Old Admiral – Lord Nelson Brewery (AUS)

No trip to Sydney is ever complete without a visit to the The Lord Nelson pub. It’s not exactly hidden but it’s not a pub you’re likely to stumble across unless your looking for it.  A beautiful sandstone building located in Kent St, The Rocks,  The Lord Nelson is Sydney’s oldest continually licensed pub and home to Australia’s oldest pub brewery. When I lived in Sydney, The Nelson was one of the first places I took visitors, neatly forgetting that most of them were quite used to drinking English-style brews served in pint glasses …… in an old pub. For me, the novelty never wore off. The beer was too good.

Nelson's Blood ...... Australia expects every man to do his duty and try a pint ........
Old Admiral …… Australia expects every man to do his duty and try a pint ……..

 

Weighing in at a hefty 6.1%, Old Admiral is not a great beer to start an evening on …… but it certainly makes for a damn good finish. An impenetrable reddish black in colour, it has a rich caramel aroma. Like any old sea dog worth it’s salt, it’s bark is as good as it’s bite with  deep, rich winter flavours and hints of burnt treacle. I might be being a bit one-eyed about this but theres no ‘arm in stating that, like the Old Admiral himself, this one serves respect and ‘admiration’

Goes down a treat with Monday night’s $8.00 pie, mash and peas and a walk round the harbour to check out the Vivid Festival

Sydney Harbour Bridge lit up for the Vivid Festival
Sydney Harbour Bridge lit up for the Vivid Festival ©Mike Greenslade

Obvious, I know, but here’s The Special AKA with ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ …………………

 

 

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Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale – Wells & Young Brewing Company (ENG)

After sampling Wells and Young’s other delicious dessert ales, Banana Bread Beer and Double Chocolate Stout, I had no qualms about trying the rather sickly-sounding ‘Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale’.

To quote Wells and Young, “This is very much a beer first and a dessert second, it is brewed with our trusted pale ale malt and a secret blend of complex sugars. The initial sweetness of Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale is tempered by a gentle bitterness from two of England’s most traditional hop varieties- Fuggles and Goldings. This delivers the sweet taste of caramel and toffee along with a smooth and robust aftertaste”.

Wells' Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale - get your just desserts.
Wells’ Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale – get your just desserts.

 

I couldn’t have put it better myself. Like their other dessert ales, this is primarily an ale and a very good one at that. I’ve always been a fan of English ales with caramel/toffee undertones so the sticky toffee pudding flavour is no quantum leap. Once again, the dessert flavour is subtle and not overpowering. In fact, it smells sweeter than it tastes, where the bitterness of the hops dominates the smooth, warm sugars on the tongue. It’s a deeply satisfying, winter ale and would go well with custard.

If you’ve not yet tried one of these dessert ales, do yourself a favour and have some pudding. Or why not try a beer cocktail of Banana Bread Beer and Sticky Toffee Pudding Ale and make a Banoffee Pudding Bitter?

Mixing double chocolate with caramel undertones, here’s The Undertones with …..’More Songs About Chocolate And Girls’, great song, shit vid …………………

4 Hearts Pale Ale – Four Hearts Brewing (QLD)

It’s nearly 12 months since Queensland last won a State of Origin series. But a least our friends across the border have go got something to smile about …………. some half-decent beer.

4 Hearts Pale Ale - so much more than the bitter taste of defeat
4 Hearts Pale Ale – so much more than the bitter taste of defeat

 

Like the Maroons side, this is a very classy looking package. If you’re going to make a craft brew, it’s important to pay attention to detail, even the bottle feels nice in the hand. Ipswich’s Four Hearts Brewing have done a fine job. It’s a great looking beer too, deep amber with plenty of fizz. I thought it was served a little too cold, which tends to hide the flavour. American in style, there’s plenty of hops, and like last nights game for the Queenslanders, a real bitter finish.

Joking aside, it’s a crisp, refreshing pale but I would have like some greater complexity, this one’s all about the finish.

It’s not big or clever to gloat …….. but it is fun. Here’s Queen with ‘We Are The Champions’ …………….

‘My Wife’s Bitter’ – Burleigh Brewery (AUS)

‘My Wife’s Bitter’ sounds like the start of a Les Dawson joke. My wife’s marmalade is both bitter and sweet and therefore very satisfying.  I wish the same could be said of Burleigh Brewery’s English style ‘bitter’.

My Wife's Bitter - Not a patch on My wife's marmalade!
My Wife’s Bitter – Not a patch on my wife’s marmalade!

 

It’s not a bad drop, it’s just lacking something. Perhaps it’s the hops? There’s a familiarity to it but it needs something else to differentiate it  from your average ‘boys bitter’ found in any English pub. Perhaps a hint of toffee, an undertone of biscuit, some cheeky chocolate, a nibble of nuts, a slice of christmas cake ………….. it just needs something to raise it above the ordinary. Perhaps I should try it at room temperature?

For a real bitter finish, I watched England play the All Blacks on Saturday night only to see us go down by 1 point. Now that left a bad taste in the mouth!

In honour of My Wife’s Marmalade’ here’s The Verve with the perfectly balanced ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ ……………

Kaiserdom – Premium Lager Bier (GER)

The World Cup is upon us. Well, not The World Cup, that takes place in England next year. This one is the football World Cup or, as they say here in Australia (and probably in America too), the ‘Soccer World Cup’. That’s so we don’t get it mixed up with ‘football’, ‘footy’, ‘football’ or (in the case of America), ‘football’. To save further confusion, I’m just going to refer to it as ‘the World Cup’.

To honour the start of the ‘World Cup’ I thought I’d try this special edition brew. Contrary to popular belief, Kaiserdom is not a German S&M club, rather an historic brewery from Bamberger, Bavaria. The limited edition World Cup premium lager comes in a one litre can, featuring the Brazilian flag on the front and and is only available  in ‘special’ countries. Empty cans are already appearing on ebay and if you drink your beer and then list the empty can, you get your money back …….. and some.

Kaiserdom ....... I predict a riot!
Kaiserdom ……. I predict a riot!

The Germans give good lager and this is no exception. Reliable and efficient, it’s the sort of easy-drinking, slightly malty brew that is loved by footballers and fans alike. It would go well with bacon and eggs or porridge.

Everyone loves a World Cup, even dyed-in-the-wool rugby fans like me. So I’ll be up at 8.00am on Sunday morning to cheer on Eng-er-land. Here’s hoping for an England v Germany final, with us Poms winning 5-4 on penalties!

Best World Cup song ever? Here’s New Order with the 1990 England World Cup squad with, ‘World In Motion’

Glamarama Summer Ale – Sydney Brewery (AUS)

I’d been hoping my recent business trip to Sydney Town would reveal some local craft beer, not available on the North Coast. What I didn’t expect was to come across such a cracker on my first visit to the pub. The Macquarie on Wentworth St happened to be about 100 yards from my hotel and I couldn’t resist stopping off for a schooner on the way home. On a Friday evening, the post-work vibe made for a great atmosphere. I opted for the ‘Glamarama’ Summer Ale, as it was the only draught I hadn’t tried. It turned out to be a great move.

Glamarama Summer Ale ...... unseasonably good beer
Glamarama Summer Ale …… unseasonably good beer

 

It may not be summer but this ale went down a treat after a day driving around in the Sydney traffic. It’s crisp a clean on the palate with a good floral aroma. A truly refreshing brew, it has plenty of fruit, akin to Stone & Wood’s Pacific Ale, with nectarine, rockmelon and a touch of elderflower. I have to say, it didn’t last long and, as the barmaid poured me a second, I found out that it used to be brewed on the premises by the Sydney Brewery. We both felt quite at home.

Aus SRT selection weekend

I look forward to sampling more form the Sydney Brewery. (they can get my address upon application)

Here’s Roxy Music with ‘Pyjamarama’

 

Munroe’s Fredonian Ale (USA)

All work and no play ……………… The Beer Hunter has been hunting.

What a rare treat and what a rare ale. This limited edition ale is very hard to find in Australia. In fact it is so limited in its Australian edition that I’ve drunk the only one. Munroe’s Fredonian is a hand crafted, American style pale ale from the little-known Munroe Brewery in Sarasota, Florida and boy, it’s a beauty.

Munroe's Fredonian Ale - Hand-crafted, hand-delivered
Munroe’s Fredonian Ale – Hand-crafted, hand-delivered. Alan with his lovely wife, Casey.

 

Head brewer and founder, Alan Munroe hand delivered this little gem. It travels well and arrived in perfect condition. A deep reddish amber in colour, it has floral aroma, plenty of fizz and holds its head well. A good balance of citrus and hops give it a full, well-rounded flavour and the dry hopping towards the end of the brewing process gives it a lip-smacking bitter finish.

I give it 5 bunny ears and can’t wait for the 2015 vintage. Goes well with a Cornish Pasty ……………. Muy Buena!

In honour of the first Fredonians, here’s Texas with ‘I Don’t Want A Lover’