Saturday, 28 March 2020

BEER O'CLOCK PODCAST - EPISODE 14

Episode 14 - Show Notes 

What a difference a month makes! We recorded this episode in late February when the novel coronavirus COVID-19 was just starting to enter the consciousness. It's amazing how much our world has changed... In any case, I hope all of you out there are looking after yourselves & isolating appropriately.

If this is your first time listening to a Beer O'Clock Australia podcast, welcome! We change the segments up a little each month, however most months we'll discuss some of the latest news from the beer world, we'll talk about some beers that we've been enjoying over the last month & we'll crack something interesting from my cellar.
This month we reverted to form. We covered the news (pre COVID-19), we discussed a couple of cracking new Victorian beer releases as well as our impending trip to the Gold Coast (which will be covered on the next episode). We added 3 more beers to our ranking of lagers, it's quite long this month after some debates were entered, as well as our Desert Island 6-pack reappearing in the form of beers released in 2019. As usual we finish of with a bottle from my cellar. Hope you enjoy the episode!


 Show Notes

News Items
  • Stomping Ground Airport Opens
  • Hard Seltzer Festival
  • Melbourne Uni's Electronic Nose for Beer 
    • We coudln't find the link! Apologies for those looking for it!
  • Killer Sprocket Opening in Bayswater
  • Wolf of the Willows Opening in Mordialloc
  • Ratebeer Awards
What We're Drinking (14:34)
  • We're off to the Gold Coast!
  • Deeds Kapurkova
  • Hawkers Late to the Party
Ranking of Lagers (20:20)
  • This week we had to slot in Steinlager (New Zealand), Skopsko (North Macedonia) & Karlovacko (Croatia)
  • The New Rankings are as follows:
    1. Pilsner Urquell (Czech Republic)
    2. Tennent's (Scotland)
    3. Carlsberg (Denmark)
    4. Quilmes (Argentina)
    5. Kingfisher (India)
    6. Gullmack (Norway)
    7. Sapporo (Japan)
    8. Birra Moretti (Italy)
    9. Corona (Mexico)
    10. Steinlager (New Zealand)
    11. Heineken (Netherlands)
    12. San Miguel (Philippines)
    13. Cantina (El Salvador)
    14. Tusker (Kenya)
    15. Skopsko (North Macedonia)
    16. Tiger (Singapore)
    17. Karlovacko (Croatia)
    18. Singha (Thailand)
    19. Red Stripe (Jamaica)
    20. Vonu (Fiji)
    21. Cusquena (Peru)
Desert Island 6-pack (46:18)
  • Best of 2019!
  • The cross overs this month were:
    •  Mr Banks The Drop #1, Quiet Deeds Survivor Type, 
  • Dylan's X individuals;
      • Cloudwater X White Hag Cairde Gan Teorainneacha, The Winston Black Rye IPA, Collective Arts Blackberry, Cherry, Lemon & Vanilla Sour, Black Arts Golden Ale with Mandarin 
  • Noz's X individuals;
      • Other Half X Monkish The La La, Blackman's Same Day IPA Super Hop, Lanikai Haleakala, Hawkers X Carwyn The Forgotten Casks
  • Honourable Mentions
    • Black Arts Biere de Coupage, Boatrocker DDH IPA, Mr Banks Once Upon a Time in Armadale, Mr Banks X Range Keep the Change, Quiet Deeds Slenderman, Littlebrew Raspberry Lambic, Alvarado Street So Delightful, Molly Rose Tretti Tre, Cheeky Pint Blueberry Raspberry Stout
Noz's Cellar (1:09:25)
  • Victory V12
    • Belgian Quadrupel
    • 12% ABV
    • Cellared for Ages (?5-7 Years)
    • Thumbs Up
There we have it guys, a little longer than we would normally like, but in these strange times it's probably not the worst thing to have a little more content than usual. Our podcast can now be found on Spotify, so if that's your preferred platform you're now able to switch over to that. As usual you can contact me at gus.norris7@gmail.com if you have any questions, thoughts or simply want to chat. Stay safe everyone & ....

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

Thursday, 26 March 2020

WILD LIFE BREWING CO

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Gypsy
  • Region: Central Victoria
  • Tasting Room: 172 Maude Street, Shepparton
  • Food: No
  • Brewed At: Hawkers
  • Price: Average
  • Websitehttps://www.wildlifebrewing.co/
Wild Life Brewing Co was an idea cooked up by three
mates from Shepparton, in Central Victoria. Rhys Porter joins the Thomson brothers, Jack & James trying to build a brand around core country values. They were brought together by their combined love of the outdoors & the love of their hometown.

Their beers are designed with this in mind. They're aware that their home market is dominated by the big players in the industry. They aren't coming out swinging with big Imperial IPA's or with sours, but with beers that they hope will not be too foreign to the locals. Their beers are also designed to be drunk the way country folk drink (ie. in bulk & for any occassion).

For the time being the trio are a contract operation with their beer being brewed at Hawkers, through a relationship with a fellow Sheppartonian (probably not what they're called, but we're going with it!) being a brewer there. They have hopes to have their own site early in 2021 (although COVID-19 may have something to say about that timeline) & begin brewing closer to their beloved Shepp.

That doesn't mean that Wild Life don't have a presence in Shepparton. They've got a small retail shop on Maude St, one of the main streets in Shepparton, It's not a bar, although you certainly can pull up a pew and have a beer, it's more of branding exercise. Introducing the people of Shepparton to three passionate locals, making beer for them.

Their first, & until very recently only, beer is the Aussie Session Ale. Ostensibly it's an XPA with a good whack of citrus hops. The malt body is more solid than I was expecting with a fair bit of biscuit. It's more challenging than I was expecting, however it drinks easily & I wouldn't be surprised if it converts a few Shepp drinkers to craft beer!

This is one I'd highly recommend checking out their website - I really haven't done justice to the vision these guys have for what they want to do. I think we'll be seeing these guys around the scene for a long time, they're seriously passionate & I wish them good luck!

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

Tuesday, 24 March 2020

FORREST BREWING COMPANY

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Bellarine Peninsula
  • Tasting Room: 26 Grant Street, Forrest
  • Food: Gourmet Pub
  • Price: Average
  • Websitehttps://forrestbrewing.com.au/
Forrest Brewing Company was founded in 2010 in the ex-timber town of the same name in the Otway Ranges. The timber industry has been a fading industry in Victoria, & particularly in the Otway's, since the 1960's. The town knew they had to do something to replace the timber industry, a feeling that was exacerbated by the closure of Forrest's last mill in 2003. The town's population fell to 170 from a peak of ~500 at the height of the timber industry.

The town set about attracting tourism dollars. They have invested in world class mountain bike trails, through the native forests that they used to log. The town needed some amenities for the tourists that were beginning to visit the town. In 2009 in stepped brother & sister team, Matt & Sharon Bradshaw. The duo purchased the towns old General Store that had fallen into disrepair and set about turning it into something...

When they bought the property they had no idea what they were going to do with it. They were simply backing that Forrest was a lovely place & that if they applied The Field of Dreams philosophy, it would work. After realizing that all the visitors were riding around of mountain bikes and might be thirsty they set about starting a brewery with the help of a federal government tourism grant.

The resulting venue is wonderful. It's now a bright blue, wooden building with plenty of outdoor seating for those mountain bikers finishing up their rides, or for those just keen to soak up the country air. Inside there are fridges filled with their offerings to take away, which have been in 500ml bottles longer than I recall any other beer being, as well as a window through to the brewery - a second hand 600L kit out of the 3 Degrees Bar & Bistro in QV.

At Forrest the menu changes regularly & tries to source as much of their produce locally as they can. The late breakfast I had on my visit there was superb & paired really well with their malty range of beers. On the day we visited they had 8 beers on tap with a mix of core & seasonal offerings.

I enjoyed their midstrength when I visited, because I was driving & had to visit a couple of other breweries that day. The thing that sets it apart from other mids is that it's an Irish Red Ale. It's certainly not the "reddest" you'll find, but it has good malt characters & pleasant balancing earthy hops at the backend.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

Monday, 23 March 2020

COVID-19 OUTBREAK - SUPPORT LOCAL


This certainly isn't a post I ever thought I'd write on Beer O'Clock Australia. It's far heavier than the now seemingly insignificant topic that this blog generally covers.

The COVID-19 outbreak has changed the world forever. The majority of us have already been, or will imminently be, confined to our homes for the foreseeable future whilst we contain the frighteningly rapid spread of this virus. Outbreaks of deadly viruses are dotted throughout human history; COVID-19 will certainly not be the worst nor will it be the last. The difference between this outbreak & previous outbreaks is that we have the knowledge, technology & ability to limit the damage this outbreak wreaks on human lives. The fact that a small proportion of our population are flouting government recommendations is incredibly frustrating & disappointing.

The majority of the population have got the message, however there are still too many of us not doing our best to protect fellow human lives. As many of you know I work in Pathology an industry that is directly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. I'm a bit fed up with those who aren't doing the right thing; if you don't work in essential services stay inside, stop abusing my staff for doing their job & get out of the way of those of us trying to limit the impact this virus is having on the community (whilst in no way trying to big note what I do - it's just my daily reality currently).

Over the past week I've received a few emails about The Year of Local posts, which have slowed for life & now subsequently work reasons. At the same time I've been thinking about the financial impact that our small brewers will be experiencing over the coming days, weeks & months. We are going to see more closures of small brewers, Malt Shed has already gone, make no mistakes about it. To get through, our brewers are going to need our support. This is a time to think about where your dollars go. Please support independent at this time. Dan Murphy's & CUB will survive without your dollars, the local bottle shop around the corner that supports dozens of local breweries may not.

So where am I going with this? Basically I've realised that now is as important a time as any to highlight local business that others may not be aware of. It's given me a renewed vigour to push on with The Year of Local project & hopefully complete it by the end of the year - it's a massive task but one that I've realized matters to people. If I can influence 1 person to buy some beer from a struggling producer in these times then it's worth my time.

These are challenging times guys. Please look after your health, both mental & physical. Resist the temptation to crack Imperial Stouts at lunchtime. Don't be afraid to sing out & ask for help if you need it; the beer community is a wonderful place & times like this bring out the best in this industry. Wash your hands, calm down, be kind to people & support local businesses wherever you can! We will all still be here after this outbreak if we take these measure now; you want your local brewery to be there too!

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

Thursday, 5 March 2020

BEER O'CLOCK PODCAST - EPISODE 13

Episode 13 - Show Notes 

G'day all! We'd hoped to get this episode up far sooner than this! After recording only a couple of days after the Hottest 100 results came out, we had a slightly frustrating further month of technical difficulties coupled with life getting in the way. This led to this episode being a touch later than we would have liked, however Dylan has done a great job making it sound listenable!

If this is your first time listening to a Beer O'Clock Australia podcast, welcome! We change the segments up a little each month, however most months we'll discuss some of the latest news from the beer world, we'll talk about some beers that we've been enjoying over the last month & we'll crack something interesting from my cellar.

This month we've done something completely different, with the whole episode centred around the Hottest 100 Craft Beers. Both of us have strong views on the Australian beer popularity contest run every year in line with the Triple J Hottest 100 (Songs). It's a poll that divides the craft beer community every year, so we'd love to hear your opinions if they differ from ours or even if they don't (who doesn't love an echo chamber!).


 Show Notes

If you're listening to this somewhere with access to a screen, I'd highly recommend having some of these links open:

Hottest 100: https://www.gabsfestival.com/h100-2019-aus-main-list
100-200: https://www.gabsfestival.com/h100-2019-aus-next-list
Indie List: https://www.gabsfestival.com/h100-2019-aus-indie-list
2019 Beers: https://www.gabsfestival.com/h100-2019-aus-new-list

Our Predictions (1:40)

100-91 (8:05)

90-81 (10:50)

80-71 (14:40)

70-61 (17:28)

60-51 (20:48)

50-41 (23:33)

40-31 (27:16)

30-21 (30:38)

20-11 (33:38)

Top 10 (36:34)

Overall Thoughts/Trends (47:45)
There we have it guys, hopefully you enjoyed our analysis of the Hottest 100 beers of 2019. As discussed in the podcast it's a poll that gets unfairly derided from certain sections of the craft beer community. I think it has plenty of merit, as it provides a good snapshot of what people outside the tiny inner bubble are enjoying.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

FALL & RISE BREWING

2019: The Year of Local


STATS
  • Brewery Type: Gypsy
  • Region: Inner Suburbs
  • Tasting Room: No
  • Brewed At: Cockies
  • Price: Average
  • Websitehttp://www.fallandrisebrewing.com.au/
Petros Gygtopoulos & Yiannis Psimoulis are two young Greek guys, who recently emigrated to Australia & launched a brewing company. The duo met in Greece where Yiannis worked as a pro-brewer & Petros was a chemical engineer who dabbled in homebrewing. Both wanted to come & join the large Greek community in Melbourne, which is when the idea of starting their own brewing operation crystalized.

And so Fall & Rise Brewing was born, as a contract operation in late-2019 under the name Fallen Angel Brewing. Within months, I think it only lasted one batch, the name had changed and the bottles they launched with had been replaced with cans. The name of the brewing company comes from the mythology of their homeland.

“Once upon a time, Gods and Angels of Mount Olympus had only one goal; to rule over humans using their secret brew recipes. Though one of their angels was stepping in the way! Brewing with non-traditional brewing techniques he was a liability for the Gods! The Gods had no choice but to exile him. The Fallen Angel arrived furious onto earth and started sharing his unique recipes with humans! His only goal was to Rise once again!”

Their first beer is called The Rise, & it's a Hoppy Kolsch which is quite an interesting beer style to launch with. However upon my first sip I was sold. Kolsch tick, hoppy tick. It's actually quite bitter. There's a real whack of hops which give off floral aromas alongside tropical fruits. Really interesting beer - I'll be keeping an eye on these guys into the future.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!





Friday, 7 February 2020

CARWYN CANVENT 2019 (PART 5)

Carwyn Canvent (Part 5)



Carwyn Cellars is a name that every Australian Craft Beer lover should know. It's the preeminent bottle shops in the country. For their advent calendar, they've partnered with 24 Australian Craft Breweries to make an exclusive canned release for their "Canvent Calendar".

After the success of last year there was only ever going to be one Advent Calendar I'd buy this year! Once again this year I'll be cataloging the contents of the Carwyn Canvent Advent Calendar. The Carwyn Canvent Calendar is going to get the full treatment - and with any luck you'll have updates every 5 days. In the interim, let me know what Advent Calendar you've got this year and your initial thoughts on it so far.

Day 21 - Modus Operandi Margie - I was pretty surprised to see the Modus Operandi offering was a sour. I guess it's good that they're branching out and trying new things, however I would've expected they would produce something more hop forward. Anyway a Lime Gose sounds like the perfect beer to crack after a hot summer's day.

My tasting notes for this weren't particularly good... However I do strongly recall there being plenty of salt, plenty of lime & some nice acidity. I don't particularly remember the day, although I guessing it was cooler as my tasting notes mostly reference how refreshing it would've been in the day befores heat...

Day 22 - New England Imperial Chai Brown Ale - At the complete opposite end of the spectrum for beers I'd like to drink on a hot December's night was the offering from New England Brewing Co, from Uralla in Central NSW. I'm normally not one to complain about seeing a Brown Ale, but an almost 8% adjuncted version isn't normally what I'm after in December...

Thankfully, the beer was really good! There was plenty of sweet malts, which blended quite nicely with the chai. Chai is one of those things I find can very easily be overpowering, although I think they got the level right in this beer. I know some people were disappointed to find out that this beer had previously been released in 2018, which isn't really the point of the Canvent.

Day 23 - Otherside Tropical Imperial Sour - Otherside are making some really cool stuff at the moment, so I was really pleased to see one of their distinctive cans come out of the Canvent box on Day 23. Their offering is billed as a Tropical Imperial Sour. Honestly I'm not sure where I sit on Imperial Sours, often I don't think the additional alcohol is doing anything for the flavour of the beer.

I really enjoyed the flavour of this beer. There was heaps of tropical fruit juice flavours, not dissimilar to a breakfast juice, which was then paired with some acidity. The carbonation was spritzy and at sub 4% ABV I would drink many of these. Unfortunately it clocks in at almost 7% & I don't understand what the additional ABV is doing to improve the beer.

Day 24 - Boatrocker B.A. Humbug - This years Canvent had been relatively light on for Christmas related puns. Boatrocker have delivered a beauty with their Barrel Aged English Strong Ale; B.A. Humbug. Boatrocker are one of the best exponents of barrel aged beers in the country so I went in with high expectations!

I'm sad to say those expectations weren't met; although that's probably because I expect so much from Boatrocker. The beer was nice, just a little unbalanced. I thought it was overspiced. particularly with cinnamon & all spice, whilst it was also a little hot. In more positive thoughts, I liked the earthy malt based as well as the vanilla you get from whiskey barrel aging. I wonder if this would be better with some further age on it...

It's only taken until early-February, but my Canvent wrap up that I aim to have up around Christmas is finally done & dusted. Overall I think this years Canvent was a little bit down on the very high standard they set last year. At this stage I think I would probably get another one next year, although the door is slightly ajar in case something truly truly exceptional comes along.

Remember it's always Beer O'Clock somewhere in the world!