Wednesday, 13 May 2020

OLD SLANG BREWING

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Gypsy
  • Region: Central Victoria
  • Brewed At: Brookes
  • Tasting Room: N/A
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
  • Websitehttps://oldslangbrewing.com.au/
Old Slang Brewing launched their first, and to date only beer, in October 2019. It's a contract operation started by former Footscray native Sam Wills after he & his family moved to the Central Victorian town of Chewton, just outside Castlemaine. For years Sam has been the paediatric physio at Western Health & has become widely known in the medical community for his work with Ehler's Danlos Syndrome.

He'd been a passionate homebrewer for about 8 years, a member of the prominent Melbourne homebrew club Westgate Brewers, before a signifcant life change made him re-evaluate what he wanted from life & made him take the plunge. Sam was diagnosed with MS in 2018. The idea to launch Old Slang came with a desire for Sam to travel less for work, despite moving to Chewton he still works part-time at Sunshine Hospital - about a 3 hour round trip.

The brand's name represents its ethos. They're hoping to utilize the great Aussie slang that is being less & less widely used & attach it to a product most people understand; beer. They aim to brew beers that everyone can enjoy, whilst still having a bit of fun with it & hopefully introducing more people to some wonderfully descriptive imagery.

The first batch was brewed at Brookes Beer in the closest city, Bendigo. If things all go to plan & Old Slang takes off, Sam hopes to one day have a brewpub-like taproom in the nearby town of Castlemaine & provide for competition for local brewer Shedshaker - hopefully driving both on to bigger & better things!

The only beer I'm able to review is their Fresh As A Daisy Pale Ale. It's a classic American Pale Ale, almost a peak back in time 10 years. It's got this slightly sweet biscuity malt, with punchy hops providing orange & tropical notes. I'd be staggered to find out that Sierre Nevada wasn't the inspiration for this beer! I'm looking forward to seeing what's next for Old Slang.

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

Sunday, 10 May 2020

CROWES NEST BREWERY

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Gypsy
  • Region: Otway Ranges
  • Tasting Room: 57 Great Ocean Road, Lavers Hill
  • Food: Gourmet Pub
  • Brewed At: Prickly Moses & Cavalier
  • Price: Average
  • Websitehttp://www.crowesnest.com.au/
Part of the beauty of doing this project is finding out about new breweries. Crowes Nest is a brewery that I stumbled across at the Queenscliff Brewhouse having never even heard of before! This lead to a lot of research, as we nursed mild hangovers (& chilli halucinations) from the previous days Geelong brewery/hot wing eating.

The story of Crowes Nest Brewery began when the Costin family purchased the struggling Lavers Hill Tavern in 2009. They announced plans to reinvigorate the Tavern including it's pub & accomodation areas and in that process add their own brewery. In mid-2014 brothers Andrew & Mitch launched their brand with beers brewed at both Cavalier & Prickly Moses. They planned to continue contract brewing until they were able to build their own brewery at Lavers Hill.

I haven't been able to confirm whether they've done that yet! They have very little social media presence & haven't been responding to my emails. Their website is also down, so there is a chance that those plans have been shelved permanently. I'll add Lavers Hill to the list of places to visit when quarantine is over & pubs are able to open again!

I really hope they haven't closed as their Czech Pilsner I had was quite interesting. It's called Pioneer & has a pretty traditional malt base. It's the hop bill where the beer intrigued me. It had this interesting herbal, almost menthol note, alongside a traditional grassy bitterness. It's a beer that I'd really like to drink a few more of! If you read this guys I would love to hear from you!

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

BEER O'CLOCK PODCAST - EPISODE 16

Episode 16 - Show Notes 

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation we are once again recording remotely. We've invested in a new microphone so hopefully some of the audio quality issues are fixed from last time. Once again Dylan has done a great job editing the podcast into something that is hopefully listenable - as usual we're always keen to hear your feedback so please hit us up if you've got any comments, questions or suggestions.

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, due to a lack of organisation, we cover the news both COVID-19 related & non-COVID-19 related. We have a chat about our drinking & buying patterns in quarantine, highlight some breweries that we've supported & talk about some new releases. Finally we finish by adding "The King of Beers" into our Ranking of Lagers.


 Show Notes

News Items (0:30)
  • General COVID-19 discussion
    • QLD good, SA bad
  • Prancing Pony's Run In with SA Police
  • More Awareness for Local Breweries
  • Dans & Coles Both Pass Measures to Assist Small Producers
  • CO2 Shortages in the US
  • ACCC Approve Asahi Takeover of CUB
  • ABAC Complaints Down in Quarter 1
  • Founders First Increase Their Stake in Jetty Road
What We're Drinking (20:46)
  • 3 Ravens Black 
  • Lockdown Beers
    • Getting into routine
    • Supporting local breweries & bottleshops
    • Digging into the cellar
  • Westside Ale Works, The Foreigner Brewing Company
  • Quarantinnies
  • Mountain Culture
  • Deeds Grisette Follow Up
  • Mr Banks Straight to the Fudge Room
  • One Drop Hazy IPA
  • Stomping Ground Hatch Pot
  • Frexi Smokey Sour
Ranking of Lagers (44:37)
  • This month we add "The King of Beers"; Budweiser from the USA.
  • 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. Stella Artois (Belgium)
    15. Tusker (Kenya)
    16. Budweiser (USA)
    17. Skopsko (North Macedonia)
    18. Tiger (Singapore)
    19. Karlovacko (Croatia)
    20. Singha (Thailand)
    21. Red Stripe (Jamaica)
    22. Vonu (Fiji)
    23. Cusquena (Peru)
Due to some poor planning & our enforced social distancing we didn't have a cellar this month. Hopefully we've kept you up to date with some of the newer interesting beer releases as well as some news. I've had a busy few weeks at work but hope to be pumping out some more Year of the Local posts shortly. In the meantime emails to either gus.norris7@gmail.com or our new address angus@beeroclockaustralia.com. You can now also reach Dylan at dylan@beeroclockaustralia.com. Stay safe everyone!

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

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

BROO BREWING COMPANY

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Sunraysia
  • Tasting Room: 20 Langtree Avenue, Mildura
  • Food: Pub Food
  • Price: Inexpensive
  • Websitehttps://www.broo.com.au/
It's finally time to give the people what they've been asking for. We've been covering Broo pretty extensively for a few years & now is the time to (hopefully) summarize the story & current situation as best we can. There's so much misinformation out there about the brand, but we've done our best to sort out the wheat from the chaff.

Founder Kent Grogan
It's hard to believe that this story goes all the way back to 2009; but it does! The business was founded by Kent Grogan, who previously ran a large financial services business. Grogan is from the Mornington Peninsula & the despite reports to the contrary the beer has never been brewed at the Sorrento Brewhouse, with all production being contracted.

Broo first hit the public consciousness in 2011 with their offer of 10 shares with each slab purchased on Australia Day, with a reported 6,437 people taking up the offer. Grogan attempted to get the business registered with the ASX however they ran afoul of their rules. Their constitution specifically excluded any foreign ownership, which the ASX took umbrage with. This started a 5 year battle, which eventually resulted with Broo appearing on the ASX in October 2016.

Things started promisingly when they announced an ambitious $100m brewery in Ballarat with help from the Victorian Government's Ballarat West Employment Zone scheme along with their acquistion of Stefano's Mildura Brewery. This saw their share prices rise to a high of 39 cents in November 2017. However, next to no progress has been made on the Ballarat Brewery & in late April 2020 the share currently sit at just 1.2 cents.

The last few years have descended into something of a farce with numerous run ins with the ASX over various compliance & reporting issues. The company reports significant losses most quarters, despite supposedly highly profitable overseas deals to China & the USA. The Chinese deal will reportedly see 1.5bn litres of beer sold into China over a seven year period, in a take or pay style $120m deal. It'll be intriguing to see how much of this money makes it's way through, I'd wager not much.

Despite the financial uncertainty Kent draws a significant salary, although has had to sell a large chunk of his shares with his ownership down to 62.96%, after the sale of 10 million shares to the CFO last year. Brews News has done some significant digging into the financials of Broo & their coverage is well worth checking out if this has interested you.

The Broo Premium Lager is actually not the world's worst beer. Don't get me wrong, it's certainly not good - but it is an acceptable macro style lager. I drink it at a pizza restaurant a stones throw from the brewery in Mildura when visiting family at Christmas time & in that setting (remembering it's also 40+ degrees normally) it's an enjoyable thirst quencher.

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

Friday, 17 April 2020

PROJECT BREWING

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: S.E. Suburbs
  • Tasting Room: 3/12 Laser Drive, Rowville
  • Food: Food Trucks
  • Price: Average
  • Websitehttps://projectbrewing.com.au/
Project Brewing was the long term dream of husband & wife team Braden & Caitlin Beggs. Braden began home brewing in 2002 & as is quite often the case this hobby spiralled out of control. He'd spoken to Caitlin for years about his dream brewery but the idea on really crystalized in 2016 after visiting the newly opened Watts River Brewery.

Both really resonated with the industrial location & feel of the brewery, combined with the passion the brewers had for their product. Braden managed to convince the team at Watts River to teach him the ropes of running a commercial brewery, whilst they advanced their plans for a space of their own. In September 2018 they secured a warehouse in industrial Rowville & began setting about turning it into a space they could call their own. With the help of family & friends they opened the doors to their "project" brewery taproom in late June 2019.

They've done a really good job of personalizing a pretty generic looking warehouse. They've given the front a black paint job, with their logo splashed across the top in white. Inside is tables they've built themselves, that have been branded with their logo. Their kit is at the back left of the building and is capable of producing batches up to 1000L. Down the left side of the warehouse are the toilets, bar & coolroom. They've fitted it with corrugated iron & timber to make it look like an outback pub & it's come up a treat. It gives it a really unique feel in an industry that can be a bit samey.

It's rare I comment on social media but; they have the hardest beers to find on Untappd that I've ever come across! The word "Project" appears in so many prominent brewery names & their beers are only named after the style... Their Instagram page is also worth checking out, it shows a cross section of their family life & their journey building their brewery. Their beers are available almost exclusively at their taproom at the moment, although they are slowly starting to get beer out to local restaurants.

In terms of food currently they are offering snacks & have food trucks from time to time. When there are no food trucks they actively encourage you to bring your own food/order delivery; so much so that they even supply the plates & cutlery! The couple have plans to one day have a larger brewery & have cited Stomping Ground's Collingwood Brewery as their inspiration.

I'm reviewing their Pale Ale, one of the two beers they bottle. The Pale Ale is really nice. It's slightly old school with big floral component complimented by some citrus, as well as just enough malt character to provide balance. It's got a good amount of bitterness & is a Pale Ale that I'd quite happily drink all afternoon.

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

BEER O'CLOCK PODCAST - EPISODE 15

Episode 15 - Show Notes 

Welcome to another episode of the Beer O'Clock Australia podcast. It's our first podcast that we've done remotely, so apologies if there are a few teething issues- although Dylan's done a really good job of editing as usual & we're happy with the results. We'll fine tune the process over the next couple of episodes while we keep trying to bring you content whilst still confined to our respective houses.

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 covered the latest COVID-19 beer related news as well as some news from before the world changed irrevocably. We discussed our work trip to the Gold Coast, which involved a lot of beers after the actual work got done, talked about some local new beers & added a new beer to our Ranking of Macro Lagers. We finish off with a Cellar segment with a twist, as we obviously couldn't be in the same room to share a beer.


 Show Notes

News Items
  • COVID-19 Causes Chaos with the Beer Calendar
    • Everything is cancelled
  • Industry Pulling Together
    • Carwyn Cellars Quarantinnies
    • East Coast Canning - Kegs to Cans
    • Beer Together
    • Keeping Local Alive
    • Matthew Beggs' Spreadsheet link
    • Breweries Making Hand Sanitiser
  • Pregnancy Warning Labels Scrapped
  • ABAC Tightened Compliance
  • Broo Record More Losses (Is this still news?)
  • Hop Products Australia Open New Facility
  • Hop Nation Release J-Juice to Replace Jedi Juice
What We're Drinking (19:30)
  • Gold Coast Trip
    • Madocke
    • Gold Coast
    • Black Hops
    • Balter
  • Madocke Cherry Beer
  • Deeds Fear & Loathing in Brewsvegas
  • Deeds Grisette
  • Hop Nation Melbourne Fog & Hop Nation 7 Clouds
  • La Sirene Farmhouse Red 
  • Augustiner Maximator
  • General Quarantine Beer Chat
Ranking of Lagers (44:37)

  • Slowly this down for obvious reasons; this month we slot Stella Artois into the rankings
  • 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. Stella Artois (Belgium)
    15. Tusker (Kenya)
    16. Skopsko (North Macedonia)
    17. Tiger (Singapore)
    18. Karlovacko (Croatia)
    19. Singha (Thailand)
    20. Red Stripe (Jamaica)
    21. Vonu (Fiji)
    22. Cusquena (Peru)
Noz's Cellar (55:18)
  • We're delving into both of our cellars this month
  • Noz has a Wildflower Amber Batch 24
  • Dylan has a Wildflower Amber Batch 23
  • Compared to tasting notes
That's it for another month on the Beer O'Clock Australia podcast. Considering the challenges thrown our way I think this turned out pretty well. We've got some new equipment in bound, which should make our next episode sound a little cleaner as well as giving us the option to record interviews out & about if we go down that route in the future. As usual emails are welcomed with any comments/questions at gus.norris7@gmail.com

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

Thursday, 16 April 2020

YARRA BREWING CO

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Inner Suburbs
  • Tasting Room: 390 Smith Street, Collingwood
  • Food: Pizza, Gourmet Pub
  • Price: Inexpensive
  • Websitehttp://www.yarrabrewingco.com.au
I really thought long & hard about whether or not to include Yarra Brewing Co in the list, however the can release got me over the line. Yarra Brewing Co is effectively a sub-brand of The Craft & Co. It's their "in-house incubation sub-brand", which is pretty much code for being a way for them to release their test batches without damaging their own brand.

You find their beers on tap at The Craft & Co from time to time, which you can read about in depth here, and very occassionally they release some canned offerings. The beer I'm reviewing is one of those. It was called "Craught", standing for craft draught & it was actually a pretty solid beer. It was relatively straight forward lager with moderate bitterness & little malt character - for the price I'd happily buy more in the future.

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