Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Rugby World Cup and Beer: Round 3

Hmmm, unfortunately this round I didn't get to watch much rugby. Basically the only game I saw was the Wallabies vs USA, which was predictably one sided. Still, doesn't mean I wasn't drinking beer, so all is not lost.

However, I should start with last Tuesday when before going to watch the Pearl Jam doco at Hoyts, Jess and I went to the Royston to hoover a parma. This also meant I had to smash a pint of Mornington Penninsula Porter. This has probably been the best of this breweries beers that I have tasted. Unfortunately that was more out of the fact that I did not find it offensive. There was some decent sweetness true to the porter style, and just enough body to carry it through (also true to style), but apart from that there was nothing of interest. This could have been because it was going down so quick I could not really appreciate it and give it the time it needed. It only made the parma harder to eat as the beer filled my belly. Still made it to the cinema on time so that was all that mattered to me at the time.

On Friday was the Wallabies vs USA game, so seeing Channel 9 were not showing the game, I went over to Joel's again with the last 4 of the top 12 Critics choice beers from last year. Starting with the Bridge Road Saison, that same fruity factor was still there with the nice yeasty ester. Unfortunately, the same old story for me at the moment, as it seemed to be past its best age wise. There was a very slight sour edge to the fruit at the very back of the palate and the beer had just started to separate a bit in the mouth ruining the body a bit. Luckily I have had this one a few times, so know how good it is.
I hadn't tried the Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale (funny seems like my sort of beer...Ha!) but was surprised at how much malt sweetness was in it. It was pretty comparable to the Mountain Goat Hightail Ale I had after it, which has a good amount of amber malt sweetness, which may be more pronounced as the hops may have died off quite a bit in the 6 months it had been in my possession for. I was expecting a lot more hops in the Alpha as seems to be Matilda Bay's approach.
One interesting thing with the Hightail was that the carbonation seemed quite low, which I know is meant to be a bit with this beer, but was so low in this bottle the malt sweetness was a bit syrupy, which for me is not a bit deal, but for your average drinker may put them off a bit.
Ending on a Coopers Stout (now the biggest Australian owned brewery) while the wallabies ran riot over the US (we were even dominating in the scrum a lot...even though they made their only point in the game from a back of the scrum move. Still, the USA hooker was good enough to win the ball well, so they must have a generally weak scrum) was ok. I don't really like a yeasty quality in stouts, and so not sure if the bottle conditioning works so well in this case. Hmm, this is a beer I tend to be a bit up and down on. When I was first drinking this stuff, there was not much choice in Australian made stouts, and found it way too coffee for my liking. Still, as we know I not partial to coffee much, and this aspect would have helped is separate it self quite a bit from other beers on the aussie market. Now, with so much overseas and newly developed aussie stouts on the market, I just don't think it compares so well, and is definitely not one I go searching for.
As for the Wallabies performance, I find as a supporter, we are always wary after a loss to see if they have hit a bit of a slump again. While they won the game convincingly on the scoreboard, they did not really reach a clinical gameplay that I like to see when they are dominating. It just looked like they were at a practice game and throwing the ball around letting the backs get tries. I would have preferred to see more structure and focus as they will need it for the later games when they come into the quarter finals. Still, seeing we are going to have to wait til the very last game of the pool rounds to see how Italy and Ireland go against each other, it is a bit up in the air for us. We have already lost a bit of control of our own progression, and I think that is also the disappointing thing to see. At least it means we just play each game as it comes, but not sure if that is good or not for World Cup Rugby.
I guess with both beer and rugby, things are a bit in the air at the moment.

On Saturday, we had Jess' turkish inspired party at their place. Seeing I unfortunately have not been available to do any brewing with the boys for the past few weeks, I was interested to see how the new batch of Mulberry beer came out, and see how Stass was going with the coffee beer we are looking to do for the next round against Team Harrod. Unfortunately he made a mistake in cleanliness (How could you Stass!!!!????) and has had to start again on the coffee beer. Still, the approach I think is sound (don't think we have given up Team Harrod), so we have a really good chance to take this round out, if we can produce a beer from it. As for the Mulberry, a different brand of molasses was used that was a lot sweeter, so I found it had less body, almost no tartness to balance the sweetness, and the hops did not meld as well with it. At least we know which brand is better for it then for the next attempt. At the end of the night, we also had a taste of the young russian imperial stout. Hmm, 11.2% is pretty big, and the alcohol is pretty dominating. However, there seems to be some good body in the beer, and in the young stage, there is definitely some high noted flavours from the yeast coming through in the form of a dark bubblegum taste. The malt really needs to age a fair bit more to balance it out, but there seems to be some good potential in it. I am not sure though if we will hit the highs we had in our first batch, but will wait and see...
On Sunday I caught up with my brother who had some terrible news for me. No, nothing about his upcoming wedding, but about beer (of course). He and Nicolette had been out to Holgate the weekend before and upon getting their Temptress chocolate porter, had found it watery!!!!!!!!!!!! I paniced. What?! The ESB seemed to have become watery over the past 6-12 months, but now the Temptress? No, it can't be, they can't do this to us! Luckily the Temptress we had at the Napier Hotel did not show signs of this wateriness (only signs of bad pouring...too cold!) but now in wait to see if the next batch of this beer comes out as Mick said. It will be a sad day for me if that is to happen.
Later on, over a Ladro pizza, I tried out an Italian Wheat beer, a Le Baladin Isaac Belgian Witbier. Trying to pour it clean at first, there was not much nose and apart from some slight sweet malt, there was a slight herbal flavour coming from the midpalate, a little bit like a grassy hop, but not bitter, and not characteristic of any hop I have tasted before. It was pretty easy drinking as expected, and only when all the sediment was poured in (by the waitstaff, not me), did some wheaty bubblebum come though in aroma and taste. Cannot really see myself coming back to this one.
So after all that, not much rugby to speak of, but at least some beers of note. Last round of the pool matches approach, so soon all will be decided in who makes it, and who plays you for the finals. At least after this week the NRL and AFL with be over, so maybe Channel 9 can show more rugby knowing they will have aussie sports fans tuning in. Please Channel 9! Hmm, looks like another Rugby World Cup ruined by the coverage. Hope at least I have good beer and can actually watch the games at least.



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