When a plumber starts swearing you know you are not going to have the best of days. This is how yesterday started for me. Those playing along at home will know that on Monday I ripped out a pantry so that the plumber could look at a leaky downpipe. It turns out that the leaky downpipe is not a leaky downpipe at all but rather a rusted through metal roof and what seemed like a simple fix will now drag on for a few more days whilst everyone considers how to fix it.
On a related note I now need someone to build me a new pantry, if anyone knows of a handyman/cabinet maker/joinery person who doesn’t mind doing smallish jobs, drop me a line on the email address over there on the left.
So it was a busy morning for me and I wasn’t in the best of moods when I decided to wander over to The Great Northern for some West Australian brews. If you’ve never been to the Great Northern you should go right now. It’s always a good pub, it has a huge beer garden, great food, a cute dog, good atmosphere and a good beer line-up, which this week is even better. Okay it’s much busier than normal (or so the locals told us) and the service is a little on the slow side, but the WA sourced beer line-up is outstanding. It includes a number of breweries you’ve never seen before in Victoria (although I was disappointed to realise that Nail weren’t involved, why oh why won’t they send over some beer to the Eastern states?!) as well as the best of the Feral range.
Now it’s not a short walk from my house in North Melbourne to the Great Northern in Carlton North so when I arrived I was somewhat parched and thus elected to start with the Monk Kolsch, which is a light German style of beer designed for refreshment. This was just that, it was light and fizzy and not at all challenging, which is to say I found it a little dull. It’s deliberately light on the malt, there is a little hoppiness in the mid sip but it ended dry. This was actually a reasonable example of the style, but it proved to me again it’s not a style I really like – Schooner.
At this point my brother Andre arrived and we decided to step it up a bit (in truth we were working out how many brews we could get through before switching to the big Feral beers that we knew we wouldn’t come back from). We selected the Cheeky Monkey Belgian IPAwhich I wasn’t really that impressed with either. There was some trademark IPA (resinous) bitterness in there, but I didn’t get any of the Belgian sweetness or subtlety that I was expecting – Schooner.
From there it was back to the gentler brews, this time the Last Drop Unfiltered Wheat Beer which was a lovely drop. It smelt of sweet citrus and tasted of it too, all delivered with a nice smooth mouthfeel. A great little sipper.Pint.
By now Jordan had joined us so the drinking could start in earnest (I tend to get in trouble if I have the big headline beers before she turns up). As a collective we decided on the Monk Porterwhich I have to say is the weirdest beer I’d had in a while. They perhaps need to buy a filter in the brewery because this beer was swimming in suspended yeast. Now I don’t mind a little bit of yeast but this was ridiculous, in fact the last bit of the glass looked like the bottom of fermenting tanks when you brew, just a brown sludge. It was a shame because behind the weird yeastiness was a reasonable beer, the notable feature some nice powdered chocolate notes. Schooner.
From there it was onto the Feral Brews, all of which I’ve had before and all of which are stunning beers. The Barrel Fermented Hop Hog (B.F.H.) has all the beauty of regular Hop Hog but with the added excitement of extra sweetness and complexity. We were naming all sorts of things from vanilla to butterscotch to caramel and lard. The barrel also gives the beer a smoother,more silkymouthfeel. An absolute classic – Jug.
We also had the Karma Citra which is always outstanding and finished the night with the Boris Imperial Stout. Now the last time I had this it was in South Australia and poured through a randall. For a while we thought that perhaps the Great Northern bartender had gone to South Australia to pour this. Upon ordering we were told that ‘It takes a while to pour, now it is a thick beer, but I wouldn’t have thought it should have taken the fifteen minutes that it did. But it is an amazing beer and even better not through a randall,
The wait did also allow us to postulate about a potential run at the position of Lord Mayor of Melbourne, running on a platform of mandatory tap takeovers where every pub in Melbourne would have to dedicate a week a year to craft beers. We decided that we would form a crack team that would travel around 1930 Studebakers (standing on the running boards) wearing cool hats, bust into pubs and smash the kegs of Pure Blonde, all prohibition style. We would also outlaw cider, shooting the cider drinkers with marshmallows, Bugsy Malone style. As Sam Kekovich would say – you know it makes sense (or at least it did when we were 6 beers into an evening).