Craft beers are difficult to locate in the thriving metropolis of Gympie but nonetheless a growing franchise called the Thirsty Camel received one carton of the Vale Ale IPA this week.
Beijing Bachelors are colloquially referred to during the northern hemisphere summer holidays as a consequence of their spouses and siblings escaping the Metropolis for home or more serene landscapes. Typically this period see’s “BB’s” frequent local watering holes (more often than normal) in search marginally better conversion than the adopted new Labrador at home who only responds to questions in Zhong Wen.
The curiously named Swan with Two Necks has featured previously on BotF during Bladdamasters recent sojourn and is slowly becoming this North Asian correspondents replacement for the much loved Pomegranate although I still lament it’s sudden and heart wrenching demise.
De Konick was a very welcome Belgium surprise at the Swan with Two Beaks. Given this is a live post unfortunately further research doesn’t accompany the dialogue. However this is indeed a nice Kilkenny styled darker brew with subtle hints of liquorish and mint. One is left a little wanting with the size of the Stubbie at 330 mls but it has a medium slug at 5.6%.
Unfortunately the bar men refused hold the Stubbie to Zhao Zhao Pian for professional code of conduct reasons.
Jenny Wang’s continues to remain BotF’s North Asia correspondent’s best source of new and untried beers. Jenny’s as it is affectionately know with the locals is not only a great source of beer but is also a great place to shop and reminds me a lot of the local supermarkets in Australia in the 70′s & 80′s where there was always lots of help to bring those heavy Grocery bag’s to the car.
Mr. Shen (another alias) is one of those guys who you just love in an instant. He is a long term employee of Jenny’s and you always get a big loud “Ni Hao” and grin whever you see him. He falls overhimself to help you and won’t accept any prostestations. I explained BotF to Mr. Shen and he told me he had already heard of the site and the passionate beer pursuits of its members. When I asked if he would mind me taking a photo with a yet to be sampled beer and he almost couldn’t contain himself.
Weininger’s Hefe Weißbier is an old bavarian white beer made with the finest natural yeast and has the spicy taste of bananas and peaches. Those flavours do indeed come through although I had difficulty sensing the banana. Mr. Shen recomends it but only gives it two fingers out of a total three (which is the highest rating); I thought he was a bit harsh but nonetheless you have respect his opinion.
Mutianyu has graced the pages of BotF on at least one other occasion. It is simply a great escape from the metropolis and just perfect for a casual Sunday lunch at The Schoolhouse that also has a wonderful glass blowing exhibition.
This north Asia correspondent actually took the wrong exit that enabled a bit of further exploring of the surrounding locality. On the edge of quite large and well know city of Hairou still within the municipality of Beijing we happened across what appeared to be a special development zone complete with new office buildings, apartments, shopping centres, a new highway in other words another fine example of China growth or dare I say possible excess-capacity. I attempted to Google “Light and Shadow Town of Fame in China” but surprisingly found not a single search result. I guess they haven’t started promotional initiatives as yet.
The short sojourn to Mutianyu is via narrow country roads that are littered with small stalls selling stone fruits and mellons from the surrounding locality. The people have a happiness about them that is rare to find in the big cities of China. On our way back we stopped and bought some fruit. My Mandarin is now at a level that I could explain to the local fruit stall business owner the concept of BotF as a growing Global NGO, the progressive attempts of its members to review the beers of world and all that encapsulates what it is to love and be loved about BotF. Actually that is crap (about my Mandarin) – he was totally confused and the young BotF’s kept reminding me how bad my accent is. Having said that Mr. Zhao (his alias) was happy to assist in a photographic escapade but only after I had paid for the fruit.
Old Bobby Ale is another Jenny Wang’s newby and I was surprised to learn is owned by the large Russian Brewer Baltika based in St Petersburg. Baltika describe Old Bobby a special beer brewed fermentation method with the use of English malt, Pale Ale Malt. It is dried at high temperatures and has a slightly roasted malt aroma, ideal for light ales. Horse’s yeast, used traditionally in the production of British ales, fruit beers imparts essential tones. To be honest it was a little too fruity for me but nonetheless was good to wet the whistle with after the day’s escapades.
BotF’s north Asia correspondent is in the process of experiencing a third summer in Beijing and never ceases to be amazed by the temperatures ranges experienced here throughout the year. North China quite literally has a variation of no less than about 55-60 degrees celsius; from -15’s in the depths of winter to +40’s in the peak of summer. Last weekend we experienced the upper end of the range with temperatures pushing mid 40’s. Köppen climate classification officially categorizes Beijing as being located in a “humid continental climate” zone or a region typified by large temperature differences with warm to hot (and often humid) summers and cold (sometimes severely cold) winters. Summers are great for sampling cold to very cold beers and winters are good for sampling … slightly less cold to very cold beers. Anyway enough about the climate and onto more important matters.
The curiously named Ahornberger brewery is located in central western Germany approx. 20 kilometers west of the Czech Republic in the tiny village Ahornberg. The sampled offing was Feines Ahornberger Landbier Marzen chilled to slightly before freezing. The “Marzen” sampled is a pale lager but its origins are in Bavaria and which according to the Bavarian Beer ordinance decreed in 1539 could only be brewed between 29th September and the 23rd April. Originally it was described as a dark brown full-bodied beer. However it could be described as being at the opposite end of the beer complex now that the Germans have hold of it and is a very flavorsome pale ale. They appear to be working hard to capture some of the China market and the entire back label is in Chinese characters but it is not bottled here. So do yourself a favour and keep an eye out for Ahornberger but please ensure to get the pronunciation right before asking for one.
Brewing giant Lion is set to take full control of Fremantle-based boutique brewer, Little World Beverages.
The company is the owner of the Little Creatures brand which is famous for its brewery and restaurant in Fremantle.
As Bladdamaster can attest one of the truly great things about living in Zhongguo is the wonderful selection of International beers that are of offer. A visit to Jenny Wang’s almost always will reveal a previously un-sampled morsel. On the afternoon that I bought this beer I was in a bit of rush and quickly picked what looked like another Belgian brew and headed for home. Later that evening in a more relaxed atmosphere I took my fist sip and was taken aback by the fruity explosion that tasted much more like a cider than a beer. I looked at the label again and despite my Dutch not being as good as my Portuguese (which is non-existent) I was able to clearly make out the words “beer” but further research was needed. The and despite the difficulties of YouTube access in China I was fascinated to find a Rolf Harris lookalike with a very scientific but fascinating documentary on the beer brewing process from what looks like to be the mid 70’s. Anyway back to the beer itself Pecheresse is certainly a different style of beer and probably not typical of what’s expected from a Belgian brewer; having said that though it has a refreshingly different taste.
Bladdamaster is without question or compromise the most ubiquitous contributor to BoTF but so little is known about the big “BM” and what he gets up to in his down time.
Here he is at Double Island Point one of the premier locations on the Queensland Coast with an elbow slapper.
At first glance those inexperienced eyes on dry land thought the big “BM” had caught a Lion Fish somewhat a rarity off the beach. But pensive anticipation gradually subsided as he approached the throng of BoTF fans despite the catch being a respectable Summer Whiting with an excessive quantity of weed.
Bladdamaster reviewed Knappstein Lager in a post back in mid 2010 but the beer porn opportunity was just too good to miss and this was the only sample in the Fridge.
Notwithstanding Knappstein Lager is a sensational compliment to Mud Crab which have been few and far between after the Queensland floods earlier this year with prices around about $60 per kg. This BoTF correspondent has had a strike of luck this week and has managed a catch half a dozen decent size Muddies sufficient for a lunch time feast for the family. There are lots of immature Bucks around which is a good sign that things are returning to normal in the Estuary.