Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Day of Smelling the Roses...well Hops

After my day of 'crawling' around Fitzroy during Good Beer Week, I decided to use this morning doing a walk around the suburb to find any other hidden pubs in the area. I saw a few pubs on Wellington (The Vine, The Gem, The Fox) and walking past what use to be Lambs Go Bar (had to make sure it had actually gone), I tried peeking through the window at Josie Bones to see what was on the taps menu there, and see what I can try when I go there tomorrow with my brother. I then made my way out to Purvis Cellars in Surrey Hills as had been a while since I had been out there seeing I had Purvis Beer near me. I was lucky to find a bottle of Les Trois Mousquetaires Porter Baltique (probably my favourite beer from the 100-odd beers I had during Good Beer Week). With Winter well and truely established, and after enjoying the rauchbier I had during the Slowbeer tasting during Good Beer Week, I saw Stone's Smoked Porter as an interesting investment.

I then made my way down to The Local to have my first look and the bottleshop and provisions store they just opened up down there. Was happy to see some beers I don't see anywhere else, that they had beers sorted by style rather that region/country/brewery, and with books, merch and cured meat and cheese that give a nice touch to the beer shopping experience. I also had my first look at the growler filling stations they will start using soon.

All of this made me pretty thirst for a beer, so went next door to try out the latest selection of beer the Taphouse has on offer. While making my choice for a paddle, I had a 4 Pines Kolsh which was nicely refreshing with the malt giving it a good amount of body to the beer. I also had a taste of Murray's Vesuvius, just to be proven once again that I have yet to find a bad beer from these guys. There is good aroma, flavour and bitterness from the hops, which the malt carries through quite well, and the bitterness is not too harsh on the back so it cleanses ok too.

While I haven't been impressed with any of McLaren Vale's beers, I decided to have a go at their Schwartzbier, only to be disappointed by a bland tasting beer with minimal dark malt flavour which seemed to only give a slight dustiness on the back palate. I am starting to lose patience with Vale beers...
I also had a crack at the Otway Raconteur IPA, which while has a nice caramel aroma, does not come through in flavour, but provides just enough body to carry the hops. You can tell the hops have been added quite generously, as it dominates all aspects of the beer. There is a bitter aroma that bring a piney hops flavour and bitterness that lingers in aftertaste, but happily does not become overbearing.
I decided to give the Abbey Collabey another taste, after it had been a while since I tried it at Mountain Goat Brewery during Good Beer Week. Initially there is a chocolate/liquorice smell with maybe some yeastiness, which turns more sweet caramel/maple syrup as it warms. There is a yeasty flavour which reminded me of the waffle aspect, which bring more alcohol as it warms. On the back though it seems like it going slightly sour but at least still cleanses ok, and overall seems to be getting a little more watery than I remember.
I ended this tasting comparing the Malt Shovel Noir Stout with the tried and true Moo Brew Imperial Stout. While the Noir does have good texture, the liquorice does seem to outbalance anything else in the beer. Comparatively, the Moo Brew was stronger in malt, alcohol and body overall with a sort of creamy smell. However, I can see it can be improved with mellowness which only makes me look forward more to the vintage version coming out soon.

Having had my fix, I went back to the bottleshop to get a La Chouffe Bok (never seen one of those before), try out a bickie beer and get one of the new Red Hill Imperial Stouts, along with a book on beer tasting (hopefully it means my comments here will become more accurate, and not just more).

On my way home I stopped off at Purvis Beer, where Damien and I shared a Red Hill Imperial Stout, which is pretty good once warmed, so am looking forward to tasting the one I brought home with me to taste against the ones I have been aging.

Hmm, was going to taste one more beer for this long relaxing beer day, but don't want to overdo it and want to make sure the tastebuds are clean for this Belgium beer that I am really intrigued to try. Anyway, that can wait til the next post...or the next...



PS: Stass and I keg/bottle our first IPA tomorrow, and I have a few ideas of brews to do after this thoughful day.

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