This correspondent has been fortunate enough to have access to Airport Lounges when travelling most of the time. Airports aren’t the place for a novel beer experience and for me it is just about getting on the flight and destination bound. There’s only one place I’ve deviated from the Club Lounge and that’s in Adelaide where the Coopers Bar was an absolute ripper in 2006. Pommy_ch and I used to always finish meetings promptly and skedaddle to the airport for some ice cold Coopers and merchandise. It was pretty popular and they could afford to manage a good range on tap – Coopers Dark anyone?
I’ve been forced to fly Virgin of late, which means no Club. Pleasant surprise to get to Sydney and see a Coopers Ale House is available. Gave it a go and if you have to wait around, there’s worse places. That said, it ain’t the Adelaide version either. Airports are notorious for relieving you of funds with speed for little return. The Sydney version of the Ale House at least has some decent value on the menu for a snack.
There’s 4 varieties of Coopers on tap – Sparkling, Pale, Mild and Celebration. Celebration was one of the more underwhelming beers I’ve had recently, but on tap it showed more hops than I remember. The wings were plentiful for $11.90 (gargantuan in airport-serve terms) and there’s live League. So, if you have to wait around at Terminal 2, head to Gate 40. The walk is worth it and you don’t get stuck at the lamentable and over-priced Tap House.
In the last month, two of your correspondents have had to perform their civic duty by performing Jury Service. Personally, I’m a big supporter of the system, but every time I’ve been summoned it has been damned inconvenient. On previous occasions I’ve been able to provide a plausible excuse prior to the event, but this time there was no escape and I had to front the Downing Centre near Museum Station. Again the timing sucked and I needed an out. Cutting a long story short, I provided the judge with an acceptable get-out reason and I avoided the two week aggravated burglary trial. Illiards wasn’t so lucky a month or so ago and did his two and half week trial without complaint.
So what’s this got to do with beer? Well, just around the corner from the entrance to the Downing Centre, at 152 Elizabeth Street is one of, if the not best of the Sydney CBD’s best bottle shops. The Oak Barrel has a marvellous range of craft beers, which totals over 600 varieties. There are beers from Australia, NZ, Denmark, Norway, Lebanon, UK, US etc. There’s seasonals, one-offs and a couple of specials in a bargain bin. A sign boasts “Warning – Customer Service” and a pleasant conversation was had the cash register. In celebration of my latest escape for Jury Service and in tribute to illiards’ discharge of civil duty – a celebratory six pack of three pairs of uniques was purchased for the ferry ride home.
With the recent downturn in BotF blog output, we’ve failed to note Back of the Ferry traditions like the winter solstice and we’ve now well and truly moved into winter. The Back of the Ferry was pretty cold tonight – nothing too icy, but the beers purchased help knit a nice little beer vest that came in handy as we turned the corner at Bradley’s Head and the wind whistled through. First cab of the rank was Dainton Family Brewing’s Impale Ale. This is an American Pale Ale, that doesn’t nothing wrong without standing out. Lovely label. We had a sip of the second beer just as we hit the wind. This was a beautiful brown beer – warming, full bodied – a winter beauty. Downtown Brown is made by Lost Coast Brewery, which has been around since 1990 and whose master brewer (sic) is Barbara Groom (don’t see many women in that role). The highlight of the trip. The final beer came from the unlikely location of Lebanon. 961 Beer’s Black IPA came out of the bargain bin (there was still a couple left today). A great beer for the home straight, this Black IPA hides it 6.6% ABV really well. By no means a squinter, there was still good bitterness with a strong malt spine. Nothing like a three unique beer trip home.
Absolutely freezing for this induction.
Favourite beverage: Rare Eagle Bourbon
Favourite sport to spectate: Downhill skiing
Area of trivial expertise: sleeping patterns on public transport
When you hit your local liquor shop in search of some new beers to try, there are a few that are worth keeping an eye out for. Some of these are brand new and some are seasonal offerings just hitting the shelves. So next time you’re out scouting potential fridge-dwellers, keep an eye out for these.
New Belgium & 3 Floyds – Grätzer
Rad – Sixpoint
Chaotic Double IPA – Twisted Manzanita Ales
Showdown Rye IPA – Great Divide
Rain Check – Sierra Nevada
SPA (Summer Pale Ale) – Port Brewing
Fantôme Del Ray – Jester King & Fantôme
801 Pilsner – Uinta
Moving Parts Batch No. 01 – Victory
Been awhile since the last induction.
Favourite beverage: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
Favourite sport to spectate: AFL
Area of trivial expertise: motor vehicle car emblems
Molson Canadian is encouraging Canadians to embrace their inner “eh?” in honor of the Great White North’s 147th birthday. Just in time for Canada Day, the beer company has set up a fridge which only unlocks when someone sings “O Canada.”
And to follow that up, here’s a behind-the-scenes video.
I remember reading all about Six String Brewing Co’s difficulties in getting to market. As their website alludes, they were beset with bureaucratic interference for a very long time. Well, after a visit to their brewery and solid sessions of their Pale Ale and their Dark Red IPA – we should all be very grateful that Six String persisted. A long weekend up the Central Coast gave me the opportunity to visit the Brewery and see how it all ended up. It’s clearly ended up very well. So well in fact that my first attempt to visit was thwarted by a “House Full” sign.
Luckily I wasn’t staying too far away and I was able to visit a couple hours of later. The brewery and drinking area is very roomy. I wonder if another bureaucrat is having somewhat of a lend, because the capacity is listed at 50 people. They’re kidding aren’t they? Anyway, there’s no shortage of elbow room to tilt back a few. We ordered a couple racks to try the four perennials and the four seasonals. Six String has done a good job of getting on some taps in Sydney (Harts and 33 Degrees to name a couple), so many of these were familiar to me – but my brothers-in-law were new to it all. The Celtic Fusion is truly a great beer and was unanimously applauded. Their foundation Dark Red IPA is also a doozie with a rich, balanced, deep flavour. One of the brothers-in-law was so impressed that he went and bought the growler. Soul Porter was also a very solid beer that should become a permanent fixture.
It’s great to see local businesses supporting one another. For dinner, we all went to The Bungalow Lounge and Tapas in Ettalong. The Bungalow is owned by my brother and sister in law (different side of the family!) and offers a terrific range of cocktails. Lucky for me, Paul also has a tap going and the beer du jour was none other than Six Strings Pale Ale. The Pale Ale is very sessionable and worked well with pretty much all the Tapas that came our way. You’d have to go along way to find better meatballs that those put out by Suzi. I don’t need much of a reason to go to the Central Coast – but here are two more very good reasons to head up the Freeway.