While I know us aussies will be having a long weekend this coming weekend, I have been lucky enough to get one last weekend as well, so decided to use my Monday to do some beer window shopping and tasting.
After doing the rounds at Purvis Beer and Slowbeer (what was going to be window shopping became actual purchasing...) I was just a cold wintery day in Melbourne, I felt the need of a couple of stouts to get me prepared for the long months to come.
Seeing Josie Bones had a couple of said beers available, I took on the rain and wind to sit down at the bar and let some warming beers do their work. Unfortunately, I also saw they had The Palm Speciale and Linderman's Faro (Yay!) on tap, so had to indulge my Belgian beer appreciation with these as well.
The Palm Speciale amber ale was the real unknown of the tasting so had it first while the tastebuds were at their freshest. Unfortunately, I was getting a similar tangy yeast aroma and taste that would normally equate to a VB of Melbourne Bitter from the beer, so put me off quite a bit. There was still some amber malt in the background so I could at least know I was not tasting a VB, but apart from that was 'bitterly' disappointed. As you can see in the photo, I ended us just wanting to finish it ASAP, so was probably lucky to get this pic of it before I downed it (yep, no wasting of alcohol here).
Faro is an old favourite, and making the most of it being on tap here while I can, even if the weather is not too suited to it. I still probably enjoyed it the most for it's breadth and balance.
I was excited though the try the North Coast Old Rasputin imperial stout, as saw it was being poured from a sparkler tap to improve the creaminess of this beer, something I have been waiting to try again since I was in Fort Bragg, California, a few years back, and had noticed all the beers had a lovely creamy texture to them on tap. Tasting this beer through the sparkler really took me back to that moment with the lush dark malt body with the creamy texture rolling around my tongue. It was an 'eye closing' contemplative moment to savour on the front palate. However, the alcohol did spike a bit from the midpalate, so did not have the warming alcohol aspect that would have taken this beer towards a 'contentive sigh' or 'knee slapping' moment. It ended a little dry and bitter as well, which I did not recall from the only other time I have tried it on tap, but maybe it was just a freshness aspect that can only be had at the brewery, and I was too caught up in the texture first time around. Still, beers like that need to be showcased through the sparkler to get a fuller appreciation of them, which I am happy to say was also available on the other stout on the bar.
While I have had the Little Creatures Dreadnought before, I don't think I have had it on tap, and definitely not on tap this way. I think it was cask aged as well, and doesn't it show in the mellowness that goes so well with the big malt and creamy texture also displayed. This beer has a much better journey across my palate that the Old Rasputin, as the alcohol is better contained with the flavours. There is still a little bit of what I would term 'Little Creatures hop character' that brings only a slight bitterness and a similar dark/tropical fruit flavour that I have noticed from countries not well known for their stouts. The chocolate was on the nose quite well, but the licorice I have noticed before in the bottled version has died out a bit with age, but then I have noticed that happen with the Imperial Stout Stass and I have made and let it age for close to a year now in the keg.
Anyway, a good beer to end on as I got up to take on the wrath of the cold weather outside. Welcome to Winter!
Cheers to the staff at Josie Bones for putting up with me as usual,
PS: Happy 1st Anniversary to Stass and Jess. This time last year we were drinking dark ale to celebrate your wedding (good choice).
PSS: Stass, I have the beer, all we need is the chocolate and blue cheese mousse! The girls at Josie Bones said they could help with that though...