So, not even 7 days into Winter and already two aspects are emerging...access to dark beers is increasing, followed closely by my drinking of dark beers also increasing. After the night before hitting Josie Bones for some stouts, I found my local (The Royston) had the Abbey Collaby on the handpump last night. I found this out as I was the one at Mountain Goat who spent the day between kegging beer to de-gas the keg that would be used to hook up to the handpump. I therefore felt obliged to make sure my efforts had made the required effect, so for purely quality assurance purpose, had a couple of pints with some of the other Goaters and polished off a parma in the process.
As well as the handpump they had a sparkler attachment to go with it. Of course it really helped with head retention, but not sure if it really helped bring a creaminess to the beer on the palate. Another brewer from Dolphin Brewery in Dalesford wondered how the beer would be without the sparkler attachment. Having asked for this in his next beer, he came over to share with us his thoughts and the beer itself, so the next pint I also asked for the same. I have to say that the body of the beer was improved, even at the expense of the head which diminished in a couple of minutes after pouring. Still, made it easier for the staff to pour, and found the extra body to make drinking it more enjoyable as well. I don't think there was much difference in terms of taste between the two.
Overall, the handpump helped display the malt character quite well, and while I get more of the rum in the cold/carbonated version of the Abbey Collaby, I can actually taste the warming alcohol better in this version, which makes it more enjoyable to drink, and allows you to appreciate that you are drinking a beer that has a bit of alcohol in it to better pace your drinking. This was something I did not have while drinking this beer during Good Beer Week...Therefore having the parma with it was great appreciated, and as always, the best parma in Melbourne...even if I was getting critiqued by one of the regulars at the bar for the way I was eating it (in his own words, 'I've never seen anyone spin their plate so often while eating').
Anyway, in more things beer, I found Slowbeer had the Renaissance Craftsman Chocolate Oatmeal Stout on tap, so for the second day in a row, went down there for my first growler fill at the new store. Am hoping to get into that tonight with Stew seeing he was the one that told me how good this beer tasted on tap a couple of years bar when Biero was still around in the CBD. Still, who should come into Slowbeer as I was getting my growler fill but Miro and Sarah from Goat, so ended up tasting the Beer Here Hoptilicus (good malt backbone to the beer, even heading towards a scotch ale in terms of malt character. I actually reminded me of an even hoppier version of Team Harrod's Scotch Ale home brew), and a bit of the Mikkeller Not Just Another Wit (orange juice comes through with the lower carbonation which I actually did not mind).
Tonight I am also looking forward to meeting up with some friends at Goat who are looking to use the space for their wedding next year, so all in all, the start to winter looks like it will continue on this trend.
PS: Now to get in contact with that guy from Dolphin as hear he has a chocolate porter (for me) and and a honey and ginger spiced ale (for Stew) that I need to get my hands on.
PPS: Good luck to Stass who is off adventuring in Germany for the next couple of weeks. I hope to hear some good stories from him, many of which related to beers he tries over there.