One of the benefits of getting the ferry home from work, is that on each journey you get to admire one of Sydney’s icons. Whether you travel on it, under it or pass it, you can’t help but look in awe. The Sydney Harbour Bridge was opened 80 years ago on 19th March 1932. For many years, the Sydney Harbour Bridge was Sydney’s tallest structure. It’s the centre piece of Sydney Harbour – and in my opinion, is a more spectacular structure than the Opera House. Happy Birthday – Coathanger.
Stout was just about coming out of my ears by mid-week. 6 new stouts in 6 days. Hart’s Pub can always almost be guaranteed to have a new beer on its taps – and this week they had a couple I hadn’t see before including a hangover from their St.Paddy’s day festivities. I’m still to get out to Paddy’s Brewery at Homebush – but I’ve heard that they do great beers. I snaffled literally the last half pint of the extravagantly named Paddy’s Thunderhead American Stout. Wonderful appearance, but a confused taste – this was a stout with tang. It starts off “stouty” but then finishes spicy. Would like another to make sense of it all.
illiards and I popped into Murrays at Manly hoping to try one of the beers they’d brewed for a beer dinner they’d had the night before – but had to settle for yet another stout. St Peters Brewery is a “artisan brewer” who prides itself on being as environmentally friendly as possible. For example most of its deliveries are made by bike. That means you don’t often see St Peters beer beyond the glorious inner west of Sydney (though I brought some back a while ago on the BotF). Murray’s gives a couple of non-Murray’s beers a run and Killagh Stout is the second of the St.Peters line-up he’s had available. The Killagh was the least polished of all the stouts tried in the last few days. Good roasted malt flavours but the finish and mouthfeel was a little “home brewy”
Before this blog was started, I would pretty much try anything in a bottleshop fridge or from a tap rack, but if it was a choice between a hefeweizen and something else – I’d have gone the something else. That’s changed now, and on a hot day – I’d go for a hefeweizen more times than not. Whether it’s the effervescence, the cloudiness, the wild aromas or the wheaty flavour, I’m not sure – but I’m a convert. Sydney turned on a rare hot Friday and I was able to duck down to the beach for a quick dip. I took a bottle of Bootleg Brewery Hefe for the post dip libation. Bootleg Brewery is a self-proclaimed “Oasis of a beer in a desert of wine” in WA’s Margaret River region. They’ve been going since 1994 and have a solid line-up of beers including one called “Raging Bull” that is well named. Hefe is a good example of a hefeweizen. It is not as agressive as some, and the aromas aren’t as pronounced – but it is a great thirst quencher. All the more reason to get to the West soon.
BotF’s newest member – Bi-eh – has been enjoying his brief sojourn in Australia, and got into the BotF swing of things by purchasing two beers that have not yet made it to the BotF Beer List. That can be hard to do, but there are a couple of bottlos on the far north of the insular peninsula that always seem to have some new beer exotica available.
The first beer was the second in as many posts from Suffolk. BotF had barely heard of the place, and now two beers in a row. It’s the second beer in a month from a brewery called St Peters. Both have distinctive packaging, though the St Peters Australia favours functionality of bottles over the aesthetic qualities pursued by the St Peters England.
St Peters Brewery was founded in 1996, but has rapidly made a name for itself producing “traditional” beers in the English sense – milds, bitters etc. The Golden Ale we tried was very smooth, not really fizzy and well bittered. Nothing squinting about this one, just a really mellow beer. We didn’t do it justice having it out of styrofoam cups on Palm Beach – so a return tasting is required. Great t-shirts as well.
The second beer could not be a greater contrast. Erdinger Dunkel comes from the city of Erding. Erdinger Weissbrau claims to be the largest producer of wheat beer. This isn’t their flagship, but I’m pretty sure most Bavarian beer cafes would have this in a bottle or maybe even on tap. The Erdinger glass is particularly stylish and has probably ended up in the luggage of many a pissed tourist.
The beer itself pours a little cloudy, making me think it is unfiltered. It has a fair bit of bite, but despite its darkness alcohol strength (5.6%) and meatiness, it is eminently drinkable. You could sit on this all night, and probably feel pretty good in the morning.
Two BotF founders played cricket today in an almost one year anniversary of one of the hottest games of cricket ever played. That day the temperature was 42 degrees. Today was a far more benign 28ish, but it is still hard yakka. Fortunately the Aussies were on fire and we overtook the Poms score of 211 off 35 overs with about 6 overs to spare. Mick batted extremely well and took an LBW dismissal. Fortunately, there was plenty of amber fluid to be had to celebrate – though the Fat Yak went extremely quickly. The James Boags Premium Lager is fine at first drop.
Amazingly, James Boags Premium Lager has not been reviewed on these pages. This beer has been a massive success story since its launch in 1994. Finally Crown Lager had a competitor at boardroom functions. Beer label hyperbole claims this beer to be Tasmanias finest. That may have been right when first launched, but there has been so many new beers come out of Tassie it is a very difficult call. Certainly it has won its fair share of award. I personally love it and at the end of day of slaying Poms it does the job as well as any.
BotF also gave the Cinnamon Girl Spiced Ale a second go – this time out of a glass. First thing to note is the muddy appearance. You can almost see the cinnamon suspended in the liquid. This is a sipper not a sculler. It’s not for everyone, but it is worth a try. If I’m in the glorious inner-west again, I’d pick up another one.
Apart from “1001 beers to try before you die”, BotF has in his collection the “Australian Beer Companion”, which has extensive articles on Australian breweries. With so much activity happening in the Australian brewing and beer market – it is already out of date. One of the smallest breweries featured is St Peters Brewery, and as I was coming back to Sydney via the Princes Highway, I thought I’d drop in and pick some oddities for the ferry trip home.
St Peters Brewery is at the opposite end of the size spectrum from a Tooheys, without being a homebrewer, as you can get. The brewery is literally in 15 May Street St Peters. BotF stuck his head in, but alas there are no sales at the brewery door. The brewer was there, and he directed me to a nearby pub that stocks long necks. No flashy website for this brewery – he’s just happy keeping it local.
BotF was then looking forward to trying a couple of new brews on a spectacular Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, an overly vigilant security guard decided to also enjoy the sunny deck, which delayed the opening of the uniquely slender 640ml long necks. To be honest, we were a little wary of the Cinnamon Girl Spiced Ale so we commenced proceedings with the Green Star Lager. I’ll let Mick comment separately. I was happy with the Green Star, without being ecstatic. There was good bitterness, but there was something a little lumpy about the after-taste – not smooth. That said, things improved the longer I drank and I would have lapped up a second Green Star.
Instead, I moved on to the Cinnamon Girl Spiced Ale. It would be fair to say that this beer is unique. The spate of white beers with coriander and orange demonstrates that the Reinheitsgebot purity law has gone out the window. I just can’t recall the singular application of one spice like it has been used here. I’m going to give this another go before I pass final judgement. The late commencement to proceedings meant that the tasting was rushed.