Friday, September 30, 2011

Mt. Tamborine Brewery

"I don't need some water, I need water and fudge!"

Says the french man as we leave the beer sampling and head out to experience more rainy day delights presented by Australia's Tamborine Mountain.

So far Australia has done nothing to stimulate my beerophile senses. In fact my beer snobbery has turned me into a wine drinker. I simply cannot let beer pass my lips that possibly had more flavor when it was water.

We rent a car and head to Mt Tamborine Brewery for a much needed beer vacation.

Because it is a rainy day there is no one at the brewery or adjoining restaurant and cheese shop. We freely roamed the area like matriarchs watching over our brood of bustling servants, each avoiding eye contact with us unless we make a direct request or gesture their way. Although we wouldn't dare the patio areas due to the spontaneous waterfalls from the sky, the building still displayed is beautiful design. With an open and welcoming flow.


When things became serious I was doomed to disappointment. Not only did they not have the rich stout that was featured on their web site but they, in fact, had nothing that was cold weather worthy. After taking a moment to remember that something is better then nothing, we continued with the sampling.

7 beers were sampled between me and my mate. 4 samples for $10 and a dash of water in the middle for those to need to remember what beer was before it was magically transformed. Following are the descriptions as presented by the brewery and then our own tasting notes:

We blind tasted and read the brewery notes after we sampled everything

Rainforest Lager

Style: Lager 

Abv: 4.3%

A premium lager, with a refreshing clean finish. Made with German barley and Saaz hops in a accordance with Reinheitsgebot.

A: Very pale, darkish yellow, foggy with still, large bubbles, chill haze abundant. 

S: sweet fruit/citrus, cooked corn 

T: not bitter, citrus but for sure an over cooked grain of some kind 

M: light body, no much feel 

O: basic lager with touches of sweet and an abundance of citrus nose with a light body that seems to be lacking in a clarifier. There is also a missing presence of the Saaz hops.

Czech Mate Pils

Style: Pilsener

Abv: 4.3%

A traditional Bohemian style lager brewed with no expense spared via a decoction mash and long maturation. The aroma is herbaceous and floral and is followed in the mouth by fresh bread flavors and a carefully balanced bitterness.

A: thin bubbles, medium haze, mustard color, thick white head

S: nothing at first, possible light herb/fruit notes

T: Shy fruit, light spice/herb with malt finish

M: yeast/bread

O: delicate and smooth but lacking in distinction.


Style: Kolsch

Abv: 5.0%

A straw colored beer inspired by the Kolsch beers of Cologne, Germany. An aroma of mown grass with hints of strawberry over flavors of fresh bread with a dry finish.

A: light yellow, thin bubbles with lots of movement, nice close laced head with little retention
S: hay/grass, sweet roasted malt
T: sweet fruit flavor maybe strawberry/raspberry with a bitter finish that returns to a bread taste in the back of the mouth
M: soft dryness with yeast coating
O: A fuller bodied kolsch with more ambition then normal, delivering a drinkable summer mix that is middle range all around with sweeping sweetness.

St. Bridget

Style: Belgian Dubbel

Abv: 7.2%

This beer is in the style of those made by the trappist monks of Belgium. It is rusty red/brown color with a dense and creamy head. The aroma is of ripe plum and light caramel and is followed by a medium bodied beer with similar flavors.
A: dense rusty, thick cream head with great retention 
S: distinct belgian aroma with thick hay/grass and an underlaying caramel 
T: strong forward pop of bitterness followed by honey/caramel and dried fruit sweetness 
M: warm and bubbly with a creamy finish 
O: love the name tribute to top lady but wish the beer could do more then be a great beer to cook with. She features a range of flavors that most Australians would find overpowering and undrinkable, which makes it one of my favorites since being in the country but she isn't exactly true to her roots.
0909 Cuvee Blonde

Style: Belgian Blonde

Abv: 5.2%

This prestige batch of a pale Belgian style ale carries supple raisin and citric notes whilst the body is soft and affords more yeast and hop derived fruit notes. 
A: light leather colored pour lacking in shine with white head that falls quickly
S: floral, citrus and coriander 
T: Australian hops with some exotic fruit but very citrus, more sweet then usual pale ale but a nice spice and strong malt.  
M: medium body, high carbonation, light yeast feel with fresh dry finish 
O: not a traditional Belgian pale but good in its own right. Drinkable dryness as long as it is kept cold. Too sweet for me and doesn't match its finish with its intention.
Black Cockatoo

Style: Schwarzbier

Abv: 4.3%

A German style black lager with a ruby black color. The aroma is a balance of roasted caramel and noble hops whilst in the mouth it shows a delicate bitterness that holds in check malt flavours of caramel and chocolate.
A: thick beige head on a coffee black body with a ruby tint when held to the light
S: coffee, herb spice with a definite smoked malt
T: smoked meaty flavor holds the house together while caramel runs around outside screaming that is loves coffee. The milk chocolate popins in for a second but is hit in the face by the strong coffee bean door man the finish is wanting 
M: no bubbles, very light cream but ends dry
O: Black lagers just aren't my thing, they look so hardy and beautiful then seem to fizzle out. This lager does much the same although it's super strong coffee punch could carry it along as a breakfast beer. Light in body and abv but also off balance.

Yippy IPA

Style: IPA

Abv: unknown

Yippy is a Classic British IPA with lots of Marmalade, Kumquat & other citrus flavours supported by a big malt backbone and plenty of bitterness.
A: caramel to tan with a medium haze and mid level bubbles an nice lacing 
S: red fruit possibly strawberry and a sweet citrus 
T: a mild bitterness that rolls from front to back with its progessive flavors of toffee, spice, roasted fruit 
M: dry, light body with lots of fizz 
O: an average Ipa with odd flavors and hoppy but sweet kick. Says it is a Classic British IPA which gave me the idea to let it rest and warm a bit from the frozen tap status, this idea opened the senses to more the sugar element that had evidently been added but still didn't shake the thing back to what it once was. From reading on the net I gather that back in 2009 it was an APA. The strange change of face and total inability to show any character makes the beer a total flop. 

We took a break to cruise the location and took a few notes of the restaurant:

Cliche modern style, screaming about Ikea and hippies with money, "I'm simple and organic" feel. The dining area is too big, but that could also have been becuase we were the only people there. The menue as simple and classy but for the prices nothing stuck out to us besides the sweet potato frittes with whipped triple cream blue cheese and chive dipping sauce. My partner would have rolled in the sauce if they had put out a tub of it. 

The blend of dining, cheese shop and beer is bliss. Fine dining is nice but beer and burgers are soul mates.

We heard that they would soon be having a new head brewer in from Germany. Leaving us drooling to know what the brewery will be presenting next. Keeping in mind that Australia is by far and large, not a beer connoisseur's paradise. We were reminded of our reality when we tried to purchase a take home pack. They only had the Lager and the Kolsch available. I mean, of course, because I don't think people really drink anything else! Mike, the bar man, was sympathetic enough to find us a few St. Bridget and Ipa without labels that we were able to purchase. He also took time from his busy schedule of inventory checking to answer my chatty, beerophile questions:

-Yes, they HAD a stout but that was a many months ago. Hopefully one of the staff will get around to updating the website. 
-No, he doesn't know where the water comes from but he knows they have a filtration system. So it doesn't matter.
-He thinks there are about 4 people that do all the brewing but mostly only sees one.
-Yes, when the sun is out they are much more busy.
-And yes, the owners frequent the location but he doesn't know what their favorite beers are- if they drink it at all.


My partner rubs my cheek and calls me his beautiful pinkie. Do we need to turn down the space heater or the abv? 

Fudge- here we come!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Beer Froth and Drunk Germans

Froth and Drunk Germans

Reading Froth! The Science of Beer by Mark Denny and waiting for work wasn't enough for my day so I decided to sit back with a pre-effort beer and watch a brew related flick.

The Official German Beer Guide from the library

I wouldn't push this docu trash on another living soul. The totality of the movie comprises of some German guys with a <shitty> camera who kinda filmed some things about beer and did some light research then filmed 45mins of themselves sampling beers while getting drunk, chatting up people in the seats next to them and making comments like, "yeah, I liked this one better then the first one."

Not even any of this! ------------------------------->German-Beer-Girl-Fork-Party

The cooking section makes even less sense. I'm not sure how this even became a movie.

Spite you library for supporting it.

 kein Dank Sie

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tasting- Burleigh Brewing

First Craft Beer Contact in Australia!

I'm just finishing the morning open routine for the bar, when some jack ass comes marching in with a much younger girl at his side.

"If you think I'm serving you, then think again buddy, we open in 3 minutes"

No need to alarm yourself bartender girl, we are representatives from Burleigh Brewing.

Brad, I think his name was or Dan and the girl didn't talk much, she might have been there for show. Him and I chatted for onto 45 minutes about beer in general.

Smell the sweet air of beer geek conversation flowing like crisp blossoming spring hops! Short lived as it was, I feel energized to once again give this massive chunk of rock another chance at being awesome for beer.

Free Beer samples!

BURLEIGH BREWING- 28 Pale Ale 4.8%


A: golden, bright color, med bubbles, nice thick head

S: caramel, bananas, hoppy

T: bitter strike, soft florals, with smooth finish, not much after taste, balanced sweet/acid

Burleigh Brewing after the first contact

Later in the year I was able to reboot my Burleigh interest with a new addition to their roaster- A black lager! These seems to be some kind of baby step toward stouts, as a few other craft Australian breweries have followed their light, head linning beers with a black lager. Although I'm not a huge fan of lagers, the concept of super roasted malts and chocolate/coffee ingredients make me sunny on the inside!

BURLEIGH BREWING- Black giraffe 5% IBU 35, EBL 60

bbc_blackgiraffeA: Dark black, no visible bubbles or movement with a tan, thin head.

S: Caramel, coffee and malt sweetness

T: Salty rather then sweet with caramel/toffee and less chocolate. A deep bitter coffee finish.

M: Medium to heavy body, cream coating with a touch of metallic tang

O: Warming but not a fire place at the feet and snow at the windows drink. It delivers a punch that could compliment some gastronomical dishes like a goat cheese and fig starter to get the palate going. Not something I would drink on it's own.