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Category Archives: Drunken Traveler

Even More Down Underer

Even More Down Underer

Aussie Beer Part 3

For the sake of you, the readers, I have been very busy sacrificing myself, both time and effort, to try every Australian beer I can find.

Let me tell you the American dollar exchange rate is really low. The lowest it’s ever been on all my trips down here. It is right at $1.00 US equals $1.00 Australian. That may sound good to you. Let me explain why it’s bad. In the US an average 6 pack of premium beer is approximately $6.00. With an even 1 for 1 exchange it makes the calculating and money conversion easier. A typical 6 pack of local Australian beer is $18.00. That’s either US dollars or Australian dollars. An average pint of beer in a bar or restaurant is $7.00, which is closer to average and doesn’t quite have as much of a kick in the groin as buying a 6 pack at a discount bottle shop.

Whilst perusing the local bottle shop trying to recover from sticker shock. I found a local beer that was a bit cheaper ($13.00) than the others. Its unique name, Blue Tongue beer, caught my eye. This is a very light lager with a really clean crisp taste, and followed delightful soft citrus. But, it still maintains that slight import aftertaste that I seek out to diferentiate it from the tasteless white American lagers. A beer you could drink all night and easily quaffed at the coldest of temperatures.

My next beer I discovered while on a dinner trip over to St. Kilda’s. St. Kilda’s is a small beach front town about 10 miles outside of Melbourne along Phillips Bay, perfect for sitting at a beach front café and enjoying a pint of the amber life. I arrived at the Stokehouse Restaurant for a good seafood dinner. I saw a new beer I haven’t heard of; The Chief, 6.3% ABV, slightly darker amber, with a really sweet and slightly yeasty finish. Brewed by 2 Brothers brewery in Moorabbin Bayside, approximately 20 miles south east of Melbourne along the coast of Phillips Bay. This is a smooth Marzen, real good slight caramel in the middle and real sweet finish. I turned it toward a few of my mates and they all loved it as well.

~DT

 
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Posted by on January 24, 2011 in Beer, Beer Tasting, Drunken Traveler

 

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Aussie Beer – The Sequel!

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

~DT

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2011 in Beer, Beer Tasting, Drunken Traveler

 

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Drunken Traveler Down Under

Drunken Traveler here

Now reporting from Down Under in the City of Melbourne, Australia.

Australia is known for a few thing, beautiful women, the Great Barrier Reef, and beer.

I have now visited Australia several time, each time is a joy.

Melbourne is a beautiful city, in the most southern tip in the state of Victoria. The people here are more friendly than I have experienced anywhere else.

First things first. I have never seen an oil can of Fosters here, ever.

Their national beer is Victoria Bitters, or VB. It is a full flavored but not a bitter at all. It is a lager, with full flavor served extremely cold and will quench any beer thirst you may have. Famously called, “stubbies” as the traditional 375 brown bottle it’s served in is a short, fat-looking bottle. Other servlets are “tinny” (375 mL aluminum can), the 750 mL bottle known variously as “Long Necks”, “Tall boys” or “King Browns,” and the 250 mL bottle known as “Twisties”, “Throw-downs” or “Throwies,” and “Grenades”. Of course, VB also comes on draught in almost every local pub in Australia.

VB Is the Budweiser of Australia, but Bud only wishes it has this much flavor. Brewed by the Carlton & United Beverages Breweries, which is Now Owned by the Fosters Group.

A few words on beer related items down here.

A pint is still a pint, but a pitcher is a jug. A small beer (why bother) is called a pot, and a case is a slab.

One of my favorite beers down here is Cascade. It is actually brewed in Tasmania, which is an Australia territory so yes, it is still Australian beer. It’s is very clean crisp lager, great amount of bitterness and citrus finish. Brewed in Hobart at Cascade Brewery is Australia’s oldest beer. It has changed hands several times and has experienced sales drops each time a new owner has purchased it. But, has become one of the staple beers and well deserving of a great national beer.

I have more beer to drink and hunt down a brewery or 2 on the way.

Cheers,

~DT

 
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Posted by on January 18, 2011 in Beer, Beer Tasting, Drunken Traveler

 

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Gorden Biersch – Visted by The Drunken Traveller

Drunk Traveler once again,

With my extended stay in South Florida, I decided to make a short hop over to Gordon Biersch on Brickell Ave. in Downtown Miami. My first impressions did not fare well, as I walked in the front door the hostess walked right past me out the door, without even a greeting.   I meandered about and found my way to the bar.   

Surprisingly for a Saturday evening the place was practically empty.  A bar that seats nearly 30, held only four other patrons handful of 5-6 tables with other dinner guests.   None the less, I asked my bartender  for a beer menu.  I promised not to disclose my bartenders name as I am going to divulge some disturbing words here in just a few moments.

The beer menu had a base of  6 regular brews. I went straight for the Hefeweizen.   Now Gordon Biersch has a very strict policy as described on their website as complying with the Reinheitsgebot (Germany’s beer purity law), which strictly limits that beer can be made from ONLY three ingredients; water, grains, and hops.  Later the fourth ingredient was allowed only after the discovery of yeast by Louis Pasture. There are so many things wrong with their beer that I am just going to jump right in.  

The Hefeweizen is brewed with banana peel and cloves added.  I do not like either in beer.  The beer was served way too cold, their keg room is set at 37 degrees Fahrenheit (I guessed 38˚ but I was corrected by the manager).   Plus they have added artificial carbonation! While I was sipping and trying to get the first pint down, I struck up a conversation with the nameless bartender. I asked a myriad of questions about the brewery, and each brew.  I was shocked at how little he and everyone else (wait staff and other bartenders) knew about beer in general! 

I began to explain the whole purity law and brewing process, I described the two main beer styles — ales and lagers. I then expanded from there into the 18 accepted styles of beers, such as wheat, lambics, pale ales, bitters, porters, bocks etc.  An audience started gather and it soon turned into a beer class.  

If you work in a macro brewery I would think you would know some simple basics about beer, like the difference between an ale and a lager, but at this location no one knew anything. As I continued the beer class, I went for the next pint.  This time I choose the marzen a very traditional German style beer.  It was very good.  Again way too cold and carbonated, but with that aside the flavors and light caramels gently passed my taste buds with a hint of fresh hops.  I would order this again if given the opportunity. The lessons continued as I sipped the marzen.

I noticed sweat rolling off of the taps and cringed, knowing the beer is being dispensed way too cold.  Miami at this time is under a very cool spell and with only 48% humidity this condensation on taps is highly irregular.   This is when I found out that all their beer is stored at the same temperature (37˚). 

I finished my burger and noticed a different tag on a tap I had not notice before;  FestBier.  The bartender quickly gave me a 4 once sample and explained it was the last remaining keg from their October (seasonal) beer which they called October Fest.  This was a fantastic tasting beer,  I would not dare call it an Octoberfest, though. that would only insult every German on the planet.   It was, however, a very light, clean, and crisp lager — nearly a pilsner.  I would think every idiotic American who chugs down countless beers during a Monday Night football game would love this beer.  It should be their anchor beer for the non-beer aficionados.  The establishment doesn’t see it that way (or shall I say my way).    

Moving on, I promised my tender I would save their WinterBrew for last. Weihnactsbockbier,  OG = 18,  ABV= 7.5%. A dark beer, listed as a bock,  described as having a smooth and nutty taste and finish with Christmas spices.   The brew was served in a very large-mouthed mug and extremely cold (like everything else).  I took a sip.  Nearly tasteless.  I waited 20 minutes or so for it too warm up just a bit, to around 42˚.  Small sips and yes, it began to release it very smooth nuttiness.  A clean finish.  Not expected from this nearly black beer. This beer I would order as a finishing toast of the evening with friends.  

If I wasn’t educated and self proclaimed as a beer lover and enthusiast, these beers would would have been very good.   Commercial establishments such as Gordon Biersch don’t provide the facilities to store different styles of beer at different temperatures because they don’t have people like me walking in and providing judgment on a high scale.  If given the opportunity I will visit a Gordon Biersch Restaurant again, but I will be prepared and not have such a high expectation. 

~DT

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2010 in Beer, Beer Tasting, Drunken Traveler

 

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Can the Drunken Traveller Find Hoppiness in Key Biscayne? Oh, yes!

Drunken Traveler, here again,

Packed up the company van with all my equipment and headed south on I-95 5 ½ hours to leave the cold weather behind.  Arriving on Key Biscayne for my next jaunt.   I am sleeping at the Hyatt Regency Miami Beach and working on Key Biscayne. Two weeks on Key Biscayne providing electronic scoring for a tennis tournament in December, not a bad gig.

Jeff my bartender at the Pure Verde bar, looked at me and immediately remembered my brew of choice as Key West – Sunset Ale.  A very clean and crisp refreshing beer.  A pale color with a slight citrus finish.   This beer is so clean it has qualities of a pilsner or white American lager.   I do believe that it was served colder than it should have, I am guess at 36 degrees when it should be closer to 42.  The warmer serving temperature would bring out the small amount of caramel malts, none the less it is an excellent beer at any temperature.  I can definitely see myself drinking this on a hot summer day.
 
Florida Beer, located in Melbourne Florida can be found at  http://www.floridabeer.com.
 
If you make it to Miami, a trip to the Hyatt Regency and Pure Verde is highly recommended.  Ask for Jeff and a pint of Key West – Sunset Ale, then you must pair it with their Blacked Swordfish dish which is accompanied by a sweet lobster and corn ragoût with mashed sweet potatoes.   http://miamiregency.hyatt.com/hyatt/hotels/entertainment/lounges/index.jsp#100099
 
 
~DT

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2010 in Beer, Beer Tasting, Drunken Traveler

 

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