Meeting up with Joshie at the airport on Saturday morning, we stopped off at his brother's place to have a few of his home brew (well, it was nearly noon...). have to say he has a better setup than me, but now Stass and I have space, we hope to start collecting some of what he has to improve our brews.
After lunch we headed out to Coogee were I was reaquainted with my old drinking partner, Tooheys Old at the Randwick Rugby Club after the game against Penrith (the home team lost by one point). Have to say, was great after so many years to be back in the rugby club atmosphere and couldn't help but get stuck into a few Olds while there.
With me sated with the amount of Old I had in me, Josh and I made it down the road to Coogee After Dark to enjoy a meal with some good beers. The list was decent with something for anyone walking through the door, and some great meals to drink some beers over. Josh kept to the lighter side of beer with pilsners being his flavour, whereas after the old, I was ready for some more dark beers. Therefore we went for chicken and steak and started trying out some beers. Was great to chat with Dan and Emily and get some good advice on beers to go for. Beginning on Murray's Angry Man Brown Ale, Dan could see exactly where I was going, and was able to pick what was already going on in my head in beers to try from there. Having the Holgate Temptress of course was going to be a winner for me, and the steak was probably one of the best I have ever had. The Mad Abbott Dubbel was also pretty good but found the malt was not as robust as the Temptress and had a slight lacing of carbonation that took away from the beer, however, the chocolate plate we had with it was great. Josh also like the Cairn's made Blue Sky Pilsner that was recommended for him, whereas I found I would have liked a lighter texture to it to fit the style.
A bit of a random moment after that where I was given both a champagne and a bundy run just after leaving the cafe before heading to my mate Iain's place for his birthday. Unfortunately I have not taught him anything as could only find corona's in his fridge...disappointing!
The next day Cam and Kate came down to Sydney for the day from Newcastle so we had lunch and headed into the city and a place Josh's brother had recommended I head to for beer. Hart's pub was pretty quite (mind you it was Sunday) but had a decent selection of beers on tap, and mainly focused on NSW too to boost local breweries. I was intrigued to find they had Guinness Black Lager available so tried that out after a local porter. The cold filtering they seem to have used on the Guinness really took away from the 'Guinness' flavour, but had to be expected with it. It got a little better with warmth. Josh and I decided a nice Sunday roast was in order, so I got him a Mountain Goast Steam Ale to try, and I went a Dunkel from the world's oldest brewer. After dinner we went down the road to The Macquarie Hotel that has Schwartz Brewery within its walls. The main bar had closed by that time so could only try the summertime ale which did not go down so well in the cooler weather.
Yesterday I made my way back into the city to try out Redoak Brewery. Unfortunately they do not have a tasting paddle available, so had to content myself with the Dry Irish Stout they had on offer.
Finally I walked out to Darlinghurst to the Sydney version of the Local Taphouse. Western Australia's Feral Brewery had basically taken over the taps, so decided to stick with their beers for my tasting, along with lunch. Jose the Gose had a light sourness that worked well for a wheat beer, and found coriander upfront. But it was the saltiness that surprised me that came on from the midpalate through to aftertaste. I have to say the Hop Hog is growing on me, even as an IPA. The hops are balanced well enough and does not have that harsh acid that turns me off most hoppy beers. However, the French oak barrel aged version is quite strange. There is definitely a darkness drawn out from the hops, and while it is soft on the tongue and cleanses well at the end, I could not help but get a cheap toffee sort of flavour up front. It wasn't offensive, just weird. The Razorback Barleywine has a deep red ale smell with a touch of sherry and has a hop back that I didn't mind. However, the 9.8% alcohol did come through pretty strong. Finishing on the Boris Imperial Stout, it had a sweet choc malt smell and had a velvety texture. However, in terms of taste it was not a big as I thought it would be. It didn't even taste like 10.2% alcohol, until it warmed up a bit. One more thing is the malt biscuits that came with the tasting were quite nice.
Even getting back to Melbourne, I still managed a couple more beers, taking a Bridge Road Hefe-Dunkel to compare with our own Honey Dark Wheat beer for Brad's birthday. I have to say, I found them pretty similar apart from the honey, which was quite interesting to find.
Anyway, with less than a week now til Good Beer Week, am just planning ahead to keep me tasting good beer all week. Definitely have a trip or two to the Royston and a food and beer matching at the Terminus. Have also looked into a beer a chocolate tasting and reckon I will get my Hawiian beer shirt on for Mrs Parma's. I am already booked in for the Slowbeer tasting and think I will also attend the Purvis one as well. Which reminds me, having 2 more days working at Mountain Goat last week was great, but what topped it off was heading into Purvis on Friday for the La Trappe tasting. I guess in a way I worked two beer jobs that day, and got free beer from both. Happy endings...
Cheers to Cam and Kate, Damien, Iain (and gang), Dan and Emily from Coogee and boys from the Darlo Local Taphouse. However, big thanks to Josh for showing me around Sydney, letting me stay at his place, and being up to catch up after a few years. Thanks Sydney, you do have a beer scene up there...but not as good as Melbourne!
PS: I just heard some interesting news. There is an amateur beer writers contest on and thinking of putting in an entry. Would be interesting to see how some of this stuff I write up here might go and how I can improve on what I already write. Wish me luck...