Sunday, March 3, 2013

Another Sydney Beer Weekend

So, it is with a better state of mind that I come to this blog this time. It is funny though, after being depressed with the 4 years I have been searching for Rogues Double Chocolate Stout and still not being any closer, it was this week I found that Warners At The Bay in Newcastle has that exact beer on tap. Thanks to Stass's dad up there, we now have a growler of this long searched beer in his care until I am up there in a few weeks. Yes, it may not be in the best state by then, but after this long, I don't really care, and reports from Stass's family is that it tastes as good as I recall. Plus, I have heard a new distributor is bringing Rogues to Australia now, so I will have a chance to soon to maybe even get this beer in bottle form!!!!! Still after this long I have learnt not to get my hopes up, so until I taste it, and see the bottle in Slowbeer of Purvis, I will keep fighting to get it. Which reminds me, I need to go to the bottle shops near me to see if they will be/persuade them to getting it in.

Anyway, now onto this post, was happy to head back up to Sydney last weekend to hang out with Hannah and her friends at a wedding (only Boag's available unfortunately, but at least the groom looked and sounded like an Irish jockey to keep me entertained) and her and Rach's birthday drinks at the Taphouse in Darlinghurst. With Hannah's favourite beer (at the moment) being on tap (Sierra Nervada Kellerweiss), and a good selection of other beers to choose from, it was a good night of tasting and trying to find beer appropriate to the tastes of those around me. After a warming Bridge Road Robust Porter to warm me up from the chill of rain in the air (but mugginess inside), it was time to taste what beers on the list I had not had before.

Starting on something quite weird, the Doctor's Orders Cephalopod had the green of a usual Berliner Weisse, but with the addition of the ink, gives it a blue/grayish cloudiness which makes it look a bit like swamp water (ok, not an appealing look for your general beer drinker). So along with the tart finish that  is standard with the style, I could not help but feel like I was also tasting a bit of saltiness (maybe from the ink), to the point I could have been closer to drinking a Gose (another Northern German regional style of beer). Still, in the crowd, the look and taste did not generally go down well, with 'butt crack sweat' being one of the more memorable responses to the beer. I did however find it quite refreshing in its own way, and the ink also seemed to give the beer a bit more body, which with the slight salt had me thinking of the use of mussels in some stouts.

Next on the list was sort of keeping with the wheat beer start, but going back in time to it's ancestor, the Enkir, with this Birra del Borgo speciality grain ale. The haze gave it a yeasty taste towards the back, even maybe a bit husky, and looked a bit darker than normal wheat beers. I was interested to taste it had quite a bit of sweetness to it up front to go with the citrusy nose. The sweet with the husky flavours did not mix great in the balance of the beer, but made for something new to try in a beer. Was happy to see the hop character was diminished to allow this malt character to come through fully.

Getting a bit darker and into the Autumn beers we are just getting into in the southern hemisphere, the Beer Here Autumnie Fallout was a really good balanced beer. Being Scandinavian, the malt character was quite big, but evened with a cleansing hop finish to make it easy drinking...well compared to the rest of the range I was trying...making this a really good palate settler in the middle of the tasting.

Going back to Italian beers, the Opperbacco 10 e lode had sweetness to burn! Having used brown sugar in a few of my own beers, could pick up on this. The belgian aspect of the beer was a bit hard to find even at the back end of the palate, but is possible there was a bit of candied sugar to keep with the sweet theme. Of course, this became one of my favs of the night, but many others just found it too sweet.

Ending with a bang, a Scandinavian malt bang, the Fano Bryghus Evil Twin Soft Dookie had such a creamy texture too it, the 'cloud' metaphor came out, add that vanilla, and big malt of an imperial stout, this was an amazing beer to finish on, and definitely my sort of beer for the rain in Sydney.

I guess speaking of stouts, I also have to mention on was walk around Blackwattle Bay, I came across a Belgian Imperial Stout in a Glebe bottle shop, and just had to buy it (like the Hercule Stout, I don't often find stouts from Belgium). I did not get a chance to drink it this time, but am sure I will be writing up here about it when that chance come along.

After the night at the Taphouse, I also took the opportunity to visit the Union Hotel and see there good range of tap beer available. They even had the Doctor's Orders Cephalopod, so decided to try it again. It seemed a bit clouder this time, and talking to the barman, he said they had to keep rotating the keg to stop the ink sitting on the bottom. Seeing they also had two handpumps, Hannah and I shared a Murray's Punch and Judy, and a Young Henry's Vertigo. I liked the english style of the Punch and Judy on the Handpump, while Hannah enjoyed the kristalweizen for obvious reasons. Both great beers to have on handpump, and shows Australia may be getting closer to appreciating beers that are served this way.

Ah, a much better post, and now have good things again to look forward to in beer. Not to mention I jst had a full week in Mountain Goat's brewhouse, which apart from being tired and burning myself with steam and hot pipes, did not go as badly as I thought it would. So hopefully, even more things to look forward to in the career I have been slowly persistent in pursuing.



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