The Melbourne Cup, the US Election and Swell Golden Ale

It was Melbourne Cup yesterday. There was speculation in the office, whether we in NSW should have an official public holiday on Melbourne Cup Day like they do in Melbourne or continue to enjoy the unofficial half day off where the afternoon dissolves in myriad of booze, feathers, sweeps and sodden form guides. After yesterday, I’m convinced that NSW has got it right and the only way to enjoy Melbourne Cup is in the city with workmates. Unusually, I can remember getting home this year. In fact, I even returned to the office for an hour. (Yeah, UnAustralian). The stroll to the ferry was great fun, passing by pubs with pissed patrons grogging on for all they were worth. Women were still tottering around in heels, though many had given up and were just wandering the streets barefoot, but still with ridiculous millinery araldited to their heads. Win or lose, it’s a joyful afternoon and there’ll plenty of sore heads in Sydney town as the effect of too much cheap champagne kicks in.

This year’s Melbourne Cup was notoriously difficult to pick. In a 24 horse race with some horses racing for the first time in Australia, that’s understandable, but this year was more difficult that most. It was one of those days that you wanted to box the field in a trifecta but that costs $12,144. Well, this year that would have paid off with the trifecta in NSW returning $51,177. Needless to say, no-one at this correspondent’s table had it – otherwise we’d still be at the pub.

It doesn’t happen often but the day of the Melbourne Cup coincides with the US Presidential Election. Now because of time differences, voting hasn’t started by the time the Melbourne Cup has finished and as I type this post it isn’t even midday in California – bu November 6 is election day. Even though there are only two horses in the US election race – it’s as hard to pick as the Melbourne Cup. This afternoon could be spent like yesterday afternoon – stuck in front of a television screen. Interesting how the election is held on a Tuesday – they really don’t want people to vote in the US, do they?

The Swell Range

The ferry trip home yesterday was memorable partly because I remember it and partly because of the fantastic Swell Golden Ale I enjoyed. According to Beer Advocate’s Beer Style Guide (as definitive a resource as any), there is no such style as a Golden Ale – so I guess you can do what you like. In this instance, Swell has opted for a quaffer’s delight. This is as easy to drink as any beer, but has wonderful flavour. There’s a little bite, but I kept tasting honey, but in by no means a cloying way. It’s like a toned down pale ale, without being neutered. I love the 500ml and we can only hope that the Australian Wine Centre at Circular Quay can source the remainder of the range (a Wheat and an Amber).