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!


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