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!

THE MANSFIELD BREWING COMPANY

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: High Country
  • Tasting Room: No
  • Food: N/A
  • Price: Average
  • Websitehttp://mansfieldbrewery.com.au/
The Mansfield Brewing Company was established in 2013 by father & son team, Tom & Mitchell Walsh. This is going to be another of those short posts with relatively little information. Unlike most previous short ones, I have managed to contact these guys through Facebook! Although that contact has extended to promises of more information & then ignoring future requests... I find it fascinating that a company, let alone a brewery, can exist for so long with such a small online footprint.

So I've gathered that Tom homebrewed for about 10 years before launching The Mansfield Brewing Company with his son. They moved from the backyard shed to a warehouse in 2013, where they've been producing 850L batches ever since with their first beers hitting the market in November of that year.

I've got my hands on their Stout. It's a limited release, which I think they've released each of the last 3 years. This packs a bit of roast flavour, alongside something that purports to be smokiness. There's some chocolate with slightly more licorice as well as moderate hop bitterness. It's bordering on Imperial Stout although I think the body isn't quite big enough - despite the ABV being high enough.

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

Friday, 10 April 2020

BELLS BEACH BREWING

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Bellarine Peninsula
  • Tasting Room: 2/22 Baines Crescent, Torquay
  • Food: Food Trucks/UberEats
  • Price: Average
  • Websitehttps://www.bellsbeachbrewing.com/
I imagine that opening a brewery on Victoria's Surf Coast was a long way from the thoughts of Adam Smith & Jono Moscrops when they were growing up in England. But fast forward through engineering degrees back home, emigration to Australia & years spent working together for Ford in Geelong & that's exactly what happened!

There's more to their brewing story than I knew. Like most who end up opening a brewery of their own, they were avid homebrewers. Having some beers one afternoon they thought their beers would be a good addition to the local beer scene. Like so many before them, & certainly after them, they reached the critical now or never moment; & they took the plunge!

They released their first beer, brewed at Cavalier, to market in late-2015 & spent the next 3 years gypsy brewing at Cavalier, Cockies, Rogue Wave (now Salt) & Bellarine Brewing. In 2017 the duo approached sports photographer Jeff Crow to buy a couple of photos to give local character to their beers, not only did they end up with those photos but also a new business partner. Jeff's arrival & attention to detail they set out to find the perfect location to set down roots in their local community.

The end result is a warehouse behind another warehouse halfway along an industrial street in Torquay. It's an interesting space with high ceilings, tanks prominently on display behind the bar & a huge motif comprising the companies logo plastered all over the back wall. The majority of the tables are quite high, although I'm not sure if that was due the event happening that night, as well as a few couches out the front.

We arrived to a packed venue on Rugby World Cup Final night. There was a big crowd in, and the majority of them were really up for the game, despite the dreary weather in the coastal town. It may not have been the best way to assess the brewery - but they were certainly capable of handling a crowd & the beers were tasting great.

As soon as we looked at the tap list we knew what we had to have on a cool, damp night on the Surft Coast; Steps Session Stout. It was the perfect beer after a long day of visiting breweries, characterized by this big dark fruit aroma that paired nicely with the more traditional chocolate & roasty notes. It drank very easily, as you'd hope at 4%, but it wasn't thin at all. It's a beer that I'll be looking to stock my fridge with for winters to come.

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

Wednesday, 1 April 2020

CORNELLA BREWERY

2019: The Year of Local

STATS
  • Brewery Type: Physical
  • Region: Heathcote
  • Tasting Room: 507 Hamblin Rd, Cornella
  • Food: Pizza
  • Price: Average
  • Websitehttp://www.cornellareal.com.au/
The Shiraz Republic is a winery in the Heathcote Wine Region, located about 25km to the north of the town that gives the region it's name. It was started by Brian Spencer in 2006 & they have become known for their big fruit forward Shiraz's, that the region is known for, as well as for being one of the few wineries that sells Heathcote grapes direct to the public.

Why am I talking about wine? Well, that's where Brian's son Spencer Page comes in. Spencer studied Chemistry at University, before he decided to join the family business in 2015. He'd previously spent a year in Scotland where he'd developed a love of real ale & saw a way to use his chemistry degree, add value to the family business & indulge his passion. He roped in friend Matt van Run who was easily convinced to start a brewery rather than look for a real job.

They installed a tiny (by commercial standards at least) 200L system which they picked up from Cheaky Peaks in Wodonga & set about trying to replicate the real ales that Spencer had fallen in love with. They were so set on this track that they launched their brewery as Cornella Real Brewery. Within two years of operating, gone was the name "Real"; simplified to just Cornella Brewery, along with the focus on just real ales as they began producing the full spectrum of styles.

The setting for the venue is typical of Central Victoria. To get to the brewery you take a left turn off the narrow highway onto a dirt track, pass numerous dusty fields with brown grass before arriving at the green oasis of the winery. There are a number of artefacts from the history of Cornella dotted around, from farming equipment to the towns old Post Office.

The cellar door is housed in a new looking corrogated iron shed. There's a shade cloth over a decking area with a few tables, although the majority of people were seated at long benches under the gum trees in the yard. It's a really lovely spot for a beer, we didn't have any on the day but they also do pizzas which from all reports are excellent!

Amongst their relatively broad array of offerings are a couple that incorpoates their wine roots, which is naturally where I had to go for the beer. Shiraz Barrel is billed as a Barrel Fermented Farmhouse Ale. It's got light bready malts, some grassy hops, plenty of funk & some shiraz barrel notes that comes through. I'm intrigued by the lack of colour that comes through, considering how much flavour comes through. I assume they must've been relatively dry barrels. There a brewery well worth visiting in an area dominated by wine.

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

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!

CARWYN CANVENT 2019 (PART 4)

Carwyn Canvent (Part 4)



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 16 - Hop Nation Sweater - I was really excited to see a Red IPA make it's way into the Canvent pack, particularly after the somewhat lacklustre offerings in the last set of 5. I was also pleased to see that Hop Nation were the brewery charged with the responsibility of producing this beer. They're a tricky thing to balance with the malt sweetness almost as important as the hop characters, despite the IPA name.

Hop Nation knocked this one out of the park. The balance between sweet caramel malts and quite sticky, resinous hop characteristics (a real throwback to a few years ago before Hazy/New England IPA's became all the rage) was perfect! I would love this beer to become a year round offering!

Day 17 - Edge Burnt Toast - Edge really hit onto a winner in 2018 with their Toast, an all-Australian ingredients take on a traditional European Pilsner. Following that success with Burnt Toast, a dark multigrain lager, as their Canvent beer seemed, to me at least, like a stroke of genius! Maybe it's because I love Dark Lager...

It was a really interesting lager. I was impressed with the malt complexity & the full, yet not heavy, mouthfeel. Carbonation was on the low side & there was just enough hop bitterness to balance out the residual sweetness. The real star of the show however was this subtle smokiness that permeated the entirety of the drinking. It was in no way overpowering but it really did add nicely to the experience.

Day 18 - Bells Beach G&T Gose - There were actually two different Bells Beach beers in the Canvent this year. Due to some unexpected losses at packaging the G&T Gose came up a few cases short, meaning some people ended up with a different Gose that the Torquay brewery were planning on releasing shortly along with a voucher for a drink at the brewery.

I got the original G&T version, which I quite enjoyed. It ticked a lot of boxes on the execution of the idea front. There was Juniper, there was salt, it was tart & there was some citrus acidity. What I found slightly strange was a spice that I couldn't quite put my finger on - which was possibly nutmeg.

Day 19 - Burnley Cucumber Mint Lager - Regular readers would be aware of my love of Burnley Brewing & particularly their lagers. A Cucumber & Mint Lager, seems like an ambitious beer to brew but that is what the Canvent is for! It seemed to me like it had the potential to be really refreshing although I have had mixed results with cucumber beers in the past...

After my first sip I knew this beer would be seriously polarizing! There is heaps of cucumber on both the nose & the palate! This masks most of the grain flavour components. The real star in the beer though is the mint, which comes in and the back end and provides a really refreshing minty hit leaving you wanting more. I was quite disappointed I didn't have another when my can was empty.

Day 20 - Sailors Grave How to Make Gravy - There would have been a collective gasp around the nation when a beer named "How to Make Gravy"came out of the box on Day 20 rather than 21! For those this reference is lost on, it's a lyric from the iconic eponymous song by Australian artist Paul Kelly.

It was also one of the most controversial beers of the Canvent owing to one of it's ingredients; bone broth, which naturally upset some vegetarians/vegans. I thought the bone broth actually added an interesting umami character as well as some salinity. There's a good amount of caramel malts as well as some floral hops. It was ambitious & for me worked

It feels good to be back writing after a few pretty shit weeks with an infected wisdom tooth, not much sleep or drinking. I'm hoping to bust out these last two Canvent posts, finalize the Golden Pints & then get back into The Year of Local posts. I thought this set of 5 beers was much better than the previous set, with ambitious beers more in keeping with what I think the pack is supposed to be about.

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