32-34. Perth

March 13, 2011

Picture actually taken in Sydney in December. But the attitude to the beer stays the same.

32. VB
33. Carlton Draught
34. Platinum Blonde

Perth’s a funny place, probably my least favourite of the Australian state/territory capitals. It just feels so…soulless. When I’ve been there for work I’ve always tried to spend my evenings in Fremantle, Perth’s port town, which has something approaching life in the evenings and a couple of good book/record shops plus a couple of worthwhile breweries. But more about those in a later post.

The first time I went to Perth in 2010 (which appears to have been in late February so I have got my beer chronology slightly out of order) I had other plans for the evening, which involved being driven into the inner suburbs by a man I’d never met who would only answer to the name of MegaMike. It was all to do with a music-related project which has stalled slightly (must get it back on track) but it involved a very pleasurable evening in the company of MegaMike, his mate Dion, and a strange Welshman. A mysterious man with only one hand made a brief appearance too.

When in MegaMike’s house, do as MegaMike does, so the beer drunk that night was a succession of longnecks of VB, Carlton Draught and Platinum Blonde. VB is the biggest-selling beer in Australia, but I’ve yet to find anyone who has a kind word to say about it. Even Victorians: I went to a wedding in the Dandenongs where VB was the only choice of beer and everyone else on my table, Victorians all, declined to drink it, declaring it “piss”. The only real difference between VB and Carlton Draught is that the VB is slightly darker in colour and has a slightly stronger taste. On a hot night in a room full of heat-emitting technology, both of them did the trick.

Platinum Blonde was launched by Woolworths (owner of Dan Murphys, Liquorland, BWS and probably many more bottlos) in 2008 as a cynical attempt to take the “low-carb” market away from Pure Blonde and its imitators, and therefore increase their already frightening hold over the entire retail scene. “Low-carb” beers are huge in Australia, sold to gullible fools as somehow less fattening than normal beer, and easier to session drink. Some even maintain that they give you less of a hangover too. It’s all bollocks. There may be less carbohydrate in the beer, but that’s not what makes you fat – it’s the calories in the alcohol that make you fat. And “low-carb” beers are not low alcohol beers – Platinum Blonde is 4.6%, the low end of full-strength. If it’s easier to drink and less likely to make you feel bloated, that’ll be the relative level of carbonation. Or all in your head. Like the fact that your hangover is less strong.

Anyway, after the VB and Carlton Draught, this tasted crisp and even a bit citrussy, a pleasant surprise. I tried it again a few days later, with a clean palate and a clear head, and it tasted horrible. Sometimes context is everything.

Her milkshake brings all the boys to the yard


Photo Essay: Kent Brewery

December 29, 2008

Kent Brewery 1

Kent Brewery 2

Kent Brewery 3

Kent Brewery 4

Kent Brewery 5

These are pictures of the Kent Brewery site on Broadway, Chippendale, just down the road from Central Station, taken earlier this month.

The Kent Brewery was opened in 1835 by Sydney’s original big brewery, Tooth and Co. In 1983 Carlton & United (CUB) took over Tooth’s and brewed VB and Foster’s (amongst other things) here. In 2003, it was sold to developers and finally shut in 2005, the beers formerly brewed there now being brewed in Victoria and Queensland on cheaper real estate, I’d imagine. It will eventually be the usual mix of swanky apartments and retail/office space. Details of the closure announcement are here and more history than you might ever need to know is here. You’ll be pleased to hear that the gates (pictured in the last two pictures above) will remain, although I bet they wash off the residue on the tiles from the original “Tooth & Co Limited Kent Brewery” lettering, which you can still just about see.

The last picture above was a prize-winner in the second annual A Good Beer Blog / Stonch’s Beer Blog Xmas Photo Competition. Thanks Alan and Jeff! I’d never heard of Beaus’s All Natural Brewing Company before but I’m looking forward to receiving their t-shirt and hat in due course.