A busy night on the botf with a few new members to be inducted and a botf takeover of the full aft deck. Our first inductee;
Our second (very excited) inductee;
|Your correspondent’s day job enables me to visit the birdcage at the thoroughbred races at Flemington in Melbourne once a year. For those who may be unaware, this is the annual look-at-me fest that occurs in a roped off section of the track full of sponsors marquees. There is little focus on the actual horse racing unfortunately and while the beer is free, it is bland. The birdcage is something to do once and, if you like to actually watch a race, I’d recommend you popout and watch from the rails.|
|Frivolity dealt with, we now come to the nub of this story. Two of the botf correspondents are regular visitors to Melbourne but rarely at the same time. The planets were in alignment with bladdamasta also at the races so after failing to pick a single winner we teamed up and headed to North Fitzroy. Like sweating gold sovereigns the botf correspondents extract the most out of every Melbourne visit by wedging in as many new venues and new beers as possible. First on the list this evening was the Fitzroy Pinnacle on St. Georges Road. This eclectic pub started life as Fitzroy’s land office, where locals would climb to the top floor and point out which plot of land they wanted. Now it stocks a small but fine range of Aussie craft beers, has a front bar like your Gran’s loungeroom and a homey, small beergarden. Standouts from the visit were the 2 Brothers Grizz Amber Ale and the Challenger English IPA by Mash Brewing. Definitely a worthy venue.|
|Next stop was The Gertrude in Fitzroy. On this correspondents last visit the venue was hosting ‘Dark Beer’ month and the hope was that something similar would be going on. We were in luck. It was ‘Weird Beer’ this time round and never was a title more apt. In a session over the pubs famous steak we managed a Killer Python Kolsch by True South, The Good Son by Dainton and, to top it off, a Blueberry Hefeweizen by Prickly Moses. The Hefe at first look could have gone either way, cringingly sweet or scowlingly acerbic. However, the scribes agreed and gave it 3 of a possible 5 stars. In our particular pantheon that is relatively high praise. I do believe we than proceeded to the well disguised Workers Club on Brunswick St but by then the weirdness had descended.|
|The app of choice for the backoftheferry is @untappd. The botf correspondents celebrate with relish the various badges the app rewards us for enjoying our favourite beverage but none more than the Uniques*.
Botf reached the 1000 milestone (“Extraordinary”) almost 11 months ago and we’ve been able to maintain a pretty superlative rate in the period since.
* a unique is a beer enjoyed and checked into @untappd for the first time
|Last Saturday, while enjoying the hospitality of botf inductee, Ferg, we reached the 1500 uniques milestone. Whats more the view for beerp0rn from Ferg’s northern beaches eyrie was superb. The beer itself was the #squintingly good Executioner IPA from the lads at Beer Here in Denmark.
The only let down was that Untappd does not reward the user with a badge at 1500 uniques. The next badge for uniques is at the unimaginable number of 2500. For that you earn the ‘Elite’ moniker. What about some short term targets Mr Untappd? Maybe a ‘Pretty Special’ for 1500 and a ‘Very Well Done’ for 2000?
|Still, the view was superb and we rewarded ourselves with a further few cracking uniques. Namely an Extra Special Bitter (“right amount of bitter. Some caramel.”) from Moylans in northern California and a Milennium Falcon (“Lot of #squint. Chewy. Lots of fruit.”) by Holgate in Victoria.|
|The backoftheferry returned to our nation’s capitol recently to enjoy a few of our countries best craft beer venues. One a brewery. The other a bottlo. Both venues feature in earlier posts (here and here) but they are of such high quality a second write up cannot be avoided.
Both venues also happen to be in Fyshwick. Growing up in the 70s and 80s I always associated Fyshwick with graining, imported betamax pornography. I never actually owned or purchased any….but when my I overheard my parents talking and they mentioned Fyshwick, for whatever reason, innuendo and muted laughter followed.
|Zierholz Brewery is located in the backblocks but the beer is superb. Canberra was 100 this year and the first cab off the rank was the Birthday Beer IPA. Solid with a nice IPA ‘squint’. While consuming the IPA, and the Zierholz Amber that followed, I attempted to punch out the Pork Knuckle Special on the lunch board. As people who know me will attest, I can eat my bodyweight at lunch but the knuckle defeated me. The quality was unquestionable, the portion simply gigantic.|
|Next stop was Plonk. Located in Fyshwick Markets, Plonk is indescribable. I somehow moved my bloated thorax the 3 or 4 blocks to Plonk. The craft beer choice on offer was incredible. I had filled my basket with 10 cracking long necks and had moved on to pay when I realised all I had perused was the NZ range!|
|I also managed to visit some other sites in Canberra including the War Memorial. Always a good visit, worthy of mention is the relatively recent introduction of a closing ceremony where the record and experiences of one of Australia’s war dead are remembered. Pretty moving stuff.|
Whenever your correspondent visits Melbourne the first thing I do is check Crafty Pint. As always the recommended pubs are spot on so, after a hard day adding shareholder value at my day job, your correspondent found himself at The Gertrude Hotel in Fitzroy.
I have a pretty simple maxim when judging a pub. If, and this is a big if, I was single and sans kids, would said pub be suitable as my local on the corner? In the case of The Gertrude the answer is a resounding yes.
On the night that #hipstergeddon struck the counter culture hotbeds of North Fitzroy and Northcote I was at the bar at the Gertrude in the middle of ‘Dark Beer’ month and 16 rotating craft beer taps. The service could not be faulted and the lass behind the bar was enthusiastic and knowledgeable about all the beers.
In short the Gertrude is a brilliant, warm little pub definitely worth a visit if you’re into your craft beers. The take away selection is also top notch.
While surfing is priority 1, 2 and 3 it would be ludicrous not to fish.
All the Maldivian crew fish constantly mainly to supply lunch and dinner for the guests. With the addition on this surf trip of several keen fishermen amongst the surfers there is now a nightly fishing league.
Anchored in the calm waters of the atoll and well lubricated with Tigers the team compete for the biggest fish, longest fight and strangest species.
All the while being abused and cajoled from the members gallery.
Biggest fish so far: 10kg giant trevally
Life on board is all about routine.
All are up at dawn as we motor to break. 3 hrs in water for a surf. Long breakfast. Down time on the back deck- maybe a few Tigers. Lunch then a long arvo session followed by one of the days highlights-beers on the top deck for sunset.
This is the second botf trip to the Maldives. I was remiss last time and did not post.
Will attempt to this up to our readers.
botf is on a surfboat with 9 mates surfing the central atolls. Not very hard to take at all.
Beers available on boards are Tigers, Carlsberg, Heineken & Corona. So pretty macro but it’s only a first world problem.
Currently enjoying a Tiger between sessions at Riptides.
|I witnessed history last Sunday evening.
It has been many years since I have been to a One Day Cricket match (am I the canary in the mine in regards to the formats demise?). Yet I have witnessed many of the highpoints of One Day Cricket in Australia.
But I have also witnessed some of the ‘off field’ high points at One Day cricket matches that seemed to have ended once the SCG’s famed Hill was cemented over.
So in your correspondent’s opinion, since The Hill was cemented over and the fun police began popping all the beachballs, the days of the entertainment being largely on the paying side of the fence were over.
Then I went and saw Australia play Sri Lanka at the SCG last Sunday night.
Those who follow cricket will know it was declared a washout and therefore a ‘no result’. I could not care less about the result. In fact, if not for the rain, I would not have witnessed the worlds longest ever beer snake.
Consulting the source of all knowledge, “A beer snake, super snake, or cup snake is the stacking of numerous plastic beer cups to form a “snake.”a beer snake“.
The first such example was seen on January 3, 2001 at the SCG. A newspaper article in the Sydney Morning Herald cited Michael Gray as “The Snake Charmer” and architect of the social phenomenon.
|So not only was I witnessing a record. I was witnessing it at “the source”.
About 20 minutes after the players came off the field due to rain the crowd got restless. More experienced observers noted the start of several smaller “snakes” at disparate locations in front of the Victor Trumper Stand. Every 10 minutes or so, as each of these smaller “snakes” was married to another, the crowd would cheer. Slowly the larger “snake” emerged and we knew something special was afoot.
|Reports have the final, record-breaking snake at 175m. After about 60 minutes the snake in front of the Trumper Stand was 100m and seemed to be struggling to source fresh cups. As with any community enterprise, momentum was of maximum importance and the spirit of the crowd seemed to be flagging. Then the Brewongle Concourse came to the fore. Just in front of your correspondent another snake was growing. Supporters passed over their beer cups, 6 from myself included, and in a blink there was a 75m beer cup snake on the Brewongle Concourse.|
|The keepers of the snake then set off towards the Trumper Stand to merge it with its destiny. As the snake approached the barrier between the two stands a game breaker emerged. There was no way the fun police would let the snake exit the Brewongle and enter the Trumper. Or was there? After a few quick words between some security staff and the cops, the snake keepers were afforded an escort and the snake made its way from the Brewongle and into history.
The beer cup snake is no mean feat and is something to be proud off. However, the collusion of the security staff and police in the creation of the record is something to be lauded.
PS I have reviewed the slightly alcoholic cats piss they serve at Australian sporting venues elsewhere. Any focus on such serves only to cheapen the record achieved.
PPS It showed a distinct lack of digital nuance on my part to not consult twitter prior to writing this article and see that #beersnake had trended Australia-wide. I have to also publish some of the better tweets below;
and my personal favourite..
|You know all the ducks have lined up in your life when one of your favourite craft brewers opens a brewery just three blocks from your house. Even better if said brewer is kind enough to ask you along to help celebrate the opening with a few beers. And so it was that three of the boys from botf sauntered down to the new 4 Pines Brewing HQ last Saturday afternoon.
I am pretty sure myself and bladdamasta may have breached several of those unsaid brewery opening rules of etiquette by arriving with empty growlers in hand.
|Anyway, the weather was perfect for a brewery opening, bands were playing and the vibe was fantastic. First things first and we got a quick tour of all the new kit from Head Brewer, Andrew (@tweeds79).
I won’t tell you that I understood everything he explained, as he gesticulated excitedly at all the gleaming metal, but it was all pretty impressive and he is obviously very passionate about his profession and his product. He’s doing something right, I for one enjoy the output as if it’s the last beer I’ll ever have.
|By mid afternoon the crowd had swelled with hipster types from Manly and the who’s who of craft brewing. Mrs and Mr Beer Diva suddenly appeared at the bar, lobbing in from their upper peninsula eyrie.
While there were none of the famous 4 Pines Keller Door Series on tap, the 4 Pines stable tryptch of the Pale Ale, Kolsch and Hefeweizen were and these were more than adequate to ensure the fledgeling brewery was given the best of christenings.
|Come mid afternoon and there was a taint of formality as Mike Baird, the NSW Treasurer and State Member for Manly, opened the brewery by chewing through the hessian ribbon.
Now Mike seems like a decent bloke on the occasions I have seen or heard from him. For a politician. But jeez I wish I wish he’d do something about public transport on the peninsula. Being a brewery opening though I thought I’d park the ear bashing until another time (and less free 4 Pines).
|By 6pm the brewery was well and truly opened and Jaron was doing the rounds calling for last drinks.
It was then that I witnessed an Indiana Jones moment as the shutter of the brewery was brought down like a portcullis and the cry of ‘lock in’ was heard. But only for all those who could scuttle under the descending blade before it clanged on the cement. Alas, we were too slow. Also have too many kids. Otherwise we’d still be there now.
|4 Pines is one of the things we love about Manly. The 4 Pines venue at Manly has set the tone for other bars and restaurants, let alone other craft brewers. 4 Pines also embodies what is best about the more successful craft brewers in Australia. These make the beer and its brewing more accessible for your average Joe on the street, not just your aficianado. They are passionate and love sharing the process with you.
So good luck with the new brewery and many thanks for thinking of us. Looking forward to the Xmas Saison!