Prologue: It’s that time of year when a young man is dragged from the couch and into the mean streets of Melbourne. A time when a man is forced to drag himself from shop to shop in search of the elusive perfect Christmas present.
It was in this foul mood that I found myself in the city on Sunday afternoon. Because I’m so fricken Melbourne I was on a Tram. Because it is Melbourne it started raining. I had to leave the tram at my stop. I cowered under the glass tram shelter, but these things are designed for little more than carrying advertising posters and I was still be lashed by the wind and the rain.
Then it started. The hail. I had to make a decision. Dodging trams and traffic I dashed across the road and straight into one of Melbourne’s newest old pub.
Someone had the bright idea of turning the old mail sorting centre into a pub. not a good pub, but a pub none the less. But it was dry and it had beer so I ordered a Redback and settled back onto one of the many many couches to read my book and take refuge from the passing storm.
First expression: Gee this place isn’t busy. I’m the only person here who isn’t feeding their life savings into a pokie.
Appearance: I pour the beer in glass (which I had to specifically request, which is the sign that this isn’t a beer lover’s pub) It is a golden wheat colour, with only slight carbonation and a little cloud.
Packaging: Very simple a dab of red paint in a oval with the word’s Redback Beer – Original Wheat Beer. The original is apt here. This is the beer that really started it all for Matilda Bay, back when they were still based out of Freo (rather than the less glamorous current Dandenong site). Matilda Bay have of course gone on to produce some very fine brews, including two of my favourites Fat Yak and Big Helga.
Taste: This beer is very wheaty indeed. It is very easy to drink with little gas and just a slight bitter aftertaste, although this bitterness was fleeting. The taste was familiar. It took me half a glass to work it out. It tastes exactly like Sourdough bread. Maybe a wholemeal sourdough.
Food suggestion: Once I made the sourdough connection I wanted to dip this beer in some olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Drinking Location: Anywhere but the Mail Exchange hotel actually. I was nearing the end of my beer when I examined the change in my pocket and realised that they charged me $8 for the privilege of being their only customer.
6 degrees of Norm: Where we link every beer back to George Wendt (Norm from Cheers)
1. I drank this beer at the Mail Exchange Hotel
2. Which was once frequented by postal workers.
3. Postal workers not unlike Cliff Clavin
4. Who sat next to Norm Peterson in Cheers.
5. Is a number that we won’t be using here.
6. Is the number of beers in a six pack.
Ranking: Let’s have a Schooner
The ‘Long Bow’ You Tube clip: I felt just like Tali under his glass bus shelter wall, complete with running across roads and pouring possibilities into half empty glasses.