Uni students between pints of Geelong Bitter might try to convince you otherwise but beer and education aren’t generally the best of friends. This isn’t how the Beer Academy sees it though. The Academy was started in the UK in 2003 and has recently launched in Australia, in fact I was lucky enough to get invited down to their first event in Melbourne town.
Hosted by the appropriately monikered Professor Pilsener (AKA Pete Mitcham) and held at the James Squire Brewhouse, the event was part 90 minute introduction to beer tasting session, part intro to the Beer Academy, part the biggest collection of beer bloggers and associated beery people this side of Good Beer Week.
The line-up of beers was exactly what an introduction to craft beer in Australia should be, that is good examples of styles that are all readily available at any half way decent bottleshop. There is nothing worse that discovering a new beer at one of these tastings only to discover you can never find the bloody thing again.
The beers in question were La Trappe Blonde, Stone and Wood Pacific Ale, Mountain Goat Hightail, Matilda Bay Alpha and James Squire Jack of Spades Porter. As I mentioned nothing ground breaking there and all what I would now consider session beers, but I have to admit it was nice to revisit these beers, concentrate on them and pick out the flavours I now take for granted in most of these.
The big surprise of the night was the food that we were matching the beers to; firstly it was consistently very good. Now I’ve never eaten at the James Squire Brewhouse/Portland Hotel before, but if this food is anything to go by I will be soon. Most the courses worked with the beers as well, the only downfall in my opinion were the chocolate brownies which were too sweet for and thus overpowered the porter.
So if you want to learn about beer you could do worse than attending a Beer Academy event. The intro tasting is probably a little too simple for you guys, because well you have to be beery geniuses to be reading this blog, but if you were trying to convert a friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, brother, mother, workmate or anyone else to craft beer this would be a nice start.
Or here is an idea if you want a corporate event, how about considering a beer tasting, it’s much more fun that a wine night, which tend to be a little stuffy and technical. Being a king of corporate largesse I’ve been to both and beer wins hands down.