Saturday, 6 October 2012

Not all skittles and beer

Those of a British persuasion will recognise the title as an old English (or possibly Olde English) adage implying some work has to be done.  In the linked entry I like the Russian equivalent "Not every day is Shrovetide, the Great Lent will come someday."   However today's post is not about work nor skittles at all - just beer.

I celebrated a significant birthday yesterday.  If I hadn't made a sensible decision when I joined the Australian Public Service in 1970 (and another one when I effectively left the Service in 2001) yesterday would also have been the first day of my retirement.  When I think of what we have done in the last 11 years, the contrast between what has been, and what might have been, is astonishing.  Also strongly in favour of reality.

Cutting to the chase, as part of the celebrations, I visited "Plonk" in the Fyshwick Markets to acquire some interesting beer.  (For those overseas, check out Etymology 2 in wiki to understand the humour in the name of a rather high quality supplier of bottled goods.)  Normally I buy English beers when I go to this shop, although last time they had a special on Windhoek Lager from Namibia which was nice.

However I decided that this visit I would mainly look at their range of Australian microbrewery products so that I can assess whether a product is worth checking out in its native habitat.  This post contains my reactions to the offerings acquired.  Since most of them have a little 'authority' as measured by alcohol content, it will take a few days to complete the analysis.

Knappstein Lager: Clare SA, 5.6%.  An excellent start to the project.  Very tasty and full bodied.  What lager should be like.  The only drawback is the words on the website which are taken from BS winespeak (possibly reflecting Tim Knappstein's background as a very good winemaker), attempting to define the taste by analogy.

Mudgee Brewing Company Spring Ale: Mudgee NSW, 5%.  As expected from the name a very fresh tasting ale with some nice body.  Recommended.

Brewboys, Maiden Ale, Regency Park, SA, 4.9%. A pleasantly hoppy ale.  It didn't quite have the 'zing' of the previous sample but definitely a product to which some effort had been made.  The company seems to have a sense of humour 
  • "No maidens were harmed in the production of this beer"; 
  • "This website is presented using 100% recycled electrons."
Lobethal Bierhaus, Bohemian Pilsener, Lobethal SA 4.8%.  Definitely not an ale, but I don't have the words to explain why!  I was reminded of the Original Budweiser (and fortunately not the Anheuseur Busch product): very pleasant.

Holgate Brewhouse, Mt Macedon Ale, Woodend VIC, 4.5%.  I found this to be quite close to the Spring Ale above.  Rather refreshing and recommended.  We might have to find a reason to visit Woodend.

North Coast Brewing Company. Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout. 9%  Fort Bragg, CA, USA.  I did say ".. mainly look at their range of Australian microbrewery ..".  California is as close as USA gets to Australia.  Note the alcohol content, but recall that the British troops in the Crimea mutinied when their ration was cut from 15% to 12%!  Some of this company's product appear to approach the upper levels!  This was a very nice IRS with flavours that last for a long time in the mouth.  I can still taste this some 20 minutes after the last sip!  Very good indeed!  (At last a Mad Monk to vote for, although the wiki suggests that our highest paid MM would be well at home in Fort Bragg CA!)

Balmain Pilsener, Balmain NSW 4.5%  A rather light beer as might be expected from a Pilsener title and the moderate alcohol content (at least compared to some entries in this post).  See also comments under Lobethal Bierhaus above.

Goodieson Pilsener, McLaren Vale SA 5%.  This brew had the 'bite' I associate with Pilsener but was a little fuller-bodied than I normally associate with that style.  I don't see this as a problem and rate this the best of the Pilseners in this sample.

Redhill Brewery, Scotch Ale, Red Hill VIC 5.8%  This and the next two were acquired on a trip to the Queen Victoria Markets.  I quite liked it, but not exceptional in the current company. 

Kooinda, Dark IPA, Rosanna VIC 7%.  An unusual beer in that it tasted like a cross between an IPA and a Stout, with wht I regard a a slight smokiness to the flavour.  I thought it very nice (albeit slightly dangerous @ 7%) but others have put it below the Scotch Ale. 

Mornington Porter Mornington VIC 6%.  A very good drop if you like Porter (which I definitely do). The taste wasn't as chococolate laden as some I have tried but it made up for it with a bit of sharpness.  

Gage Roads Pumpkin Ale Palmyra WA 4.5%.  I spotted this "Halloween Special" in Woolworths Liquor and thought I'd try it for fun.   The Pumpkin taste is there but it was basically a good soft ale. 


Ian Fraser said...

A very happy belated birthday to you! I'm guessing 55? Though in that case you've aged well! Plonk is an excellent choice of supplier to your ongoing celebration-cum-experiment, and I look forward to the publications of the results of your endeavours.

Flabmeister said...

Nice try, you undershot by 10 years so no cigar, but thank you. I think you were present;postID=7878415370857498852 when we discussed this matter about 3 years ago!

I will confess to making the same error with yourself in the past.


Ian Fraser said...

You forget I've had access to your passport - I was merely offering you a chance to accede modestly. I forgot you were known in the corridors of power as "Martin the Hyperethical"...