Selecting Beer for every occasion.

The Gibbs River on Dunsborough Beach

It wasn’t all long boozy lunches at massive breweries in WA, occasionally I either popped in to a brewery for a quick one, sat on a beach drinking, or ended the evening with a nice brew.Whilst there I managed to find three brews that were perfect for each of these very specific situations and lucky you get to hear all about them.

Let’s start with a beer perfect for a quick pop in to a brewery. The brewery is a little one (by WA standards) called Occy’s which is on the outskirts of Busselton. It’s a rustic little setting, with the brewery itself in a shed in the corner of a huge beer garden.  And the beer of choice for me at Occy’s was the Radler. Now the clever amongst you may point out, that ‘Radler’ is not a style of beer exactly, but rather a beer mixed with lemonade (what Australians would call a shandy).

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A Couple of WA Brews

Today’s beers have nothing in common apart from the fact that they are from Western Australia. The first is from Mash Brewing, which is a brewery I must admit I know nothing about (and their straight out of 1994 website didn’t help me much) but they have been starting to pop up here and there in Melbourne town over the last few months.
The beer I had was a Weizenbock (which I picked up at Beer Deluxe where I was hiding to escape the ridiculous heat that was up and about in Melbourne over the Chrissy break).  This was a good looking beer, a deep brown colour with a great tan coloured creamy head. It also smelled terrific, nice burnt caramel tones on the nose, which is what you would expect with this style. But then the love-fest stopped. My mouth’s experience did not match the expectations that my nose and eyes had promised. There was just a hint of sweetness, but then nothing.
This is what I would describe as a donut beer, that is, it has a huge hole in the middle. You are expecting a big malty sweetness, but rather you get this unsatisfying thin bodied beer. It had all the makings of a seriously good beer, but it just left me wanting for more. Schooner
Our second brew is from Feral, makers of what I will claim is the best IPA made by an Australian brewery. The beer today, just like the weizenbock is another European style – a Belgian Golden Ale, called Golden Ace This beer is a honey golden colour, with some lively, yet non invasive carbonation. There are some interesting flavours in there, Jordan claimed she could taste bananas, which I can only assume was from the Belgian yeast (personally I couldn’t taste it, which only proves, yet again, that Jord is now better at tasting beers than me). The other distinctive thing was some spiciness and lemon tones, which I would attribute to the unusual hop variety used. For you beer geeks out there it has Sorachi Ace hops (and if you are a beer geek you know how unusual and cool that is).
Overall this was a very nice beer, no Hop Hog, but it was right up there. Pint
Six Degrees of Norm: (Where we prove all beers can me linked back to Norm from Cheers (George Wendt) in 6 easy steps.
1. Well Mash brewing is easy – George played Pvt. La Roche in an episode of M*A*S*H called Trick or Treatment, it was a Halloween Episode.
2. Feral Golden Ace is a little harder, although have you ever considered that the Golden Girls were both Golden and Ace?
3. And one of the cast members was Betty White, who was also ace in Lake Placid
4. Which was written by David E Kelley
5. Who also wrote Harry’s Law (along with Ally McBeal, Boston Public, Chicago Hope and LA Law)
6. And George Wendt guest starred in an episode of Harry’s Law as Franklin Chickory

Oktoberfest – Round 1

Welcome to Tipple’s Oktoberfest celebrations. Oktoberfest has to be the world’s most famous beer related event, followed closely by St Patrick’s day, which I will claim is now about beer and not at all about St Patrick. It seems only right that we should mark this occasion with some sort of festival of our own.

Oh and before you purists out there point out that Oktoberfest has finished I’m well aware of that, but I’m very lazy so I didn’t get myself organised in time. So I shall be running my Oktoberfest in October.  

I’ll also be adding an Antipodean flavour to it all. For the next four Wednesdays I’ll be taking one German beer and finding its Australian or New Zealand equivalent and battling them off to see who is going to win. Two nations going head to head, marching into battle, a war to the death if you will. My money is on the ANZACs

First up we are going mainstream.

In the German corner is Oettinger Pils. Oettinger is the biggest selling beer in Germany. It is mass market swill. It’s barely available on tap, and is actually sold in bottleshops and supermarkets.  Here are the brewery’s own thoughts on their positioning “Oettinger Beer is cheap. Nobody wants it – ‘It’s dishwater!’ But everybody drinks it. (Our) success proves us right.”

Now the obvious beer to battle this out with is VB, biggest selling beer in Australia. Mass market swill, generally sold for off premise drinking, and rarely found on tap. I refuse to put myself through the indignity of drinking it though so I’ve taken another approach.

I’ve matched it on style – I’ve selected a Pilsener, and I’ve gone as mass market as I’m comfortable with. All the way from Fremantle it’s Little Creatures Pilsener.

So let the battle begin.

Look: They look very similar indeed, both a golden colour and a small wispy head. The Little Creatures is just a shade darker than the Oettinger.  

 Smell: The Oettinger has a stronger smell, which are standard lager yeast smells, with just a touch of funk. The Little Creatures has a softer smell without the funk.

Taste: The funkiness from the smell is back again in the mid sip in the Oettinger. It has more carbonation than the Little Creatures. The Oettinger is thinner in the body (although neither is a particularly malty beer given the style). The Oettinger is also softer, silkier in the mouth and easier to drink, whilst the Little Creatures is more interesting, with a touch more malts and even a hint of hops in the aftertaste.

Verdict: Neither of these beers are anything to write home about. It has to be a bloody good Pilsener before I’ll rave about it, and whilst these are both okay they are not in the ‘bloody good‘ league. Both are schooner worthy though.

And the Winner is…… The Little Creatures by a whisker.  So that’s One-Nil to the ANZACs    

Random Oktoberfest Fact:  The majority of Oktoberfest is actually in September. The festival runs anywhere from 14 to 16 days and ends on the first Sunday of October. Unless that Sunday falls on the 1st or 2nd of October, in which case it’ll run until the 3rd of October which is German Unity day, think of it as like Australia Day but with beer, sausages, and more short wearing, hang on a sec….

Long Bow Youtube Clip:  I mentioned the war once but I think I got away with it….

Swan Special Light

A couple of weeks ago my better half spent some time in Perth, whilst there she partook in some Swan Lager because, as it was explained to her, it’s what you had to do. Now Swan is a brewery that produced some ripper ads in the 80’s, In fact we have spent quite a bit of time examining their efforts, here  and here  and this ad for  Swan Special Light (which I should note is a pointless beer)  is a corker.

Firstly the overwhelming thought is ‘Why did they go out and buy so much stock footage, or alternatively why did they bother going all the way to Sydney to  film so much stuff, only to then made it look like American stock footage?

From the Wall Street boys, the yellow taxis,  the pastel wearing men who I’m sure have walked out of a ‘cotton dockers’ commercial, and the dude with a basketball, and a huge American College style 24 of his top.

But don’t fear the Budweiser logo ain’t turning up yet. It quickly gets back on track, with a great pack shot, two beers, connected to an arm exploding from a esky full of ice. Then we really aussie it up (in a uniquely West Australian way) with some yacht racing, and (surely what is stock footage)  of Australia II, remember when people gave a shit about the America’s Cup?

But then it falls over again, all of a sudden a lumberjack appears, he has the number 84 on his chest so I assume he is 60 steps in the evolutionary chain better than the dude with 24 written on him, he has a mo, but he still looks like he is getting a trophy for ‘Best tree feller’ for 1984 for the Wisconsin Tree Chopping Association (WTCA).

Then it really looses it, we enter the realm of slapstick, a man losing control of his dog in front of a  girl in short shorts, doing that most 80’s of activities, Jogging.  The slapstick will be back later for a an equally pointless appearance later.

But back to the basics of beer advertising.  A pack shot, a man picking up the beer with the most unnatural of movements, and why of why is there only one can in the giant bucket of ice?

Anyway, time to play some Rugby, and then head to the pub, although I must admit, given the recent antics of sportsmen, I’m a little concerned for the lady surrounded by three rugby players., I don’t think she’s in for a pleasant evening.

And no I have no idea why there is a weightlifter in this ad, but fuck those computers are cutting edge aren’t they? Oh and the pink tied guy, I don’t want to smash him in the face at all, knob. 

Then there is just time to round out the ad with some stock footage of Americans enjoying beers in taverns .