If you find yourself in the CBD of Melbourne, in fact pretty much right in the middle of the city, just near the GPO building and you are looking for a place to have a few drinks then you can do much worse than popping into Penny Blue for a beer or two.
Now you won’t have too much trouble finding something interesting to drink, it’s more likely that you will struggle to narrow down the choice to just one beer. More than once here I’ve entered into a decision daze where I’m left staring at the fridge or beer list unsure of what to choose.
I did manage to make some choices when I was there a couple of days ago. I started the journey with Moondog Black Lung II. The first sign that Penny Blue is a seriously good beer bar (apart from the three hand pumps sitting on the bar) was that I was asked if I would like my drink at room temperature rather than from the fridge. Seriously when was the last time a bar asked you that when ordering a stout? Also as you can see from the photo they then pour it into a wine style glass and give you both the glass and the empty bottle to take back to your oversized couch.
Black Lung II is the type of beer that deserves this sort of special treatment too. It is not an everyday thirst quencher, but rather is a stylish, slightly scary and special brew. It has a wet smoke smell that just begs you to sniff it. The body is smooth like oil and full like, well something that is full, maybe Scrooge McDuck’s bank vault, in fact you could say it was a rich as Scrooge McDuck as well. It is sweet, a touch aniseedy, and it tasted like you had taken a black jellybean and roasted it over a campfire. This of course prompted me to question whether anyone had ever developed aniseed marshmellows, how good would they be? Nearly as good as the Black Lung II that’s how good – Jug
Whilst we were on a good thing we thought we might as well stick with Moondog and selected their collaboration brew with Danish brewery Beer Here. That beer? Freaks and Geeks which is a saison, just not as you know it.
Now most people think of saisons as light refreshing brews, but this is Moondog so of course they have created a big (7.6% alcohol) and bold saison. It is a great looking beer, dark with nice solid head retention. Jordan claimed that it was a little bit like Grissette and I could see where she was coming from, there was this unusual fruity aftertaste and light spritzer type carbonation . The other dominating feature was the funk, with brett yeast smells on the nose. It’s a good beer, no Black Lung, but still very enjoyable. – Pint
I’ve described Moondog as a bit hit and miss in the past, but from what I’ve seen of late they are hitting more than they are missing.
Six degrees of Norm: Where we prove all beers can be linked back to George Wendt (Norm from Cheers) in six easy steps
- Black Lung is a Zoolander reference, which starred Owen Wilson
- Owen Wilson gave Woody Harrelson a black eye on an inflatable dinghy in Italy.
- And Woody served beers to Norm at Cheers.
- Meanwhile Freak and Geeks, the TV show, not the beer starred Jason Segel
- Jason Segel was in Gulliver’s Travels, as was Ted Danson (albeit another version)
- And Ted (as Sam Malone) served the odd beer to Norm as well.