Battle of the beers before Bledisloe battle

For the second time in two weeks, this BotF correspondent received the late call up to a sporting event at Homebush. I was torn because the prospect of watching the favoured Swans with no queues for beers and a quick trip home was more compelling than the long drive to Homebush to watch a Wallabies team underwhelm, whilst queuing for watered down beers and a dismal trip home. In the end, the opportunity to drink and eat a consultants entertainment budget, and the promise that I would not have to queue or drive won out.

In what has become a tradition (ie it has happened more than once), BotF snaffled a couple of unique beers from the Cantina to try. Two of Britain’s finest were up for tasting.

The first beer to try was Courage Directors. This was a 4.8 strength Ale that is now brewed by Wells and Young brewery whilst keeping the Courage Brands. Whilst founded in 1787, there is no hard existence of Courage in the UK except for the branding. This particular beer is a fine legacy. Apparently brewed for the directors of the brewery, it is supposedly a cut above – and I think it is. A great copper colour gives way to an excellent hoppy full flavoured taste. Charlie and I agreed it would be difficult to top.

We turned our attention to the Bateman’s Victory Ale. This is a 6% bevvy brewed to commemorate the 200th anniversary of Nelson’s win at the Battle of Trafalgar (any excuse for a brewer). Now, Batemans is a brewer and pub owner founded in 1874. It is well regarded for its beer, and this looked promising with a very cloudy appearance with a very fruity aroma. The first mouthful was quite overwhelming. Very complex and plenty going on. In fact, there was too much going on and it was quite possible we’d found a beer that was a little too rich. We were kind of happy we only had one on board, because it was pretty tough going. Maybe being cramped up in golf convertible weren’t the ideal drinking conditions, but for mine, the clear winner was the Courage Directors.

We got the game and enjoyed a pretty good game of rugby. The Wallabies should have led by 1000’s as they strung the All Blacks out on numerous occasions. As points went begging and penalty goals were missed a nagging sense of inevitability grew – even being up 22 – 9 with 20 minutes to go. So it proved, as the All Blacks scored two converted tries to come home with the wet sail. The usual crap about getting closer, we’ll work harder blah, blah, blah was trotted out – but there’s too many blokes in this team that are losers – in a mentality sense. Beale for me was a revelaion at full-back but still hasn’t got his choices one hundred per-cent correct yet. Hopefully he hasn’t been mentally scarred. Back-row is complete with McCalman. Giteau must simply go – now.

Post-game we snuck in to the Royal Hotel at Leichhardt to watch the second half of Everton v Man U and enjoyed a 4 goal feast. Tough to watch though when a Karaoke contest is on in the background. Loved Cahill’s elbow on Vidic and the Man U collapse was magic to watch.