick, and tasted a couple of wines with him before the tour. There was only 7 of us on the tour, so Scotty kept things pretty casual, basically letting us crack open any beer we liked while doing the tour. With the sun going down, the balcony view was again stunning, and was nearly enough to forget I was on the tour. Still, with a lovely beer in my hand, it brought me back to the tour. Scotty was very knowledgeable on beer, and not shy is stating he wished to up the amount of hops used in the brewery's production. Being so knowledgeable though, answering some of the questions from the crowd were made a little difficult, and his pure passion for beer came through in how much he wanted to inform us on what he knew. This was great for an equally excited person like myself, but I still tried to ask questions that I hoped would help the party understand instead of become overwhelmed with the beer information coming to them. During the tour, Scotty even opened a Vintage Stout for all of us to taste. With the rest of the crowd having had enough, it was left to Scotty, Mick and me to continue chatting after the tour, when who should turn up but Dave taking a few mates around the brewery. Having heard he will be heading up to work with Temple Brewery, I look forward to the new facility opening up in Brunswick.

With Scotty seeing us off with a few 'spare' beers from the end of the tour. Mick and I made our way into town, and headed to New Sydney for locally made 5 Hop Frenzy and 77 Elephants before heading to dinner, where I was underwhelmed by a Two Metre Tall Pale Ale. Finishing the night with a quick visit to Monty's to see the karaoke over one last Cascade Export Stout.

Needing a quieter day the next day, we visited Cool Wines, where we were recommended to visit as the beer bottlo in town, finding a Brugge beer I decided to bring back with me, and having a good chat with the staff member, and exchanging each other some good beers to try. Getting back into my brothers forte, we did a quick trip out to Pooley Wines to taste the nice rieslings they have before getting on a plane back to Melbourne to attend Stass's Buck's night. After a long night of bowling, boag's beer, bailey's, some bad karaoke, and of course boobs, I am now on another break from beer until the need to celebrate Stass and Jess's marriage this weekend, will again bring back the necessity to have a beer or 10.

Big thanks to the Moo Brew boys for organising for me to check out the new facility and for throwing a few beers our way, particularly Jon and Scotty for being tour guides. Another great visit to Hobart, and now just waiting for our assignment of Vintage Stouts to come my way...

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