Thursday, 1 June 2017

Back to the Beer!

This is sort of a double purpose post.  Firstly it covers our return from, Mallacoota to Carwoola and then gets down to a beer report.

June began with an interesting sunrise.
 As we did our usual (for a day of departure) shorter dog walk the cloud was building up to the South and a rainbow suggested we shouldn't hang around.  This started to give a murky look to the Inlet.
 Nothing happened in the way of precip and we were packed and on our way by 0930.  The interesting bit of the drive was the number of laden log trucks we crossed with on Imlay Rd and having an unladen one behind us until we hauled in to White Rocks for a comfort stop.  Obviously a lot of logging going on there.

Our next stop was in Nimmitabel where Frances wanted to check out the goods in a woolen shop.  She emerged with a couple of sweaters that were pronounced as very good value!  Just outside the village it was apparent that the Main Range had received a good serve of snow.

After unpacking the car it was time to renew acquaintance with the box of Winter beers I had acquired from plonk before we left.  I had tried one earlier but here is the report (which will get updated as I work my way through the box):

  • Hacker-Pschorr Dunkle Weisse: this is a product of Munich and turns out to be a Wheat Beer.  It was a pretty good example of that style and at 5.3%ABV not too deadly.  Very pleasant but I'm just not too sure how it fitted in a Winter pack. 
  • When I went on a work mission in Moldova I came across Baltica dark #6 which ran at about 7.5%ABV.  This was my first exposure to the Imperial Russian Stout style.  My latest foray in that direction is Feral Brewing Co's "Boris IRS".  It is magnificent: smooth and tasty.  And at 9.1%ABV very much not to be trifled with.  Definitely a Winter beer.
  • Framboise Boon: this is the first time I have tried a Lambic beer.  There is a strange similarity of sounds between that word and "alembic"which is an ancient form of pot still.  However Lambic actually comes from Lembeek, a village in Belgium.  As the word Framboise suggests the brew includes raspberries!  The website says (in translation) that they add 300 grammes of raspberries per litre which seems a massive amount.  It also says they add a small amount of 'Kriek' which online dictionaries translate as "crack" - the nice people at Boon advise its actually cherry not cocaine!!  Enough already: it tastes very interesting and very pleasant for a change, but I can't imagine having it as my standard drop.  I'm also intrigued as to why its a Winter beer, unless it is made soon after the berries are ripe.
  • Tonight's offering was a little more straightforward.  Mornington Brown Ale at 5%ABV is described as an English style Brown Ale.  Indeed it was and very pleasant to sip on a cold Wintery evening.  I could taste the toffee, but found the notes on the label to be almost as appalling as the worst wine-snob rubbish.  Keep the brewer, sack to PR adviser!
  • La Trappe Quadruppel.  Definitely a Trappist ale coming in at 10%ABV and thus sipped rather than chugged.  Very very nice.  Rather than working out all the taste wheel stuff, all they say on the label is "malty sweet and pleasantly bitter" which describes it very nicely.  One of the better beers I have ever tasted.
  • Staying with the exotics, tonight's offering was Aech Schlenkerla Urbek.  This is called a smokebeer as the malt is smoked over beech logs.  And so it tastes: very distinctive in the same way that Islay Malt Whiskey tastes of peat smoke.  Another very pleasant drop and again a little dangerous at 6.8%ABV.   I'd still rate the Quadruppel as my favourite but this definitely keeps it honest through competition.
  • Back to Australia (or at least Victoria) for the Prickly Moses Otway Stout.  I am sure I have sampled this in the past, but seem not to have reported thereon.  Whatever.  A very pleasant modern stout with a fir bit of complexity in taste and not too dangerous at 5%ABV.  Looking back at the list above I'd rate it as about the standard of the Mornington Brown for drinking, but way in front for avoiding bullshit on the label.  (On the subject of the label they have an icon of an Echidna, which is certainly prickly,but Prickly Moses is usually applied to wattles.  Googling shows 3 species with that vernacular name. nicely illustrating the dangers of not using the scientific names.)
  • Moving a little to West of Victoria one gets to SA and specifically Willunga where Fox Hat Brewers make Phat Mongrel Oatmeal Stout.  An entirely satisfactory chocolatey stout that I enjoyed sipping.  At 6.8%ABV skulling is not a good idea. I reckon they should give out bidons of this stuff to competitors in the Tour Down Under: it would make the ascent of Willunga Hill much more colourful! 
  • Exit Milk Stout at 5.2ABV is relatively safe.  A very pleasant drop with an interesting fizz in the palate.  A very reasonable drop but not in the class (or I'd suspect price bracket of La Trappe or Aech!  (Reminder to self: find out the individual prices of these brews.)
  • I have fulminated (slightly) above about wine-snob bullshit spreading into beer.  Tonight's sample of Hope Brewery Black IPA is completely free of this. It comes from Broke Rd in Pokolbin and is an IPA @ 6.8%ABV.  Everything is as described: a very nice IPA tasting drop of a black colour.  Again very good.
  • Winter beers = chocolate stout/porter.  That is provided by the Bridge Rd Brewers of Beechworth who offer Robust Porter.  Excellent smooth and choccie taste and not too dangerous at 5.2%ABV.
A small diversion from the Plonk Winter brews into an Aldi range of British beers.  Much cheaper, in part because they were all mid-alcohol at most.
  • Boddingtons Draught Bitter was $9 for 4 x 440ml cans which is a very nice price indeed.  A very smooth drop - described on the can as creamy, with which I'd agree.  At 3.5%ABV one could handle several of these quite easily and enjoyably!  A very unusual item with this offering was hearing a "clunk" as I poured it into a glass. I thought I'd just tapped the glass until I picked up the empty can and again "clunk".  On opening the can I found this inside.  No idea what that is about!
  • Circadian IPA from Ringwood Brewery was a good tasting beer of the style and at 4.5%ABV quite light.  I don't think it would have survived the trip to India.  It was a lot cheaper than the heavier IPAs so I'd rate it as good value.
  • Hobgoblin Gold, from Wychwood Brewery in Oxfordshire is a very hoppy Ale at 4.5%ABV.   I found it very refreshing and just wish Aldi had had more than one bottle when I rolled in there! 
That is , to quote Peter Cundall. your bloomin lot, probably until my birthday!

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