Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Grottenbier Brune (6.5%)

When I first saw this beer, seeing caramel as an ingredient, of course I was intrigued, and seeing it was Belgian, I knew I would be getting it for a try. I often get disappointed with European beers that can have some sort of artificial sweetness that really takes away from the beer overall. Still, with my sweet tooth, I can't seem to stop myself, in the hope I will find one where the sweetness is better integrated into the beer.
Not only this, but after a hot and steamy day yesterday, all I had wanted to come home to was a beer I could 'smash' (yeah, doesn't happen to me often, even with the Aussie summer). However, opening up a Moo Brew Pale, I found it was overcarbonated and nearly had foam coming out my nose when I tried to gulp it down. Still, with today being much cooler, I knew I could afford to try a beer with a bit more character...or is that just caramel.

When pouring out the beer, it seemed slightly overcarbonated, and first smells were of some dankness with the sweet nose. Allowing it to warm up and let the carbonation out a bit, the dankness turned more into an aged spiciness and the sweetness seemed quite well integrated in smell and taste. There is a bit of dry yeastiness on the back with slight residual sweetness in aftertaste. Overall the sweetness is still a little too high-noted for my tastes, but definitely one of the better attempts I've had, leaning more towards the abbey style beers giving it a fuller and better integrated palate, so the type of sweetness does not dominate. It's possible it could have had some more unfermented sugars to give it a bit more body to help coat the tongue better in the flavours it has, but as I said, a good example of the style...well, what I have tasted that is similar to this.
I am not sure if I am sipping it slowly because of the flavours of because I keep feeling the need to burp after each sip. I think it is a bit of both, so I guess they negate each other when it come to my overall opinion of it. Still, with the carbonation dropping, I am drinking it a bit faster, and with it warming up, the malt sweetness is giving the beer a good backbone on the palate, so maybe there is enough of the unfermented sugars in the beer, and help offset the slight higher notes of sweetness. There is also a slight bit of alcohol coming through on the back palate along with some on the nose, which is good to help give it more of that abbey beer style to it.

Anyway, going to stop doing my brand of dissecting on it and enjoy it now it had gotten good...



Saturday, January 28, 2012

Finally, Can Enjoy a Kolsch Now the German Has Gone

So The whole time the German was here in Melbourne, about the only thing I heard from her regarding beer was how much she didn't like Kolsch, and was more of an Altbier drinker (ah, the old regional beer wars...still, as I said before, she hadn't even tried a Bamberg Rauchbier! Poor form). So as to not let her ruin my first taste of this 4 Pines Kolsch, that just made #4 in the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers, I waited til she left before trying it.

Much like the Forrest Brewing Kolsch I had towards the end of last year, this one had the same citrus sweet malt nose and taste. The malt carries well into flavour and texture, with it coating the tongue quite well. There is some slight lemony dry hop character towards the back, and remains in aftertaste, but with also a little bit of residual sweetness. As is the style, this is a very 'smashable' beer, and possibly why it has gone so well in the Hottest 100 poll. With it being an ale, it means it has a bit more character than some pale ales and the all dominant lager style of this country. That is probably why I appreciate it a bit more, and covers both bases of being easy to drink and having character enough to contemplate over. After a hot day, it is going down quite well, and so don't understand why Kathrin was so down on this style (yes, I guess any of us can get bogged down in regional prejudice).
To find some faults from my personal taste, this Kolsch is a little too dry at the back, which may well help many just to keep going back for more after each sip (not a bad idea at just 4.6%). The other issue is one I gave it, pouring it into a glass that was not clean, which dulled it a bit. Keeping with personal taste, I guess for me, not having a very delicate palate, this still doesn't have quite enough flavour to satisfy me, so can't see it being a style I will go back to very often. Therefore, this is why I can understand why It has gone so well in the Hottest 100, as I have said many times, my taste does not reflect the aussie general public.

Anyway, I hope through this beer review I have annoyed one German...



Friday, January 27, 2012

Australia Day Aftermath: this Bruce needs to hit the sheep dip

With yet another Australia Day done and dusted, I can happily say the tradition I spoke of yesterday actually occurred.

Apart from some minimal resistance from the Indians, Australia continues in control of the cricket, there was the increasing call of 'What song is this? I've never heard it before' in the JJJ Hottest 100 (yep, we are getting old), and with me manning the bbq, I hopefully kept the meat to minimal singe and rawness (well, no one was sick while I was there). Big Thanks must go to our hosts for a splendid setting and for having a ping pong table to add another activity to the day.

I was a little disappointed with our home brew Bright Ale came out, it was very cloudy and had quite a yeasty back on it. It took us a while to sort out the pour, and even when we got it right, the cloudiness of the beer seemed to make it dissipate very quickly. There was a little more bitterness at the back which helped mask the yeast a bit, and overall we still managed to get through about 10-12 litres of it, so was still drinkable. After this, the Rye IPA really did taste pretty bitter, but still went down well, and along with the ping pong, we were able to play some Smash Brothers on the Wii to see how bad our hand eye co-ordination was getting through the day.

Ok, even though I knew beforehand I would not agree with the results from the Hottest 100 Aussie Craft Beers Poll, I was still a bit annoyed with what my alcohol infused mind was comprehending on this page. The top 10 is the top 10, I never expect to like those, but was actually happily surprised to see my favourite year round beer to be in there, in the shape of the Holgate Temptress. While it's big brother (the Empress) did make it into the top 100, of course it was not as high as I would have liked, but that happens with beers that are not so easily accessible. Similarly with the Moo Brew Imperial Stout, which did better than the barrel aged version of it.
Again, it was disappointing to see the Vale Ale in the top 10, a beer I hardly see around, see people drinking, or even talking about. At least one piece of solace was that at least it was not number 1 this year.
Sorry, I'm going to try and stay positive with this. That there is this poll that gives the opportunity for the punters to choose the beers they like, and in its own way influence the beers that come of the industry, I'm happy to see enough diversity in what is in the list to find that the Pale Ale or Lager society is being infiltrated by some more interesting beers. The India Saison from Bridge Road, a German styled Kolsch in the top 5, a Moon Dog at 90, and a personal favourite was to see the Thirsty Crow Vanilla Milk Stout at #29. I need to remember that beer is a humble beverage, and as long as there are brewers making interesting beers, then the Pales and Lagers have their place to allow brewers to branch out in these ways. Still
It was also interesting to see a fair bit of Mountain Goat in the line up, and to see the Hightail Ale beat the Steam Ale in the poll, and that the speciality 'Thorny Goat' came in 14. It was also good to see a medium strength beer make the list with the Rogers coming in at 80. It is good to see Little Creatures is being paid back for actually trying to improve this area of the beer market.
I am happy to say that all 5 beers I voted for made the list, including the Murray's Grand Cru which only just made it at #100, so at least it shows I have some idea of what is good beer, even if my taste is not in line with the general public.

So, as I slowly recover from the week and yesterday's session, I can be content that the aussie brewing scene continues to grow, and we are continuing to experiment, even if this is still not appreciated as much as I would like it to be. All I can do is vote, and keep looking for those new beers to try, and I thank the industry and its brewers for continuing to push the boundaries. I encourage this to continue, and now I work in a brewery, I am happy to do my bit, to question and learn.



Thursday, January 26, 2012

Happy Australia Day (2012), Bruce!

While Australia is a young country in many ways, it doesn't mean there is not much tradition when it comes to celebrating the day a British fleet landed on these shores to start a new colony (and displace the native population, which is why it can also be referred to as Invasion Day...however, being a beer blog, this post will not delve into this aspect). Since making it to drinking age, Australia Day has become a much bigger day for me, and so to anyone who does not already know what happens on this day, this has just given you a big clue. However, other traditions have grown to meet the challenge of it just being a alcohol-infused public holiday.

Firstly we have cricket. A game you can sit intensely watching for the tactics and gameplay ball to ball, or just walk past the TV at random points to keep up with the score. At the moment India are 3-0 down in a 4 test match series, and with the Aussies bringing a strong start to the first 2 days of this last test, we could have a white wash on our hands, and may make for some interesting viewing over today. Of course, cricket is best viewed with a beer in hand.

Then we have music. We may not have the cultural depth of many other countries in this world, but for over 20 years, a national radio station has been allowing aussies to vote for their favourite songs of the past year, and using Australia Day to play the top 100 throughout the day. Being mates with musos, there can be some consternation over the day about where people's favourite songs came in, and general denouncing of one's 'aussiness' if the Australian public highly voted for an annoying song. Of course, this is best listened to with a beer in hand, and the sound from the cricket on the telly muted.

BBQing. It is an iconic aussie pastime, and with it being Summer down here, any chance to crank the 'barbie' is taken with so much gusto, there is generally a few pieces of meat that are over cooked, sometimes to the point of being unrecognisable. On certain occasions, a burnt exterior can even hide a raw interior, which brings it own problems to the consumer. Still, seeing the consumer is also consuming alcohol, this matter can be overlooked at the time of eating, with disastrous consequences. Of course, BBQing is best done with a beer in one hand, and a pair on tongs in the other, while listening to the radio, and watching the telly through the window (multi-tasking at its best).

One other aspect to look at it traditional attire. Australia Day brings with it the chance to try and 'out aussie' each other, through the use of flag capes, terry towelling/corked hats, thongs, singlets, boardies, sunnies and maybe a splash of fluro green/yellow zinc cream for the melanoma conscious. Of course the most important piece of attire is the bottle opener and stubbie holder, so you may drink and keep your beer cold while manning the bbq, watching the cricket and listening to JJJ.

Okay, maybe now I can talk about beer (sorry to take this long into a post on a beer blog before I brought it up). In terms of drinking, being a beer conscious person, I tend to go with craft beer for such a day, with my favourite aussie summer craft beer being a Little Creatures Bright Ale. This year, Stass and I have taken it a bit further and brewed a clone of this beer, so I will have a 20 litre keg of that to share with mates. Also, I have what is left of a case of Mountain Goat Rye IPA and what is left of a case of Mountain Goat Two Step apple cider, which I only just tasted myself a week ago. We will see what response I get from my crew on these brews.
In line with JJJ's Hottest 100 songs of the year, a beer equivalent has also been brought out, where we have been able to vote for our favourite craft beers of the year, and so am looking forward to seeing how disappointed I am with the results that come out for that today. At least I know my taste in beer is not the same as the general aussie public, so I may not get in the same rage over the craft beer 100 that my muso mates have with the music 100...maybe.

I suppose I should also explain why I have called you all Bruce in the title to this post. Being a fan of Monty Python, along with liking the 'poo-poo' of Australian Table Wines sketch they did, I also love their 'Philosophy' sketch, where ever aussie is called Bruce, and anyone not called Bruce is asked if it would be okay to call them Bruce (I guess it just makes it easier when you are drunk). Luckily aussies already have that matter sorted with out term 'mate', but for today, instead of using 'mate' I'll call everyone Bruce.
In fact, for the only time I have been outside of Australia for Australia Day, I was in San Francisco in 14 degree weather, but maintained an attire of shorts and shirt, spent the day visiting pubs across the city, watched the sun go down at a bar overlooking the beach, and then put my terry toweling hat on to purchase the only aussie beer we could find the the whole city, and proceeded to be in physical pain while trying to drink a 500ml can of Fosters. If that doesn't make me a Bruce nothing will...
So Happy Australia Day Bruces, I'm off to make a potato bake to accompany my burnt but raw sausage!

Cheers to Aussie Craft Beers!


Friday, January 20, 2012

Yay, Summer Drinking!

We have just had a few nice days of weather in Melbourne, and been trying to make the most of it beer wise.

I was rightly taunted into trying the Nogne O Barrel Aged Bruin recently at Beer Delux over the weekend, which had a great depth to it through the oak. Still, for the most I have been keeping to lighter coloured beers. After the Bruin I got onto Hefewiezens, with the Schofferhofer and Moo Brew coming out. The Schoff definitely had a bit more going on in terms of flavours, making the Moo taste a little watery in comparison, even thought I still rate Moo for making good beer.
On a 35 degree day earlier in the week, I finished work and for the first time this summer felt the need for a beer when I got home (ok, so normally I could just have a beer at the brewery when I finish work). Unfortunately not being a collector of many of those smash-able beers, I ended up tipping one of Stew's Holgate Mt Macedon Ale's down my gullet. The cloying sweetness did hamper my ability to 'smash it', but being a sweet tooth It didn't phase me too much, and so enjoyed it quite a lot.

The Mountain Goat Hefe has been kegged and was on show at the bar on Wednesday, so we got in early after a day of bottling to try it out again. It is seriously my beer for this summer, and have even contemplated with some of the boys of taking a keg home with me to enjoy over the summer, and take to my Australia Day celebrations next week (even if it was just me sitting at home by myself knocking back pints of this beer. Yeah, that is how good it is). So delicate, yet flavourful, with a good balance of flavours. I sort of wish the banana nose would convert more into flavour, but for your average aussie drinker, this will be just right to get you into this style of beer. I dare say it will not last long, but I guess like the summer itself, it is meant to pass, but just gonna enjoy as much of it as I can, while I can.

Yesterday was then a massive day where we finished bottling the latest batch of Rye IPA (RIPA), which while it may have been annoying to brew, ferment and then even gave us dramas the first day of bottling. after getting through 8 hours and 9 pallets of cases, even the super sweet front and sides-of-the-tongue bittering back tasted refreshing. Mind you, having sampled a fair bit of it, I hit the sack pretty quickly last night.

Anyway, this season seems to be the summer of Hefe, so I'll be back at Goat tonight to taste more of it.



Saturday, January 14, 2012

Where is our Summer Drinking Weather?

Hi to all you consumers of fermented vegetable drinks (mostly of the beer variety),

So we are about half way through Summer down in the southern hemisphere, and apart from a couple of days here and there, we have yet to really get any summer weather so far. While it may be a bit disappointing for us that enjoy a good Aussie summer (and the macro brewers that like to attach their swill to this season), it means I've been able to enjoy more of the beer styles I like to drink.

During the week I managed a visit to the Local Taphouse in St Kilda for my first tasting paddle for the new year, and while I could have gone a few of the Red Hill brews that have taken over the taps there at the moment, I decided to go more for the darker and bigger beers also available through their 20 taps, while trying out their parma.
I did start on Red Hill's Temptation though, and with it on tap, thought it a good way to introduce myself to it. There is a bit of citrus on the malt nose which helps meld it into some hop aroma, and this seems to correspond well into flavour. It is not a very intense beer in terms of flavour, which I would expect for at beer at 8%, so when the hops rise in intensity on the tongue, and the alcohol rises towards the back, the beers seems to separate a bit and adds a bit of a dry aftertaste. Some decent flavours going on, but just didn't meld all that well for me.
Getting onto New Zealand's 8 Wired Black Dwarf dry beaned coffee stout, I found that apart from the espresso aroma and a bit of astringency up front on the palate, it was a fairly straight forward stout, which at least clean up the tongue.

Trying something a bit different halfway through the paddle, a beer called 'Whatever you want me to be' from local brewer True South was definitely hard to describe and stylise. It has quite a fruity nose with a lot of cinnamon to go with it, which reminded me of hot cross buns and the Easter beer Murray's did last year. If anything, the fruit was a bit darker, and the cinnamon much bigger in this so called 'coffee and cassia bark infused ale'. Interestingly though, the beer has very little carbonation but has quite a light mouthfeel. The taste though I found hardest to describe. I could just say the smell came through in flavour, but there was definitely more going on with sweetness, bitterness and spice coming through in that order across the tongue, but none of it was offensive and melded ok together. However, I found it hard to pinpoint what sort of sweetness, etc was going on, but as it warmed, the sweetness did start overriding the other flavours.
Heading back to 8 Wired, their Big Smoke was next on the list, and a beer I had been meaning to try for a while. I found the mix of smoke and porter sweet aromas worked quite well, even if it is a little muddled. It doesn't quite have that smoked ham taste to it and to be honest, the porter overrides at the the front while the smoke comes through at the back, and it not very strong, only leaving a slight driness at the back.
I have to say, I had tried to keep with the summer season when I found Mountain Goat's Two Step Cider was available on tap, but finding the keg was dry, I was once again denied trying this brew from the brewer I work for but not yet even tasted. Therefore, I went to the opposite end of the scale, having a Murray's Wild Thing Imperial Stout, that has twice the alcohol the cider has. It has the classic malt, dark fruit and alcohol nose for the style, complemented in taste and with a good mouthfeel to let it cover the tongue before the alcohol cuts through towards the back. However, I found the alcohol cut through a bit too sharp, and so doesn't quite match overall.
Heading further along to Acland Street, and walking past the dour beach of St Kilda (not very inspiring as I try and steel myself for a big year going for a career in beer), I managed to drag a couple of friends into Acland Cellars. The salesman picked me as a beer nerd without me saying a word, and then proceeded to tell me that I would be bottling a beer next week at Mountain Goat, before we each picked a beer each to try. However, after putting them in the fridge at home, it was hard to know where to start between the Aecht Schlenterla Rauchbier Urbock, the Samuel Smith Imperial Stout, and the Ommegang Three Philosophers.
Over tacos, I thought the Rauchbier would be best to start on, as at least there was food to help cleanse the tongue. However, as soon as I opened the bottle, I realised the beer was very undercarbonated, even for the style. Of course very little head came from the pour, and completely diminished very quickly. Checking the use by, there is still 7 months left on it, but it sure didn't not taste fresh. While the level of flavour was even with the smoke and sweet still bringing the hammy sort of taste, it was not as intense as I remember it being, and not as flavourful as I remember having these types of beers in Bamberg. I also seemed to noticed a very slight sourness and maybe an added sense of dustiness over the normal smokeyness. Actually, I think I prefer the hickory smoke over the beech wood, but that is just through the Hickory Stickery Bock which probably has a lot more sweetness than the traditional smoke beers of Bamberg. I just wonder if the beech gives a bit more of a dusty smokeness than the hickory. In the end, the German that just tried her first Bamberg Rauchbier has been encouraged to try these style of beer when she heads back home.
After the slight disappointment of the Rauchbier, The Sam Smith had that really good English style Imperial Stout flavour. Actually, I was even getting a slight caramel with the chocolate malt flavour from this beers, and with a decent mouthfeel and at only 7%, it makes for a pretty drinkable imperial stout. With my limited and simple palate, I probably enjoyed this beer the most personally, even if the last one was much more impressive.
There were a few things that the 2010 Three Philosophers Quad had me interested in. Firstly, the connection of beer and philosophy has been something I looked at connecting in the past. Secondly, connecting a Belgian lambic with a Trappist style really triggered my interest seeing I really like both the Faro and Quadruple styles, even though (and because) they are on opposite ends of the scale for beers out of Belgium. Within the Quadruple style I was also interested to see they went with the blonde...but I will come back to that. I have to say the Kriek is integrated quite well into the beer with the sweet and sour going together alright. The lambic did bring a lightness and did sense a bit of separation between the styles because of it, but I guess going with a blonde would help make the malt less dense, allowing more of the cherry lambic to come through. Still, I found personally, I would have liked a darker malt quad to bring a darker fruit flavour to the cherry, but that is probably just my personal taste. Still, very flavourful with the belgian yeast as well to give it a Duvel with cherry lambic taste overall.

I don't know if I want to add this, but going to the 20-20 cricket game on Thursday night with the Melb Renegades vs Brisbane Heat I decided to pull out a beer my brother gave for me to try. My sister in law's husband has ancestry from Costa Rica, and somehow my brother ended up with an 'Imperial'. Sorry to end this post on a bad note, but apart from from decent mouthfeel, the only thing that is had over some of our own mainstream beers was a slightly less chemical tang.

Ok, that will do. I just hope we end up getting some better summer weather for Australia Day in a couple of weeks time. Then the Bright Ale clone Stass and I brewed will go down very well.


Monday, January 9, 2012

Welcome to 2012...Blood has already been spilt, but not beer

Hi all,

I am somewhat in recovery mode at the moment, not from alcohol this time, but something that has an influence in my blood stream. I just gave blood this morning and seems that my body wanted to give more than they asked for at the Red Cross. No sooner had I been wrapped up and enjoying a tasty snack then I realised my shirt was clinging to me and felt wet. Looking down I realised blood was coming out from under the bandage and spilling down the side of my body and dripping on the floor. With the matter swiftly resolved by the lovely nursing staff, I managed to ride home (was going to blame a car from clipping me if anyone pulled me up regarding the bloody stains) and start soaking my clothes, before deciding to take it easy this arvo...just in case. After lunch and a dvd, I think I may be capable of at least writing here, but apologies in advance if I make even less sense than normal through possible light-headedness.

As is tradition at chrissy time, my folks get me a six pack of Guinness and Tooheys Old as an advancement to the thanks they give me for helping out on the farm, etc while I am up there. Seeing these are the first beers I can actually remember enjoying, and are therefore attached to my old life in Newcastle, I guess it is a bit nostalgic that I have these beer available to me (mind you, I wouldn't complain if there was better beer...still, free beer is free beer), and they still go down the same, even if the diversity of beers my palate tries to comprehend grows with each year. Still, sitting in the pool with the sun going down after a day's work on the farm, sipping on an Old was quite enjoyable.

Chrissy day was spent enjoying the wine our family gifted my brother and Nicolette for their wedding, and have to say, the Goldkapp Joh. Jos. Prum 2007 Graacher Himmelreich Auslese went down amazing for a warm chrissy day. Such complexity with the sherbert sweetness, melon coolness, just a hint of acidity towards the back to balance it out, and a little residual sweetness at the back, it was a joy just to let it sit on the tongue to warm up and let the body of it build around your mouth is a lovely experience, and why this is probably one of the only wines you will ever hear me go on about through this blog. At least we had it before lunch while our palate was fresh, as even though dinner was great, it would only have diminished the flavours and textures of this wine. After that I was on an Old or two for the rest of the day.

Taking it easy on the beers between chrissy and new years, I managed to still have some of the Guinness and Old for the Birubi New Years party. That and also a bottle of Murray's Anniversary Ale from 2010 that I had bought the year before on a previous visit to the brewery, and had forgotten about til I found it sitting in a cupboard on the farm. On the way down to Boatie on Boxing Day, as the driver I had the most say when I pulled in quickly to the brewery to pick up a bottle of the 2011 Anniversary Ale, so a little vertical tasting could be done with these two. I am not sure if the 2010 had just melded out quite a bit over the year, but for a Barleywine is was pretty stock standard with the across the tongue ruby sweetness which cloyed a fair bit but still ended nice enough to want another sip. At 10% it could have been just a standard british version of the style, and as we found, had nothing on it's younger brother. While there was still the classic up front sweetness in the 2011 edition, the use of Belgian yeast has really spruced up the beer to give some added fruitiness to the beer, add some additional alcohol to it, which in turn took away a bit of the cloy-factor, and overall make it feel like more of a refreshing Barleywine (if that should be possible in this style). As always trying to bring something a bit different to a group that had beers including XXXX was good to show a better depth to beer than what they may be use to. With a German in the ranks this year, there was also the opportunity to try some Killepitsch, which for me had a herbal dark spirit taste, and drinking it cold separated the alcohol from the rest of the beverage in texture, while I found the alcohol did not burn as much as I would expect from a 40-odd% liquor. Actually the closest to a beer I can think of the convey it would be a American Style Russian Imperial Stout, but maybe with herbs instead of hops. The other oddity was seeing that Team Harrod had found some Mountain Goat Steam Ale, so was good to see it making the rounds in New South Wales.
Coming back to Melbourne after New Years and heading straight back to work the day after, then helping my brother move house the next day (ending on a Little Creatures Rogers which went down nicely, followed by a visit to the first day of trade for the year at the Mountain Goat after finding the Royston closed), on Friday the brewers (including the new assistant brewer [me!]) had a tasting of some of the previous batches of beer we had bottled to see how they had help up over time. Even if it is from my limited intellect, my thoughts are the intellectual property of Mountain Goat, and will remain so (seeing they don't matter seeing no one reading this will probably be able to taste them anyway...actually, I'll come back to that later...), and also had a try of the hefeweizen which I should be kegging off tomorrow in between Hightail, Double Hightail, IPA, and I think an Imperial Pilsner was in there too. The 'Hef', or 'Hoof' which I think is more appropriate for this beer from Mountain Goat (seriously, that is marketing gold right?) was tasting really good, with a good balance of wheat malt to the banana esters and just a slight touch of bubblegum, but with a good sessionable feel to it...I'll be definitely taking the Killepitsch German to get her thoughts on it (even though she has touted herself as more of an 'Alt' drinker).
Speaking of the German, we went along to a friends party on Saturday, and couldn't help myself but take my last bottle of our homebrew Hickory Stickory Bock to show her and the posse there another lesson in what beer can be. Having given the 'evil eye' to a Victorian Pale Lager drinking (that was for you Mr J. Davidson), and telling him at least I wouldn't be stealing one of his beers I loved seeing the surprise on peoples faces when they could taste smoked ham in a beer. In fact, the smokey flavour seems to have held up better in the bottle than the keg. Before that though I had to share a bottle of Lindemann's Faro with the German, the host of the party, and the person the party was centred around (that's a lesson to all those people that turn up late to parties). It still reminds me a bit like the Prum Riesling and a favourite summer beer for me (light but full bodied like a cloud, flavourfully balanced in sherbert sweet with slight lambic sourness when letting it sit on your tongue for 20 seconds). Surprise surprise, the German (ok, I should probably start calling her Kathrin seeing that is her name) liked the Faro, but was even more into to Hickory Stickery Bock. Then, she tells me she has never had a Rauch(Smoke)bier before...she comes from the country that made the style famous, and she had never even tried it (what is this, I'm teaching a German about their own beer???!!!). Mind you, I guess with the regional aspect to beer culture in Germany, and that she probably lives on the opposite side of the country to Bamberg, I'll let it slip...maybe.

Yesterday then I did a sneaky trip out to Stass's to put on a Little Creatures Bright Ale Clone so it is ready for Australia Day in a couple of weeks, and found the Mulberry brew I made for my brother's wedding is still holding up ok, even if it has lost a little body and the tartness is negating the sweet fruity flavours that go with it. He also had a bottle of Mountain Goat beer from his time on the bottling line, so we opened it, just to see him agree with me on certain aspects that the Mountain Goat brewers had disagreed with me on during the tasting on Friday.

So that is it. Hope that all made some sense, but if it didn't (well, if it made even less sense than usual), maybe call an ambulance for me as I am possibly losing consciousness as I write this.

Now to get Phoenix's song '1901' in my head, so I can be playing it in my head when I am kegging Mountain Goat's batch #1901 tomorrow ('lie down, you know it's easy, like we did it all summer long'...actually, maybe I need a lie down),


PS: saw this 'documentary' the other day and thought I would share it. Way over the top, which is the way of America and it's mainstream beer market (advertising beer, not the taste of it). Hope you can find the aspects worth thinking about through the haze of over-the-top-ness.