Mildura, Mrs Parmas and Two Birds.

Stefano’s amazing Parma

On Sunday I popped along to the launch of Mildura Week at Mrs Parma’s. Mildura Week sees a range of Mildura Brewery beers on tap, including the amazing Choc Hops which I can confirm is even better on tap than it is in the bottle. In fact I’m thinking of holding an Easter egg hunt next year where the Easter eggs are replaced with bottles of Choc Hops. Safe to say best idea I’ve had in a while.

Now I’m not going to tell you much about the Mildura beers because, well I’ve done that before, but I can tell you that Stefano (of Mildura Brewery/gondoliering/owning half of Mildura fame) has conjured up a special chicken parma for the occasion featuring pesto, marinated eggplant and cherry tomatoes and it is absolutely fantastic.  If you get a chance this week get into Mrs Parma’s, for their best parma this side of the Good Beer Week smoked parma. 

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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.