Thursday, June 21, 2012

Radelaide Ramblings

So finally have a chance to put up my notes from my latest trip to Adelaide, so let's see what I remember.

With the Bogan clan in a van (reminded us of the van we use to have as kids), we first hit a winery in the Adelaide hills before heading to Loberthal Beirhaus, to retry the beers I had had previously. The tasting paddle was bigger, with 8 beers to taste for just $15, so good value. The pilsner did not impress, same with the IPA, which did not have much bitterness at all (and I'm generally quite sensitive to hops). The standout was the hefeweizen, with some good banana/bubblegum yeast character, and the Devil's Choice Belgium Strong Ale. I really wanted the Chocolate Oatmeal Stout to be good, but with a cocoa a bit dusty and the texture a bit watery, I was again a little let down. The family did like the Red Truck Porter (the staple of my Adelaide sibling), which has a bit of coffee that put me off a bit personally, but still a well made beer. While the standard IPA disappointed, over my steak I had the Double IPA, and have to say it was quite good with a good malt backbone that had some honey to it, going well with the citrus hop character. Still, tasted just like a standard IPA, but guess with the brewery's european slant, and them wanting not to be offensive to the restaurant clientele, at least it has good balance even if it is not as big as I would expect. It was funny when we were there, the brewer saw my Wheaty shirt and commented on it. I said I would be going there that night, so he told me to say hi to Jade for him. Is nice to see there is a bit of a beer community over in Adelaide. Not only that, but the winemaker we had met before going to Loberthal came into the pub, had a friendly chat to the brewer and left with a case of beer, so I guess it is just a good community.

Heading back into the city, we hung out in the hotel, took my wino brother to East End Cellars, where we enjoyed looking over the JJ Prum wines in their cellar and then took a couple of other bottles to drink while watching two great games of rugby, with Ireland being narrowly beaten in the last 30 seconds of the match against NZ, and then watching another cliffhanger with the Wallabies just edging out Wales (too bad I could not have been in Melbourne to be at the game). Wanting to celebrate (and just wanting to visit my favourite pub while in Adelaide), the Bogan kids hit the Wheatsheaf Hotel.

Was hilarious walking in to see the girls had put up a VB sign over the tap list. I remember seeing the sign in some photos Jade had taken when they were doing the renovation on the place, and had asked her then if she still had it. Finding she had hidden it away as opposed to burning it on sight, I had told her then she needed to put it up somewhere, just for a laugh. With the Wheaty having been around in it's current form for 9 years, I thought it safe to bring out, but have found since people do actually ask for VB when they see the sign. That just makes it even funnier. Still, putting the VB sign over the tap list really does make the beers look that much better.

There seemed to be a bit of a wheat-fest with the beers they had available ( I guess appropriate for a place called the Wheatsheaf), so my brother tried the Bridge Road Hefeweizen Dunkel, while my sis went the Mountain Goat Hightail through the Glasshopper (that added much more hops to it). Seeing this was the first time I had seen it on tap at a bar, I actually went the Mountain Goat Red Saison, which I could only recall tasting before when I kegged it. Having ordered, I got chatting to some of the girls behind the bar. I am not sure whether it was my line of questioning over the beers, or that one of them recognised me after a few minutes talking, but Leah saw me for the beer nerd I am and remembered me from my previous visits to the pub. She then proceeded to 'look after me' for the night, which while is nice, I am not one who wants preferential treatment. That they offer great beers there is enough.

The Bridge Road Dunkel was great as usual, and while there may not be many other beers like it being made in Australia, is definitely a good one for the style. With my sis being of the same ilk as myself with beer, the hopped up Hightail did not do much for her personally, but can say the added hops does not make the beer offensive, and is good to see a different side of this beer I taste quite a lot with this late addition. Unfortunately, the Red Saison did not live up to what I remember it as being. There is still some fruitiness, but the ginger seems to have dropped out, the chilli has turned into a dusty pepper, and the coriander is a bit woody. Not sure how long it had been tapped for, but is not aging as well as I had hoped.

Heading back to the bar and making sure I was served by someone else (still no luck, Leah must have told the barstaff to 'look after' me), I also tried the Loberthal Choc Oatmeal Stout they had on the handpump, and the Mikkeller Weizenbock. Ok, so a glutton for punishment with the stout, but the handpump does improve the body and creaminess of the beer, and the warmth bring out a touch more flavour, but still not enough to appease me, and was still getting a bit of watery flavour to it. The weizenbock was a great beer to end on, as the bock style brings some good caramel notes over the wheat body, with the higher alcohol cleansing the palate at the back, but leaving the slightest bite with some yeast just so you know you are having a stronger beer. And so another successful visit to the Wheaty was achieved, and very happy to head to bed after that.

Seeing it is hard to top the Wheaty, I guess it was good that I did not have much beer the next day. The clan got into the van again to head to the Barossa, and visited a winery that has a big Shiraz called 'The Bogan'. After explaining our laughter to the cellarhand, we had a tasting of it and other wines from their range, but of course left with a few extra Bogans in the van, one which we had over lunch. Big and in your face, is definitely a 'bogan' wine, and is nice to know now we have found both beer (Moo Brew) and wine connected to our last name (actually, I just heard the term 'bogan' has been added to the Oxford Dictionary. Look it up if you want a laugh).

I had actually taken a Moo Brew Barrel Aged Imperial Stout and a Dieu du Ciel Aphrodisaque, but unfortunately the restaurant we went to did not allow BYO beer. Still, the Toffee filled Baileys ice cream for dessert was amazing!

Needing to get back my flight back to Melbourne that afternoon, I went to the airport, with just enough time to check out the Coopers bar to have their 150th Celebration Ale with my bro, which reminds me a bit like a paired back Vintage Ale of theirs, but with many hints of their standard range, which I think is a good approach to take with the beer.

Anyway, another enjoyable visit to Adelaide achieved to help mark my parents 40th Anniversary. Here's to you mum and dad...



PS: been tasting a few beers through the week. The 'Little Rabbit' collaboration between Little Creatures (soon to be fully owned by Lion...) and their offshoot 'White Rabbit' is a Belgian pale ale which while a bit watery, has some good citrus and just enough yeast kick to make approachable to good for the style. The Mash Collective Rumwiezen has a great round and smooth texture with balanced levels of wheat and rum in it (surprised). The latest batch of Red Hill Imperial Stout is not impressing me much as previous years, but seeing it improves with age, may just be a bit young. The Abbey Collaby Imperial Stout is coming into its own a bit more with some licorice starting to come through with age to show the malt is melding well with the alcohol, and a 'special beer' has just been kegged, and have to say, my little bit of work on it has given it a bit more to enjoy. Extra carbonation brings out some zippy hop flavour and bitterness, and helped bring out the citrus aroma more...all I can say for now.

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