Sunday, 16 October 2016

Favourite New (to me) Beer - September 2016

Every time I sit down and go through Untappd, looking at the new beers I've been lucky enough to try I get reminded of how good the craft beer scene is in Brisbane. Literally a day doesn't go by where there isn't something happening. And event here, a new beer launch there, tap take overs, new bars opening, good beer is everywhere in Brisbane and it's just getting better.

Favourite new beer of the month for September 2016 for me was Boatrocker's Coffee Ramjet. I've seen this pop up on social media a lot and to be lucky enough to find a bottle up here was very exciting. Lots of dark chocolate and roasty flavours, with big coffee and whiskey notes towards the end. Thick mouthfeel made this a joy to sit and sip.

Oskar Blues - Ten Fidy was also an excellent beer. I've seen this one a lot on social media too, When I learned Oskar Blues beers were coming to Australia I knew I had to find them, and this one did not disappoint. I also learned it's called Ten Fidy because it's 10.5% alcohol, haha.

Brewtal Brewers - Double Kick is a local Brisbane beer. Everything I've had from Brewtal Brewers is smashing and the Double Kick was the same. Hoppy, bitter, piney, it was everything you'd expect from a double IPA.

Brouhaha Brewery - Finger Lime IPA, had this on tap at Beer InCider this year and it was delicious. The sweet tart flavour of the finger lime mixed perfectly with their smashing IPA. The good thing about Brouhaha is that they nearly always have a fruit IPA available, To me, fruit and IPA work so well.

Well that's about it for September. October is going to be an awesome month with a ton of great events coming up. Can't wait.

David (BeerFoodBrisbane)

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Oktoberfest at Newstead Brewing Co

Newstead Brewing Co is one of my favourite breweries. With a great core range of beers, small batch beers always on tap and selection of guest taps you can always find something nice to drink. So when I learned that they were doing an Oktoberfest event this year I just had to be there.

And just like everything Newstead does, it did not disappoint.

Gotta love that take home stein glass.

Starting with the beer, there were two beers brewed by Newstead specifically for Oktoberfest. Kaiser Sauer is a mouth puckering sour ale, and Kaiser Schwein a very smoky and rich rauchbier with interesting flavours all the way through. I tried these beers first and second, which was probably not the wisest decision but I wanted to give them a go before the days festivities took the best of my taste-buds (and sensibilities).


They also put a couple of  Weihenstephaner beers on tap, the Pils and the Hefe that always go down a treat. As well as Croft Brewing Co's Quick Draw which is a smoked helles that I hadn't had before. The Newstead rauchbier was intense with the smoky flavours while the helles was much more subtle (but equally as tasty).

As far as food went, we ate like kings and there is absolutely no chance that anyone would have left hungry. From the bread and pretzels on the table when we got there, to the continuous amounts of meat and sides that kept coming out. Highlights for me were the selection of sausages (that cheese kransky was amazing), and the pork schnitzel.

Musical entertainment was provided by these fellows who did a great job in getting the crowed into the Oktoberfest spirit. There were chicken dances, horn blowing contests, and a whole lot of fun.

Tickets were just over $80 and that included all the food that came out, four refills of the stein glass, the live entertainment and you got to take the glass home at the end of the day too. It's great when you can go out to an event and not have to worry about money. There should be more events like that.

I sit here feeling a little tender but all in all Oktoberfest at Newstead Brewing Co was an great day and one I'd recommend to anyone. The beers were excellent, the food was awesome, the place was alive and everyone was having an amazing time. 

Thank you for reading, and as always, drink good beer.

David (BeerFoodBrisbane)

Monday, 19 September 2016

Beer InCider 2016

Another weekend and another beer event/festival has come and gone. This weekend it was the Beer InCider Experience. This is the third time the annual festival has been on and it seems like it's getting better as each year goes by. The number of food and drink vendors increases each year, the selection of entertainment gets better and better and everything else around it improves.

This years festival was on a Friday/Saturday (September 16th and 17th). I went along on the Saturday and got there around opening time with RPM Beer. We had a bit of a walk around and a chat to some vendors before sitting at a table close (but not too close) to the main stage. All the tables with umbrellas were taken but there was cloud cover every so often and the event organisers supplied sun cream.

First beer of the festival was a Pirate Life Golden Era Golden Ale

A bit later on other people we knew turned up and we had a table of people coming and going as they went to stalls to get more refreshments and food. It was an awesome vibe, friendly people everywhere. But you often get that at good beer festivals.

Brouhaha Brewery are on fire these days.

The beer and cider selection at Beer InCider seems to grow each year, and this year was no exception. With over 40 different companies bringing their beverages to the event there was something for everyone. Top picks for me were the Finger Lime IPA by Brouhaha, the Hop, Skip, Jump IPA by Aether Brewing Company and the Milk and Two Pineapples by Brewcult/Newstead. Brewski had New Zealand IPA tent setup which was a pretty awesome idea.

For those that don't like beer (or can't drink it), there was a huge selection of ciders, mead, and an espresso martini stall as well. It may have been more beer focused during the first year but it's really an event for everyone now.

Mac n cheese, chips and chorizo. Perfect combo.

For lunch I visited a food stand called Mac from Way Back and mac n cheese with chips, chorizo and bbq sauce. Pretty much a perfect combination of food. Others on the table had burgers (that looks amazing), chicken wings, sweet potato fries and Mexican food. Everything looked awesome!

Newstead Brewing Co Tokyo Faceplant!

In previous years everything has been bought with "Bob", which is the Beer InCider currency. This year however, they used a cashless Currency Card system by Glownet Event Technology. I (like others) was sceptical but it worked out really well. It took a little bit of time to put money on the card initially, and when it had to be refilled but it was much better than walking around with a pocket full of tickets. And it also allowed the vendors to charge whatever they wanted for their wares, instead of rounding up or down to the nearest two dollars.

On the money front, I feel everything was really well priced too. Got great value for money with the small tasters being between $2 and $3.50 and the larger sizes being good value for money. Each stall was able to tell you how much was left on your card after the purchase too which made it really transparent. My only change would be to allow us to buy a card before the even with money already on it. That way we don't have to wait in line. Or sell the tickets with a pre-paid Currency Card.

I'm not much into the bands that were playing, but I found myself tapping my feet quite frequently. I think if they did the same event but with death metal and progressive metal bands I'd be in heaven, haha.

Thanks for reading, and thank you again to the Beer InCider organisers. You've put on a ripper of a festival and I look forward to next year.

David (BeerFoodBrisbane)

Monday, 12 September 2016

Favourite New (to me) Beer - July/August 2016

Another couple of months have come and gone and just like every other time I've sat down to write one of these posts I've been lucky enough to try a huge amount of damn awesome beers. The quantity of quality beers in Brisbane right now is just outstanding.

Being winter there were a bunch of dark beers (namely imperial stouts) that I hadn't had before that I really loved. The one that took the cake was a bit of a white whale of mine. I've seen Black Eyed King Imp on social media a lot, so what I heard it was available in Brisbane I jumped at the chance to pick up a bottle.

Probably the most expensive beer I've ever bought ($/ml) but it was worth it. Black Eyed Kind Imp Vietnamese Coffee Edition by BrewDog is a 12.7% imperial stout with coffee and vanilla. I was expecting this to be a huge flavour bomb but it was much more balanced and refined than that, and super drinkable.

A few notable inclusions to the list of awesome beers in the past few months.

Blaecorn Unidragon by Clown Shoes. Very rich and thick, almost velvety with dark chocolate, dried fruits and bitter hop flavours. A beast of a beer at 12.5% ABV and in a giant bottle too. I drank this one solo.

Brouhaha Passionfruit IPA. Brouhaha is a relatively new brewery on the Sunshine Coast (QLD) and had a tap takeover/launch at Brewski in July. In the picture is the Passionfruit IPA and the normal IPA (I can't recall which is which). Both were good but the addition of the passionfruit to the former made it interesting and something different. The team from the brewery were there on the day too, friendly and informative bunch. Looking forward to visiting in October.

Lastly, Milk and Two Pineapples, a collaboration between Newstead Brewing Co and Brewcult. It's an American IPA with pineapple juice and lactose. I was expecting it to be very sweet but it wasn't. The pineapple and lactose were there but not fighting with the hoppyness of the IPA. Instead they helped elevate it to something special. Drink local, drink fresh.

September is going to be another awesome month. Next weekend is Beer InCider, and the weekend after a sweet barrel aged event at Bloodhound Bar. Already had a bunch of awesome beers this month that I'm looking forward to writing about in October.

Thanks for reading, and as always, drink well.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Favourite New (to me) Beer - June 2016

Winter is well and truly here in Brisbane, some days it doesn't even get to 20 degrees, and this months batch of favourite new beers really reflects that. Going through the list of new beers I enjoyed in June I was surprised how many great beers there were,  beers that in other months would have made the monthly post very easily.

Also. I was lucky enough in June to try two beers that I've had my eye on ever since I heard about them. They both didn't disappoint either, and share the favourite beer for the month title.

So, first beer to show is...

Founders Kentucky Breakfast Stout. I think anyone reading this already knows what KBS is, but to see it in Brisbane and relatively easy to get hold of was awesome. I've seen this beer all over Instagram but never had the chance to try it. Now that I have, I can see why people lose their shit (just like I did). I've bought another couple of bottles to enjoy at a later date. Even though it's fairly pricey it's that good.

Second top beer of the month...

Tactical Nuclear Penguin by BrewDog. This is actually a beer I've known about for a long time, well before I was into craft beer. Namely because it comes in at over 30% ABV and has previously been available in a large chain bottleshop in Australia. The awesome bar that is Brewski had a BrewDog tap takeover in early June and also had a couple of bottles of Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Sink the Bismark which could be bought in 30ml samplers. Not wanting to outlay $170+ for a single bottle this was great for me. I was mightily impressed by Tactical Nuclear Penguin too. Big, rich and concentrated stout flavours with the mouthfeel of a thick liquor. It was interesting and super delicious.

A couple of runners up this month...

I love these Mikkeller Beer Geek beers and the Vanilla Shake did not disappoint. Bitter coffee, vanilla and a warming alcohol presence. A great experience. I really hope we can find more of these Beer Geek beers in Brisbane, love them every time.

Ballast Point Pineapple Sculpin was the surprise of the month. I didn't think anything could top the Grapefruit Sculpin but this did. The pineapple flavour was much more reserved than the grapefruit but there enough to enhance the hops and bitterness from the base beer. I love the artwork on these labels too.

Well, that's about it for June. There were a ton more awesome beers but only so much room (and patience) to write. Heading back to Brewski today to check out the Brouhaha Brewery tap takeover. Should be fun.

Thanks for reading, and as always, drink well.

Monday, 13 June 2016

Two Small Things I Wish All Venues Would Do

People that have met me know that I'm a pretty positive person and not prone to having a serious whinge all that often, but there's two little things that I wish all craft beer venues would do.

1. Put the beer prices somewhere that's easy to see. Be it a board behind the bar, a sheet of paper on the bar, a menu at the tables. Somewhere. I'm not a poor man but I like to make my money go as far as possible and being able to plan beer purchases while out and about helps a lot.

2. Pop your tap list on Now Tapped. I've routinely popped into venues just because I've seen there is something I want to try or something I've had before and really enjoyed. I don't know if Now Tapped requires an outlay for the venue, nor do I know if there are many others out there like me that use it but the more info I have the happier I am and more likely I am to visit a venue.

That's all :)

Thanks for reading, and as always, drink well.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Chasing White Whales

Today I realised something about my craft beer hobby. It's not just a hobby now, it's an obsession.

A lot of my incoming beer data comes from Instagram. And I follow my fair share of American Instagram accounts (be that breweries, liquor stores, personal accounts etc). A beer that I've seen pop up a lot in the past few months is Founders KBS.

Now Founders KBS has intrigued me because...
1. It's an imperial stout that's been aged in bourbon barrels with chocolate and coffee.
2. I would see pictures of it multiple times a day on Instagram. KBS day creates a flood of Instagram content.
3. Rate beer has it sitting at 100/100.

Reason #1 is enough for me to be interested in it, but #2 and #3 are the icing on the cake (or the stout in the bourbon barrel if you may).

Fast forward to today at 2:00pm today. I see on Instagram that a local bottleshop has just got Founders KBS. A quick message and a bottle has been set aside (saving me from having to leave early). Left work at normal time and made my way there. While walking I realised I was way too excited for a beer? I felt like a kid the day before Christmas. Proper excitement. What have I become?

90 Minute IPA. Done!

It's embarrassing but I now plan outings with mates (that aren't as 'crafty') with the goal of making sure we go to craft beer venues. They sometimes mind, they sometimes don't. I've found the trick is to not start at a craft beer venue and move them to one. Especially if the venue has Connect 4.

Victory at Sea. Done!

My poor wife also has to put up with me standing in bottleshops, just staring at shelves for way too long. And the last two family outings (Mothers Day and Birthday) I've suggested we go to Newstead Brewing Co, and we did. Everyone had a great time because it's an awesome venue, but lately it seems to be all about me and my craft beer hobby.

Grapefruit Sculpin. Done!

Saying all that too, I'm not changing. Not going back to macro beers. Good beer might be more expensive, but the craft beer community is awesome, and craft beers themselves are even more awesome. I think I'll be doing this for a very long time.

Thanks for reading, and as always, drink well.