Catching the Omnibus to Mildura

I’m always looking for ways of integrating great beer into my standard working day (whilst of course maintaining a professional manner and calm attitude) so when I read on Twitter that Mildura Brewery would be having a tasting around the corner at my local (to work) Uncle Dan’s I suggested to Frewy that we head over after work and try a few of their brews.

Now I should mention that my local Uncle Dan’s is always a ghost town, it has to be the worst performing Dan Murphy’s in the history of big box category killer liquor stores, so myself and Frewy got to monopolise the dude from Mildura’s time as he took us on a journey through their range from light to dark – unfortunately the darkest brew – Choc Hops (which I love) wasn’t in the line-up, but he did suggest that it might make an appearance at the next microbrewers showcase, and he also told us that we doing a tap takeover at Young & Jackson in September (or was it October?) and suggested that there was something special being brewed for this, he would not reveal the details though as much as I tried.

So long story well, pretty much as long actually by the end of the tasting we had agreed to buy a slab of the Stormy Ale. Because myself and Frewy are master negotiators we managed to convince the Mildura dude to give us 8 miscellaneous beers for their range for free (on top of the slab we bought). Well okay he offered them because he claimed he liked us, but I’ll going to pretend that it was my wicked negotiating skills (Wentworth Ping would be so proud of me.)

What this deal meant was I was able:

  1. Placate Jord when I claimed to have ‘bought her a present.’ (it turned out to be beer, it’s always beer)
  2. Provide a unique mixture of tasting beers (which get reviewed here) and drinking beers (we always like to have a six pack of beers in the fridge that I can drink without having to take notes or really think about too much) all at the same time.
  3. Provide fodder for a Sunday afternoon tasting session, where myself and Jord recreated the beer journey that myself and Frewy took earlier in the week, and this is what I present to you now….

We started with something that actually wasn’t in the tasting line-up at Uncle Dan’s it was the Sunlight which is Mildura’s Light (just 3%) beer. It’s not a bad beer either, it’s not great but it’s not bad for a light. It looks like a commercial lager, very yellow with a thin white head. It has quite large bubbles rising through it. It also smells like a commercial lager. I found it too highly carbonated for my liking (although Jord didn’t seem to have this problem). Not surprising for a light beer it feels a little thin with understated flavours and a crisp finish. Schooner.

Next up, the bottle that causes headaches for the photographer in any range shot it’s the green bottled Stefano’s Pilsener. This was the surprise of the range for me. I was all set to hate this, to write it off as a boring Euro lager but it was actually a really good beer. Similar looking to the Sunlight but less carbonated, slightly sweeter, a fuller body and an almost creamy mouthfeel. I think this is a very good example of an easy to drink and perfect for the Mildura heat Pilsener. Pint.

The lager theme continued with the Desert Lager, which a friend of mine tells me is her favourite beer, so it promised a lot. It’s unusually quite hazy which might suggest chill haze more than anything else. It’s a honey golden colour and has a relatively dense creamy head. There is some slight bitterness in the back of the sip but that doesn’t really linger, which I kind of wish it would. This is a nice attempt at an Australian style lager. Pint.

If the Pilsener was the pleasant surprise of the bunch then the Honey Wheat was the disappointment. It poured clear which I thought unusual for a wheat beer, what little head it did have was foamy. It looked and smelled like a lager. It also tasted like a pretty standard lager but with a hint of honey and a lot of sweetness. The problem is that it just tastes like a sweet lager (kind of like Carlton Draught actually) where I was looking for more a Beez Neez type of brew. Schooner

So there we a full range of Mildura beers all tasted. And the conclusion, pick up any of them and you’ll be happy enough with it. The pick of the bunch for me though is the Pilsener, assuming of course you can’t find any Choc Hops.

Six Degrees of Norm (Where we prove all beers can be linked back to Norm from Cheers (George Wendt) in six easy steps.

  1. Mildura Beers where drunk extensively (and exclusively) in the Australian Film Summer Coda.
  2. Which starred Rachael Taylor
  3. Who was also in Transformers which was directed by Michael Bay
  4. Who also directed Pearl Harbour, whose cast included Dan Aykroyd
  5. Who got his start with the Second City Stage Troupe in Toronto
  6. And it was in the Chicago chapter of Second City where George Wendt himself got his start.

Springtime for Beers

Down here in Melbourne town the weather is starting to turn. Gone are the grey overcast skies that grace the seemingly endless winter in this town. Now we are starting to see some blue peak through the clouds, occasionally I can leave the house in a t-shirt. And if you can find a place inside but near a window you can be toasty warm in the sun and pretend it’s hotter than it really is.

That’s right spring is almost upon us, and we all know what spring means. It means beer (So does Winter, Autumn and Summer for me but let’s just go with it okay), specifically it means beers in beer gardens.

But what to drink? I’ve spent the last three months devouring stouts and porters being warmed by their big alcohol, full bodied goodness, but if you want to fully embrace the T-shirt weather, and drinking in a beer gardens you are going to need a lighter bodied, more sessionable, perhaps even fruity beer. And because I care about you, my readers I’ve gone out and tested three of them to help you with your selection.

First up with the Queenscliff Honey Wheat Ale, a beer that aims to combine all the goodness of wheat and honey, which kind of sounds like a breakfast cereal more than a beer. It pours a honey yellow colour with a white head which is half way between creamy and foamy. It’s a bit of a nothing beer, there are hints of honey in the aftertaste but it’s very subtle, otherwise it’s quite gassy, not particularly hoppy, it’s an okay beer, and there is nothing wrong with it, it’s just not that interesting though – Schooner

Kolsch is traditionally seen as a summer beer. Why? Well it’s a light, bright golden lager from Cologne in Germany, this particular example is not from Cologne though, rather it is from the Sydney brewer 4 Pines, it’s imaginatively called 4 Pines Kolsch. There is a lot to like about 4 Pines, including their clean label design which promises sophisticated brews.

This particular beer was not brilliant however. I have a feeling this might have more to do with my dislike of the style rather than the brewery itself though. I know that this beer is designed to be light, refreshing, pure, clear and all of those words that mainstream brewers use for their beers which are in fact chock full of additives, preservatives and alike, but the issue is this beer tastes too much like a plain commercial lager to really do much for me. I’d happily drink it, particularly if I was sitting in the sun, but I would seek out other 4 Pines brews before this one.Schooner

If you are looking for something a bit different for your Sunday Session, then I would suggest seeking out a bottle of Red Duck White Garden. This is an unusual beer. It’s a fruit witbeir made with Raspberry and Rhubarb jam in it, and this is what dominates the smell, colour and flavour. It’s a cloudy beer with a slight pink tinge to it. It smells of fruit, raspberry more that rhubarb, and tastes of this too. It’s very light, more akin to a spritzer than a beer.

This is an example of a light, highly refreshing, perfect for summer beer which is still interesting. I’m not convinced I’d want to spend my entire Sunday sess drinking this, but as a cleanser, or to mix it up a little then this would be an excellent choice. Pint

The longbow YouTube clip: Another entry, another Lucksmiths tune. The always joyous T-Shirt Weather. Although the chick in it doesn’t like beer, peanuts or football, sounds like she is high maintenance to me.