The final day of Good Beer Week started with Stass and I feeling ok (except for an alcohol burnt tongue) after the big beers from the night before, but feeling the bloatedness I've had to contend with all week. After some brekky I decided to take Stass to one of the best venues I'd been to on my travels during the week.
We sat down at Josie Bones to gawk at the tap list and start the day with the Moon Dog Black Lung and Gulden Draak. The dark spirit and woody smell and taste came through on the Black Lung, but it was pouring even worst then on Friday, so some taste and texture seemed to have been lost from it (maybe my tastebuds were just finally giving up). The Gulden Draak had a really nice caramel nose and straight barelywine taste when it was cold. As it warmed up more of the caramel came through, and with a good creamy body to carry it over the tongue, this became another favourite from the week. We also tried out the Nogne O #100. While cold, the hops were pretty strong on the nose and midpalate, but still cleaned up ok with a decent body overall, helps with the malt backbone. As it warmed up, the balance of hops and malt really came through to make it a really good example of a dark/black IPA. Was interested to see that instead of the dark bitter malt to meld into the hop that seems to be the norm with this style, there was a sweeter malt and more citrus/fruit hop that melded quite well and more to my own personal taste.
Moving onto the Dog's Breakfast (one more time), the smoke still overpowers, but have heard that in the bottle this is diminished to help balance it out a bit. Stass was interested to get some 'mushy pea' smell from it, which I could sort of pick up, but had no idea where it came from. Still, who can say what can come out from a beer with the ingredients it does. Still this was easily outdone in the round by the Hitachino Espresso Stout, which had that same mocha porter smell and taste for me. Still, I was getting less mouthfeel to let it coat my tongue better (again, maybe just where my tongue is at after this week), and Stass wasn't digging it as much as me. He was digging the chicken giblets that I have to say were good at cleansing the tongue enough to keep enjoying each beer.
We could have finished this part of the day now, but after the Gulden Draak I had a caramel craving, and seeing the Weihenstephaner Korbinian was in bottle form here, I had to try it again. Out of the bottle it sat a little heavier on the tongue and so seemed a bit more cloying than when I'd had it on tap. Still, that sweet caramel smell and taste, that just holds and holds across the tongue, leaving with some residual sweetness on the back that almost makes it overbearing, even for a sweet tooth like me. Simple, clear but cleaning up just enough for my palate at the back with alcohol and very mild hop makes this my personal favourite from the week. I now want to try and brew something like this, even though I know Stass will ruin it wanting more hops to balance it out (boo!).
Thanks once again to the staff at Josie Bones. It is good to be able to go in there at quiet times to chat with them and get their thoughts on beer they have in stock at the moment. Also caught up with Rose who I had seen a couple of times during the week, and found a 'treasure' of my own with the German Beer Drinking songs album they have on display. I want to hear that album next time I go in!
Making our way to Slowbeer for our final event of Good Beer Week, my brain started to play up knowing it was nearly over and soon would not have to concentrate of keeping me going though the alcohol haze that became each day. Still, before it could switch off completely we had the final 18 beers to get through as we traveled the old and new world of beer taste established brews with an aussie equivalent. I though the order was a little strange, but in true 'Slowbeer' style, with the breadth of beers instead of depth in this tasting, they still managed to play around with our taste buds (what was left of them).
The Saison was between Dupont and Otway, and having heard the latter was pretty good, was excited to try it off against the classic. The light, fruit/yeasty Dupont was quite refreshing, even with a little driness on the back, whereas the Otway sat heavier on the tongue and had a slight smoke back to it. There is a darker fruit smell, but the darker malt to go with this seem to mask the fruit. The body does lighten up a bit when left to sit on the tongue though. Stass made a good point that the alcohol in the Dupont, while not coming through in taste, was a bit high for a refreshing beer like this, and would like it about half of what it was.
The Abbey Dubbel was between a Rochefort 8 and Bright Fainter's Dubbel. With me love for the Rochefort 10, I wasn't sure if I had even tried the 8 before and after the Korbinian I'd had earlier in the day, my tastebuds went straight back to that, even though the higher alcohol in this helps cleanse it a bit more. I did find however the carbonation did ruin the texture. The Fainter's had a dusty and lackluster dark caramel, that sat heavier on the tongue and doesn't clean up so well in comparison.
Onto the Hefeweizen duel, the Weihenstephaner had the banana, lightness (to the point of watery) with the dry wheat aftertaste, while the Bridge Road Hans Klopeks was even lighter in flavour with a slight orange and wheat on the back.
Fittingly, as we came into the Smoke/ Rauch style, I hit my 100th beer for the week, so put on my pink elephant silly hat to celebrate for the rest of the tasting. However, I had to endure a Bamberg Aecht Schlenkerla Urbock, as my final test to the ton. Ok, it is not that bad. The sweet smoked ham aspect is stronger in smell than in taste and it cleans up ok with a bit of ham. The 3 Raven Dark didn't come close to it with a very sedated smoke that was not as sweet.
Moving into English Pale Ale: the Timothy Taylor's Landlord Ale has a bitter hop and light malt smell. A caramel malt rises on the tongue and leads into the hop well before cleansing on the back. Quite refreshing with distinguishable flavours and only slight hop aftertaste. The Van Dieman Ragged Jack has slight fruit and caramel smell, with a heavier palate that the hops don't rise out of.
The Samuel Smith Taddy Porter came up against the Holgate Tempress in the English Porter style, so was probably the most interesting one for me. The Taddy had a choc malt smell similar to the Holgate, but is a bit watery a bitter. The milk chocolate we had with it boosted and sweetened the chocolate taste in the beer though. However, it did nothing for the Holgate, which while is one of my aussie favourites, did not do it for me this time, with carbonation and a watery body really ruined this match up. Mind you, just shows these beer need to be on tap to taste off at their best.
Coming into a more American style of pale ale, the Sierra Nervada had a bit of a fruity nose which is refreshing but with a dry bitterness on the back. However, a slight overcarbonation with hop fizz did take away from the body. The Stone and Wood Pacific Ale really came through well, with the passionfruit/pineapple nose and taste with the light malt body and cleansing bitter finish.
The Emersons came up against Knappstein in the Pilsner class. There is a slight citrus with the wheat and yeast nose on the Emersons, but for me the hop was too dry on the midpalate even if it helped clean up the back of the beer. The slight passionfruit in the Knappstein was much more pleasant for me personally, with the light malt pushing into this hop flavour that also had a bit of grass about it that lingered in aftertaste.
The final style of the night was coffee, and between a stout and a lager within the category! The Hr Fredriksen Vaesel is a collaboration beer between Amager and Mikkeller that has a sweet coffee and dark spirit smell and a bit malt/coffee front that leads into an alcohol that while cleanses, leaves a way too bitter aftertaste for me. James came over to me at this point to say he preferred the Mikkeller aspect of this beer by itself and I could see where he was coming from, as the spiritness of the Amager does thin it out and strip back the coffee flavour. I think there is some sort of balance found in blending these beers, but if you like one more than the other, of course you will be disappointed to have that 'muddled' by another beer. Anyway, as for the final beer in this tasting and of my whole week, the Burliegh Black Giraffe has a bit more of a fuller coffee smell that doesn't rely so much on bitterness. Still, as a lager, this beer cleans up well and the bitter chocolate that was paired with these pair of beers went great with this beer.
Not a bad way to finish the tasting after enjoy a Rogue's Mocha Porter and the Hitachino Nest Espresso Stout, but as I said, the Korbinan was a personal favourite and the Les Trios Baltic Porter being the best beer I tasted over the whole week. Apart from the Russian Imperial Stout tasting at my place on the Saturday (with silly hats, mates and my bed 5 metres away), my favourite venue was Josie Bones with their amazing selection of beer on tap. I have really enjoyed this week and has given me some memorable moments and a great oportunity to try beer and meet looks of other people doing the same, and being involved in the making of those beers. I've been able to peak into the beer society, but probably just enjoyed trying as many beers as I could to get over the 100 for the week. Thanks to all the random people I met, and mates that came along with me on the parts of the journey they could.
Overall, I hope as well as helping beer nerds like me experience more with beer, I hope this week has helped many other people just getting into beer, or helped other by getting them into beer, maybe with random attendance at a beer event they may have accidently stumbled upon. Everyone has a flavour that they can find in beer, and even if some didn't quite find it, they may have been inspired by the versatility of beer to keep searching for it, and have their mind opened to the potential of beer that they can appreciate outside their own tastes.
I look forward to this event getting bigger and better next year and snowball the influence it has started with this week. It will make it harder to get to all the events and venues as I did this week, and maybe enjoy them in the way I have this first time round, but then I am already into beer, and if more people get into it, more can come out of the beer scene in Australia, with greater variety and quality in aussie brews, etc.
Thanks to all the venues for getting involved in this week, and the people for going out and visiting these venues to open or continue your appreciation of 'good' beer. Well done to the organisers for being able to pull this gig together is such a short amount of time, and offering such a variety of events to keep all sorts of beer 'consumers' happy.
Now to detox from the week of good beer and retox to what I normally do with beer. Grab a case of Pure Blonde and get smashed on a park bench. I look forward to getting back to offending passers by soon with drunken abuse.
Feck off yer gits, I'm not dead yet (yep, it's all coming back to me),
PS: My GBW Tally: 111 beers, 16 venues, 14 events...and countless people annoyed by my presence.