Drunken Traveler here,
Still down under. I had an opportunity to visit and tour a great craft beer brewery here in Melbourne, Australia, called Mountain Goat Brewery (http://goatbeer.com.au)
My taxi pulled up outside a very non descript warehouse in the middle of a lower class neighborhood in Richmond, a few miles east of downtown Melbourne. The only way I knew I was being dropped off where I asked and not taken out to be robbed, was the spray painted figure of a giant goat head on a roll up door.
The excitement built as I neared the entrance, I could hear people inside milling about, discussing a long work day. I swung the door open and, to my surprise, a fabulously wide open space with the best beer ambiance I have ever experienced. An old warehouse, high ceilings top-lit, with industrial beams and piping still in place. I could see the seven or more fermentation tanks just inside a short fenced off area. Large tables of all heights and sizes, everyone has a pint in their hands, relaxing and enjoying this golden liquid of joy.
Mountain Goat has been around for a few years and has really made its mark in the craft brew limelight of southern Australia. Their two main brews are Hightail Ale (4.5%), a traditional english bitter and Steam Ale (4.5%), a certified organic ale using wheat and full hop flowers creating a clean, fragrant beer clocking in at 28 IBU’s.
Jeff, the on duty staff ( Cam Hines, the founder and co-owner could not make it) who led us on our short tour around the mashing tuns and fermentation tanks, did a fair job explaining the history and process of making beer. At the end the obvious question came out.; why Mountain Goat?
“Mountain Goats are big hairy beasts, they stand up against anything and take no shit from anyone”
I found my way to the bar.
I have to try “The Hoeff” 5.0% their version of a Hefeweizen. Very cold, the taps here icing over.
I immediatly smelled bananas, a very cloudy yellow beer heavily yeasted. First taste was bananas, then the clean crisp tastes with a hint of black licorice followed by light caramels and the slightest whisper of cloves. This reminds me of a light version of Hoegaarden. Several of my mates (friends) here also shared a glass and all enjoyed it as well.
My next brew of choice was to dip into their stock of I.P.A. Very disappointing. Nothing special, even a bit tasteless as compared with other traditional I.P.A.’s. I have nothing else to say about it.
I made my next selection more careful. “Last Barrel of Oaked Rapunzal.” Ok my decision was made, “I’ll have a pint of that.”
Bar girl, “Sorry, I can only give you a pot. I am not allowed to give you a pint because alcohol content is higher.”
I look up, it’s is listed as 8.5%. Now I have to have it. ?I’ll take whatever you can give me.”
She poured me a 580 ml draft glass.
Highly yellow, slightly cloudy. A slight yeasty smell.
It took me half the glass to be able to describe how it tasted. I’ve never tasted a beer like this, it was good, it was real good. I passed the glass around and everyone else had a sip. Then one of my friends (Mark) said it should be a wine not a beer. That’s it! It hits you up front with a sweetness, then the middle tastes like a Chardonnay, the finish is bitter and clean. Very oaky and hard to compare to beer flavors as it doesn’t fit in a beer scale. It has a higher carbonation than normal and is a real enjoyable drink.
With that I will call it a night, I am a bit worn out from travel. I will return to try their anchor beer, Steam Ale and High Tail some other time.
The taxi ride back to my apartment I couldn’t stop thinking about the glass of Oaked Rapunzal I had.
More beers from Aus later