39. Little Creatures Rogers Ale

July 25, 2011

Look ! Melbourne Hipsters!

On my travels again, accompanied by NFFEF again, this time to the trendiest place in the world, Melbourne, where if your jeans aren’t tight enough and your haircut isn’t of just the right asymmetrical design they openly laugh at you in the streets and suggest you push off back to Surry Hills where you belong.

In order to avoid open ridicule we went for dinner to Lygon Street, the heart of Melbourne’s Italian community and therefore a haven of timeless style and good food. But for some reason I fancied an English-style beer with my dinner and, luckily, Little Creatures Rogers Ale was on the menu. Hoppy, biscuity and only 3.8% abv, if this wasn’t so fizzy it’d be an ideal session ale. I’m pretty sure NFFEF drank Corona, but then it’s pretty much a 50% chance on any given session that she will do. After a couple of bottles each we dodged the fashion police and went to the James Squire Brewhouse in the middle of town for a cheeky last pint (or two). Nothing I hadn’t had before though.


24-31. What happened?

March 6, 2011

It’s been ten months. And I’ve been busy. Busy working. Busy travelling. Busy presenting.

George Martin is my mentor

Studio A at 2MBS, last week.

And busy drinking too. But somehow the list of beers I’d drunk overwhelmed me and inertia took over as far as writing any of them up properly. But I kept that list going, and made some notes along the way. Rather than attempt full-on reviews of all of them, here’s part one of a whistle-stop tour through that list, with the occasional comment/picture to shed light where it exists.  Eyes down for a full house…

24. Old Admiral

The Lord Nelson Hotel maintains that it’s the oldest pub in Sydney. It probably is, but it’s only been brewing it’s own beer since 1985. Does some good stuff too. Did I go in there in 2010? Not sure, but I bought a six-pack of their Old Admiral, one of the two beers they make available in this way, Three Sheets being the other. A thick, strong (6.1%) porter, Old Admiral is a nice way to finish an evening. They serve it too cold in the pub though.

25. Hatlifter Stout

I reviewed this in my stout taste test in 1999. My views haven’t changed.

A Friday at The Marly

The Marlborough Hotel, Newtown

26. James Squire Porter

27.  James Squire Mad Brewers Orchard Ale

I drank these both at The Marlborough Hotel (aka The Marly) in Newtown with Louise and her two tallest friends. You don’t often get the porter on draught outside of the James Squire Brewhouses, so this was a nice treat for me. Like a creamier, more vanilla-y Old.

The previous Mad Brewers release I’d tried was really awful, so I was pleasantly surprised by the Orchard Ale. I’m a sucker for a saison (which is the base for this beer), and the apple taste worked well. I’d like them to make this one again. I had it on draught (I think the Marly was one of only a handful of pubs to have it that way) but it was released in longnecks too.

A Friday at The Local Taphouse

Nude (1930) by Edwin Holgate (1892-1977)

28. Holgate Road Trip IPA

29. Feral Barrel aged Saison

The Local Taphouse opened in Darlinghurst in early 2008 and I’ve not been there nearly as often as I should have been. It’s on the wrong side of town for me, which is part of the problem, and if I went here frequently I’d have no money or liver left, but I think the main reason I haven’t been more often is that I don’t feel 100% comfortable in here. I like beer, but not at the level that these guys do. I feel a bit intimidated. Still, it’s doing really well and I’m glad it’s there. Maybe it’s me that needs to do the work.

Anyway, I was there with Lorkers, who’d just started his new job at UNSW so that dates it to early March 2010. I had a Trumer Pils to quench my thirst, German and so not to be counted. I’m sure it was fine. I have no notes on the Holgate Road Trip IPA or the Feral Barrel Aged Saison but I seem to recall being vaguely disappointed with the saison. They’re both breweries I’d like to visit at some point – I’ve enjoyed most of the Holgates I’ve tried, and Feral look like they do some interesting stuff.

A Monday at Beer Deluxe

Shirley Temple. Probably not drinking beer.

30. Temple Saison through a Randall
31. Temple Saison in a bottle

Looks like I was going through a saison phase. Beer Deluxe is in Federation Square in Melbourne, where I was on business. I was also just starting a bout of the genuine ‘flu, so my head was swimming even without the beer. Beer Deluxe doesn’t look particularly exciting from the outside, but it has a good selection of aussie micros on tap and a fridge full of bottled wonders so I always try to pop in here when I’m south of the border. They also have one of those randall things, a chamber between the barrel and the tap, usually filled with a beer-related ingredient, which the beer shoots through under pressure on its way to the tap and subsequently your glass. It was full of hops when I turned up, which they were putting the Temple Saison through. I had a schooner of the draught though the randall, and then a bottle of it au naturel, to see if I could tell the difference. I could a bit, but I was feeling rather unwell.

So unwell that when the barman had come over and showed me a 750ml $30 bottle of a rare saison and left it on my table, in my befuddled state I thought he’d given it to me to keep. As I staggered out of the door he came hurtling along to explain that it wasn’t a gift. I got in a cab, went to the airport and spent the next three days in bed.

16. Mountain Goat Hightail Ale

February 17, 2010


That’s actually a picture of me at The Mountain Goat Brewery, Richmond, back in November 2008 when I was visiting Melbourne for a wedding. As you can see, it was closed so Louise and I had to seek solace in The Royston Hotel just across the road. The Royston is authentically 70s in decor – it’s not kitsch, I just think it never changed – and a little disturbing in the middle of a Monday afternoon, but we had some very local beer there and also some Holgate Bitter on handpump, a rarity on two counts. Here’s some shots I took of The Royston to give you an idea.

another busy afternoon

you'd pay a fortune for lamps like this down at Camden Market

now you know why I usually have a beard

Mountain Goat Hightail and Steam Ales are quite easy to get in Sydney, their Surefoot Stout less so (I’ve had bottles of it at The Australian a couple of times). The other night a six-pack of their signature Hightail came home with me.

It’s ok. You can read all the florid descriptions at the link above but it didn’t really grab me. Now the Stout, I like. But I’ve not had that this year so I can’t write about it yet. One day I’ll be able to work out a work trip to Melbourne so I can stay down on a Wednesday night and see how Dave and Cam roll. East (Melbourne) side.