Every Melbourne beer mafia member worth his beard remembers Biero. This small bar in a quiet part of the CBD were blazing the craft beer trail before the recent explosion of trail blazing being undertaken by every pub, bar, bottleshop, art gallery, roller derby, mothers group and cafe with a liquor license and a six pack of Sierra Nevada.
A while ago Biero closed down, except of course it didn’t really close down, well it did but more correctly Biero are re-opening ‘somewhere in Chinatown’ sometime in winter, but the bar itself is still there. I assume it has new owners and a new (equally dumb) name – DejaVu.
Confused? That’s understandable. All you need to know though is that DejaVu exists at Biero’s old location in Little Lonsdale street and most of what made Biero great is still there as well. It still has an awesome beer line-up and prices are still very reasonable (for craft beer). Okay it’s not wholly and solely about beer anymore, in fact the slogan is now ‘where lowest prices craft beer is just the beginning’ and whilst there I noted people drinking wine, and shock horror, cider. The legendary/gimmicky beer vaults don’t appear to be getting used anymore and I think I spotted a Corona in the fridge, but the main thing for us beery folk the tap beer line-up is still solid and likely to surprise with a few hard to find gems.
It was this beer list that lured me in on a rainy night last week for a few brews and a quick dinner. Actually that’s not entirely true it wasn’t the whole list that got me in but rather it was a chance to try the Kooinda Milk Porter. My reasoning being, I like Kooinda, in particular their pale ale and I love milk porters, so put the two together and you should have a winner.
Perhaps we should start with what a milk porter is. Basically it’s a porter, which is dark, roasty, lightly hopped and generally wholesome, but with lactose added in. This lactose makes the beer sweeter, denser and generally speaking smoother, and I assume unsuitable for the lactose intolerant amongst us.
Now the Kooinda had a great mouthfeel, it was creamy and smooth, it wasn’t quite sweet enough for my liking though, I was expecting and decedent, luxurious brew and this fell just a smidgen short. It was still a fantastic beer and we could still drink a few of these on a rainy night and it would warm your cockles, but it didn’t blow my mind the way I was hoping it would. Pint
We also got to try the Hargreaves Hill C4 which beery folk have been raving about of late. This beer couldn’t be more removed from a milk porter if you tried. It’s a big hoppy IPA loaded with Citra, Columbus, Centennial and Chinook hops, hence the name C4.
This is a nice looking beer, it’s a hazy orange colour with a solid creamy white head. There are good hop tones (generally piney and citrus) that linger without being aggressive. That makes this an easy to drink, refreshing brew. Think of it like a Little Creatures Pale Ale turned up to 11, nope make that 12, well actually 14. Pint
So if you find yourself in the legal precinct of the city pop into DejaVu, you won’t regret it.
Six Degrees of Norm – Where we prove all beers can be linked back to Norm from Cheers (George Wendt) in 6 easy steps:
- The C4 is made with Chinook hops, as well as being a hop variety Chinook is also a type of salmon
- And the Chinook salmon is the state fish of Alaska.
- Alaska of course was the setting for Northern Exposure
- Which starred John Corbett as Chris ‘in the morning’ Stevens
- John Corbett was also in a series called ‘Gary the Rat’ along with Kelsey Grammer
- Who of course played Frasier Crane who frequented Cheers and often sat next to Norm