Friday, April 30, 2010

Stass's Birthday Beer Journey

As it was Stassy's 28th birthday yesterday, I took it upon myself to try 22 different beers on his behalf. Purvis had a beer tasting last night from 4 breweries; Hitachio Nest (H), Mikkeller (M), Nogne (N) and Dieu du Ciel (D). Here is the journey I went on

1)M - Jackie Brown - has a smokey roasted and alcohol smell and for some reason it is seemed to smell creamy. there was slight over carbonation but was creamy to taste, and not sure if the finish to the beer was alcohol or a cleansing hop.
2)M-Drinkin' the Sun - fairly standard lager style with a citrus hop. was a bit watery and finished with a dusty hop taste.
3)M-Cream Ale - cloudy pale yellow colour with what seemed like an amonia and/or citcrus smell. slight overcarbonation but good mouthfeel when allowed to warm. hoppy aftertaste.
4)D-Aphrodisiaque - sweet malt smell, brown head and dark drown body, smokey choc with slightly too much alcohol in taste. still, good smooth beer.
5)D-Volante - clear orange colour but with that abbey beer smell (hmmm), nice and smooth but seemed to register at a brighter taste range with alcohol finish.
6)H-Espresso Stout - no head with dark brown body, has coffee and choc smell. taste of coffee is not pleasant to me, but did not take over too much in taste. again, good smooth beer.
7)M-Beer Geek Brunch Weasel - dark with smell of alcohol, slight smokey taste but overpowered by alcohol. smooth but with the sense of a dark spirit.
8)H-Red Rice Ale - browny orange colour with a sulphur smell. somehow smooth but watery with slight hop aftertaste. good rinse of the mouth before hitting the Nogne.
9)N-Triple Tiger - clear orange/yellow colour. smelled spice and caramel, smooth when warm. an initial sting (spice/alcohol) but fills out to a caramel taste.
10)N-Saison - orange colour, malty/fruity with slight sulphur and spice smell. by now alcohol was starting to take over the palate, but must be a lighter tasting beer not to be able to cut through it.
11)N-Andhrimner Barleywine - brown with malty alcohol smell, very sweet. alcohol sting with spirit overtone. malt comes through as it warms. smooth even with the higher alcohol.
12)N-Tyttebaer (sour beer) - browny orange with sulphur (and something extra I can't put my finger on) smell. yep, definitely sour, but not too much (unless my taste buds are diminishing). almost white wine aftertaste.
13)N-Julesnadder (porter) - nice smooth malty sweet taste. sweet malt smell, slightly watery, but smooth finish.
14)M-Dim Sum - clear orange colour with a spicey caramel smell the converted into taste. alcohol seemed more than 5% in taste.
15)M-Big Worst (17.5%!!!!) - cloudy orange, caramel and alcohol smell. harsh sting in taste, 'just keeps on burning'.
16)M-Barleywine - dark alcohol smell, clear brown colour, sweet alcohol taste with 'some burning'
17)M-Beer Geek Breakfast - noticed it poured quite creamy with a chocolate alcohol smell. smooth with alcohol and chocolate taste. yummy.
18)D-Roule (peppercorn) - pepper aftertaste with a sulphur smell. not as bad as my notes make it out to be.
19)H-Ginger Ale - taste buds are dying at this stage, but ginger does not seem to be overbearing.
20)M-Santa's Little Helper - just called last drinks, so smashed this one down quick. did taste some spice. 'darker than I thought' (not sure if I meant in colour or taste...probably taste).
21(Yes, I got a free one) M-Frelner - good to finish on as smooth and malty (hey, just happy that I can still taste something by now). think it had slight alcohol aftertaste.

Well, that's it. Faves were Frelner, Beer Geek Breakfast, Julesnadder, Aphrodisiaque and Triple Tiger. worst initial reaction to beer was the sour beer, but not as bad as what I thought it would be. special mention to Volante, Jackie Brown and Adhrimner Barleywine.

Sorry, missed beer 22. Guinness at the Drunken Poet with friends for a Tim Cannon gig (Stass was playing in it). could appreciate texture of Guinness, but not much taste. ended the night on choc cake and Bailey's (hmmm).
Happy Birthday Stass. As I said in the card, I managed to get to the 'happy' stage for your birthday (well, I think I wrote something like that). Cheers,

- Beefy

PS: I was pretty tired and worn out and did not have any dinner last night which may affect my ability to appreciate the beers properly. my apologies if it happens my notes are way off what you taste in these beers
PPS: good on Purvis! they are now doing a belgium beer tasting on May 19, which i have already signed up for. this will help in planning my belgium beer tour for sure!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Holgate Brewhouse Temptress Chocolate Porter (6%), Additional

Hi All,

just a quick note to say i had this on tap the other night at the Royston in Richmond with my brother. the carbonation really helps to improve the texture of this beer, but feel the taste of the carbonation does not. would have been good to try the bottled version together with it, but they only had it on tap, and even then, the keg ran out on our order (we only managed to get one pot out of it).

OK, was going to hold off on this news, but there is a possibility that I may be doing a beer tour of parts of Europe (Belgium, bit of France, Germany, Czech Republic) in Sept. there has been a tour organised by amongst the vines and bridge road brewery ( for belgium/france and put in a show of interest. however, i have just been told this morning that it looks like the tour may not happen, which i am quite disappointed about. Firstly, if anyone is interested, check out the about link and if you want, get in contact with Amongst the Vines. I was told it may be postponed til May. still, am still wondering if i go now and make my own tour, or see if it is worth waiting a year. hmmm. any comments would be appreciated on this topic.

well catch you in the next post.

- beefy

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Thoughts on Situational Drinking

I was labouring yesterday for 9 hours doing a residential move, and was lucky enough to have a client that was sympathetic to our work and was giving us beer towards the end of the job as a show of appreciation (and this was not her only good quality). Doing a hard day's work on a warm and humid day really brought the thirst on, and when we were finishing, a beer like Boag's Draught went down an absolute treat. there is something about drinking a beer like that in that situation that makes you feel like it is the best beer you have ever had. I had someone ask me the best beer i ever had last week, and was completely stunned by it. It is good to think about good beers you have tried, but very difficult to say which is the best. The more i think about it, the more it is the experience that the beer is with you in that i think tends to push your judgement one way or the other. I will always remember the first time i had Guinness, and while it was from a uni bar on St Patrick's Day 1999 (so probably didn't taste that great), when I think of Guinness I think of that moment. While on Guinness, I actually think the best one i ever had was in a place called Pontoon in Ireland that I stayed with the Taylor's at when I was there. the sun was going down over the still lake, and the people really knew how the pour a good pint of it. Good people, good place, good pint. I will also remember the worst pint of Guinness I ever had, which actually came in a schooner glass, was done in a single pour with head coming over the sides of the glass. I don't think I have ever gone back to that pub in Newy. the beer didn't taste bad, it just didn't have a taste.
Still, it is funny, having that bottle of Boag's yesterday gave me a similar feeling to when i have had great beers, and reaffirmed the situational aspect beer has. I realise with the seasons and food, there are beers to accompany them with, and hope I continue to improve in this aspect of situational drinking to enhance the tasting experience. And I realise with the experiences I have had with Guinness, this is my favourite beer, even if it may not be 'the best'.


Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cooking with Beer: Experiment 1

Hi All,
After enjoying the recent easter beers with chocolate-assorted foods, and seeing I haven't yet used my 'Cooking with Beer' book Gary gave me a while back, I thought it time i actually started to experiment a bit with two of my faves.

In making a mud cake and potato bake today, I thought I would replace water, milk or cream with beer, the result seen in this photo. Seeing I still have some of our beer choc milkshake beer (with extra sediment) left over I thought i would try it out on these, as we added a lactose boost to it. The sediment went mostly in the potato bake, as i normally use cream in it, with the little liquid in the bottle going into the cake and its icing. I have not tried that cake, but seeing it was just a packet mud cake, I doubt much will come through of the beer. However, having just had the potato bake for lunch, i can say that the beer definitely sweetened the food, taking away from the savory taste of it. it also tended to be a bit drier which wasn't very pleasing either. all in all it was strange tasting a potato bake this way.
As for the cake, am hoping to take it to my mate Jaimi's final gig tonight before he heads to Germany, so hopefully can smuggle it in to the Northcote Social Club for that. I wonder if anyone will be able to pick the secret ingredient.

In other beer news, have just seen a bottlo near me on Burwood Highway called Slowbeer, that has a great range of the Rogue beers from Portland and some other good beers to try. They also seem to be quite good on price, so looking forward to going by today for a quick look around (yes, 30 mins is a quick look for me).

Well, better get going to make it to Slowbeer before the gig tonight.



Additional: we did have the cake and the latest malt brew after the gig, and while we also found the cake to be a bit dry (must remember to use more liquid than sediment beer in the future), but did find the caramel sweetness of the beer this add too the flavour of the choc mud cake. sweet!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Samuel Smith Nut Brown Ale

After 123 days of over 20 degree maximums in melbourne, I find it appropriate that I be drinking this beer when the start of the cooler weather arrives. I remember having this beer when my brother and i were in the US at sequoia national park during the winter. I think it is actually the first sam smith beer i had ever tried, so was good yesterday as the cold desended that we again be drinking this beer at the Standard Hotel and Fitzroy. Very nice colour and decent head upon pouring. the first taste actually reminded me of a 'ladyboy' i had during the microbreweries showcase at Fed Square a month ago, where Holgate were combining their choc porter with their nut brown. Think the cane sugar used in this beer adds a sweetness that took me back to that flavour. a nice amount of body in the beer allowed it to be smooth enough for this style of beer to coat the tongue in the sweet nutty flavours and easily slip down the throat. this flavour also seemed to hang around nicely in the aftertaste, so was content to sip it. Definitely a beer made for days like that, and much better that the magalotti (bock) we had with pizza before and the cooper's dark ale we had after it.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Chocolate Beers

Happy Easter Everyone,
Yesterday hung out with a few friends having a feast, and seeing it was for Easter thought it appropriate to bring along some chocolate beers to have with the hedgehog slice I made for the event. I had tried them all before apart from the Meantime Chocolate, so decided to start with that one first. it has a subtle, if not delicate chocolate aroma and flavour to it which made it perfect to start the choc beer drinking with as it lulled me into the taste of chocolate. After that the Rogue's came out to really boost the flavours as we got into the meal, followed by the Holgate. having been long enough now and having had the Rogue's from the bottle for a while now, can really appreciate it instead of just wanting the taste sensation I had the first time I had in back in the US. As dessert was served and the taste buds had dulled slightly it was time for the Southern Tier, and weren't we happy to leave this 11% choc beer til last, washed down with the hedgehog slice (which was quite rich in chocolate in itself). Again, the alcohol level really made this taste more like a liquor than a beer, so was probably the one i enjoyed the least. The rogue's is a real fave now, but was really excited by how much i enjoyed the meantime for the more subtle flavours in it. Of course, all these beers make our first choc beer attempt look pretty bad, but at least we are learning more how not to do a choc beer, so hopefully our next attempt will be better. but before we do that we are looking to redo a raspberry ale to see if we can improve on a previous attempt that went pretty well for a first go. watch this space.
The other beer news of the day was Stass and I trying our new malt beer. There was great body to the beer as it came out of the barrel for the second fermentation, but the carbonation process did diminish this mouthfeel in the final product. However, one pleasing aspect was the caramel flavours we were able to get from it, and in the end it is an easy drinking autumn ale, which is what we were looking for. hmm, could this lead to a caramel fudge-like beer in the future?
After the 11% Southern Teir, we thought it appropriate to have a Grand Ridge Supershine, seeing we wouldn't actually be increasing the alcohol level, something of an event in itself. I can safely say it was not as intense as previous times I had tasted it, but i would have hoped so after the beer journey.

Enjoy the rest of your Easter,


Saturday, April 3, 2010

Imperial Oak Aged Robust Porter (8.5%)

This Victorian brewer has an interesting range of beers, and my brother and I do enjoy the standard Robust Porter Bridge Road Brewery make, and so we both jumped at the chance to get a bottle each of this oak aged version. This excitement is enhanced coming from having tried the Moo Brew Oak Aged Imperial Stout (especially on tap). These beers are perfect for trying out this method of aging, as the beer is allowed to mellow and even gain body from the oak.
While the standard robust porter has great chocolate, coffee and caramel favours coming through, the only down side seems to be the thin mouthfeel. However, this is where the oak aged version shines creating a great mouthfeel to go with the favours in the beer. and while the standard robust porter allows the drinker to separate between the flavours, the mellowing of the flavours in the oak melds them all together for a greatly complex, but single taste in the beer that with the mouthfeel just makes you want to roll it over your tongue and slowly sip this beer away. warming the beer does not seem to ruin this sensation either, which is also a bonus.
For me, having had the Moo Brew oak aged stout on tap, I rate that over this beer, but would also like to see Bridge Road keg some of their next batch to see if they can add more complexity to the beer as seems to have happened in the Moo Brew.
While, like the Moo brew, I wouldn't recommend a person that doesn't like stouts or darker beers to try this, for anyone that does enjoy them, this is one beer to try, and see the higher potentials possible for stouts/porters.



La Trappe Attack

Finally, we have got around to putting up notes on these beers. So here are our notes tasting the range of beers from La Trappe Brewery.

Blonde (6.5%)

Nice honeycomb colour, head dissipates due to the alcohol rising up to the surface. There is a thin texture of the beer. Very yeasty with a faint hint of a sweetness/bubble gum on first smell. Through the taste you get a hint of the bubble gum sweetness as it moves back towards the back of the mouth which brings out the sense of the alcohol and the light carbonated sensation which lingers in the mouth, re-hashing the flavours of the beer. This flavour of the carbonation is used in a similar way to the way that hops is generally used; as a finishing agent. This beer is better enjoyed at around 6-8 degrees C to let the full flavour and aroma of the beer to come out.

Dubbel (7%)

Reddy brown in colour, like a dark caramel. Slight raisin smell which really comes alive in your mouth. The body of the malt helps to blend all the flavours together when compared to the blonde we tried just before. Comparatives easy between this and the blonde as the structure seems to be very similar apart from the darker malt in the dubbel.

Tripel (8%)

Slightly darker in colour than the blonde and shares a strong yeasty aroma. The body/texture of the beer is much fuller than the blonde but the most noticeable difference is in the sense of alcohol across the pallet. There is a blending of the carbonation ‘zing’ with the alcohol ‘sting’ which is well executed. To be honest, quite disappointed with this after having tasted good examples of tripels (karamelite, leffe. Etc). can tell there is some complexity in the beer but does not come through well in taste. Maybe could have been left to warm longer to get more flavour.

Quadrupel (10%)

Slightly darker than the tripel. But not as dark as the dubbel. Alcohol overwhelming in taste and smell. Head is very fine showing more of the alcohol seperation from the rest of the beer. Still, very smooth in texture, though maltiness is not able to overcome the taste of alcohol in this one. As it warms, the alcohol and malt flavours create a caramel taste, so it is well worth letting sit and get to room temperature, if just to let your body deal with the alcohol you get from it. Luckily we have an annoying game of Mario to keep us occupied while we let the beer warm. maybe it is annoying because the beers we have had are lessening our hand-eye co-ordination.

Well, overall, the dark malt of the Dubbel has been our pick, but the texture of the Quad was also very good. Worth the $15 for the pack.

-Stass and Beef