Thursday, October 20, 2011

Microbrewery Showcase 19/10/11

I managed to get to Fed Square early again this time around so had time for a Murray's Big Wednesday before I started on the tasting (I thought it appropriate for what could become a big Wednesday). Again, quality shows through with some nice citrus notes coming through with the malt, but think there was a bit too much alcohol for a starter beer. Anyway, to what I can recall and have noted on the beers I tried.

1) Two Birds Brewing: Golden Ale - Had to try this first up while my palate was still fresh out of respect for Jayne, and have to say I was pretty impressed. A good sweet malt aroma with a tinge of spice/dryness that corresponded well into flavour. Rounded mouthfeel that had some length to it and a slight dryness at the back to help clean up the palate.

I think the Big Wednesday had done it's job when I forgot to give one of the 'Birds' a ticket for the beer, and then proceeded to lose my glass between this tasting and the next. Maybe this was going to be a long and big Wednesday...

2) Mornington: Sorachi Kolsch - With the use of a Japanese hop, unfortunately all I could see, taste and smell was a standard Japanese lager/pils with too dry a backpalate and aftertaste (Kirin)

3) Forrest Brewing: Kolsch - After the previous disappointment, this one came up much better and a good start for me at trying out what this new brewer has to offer. Clean, slightly lemon and malt aroma, with the ale character allowing the beer to coat the tongue well with the lemony malt but still having a refreshing feel and only slightly dry at the back to make you want to go back for more.

4) Kooinda: Valhalla - Smelt slight sulphur with malt, but some decent malt flavour. Tainted with what seems like overcarbonation in flavour, but somehow does not come through in the texture with a cleansing hop at the back.

5) James Squire: Spear Tackle Ale - Heard this was brewed for the Rugby World Cup (even though it is an American Pale Ale) so had to give it a go. Would say it is a standard aussie pale ale, with only with a bit or a dry bitterness at the back to have any sense of 'Americaness' to it.

6) Grand Ridge: Vienna Rye - Spicy sweet smell that gives the beer a bit of a dark honey aroma, with good sweetness on the palate to go with it. There is also decent texture to go along with the flavour and slight dry back to help cleanup.

7) 2 Brothers: Super Rusty - Just to step up nicely from the previous beer, this Belgian ale was super sweet, which allowed me to personally enjoying it. The belgian spice was offset not just was dark malt sweetness, but also a sherberty sweetness that made me think of candied sugar. Sweetness hits the palate upfront as well as at the back, and belgian yeast characters come through on the midpalate as it warms up.

At this stage, I stumbled across Brad in the crowd and so we shared the next few beers.

8) Cavalier: Belgian Golden Strong Ale - I haven't any notes, but did put a tick next to it, so can only say I found it a good example of the style, and continues the quality of beers that seem to be coming of this newer brewer.

9) Buckley's Beers: Dark Bock - Again, just a tick next to this one, but having been getting into bocks at the moment, did find this one pretty good for the style, with a refreshing palate but with enough dark malt flavour to keep it interesting. Was caught talking to one of the brewers that seems to have had a bit too much of his own product (or product from other brewers), which didn't help with my note taking.

10) Black Heart Brewery: Dunkelweizen - Why on a German tangent and getting into darker beers, thought this dark wheat would be a good step. While the malt was pretty good, I did find it a little off in carbonation which gave it an alkaline smell and taste.

As always, from here, the order and notes on beers start getting pretty dicey (ok, dicier than previous notes anyway) so will get down whatever I can.

11) Moon Dog: Black Lung - Having seen one of the Moon Dog boys at the Local Taphouse stall, we had a chat regarding our respective recoveries from the previous Saturday and gave this beer a shot. Had me thinking of our own Hickory Stickory Bock with light palate, but with dark malt and smokey character to it.

12) Hawthorn Brewing: Belgium Witbier - good wheat cloudiness with spice and yeast aroma. Is pretty light on the tongue and a bit blandish in flavour, but cleans up at the back alright with no dryness

13) Red Duck: New Holland - Touted as an 'aussie dubbel' it certainly had the darkness and alcohol reminiscent of the style which I enjoyed. I am not sure where the aussie came from, but there was something different in the spice high noted flavours I would normally expect, but was not offensive. At this point started chatting to a few people so they could of distracted me, along with seeing Red Duck's Ox available.

14) Red Duck: Ox Imperial Stout - Pretty classic to the style, and as have probably noted before, like it over the Red Hill Imperial Stout, well, at least the one I had a few nights ago in the same spot. Worth it for the two tickets I gave to have a taste of it.

15) Holgate: Temptress - This one was thrust upon me by James after we spoke a bit about our thoughts on where Holgate is at the moment, and the quad we tasted from them a few nights ago at the Festival of the Froth. Normally I leave this beer til last, but not going to say no to this beer at any time, and happy to see it was tasting good after some recent mixed reviews.

16) Tooborac Hotel: Swaggies Stout - with a head that was as dark as the beer it floated on top of, this beer showed signs of the malt being heavily roasted, and unfortunately for me tastebuds, just tasted too much like coffee for me to enjoy it much. Luckily my tastebuds had died off a bit by now.

17) Forrest Brewing: Oatmeal Stout - Having enjoyed their Kolsch, thought I should try one from the other end of the scale. There was a nice chocolate malt nose, but the oatmeal limited the flavours coming through on the palate. Still, it helped give it a decent texture and sweetness did come through on the midpalate. Another win from this new brewery.

18) Bridge Road: India Saison - Had thought my tastebuds would have been too far gone to get on this, especially as I was expected quite the nuance between the hop characters of the Indian with the fruitiness of the Saison. But I have to say, I still enjoyed the tropical fruit punch aroma and taste that came from this beer, getting quite a bit of pineapple out of it. Really well done and what you expect from this quality brewer. Will want to taste this one again with a fresher palate.

19) Using my last two tickets and time running out to use them, I did the bolt back to Holgate and had a double of the Temptress. Always a great way to finish the tasting, and having seen me go for the double, was mimicked and officially given legend status by some pissed people trying to finish off their own tickets.

And so another Showcase is completed for me. I have to say the crowds are getting bigger and earlier each time it is on. Luckily I get in as early as possible, hoping to be finished by the time the crowd gets too big, and each time I am running around trying to use up my tickets before the stalls close. Maybe I should stop talking to people there and just get the drinking done. Still, with me only getting more known in these circles, it is going to only get harder. This is why the industry people get on it early...I just need to become one of those.
Anyway, top three beers would have to be the Super Rusty, India Saison and Dark Bock, with special mention to the Vienna Rye, and to Forrest Brewing.

Good luck to those that head to the second day today. Unfortunately I will be heading down to Apollo Bay with the Showcase is on, for a three day trek on the Great Ocean Walk.



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