The second of our three offers from Balter currently cooling away in the fridge (Black Metal Disco still on the way), could the Indian Pale Ale here find itself a worthy opponent to the recently crowned King of The IPA's, being the Burleigh Fig Jam? Let's step on the ring and find out!
So in one of my side projects (I have many, I never know when to slow down) my mate Al (yep, a fellow Al) have been working on a podcast called 'Who the hell?'. In a nutshell it's a podcast about finding out more about fascinating people. In our first episode we learnt that Ian Moss from Cold Chisel fame loves to collect red wines. In episode two recorded yesterday, we discovered the amazing story of Balter head brewer Scott Hargrave. And just in time for Christmas, he came baring gifts..
Wow, what a year in beers it's been too. I started off this page as purely an homage to good brews, sipped in the comfort in your own backyard - not realising that by the end of 2017 I'd have tried over 55 of them with most of the notes banged away into respective separate posts for this place.
Not bad for a bloke who only got back into the wonderful world of malt and hops properly earlier this year.
So with the year just about up, let's look back and crown some of the wheat from the chaff, the cream from the crop and the true brews from the small glass buckets of water. Which beers reigned supreme? Lets get the very first 'Beers in my backyard' annual awards underway!
So there was a work do on at my radio station and all the staff were encouraged to introduce themselves to clients and get involved in the eating and drinking (in moderation of course). While I'm not really that great at mingling (I crack more ice breaking jokes than necessary) I'm more than game to do the eating and beer drinking part, especially when there's something on offer I haven't had for a while.
In this case, a couple of bottles of Little Creatures Pale Ale...
Remind me to shop at Dan Murphey's more often - not only do they have far more beers on hand than the local bottle shop, they stock a much more in depth selection of internationals. Like this one with the blotto goat on the front...
So the in-laws have come a visiting and last night we were off to the local tavern for some good chat, a big bowl of ribs and wings and a schooner of water that for some reason came out of a beer tap..
Now it's not often that I get a word or warning about a beer during my weekly trips to the bottle shop (in fact the only other beer selection that got any reaction in my blogging so far was the Estrella Damm that was recommended to me by a woman working in the shop) but on the way out from buying this one, the guy behind the counter uttered 'It's nice, but you couldn't have more than one..' which is a strange thing to say for a beer that is labelled as ready for a drinking session..
When it comes to picking a winning horse in any race, even the race that stops a radio station - The Melbourne Cup - I am completely rubbish at it. Spending more time agonising over which horse has a more powerful and therefore winning name over actually looking up any previous race history or anything useful. So obviously, I didn't pick a winner - but work was quite nice to put on a chicken and champers feast in celebration and preferring a brew over some bubbles, I raided the Friday nights drinks fridge and came up Premium.
Would this one give me that winner feeling?
A mini concert celebrating Australian music. A race against Brisbane traffic. A car boot sale. A couple of sick children. A lost credit card. No it's not a terrible plot outline to a pilot episode of a tv series that will never get off the ground, it formed the basis of my weekend. How I ever managed to find time to sample a Bitburger (actually I wasn't that busy...) is anyone's guess..
A disappointing day today in the Beers In My Backyard HQ - I learnt that the series that was giving me much amusement: The Mist on Netflix - will not be renewed for another season. All that terrible acting going to waste. All that terrifying mist fading into the ether. So many questions left unanswered.
So to console myself I popped the top off a bottle of James Squire Mid River and went for a bit of a Netflix surf to find a suitable replacement. Thankfully I ended up with something that turned out far tastier than the beer selection...
Would you look at this moment - wife and daughter tuckered out from a big day at the local markets, my son keeping himself amused by watching random things on YouTube, the dog warn out from her trip to the dog park this morning, my little barbell workout is done for the day and still a couple of hours til dinner. Conditions are clear (moons and planets and something about druids in alignment and all that) and the afternoon is packing a lovely warmth. Time for a cheeky brew. Time to get the moon out a little early..
It was one of those days where it rained so hard and heavy, all you wanted to do was be inside. But nay, I had to work so it was a fun drive to and from work in the torrential downpour, capped off while trying not to drown myself in the lashing rain while piloting the BBQ.
Did I mention that it truly would have been a terrible day for sailing? Well it would have been. So not being a sailor (at all) I settled for the next best thing. A home made burger and a bottle of Sail and Anchor. Could this brew lift the spirits of my crew (consisting of just me) in the face of truly terrible conditions? Let's find out!
A few months ago I had a great time catching up with the in laws at the Mount Tamborine carnival. Or fair. Or get together. I forget what is was called but it was a nice mix of festival stuff including some cars, rides for the kids and decent food. So when I discovered that the Pacer Pale Ale is made on the mountain (or near it anyway) I figured now was a good a time as any to sample a local brew made just down the road from my place.*
It's been a pretty emotional time in this house over the weekend - my beloved Richmond Tigers made the AFL Grand Final (something that hasn't happened in the last 35 years.) What made it even better was that they really sunk the boots into the Adelaide Crows, won in spectacular style and I got to enjoy three knock out beers in the process!
I didn't buy this beer out of a lorry. It was from a fridge at the local shopping centre.
I also didn't buy this beer from a Jim or a Joe. I think her name was Katherine.
Still as long as it turned out to be a golden ale in the end and not some rogue chardonnay in disguise, I think all can be forgiven.
Let's pop the top and find out..
Fun fact: According to the stats, more Canadian's than Australians have checked out this blog (they're currently 2nd on the list, visitors from the US are miles ahead in number 1 most visited position.) And in absolute pure coincidence today, we're tucking into a Canadian brew and finding out whether it's a worthy salute to our beer drinking brothers and sisters up north.
You know the expression 'brought a sword to a gun fight?' Well on fathers day this year I did the equivalent - I brought a Taiwanese beer to a make your own pizza celebration. How would the mish mashing of flavours and cultures go though?
Another lazy afternoon, another artsy fartsy photo out in the back yard, another brew sacrificed to the beer gods. And this time around I think I've tripped over the perfect beer for Xmas lunch, especially if you skipped on a Christmas tree this year - all in a can that I confuse for one full of orange flavored mineral water...
What do Stevie Nicks, McDonalds, a barbell set and a Chinese phone have in common? Nothing really - they've just all been involved in my day so far. It's exhausting work so far which mean's it's time for a beer!
Well it's been a fun adventure from 8 beers down to one, high flyers to beers that literally left a bad taste in your mouth. From the highest of highs to the average of the lows, how would this last one fare? As a last ditch take down of the Pirate King or best swept under the rug of the ones with the terrible finish?
Ahh glorious, a weekend off. And what better way to spend an afternoon after doing not much in the morning than by doing not much in the arvo too. And after a visit to the local library so my little bloke could continue his assault on the primary school read-a-thon I also came home with some graphic novels to mentally devour.
So here we are out the back with a pale ale and Stephen King's The Stand in graphic novel form. Would the brew be as good as the comic though? Let's get in to it.
Sunday's are supposed to be quiet but of course my latest one wasn't - I was up at 4:45am to battle the non existent traffic of the M1 to make it in time for my radio show where I played a lot of the 80's, reminisced about the 80's (especially how cool I was with my showbag Knight Rider pencil case), almost got collected by some airhead who didn't understand how roundabouts worked, played some Lego Dimensions on the Xbox 360 with my little bloke and when I finally stopped for air I found myself outside at the back table with just the dog for company and a bottle of Endeavour Growers Ale ready to calm my Sunday down.
Would this be the beer that Sundays are made for? Lets slurp and see!
Ahh the land of the long white cloud - I haven't been there forever but on the 6 days I spent over there pretending I was pretty cool on my Contiki trip (I lied and told everyone I was a radio breakfast announcer with my own show...which happened a couple of years later so maybe I knew something?) and remember big nights drinking pint after pint of Monteiths Radler, copious drinking games and trying to get the attention of anything female that moved. Good times.
(Oh and I almost forgot how sick I was for a week after, when my immune system tried to recover from all the damage I'd piled on it while over there.)
So will Monteiths American Pale Ale have me yearning to go back? Let's check shall we?
'I'll have a steamed mountain goat thanks' - not something you'd hear outside of a foreign country with copious mountins whose name will have you tripping over your tongue in your attempts to pronounce it but that's what we're trying this arvo. An organic steamed Mountain Goat. Thankfully I didn't need a sherpa handy to buy one..
A summer beer in winter? Yes there's method to my madness as I'm experiencing a Gold Coast winter which is like spring everywhere else. So very decent weather to get my summer on in the kitchen while I whip up my family famous Mexican salad..
Greetings from the new machine. After a bit of an amusing journey to cobble my new super computer together with bits and pieces from here, there and everywhere I finally have it up and running and to celebrate, let's review The Burleigh 28 California Pale Ale.
I love my wife's way of thinking - needing some swing top lidded bottles for some concoction she's making with tea and something called a scooby (Kombucha for those playing at home) and not impressed with the range at the local Kmart, swung by the local bottle shop for a four pack of Grolsch.
And since she's not a beer drinker in the slightest, it was now up to me to empty the bottles in the best way I knew how. Directly in front of Netflix.
It's been a big weekend of wrenching on the Warwagon, travelling all over town for various bits and pieces and throwing some weights around in the backyard. Ultimately, a good weekend.
So would a Hop Theif keep that happy productive buzz going or leave me with a bitter taste, similar to when a real Theif comes round and helps themselves to your extensive tool collection? Let's find out!
Initial thoughts: In the last few weeks we've had a few beers with flavours that hung around for about as long as any lucky streak I have while playing the pokies. A mouthful of Hop Thief though really carries through and reminds me a lot of the Fig Jam, only with less fruit and overall sweetness. It's mostly hops with a couple of subtle flavours but the mix is good. The hoppiness is at a great level and it's insanely drinkable right out the fridge. This beer is a nice bronze colour with light carbonation and the head hangs around for a few moments to see what's going on. Can'…
In my previous job on the occasional Friday the sales manager (hi Tim!) would walk around with a choice of two beers for staff members to unwind with. I forget what the first one was but the second was usually a Kosciuszko Pale Ale and from memory it didn't go down too badly after a big week. So roughly 9 months on, would sipping this beer take me back to those heady days of trying to get everything done in record time so I could arrive home before the sun went down?
Would I want to climb mountains for the next one?
And if I'm going to climb mountains, does anyone know where my warm gloves are?...
Once in a while my wife likes to cook Salmon for the family and she's bloody good at it too. So last night the latest big question I had to face was: Out of my latest stash of holiday beers, which one would really go well with this fish dish?
For this challenge I decided to head off to China...
While there's still a few days of my holidays left, sadly my brew supply has run dry. So it was off to the closest First Choice liquor store and their limited beer selection to rectify this problem immediately. Here's what ended up in the shopping bag this time around for the next couple of days of sampling, tasting and hopefully enjoying..
For a while I've had it in my head that IPA should for 'Imperial Pale Ale'. How and why I'm not sure (although I might have meshed this up from the Hilltop Hood's song The Sentinel where they mention Imperial Pints) but no, it stands for India Pale Ale and holiday beer number 4 turned out to be one of the best I've ever had...
I had my first experience with red tinged beers at a random jazz bar somewhere where I was part of a rent a crowd shipped in to watch a guy I never met nor can't remember the name of play some jazz. The highlights of the night was spotting Dr Carl from the TV show Neighbours bopping away in the corner and the 'Rusty Reds' or tap.
Or was it 'Rustic reds'?
Regardless it was delicious and long story short I drank a stack of it and went on to make a complete ass of myself on the bus ride home. Good times.
So - will this Fire Falcon have me yearning for a night out to a Jazz club, making an ass of myself again or reigniting my fondness for the red stuff? Let's find out.
On day 2 of my holidays I spent a great half hour attempting to unsuccessfully keep the rubber to the road on a local go kart track. In honour of cutting corners so expertly that I ended up facing the completely wrong direction, I figured I would celebrate in a similar style to F1 great Fernando Alonso...with a home cooked steak dinner and a bottle of Estrella Damm.