“Just hook it to my veeeiiins!”

2 04 2011

As contemptuous as I am of Australia’s big-name beer brands, sometimes I resort to pouring their filthy suds down my gullet. Case in point: last week I was out at a live music venue here in Melbourne, already mildly blitzed, and determined to chart a course for further inebriation. When this is your main goal for the evening (and don’t ever accuse me of being an individual who can’t set and reach personal goals) attributes of taste may often have to take a backseat, particularly if frugality is of some concern. Unwilling to pay $8 or so for some entry-level bottled muck, I opted for some entry-level on-tap muck in the form of a $3.50 pot of Carlton Draught. As long as it’s chilled, and as long as your taste buds are already numbed from prior potation, it’s sufficiently inoffensive and does the job. And it’s not Tooheys New, which is always a bonus. Long gone are the days of dollar pots, and for a club-style venue, $3.50 for a pot of beer is surprisingly reasonable.

(For the readers beyond these Antipodean borders – all two of you – a “pot” is a beer glass size of 285mL, or 10 fl oz, used in Victoria, and apparently in Queensland as well. See this link for more beer glass sizes in Australia and the peculiar names bestowed upon them.)

I’m acutely aware of having opened myself to the charge of snobbery or elitism of some sort. But really, given the choice, why wouldn’t you drink something a little tastier, a little quirkier, a little different? Even if it means having to endure some dickhead at the bar muttering, “Hmmph, poof” under his breath as you walk away with the fancy Belgian raspberry lambic ale you just ordered. On the other hand, I also acknowledge the fact that I frequently find myself in establishments of questionable merit, thus I must also always be prepared to begrudgingly take whatever’s on offer.

Anyway, this rambling is somewhat tied to an event I attended quite recently – the Fed Square Microbreweries Showcase (and I notice that they’ve already put up the information for the next event in October). A solidly enjoyable event, and excellent value for $25. Here’s a list of the beers and ciders I tried:

2 Brothers Growler, 3 Ravens Dark, 3 Ravens Black, Arctic Fox Chocolate Stout, Bellarine Port Pilsner, Bright Brewery Raspberry Lambic, Coldstream Spring Lager, Kooinda Belgian Witbier, Hawthorn Premium Pale Ale, Mildura Storm Cloudy Ale, Mildura Choc Hops, Mountain Goat Skipping Girl Summer Ale, Napoleone Pear Cider, Napoleone Apple Cider, Otway Brewing Organic Blueberry Hefeweizen, Rebello Apple Cider, Sweetwater Weissbier, Pipsqueak Cider.

This is the Atrium in Federation Square. A most unfitting name, given that not a single right angle seems to exist in the entire bloody complex.

My highlight of last October’s event was the 3 Ravens Dark, and it didn’t disappoint this year. Utterly delicious, smokey, almost bacon-like finish. Definitely one for fans of Islay malts. Another big surprise was Mildura Choc Hops. I’ve tried a handful of chocolate stouts, but this was staggeringly delicious. Apparently it’s being released in a small handful of bottleshops soon, certainly keen to get my hands on some. In the cider category, Napoleone absolutely nailed it with their apple and pear ciders. Clean, tart, and not sweet. Rebello’s Cheeky Rascal ciders are similarly praiseworthy, especially their apple and strawberry cider – far better than the nauseatingly sweet and fruity Swedish ciders that are currently all the rage (but hey, I’ll still drink one if I’m offered…)

You’d think 20 x 60mL samples is a bit tight-fisted, barely enough to wet your whistle, although I was admittedly struggling to get rid of the last couple of drink tickets.

Let's see whether your handwriting is any better after a shitload of beer whilst using your non-preferred hand to write whilst the other hand holds both the booklet and a glass of beer.

I’m already looking forward to the next time one… all I have to do is wait seven months. Bah. Let me know if you hear of any similar events in Melbourne in the near future! And watch out for more beer-related posts coming to Nondakure soon!

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4 responses

2 04 2011
stacy

Bright Brewery have produced a lambic? Gosh. Any good? I’d be interested to know how they brewed it. Did they give the local Bright yeast population a go? Or did they just re-culture the sediment at the bottom of a Cantillon bottle?

I also just wanted to rub it in that in a month I’ll be in San Francisco, visiting the Rogue Ales Public House. I’ve got 4 days to work my way through their back catalogue and try and fit in a few other breweries along the way. Wish me luck :).

3 04 2011
n0ndakure

Eeeehhhh, I gotta say, I wasn’t entirely thrilled with Bright’s lambic ale. At this point I actually can’t remember why. :P Probably been spoiled by drinking too many Belgian lambics. Bright are usually pretty good otherwise, though!

Four days miiiight be enough time to enjoy the entire Rogue range. :P The west coast seems to be a huge hive of microbrewery activity. Hope you have a blast over there!

3 04 2011
Heather

I love how cider is becoming popular in Melbourne. It’s so much nicer to walk into a bar & see something like Bulmer’s on tap (not that it’s the best), than be confronted with beer, beer and oh, did you want a side of beer with that? I’ve been getting stuck into Rekorderlig super sweet Raspberry & Lime Cider over the last month, it’s a bit over the top but a nice change.

3 04 2011
n0ndakure

As much as I don’t like how live venues are turning into pseudo-restaurants serving shitty pizzas, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Lucky Coq has Old Mout cider on tap! I’m usually happy to drink Bulmers on tap as well. With the Rekorderlig and other Swedish ciders, they’ve managed to get some really solid fruit flavours into their drinks, but I still find it a little too sweet… hence liking Old Mout and Napoleone and so on. :)

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