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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Tipples Revisited – Beast IPA

The early days of the Tipples was a bit of a shambles. I has been well documented that even now, after two hundred and something  reviews I don’t actually know much about beer. Imagine how little I knew about beer when I (actually we back then, as MB was still involved) did only our seventh ever review.

Looking back Jamieson’s Beast IPA was an ambitious choice, we were really captured by the  awesome label, and didn’t think about the beer. A big bodied hop monster was always going to be a struggle for craft beer newbies like us, hence we gave it a pot rating.

Fast forward three and bit years and many many beers later and I’m sitting in the beer garden at Grumpy Greens in Fitzroy and trying this again…..

Read the updated review here……

Ahh, Mrs Parma. We meet again.

So you may remember back in the day my tale of a drunken evening at Beer Deluxe with one of the Back of the Ferry crew One of the discussion topics that night was that their Blog had just be named Blog of the month on Crafty Pint.

Fast forward a couple of months and it was this here beer soaked tome which had ‘won’ the accolade for June. That’s right, if you haven’t heard you are reading an award winning blog.

Back of the Ferry played a part in this accolade so it was obvious to me that I owed them a beer.  As always I wanted to continue the Sydneysider’s education in Victorian Microbrews. And when I think Victorian Microbreweries I think Mrs Parmas. You can guarantee that at any point they will have six or so great Vic beers on tap and another two speciality, limited edition beers on the rotating tap line-up (Not to mention a whole bunch of stuff in bottles)

There is a lot to get through, so enough set-up and let’s look at the four brews that we tasted over the course of the night.

First up was the Mornington Brown. As you know I love a dark beer, and it was about 4 degrees outside so it seemed an apt place to start. Combine that with the fact that Mornington Peninsula brewery consistently produce great beer and it was a safe bet that this would be good.

It was a dark brown colour, without much carbonation. It had lovely sweet chocolate notes through it. There wasn’t much Hop character, rather than being bitter, the hops really just removed the sweetness, meaning it was a beautifully balanced, very drinkable beer. Pint

Next up we moved to one of the speciality taps for the Otway Wild Hop Ale. It sounded exotic, but overall it was a little bit of a disappointment, the name suggests a wild crazy, out there hoppy beer, but what we got was just a little bland. Not a bad beer, not undrinkable but any stretch of the imagination, just not as interesting as I hoped. Schooner.

It was time to head back into the winter warmers. Next up the Hatlifter Stout from Grand Ridge, another brewery which is remarkably consistent in their production of great beers. Being a stout this was a black beer with a wispy off white head. It had subtle chocolate tones and a hint of coffee. It was quite full in body and packed with malts, There is not too much bitterness in the aftertaste, which means this is a great beer for a cold night . Pint

The last beer we will talk about today is called Doss Blockos by the East 9th Brewery.  Now calling this a beer is generous. First a foremost it is a marketing concept, the beer and the flavour (or lack thereof) found within is clearly a secondary concern.

And by gingo it’s a good marketing concept. The back story is this: Doss Blockos (actually is Dos Blockos but I’m guessing there might be copyright issues) was a building, on East 9th street in New York city where a whole bunch of squatters were living from 1992-1999. This is all true you can read about it here of Wikipedia (because everything on Wikipedia is true). 

 Where the story gets a little less believable. East 9th Brewing Company (based in New York Prahan) claim that some of these squatters brewed beer, and that they have replicated this recipe and released in commercially, because that’s how you stick it to the man, but taking products from the homeless and charging yuppie hipsters for it.

They even continue this Derelicte design philosophy through the packing. This beer comes in their own brown paper bags (although within the brown paper is a great modern art label, nicely coloured and embossed and ready to appeal to the fashion conscious).

This marketing concept is continued online, in the viral world, because viral is where it’s at man. (although I note this video has all of 16 views, so it might not be where it’s at) I think this video speaks for itself. These guys are just too cool for school, and of course no mention of the actual beer.

But what of the beer? Ordinary is how I’d describe it. I’m sure if you were a squatter and you were brewing with whatever you could find then this would be impressive, but for a modern day brewery, it’s pretty standard, bland pale lager. Pot.

Of course these guys aren’t trying to appeal to beer aficionados, we want pesky things like quality ingredients, and flavour. As I said the marketing concept is brilliants, so I expect to see people in skinny jeans and floppy haircuts drinking this sitting on their upturned milk crates in the Melbourne laneway bar within weeks (I also expect it’ll be so hot right now for about six months before it goes mainstream and dies a quick death).

But I can’t help thinking they stole the idea from somewhere:

Festival of the Jugs – White Rabbit White Ale

Prologue:  The Festival of the Jugs continues today with everyone’s favourite open fermenting Healesville based brewery – White Rabbit. (I’m sure they are the only open fermenting Healesville based brewery but that’s beside the point)

We loved their dark ale when we encountered it at the pub last year, so when I wandered over to Parkhill Cellars on Errol street and spotted the white ale I was a happy little bunny.

Appearance: This was indeed white, it was almost as clear as the Mountain Goat Steam Ale.  It had a frothy head but even this was light, not creamy and thick like a lot of ales.  

Taste:  This is an interesting beer. The flavours are all very subtle, they are all there but they are muted. It’s very light and very refreshing. Like a lot of beers there is a citrus overtones, but this has this without the tang and bitterness, it’s almost sweet.

I note that they bottle condition with honey, which could add this sweetness perhaps. I assume what they mean is they prime with honey. What’s that? Well as any home brewer will tell you if you are bottle conditioning (which is leaving the yeast in the bottle to create carbonation, as opposed to a ‘filtered’ beer with injects gas to create carbonation) you need some sugar for the yeast to react with, most home brewers use a teaspoon of sugar, clearly the rabbit crew call up Humphrey B Bear and borrow some honey (Wouldn’t be a long phone call one would assume)  

It really is a great beer, but it’s hard to explain why. There is no distinctive character but you drink it and think Wow, that’s good. And then you drink some more, and then disappointingly soon the beer is gone.

Packaging:  It might have been the alchomolhol speaking but I could have sworn I could see an elephant in the trunk of one of the trees, I present it to you here…


See the circled area – tell me that’s not an elephants head? Okay he’s wearing a red cap, but it’s still an elephant.

Drinking location:  This would be a perfect beer for drinking in a park on nice Sunday spring afternoon. So you should do that, take a picnic.

In conclusion:  This is not a knock your socks off type of beer, but it is still very good, it’s subtle flavours lull you in, you sip and sip waiting for the usual hoppy smack in the head that craft beers seem to love, but it never comes and you are left feeling refreshing, satisfied and just a little bit happy, or is that hoppy?  

Ranking:  I’ll have a pint thanks