Well, it had been a while since a trip to the Taphouse, but with the Twoks playing a gig in St Kilda and a friend down from Sydney, thought it a good opportunity to get in for another tasting paddle over dinner, and show Hannah that The St Kilda Taphouse is better than the Darlinghurst (she said it, not me).
There have been a few changes to the place since I was last there with a bigger kitchen allowing for an expanded menu, but glad to see it hasn't taken away anything from the beer that should dominate a place like this. With a recent Italian invasion of beers happening at the Taphouse, the tap list was full of them to try, so was happy to have someone else there to allow us to try 10 of them over two paddles.
The San Paolo Birrifico Robina is quite a light honey ale, which while showing a nice touch of depth is not overly syrupy and could not help but sense a little bit of artificialness. Still as the honey flavours changed a bit as it warmed, showed the honey is the real deal and just happened to be somewhat refreshing style for a honey beer.
Brewfist Fear is a beer I have been waiting to have for a while with some other milk stouts, but seeing it on tap knew I would be having a go of it. The chocolate is quite subtle up front and not helped by a slight thinness to the beer to make it a stout, but there is a bit of cocoa bittnerness at the back to keep it interesting, with the lactose filling out the mid palate.
Birra Del Borgo Keto Reporter is a Tobacco Porter which needed a bit of warmth to bring out the tobacco flavour, and sort of found it a little lacking as the porter base came through as the dominate flavour. I decent beer, but just a little underwhelming. Mind you, it could have just seemed underwhelming when having it against the NZ Mussel Inn's Smoking Swine which while had a big hit of smokey bacon as to be expected, and really dominated the palate, found there was a bit of a medicinal smell and flavour which took away from it.
My paddle ended on a Birricicio Shangri La, which is a pretty solid barleywine, with good malt character and alcohol meld with it. Wasn't picking up much of the spices that were suppose to be in it, but the hops were noticeable early on but was actually happy to see them die off as the beer warmed. Sorry to be such a traditionalist.
With a guide of fruit and bitterness for Hannah's paddle, started her on a Brewfist Jale ESB, which was a good starting point with some sweet caramel malt and classic english hops keeping true to style, if just a little lackluster, which was also true for the Brewfist/Beer Here Caterpillar Pale Ale, but at least a step up in bitterness for the journey we had for her.
Brewfist stepped up though in the Burocracy IPA, which had a really good balance of citrus flavour melding into a good level of bitterness, and with enough gravity in the body to smoothly roll across the tongue and really let the flavour fill the palate.
Stepping up in bitterness again, the Golden Bear Manly Impulse IPA really shows the New Zealanders are up to competing with the US for hoppy beers, with this piney resinous hop dominating, but think we reach the limit of Hannah's palate for a beginner.
Thinking a nice sweet, cirtusy and spicey Tripel would bring her back to earth, the Extraomnes was fairly dissapointing, even if it had the alcohol correct for the style. Wanting to get that spice that we missed out on in that beer, we ended up getting the Croche Di Malto Temporis, and it didn't disappoint. Same sort of evenness and balance as shown in the Burocracy, but with spice instead of hops, leaving a nice tingle on the tongue.
Thanks to Hannah for letting me take her on that journey and shove beer down her throat. I hope one day people will stop being polite and tell me they don't want to taste beer, instead of indulging me in the fantasy that everyone can find a beer they like, and don't mind tasting beers to find it.
Hmm, so unfortunately, I can see I am getting to a point where beer venues are getting so good I can't help but feel that each night I am at one venue, I am missing out on the beers available at another venue. Still, that thinking can be a slippery slope to go down, so just going to enjoy what beers I do get to try when I can, just as I enjoy finally putting a brew on with Stass today. So as I watch the opening ceremony of the London Olympics and look forward to the next 3 weeks of sport, I'll contemplate some of the beers I may be trying...Go Aussies!