Tuesday, 29 December 2015

My First Craft Beer Experiences

I'm fairly new to craft beer, having only started about a year and a half ago. Looking back on it there was never a time where I went from being a non-craft beer drinker to being a craft beer drinker, the transition happened over time.

Looking back, there are three events that have stood out in my introduction to craft beer. I can't really recall which happened first as they all feel like they happened around the same time, but all are memorable to me.

In no particular order.

1. Stone & Wood Pacific Ale Shortage in Brisbane

There was a time when Stone & Wood Pacific Ale was hard to find. Now it's everywhere, and that's a great thing, but for a while its allocated area in bottle shops was always empty. I know why too, it was something different, a fresh and hoppy pale ale that was unlike anything else you could find at the local bottle stop. We were down in Byron Bay a couple of months back and talking to a guy down there he said that even though it was rare as hen's teeth outside of Byron you could always find it in the local area. I was told the Brewery was only filling 30% of their orders too it was that popular. Now Stone & Wood have a second, and much larger, brewery outside of Byron that does the lion's share of their brewing, leaving the original brewery for the smaller and more seasonal beers. Good times for everyone!

2. Mt Macedon Pale Ale at Tipplers Tap

Tipplers Tap was/is a bit of a strange place. Nestled in a light industrial part of Brisbane (slowly becoming a residential area though). With its ten craft beer taps, a bottled beer list that makes most craft beer nerds wet their pants and a kick ass menu filled with American style food, its was a place anyone could be happy at. Someone told me, or I had read somewhere that Tipplers did a kilogram of wings for $10. Being a huge fan of wings I went to check it out. Having to have a beer with lunch I ordered what sounded like the most foreign and exotic beer on the menu, the Mt Macedon Pale Ale. Mt Macedon sounds like a mountain in European, the keg has to have traveled over land and sea to get to Tipplers right? Well not quite, I didn't know that Holgate was an Australian Brewery, but I'm so glad I got the Mt Macedon as it was excellent.

3. Green Beacon

We moved into Fortitude Valley around the same time Green Beacon opened, that's kind of a sign right? First time I went there was to pick up a green t-shirt to wear for a St Patrick's day (which I still wear frequently) and have been back many times since. Aside from buying the green shirt, my beer memory is trying the Wayfarers Way (now called Wayfarers USA), a beer that was a revelation for me. So fresh and refreshing, and brewed less than a kilometre from where I live, does it get any better? It doesn't.

If anyone out there has their first craft beer experience let me know, it's interesting to hear how fellow beer lovers got into craft beer.


Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Bridge Road Brewers Posse - One Year In

I was early December 2014 and I'd only been on Instagram for a few months, so the wide world of craft beer was still very new to me. I'd really only known about beers that were easily available in Brisbane. So when I saw Instagram posts going up of bottles of beer wrapped in paper with hand drawn number tags (made with cardboard and a rubber band) I was intrigued. What is it? Beer Advent Calendar you say? How does one be a part of this next year?

Bridge Road Brewers Posse was the answer.

The Posse is the beer club run by Bridge Road Brewers. Every three months (or two months if you're super keen) they send you a mixed case of beer. The case usually has a couple of special beers in there, Posse only beers during Winter and Summer, and other rarer and hard to find beers mixed in with beers from their core range.

Now this is what I call mail!

I've been part of the Posse for a year now and just received my fourth case and wanted to write a few words about it.

First of all, as far as value for money goes it's great. A case of mixed craft beer for $69 (+ $15 delivery for me up here in QLD) is great. Especially considering there are beers in the pack that are hard to find up here, or just aren't available to you unless you're a member.

The frequency of beers is good too. I went with the pack every three months and it's enough to keep me going for a few weeks but not overdoing beers from one brewery (share the love right).

The beer selection has been really good too. When you first sign up you select what you hop and malt levels are (on a slider from one to ten). The "filler" beers they put in the pack are then to match your style. I went fairly high on hops and low on malt at the start so was getting Bling IPA's (which I love). This most recent delivery I asked if I could get some porters and red ales instead, which they did without a question.

The Hop Pack was a standout in this pack, it's great to taste the differences with the hops when the rest of the beer is the same.

The staff from Bridge Road that run the club must also be commended on how helpful they are as well as how quickly they reply to emails . Plus, just before each delivery we're emailed a PDF with information about the beers that are coming up. Tasting notes, information on what went into them, all that sort of stuff.

I'm now eight days into the Bridge Road Posse Beerdvent Calendar and having a great time and looking forward to what's coming up each day. There is a minimum term to sign up to the Posse, which is 12 months and I've now reached it, but I'm not cancelling, very happy with it. Hopefully one day will make it down to the brewery in country Victoria to say hello to the awesome people there.

Posse Summer Ale

Winter Posse Ale, this was an absolute ripper of a beer, really looking forward to trying next years version.

Thanks for reading, and as always, drink well!

Thursday, 3 December 2015

The Good Beer Co

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch of something pretty cool, The Good Beer Co. What is The Good Beer Co you ask? Well, it's Australia’s first social enterprise beer company. What does that mean? It means they'll be getting some awesome beers brewed for really good causes. The first of those causes is the Great Barrier Reef.

Partnered with Bargara Brewing Company and Australian Maritime Conservation Society they'll be brewing the Great Barrier Beer. Unsure what style it will be just yet, but that was a part of the launch. We were given voting bottle caps and had to pick between two styles. The one that appealed the most to me was the white IPA, so it got my vote. After some more research I've learned the IPA got the nod, kick ass!

We also got to put or tokens forward to help select the label for the bottle, all three looked pretty sweet, will be interesting to see what is selected.

On the night I also got to try Bargara Brewing's Thirsty Turtle, a crisp and refreshing bright lager than went down a treat. If the Barrier Reef Beer is just as good I can see this being a success.

As you can see the lighting wasn't very good for smart phone photos.

Thanks again to James for the invite, I'm looking forward to seeing how this goes, and raising a beer to the Reef.

More info, and to get on board the crowdfunding campaign can be found here - https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/the-good-beer-co#/ and here - http://thegoodbeerco.com.au/.


Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Newstead Brewing Co Turns 2, so does The Mill

It's no secret to anyone that knows me that I'm a huge fan of Newstead Brewing Co. Their beers are fantastic (both the core range and the extremely large amount of special one off brews they do), the venue itself has an awesome atmosphere and serves excellent food, and from someone that is fairly new to craft beer the people that work there have been friendly and welcoming to the Brisbane craft beer scene. You'd be hard pressed to find another brewery that does so much for the community they're a part of.

So, when I received a couple of Beer Tokens in the mail today I was blown away. Wow, how awesome do these look?

I am humbled that the lovely people at Newstead Brewing Co thought of me to send a couple of these my way. I know they made 100's of them, but it's still cool. Both these tokens are going to be traded in at the brewery on Sunday, which is also when they'll be celebrating their second birthday, it's official, there's an event on Facebook. We'll also get to try the Newstead Brewing Co/The Mill collaboration beer – How Sloe Can You Go – a gin infused berry porter. No idea what that'll taste like but I'm excited.

Now, not to be a dork, another favourite local venue of mine (The Mill on Constance St) is also celebrating their second birthday on the same day (which explains the collaboration beer, ha). It's part of the same event with rumors there will be a conga line from Newstead to The Mill. Going to be a great day, looking forward to it.

Here's a few more pictures of Newstead stuff (stolen from my Instagram).

The IPA, pale ale and session ale are three sixths of the core range, all are excellent. Whisky Au Go Go, an English style barleywine isn't part of the core range, but it's excellent!

Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Favourite New (to me) Beer - November 2015

Note: Ok, so far so good in making this a monthly thing. 

November has once again been a pretty big month for BeerFoodBrisbane, nowhere near as big as October but still pretty huge. In the beer department a lot of new beers were tasted, plus a few special one time only beers as well (I'm looking at your Beer Tragic). Feral s Tusk week also happened in November, and though I'd had Tusk before Feral also released War Hog, and American Style IPA that kicks ass and doesn't take any names.

With all that being said, my favourite first time beer for November was without a doubt Beer Geek Cocoa Shake from Mikkeller.

It's not very often that I come across a beer that knocks me over like this did, but it was amazing. It's an imperial stout brewed with chocolate, comes in at 12.12% and is so smooth and rich that it is like drinking a chocolate fondant cake. The flavours develop as the beer warms up (took me two hours to drink it). My only problem with it is I was thinking about it for days and days afterwards I had to go and buy more.

I really hope to find more of the beers from this series. I've had the Beer Geek Dessert before and that was pretty special. Fingers crossed more make it to Australia.

A couple of special mentions.

Feral Brewing's War Hog.

And Stone Brewing Co's 24 Carrot Golden Ale, which was way more interesting than I expected. Yum.

Decembers going to be an exciting month too, Bridge Road Beer Posse Advent Calendar just started, and a few events coming up (Newstead Brewing Co and The Mills 2nd Birthday). Oh and that Christmas thing is happening too.

Thanks for reading, and as always, drink well.