So last week you went came to a country wedding with me. When we left the story we were still at the Stanley pub drinking Carlton Draught. The day after saw a huge change of track though. We dropped the most macro of macro brews for some micro love.
That’s right we wandered through a dirt car park into the Bridge Road Brewery in Beechworth. We were confronted with a beer garden in full sun, a hundred or so people seated along long tables being shaded by huge market umbrellas. We secured a spot and then walked inside.
In one corner of the converted stables were a series of smallish wooden vats. In these wooden vats is where the Bridge Road brews are born. In front of them a cluster of small tables (you would really want it to be a sunny day for this place to offer seating for more than about 30 people), a shelf selling all sorts of merchandise and most importantly a bar.
Now the problem with brewery visiting (particularly in the country) is that eventually you’ll have to drive (for us all the way back to Melbourne town), but you also want to try as many beers as possible. This is where the tasting glasses come in handy. They are little glasses of about 120 odd mls, They come in ‘packs’ of four, six and eight.
Myself and Jord were spiting the taste fours. So I returned to the table feeling like a giant with two tasting glasses in hand.
First up was the Bling IPA. It’s one of the growing range of ‘Pale’ ales which ain’t pale at all. Rather this is an amber colour, so amber it almost has a red tinge. It pours with minimal head. It’s a very bitter beer, almost acidic apple flavours coming through. The bitterness lingers as well, lingers for a good 45 seconds.
Next up, the couldn’t be more different Porter. It poured dark with a tea coloured head which sticks around for the whole drink. Lovely and smooth in the mouth. Malt flavours at the front of the sip and then roasted coffee tones coming through (how beer wanker did that sound hey?) overall a very nice beer.
Between rounds we went to order some food. Now locally the brewery is known for its pizzas, and they were doing a roaring trade (and looked really good) but I have to recommend the Ribs. They are on the ‘To Share’ menu, but don’t be fooled by that, keep them for yourself. The meat actually falls off the bones they are that succulent. Dip them in the pepper and rosemary sauce and you have yourself the best meal this side of the Stanley pub.
But then it was back to the beer. It was time to move onto Bridge Road’s more specialised European style range – Chevalier. Selecting the Bier de Garde and Saison I headed back to the table.
The Bier de Garde was a fantastic beer. It was a red amber colour, with no head and very little carbonation. It was an unusual beer, almost gingery and very refreshing. It was sweet at the beginning, and then spices come through in the mid sip and a slight hoppy aftertaste. It almost tastes like a baked apple with the sweetness of the apple and then the spices (particularly star anise) coming through.
The Saison meanwhile was a pale yellow colour, almost the colour of apple cider. It had a wispy white head that stuck around. It was quite soft in the mouth. First comes the yeast flavours, like a rustic sourdough bread, and then the hoppyness kicks in, although it’s quite friendly and gentle. There are fruity overtones with a slightly acidic taste.
Moving back inside I saw another beer that looked interesting. A Chestnut Pilsener It wasn’t on tasting though, so I bought a bottle and wandered back to the kids outside in the sun. This beer was the only real disappointment for the day. It poured a pale orange colour with next to no head, being only lightly carbonated. The problem with this beer was that it was largely tasteless. I was not getting a chestnut taste, or hops, or malts or really anything. It tasted to me like nothing more than a thin bodied pilsener.
But this was a small blight on an otherwise brilliant day. If you find yourself up Beechworth way, I would recommend skipping the bakery (which is massively over rated) and instead heading to Bridge Road, sit in the sun, have a few beers and for God’s sake, have the ribs.
Bling IPA : Let’s have a Schooner
Porter: I’ll have a Pint thanks
Chevalier Bier De Garde: I’ll have a Pint thanks
Chevalier Saison: Let’s have a Schooner
Chestnut Pilsener: Maybe just a Pot.