Sunday, June 10, 2012

Pub Crawl Thursday

Yeah, after a few days is hard to remember everything from Thursday night (especially with how many beers I tried), but will see how I go.
Started by finishing off the Renaissance Craftsman Chocolate Oatmeal Stout with Stew, paired with the last of our easter eggs. Unfortunately the balance of bitter and sweet chocolate from the beer did not go well with the milk chocolate.

After 2 previous attempts to get a burger at Huxtaburger in Fitzroy having failed, I decided to get there before 6pm so could beat the rush, and was happy to see a table free out the front to enjoy the 'Theo', with a Brooklyn Brewery Brown Ale. Tasting the beer before the burger arrived initially made me think candied sugar had been used, but then realised I was tasting something similar in malt profile that I would normally see in a German dunkel with a spitzy sweetness to it through some wheat. I did not see wheat as an ingredient, so not sure where this flavour came from. The grilled double patties and bacon went well with the sweetness of the beer. The burger overall did have an american diner taste to it, especially the gerkins, which I am happy to say have been downgraded to what I was tasting in the States, they must have dumbed it down for the aussie audience, so the flavours were well balanced, including the sauce.

With Josie Bones just a few doors down, it would be amiss for me not to go in there, even if I had only been in there a few days ago. Was happy to see there had been some changes to the taps menu, so sat down for some more tasters. While I was deciding my journey, James gave me a taste of the HopDog Alluvial Peach White Ale, which I have to say, tasted of very high quality, where I would have thought it had been made by a Belgian brewer, not from NSW. The fruit flavour was fresh and light, which may have also been helped by the Chardonnay barrel aging the beer had gone through, with just the slightest bit of sourness to broaden out the delicate palate. trying this I knew the La Sirene Siason would go down well afterwards, then stepping up the fruit flavour with a Lindemans Cassis. Has a very similar profile to the Faro from them, but the blackberry comes through a lot bigger up front before the sherbert sweetness lifts across the midpalate, only slightly cutting down residual sweetness with a touch of yeast at the back. Another well balanced (for my palate anyway) with a lot of depth, but maybe not as delicate as the Faro. Still, the deep dark red really shows how much blackberry is used.
I don't know why I had the Green Flash Palate Wrecker (maybe I thought I would only hang around for a couple), but when the Palm Speciale was replaced by the Sierra Nervada Summer Lager, thought I would stay a little longer with another set of tasters. Ok, I am not  lager drinker, but worth a try on tap with some good hop character to lift it beyond the norm I generally try of this style.
Trying the Brewer's Pure Malt Ale got me back into my sort of flavour country, and ending with a Little Creatures Dreadnought was as good as I remember (well, I only had it a few days ago). But no, I wasn't done, as the Palate Wrecker had been left to warm (and maybe subdue some of the hop bitterness in it). Maybe it was the warmth, but the bitter sting was not so harsh on tap than I recall from the bottle, allowing for a broader and more balanced flavour profile to come through. It was still hard to get through with the hops just continuing to rise with each sip, but luckily had been using it as a cleanser between beers so only half of it was left by the time I focused on it alone. Not as bitter as the Mikkeller 1000 IBU as could still taste hops through the bitterness, but still way too high for my 'sweet tooth' palate to appreciate.

Moving down Smith Street, I once again saw Miro out and about before walking past a pub I had never been into, the Robert Burns Hotel (well, a spanish style venue named after what is an english poet...hardly seems like a well thought out place for me to visit). Seeing they had the Stone and Wood Jasper, I thought I would run the risk and check it out (plus, I needed a pit stop) apart from a red ale malt character up front, I was not getting much from the beer, but guess that has to be expected after the journey I had already been on. With it being made in Northern NSW, I guess winter beers are not their style, as body seemed a bit thin too. Still, worst case is that is an easy drinking beer with a bit more flavour than the norm, and slanted towards my own personal flavour. Going up a couple of blocks I hit Gasometer, and seeing some old friends out the front (A few empty Mountain Goat kegs...yep, as close as I get to having friends. 'See you back in the brewery boys'), stepped in to see they had the Vale IPA and Dark Ale on tap. Seeing my taste buds were becoming shot I thought it the perfect time to try them. Unfortunately, the IPA came across more like the Jasper I had before, and the dark ale was just 'meh' (techincal term that!), so finished them off and walked down to the Fox Hotel to check out the beer cans and a Cavalier Brown, which I think tasted pretty similar to last time I tried it. starting to loop round on myself, I hit the Gem for a Bright Ale (a place I had always been meaning to come to to taste the Bright on tap...too bad I couldn't taste much by now, but with them playing Midlake over the speakers, was happy to hang around) before taking a sobering walk to the Rainbow Hotel just in time for me to get a pint of my old winter favourite, the Holgate Temptress, before the Twoks started their gig.

Too bad I had work the next day, which ended a little similar with a few beers at the bar and a few more at the Royston over a parma. The Abbey Collaby blew while we were there, so had a last sip of the much better handpump version of this beer. Think I may have also had a Mornington Penninsular ESB, 2 Brothers Baltic Porter, and something else I can't recall...must have been good. Still made up for it yesterday by only have one beer...

To celebrate my other Melbourne cousin inspecting and having an offer approved for a house in Ballarat, I took a bottle of my first ever homebrew gluten free beer to a celebratory dinner last night. By all accounts it tasted ok and just waiting to get word that they did not get sick before I try another one of a different flavour. Good times!



PS: Well done Wallabies of a good display of rugby along with the Welsh last night. Did not even want a beer to enjoy the game!

PPS: Special call out to my parents (who will not be reading this) on their 40th Wedding Anniversary today. Just for you I won't have a beer today...I don't think. Very thankful that your love gave me life, and that the love has continued after 4 decades and 4 of us kids. Looking forward to our trip to Adelaide next weekend...and a visit to one of my all time favourite pubs... The Wheatsheaf Hotel. Get the dark beers ready for me girls!

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