Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I have not really been inclined to blog about beer lately. I have lost my mojo....
I moved back to Australia in 2009 with much enthusiasm towards the rapidly growing craft beer movement. However, what I have found is that the local craft beer market is comprised of inconsistent American style beers that are difficult to find, expensive and all seem to have an cardboard oxidized note.
The message is, the great Australian Craft Beer revolution was a flop..... The stores are dominated by 'craft brands' which are brewed by the same mega breweries that have dominated since the end of time. These beers are still brewed to a price, although now the margin is even higher.
Where are all the small bars, cafes and brewpubs to support the scene? I can list all the Sydney based venues on one hand.
Why does Australian craft beer retail for $25 a six pack (5% abv) while I can buy a six pack of Ballast Point IPA (7% abv) which has traveled across the globe for $18?
Why is Australia still a craft beer desert?
My answer is to craft my own beer at home. I feel sorry for everyone else.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The approach in this marketing drive is unique in that all beer drinking experiences are collected interactively through an iPhone app. It's as simple as every time you crack open a bottle, you take a photo through the app and it records what the beer is and sends it off to a data repository for later analysis. It also gives you the option to share your experience through Facebook, Twitter and other social media which drives further interest in the eventual product.
I'll admit that I have not really been drinking much beer and have been sipping too much red wine lately, however I did manage to contribute a dozen or so different beer experiences to the project.
The promotion is being run by Casella wines who produce the Yellow Tail range. Firstly, I hope the beer is better than their wine which targets the lower end of the market and is almost the definition of mediocrity. Its not bad, but hardly exciting either.
The wine aside, I have faith that the project will produce a decent beer, although mediocre in that it will have to appeal to the broadest market possible and sell well. Brewing just for niche beer geeks is not going to keep you in business for long in the Australian market which is dominated by mega swill lager that sells in large volumes. I received an email with some statistics sources from the project which are roughly 70% of beer is lager, 20% ale's. I am expecting a flavoursome lager with a fruity/hoppy twist from the initial results.
Anyhow, I am sure Google will turn up some more info for those who are interested
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
The truth be told I have not been drinking or brewing much lately and my time has been taken up by the birth of my son Dylan. I plan to fix this and get back to blogging on a semi regular basis. Australia is moving forward with it's craft brewing movement but not a the same speed as the US, UK or even NZ. Most pubs seem to offer megaswill and cider with a token 'craft' offering from one of the major brands.
I will say though that I am extremely jealous of all the activity occurring in the US at the moment. I know that Prof. Pilsener and Mark Dredge have been over in San Diego for the Beer World Cup. Even my brother is in the states at the moment. To make me jealous he sent me the following photo. It reminds me exactly how much I need a holiday.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Festivals can range from fairly small events hosted by pubs and villages to freak show gatherings attended by hundreds of thousands of people and which may feature 500+ Real Ales - a common feature of these are tickers who are out to drink a half pint of every beer on offer. Usually around 20% of all beers listed in the festival programme will be unavailable during the event as the people responsible for their production have been incapacitated during magical battles with other wizards, or are far too engrossed in a game of Dungeons and Dragons to get around to making their pong.
Many Real Ale festivals are now hosted indoors or in marquees. Many of these will be fully air conditioned, making such venues suitable even for those who do not enjoy the aroma of several hundred large, sweaty men with damp beards combined with the fruity tang of three-day-old spilt beer and vomit.
Survival Tips - Beer Festivals
- Beer festivals will allow you to taste beers before purchase. Towards the end of the evening, when the staff have had a few themselves, they will become careless about precisely which quantity of beer constitutes a taste and will frequently splash a good third of a pint into your glass. Do this a few times and you can easily manage three free pints.
- No matter how intoxicated you become, do not attempt to get a root. You will not like what you wake up with the following morning.
- Should you find you have a hangover the next day, a hair-of-the-dog remedy can be obtained freely. Simply turn up at the festival even if it's 7am. They will usually require casual labourers to help clear up after the previous night's revelry and will pay you in beer - being the confirmed Real Ale drinkers that they are, the organizers will recognize your need for a beer-based breakfast, allowing you at least one pint before you start working.
With regards to Beer Festivals, never fear: Scratchings, Hamburgers, hot-dogs and hog roasts will all be available at a Real Ale festival. Be sure to have at least one pint of the strongest Real Ale at the festival after eating, as the high alcohol content will help to neutralise any salmonella or e-coli bacteria picked up from the meat which is likely to have been insufficiently barbecued. BBQ's are normally conducted via the antiquated charcoal method as gas BBQ's are considered not to be 'proper'. Most festivals will also have at least one stall specialising in extra-strong varieties of cheese such as Herefordshire Brown Cheddar, a traditional cheese made famous during WW1 when the Herefordshire Regiment used it as a nerve agent, bombarding the German trenches with it at Ypres.
All Real Ale festivals take very great care to discourage those who attend from driving home after consuming alcohol. A common measure is to display one or more real cars at the entrance to the event that have been involved in an accident that killed their drunken driver, the cars usually being supplied rather oddly by the Fire Brigade rather than by the Police or a car recovery garage. It used to be common to place a life-like dummy, modified to resemble a mangled corpse, inside the car as a further incentive to use public transport; however, following complaints at many festivals that the dummy was frightening, this is usually avoided which somewhat detracts from the whole point of the exercise. Extremely intoxicated drinkers can be seen attempting to get into and start the wrecked cars at the end of each night during which the festival is held before they are helpfully steered in the direction of their own cars by security.
That leads us to the final concern. After attending a beer festival you may feel that you have enjoyed yourself and feel that joining some kind of club or association might be a good idea. Don't do it. Once you have signed up to CAMRA they will send you information about how to grow a beer belly, where to buy sandals and which supermarket has the best plastic bags. Start down that path and its a short stroll to Morris dancing and pickled eggs. Beware. Tip - these symptoms may be remedies by drinking what you will now refer to as 'chemical fizz'. Five gulps of cooking lager will have you seeing straight again.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
* Original Fassbier - Kellerbier matured on roasted oak chips (Last Drop, WA, 4.6%)
* Cucumber Sandwich - Summer Ale (Mountain Goat, VIC, 4.2%)
* kb - Kriek Berliner Weisse served through morello cherries (Wig & Pen, ACT, 4.3%)
* Organic Blueberry Hefeweizen (Otway Estate, VIC, 5%)
* Belgian Raspberry Wit (Kooinda, VIC, 5.5%)
* Anzac Bickies - Oats, coconut and vanilla ale (Burleigh Brewing, QLD, 5%)
* Red Relief (Stone & Wood, NSW, 4.7%)
* Cherry Bomb - Cherry and coconut porter (True South, VIC, 5%)
* Quince Ale (Lobethal and Brew Boys Collaboration, SA, 5.6%)
* Zephyr - Double White Ale (Doctors Orders Brewing, NSW, 5.6%)
* Chocolate Chilli Porter (Hunter, NSW, 5.8%)
* 2 Hills Maibock (Collaboration between Hargreaves Hill and Red Hill Breweries, VIC, 6.8%)
* Wee Heavy (4 Pines, 7.8%)
* Rye IPA (Mash, WA)
* Karma Citra - Black IPA showcasing the Citra hop (Feral, WA, 5.9%)
* Lemon Myrtle IPA (Jamieson, VIC, 7%)
* The Secret Romance of Herman van Rompuy and Cherry Poppens - Belgian style Flanders red (Moondog, VIC, 7.3%)
* The Empress - Imperial Mocha Porter (Holgate, VIC, 10%)
* Big Red Rocket - Imperial Red Ale (Bridge Road, VIC, 9%)
* Imperious - Imperial Belgian Blond Ale (Murrays, NSW, 11%)
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Other restaurants including McDonald's have had to restrict their menu's as produce is simply not available due to the impact of the floods. McDonald's have reportedly flown in a plane full of lettuce so their reduced offerings will still meet nutritional standards. This air shipment of a low value item of lettuce is also reported to have cost over $50000.
You can read a serious account of these shortages here.
Monday, January 17, 2011
Anyhow I was in there chatting to the bar dude on Friday night sipping their excellent Bitter (3.5% abv) when he informed me of their recent success at the World Beer Awards that were held in London last July. After being told by numerous anonymous assholes in the comments section of this blog and various others that "Australian's don't know about ale" etc I find it quite humorous that Redoak Bitter took out the award for Bitter category ahead of every brown 4% beer that the UK can produce. Hear that, Australians beat the Brits at their own game.
Over the weekend I also caught Oz and Hugh - Raise the Bar. Episode three was very interesting, especially the beer festival in Manchester. Now anybody who denies the CAMRA stereotype needs to watch this episode. Beards, bellies and weirdo's holding plastics bags are pictured. Hugh Dennis even makes a comment that he feels out of place without a beard and a plastic bag. There is no point in denying the facts here and anyone who tries to argue to the contrary obviously falls into the stereotype. And to top it all off there is a steam train at the end, the crowning jewel in the ticker train watching stereotype. Props to Oz and Hugh for going on the lash with a bunch of female students from Leeds, but what was the go with the place adding essences to beer? Overall that segment along with comments from several drinkers along the way throughout the series confirmed to me that the average UK enthusiast doesn't know shit about beer.