Melbourne is the Australian city that claims title to “Four Seasons in One Day”. Sydney’s being giving that a run lately. After a picturesque Saturday, where the sun was shining, the water was beckoning and you could even get a touch of sun burn, the last two days of the long weekend have you searching in the garage for some ark building material. This correspondent got down to Manly Beach on Sunday to have a squiz at the Snowy McAlister Longboarding tournament and was confronted with a cylinder of dark grey cloud backed by a darker grey curtain that screamed storm. After watching a couple of well caught waves,we sought refuge at Maurray’s.
The weather became suitable only for ducks. With great prescience, one of Murray’s guest taps was being occupied by a small NSW brewer – Black Duck Brewery. Currently, Black Duck Brewery is located in the small village of Herons Creek, which is about 5 clicks north of Kew on the Pacific Highway. Baz Luhrmann spent formative years here. It is soon (September)to be moving to the big smoke of Port Macquarie where they’ll do the whole cellar door, tasting, food matching thing. Excellent – another spot on the drive north from Sydney to the Goldie. They’ve got 5 beers on offer and the latest is their spin on an India Pale Ale – Indian Runner. Indian Runner is a type of duck and according to Wikipedia – is the type upon which the duck in the movie Babe is based. There’s an amusing excuse on Black Duck’s website for the high alcohol content, which is to ensure the beer survives the long trip from Herons Creek to wherever. It’s a fine beer – cloudy amber in appearance and richer than most IPAs, whilst still being sharp. The 6% is noticeable and it did the trick as the cold weather set in on Murray’s deck. A brewer to keep an eye out for.
Today, I snuck into 4 Pines to see if any of their EuroTrash Keller Door series was still on. There were 4 varieties, as per the sign and luckily the best of the four was still on. The Belgian Strong Ale is a whopping 7.9% and correspondingly big – but not spiritously so. Another rich beer with more malt than hops. It’s been a great month for 4 Pines and it is hard to believe that they’ll only be turning 4 soon. They won best stout at the AIBA awards recently, which is a remarkable achievement.