Saturday, 27 February 2016

Had the Bling Family Around for Beers

I've got a bit of an affinity for Bridge Road Brewers in country Victoria. I don't really know why, I've never been to the brewery before, but I've had a heap of their beers and there isn't one I've not enjoyed.

This week however, I was lucky enough to get fresh bottles of each of the members of the Bling family, so why not drink them back to back?

Little Bling IPA (3.4%) bottled on 01/12/2015
Bling IPA (5.8%) bottled on 14/01/2016
Bling Bling IIPA (8.5%) bottled on 05/01/2016

Today I'm going in order from low to high.

Little Bling, Little Bling, let me in! The Big Bad Wolf would have said this if IPA's were around in fantasy tales. Little Bling is the baby brother of the Bling and Bling Bling. Coming in at only 3.4% you'd expect this beer to be boring and bland, but it's not. Big hop flavours all the way through, with a bitterness that lingers on the palate for quite a while. There's also a mild malty sweetness that sits right back there but makes it so very enjoyable. For such a sessionable beer it's got so much damn flavour.

Bling. After very much enjoying Little Bling I've now cracked open the Bling. A 5.8% IPA which is similar to Little Bling except with everything amped up. More hoppy and more bitter but still quite balanced with a mild malty sweetness in there. Said bitterness also sits on the palate for much longer. While Little Bling can be enjoyed quite quickly it's bigger brother requires a bit more of a sipping drinking plan.

Both beers so far have poured a beautiful amber colour, with a head that is retained for quite a while.

Bling Bling. Pungent and fresh the Bling Bling IPA doesn't hold anything back. Huge hop bitterness all the way through, with a bit more sweetness than it's lower ABV brothers. Tell you what though, it's hides its 8.5% ABV really well. So damn tasty. Every sip brings the palate to life. You can't go wrong with this beer, you really can't.

Great fun drinking all the Blings back to back. If you get a chance to pick them all up at once I highly recommend it.

Thanks for reading, and as always, drink well.

Mid Week Beer Geek Brewery Battle at The Mill

For the second time in two months The Mill on Constance Street held their Mid Week Beer Geek Battle. While I wasn't able to get to the first event (which pitted Jared 'The Beard' Palu representing Pirate Life against Gillian 'The Calamity' Letham representing Modus Operandi) I was luck enough to get to second event. The combatants this time around were two of  Brisbane craft beer scene brothers, Adam 'The Big Twin" Pollard representing Boatrocker against Matthew 'The Old Twin" Pollard representing Mornington Peninsula.

How does the challenge work? Each time you order a beer you're given a bottle cap, that bottle cap goes into one of the two jars marked with each breweries name. To make things easier it's possible to buy double tasters at a time with a little discount for getting two. Makes it really easy to buy two beers and work ones way through the tap list.

On Wednesday this week we had the following beers on tap.

Mornington Peninsula Brewery
Little Irish Red - Red Ale 3.5%
Pale Ale - American 4.7%
White IPA - IPA 6.3%
'The Beast' ( 2015) - Double Imperial Stout 11.3%

Boatrocker Brewing Company
Miss Pinky - Berliner Weisse 3.3%
Big Love Suburban Pale - Golden Ale 4.4%
Hop Bomb IPA - IPA 6.5%
Braeside Crown Cola - Scotch Ale 8.5%

Boatrocker is a brewery from Victoria that we don't really see all that often up here, and with the addition of The Beast from Mornington there was no way I was going to miss this.

Not being into sour beers I skipped the first from Boatrocker (and the first from MP) and started with the Pale Ale and the Big Love.

Here's a picture of my ugly face between them.

For what it's worth, this picture was taken as another attempt to win Brews and Bacon's current competition.

Both beers were tasty, but MP Pale is something I've had many times before and pushes no boundaries (not that that's a bad thing, it's excellent). The Big Love was different and interesting and not something I've had before, so my first vote went to Boatrocker.

Second round was the two IPA's. No pictures were taken as I'd had the White IPA from Mornington the night before at Newstead. The Hop Bomb from Boatrocker was the quintessential West Coast IPA. big bitterness and piney citrus flavours. Round two went to Boatrocker.

Round three, which is what I was most excited being a fan of the bigger percentage beers, didn't disappoint at all. By all accounts, The Beast from Mornington wasn't brewed on purpose but an accident. Too much of something, or too long doing something else in the brewing process created a beer much higher in percentage than was expected. So glad it was sent up to Brisbane as it was phenomenal

11.3% of RIS goodness.
Braeside Crown Cola was also pretty amazing. Sweet like cola, with a smooth vanilla backbone. Hid it's alcohol really well.


Being a sucker though, my token for that round went to Mornington.

After the three rounds of beers I finished the evening with two more glasses of the Braeside Crown Cola, getting a token for each and putting them into the Boatrocker Jar.

Final tally was four to Boatrocker, one to Mornington Penisula. And another massive token to The Mill and having a good time (that's not code for me leaving a poop un-flushed either).

I highly recommend (if you're not already) that you follow The Mill on Facebook. No doubt the March Mid Week Beer Geek Battle will be just as good and just as fun.

And sorry to Matt Pollard who's now drinking XXXX Gold in craft beer venues around Brisbane as punishment. Poor fella....

Thanks for reading, and as always, drink well.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Taps Fortitude Valley

There's something to be said about pouring your own beer, it's real, it's honest, it's awesome. There's three ways you can do it: get a job in a bar, pretend you're Mal Meninga or head to Taps in Fortitude Valley.

Beer in the foreground, awesome (and huge) artwork in the background.

By far the easiest way is to head to Taps. It's a pretty great little spot on Brunswick Street in Fortitude Valley that's just done an update of their menu. Talking of their menu, tonight I was lucky enough to enjoy "The Clogger". A huge burger comprising of a wagyu beef pattie, bacon, cheese, mac n cheese with tarragon & chipotle mayo served on a brioche bun. Check out the picture below.

Served with seasoned chips, good!

Two things that were super memorable about the burger was the mac n cheese and the quality of the burger pattie. Mac n cheese and burgers go so well together and the burger at Taps was no exception. There's something about the gooey cheesiness that mixes so well with everything else that a burger brings to the table. But that wagyu pattie, wow. You can tell that it was made in house, from fresh mince, there was herbs and onion all through it, and it just fell apart as I ate it.

Beer and burger, the perfect combo

Amazing burger, well worth checking out if you're in the area and looking at filling your stomach.

There's a lot going on at Taps too. A new store is opening on the Gold Coast in the near future. Plus they have live music every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (with Sunday's music being more "Sunday Session" vibe), You can buy beers at the bar, or get a iButton, load it with credit and pour your own beers. Some of the tables inside have taps on them, and there's a whole wall of taps you can go up and pour yourself from. Check it out!

For the craft beer drinker, they've got a good selection. While I was there I had a Nomad Brewing Cruisin' Ale and a Young Henry's Hope Ale, and everything else on tap was craft. It was great :)


Taps Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Favourite New (to me) Beer - January 2016

January was another great month when it came to drinking awesome beers, and there was a heap of them. In my mind, four beers stood out and strangely, three of them were IPA's (if you look back you'll see the list is heavy on stouts).

The beer of the month for me was Big Shed Brewing Co's Californicator

It's not just the artwork that's awesome, the beer itself is phenomenal. A perfectly balanced west coast IPA that's huge in bitter, hoppy flavours all with a resounding fruit and citrus elements. I'd heard good things on social media in the past, but I didn't expect it to be this good. Which really is an error on my part as their Golden Stout Time kicks ass too. It's awesome to find their beers up here in QLD. I'll make it a mission to try more.

By the way, is that really the best beer label you've ever seen or what?

A couple of other great beers this month.

Grapefruit Viking IPA from Ekim Brewing Co. An awesome IPA that's made even more enjoyable by the addition of grapefruit.

Queen Anne's Revenge, an Imperial Stout brewed with Caribbean spices from Bacchus Brewing Co, then aged in rum barrels. Sounds awesome right? That's because it is. Hints of rum all the way through with the beautiful flavours of the stout.

Lastly, and probably the biggest surprise beer of the month for me was the Japanese Cowboy IPA from Mountain Goat. Showing that someone at Mountain Goat has a great sense of humor, this IPA is packed full of hops and citrus flavours, it's truly delicious.

An awesome couple of months are coming up for beer drinkers in Brisbane. What's got me excited is the release of the schedule of events for this years Brewsvegas. Last year was awesome, this year is going to be even better.

Newstead Brewing Co are still going strong with their Tuesday Tap Takeovers too. If you're ever in the area I highly recommend popping in and getting a paddle. Founders next week. Awesome!

Thanks for reading, and as always, drink well.