Thursday, 21 November 2019


The Great Bottle vs. Can Debate

  • Country: Australia
  • Style: American Pale Ale
  • ABV: 5.0%
  • Serving Type: 330ml Bottle/Can
  • Price: Inexpensive
I was slightly surprised when I looked back & found that it had been almost five years since I'd done one of these! I guess that's a sign of the times with more and more craft breweries moving away from bottles. This segment really became the domain of the big brewers & feel by the wayside accordingly. 

When I saw that Old Mate, the Pale Ale that is now driving Moon Dog's expansion to Moon Dog World & a 400% increase in production capacity, was to be canned I felt like we'd be a chance to reboot this segment. Luckily I was able to get my hands on a bottle & a can brewed within a month of each other, which should allow for the best outcome in this segment. As usual, I better stop typing & get these beers out!

The beers pour an almost identical golden colour with a moderate white head on top. The head on the canned version is marginally larger, although this may be due to way a can pours versus a bottle. Both heads diminish to next to nothing relatively quickly. They're both exactly what I'd expect from the style.

Initially both beers smell very similar. They're both inoffensive with some cracker malt aroma up front. There's more on the hop front which initially smells a little green, despite both beers having been packaged for a few months. Once you get passed that there's some nice citrus & stone fruit notes.

First impressions, I slightly preferred the bottle. There was a slight dirtiness to the can at first that the bottle didn't have. After a couple of minutes this was gone & the hops on the canned version were able to shine that little bit more than they did in the bottled version. Both follow the aroma closely, with malt taking a backseat to the grapefruit & peach notes from the hops.

This is one of the hardest decisions I've had so far, as the beers are so similar! Had they been brewed on the same day I feel I would've had an even tougher task splitting them. I'm going to have to give it to the can, by a whisker. It was probably warmer than you would drink the beer in a normal situation before the difference was noticeable though - so feel free to fire away on either packaging vessel, just get the freshest one!

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

Tuesday, 12 November 2019


Episode 11 - Show Notes 

It was inevitable, but we finally fell off the wagon and missed a month. So naturally we missed two & a half... In any case we're back with a big show for you! A few changes to note - we now have a Facebook page where you can interact with us & get timelier answers than via email. We also, at the behest of Apple Podcasts, are now having to give our episodes names; so if you have any ideas on how we should name them we'd love to hear the feedback.

We're going to rotate some segments in and out, especially early on while we get into the swing of things - so if there is anything you love or hate, please let us know! The idea at the moment is that the podcast will be (roughly) monthly, and we'll try and keep that pretty regular - at least more so than I've kept the blog up to date recently... Basically every month 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 discuss we discuss beer news both recent & quite a bit older, due to our longer than usual break. We attempt to slot beers from the Philippines, Argentina & Jamaica into our Ranking of Lagers, before talking about some of the reasons why there was such a long break between podcast episodes including my trip to Hawaii & our respective trips to the Victorian High Country. As usual we hope you enjoy the show!

 Show Notes

News Items (1:16)
  • Green Beacon sell to Asahi
  • Independent Brands Australia become an ABAC Signatory
  • Beer Cartel Survey results
  • Phil Sexton returns to Matilda Bay - new brewery to open in Healesville
  • Lion to launch a Hard Seltzer
  • Aether Brewery founders to split
  • The Tasting Paddle - Quick News Segment
    • MoonDog World
    • Sailors Grave @ Mikkeller Beer Celebration Tokyo
    • Tinnies win World Beer Awards Medal
    • Pirate Life Perth Brewpub
    • Liberty Brewing Cleanup at NZ Beer Awards
Ranking of Lagers (20:47)

  • This week we had to slot in San Miguel (Philippines), Quilmes (Argentina) & Red Stripe (Jamaica)
  • 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. Corona (Mexico)
    9. Heineken (Netherlands)
    10. San Miguel (Philippines)
    11. Tusker (Kenya)
    12. Tiger (Singapore)
    13. Red Stripe (Jamaica)
    14. Vonu (Fiji)
    15. Cusquena (Peru)
What We're Drinking (33:56)
  • Hawaii Trip
    • Maui, Honolulu Beerworks, Waikiki, Lanikai, Inu Island
    • Village Bottle Shop
  • High Country
    • Byramine Homestead, Buffalo, Rutherglen, Billson's, Bridge Road, Bright, Malt Shed
Noz's Cellar (54:13)
  • Maui Black Pearl (2019)
    • Rum, Bourbon & Brandy Barrel Aged with Coconut
    • Imperial Porter
    • 12% ABV
    • Cellared since August 2019
    • Thumbs Up
There we have it for another episode of the Beer O'Clock Australia Podcast. As usual you can hit me up at or at our new Facebook page, if you have any questions or feedback. We deliberately kept this episode relatively free of Year of the Local stuff as we've got a special episode that is recorded but yet to be released, so keep us in your podcast feed for that! Until next time...

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


2019: The Year of Local

  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: S.E. Suburbs
  • Tasting Room: 4 Joyner Street, Moorabbin
  • Food: Pizza
  • Price: Average
  • Website
It was a very different craft brewing scene in Melbourne in 2007 when brothers Andrew & Dave Ong decided to take the plunge & open 2 Brothers Brewery. The pair had lived their separate lives in the U.S.A., one as a Physio in New York & one as an Aeronautical Engineer in Seattle, where they discovered American craft beer.

Upon returning to Australia they set out to find similar beers. Whilst there were a few breweries around, their beers were still relatively difficult to find & were more demure than the beers they had been drinking in the States. They decided to throw in their careers & make the beers they loved full-time. With the decision made they had to work out how to do it!

Andrew was sent back to the States to get some hands on experience brewing beer, as well as sourcing some equipment to make it. That proved easier than expecting as Times Square Brewery went out of business & the boys snaffled up their copper clad brewery, which was then shipped to Australia, albeit in a clandestine operation under cover of darkness to avoid paying for extortionate permits to close Times Square!

Whilst Andrew had been away securing brewing equipment & learning how to brew, Dave had been scouring the South Eastern suburbs for a suitable warehouse, which he stumbled across in Moorabbin. It's the same site that they still occupy today, although the Beer Hall underwent a major overhaul in 2016 to make it a more modern, welcoming space.

The space is really nice. You walk through their "industrial beer garden" at the front of the brewery to enter - it's a nice sun trap where you could easily sink a few beers. You're funneled passed the stainless steel through the relatively narrow area in front of the white tiled bar. Once you have a beer in hand you proceed passed the bar to an area out the back that really opens up.

There you find a number of large tables, each that would easily sit 8+ people, some with communal benches some with high seats. There's a projector and stage at the back for entertainment, while pot plants hang from the ceiling. There is a raised area on the bar side of the brewery that houses some barrels, which is something I always like to see.

As much as I wanted to review Grizz, I feel like I've talked about that beer more than enough on this site over the years. Instead it's Clifford the Big Red IPA. I thought it was a little bit too bitter and lacked a bit of malt presence, both in body & flavour, which is surprising considering it clocked in at 7.8%. I was a little disappointed by that as Grizz is beautifully balanced and lacks for no malt!

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


2019: The Year of Local

  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Phillip Island
  • Tasting Room: 47 Thompson Avenue, Cowes
  • Food: American
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
  • Website
Simon Bismire started Ocean Reach Brewing in Cowes with his wife Alexandra & father Wayne. All three share a love of craft beer & after solidifying the idea to start a brewery on their honeymoon, Simon & Alexandra managed to rope in Wayne. The brewery was in serious planning from September 2015 before opening it's doors in December 2016.

I was amazed to find that Ocean Reach Brewing is the first commercial brewery to operate on Phillip Island. This may come as a shock to some of the older audience of this blog who may remember Penguin Brewery (now defunct) & Rusty Water Brewery (re-branded as Phillip Island Brewing Co). Neither of these entities ever brewed beer on the island, both having their beers contract brewed.

The brewery started in the tiny taproom that they have on the main street in Cowes. Their beers soon outgrew the space and the brewery moved 2km down the road. The taproom looks like a fish 'n chip shop from the outside, although in its past life it was a clothing store. It's a relatively small glass fronted shop with pristine white plaster walls - something you don't often see in a brewery!

The fit out is also reminiscent of a modern burger/fish 'n chip shop with light wood top Scandinavian/Industrial tables. They have the ubiquitous brewery stools, although theirs are in a grey colour I can't recall seeing before. I didn't have any food there although I understand that they serve burgers and wings from a food van out the back.

I sampled the Pale Ale on the day I visited & was really impressed by it. It was a well balanced Pale Ale with good floral hops & the perfect amount of bitterness. The highest compliment I can pay it is that it strongly reminded me of the original iteration of the Hawkers Pale Ale.

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


2019: The Year of Local

  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Inner Suburbs
  • Tasting Room: 245 Johnston Street, Abbotsford
  • Food: South American
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
  • Website
Bodriggy is one of the great success stories of gypsy/contract brewing in Australia. They started their journey contract brewing back in 2016 & for the first year literally had their beers pouring at bars they owned across Collingwood & Abbotsford! That has slowly, thanks to Yarra City Council, morphed into one of the more stunning brewpubs in Melbourne!

Jon Costelloe, Anthony Daniels & Pete Walsh are the gentlemen behind the brand. The trio have built a reputation for their excellent venues ranging from Dr Morse to The Aviary. They've recruited some of Melbourne's best bar tenders to man the bar at the new brewpub & it really shows when you get there as the service is superb!

I had been waiting with baited breath for Bodriggy to open for years! After all the delays they experienced in the building process they finally opened less than a month AFTER my work offices moved from just down the road. It took almost 4 years from when they took ownership of Bruno's old LPG conversion site until they opened, but god it was worth the wait!

Photo Credit: Concrete Playground

Just like it's sister bar, Dr Morse, across the road; Bodriggy draws it's name from the building it is housed in. Before even Bruno's LPG conversion shop the building had housed an old stonemason's villa named Bodriggy. Like many of the buildings in the Collingwood/Abbotsford/Fitzroy area the name is adorned on the stonework of the building. It's still there today & the name stuck!

The brewpub is as spectacular as it is huge! They've licensed for 425 people, which would make it one of the largest brewery tasting rooms in Victoria. They've spared no expense with the fitout. It's one of those places where you could find new details every time you visit. There is greenery all around with full grown trees in the brewery!

As you walk through the large glass door you can immediately see through the warehouse to the stainless steel at the back of the brewery, behind another wall of glass. The majority of the brewery is wood lined, although there is still the exposed steel & brick you'd expect in Abbotsford. I particularly like the darker corner of the brewery complete with leather booths & brass light fittings. There's a mixture of table sizes, ranging from large group friendly tables to small tables suited to couples.

Food is not an afterthought at Bodriggy. They've hired John Dominguez as head chef, he's got quite a reputation having worked at Monte Carlo, Noma & Dinner by Heston to name but a few. He was born in Mexico before following his now wife to Melbourne & is drawing on his cultural upbringing to pump out some incredible Latin fare. His fish taco, which comprises smoked swordfish stuffed inside a giant jalapeno, is one of the best things I've eaten this year!

I'm reviewing their new Dayspring, it's a Kveik IPA which is packed with Azzaca & Idaho 7. It's the most Azzaca forward beer I've ever had! There is so much pineapple in this beer alongside orange juice, passionfruit & stone fruit notes. It's dangerously easy drinking factoring in its 7.1% ABV. Given the obvious turn around advantages of Kveik beers I wouldn't be surprised to see this one stick around.

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

Monday, 11 November 2019


2019: The Year of Local

  • Brewery Type: Gypsy
  • Region: Inner Suburbs
  • Tasting Room: No
  • Brewed At: Various
  • Price: Slightly Pricey
  • Website
Club Brewing Co is unlike any other brewing company in Australia. They don't own their own brewery; that's not that unusual. They don't own any stainless; slightly less common, but also not unheard of. They don't own their own taproom; also not a unique situation. Every beer they make is a one off; there are a few out there, as breweries move with the market this will become more common. So what is it that makes them unique?

All Club Brewing Co beers are sold via a quarterly subscription through their website. All their beers are brewed in collaboration with an physical brewery using their stainless steel (with a few batches being brewed at Craft & Co.). Each quarter you receive a mixed case with 8 of each beer that they've collaborated on in the past few months. There is no wholesale of their beers! That means you can't go down to a bar and find them on tap, nor can you find them in your local craft beer bottle shop.

Like so many other breweries, the idea came to Chris Thomas, Dennis Nowak & Daniel Ryan over a couple of beers one night in January 2015. Unlike most of the time when this conversation occurs a few beers deep, the idea still seemed good the next day. The boys were further encouraged when they received a response from Danish brewer Christian Skovdal Andersen (Beer Here) within 15 minutes of sending out their idea.

Others soon followed; including John Keelings (Fullers, UK) & Mitch Steele (at Stone when he agreed, before starting his own brand). And thus the trio spent the best part of the next 2 years making the idea came to fruition, with their first pack being sent to subscribers in December 2016. The concept is still going strong & their list of collaborators has become seriously impressive, see here, with brewers of note from the USA, Europe, Asia, New Zealand & Australia having taken part so far.

Having put off committing to the membership for most of the year, I was finally about to bit the bullet before I was lucky enough to notice a Facebook post where Exit's Uitgang Bar, which is quite close to my work, said they had a few cans of their collaboration with Club Brewing for sale. Naturally I headed straight down there!

This is a really nice Amber Ale! I'd say it's the best one I've had in years, as the style really has fallen out of favour. It's got a lovely malt base with layers of caramel with overlying rye spiciness. The hops are punchy but not overpowering with grapefruit & a touch of pine the most obvious. I know Club won't brew it again, but hopefully Exit make something similar down the track!

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

Friday, 8 November 2019


2019: The Year of Local

  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Northern Suburbs
  • Tasting Room: 270 Raglan Street, Preston
  • Food: Wee Man's Kitchen (Scottish)
  • Price: Average
  • Website
Tallboy & Moose is a brewpub located in Preston, in Melbourne's northern suburbs. It was founded by Dan "Tallboy" Hall, a rake thin Englishman standing the best part of 2 metres tall, & Steve "Moose" Germain, a Canadian who relocated to Melbourne from Toronto in 2012.

Photo Credit: City Lane
They met in 2012, not long after Steve arrived in the country, when Steve was visiting Moon Dog to get acquainted with the craft beer scene in Melbourne. Dan was working as a brewer for the eccentric Abbotsford brewery at the time & the pair immediately hit it off.

Barely a year later and the pair had started their first beer brand; the tiny Make Beer, which sold minuscule amounts of beer between late-2013 and early-2015. It quickly became apparent that they needed to make more beer & so the wheels were set in motion for Tallboy & Moose to become a reality. The pair spent the next few years gaining experience at different breweries & distributors before opening the doors to their own brewpub in 2016.

Just over three years down the track & the boys' brewpub is a thriving part of the local community, featuring 16 taps of their own beer. Like many people starting out their brewhouse is cobbled together from bits of old dairy equipment. It's a system that makes great beer, as Dylan & I found out 18 months ago. They've been regularly adding more fermenters to their brewing corner of the warehouse, although they're seemingly running out of room.

The brewpub is housed in your typical suburban warehouse. It feels very much like a warehouse when you walk in, albeit a nice one, with a few licks of paint and some plants hanging from the ceiling. As you walk in the bar is in the middle of the warehouse, which is relatively long and thin. The brewing area is in the back right corner & very accessible to have a look at. The back of the warehouse is taken up by a large coolroom completely covered in their branding. It also features Wee Man's Kitchen at the front; the Glaswegian inspired food offerings of Chris Orr.

It's got a real homely vibe to it. The majority of the seating is long communal benches, although you can pull up a stool at the bar, where they've got up to 16 taps of their own beer on at any one time, with a few friends' beers filling the lines when their own stocks run low. There's also a few bits of mismatched seating at the front & back of the brewery if communal benches aren't your thing.

The beer I've chosen is actually a collaboration with one of the other best Hazy IPA producers in Victoria; Deeds Brewing. All Work & No Play is a fruit bomb, orange & pineapple flavours dominate, from a staggering 40g/L of hops! There's a touch of lactose but it's not overlying sweet, whilst it drinks dangerously easily belying it's 8.5% ABV!

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