With Mr Mistoffles still rolling through my brain for the about the 18th straight hour (both Moondog and Andrew Lloyd Webber have a lot to answer for) I wandered back up to the Royal Exhibition Buildings Good Beer Week Day 1 – GABS & Some brief Tassie Actionfor my second session of the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular. It became immediately apparent that this was not going to be the same as Friday afternoon’s session, there were a lot more people and long queues pretty much from the outset.
In fact there were waits of up to 45 minutes for beer (at about 2.15pm), but having said that, the actual bars were working quickly and the delays seemed to be caused more by the stupidity of the masses i.e. people tasting beers 1 to 5 and not getting out of the way of people trying to get to beer 20, or getting to the front of the queue and then deciding to pick their beers. I’ve learnt over the years that it doesn’t matter how good your systems are you can never engineer out the stupidity of man.
Surprisingly given the scarcity of table space, the queuing and the presence of alcohol and weapons in the forms of paddles, everyone was still in a excellent mood and I didn’t see any agro and inappropriate behavior over the 9 hours I was there. Proving once again that if people can be taught to appreciate beer for something more than a tool to drunkenness and are treated like adults they will act like decent humans beings.
So again well done to the Local Taphouse guys, this was an amazing event.
But you’re here for the beers so let’s look at some highlights:
Wig and Pen ‘This beer is not real craft.’ I’m told Richard Watkins the brewer wanted to swim against the tide and produce a nice palate cleanser to counteract all the big hop, big malt, multiple yeast strain beers. Well he achieved it, a nice little tart beer which isn’t mouth puckeringly so, it also has a hint of fruit in the tail – Jug.
Mountain Goat’s Top Paddock: We were asked to ‘guess that ingredient’ with this one, and I think the answer is Cassia Bark, mainly because this beer tastes like a lighter version of the New Holland which came out earlier this year brewed by Angus Williams at Red Duck. I liked that beer and I like this one too – Pint.,
Invercargill Red Hot Chocolate – This had a wonderful chocolate smoothness in the silky body then a lull of a second before the chilli comes through and kicks you in the head. Brilliant – Pint.
Tuatara Double Trouble – This is a brilliantly balanced beer, really sweet malt backbone and then some seriously big fruity hop flavours – Great Stuff – Jug.
And finally for those of you playing at home you’ll know that in my plans for the weekend I excluded a couple of beers that I thought I wasn’t interested in, one of them being the Doctor’s Orders White IPA. This led to the good doctor himself tweeting me to tell me to give it a chance because it was good. Well I’m happy to report I did, and it is. It had none of the lemony tartness I’d experienced in white IPAs before and was a good sessionable beer rather than a hop monster. Pint
So that is the wrap up from GABS, I managed to try 46 of the beers on offer and there weren’t too many I was disappointed by. The main thing I learnt, well confirmed really is that the New Zealand beer scene is outstanding. The event was awesome, but I now switch to Good Beer Week mode.
And where better to start GBW than my traditional home The Courthouse in North Melbourne, which this week is the Tasmanian Pint of Origin pub. We popped in for a super quick beer last night, picking up Seven Sheds Razzamatazz, which is a fantastic little beer, light and very fun. It’s like a raspberry sorbet in a glass, helped along by the fact that it’s not too sweet and has spritzy carbonation. This beer made both myself and Jord smile after the first sip and you can’t ask for too much more than that – Pint.