Sunday, September 15, 2013

A Beer Selection in Time

Above is probably the best beer selection I have ever had in my possession in any one time.

Starting from back left is the best homebrew I have ever made, a clone of the Southern Tier Creme Brulee, and next to it is the actual Creme Brulee. This in itself is probably one of the hardest beers I have ever been able to find, and only come into my possession in the past week. Therefore, it is probably the biggest influence in my putting this collection together in this photo.

Next is the original B2Bomber from Bridge Road, brewed to celebrate their 5 anniversary. I also have a bottle of the Mach 2 and 3 of this beer and hope to seen have a taste off between the three.

Neighbouring the B2Bomber is another original, the first and best vintage of the Holgate Empress I have ever tasted. With this as well, I have other years reincarnations, but yet to have reached the heady heights of this original.

Rogue Double Chocolate Stout was a Holy Grail beer, like the Creme, that stayed out of my grasp for so long until this year, so I am amazed to even have those two beers in my possession at the same time. I had only ever tried this beer once before I found this beer again, but that moment in Portland, Oregon stayed strong with me for so many years, and I guess still does in this beer.

The Brooklyn Black Ops is an enigma beer, which even though I have probably had more times than many others in this line up, am still amazed to find I have in my possession, and happy to have even had it recently in a beer tasting here.

LTM Porter Baltique 2010 was the best beer I tried in the first year of Good Beer Week back in 2010, and am lucky enough to have 3 vintages of this beer to do a vertical tasting of. Again though, this is the best incarnation of this beer I have ever tasted.

Ok, so two beers from the same brewery is probably not right, but the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout was a beer I searched for long before I was ever able to taste it, and it took a friend going to New York and bring back a bottle of this for me to be able to taste it for the first time. I think this beer with the Double Choc Stout epitomises my taste in beer.

The Rochefort 10 has been aging for 3 years in my closet (cellar), and is the same age as when I tried one in Antwerp while on my travels in Europe 3 years ago. I remember coming back and buying this bottle so I could try aging one for that amount of time, as it was my favourite beer experience from the trip.

The Boon Faro is a beer I found on the Europe trip, which until earlier this year, had never found in Australia, until a fateful trip to Grain and Grape. Much better than the Lindermanns Faro, and a dying style of beer that I appreciate as a subtle and balanced lambic.

The Liefmans Cuvee Brut is another great story from Europe, where I met one of the biggest influences in making my decision to follow beer as a career. Willy recommend this beer for me, and it still remains with me. Maybe not the best beer of the style, but a beer with a story that is very important to me.

While this is the Moo Brew 2009 Vintage Barrel Aged Imperial Stout (probably one of the lesser vintages from the brewery), it is as close to the 2008 that blew my mind those years ago that I can get, and the earliest vintage I own. Knowing this year is the last year this beer will be made by Moo Brew, it had to make an appearance in this line up. Apart from 2008, I have a bottle of each vintage since, and just waiting to get my hands on the latest and last vintage

In the same vein as the Black Choc Stout, the Dieu du Ciel Aphrodisiaque is another amazing beer that I have enjoyed in the past. While I probably don't appreciate it as much as the other choc stouts I have, it certainly deserves to be a part of this line up of impressive beers I have in my possession right now.

Lastly, another beer I have been aging, the Red Hill Imperial Stout from 2011 is one I have been holding onto to see if its potential improves over time.

The patience, luck, and effort that is shown through this selection is probably the most of any beers I have ever 'hunted' for. While I don't know how long these beers will last in my possession, I think whatever of these make it to the end of the year for my 33rd birthday, I think it will be time that I finally put them to bed, and enjoyed them for what I have put in to have them. I look forward to sharing them with friends, and remember the people and moments behind each beer, as no matter how long I hold onto them, they will only ever be a moment, an experience I have searched for in my life, and luckily found in my way through life.

Heres to them, and to me enjoying them.



Imperial Stout Tasting 2013

So, it is that time of the year again! In fact, it is a bit late seeing we are just out of Winter. However, with a cool breeze and overcast skies, along with a federal election and Wallabies game, there was enough foreboding signs to want us to keep indoors and do a bit of drinking. Unfortunately, this year I was also feeling under the weather after a long week at work and having come down with a bad cold.
Still, luckily this year I had a secret weapon to bring to the tasting to take the limelight off me and my zombie manner.
With my girlfriend down for the weekend, I made the most of Hannah's passion for cheese and abilities in the kitchen to find some flavours to compare and contrast the beers against. And can I say from the outset, she did an amazing job, and made it the best imperial stout tasting I have ever had. Paradoxically, through the cheeses and Guinness chocolate cake she organised for the event, it was these outshining the beers that made the tasting the best ever.

The Tarago Tiple Cream Brie was one of the softest cheese we had available, and even though it is quite soft and creamy to help coat the mouth to help wipe off the beer flavours, there was also quite a bit of sharpness to offset as well. There was still quite a bit of creamy sweetness that went with the malt sweetness that many of the imperial stouts had, but there was also a saltiness in the cheese that I found quite interesting. Combine that with the powdery rind and this chesse was actually quite good at contrasting the beer quite well more than I would have expected for the style.

Swiss Gruyere was really up my ally being quite sweet semi hard cheese. The sweetness does really dominate across most of the palate especially with a touch of honey up front, and while it is also said to be nutty, I am almost getting something that reminds me of a vegemite yeastiness to bring a bit of savory balance to the sweetness at the back of the chesse. I think this one was one of my favs for bringing a different sort of sweetness to the malt sweetness I was getting from the imperial stouts, but then also having the dark yeast character I actually get from many of the beers. Quite intriguing.

Sticking with Europe, the Dutch Gutshofer Ziegenkase was another semi hard cheese with just a slight bit more crumble and darkness to that of the previous, with a real mustiness to go with its sweetness. It tastes a bit stinkier than it smells, and not sure if it is from that, but some acidic character to make it quite different from the other cheeses. Against the imperial stouts, this was probably as strong a cheese as we needed to offset the beer, but there was still some good mouthcoating qualities in this cheese, if a little bit gritty as well in texture, to make it a good pairing cheese. Its almost comes across a bit smoky when tasting it against some of the stouts, just to bring another taste to the table. Probably don't dig it much by itself, but was good with the beer.

Back to sweet, semi hard cheeses, probably one of my favourites to have by itself with the Chebris, which had a much more even sweetness than the Gruyere, balanced of with some nuttiness and musk character to create a much more rounded taste just by itself. I don't much like the cardboardy rind, but with a slight caramel or toffee character coming from the cheese, this was probably my favourite cheese from the tasting.

Getting even sweeter is the Ford Farm English Cheddar which has a really creamy sweetness to it, but still a bit crumbly. Still, the sweetness is even a bit overbearing for me, especially as the cheese really covers you mouth in it, and has a density to make it hard to get off your tastebuds. Still, with the higher alcohol of the beers on hand, the thinning quality helped dispense of the creamy sweetness.

Then, of course with Hannah involved, there had to be a couple of blue cheeses. The Fourme D' Ambert was quite mild for a blue, with some good creamy gooey sweetness to offset the musky blue flavour in the mould. Obviously I found this one easier to take, and did not outdo the beers as much at the St Agur, which is one of Hannah's favourite blue cheeses. While the St Agur still has some balance between sweet and mould, the mould is definitely strong, with a sharper flavour than the muskiness of the blue in the Ambert. The St Agur is probably just too strong to be pairing against beers as generally I could still taste this cheese after having a couple of sips of beer. It was only the strongest of Imperial Stouts that came close to being at the same flavour level at the St Agur, while I found the Ambert to be a good contrast without being too bitey.

Another special guest was a return visit from Miro, who like last year brought a beer to share and even some cheeses. The Le Dauphin was easily the most creamy and gooey of all the cheeses on offer, much easier for those like myself not really use to cheese to contend with on our journey. While not big on flavour, being a texture based beer drinker, I really enjoyed filling a cracker with this and letting it simply coat my mouth in creaminess. Miro also brought along a vintage cheddar, which Stass and I had used previously to great effect in a previous imperial stout tasting. This one seemed a bit sharper than the one we had (think the previous on had been smoked as well to round it off a bit), but still went well with the beer, especially with the vegemite yeasty character I found in it.

Ok, finally for the beers themselves (best enjoyed while wearing silly hats of course).

Starting with a brewery everyone would know of, the Sierra Nervada Narwhal, it was a really well balanced beer to start on while the tastebuds were fresh. That classic licorice character that comes from the melding of dark malt and alcohol was instantly present for me, and was happy to have let it sit and age for 8 months if it allowed this balanced character come out.

Deciding to go with a bit of an american journey with the imperial stouts to start with, we continued onto the Clown Shoes Vampire Slayer. This one really brought out some smoothness in the beer. Again, I had been holding onto this beer for quite a while (actually, I had gotten it for my birthday 9 months before) and there was an interesting roundedness with it. Reading the bottle, I saw there was some smoked malts in their, and that the wood they had been smoked in was hickory (a flash back to my own Hickory Stickery Bock). It sort of had that wood aged quality without having had the age. It really helped bring a mellowness to the alcohol and was probably the best balanced imperial stout of the whole tasting, along with chocolate, coffee, just a touch of malt roast/smoke that helped keep back the alcohol heat in the beer. A very well made beer, and just makes me want to try more from Clown Shoes.

Seeing we had just had a stout with some wooded character, we stepped it up with the Bourbon Barrel Aged Saint Bob's Imperial Stout from Vicino Brewing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This one happened to be in a mixed case of beer we received at Goat for the boys helping in the beer judging/stewarding at this years AIBA Awards. Woah, it was pretty big. Not just with 11.5% alcohol, but with the bourbon smell that permeated massively from the bottle as soon as I opened it. This is not a beer of subtlety. Unfortunately it tasted like they had left half the bourbon in the barrel when they put the beer in with it. The alcohol was really hot, and with the bourbon smell, was just too overpowering. Still, at least it gave us a chance to see if it could handle the blue cheese in the selection, which surprisingly it could not. The best thing that could be said about the beer was that at least it had been aged to help meld the flavours a bit, but certainly was not well balanced.

Deciding it was only going to start getting messy from here after that beer, thought we had beer have the last beer our taste buds could really appreciate, so pulled out the beer Miro had brought with him. I have only tasted this beer a couple of times, and always left me pondering how it can be so smooth and just taste of quality, while still being quite different to many other high alcohol dark beers I have tried. The Brooklyn Black Ops is an 11.6% alcohol dark beer that does not have the heaviness of so many dark beers, but still retains good weight on the palate to contain the high alcohol in it. It is a bit of an enigma beer that made it the most talked about beer in the tasting, and not just because of its rarity. It was this beer where Miro's business understanding behind beer and my brewing understanding were both delved into to try and make sense of it. I remember trying this beer back in the second Good Beer Week with their Black Chocolate Stout with a dessert of blue cheese chocolate mousse. However, what I got wrong back then was not hops in the Black Ops, but the yeast. Using a second stage fermentation usual for brut biers, a champagne yeast boosts the alcohol while efficiently using the remaining sugars after a first stage ale yeast fermentation. This really dries out the beer and adds the champagne yeast character to the beer that makes it so different to many others. There is a great delicateness through the efficient nature of the beer, even though it is quite robust in the flavours in contains. This specific bottle also had the leverage of being from a 2009 vintage, and the extra time in the bottle had only improved the flavour. The sweet malt may be reduced, but the yeast and alcohol balance each other off quite well to retain the delicate balance in the beer. This is not your typical high alcohol dark beer, which makes it great to have in this sort of tasting.

Still, with my sickness making it harder for me to appreciate the beers, and the weariness of alcohol starting to hit the rest of us, it was time to finish on a clanger, a beer I tried a couple of years back and just found the alcohol way too strong. The Hargreaves Hill Russian Imperial Stout 2011 is a blockbuster at 12.3%, and when we had it when it was young for Stass' birthday a while back, the alcohol heat was just way too big, and burned the tongue to stop you from actually enjoying it. After a couple of years I thought it would be alright to come back too. Well, the alcohol has died off a bit, but only by bringing up a diacetyl character. So obviously, not a beer to have young, or to be aged, so we don't win either way. I am happy to see in later releases the alcohol has been reduced, so maybe they have learnt from this batch. Still, the alcohol stang pretty hard, and I wasn't able to go any further with the tasting.

It was also with the Brooklyn Black Ops that my favourite part of the tasting happened (well apart from when Hannah sat on my lap after it all), when Hannah pulled out her Guinness Chocolate cake. It was densely dark like a mud cake, but with a creamy icing that made it look like a Guinness in cake form (hmm, such a delicious thought...). However, there was ginger in the cake to lift it from its dense sweetness, and sour cream in the icing to offset its sweetness, so it was quite well balanced in flavour. Seeing the Black Ops came across quite dry, I thought the sweetness of the cake would make it a good pairing for the cake. Yes, yes it was!!!

With that, we come to the end of this years tasting. As usual I still have a dozen odd beers left over, so that means just one thing, we get to do this all over again next year, and the beers I have get to age for another year...Perfect!

Big thanks to everyone that made it this year, especially first timer Hannah who provided us with cheese, cake, and her lovely presence. It was easily the biggest year yet, with me running out of chairs. Still, seeing I was also running out of voice, it was good to have enough other people around to make up for me.



Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Brew Zealand Crawl: A Slice of (brewing) Heaven

So, the plan was to go to New Zealand and celebrate the 12th annual Beervana in Wellington. Just happens we took 2 weeks, and the scenic route from Auckland to get there.

Arriving in Auckland and meeting up with friends, I was able to experiment with my potato bake recipe by using 3 types of kumara (native sweet potato). While the yellow and orange was quite nice, the red has a certain type of texture or density that stood above the others, and so was searching for that from then on. While I was making it, Andrew and Fi had a bottle of Stoke's Oatmeal Stout for us, and with it my beer journey of New Zealand began.

The next day while exploring the city, I found the two pubs beside each other I remembered visiting the first time I visited Auckland to see Fi and Andrew. With a Flemish Stew available at the Occidental, I was able to relive my last overseas trip with it and a Leffe Bruin, as I had done 3 years ago in Brugge.

Having picked up our camper van that would (eventually) get us to Wellington, we stocked it up at the supermarket and was happy to see like in Europe, you could just pick up your alcohol while doing a shop, and pay decent prices for it. Was even happier to see that on one shelf, all the mainstream beers were just mixed up on it, looking like rejects all on their lonesome. Was good to see craft beers given the respect they deserve. 'Accidently' dropping one of the beers while we were filling the camper van, it just meant I had to drink the first of the 6 pack of Boundary Road Chocolate Moose.

The next beer experience came from the heart of Northland region, in the Bay of Islands visiting Russell, and the Duke of Marlborough. At this historical hotel, I encountered my first organic beer in New Zealand, and from then was searching for them for the rest of the trip. Founders Long Black is quite a nicely smooth black lager which had a good balance of coffee and chocolate notes, both that seemed to be boosted but evened with the organic nature of the beer.
That night, another organic beer was on the menu with the Fullers Honey Dew. However, this one was a bit more disappointing as was getting too much of the artificial sweetness I was hoping not to get from it being organic.
With Hannah enjoying hefeweizens, we found a german hefe at the supermarket and had it as we settled down after having had the camper van stuck in the sand at the beach. Luckily some surfers were able to help us out, so gave them a bottle of the Chocolate Moose and the Goat/Brooklyn Hopfenweizenbock as a thank you. Heading to dinner at the Funky Fish, the Monteith's Doppelbock stood out on the beer menu, and with some kumara wedges and kumara pie on the food menu, the sweet caramel malt of this beer really matched the flavour of the food.

Making it to Thames in the Coromandel, and a holiday park that looked straight out of the 1950's, after our usual cheese platter made up by Hannah, I roasted kumara and cooked some snags on the park bbq. Of course, I had to do it with beer in hand, and so my trusty Chocolate Moose had it best hit out of the whole 6-pack that night. There was more of a creamy texture to work well with the chocolate character, which itself did not seem as bitter, and the slight metallic back was diminished. I did burn the snags, but the kumara was awesome to make up for it.
Doing a few walks in this region, we were looking forward to moving onto the Bay of Plently, where we started seeing natural hot pools becoming more available in the holiday parks we were looking to stay at. With a bottle shop across the road from where we were stayed at one night, a tasting of Mac's Great White cloudy wheat beer against Blue Moon's Belgian Witbier was had over our cheese platter before relaxing in the thermal pools. I think I actually preferred the Mac over Blue Moon, as the latter seemed a bit lack lustre (maybe something lost in the transition from America to New Zealand) over the wheat and banana yeast characters in the Mac.

Getting to Rotorua the next night, a mini pub crawl of town was had starting at the Pig and Whistle. Trying out the Swine Lager was not optimum for the wintery conditions, but was remedied by a beef and Guinness pie (of course with a side of Guinness) before another stop at a local bottlo (we did get good touristy advice from the bottle shops we visited) before hitting Brew, Croucher Brewery's brewpub. The place was going off with a younger crowd in here for a Friday night, and quite a different atmosphere to most brewpubs I have been to. Actually it turned me off a bit, but with what looked like a decent range of beers on offer, the ability to get tasting paddles, and a quiet corner found at the back of the pub, we went through the entire range of beers on tap. Apart from a few of the beers, all seemed to be quite high in hop bitterness, and so finally I had the experience I was expecting to have in NZ, where every beer tasted like an IPA of some description, even if they weren't labeled as IPAs.

Halfway through the trip and with the Brumbies making it into the Super 15 Grand Final against the Chiefs, we made our way to Hamilton, for a night of beers, pies and footy!!!! An Erdinger and dark lager at Helm bar with the 10 other Brumbies supporters in Hamilton, we made our way to the ground, and I lost the first 10 mins of the game in line at the bar to get some Waikato Draught, which for a mainstream beer is not that bad actually. One of the better beers I've had at a sporting event. So in New Zealand, even the macro beers are good. Damn you NZ, you beat us in the rugby and with your beer!!!!

We made it to Taupo the next day, with the Merchant of Taupo our next bottlo to visit, where I found a good selection of beers in bottle, and even some taps of a local Lake Man Brewery, which was nicely even and clean in flavour, and subtle in hop as a nice change after Rotorua, with the salesman happy to give us tastings of that plus wines and ports. Needless to say, we left with articles of each, and some more cheese.

Next stop was the snow, so thought conditions were perfect for another bock to keep warm after a day of skiing. The Flensburger Winterbock, was actually not as full in flavour and texture as the Monteith's bock I'd had earlier in the trip, so was a little bit disappointed with that one. Another beer that came off a little watery was the Red Duck Porter that I had on the last night in the camper van.

Still, better beers awaited once we arrived at Wellington the next day, starting with a stop at Mac's to see their cloudy wheat beer was just as good on tap as in the bottle. Then, to the enigma venue of craft beer in Wellington, the Malthouse. So many beers on tap in a place so small, it seemed unfathomable that they would be able to get through that much beer on tap in such a venue. Mind you, every time we went past the place, it was filled to bursting with patrons looking for their fix of craft beer. Along with the great tap selection, the bottle menu was also astounding, with brews like Samuel Adams Utopias and the Thomas Hardy Ale in the line up. However, containing myself to trying local beers, the Tatura Hefe and the Three Boys Coconut Milk Stout were happily experienced instead. The Tatura was not as cloudy as I would expect for the style, but the yeasty banana flavour was. The Three Boys was really intriguing, as the coconut seemed to somehow lift the sweetness of the milk stout, but also even it out nicely. I suppose you could say it tasted a bit like a Bounty in a beer.
Just down the road was the Tasting Room, which while not having an awesome array of beers (well, compared to the Malthouse...), did use the selection they had well with the food they had on offer. We both went with beer and food pairing specials, Hannah the schnitty with Erdinger, me a venison Wellington with Monteith's Barrel Aged Porter. It was one of the best meals from the trip, especially with the Whitaker's chocolate between the venison and pastry. It was like putting melt-in-your-mouth meat in a melt-in-your-mouth chocolate croissant. Actually, the beer was not big enough the compete against the meal, but the chocolate character of both meant they complemented well enough.

Spending most of the next day at Te Papa museum, and somehow restraining myself from purchasing a box of beer chocolates, we headed to the Fork and Brewer brewpub for a late lunch with a beer (the Stormchaser Dunkel was quite good), before realising as part of Choice Beer Week in Wellington, there was a beer launch that afternoon, so hung around the try the Dark Vader (Imperial Dark Ale). Spending the evening window shopping along Cuba Street, we splurged with dinner at Logan Brown (well, actually quite reasonable at the pre-theatre rate), that along with some great food, also had a decent selection of beer, much better than the established restaurants in Melbourne. After having had a few beers through the day, and seeing we were off to a play after dinner, I had the Wigram Czar Imperial Russian Stout.
Unfortunately after this meal I wasn't feeling great for the rest of the night, so was a little worried that I may not be is good shape for Beervana the next day. Still, with sheer stubbornness driving me on (along with a taxi driver), Hannah and I suited up in our respective 'got cheese?' and 'got beer?' shirts, and heading in to do a quick reccie and see what beers I should be looking to try.

To start on an interesting note, we went straight for the media brew bar where I had the Oddfellow Peppermint Stout and Hannah the Just Desserts. Mine was a bit subdued for what I had hoped for but still had a bit of choc mint character, but the pavlova flavours in the Just Desserts was awesome, and a great way to start the festival. Seeing the Mountain Goat team at this festival we pulled up for a taste of Mike's 3rd Nut (which we were happy as it ran out really quick). The sweet of peanut with a slight bittering of tahini nut really balanced each other out well over the good malt backbone of the brown ale style. A quick splash of Sam Adams Lager and and a Boundary Road Einstein Munich Lager and we were ready for the beer and cheese experience we had booked into when we bought the tickets for the festival.

While Keiran Haslett-Moore did have some troubles with his Kapiti Fondue to delay the start of the class, there was a great diversity of cheeses and beer to pair off. With difficulties in the fondue, we started on the pairing of the Sprig and Fern Doppelbock and a Meyer Vintage Gouda. Apart from a bit of a metallic in the caramel malt aroma, there was quite a bit of hop for what I would expect in this style of beer. Of course, the gouda was very sweet but also quite crumbly which is something I have not seen much with cheese (not that I know much about cheese), but the sweetness of the cheese really raised the caramel flavours of the Doppelbock, so overcame the hoppiness in the beer quite well.
Next was the Northend ESB (of which Kieran is affiliated with) with a Barry's Bay Wainui Special Vintage Cheddar. The ESB had a lovely rich caramel malt aroma but had a really resinous hop bitterness at the back to dominate the beer. The creamy front on the cheese (even though it was a bit dry on the edges) again went well with the malt character of the beer, but there was also a stinky or earthy character and a sort of saltiness that offset the resinous hop.
Now, for my favorite pairing of the event, the 8 Wired Grand Cru/Sultan with the Kapiti Ramara, a sour beer with a cheese the uses bacteria, not mould for it's flavour. The beer was very bretty in it's sourness, but helped with the cherry/raspberry fruitiness. The cheese was so creamy it coated your mouth perfectly for the beer. The cheese was not too stinky or sweaty, but really offset the sourness of the beer. This was definitely one of those beautiful matches where either by itself did not particularly appeal to me, but brought out something special from each when combined.
What was to be the last matching was the Emerson's JP 2013 Belgian Dark Ale and of course, a blue cheese in Barry's Bay Peninsula Blue. Of course this was Hannah's favourite, whereas I found the cheese just way too mouldy for my inexperienced cheese palate. While the stout is fermented with belgian yeast to really boost the flavour, even after rinsing out the cheese with the beer, the mould taste is still quite strong.
I was probably happy to have the fondue last to get over the blue cheese, so when it came out with an 8 Wired - Saeson, I was a little relieved. The Saeson had an interesting woody, almost white wine character that I found quite acidic, but did match well with the gooey sweetness of the fondue. Holding onto some of the Grand Cru and vintage cheddar to finish on my fav from the experience, I found the cheese also went well with the Saeson.

Anyway, after that session I could go back to just tasting beer, and as always, enjoyed myself immensely. However, grabbing my last beer for the festival, I must have accidently left my booklet with all my notes of the beers I tried behind, and now finding it hard to even remember which beers I tried. So will at least note which beers I think I had through the rest of the day...
Black Dog Brewery Pango Kuri
Emerson's Collaboration Milk Stout
Epic Epicurean Coffee & Fig Stout
Garage Project Ca Phe oa (on Nitro)
Harrington's Belgium Abbey Tripel
Kereru Moonless Stout
Liberty Darkest Days (Oatmeal Stout)
McCashin's/Stoke Arm Twister Imperial Stout
Mountain Goat Hopfenweizen and RIPA
Panhead Black Top Oat Stout
ParrotDog Otis
Tuatara Stout
Cashel and Sons Milk Stout (one of my favs. So creamy and full flavoured!!!)
Brew Moon Ole Mole
Invercargill Pitch Black Stout
Two Fingers Battering Ram-Doppel Alt
Feral Boris
Nail Clout Stout

Luckily there was a great selection of food also on offer so had a great pie at the Wakelin House and finished off our festival similar to how we started, with beer dessert. This time though, it was in the form of a beer brulee...perfect.

Getting back to our side of town after the festival, we visited Black Dog Brewery for a beer and then for our last meal of the trip, it was back to the Tasting Room, that had an amazing Turducken burger that helped fill the gap after all the beer. It was so good, Hannah has had a go at making her own turducken burgers when we got home (they were really good too).

So, a big thanks to Hannah, for allowing me to bring beer into our trip and for coming along to Beervana with me (even though it helped that she could eat cheese while I drank beer). It is really good to see that after our first trip away we are still talking and wanting to hang out more, so I hope it continues. Actually, I am sure it will, as she will be in Melbourne this weekend for my yearly Imperial Stout tasting. So look out for notes on that soon and the cheeses Hannah will be choosing.

Cheers NZ, you have some good beer, and some great scenic spot to drink beer by. I look forward to heading back to do the South Island next time