Pure chemistry…

Daniel Rutherford (1749 – 1819) was a Scottish chemist, physician and botanist, who was famous for his discovery of nitrogen gas… as readers will know, nitrogen can be used as a replacement, or in combination with, carbon dioxide to pressurise kegs of beer.  Ernest Rutherford (1871 – 1937, New Zealand-born, to a Scottish farming father and an English mother), on the other hand, did little for the beer world, but he did receive the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1908, having discovered and named the atomic nucleus, the proton, as well as both the alpha and beta particles (to mention a few of his achievements).  I recall that we had a Rutherford lab at our school – perhaps named after both famous scientists – but there is no doubt that this is where I first took an interest in beer.  The name Rutherford is synonymous with greatness.  And so history continues…
Rutherfords Micropub - Kelso 2
Rutherfords Micropub, Scotland’s first micropub that opened three months ago, is the continuation of a trend that started in 2012 that mainly took advantage of two momentous changes in the UK: (1) the closures of pubs around our small island at the staggering rate of 31 per week currently; and (2) the general failure of the retail industry in the High Street, as shoppers moved out of town to large retail parks, with the consequence that 13% High Street retail outlets now stand empty.  Along came http://micropubassociation.co.uk with their simple value statement: “A Micropub is a small freehouse which listens to its customers, mainly serves cask ales, promotes conversation, shuns all forms of electronic entertainment and dabbles in traditional pub snacks.”  The inside has a designer, welcoming feel to it and the Rutherfolk don’t all stop talking when you (the stranger) walks in:
Rutherfolk - Kelso Rutherfords beer - Kelso 2
I sauntered up to the barkeeper (who happened also to be the proprietor) and we talked about his experience to date – Simon’s had some great publicity, with ITV expected the next day… indeed, a couple of weeks ago a famous Scottish rugby full-back and captain popped in with 25 friends, who consumed some 87 gins in two and a half hours – there’s nothing to say they were obliged to drink real ale!  When I introduced BOTF, I told him my first name, and, shockingly, he guessed my last name – it turned out that we had been in the same class some 35 years ago at school!  It took me a while (my memory is fading after a lifetime of beer) but I recalled exactly who he was.  We soon got on to talking about beer… two notable ones were “Dark Horse” (a smokey, deep copper ale) by the ‘Born In The Borders’ brewery, and “Golden Plover” (a hoppy, golden ale) by ‘Allendale’ brewery.  A paddle is available for those drivers among you that need to sample his full range.  Then I asked him about the unusual microscope on the bar, and his collection of fine gins & whisky.
Rutherfords under the microscope - Kelso The Rutherfords spirit - Kelso 2
Apparently, the microscope had nothing to do with his erstwhile, chemistry-famous surname – personally, I think it’s something he should try to weave into the heritage of the establishment – but he had been so taken with the apparatus that he persuaded the last owner to part with it… it dispenses a gin, I’m led to believe.  What is interesting in the Scottish alcohol world is the synergy between the beer and whisky manufacturing industry, both borrowing each other’s spent barrels to bring about great new flavours to their own beverages.  I’m sure it’s all down to their harmonious chemistry… it’s strange that I don’t get a hang-over when I mix the two.  On my way back to my car in the centre of Kelso, ready for my 350-mile long drive home, I briefly popped in to see Paul in Beercraft – also an establishment that has taken advantage of an empty retail outlet just five doors from Rutherfords – who plied me with a small stock of Tempest Brewery beers to sample when I got home.
Beercraft - Kelso 3
Ah… homeward bound.  As I leave the perfectly amazing beauty of the Scottish Borders, I am welcomed back into England…. low mist and an appropriately carved menhir on the border awaits me  The chemistry has gone.
England on Scottish border 20150818
Categories: Beers

Prompted by @CallanBoys a visit to the Palisade brings back fond memories

20/08/2015 2 comments

A Tuesday ritual is to flick through the SMH’s Good Food lift out and see which restaurants and bars are reviewed. I particularly seek out where Callan Boys has visited. My heart leapt this particular Tuesday morning as Mr Boys revealed that the Palisade Hotel is open again.


The Pinnacle of Millers Point

Since 2008, The Palisade has tragically been closed. No longer. Unlike Mr Boys, I drank many a time at the Palisade and the place holds 3 decades of memories for me. It’ll no doubt provide plenty of memories for the new generation of Palisade patrons, but boy it is different.

Not so scary

It was inevitable that the stairs to the toilets had to change. Whereas abseiling gear was required and you had to mind your head in the old days, it’s now a far gentler incline. The treacherous trip to the Palisade slasher can now only ever be a (scary) memory.

Position, position, position

During the 80s and 90s a number of Sydney pubs were brassed and glassed to their detriment. Throughout this era, the Palisade remained true to the old school look. Even though the white table cloths were introduced upstairs in the 2000s the downstairs bar was resolutely trend resistant. I can report that whilst an old style look has been implemented, it ain’t the original – but it ain’t brass and glass either. It’s a beautiful fit out. 

Steel sculpture

The Pailsade was a wonderful pub in the day. Even though it was a 5 iron from the Lord Nelson, people failed to turn their heads left and see it. That meant it was never totally packed. There was nothing better than a beer in the afternoon sun on the pavement after a massive feed at the China above the Captain Cook. For my uni crowd it provided the full stop to an epic evening of pub crawling. A couple of the guys woke up in the gardens of the church nearby after the Palisade finished ’em off. There was never a bad night there.


Trendy tapheads

The new Palisade keeps the view. There’s a new Bangaroo view in the offing as well. This is a cocktail bar in the main. Beer list is functional without striving for differentiation. The food menu is tight with the standout being the pie. People were hoeing into the toasted sangas as well. The pot of pate had a little too much jelly for mine and like every restaurant in the world, in sufficient toast was provided with the pate.


The. food

It is great to see the Palisade reopen. They’ll be opening the first floor soon, which will have an emphasis on cocktails. Even more exciting is the promise of a rooftop bar. Can’t wait. There’ll be no better place to look at the coathanger. Welcome back.

JB & Sons – booze and burgers in an unlikely location

The Freshwater Village Plaza has dominated the Freshwater village landscape for donkeys. It houses an Orstrayan China that should be heritage listed, an IGA,  a hodgepodge of service offices, a butchers, a cafe, a takeaway joint and a good old fashioned roof top car park. It is the most unlikely location for the newest venture by the blokes that used to own Hemingways.

Time warp

JB & Sons Booze and Burgers has opened on the ground floor and has a surprisingly spacious indoor area as well as good chunk of tables in the plaza area. They’ve invested in a decent sound system and collated a good Sunday arvo blues playlist with volumes that enable you to talk. The food menu is very straightforward. Big emphasis on burgers, with an excellent accompanying range of snacks like the JBFC. Buttermilk battered fried chicken morsels/chunks/tenderloins are a real entree du jour right now, which is fine ’cause it’s good. Loved my Papi burger which featured pickles amongst other things. The Septics certainly have it right when they marry a pickle with a burger. The rolls used remind me of high school tuck shop days – crusty but soft on the inside. If you going to describe yourself as “Booze and Burgers”, then your burgers need to be good. These burgers are better than good.

Happy hour, chicken and Papi Burger

The beer list is very good for a very small space. Very pleased to see four taps on the go, as well as an eclectic range of bottles and tinnies. There’s everything from the lamentable but extremely affordable Martens Pils in a tin to a Brewcult Hop Zone in a stubbie. Of particular note for @untappd unique geeks, there’s JB & Sons Lager on tap. Despite badgering two staff with questions about the beer’s provenance, its origins are a tightly held secret. Thought it might be Gang of Four, but is there another Brookvale Brewery on the horizon?

So Freshwater continues to add places to go. This’ll go off as the word gets out.

The first sighting of JB & Sons Lager

The beer list

Drinking a @SierraNevada Southern Hemisphere Fresh Hop IPA (2015) in the Southern Hemisphere

14/08/2015 1 comment

An in situ post from the MV Narrabeen.


in the Southern Hemisphere

Thanks to our friends at the Australian Wine Centre, we’ve been able to get our hands on a bottle of Sierra Nevada’s Southern Hemisphere Harvest Fresh Hop IPA (2015) edition. Nothing from Oz has been close to this beer. Photographing it in front of the Sydney Opera House could regarded similarly to Australia claiming Crowded  House, but in the interests of full disclosure the hops are from New Zealand. Fresh is best as they say and I obeying Sierra Nevada’s instructions by drinking this soon as I can.


Naval presence

A gorgeous winter’s evening was enlivened some big boats blocking our normal route home. Regular passengers will note our journey went via the port side of Fort Denison as one of our Sovereign Border Fleet blocked the Starboard passage. Unusually two cargo ships sat side by side in the Harbour as well. Variety – it is everything. The Southern Hemisphere beer? Get it and obey the instructions. It is a no regret move.

2 unusual sites

Flight Bar – Auckland. A visual treat…

… or another post in the very occasional series of Airport Bars.

After a whirlwind trip to Auckland I’m sipping a Monteith’s awaiting my flight. Normally I’d be ensconsed in a lounge, but as I roamed the duty free my eyes were drawn by the fountain of bottles that distinguishes the “Flight Bar”. Apparently formerly the DB Bar, they’ve dropped some coin (or maybe not) and created a visual treat of suspended stubbies. A geyser, a plume, a spout of stubbies.

Beer bottle sculpture

Now this correspondent is an art philistine, but I know what I like and this is Rodin as far as I’m concerned. In addition to beer bottle sculpture, Flight Bar offers a couple of uniques (from my trip any way), including Tui Pilsner (woeful) and Monteith’s Velvet Stout (really solid stout).

Says “hoppy”. It isn’t.

 There’s an intriguing list of sambos and the staff are very good. So if you get to the airport early, don’t wile away the time in the lounge, watch the planes from the Flight Bar. As I type this post, the barmaid has advised the bottles will be green tomorrow. DB own the bar and they change up the sculpture depending on the promotion.(Eg green bottles for Heineken)


The KB Hotel …. an old favourite revamped @kegandbrew

Nice horns

Nice horns

Back in the day when Boonie held the VB record for Sydney to London and The Hill at the Sydney Cricket Ground had grass on it, the ‘KB’ Hotel was a classic Sydney tiled pub adorned with Reschs and Tooths painted advertisements and frequented by down and outs from the local halfway houses. Except of course when we paid our twice annual visit as the first stop on the Central Station to SCG pub crawl down Foveaux Street.

Back then we’d duck our heads in, order a middie of Flag Ale and triple the drinking population with our presence before moving on to our next destination, The Excelsior. These days, while not much different from the outside, the KB is now the ‘Keg & Brew’ and inside you’ll find a treasury of craft beer.

The place was as full as a tick on my visit with a myriad of fine crafties available on tap and the pump. It warms the cockles of my heart to see such a pub revamped with care and thriving – a much better outcome than some other old pubs have had to endure. Shut down, the licence bought by the Hemmes empire and transferred to a souless, faux Italianate sh1thole where you queue for the pleasure of handing over a mortgage payment for a plastic schmiddie of urine.

Categories: Bars, Beers Tags: , , ,

Birrificio Angelo Poretti – Originale. New to Mr Liquor.

An in situ post (MV Queenscliff)


Originale 4 Luppoli


No, we haven’t accidentally reposted last week’s post. Mr Liquor has clearly fallen for the charms of the NLW sales rep, who according to the sticker distributes Birrificio Angelo Poretti beers. He’s added Originale (4 Luppoli) to his fridge to accompany Tre Luppoli and a couple of other Italian beers.  He sells it by the stubbie (330ml) and an attractive 3 pack. 

Deserves the BotF BeerP0rn treatment


 Again I’ll let the website provide the brewer’s description. “Thin Adherent” is again not an enticing phrase, but this time I’ve shown the Italian and English wording to give context.

The beer isn’t that hoppy. It’s more a Euroswill Malt Bomb lager. Very Menabrea/Moretti. Not the best for a chilly night on the BotF. A summer smasher, but all 4 hops have as much presence as a NSW forward pack at Lang Park last Wednesday or they cancel each other out or they were in the vicinity of the brewery when the beer was made. Take your pick.

practice your italian

Categories: Beers

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