This BotF correspondent was lucky enough to be the recipient of a Prickly Moses Mixed Gift Pack in the recent inaugural Back of the Ferry Kris Kringle. That’ll mean a spike in Prickly Moses beer reviews, which isn’t a bad thing, because I haven’t had a dud yet. Prickly Moses beer is part of the Otway Estate “empire”. Kicked off as a grape grower in 1981, Otway Estate produces wine, beer, cider and cordial in what looks like an sublime setting. I’m pretty keen to do some day trips in Victoria this year, and at a little more than two hours from the Melbourne CBD – Otway Estate looks like an ideal place to visit.
I’d packed a stubby of Otway Stout with me to Rainbow Beach and it accompanied me on a kayaking trip to view the Double Island Point lighthouse and the 90% chance of seeing dolphins. Despite the 90% promise, I wasn’t confident. My tribe had been to Tin Can Bay a couple of days before to feed dolphins that turn up almost every day. For the preceding 363 days of 2011, dolphins had failed to turn up on only 3 days. We made it the 4th in 364 days. We’d blown 99 in 100 odds – 9 in 10 seemed too long. The kayaking itself was great fun, even if my 12 year co-paddler stroked to her own unique syncopated rhythm. Double Island Point is famous for its 500m wave if conditions are right and we paddled over some healthy swell. The guide was panicking and there was more than a little relief in his voice when a dolphin and her calf(?) bobbed up close to our fleet. Their visit was very short and I was unable to get a shot of the Otway Stout next to the dolphin, so you are stuck with the lighthouse instead.
I ended up losing that stubbie, so I had to wait until Sydney before I could get my hands on one. It was worth the wait. It actually would have gone down pretty well after the kayaking expedition, which is surprising for a stout. The label doesn’t lie when it says that the Otway Stout is a sessionable stout. It’s not too heavy, but it has all those lovely stout flavours I crave – roasted malts, cocoa and coffee. I’m two down in my six pack and the Otway Stout is the stand out so far (I’m also a sucker for a stout). I’ll be returning to this one for sure.
15kms drive south along the beach from from Rainbow Beach is one of Australia’s most phallic land forms – Double Island Point. Double Island Point is 4WD heaven and each day hordes gather to fish, swim, surf, climb sand dunes, bush walk, beach drive and just lay about.
It is where Tony from Toowoomba escapes each year for 3 weeks for the last 12 years. For the last 3 years, TfT has made the journey with family in tow from Beijing and a greater contrast you cannot find. When TfT hopped on the plane it was minus 10 in downtown Beijing and grey. There’s no pollution at Double Island Point and the weather’s been a balmy 29 degrees most days.
There’s nothing TfT loves to do more than set his family and friends up on the beach and then bait up, wade out into the 26 degree water and start fishing. He’s not bad at the caper either. He’s also a fine teacher and as separately reported, enabled this correspondent to catch his first fish – a mighty whiting.
Not surprisingly, given TfT brings enough gear to set a village, an risky features prominently and we slipped z couple of uniques into amongst the ubiquitous XXXX. First up was a Chrissy present – Bombardier. This a great drop, but probably drunk in the wrong surrounds. Made lovingly by Charles Wells Ltd (part of Wells & Young) it is rich, complex real ale best enjoyed from a glass with a plate of English cheddar. Definitely one to revisit. At 500ml, one can’t have too many of these in the hot sun.
No less complex, but far better suited to the conditions was 2 Metre Tall’s Cleansing Ale. Cooled to perfection by TfT’s esky, this bottle conditioned real ale had plenty going on. I gave it a couple of “Coopers Rolls” to loosen the yeast sediment and was intrigued. There was a real malty home brew kind of taste but in a very good way. The mouth feel was also very enjoyable with good bubble and malt action happening. A six pack next time for sure. The name of the brewer, The Two Metre Tall Company, comes the height of the brewer himself who describes himself as brewing on the lunatic fringe. That’s harsh. He’s fanatical about using ingredients he grows himself, but there’s nothing mad about this beer. A beauty.
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.