“Untried, Experimental, Limited” is the motto of Stone & Wood‘s Pilot Batch series. At first taste, that motto about summed up this particular brew for me. Saison en Chene, made in collaboration with Jilly Wines from nearby Clunes was not immediately a great match for my palette.
The overwhelming aroma is of yeasty sourdough and at first I thought this was a wheat beer (of which I’m not a great fan). Had I read the label properly, I would have realised it was a ‘Saison’, traditionally a strong, fruity, pale ale with plenty of spice and fizz. The fruit that comes through most strongly with this one is bananas, reminding me somewhat of Hoegaarden ……. strangely a wheat beer I’m quite partial too. However, this beer grew on me as I worked my way down the glass and, like most beers, by the time I’d finished it, I was ready for another! Warning: at 6.7% this one could creep up on you.
From the Saison we get season. Here’s a very thirsty Paul Weller with the wonderful ‘5th Season’…….
Another rare chance to sample a craft beer on tap. Another great find on the Untappd. The Quarrymans Hotel in Sydney’s Pyrmont has over 20 craft beers on tap (or 23 to be precise on the night I visited). When you’re looking for the right yoghurt in a supermarket, sometimes you can have too much choice. Luckily this doesn’t apply to beer …….. I’ll start at the top of the list and work my way down!
Of course I wouldn’t dream of working my way through the list in one night. Young Henry’s ‘Wee Heavy’ tips the scales at a healthy 8.8%. It ain’t wee but it certainly punches its weight ! This is a cask ale that tastes like it was conditioned in a whiskey barrel. Served at room temperature, with no carbonation, it’s a novelty in an Australian pub. It’s a substantial brew, smooth and sweet without being syrupy, it tastes like Christmas come early.
My big mistake was to pair it the Quarrymans’ cheese platter, 4lbs of cheeses served with dried fruits, chutney and cracker. Utterly delicious, it took two whole days to digest.
I was going to chose a track by the Beatles precursor ‘The Quarrymen’ or perhaps Echo and The Quarrymen, but instead I’ve opted for the world’s greatest living non-Scotsman, Paul Weller with the epic ‘Heavy Soul’
According to the Wicked Pedia, “Yenda is a town in the Riverina district of New South Wales, Australia. The town is located about 16 kilometres (9.9 mi) east of Griffith, 45 kilometres (28 mi) of Narrandera, and 550 kilometres (340 mi) west of Sydney in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area of southern New South Wales. Although most of the original 15-acre farms have been consolidated into large vineyards and most farmhouses have disappeared, farm roads are named after the original settlers. In 1940 Yenda had two clothing stores, two bakers, two butchers, two grocery stores, two barbers, one newsagency, one pharmacy, one cinema, one Greek restaurant and one bank but residents now do their shopping in nearby Griffith. At the 2011 census, Yenda had a population of 1,503.” Strangely there is no mention of a craft brewery?
Now, there obviously is a brewery in Yenda, ‘cos that’s where they make ‘Yenda Pale Ale’, an Australian-style pale with a ‘3 out of 5 malt intensity and 3 out of 5 hop intensity’. Why am telling you all this? You can read it in the bottle! In fact, The Australian Beer Co has done all it can to help you in your craft beer experience. What the label doesn’t tell you is that the Aus Beer Co is owned by Coca Cola Amatil, therefore it isn’ a craft beer. What it is is a multi-national soft drinks company masquerading as rural brewer, trying to cash in on the craft beer revival.
It tastes alright, but is not as nice as full fat coke.
Here’s the Skids with ‘Masquerade’ ………. check out Jobson’s dancing!
England expects …………… On the eve of the first Ashes test, I thought it only appropriate that I try an Anglo-Australian ale. As mentioned in my review of the ‘Old Admiral‘ dark ale, I’m a bit of a fan of the Lord Nelson pub in Sydney’s Rocks district. Their ales never fail to impress and ‘Three Sheets’ is no exception.
Antique pine in colour, it has a fresh citrus aroma. Photographed here on what will be my new deck (see what I did there?), Three Sheets is as fresh as Mistral wind. Mouth-watering, with undertones of honey and apple crumble, it goes down a treat …… much like Napoleon’s fleet at Trafalgar.
Here’s to the Admiral, here’s the Ashes! May the best team win …… as long as it’s England.
Here’s the Thin White Duke, with ‘Ashes To Ashes’ …………
Billed as the ‘the world’s first certified Space Beer’, I was looking forward to putting my feet up in front of the fire and trying Manly-based, 4 Pines‘ handcrafted stout, to boldly go, etc.
Well it certainly looks like a stout when poured into a glass, ebony black with a frothy nicotine head. It smells like a stout when lifted to the nose, slightly sweet with hints of molasses and burnt rubber. I was therefore slightly disappointed to find the taste somewhat underwhelming. A little too sweet for my liking and lacking in body. I like to drink my stouts with a knife and fork whereas this would be better suited to a spoon. There are hints of coffee and chocolate but ultimately there just too much ……………. well, space.
When I read the can saying the ‘Australian Brewery‘ and ‘ThePale Ale‘ I thought that this beer has a lot to live up to. After a little research I found the the The Australian Brewery was born out the “The Australian” pub in Rouse Hill, Western Sydney. This originality in pub naming has been continued with the naming of their brews. No ‘Bishop’s Finger’ or ‘My Wife’s Bitter’ here, no here the brewing list includes “The Pilsner”, “The Steam Ale” and of course, “The Pale Ale”.
Well, here follows “The Review”
First up, why the energy drink-style can? It feels too small in your hand and yet is unlikely to revive you whilst driving. Drinking from cans can lead to short-term memory thingy too. Once poured into an old-fashion glass receptacle, it’s fruity aroma is released and rather pleasant it is too. A cloudy light straw in colour, there’s certainly plenty of fizz (I ended up with a Belgian-style head). It’s a fresh a fruity pale with Galaxy hops to the fore, hints of passionfruit and Gala apples. All up this a good Australian Pale Ale, maybe not “The Pale Ale” but at least it’s name is easy to ……….. thingy
Here’s “The” Australian Crawl with 80’s classic, ‘Reckless’
Black Coffee Lager? Black Coffee Lager? ……. (think “garlic bread!?”)
Yeah, that’s what I thought when I read the label ……. “What, lager with black coffee?! Oh well, what’s to lose,? It can’t be any worse than larger without black coffee.
Now, I have tried a dark lager before but I can’t say that I fully understood it. Burleigh Brewing Co’s ‘Black Giraffe’ is a different animal altogether. Sold in a beautifully decorated long neck (get it?), it pours like a stout, black and silky with a nice nicotine head. There’s definitely coffee on the nose, with a hint of dark chocolate and bitumen. The taste is complex and satisfying and if I had done a blind tasting I would have sworn this was a stout, which is no bad thing. There’s a rich malty bitterness with Arabica acetone undertones. Black Giraffe is head and shoulders above the rest. Drink it after dinner, with a cognac.
Before we tune-up here my favourite giraffe joke: What’s the difference between a giraffe and tractor?
Ones got hydraulics, ………………..
Now here’s the incomparable Otis Redding with “Cigarettes and Coffee” ………..
I like the idea of “Vintage Beers” (hell, I’ve just bought a ‘vintage’ house!). I also like the idea of a ‘Seasonal Series” but maybe I should leave the “Summer Ale” until it’s summer? I’m sure this a very refreshing beer when it’s hot and humid but I found it a little lacking on a winters day, when I crave something with a little more depth.
It certainly pours beautifully and looks great but I found it hard to distinguish any specific aroma ……. other than that of beer. It’s a lovely tasting beer too, with faint undertones of caramel and perhaps dried apricot but nothing really stands out. I prefer a bit more oomph!
It would suit a pasta dish or a good ole chicken caesar. Buy one now perhaps, and lay it down until summer 2014 ………. I’ve got pumpkin ale laid down ready for Halloween, so it can be done.
As part of my seasonal tunes series, here’s the full-flavoured Mark Lanegan and the “The Screaming Trees” with, ‘Shadow of the Season’ …………………
Manly-based, 4 Pines Brewing Co have done it again! I was a little wary of an English-style ‘extra special bitter‘ brewed in Manly, NSW. Having said that, when I lived there in the late 80’s there was a bar at the Steyne set aside almost exclusively for us Pommy types.
This is cracking pint! Copper in colour, it has a complex floral aroma. The proof of the pudding however, is in the drinking and this 5.6% ale reveals a beautiful balance between sweet flavours (think dried fruit and apple crumble) and the bitterness of Saville marmalade.
4 Pines gets 4 stars!
Here’s the extra special ‘Specials’ with a very English-style ‘Gangsters’ ……………..
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.
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
Obvious, I know, but here’s The Special AKA with ‘Free Nelson Mandela’ …………………