It’s been a long time between drinks but it’s not as if I haven’t been doing my research. In fact, for this beer, I went straight to the source and toured the Stone & Wood Brewery in nearby Byron Bay. Why it took me so long to make this pilgrimage to the birthplace of Pacific Ale (surely one of Australia’s top beers), I’ll never know.
Both of my regular readers will know that I’m not a huge fan of wheat beers but The Gatherer may just be an exception. Light and fruity, it has elements honey-dew melon and floral flavours. It would make a nice cooling summer drink or a great accompaniment to a hot curry. Not Stone & Wood’s finest but worth a try. In fact, worth a try every year, as the recipe changes with each seasonal brew.
In truth, having ‘done’ the Stone & Wood Brewery tour, I would say that my judgement has been so clouded that future reviews may be unreliable. What I can say is, if you’re in or near Byron Bay and your remotely interested in the art of brewing, how to run a community business and/or have a good time, then book your place at S&W. Our tour guide was a legend, we learnt plenty about beer and we were having such a good time that the tour over-ran by 45 mins.
From the Kings of Australia craft brewing we go the Queens of The Stoneage and the aptly named “Feelgood Hit Of The Summer (even though it’s Autumn)………..
There was a special ‘Australia Day’ deal at the Gooner IGA, buy a six-pack of Colonial IPA and receive a free glass. Seemed like a pretty good deal, only I like to think of it as buy a glass and get a six-pack of beer free. Free beer always tastes better!
I love this beer! Caramel sugar brown in colour it has a warm, sweet aroma. So, it looks good, smells good and then you taste it! First up is the sweetness of old fashioned barley sugar, a beautiful warm and nostalgic flavour, subtly balanced with a refreshing bitter finish. My new favourite beer.
And get this. The clever people at Colonial Brewing Co have come up with the innovation we’ve all been waiting for, a pull-ring that turns the can into a drinking vessel you can actually drink from ……..
What next? Flying cars?
From the future of drinking we go to the future of heads, here’s the Futureheads with Decent Days And Nights…….
OK, let’s get this straight. When I do a tasting, I taste first, write my notes (or direct to the blog) and then check out the website of the brewery. That way I’m not swayed by what the brewery writes and no one is putting words in my mouth. If I want anything out in my mouth it’s beer.
With Fixation IPA, my notes could have been copied straight off the website:
“FOUR DIFFERENT NEW WORLD HOP VARIETIES HAVE GONE INTO OUR IPA AT ALL STAGES OF THE BREWING PROCESS TO LEND A BIG JUICY, FRUITY AROMA, ROBUST FLAVOUR AND FIRM BITTERNESS. THERE IS A CLEAN PALE MALT BACKBONE WITH A FEW SPECIALTY MALTS FOR GOOD MEASURE, JUST ENOUGH TO CARRY THE RIDICULOUSLY LARGE HOPPING REGIME! THIS BEER IS FOR PEOPLE WITH GREAT TASTE, WHO LOVE A MODERN DAY CLASSIC IPA!”
Actually, that was copied straight off the website.
To be honest, I could only taste 3 different hop varieties but who’s counting?
So what’s to add? Well, only that this little brew has probably got less carbon miles (for me at any rate) than most I taste. It’s brewed just down the road in Byron Bay. At 6.5% it’s has that American IPA punch that we all love and I’m beginning to regret I bought just the one. Believe the hype!
After a few of these I’d be a right Dizzee Rascal. Here’s “Fix Up Look Sharp” (warning: contains bad f$*kin’ language)…….
First up, apologies for the photo. This looks like I used a Saint Vitus Dance chromatic aberration filter. If only I had a camera.
Here’s what it should look like:
You’ve got the love this beer’s MO. Marmalade orange in colour, it has an inviting aroma of tropical fruit. Coming in at 7.8%, you’d expect this IPA to slap you round the face a bit but it’s surprisingly soft and complex, with undertones of candied orange and Christmas crystallised fruits. It’s a sure-fire winner and the crew at Modus Operandi on Sydney’s Northern Beaches should hold their head high. I’ll be looking out for more of their MO!
Best drunk by a river.
Here’s the a suitable lo-fi Siouxsie and the Banshees with, ‘Tenant’….
I love everything about this beer. I mean, just look at the can! You could frame it and hang it on the wall. And why not, Moo Brew commissioned artist, John Kelly to design all their labels. The Tassie brewers know their stuff and their Single Hop is as classy as the can.
The aroma is warm and floral and the beer pours pale and slightly cloudy with a good head. The taste brings back memories of barley sugar and there’s enough bitterness to keep you mouth-watering until the next sip. On tap, this would be dangerous. More please.
And here was I thinking a Double Cascadian was a complex manoeuvre in the synchronised diving! Turns out it’s a dark ale, a bloody fine one at that.
Now, I’ve never had a single cascadian before but even if it were only half as good as this Double Cascadian, I’d be queueing up for a sample. Manly-based Four Pines Brewing have come up with another winner in this limited keller door release. There’s rich, dark chocolatey aromas and I was blown away by the flavours. Smokey cocoa, Turkish Delight and black cherries all combine to make a complex, rewarding and surprisingly delicious dark craft ale.
Here, with some vintage Mancunian cascade magic is the Stone Roses with, “Waterfall” ……….
OK, I’m going to keep this short and sweet. I took this photo on 10th June. It was the day before I visited Brisbane with a bunch of friends and rivals, fellow Poms and Aussies to see the first test against the Wallabies. Was this bottle of beer a good omen? With Ben Youngs set to start for the a very special England XV, that I predicted 3-0 win for the visiting team.
Low and behold, 3 weeks later I was proved right! However, my clairvoyant career was short-lived as I failed to predict the England soccer team’s exit from Euro16 courtesy of the football powerhouse that is Iceland, and the UK’s exit from the EU, courtesy of a bunch of idiots in the motherland.
Nonetheless, I’m a rugby man and that’s the result that counts.
How about the beer I hear you ask? Brewed by Charles Wells, Young’ Special London Ale s a fine example of an English ale, nutty with hints of caramelised marmalade and a controlled bitte hoppy finish; smooth and satisfying. They say revenge is a dish best tasted cold, but this beer it’s best drunk at room temperature, to bring the flavour out. World class. Swing Low.
For a well-travelled Special Ale and some fine Internationals, here’s the Specials with International Jet Set …………..
American-style pales can be overdone, over hopped …. like a drunk boxer in a night club, just a little too punchy. When done well, the APA is a thing of beauty and the gateway to refreshment and satisfaction.
New Zealand’s Asahi-owned, Boundary Road Brewery have got the balance right with this one. Their American Pale Ale is a honey-coloured brew, with a floral, piney aroma. There’s plenty of fizz on the tongue, beautiful orange zest undertones and a pine sap finish. I can’t wait to try the American Double IPA ………… although that could come out swinging like a drunk boxer. We’ll see.
Here’s vintage pale American, Bruce Springsteen with ‘Thunder Road’ …………..
You can’t judge a book by its cover but when I saw this decal, I jumped to the conclusion that this particular tap was serving stout. Call it Beerhunter intuition if you like, but I was not wrong, stout it was and a bloody good one at that.
The Moo Brew brewery was first located in Hobart’s MONA ……. (well worth a visit, even if you don’t like beer) and is home to many a good ale.
It’s safe to say that this seasonal stout deserves a place alongside some of the masterpieces in MONA. This is a delicious dark brew, ebony black with a head the colour of a John Player Special filter. There’s a Jamesons aroma, backed up by whiskey barrel and Dundee cake flavours, like a Guinness dashed with vintage port. This won’t be around for long, so get it while you can.
With a Strangulated musical connection, here’s Celia and the Moo-tations with MONA MONA ………………….
If you’re in Darling Harbour on a hot day looking for a refreshing pint, look no further than the King St Brewhouse. Home to the Red Tape Brewing Co. The busy harbour-side bar brews its own ales and their Fish River Gold proved the perfect accompaniment to a fish ‘n’ chip lunch.
Brewed with water from the nearby Goldfish River, this golden ale is a clouded honey in colour and sweet on the nose. It’s light and refreshing with a hint of toffee apples. I was rather tempted to have another and just watch the world go by.
Talking of the world and goldfish, here’s inspirational Inspiral Carpets with ‘Two Worlds Collide’