Holgate Pilsner

Prologue  How is it that I’ve never officially tasted a Holgate beer? I think this might be another one of those beers that has been cast aside in my endless, and some would say mindless pursuit of new brews but Holgate is an old favourite and should be treated with respect. This brewery is a good solid, never let you down brewery.

Much like Kitty Kat, who was the dependable, never let you down drinker that every workplace needs. She was the person who would always come for a beer on a Friday night, more importantly she would be there at the end of the night, jug in hand.

But Kitty Kat is no more. Well, okay she’s not dead as such, but rather she has moved her drinking to another workplace and another pub.

It was because of this that she was celebrating here birthday not in South Melbourne, but rather in Richmond. And it was because of her that I found myself in the grungy old beer garden out the back of the GB with a Holgate Pilsener in my hand.  

Packaging:  Mine came out of the tap into my glass, but I have to say I’m a big big fan of the Holgate look. The slightly evil looking bull, the sun behind his head, the wheat, the crest it’s all very manly, classy and very cool.

Appearance:  It is quite a clear brew. It is yellow of colour, some might even say golden. There is a very little head, sort of wispy in fact with large bubbles at the edges, just a reminder that large bubbles means this beer hasn’t had much maturation.   

Taste:  No gas in the sip, just flavour, quite full in the mouth with just a hint of bitterness in the sip, but ultimately this could be described as crisp as that bitterness in fleeting.  

In conclusion:  An easy beer to drink, and interesting for a style that I find strays all too often into blandness.

Ranking:  I’ll have a Pint.     

Six Degrees of Norm:

  1. Holgate is brewed in the Keatings Hotel in Woodend
  2. Woodend was first surveyed by Major Thomas Mitchell in 1836
  3. Thomas Mitchell was an actor who co-starred with Jimmie Stewart in Mr Smith goes to Washington
  4. When Mr Smith was in Washington if he had a spare $157 he could buy a seat on the Acela Express  
  5. Which would take him all the way to Boston
  6. Where he could pop into Cheers and have a beer with Norm.  

Firefly

Prologue  This is another beer I’ve never heard outside of our local Indian restaurant. I know what your thinking, and no this isn’t a small important Indian lager. Rather it’s an Australian beer, from a company called Fusion Brewing

Fusion Brewing have a interesting approach to beer making. Someone clearly has a marketing degree, as they have differentiated themselves by flipping the usual concept of beers.  Rather than producing a beer, and then finding an occasion to drink it, they have looked at the occasion and created a beer for it.

They have Bluebottle for those times that you are eating seafood. Prime for drinking with a steak and Firefly for teaming with spicy food.

See what they did there? Doubly smart as restaurants have to be much easier to get distribution into versus the pubs, which often have exclusive deals with the Tooheys and Fosters of this world.

And it’s working because amongst the Indian beers in the fridge at Le Taj was a some bottles of Firefly. But what does a beer specifically designed for drinking with spicy food taste like:

Appearance:  This beer is actually a pilsner, which makes sense as pilseners are generally a hoppy lager, which would cut through spicy food. It looked like a pilsner, it was a light golden colour with big fat bubbles and just a wispy head.

Taste:  Definitely light in taste, but refreshing like a well made commercial lager. Not too much bitterness and quite crisp.    

Packaging:  I was disappointed. The label was quite low resolution, it looked like it might have been created on a colour photocopier, and stuck onto the bottle with some clag by the brewer’s little kid.     

Food Suggestion:  Well it’s specifically designed for spicy food, so I’m going to say…..wait for it, Spicy food, like Indian, or Thai or Mexican maybe.

In conclusion:  This beer did exactly what it claimed to do, upon drinking it with the Beef Jalfreedy it killed the heat dead and replaced it with a nice crisp refreshment. It’s not the world’s best beer, but it doesn’t pretend to be. It’s like tagger on the football field, they are never going to be a superstar, it has one job and it does  it well.  

Random Wikipedia Fact:  Female Fireflies are known mimic the mating flashes of other “lightning bugs” for the sole purpose of predation, or killing for fun as I like to call it. Target males are attracted to what appears to be a suitable mate, and are then eaten. For this reason the Photuris species are sometimes referred to as Femme Fatale Fireflies, or alternatively complete bitches.

Ranking:  Let’s have a Schooner.

Festival of the Jugs – 2 Brothers Taxi

Prologue:  I feel a certain affinity to 2 Brothers, the brewery is just up the road from where I grew up, the are sufficiently obscure to add credence to my ‘beer wanker’ status, but most importantly that produce seriously good beer.

In fact they are the only brewery in the history of Tipples to produce two, count them, two Jug worthy brews, they are the beautifully soulful and rich James Belgian Brown, and the cool and refreshing Chief

They are also not the easiest beer to find. You are not going to walk into your local Dan Murphy’s and come back with a six back of Taxi. Nope you are going to have to find it on tap, or find a really good bottleshop 

So I tripped down to Cloudwine and picked up a bottle of Taxi which is their Pilsner. I’ve actually drunk it before, but only ever on tap.

Appearance:  Instantly I had a flashback to Baron’s Lager  The yellowness was the same, the white head, similarly wispy, although unlike the Barons, as I drank the Taxi the head stayed around and there was even some lacing on the glass.

Taste:  Very nice, Taxi is a refreshing beer, it tastes yeasty rather than hoppy, with some slightly bitterness on the tip of the tongue mid sip but no strong aftertaste. I thought I sensed overtones of sour apple, but I might have just been getting carried away and trying to impress my girlfriend Jordan.

Jordan liked it a lot too, we did discuss how we thought it tasted like a less carbonated Cooper’s Pale Ale, which is a very good thing.

Packaging:  I suppose at this point you are wondering why it’s called Taxi. Well 2 brothers beverages come with story. Their pear cider is called gyspy because of a billy cart or something like that and this beer is named after one of the Brother’s first car, which was an ex-taxi named Lola. Why Lola? Well it appeared to have a Barry Manilow tape stuck in the tape deck. Tape Deck, remember those?

Combine the story with bright a Taxi yellow label, and some nice graphics, and you have another winner from the 2 brothers crew.

In conclusion:  This is a very nice beer. In my opinion not as good as their previously reviewed brews, and not as good as Growler which I shall be downing and reviewing the next time I walk into a pub that has it on tap, but still a very, very nice beer.

6 Degrees of Norm:

1.    ‘Taxi’ was a sitcom in the 1970’s

2.    Which starred Tony Danza

3.    Who was in ‘Cannonball Run II’

4.    Which starred Burton Leon Reynolds

5.    Who was in ‘The Grand’ with Woody Harrelson

6.    Who of course played Woody in Cheers and served beers to Norm.  

Ranking:  I’ll have a pint thanks   

Revisited – 03-10-2011.  I was in a pub recently, on a pub crawl when I had this brew again, wedged as it was two other pubs, and two other beers, Coopers Pale and Fat Yak.

As I was drinking I was thinking, this is actually quite a boring beer.  I has a touch of diacetyl, which is a fancy way of saying had a buttery taste and mouthfeel, which isn’t a good thing in beer. My example on the weekend was also under carbonated, which is not normally something I complain of.

Is an okay beer, perfectly drinkable, but in the greater scheme of things there a much better beers out there. I’m not convinced this should be a Pint, I’m busting it down to a Schooner.   

The Long Bow YouTube Clip: I have to put in Copa Cabana, but I can’t stand Barry Manilow, so I give you Liza Manelli and the Muppets.

And it includes a muppet murder. Creepy.

Mahou

Prologue: As you would know from my previous post I found myself at a Spanish restaurant recently. I was hoping that maybe they would have my favourite Spanish beer – Rosita on the menu, but I wasn’t that lucky.

Instead I ordered the previously unheard of Mahou

First impression: This looks a little commercial – disappointing.  

Appearance: It was poured expertly by my hipster waiter, I watched closely, the beer was slightly darker than I was expecting, I was expecting a standard commercial pale Lager, but Mahou is actually a Pilsner. Which generally means it a little hoppier and has more taste than your stock standard Carlton Draught or alike.

It also didn’t have the trails of bubbles you get in most commercial lagers.  

Smell: I gave is a subtle sniff (where we in public I didn’t want to look like a beer wanker) and thought it smelled yeasty, which given I was smelling beer seemed apt.

Packaging:  I’m not a huge fan of the label, gold highlights labels seem to be a Spanish (speaking) thing, think Sol, Dos Equis, Corona.  The foil neck was nice although I never a huge fan when the label goes over the bottle cap. It gets in the way, a beer drinking needs to be effiecient

Taste: This was quite a nice beer, it had a depth of flavour that I wasn’t expecting. It was nicely carbonated (not too gassy). There was just a hint of bitterness in the aftertaste but all in all very drinkable and smooth.  

Food suggestion: Bar Lourinha served us an amazing roasted mushrooms with garlic cream which complemented this very well.

Random Wikipedia Fact: Mahou is also a small town in Mali which has a population of 11,579 people. I doubt whether any of them have drunk Mahou

6 degrees of Norm:

1.    This beer is from Spain

2.    Which is where Vicky Cristina Barcelona was filmed.

3.    Which starred Scarlett Johansson

4.    Who was in ‘Lost in Translation’ with Bill Murray  

5.    Who was played ‘Himself’ in Zombieland  

6.    With Woody Harrelson, who was in Cheers with George Wendt.

Ranking:  Let’s have a Schooner.

Red Angus Pilsener

Prologue: Myself and feelow tipple brother MB went on tour this week to the hotel pretentious pub. We ordered a equally pretentious beer, Red Angus which again is made by a winery, this time De Bortoli, obviously Winmakers have realised the real art is in beer making. Any it’s a little tongue in cheek as it claims, we hope knowingly to be grain feed. If they are serious, then they are massive wankers.

Appearance: It looks like beer people, so boring everyday beer. \

Flavour: Smooth, calming, refreshing, and very, very nice. It tastes a little like a blonde, but you know, not a trashy one. One who keeps her roots touched up.

Packaging: I love the cow, the ear tag is a nice touch.

Food Suggestion: I had it with A Wagyu beef sirlion and a foie gras and mushroom pie, and it was excllent. Little MB had it will beef cheek, so I think the answer would have to be COW.

Possible Slogan: It’s fucking Awesome, no Bull

Ranking: A Jug Please