4pm February 4, 2012
PA bar in Jupiter Casino, Broadbeach QLD, AUS.
Most of my best work is done in bars. Pubs have a nice ambiance that allows you to openly stare at people without being too judged. You might be drunk and staring at the wall behind them. Something about the noise inspires words to flow.
In with the liquids and out with the sentences, I always say.
Oh where to begin.
Here I begin with another tragic tale of beer abuse in Australia.
The Travel beer book I have touts that Jupiter Casino has a great beer bar with one of the best beer selections on the Gold Coast. Nothing being one to trust the travel books, I had yet to set my feet in the bar due to sheer skepticism. If there was an amazing beer location so close to where I live, I would have been able to smell it. There would have been at least one person who directed me to there in my month of fruitless beer hunting. That not being the case, I had no reason to travel the short distance to the location until now. I need a job. Casinos have heaps of rich people and corporate companies love young girls who can do their job well while in heels.
Locking up the bike outside and down the road a bit I made my way to the front of the busy casino. I admit that I was a little nervous. The place felt like money and the bellboys where far too happy to be real. I stopped at the front to ask for the bar. I wasn’t assuming that the place only had one bar, but that my, “I’m looking for a beer, “ expression would give the man the idea where I wanted to go. The first place I rolled into was lightly filled with vacationers in nice Sunday clothes. After giving the back of the bar a quick look over I decided that this wasn’t’ the place for me.
“Do you possibly have another in the casino?’ I asked the bar attendant sweetly. Through her glaring expression she managed to point out that there was another bar inside the actual casino. Trying to excuse my ignorant questions I asked what is looked like and she seems about to pop with stress and frustration.
“You’ll see it. There are waterfalls.” She stated with forced politeness, returning her hands to the their busy work.
After being carded to get into the casino- 18 and over. I love this place. I found the waterfalls. Trouble for me was that it looked almost exactly the same as the bar I had just been at. I stood for a second, watching the bartenders and clientele. Maybe this wasn’t’ the place either. It didn’t look like the pictures in the book. And unless they had some James Bond revolving doors on their coolers, they had no beer beyond Corona. I could feel an older man gearing himself up to ask me questions about my shoes, my bag, my being there or being so cute and alone so I I decided to jump up to the bar and get to the point.
“I red a travel book which featured a beer bar from Jupiter. Can you tell me where that is?”
The plump, hearty looking Aussie girl grinned and said that I was looking for the PA bar. I just had to go back outside. She had a smile as is she knew something that I didn’t. Possibly she was just very happy at my interest in beer. Or that she didn’t have to serve me. Either way, I backtracked to the first bar top.
When I got back to the place I started at I decided to just ask for the menu. Maybe those sneaky bar ladies where hiding a big beer cooler back there. Who’s to know? It could be on ask only terms.
“I red a travel book which featured a beer bar from Jupiter. Can you tell me, is this it?” I tried my question on the female bar attendant with the forced politeness. Something in her mind seemed to click and she realized that I wasn’t there to order 10 caprioskas.
“Oh, you are looking for the PA. Just go back out toward the front and make a right. They have over 70 bottles beers! Although they have cut back lately.”
At last! I was on the golden path to the correct pub! I always get a jump in my step and butterflies in my stomach when I’m about to reach a beer watering hole. I get nervous to see other beer lovers and anxious to see the beer list. What if I can’t make a decision? What if they have too many and I’m stuck at the bar for 4 hours getting drunk while my partner incessantly calls me wondering where I am. Then I have to bike home drunk and poor with the excuse that I was doing research. It’s a tough situation, which always makes me smile and wince when I’m on the right path.
The trail was hot! It looked just like the pictures in the travel book only much bigger and full of people. The races where blaring from TVs. Walking in I noted that the patrons where all drinking an array of things: champagne, cocktails, simple mixed things, beers, bottle beers, wine and even some water. At 4pm on a Saturday I had to be forgiving- this was a casino. I was surprised there weren’t more tequila shots being orders. “Although it completely felt like it I, I was not in Vegas.
The bar was off to the right, small and almost tucked away. With beautiful detail it displayed pho boilers and a back lite cooler which gives the bar that heavenly glow. The woman behind the bar was a perfectly aged Aussie woman with a smile and smell of the wilderness. She’s one of those women who can wrangle a horse and maintain the balance of an entire rugby team with her watchful alcohol delivery. Although she seemed like the model type of beer mother, things are not as they should be on the Jupiter’s ranch. My silly questions about, “what beers do you have?” Where politely but efficiently directed to the displayed signs. There was much confusion as she restated to me that I could see all that they had to offer. My eyes could only see Corona and RTDs. Being bold but polite I asked to see their beer menu. She gave the most honest, regretful little smile and found the beer page for me.
“These are the draughts, like I showed you and here is our bottle list.” She left me with the menu and went on her business of serving customers. I was shocked, disappointed and once again pained to be in such a lost country.
“Cheers to the beer at… The PA
With on of the most extensive range of beers from Australia and the world over, we’ve for something for every palate. Along with mouth-watering pub foo 7 days a week, the PA is the perfect entertainment destination. From Live Bands to Live DJ’s we have what you need to be entertained.”
And what is more entertaining then a big fat lie?
It follows with
“A couple of things you need to know about beer…” And goes on to describe what ales vs. lagers are, mashing, hopping, fermentation and pasteurization. Nothing about the definitions were off, other then the fact that it must fly directly over the heads of the people frequenting the location.
Then it goes on to outline the styles of beer: lager, ale, bitter, stout, and draught. For those of you who rise at eyebrow at draught being a style of beer here is the offered reasoning.
“Draught: Draught beer is any kind of beer, lager or ale, which is drawn direct from the keg, as opposed to stubby or can.”
“So! Now you know the beer basics: Why not try some of the finest varieties found on the Coast.” No question mark there. Why not try one? You can find them at any other place on the Coast so you don’t need to be scared of anything.
And to add insult to injury they do Tasting Trays!
“Do you enjoy Draught Beer? Why not try a PA Tasting Tray”$8.50 gets you four 100ml tastings of any of the following: (don’t hold your breath)
Fat Yak Pale Ale
Pure Blonde Naked
Cascade Premium Light
Dirty Granny Cider
Stone and Wood
Coopers Pale Ale
Carlton Mid Strength
Now, don’t lets think that the Nitch as gone completely beer snob with my nose up to all these brands. I can appreciate Fat Yak for being one of the best selling pale ales in the area. Redback and Coopers have their roots in Australia as pioneers for craft beer and Stone and Wood are the new craft genesis. Guinness and Kilkenny will always be classics. I have a Guinness pint by my side as we speak. But that list is like seeing a pub in the US doing tasting like this:
Miller High Life
Rogue Dead Guy Ale
Shark Fin (summer ale by bud)
It is not only uninteresting, it is a waste of money. No one wants to taste all those
They carry Crown, Cascade, Carlton, James Squire, Monteith, Lucky lager, Peroni, Vale ale, Pure Blonde, Heineken, James Boags, Corona, Asahi, Great Northern, Steinlager.
Almost all of these are Carlton’s?
When asked about what happened to the 70 plus beers I had seen advocated in the Travel beer book she simply shrugged and said that they weren’t selling. It wasn’t a passive shrug it was a stern sort of answer as if I should know that already. Regretfully she was right. I knew that there wasn’t going to be some bottled beer heaven in my back yard.
Poor Andrea. There was something about her was amused by me and I was interested in her. There must have been others like me that she had done with game with. Confused beer seekers who weren’t enough to keep the beer selection at it’s peek.
One of the worse things I have ever seen in my life is the open and over use of RTDs. Ready to drinks aren’t just something they sell in groceries stores with the target on kids. In Australia they are a legitimate option at upstanding bars. “Jim Beam and cola”, “wild Turkey and cola” and “Bacardi Breezer Lime” are all pre made cocktails in snazzy looking bottles all ready to be consumed. The idea of the following days headache from the mass amounts of added sugar are beyond the purchaser’s mental foresight. All they see is the cool and easy to drink mix they loved when they were stealing cigarettes from their mom and having parties in the woods. To be honest, I’ve haven’t had one since I was 19. A friend of mine and I got a case of Smirnoff coolers in a mix bag of exciting sounds flavors: watermelon, black cherry, green apple and tropical punch! The events of the night are best left unsaid and the pain of the next day is much remembered. Like going to McDonald’s to show that I’m not afraid of and can understand my dislike for, I might need to try one of these RTDs. The must confusing point is that it is $9 to $11 for one of the pre mixed bottle gimmicks and $9.5 to $10.5 for a regular drink made with spirits that come from a bottle you can see. Is it a consistency thing? They would rather pay the company to put the exact amount of alcohol in their bottle rather then trust a sneaky bartender and a jigger. I honestly think that it comes down to, “people like what they know”.
Everyone is selling the 70 bottles plus lie
The Guiness lines are off.