A Weekend of Australian Beers

The News Limited organisation has proven that phones are pesky little things and the hacking of them can get you into all manner of strife.  In fact a level of strife that even Humphrey B Bear would struggle to deal with.  

But I’m here to show you how phones can be used to the forces of good, they are a essential tool for keeping track of beers I’ve had when out and about.

Now those old school kitsch retro hipster types seem to love this sort of analogue approach – The Beer Journal – imagine if they made a moleskin version of it, the skinny jeaned mob would faint.

Techno-savvy gen Y’s probably used untappd, which is awesome for the sole ability of being able to wake up the next morning and piece together the night before by examined what beers you drank, when and where.  But it lacks the ability to actually take notes.

Nope for that I use the old fashionable yellow notepad on the home screen of my Iphone, it ain’t fancy but it works a treat, and it worked a treat last weekend when I managed to sample four Australian beers over the course of my outings, and here are the thoughts as captured by my typing thumb on the igadget.

First up was a beer I’d never heard of. Goodiesdon Pale Ale. The fact that it’s from McLaren Vale in South Australia made me think that perhaps it was an offshoot of one of the wineries that the region is famous for. But some investigating this morning tells me it’s a family run brewery, started by a guy who used to work for Lion Nathan but got sick of it. All sounds very promising.

But was the beer any good? Short answer it was okay without being spectacular, the description on the website (but not the bottle) suggests to me this is more of an English pale ale (the Fuggles hops give it away) rather than the big hopped American brews which are so hot right now, which is also where it might have gone wrong for me. This is a good enough beer, very well balanced, in fact so well balanced that nothing really stands out – Schooner

As I found this a little underwhelming I decided to move onto what I thought would be a safe choice, found a little further down the menu – The Bootleg Toms Amber Ale , now as you might remember I loved their oatmeal stout so I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately I was again left underwhelmed. It pours nicely, an amber colour with a solid white head which laces nicely but overall the flavour is just lacking, it feels thin and too reliant on carbonation. Much like the Goodieson, and good beer, sessionable but just not that interesting, definitely seek out their stout instead – Schooner.

The next day myself and Jord went to have a beer with my brother before the North game. For our tipples we decided upon The Spencer, partly because it has a sign that promises 8 craft beers on tap, but mainly because it was the only pub between my house and Etihad that opens on a Sunday.

And opening seemed to be a good idea as everyone in the pub had a blue and white or blue, white and red scarf on. I elected to start with the Hargreaves Hill ESB which was the beer of the weekend for me. It is a fantastic beer, beautifully balanced, but in this case it had a big malt tones upfront and then big hop character, but nothing is overpowering. Pint.

From these heights it all went downhill. The board behind the bar claimed they had a beer called ‘West Melbourne Pale Ale.’ On tap, I could not see its tap however, and I’m always suspicious that beers like this, that are only available in one pub are always just Geelong Bitter, the fact that the barman disappeared around the corner to pour my beer didn’t help allay my fears.

Well it wasn’t Geelong Bitter, but it wasn’t good either. It really was a nothing beer, no malt, no hops, it was like an under carbonated, less sweet Carlton Draught. This beer is so nothing that it makes you wonder why they bothered to make it, particularly in a pub which has many good beers on tap to choose from – Pot.

I ended the session at The Spencer with a Stone and Wood Pacific Ale (nee Draught ale) which is a beer I’ve reviewed before (ironically after drinking it at The Spencer) I didn’t like it. But the thing is everyone else does, since that post it’s been named Australia’s best beer a couple of times. I wondered if I’d got it wrong, so I gave it another go. But it turns out I still don’t like it, which just goes to prove how personal beer tasting is and how little you should listen to my opinion, or anyone else’s for that matter, just get out there and try them for yourself.

Long Bow YouTube Clip:  The song we heard later that afternoon. It’s Tim Rogers’ awesome rendition of the North Melbourne theme song – Join in the Chorus off the Marngrook Footy Show – just skip to the 1 minute mark to miss all the pointless talking.   

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