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.



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