Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Wheaty Goat Party: When Two Beer Worlds Collide

Firstly, Happy 15th Birthday Mountain Goat Brewery! After the first party at the GB a couple of weeks back, the tour for Cam and Dave finishes this Friday at Goat HQ. Still, when the opportunity came up last week to go to my favourite pub in Australia for the South Australian leg of the tour, I definitely took it.

It has been a great privilege to become one of the regular Goat herd over the last 15th of it's existence, and was nice to surprise the boys with my presence at the Wheaty when they arrived to start the party. Still, finding myself at the Wheaty while in Adelaide is not very surprising, as I seem to make my way  to the pub any day I am in that part of OZ. Still, it was nice to also surprise Jade to see me in there for this event. I suppose it was also a surprise for my sister to get a call from me the night before saying I was coming over for it, and good she was free to catch up over a few beers on the night, drive me around, and let me stay at her place (Thanks Cat!!!!)

So in my Wheaty shirt and Goat jacket, an hour after I arrived in Adelaide I stepped into the pub, and as always, found myself intrigued with the beers on tap. Getting a Doctors Orders Prescription Belgian Black IPA and trying my sis out on a smoke porter, we sat down and caught up over them before the Goat beers were unveiled and the Goat boys arrived to get the party started. I found the Prescription to be quite balanced even with all that was going on in it, and was happy to see my sis enjoyed her first taste of a smoke beer.

With the 7 Goat taps pouring, I was straight in for the Triple Hightail, and the Abbey Collabey Imperial Stout on the handpump (I personally had spent a day degassing the keg so it could be poured this way, so only seems appropriate I was there to 'ensure it's quality'). Just like I had a few months before at the Royston, the handpump Abbey was amazing, with the texture and temperature really opening up and melding the dark malt and slight candied sugar flavours on the front palate of the beer, while the mild sting of alcohol is reduced, creating a full but mellow profile overall that was a joy to sip on (compared to the Abbey Collabey that was also available through a normal tap). Letting the Triple Hightail warm up while tasting the Abbey, I also gave it regular bumps/swirls to knock out the cold and carbonation to try and replicate the handpump process on it. Of course, it is hard to remove such a sweet amber candied sugar flavour from it, but warming it seemed to turn the sweetness more into body than flavour, thickening the texture instead of stinging the tastebuds too heavily. I don't want to get caught up in styles, but it almost changes from an imperial amber to a barleywine (maybe I am thinking mulled barleywine?). The Fancy Pants (basically a Hightail with extra wheat and different hop profile) goes down really well, not just for me, but for the rest of the patrons, and was the first keg to blow (luckily the Wheaty have two kegs of this). The Black IPA also seemed popular and is a good beer to transfer from Winter to Summer with, but definitely not a slammer at 7.4%. The standard IPA was there for the less adventurous (and for the few that maybe wanted to drive home at the end of the night...I guess it was a school night after all), and finally the Hightail through the glasshopper (peach, apricot, cardamon and coconut). I didn't try the Hightail on the night, but after an extra day of steeping, the apricot and coconut was coming through strong for me when I tried it the next day.

Now, trying to get through these and the other set of taps is always a hard task, especially seeing half the Goat beers are 7.4% or above, and the Prescription was 7.6% in itself. The one criticism I have for the Wheaty is their lack of a kitchen, and unfortunately this remains. Cat and I ended up going across the road for a pizza (including an hour long wait...though this was helped with a Moo Brew Dark Ale). By the time we got back to the Wheaty, everyone was in high spirits and couldn't help by feel I had been left behind, so after taking a photo of the Wheaty Goats, took the opportunity to finish up for the night.

At least by doing this it meant I was feeling good for a bike ride around Adelaide to see the redevelopment of Adelaide Oval, visit Melbourne Street Cellars (one of the best beer selections in Adelaide I reckon) and East End Cellars, enjoy a Top Deck Iced Chocolate and Baileys Embrace from Cocolat, picked up more chocolates from Haighs (including the new Creme Brulee Truffle [reckon it would be better with milk choc than dark])...and then it was back to the Wheaty!!! Along with trying the Hightail, was happy to see the Triple Hightail and the Handpump Abbey Collabey was still available to keep enjoying. Knowing it was Friday, I knew the taps would be changing over soon, so tomorrow would be a good day to come back! Still, after my journeying through the day, meant I could try a local Woolshed Pale Ale (having a rep of using solar power, rain harvesting and being generally eco friendly does not make a beer any better. Somehow it even had a chemical sort of taste to it, reminding me of a Carlton Draught...bleh!) and an Oregon-based Bridgeport Kingpin (pretty cool red ale that has that classic west coast hop profile but with good balance with the caramel malt character) while making a potato bake.

The next day started with a Dark Force Wheat Imperial Stout before heading back to the Wheaty. What a joy to finally find the Steam Exchange Truffles available, along with a Brewfist Fear Milk Chocolate Stout, and both on tap. The Fear was ok, but found it a bit cocoa powdery than chocolate, while the Truffles had an amazingly earthy sweetness that was well balanced in itself. This latter beer has been worth trying to find for the past few years in coming to the Wheaty, and fortunate to have finally been able to have it for the first time. I happily went back to it after sharing a Bamberg Mazen Rauchbier with Cat, which was a good step up in her newly found appreciation of smoke beers, and once more having a Triple Hightail and handpump Abbey Collabey. With that it was time to head to the airport.

The next day I headed out to Stass's to put on an Irish Red Ale that funnily enough will be used to help launch an album some friends have just finished. Seeing I was once challenged to write a review of them as I would a beer, am happy to see we have almost got what I described them as in the beer we made. I also have the Sydney Beer Week festival to go to this weekend to look forward to, the Microbrewery Showcase is happening again this week at Fed Square, and along with the final Goat party on Friday, going to open one of the few bottles of Creme Brulee I managed to wrangle from our first all grain brew to share with the Goaters...I may have to spread it pretty thin.

Cheers to the Wheaty Goats and my sis!!!!


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