Tag Archives: Beer Deluxe

Good Beer Week: that time of year again when beer is had with breakfast

Last year beermen.tv did a truly wild and wacky thing: they put on a breakfast and beer event. This year, it was tied to Good Beer Week and was bigger and badder than ever.

Ten beers were served up with five delectable courses. How did they manage to pull it off? It was great value too – $35 a head was a very reasonable price for so much on offer. Upon arrival, everyone was greeted with the Feral Brewery Golden Ale. I recalled that Brendan Varis, the head brewer was keen on Sorachi Ace hops so when I picked out lemony notes in the beer, I was chuffed to see that yes, the hop in question had been employed – such palate epiphanies are awe-inspiring. My palate is not that great and though it’s slowly improving, it has a loooooong way to go. Good excuse for more beer imbibing? In any case, Golden Ace was quite a refreshing start to the day.

The next beer remains a bit of a personal fave – Bridge Road’s chestnut pilsner. Though some may criticise, I actually like that it’s so variable. The first time I had it, I couldn’t taste any chestnut, but the last time I had before this, it was nothing but roasted chestnutty goodness. Autumn in a bottle. This time around, the chestnut was subtle and sweet and it felt less like a pilsner? It could be the first beer colouring my palate, admittedly.

Then the first course came out and all thoughts of beer dissipated: a smoked trout and lemon myrtle quiche. Fantastic match with the Feral but not too shabby with the chestnut pils either. It was great that they served us our beers, gave us one course between the beers and let our taste guide us to decide which beer matched what food best.

Our next duo of beers was the Red Hill Hop Harvest ale and the 8 Wired Hop Wired.

I’m a massive fan of both, but have to say that the Hop Harvest ale matched the veal sausages with caramelised onion beautifully – the beer really accentuated the caramelisation long after the sausages had been polished off! (note: I’m hoping it’s veal – a few staff members serving didn’t seem to be sure about what they were bringing out. A menu along the beer menu would’ve been awesome for us food blog wanksters)

I think the Hop Wired would have worked on fattier sangas – but that’s just a guess. Half a sausage wasn’t enough: take from that what you will…(I wanted two full ones, ha)

Next up, a beer that is an old friend, Holgate’s Temptress, and a brand spanking new one, Yeastie Boys Rex Attitude – the latter causing quite a bit of dissension amongst the ranks: a fair few folks (brewing industry folk and ‘regular’ punters alike) had a a lot of trouble finishing their Rex Attitude because it was one smoky whatsit. Maybe I’m broken or just in want of more good whisky, but I freaking loved it.

Rex Attitude was my official number one beer for the breakfast, however neither Temptress or Rex suited the dish it was served with – steak and onion on bruschetta.

At this point of the breakfast, a bottle of Holgate’s Empress (a limited release beer that is a divine jazzed up version of their Temptress) was auctioned off for Beyond Blue for the princely sum of three hundred and one dollars. Yea for socially conscious beer lovers *heart swells with pride*!

Dessert time! Darren Robinson of Doctor’s Orders Brewing was on hand to take us through his creation to be served with one of the desserts – his Zephyr. I’m not sure that Doc’s beer matched dessert but wow, it’s summer in a glass. Imagine, stinking hot day, horrible day at work, go to the fridge and quench your thirst with a glass of this…almost makes me long for summer and I loathe summer!

Thankfully, we didn’t have to travel through jungles in the Congo or listen to boring-arse stories by a dude on a boat – no horror whatsoever, just reach for the bottle of Murray’s Heart of Darkness stout, thanks.

It’s pictured by the side of the ‘space beer’ by 4 Pines, the Vostok Stout.

Greedily, I scoffed down my share of rhubarb and ANZAC crumble…

…before moving onto the chocolate sauce pancakes. I confess I cannot tell you which of the stouts were best suited to the pancakes because I was too busy stuffing my face.

There were also plenty on non-beery highlights. I absolutely adore this photo of my #beergirlrage mate Jenn and her glee at winning trivia:

Soon-to-be-leaving (pout) Mountain Goat head brewer Jayne Lewis wearing merch of the ‘competition’, so to speak (as you can gather from the photo, it’s not really like that, is it?)

Mark of beermen.tv explaining how Damo lost a bet and ended up in a rather fetching costume. Details of the bet lost were not divulged…

Two punters consenting to a blind tasting – first of some evil cola soft drinky whatsit then the liquid that united us all.

And what happened to the jolly good sport who lost the beer taste-off…

But wait, that’s not all! Clear out you bastards!

And enjoy your last beer, the Stone and Wood Pacific Ale (formerly draught ale) outdoors (Tristan insisted I use this photo. Sorry).

But be buoyed by Brendan Varis and Shandy never looking so damn happy in his life.

Beer Deluxe did an amazing job with the Hair of the Dog breakfast: the staff were phenomenal, always attentive, helpful and just damn hospitality ninjas. Thanks to all involved as it made for a cracking start to the weekend.

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Good Beer Week: centre aisle seats for tha north…coast

So the guests of honour were supposed to be the North Coast Brewing Company…but they never came.


Not to worry as a cute rockabilly 50s dolled up gal turned up to represent ACME Brewing to serve us beer.

After pulling the appalling starving-artist-girlfriend-damsel-in-distress card, I found myself at Beer Deluxe to sample a few of the brewery’s beers nevertheless for a mere $20. I even got to choose a pretty glass as a souvenir. Previously, I marvelled at The Forum’s beauty, before hiding my pecuniary shame in Federation Square’s Atrium.


Here’s my not so golden ticket – due to yet another bad-workman-blames-his-tools incident, Tristan was not cameraless, but without a functioning one. Thus, my Smartphone of Evil™ came to the rescue.

Man, how good were the staff herding quite the crowd of eager beer samplers, both male and female. In fact, me and fellow #beergirlrage chum @tifdownunder tried to explain to an eager ‘trade’ professional that we did know what we were doing beer-wise and that we were quite happy with the notion of drinking stout (is it not the best weather for it ever at present?!). Alas, he could not be swayed – even when I gently…pressed him for his definition of a masculine and feminine beer, he could provide example of neither.

Come on dude, even in my greenhorn days, I would have said hoppy beers are ‘manly’. He did also seek to educate me upon the supposedly fairer sex having a larger fancy for chocolate. James from Josie Bones outright warned the fellow in question to proceed with caution in relation to us beery gals but he could not be swayed from his quest.

Give me cheese over chocolate any day and you will have me as a friend for life (I understand this may or may not be desirable).

Fellow ABWGer Rick (check out his beer-related writing here) actually did provide me with a better gameplan in regards to my tasting ticket and what order to proceed with sampling the liquid breads, as my best friend calls them.


The samples are small, responsible amounts, and patrons were welcome to purchase larger serves of whatever beer they wanted more of except for a shortage of a few. Rick got me started with the Scrimshaw (pilsner) and the Blue Star (wheat beer). I quite liked the pilsner – immediately conjured up sweltering summer’s day refreshment though Rick and Chris said it was an example of a ‘dirty’ pilsner. Boy, do I have a lot to learn as I didn’t quite get what they meant. Beer swotting time for me.

The Blue Star wheat beer was a pretty dull interpretation of a wheat beer: not much of the aromatics I’m used to (clove, banana, coriander and similar such suspects). Just not thrilling.



Things warmed up though – next up, the Le Merle, a saison. Smelt a bit reminiscent of lambic but was everything you want your traditional farmhouse ale to be. Then I moved onto the Red Seal Ale, a deeply satisfying pale ale: not much to say beer-wankster-wise, really, just that it hit the spot. Pranqster, the golden ale, I suspect I should have tried before the Red Seal? Like I said, I struggled with the order of tasting the samples. Because of the Belgian style heritage that Pranqster claimed, I hopped onto Brother Theolonious – a Belgian style abbey ale.


Still labouring over the existential nausea that was my tasting ticket choice, I had the ACME California pale ale and then their IPA in the wrong order because the cute ACME girl misheard me. I rather enjoyed their IPA.

Left for last were the stouts and what cracking weather for them it was – the Old No. 38 stout and Old Rasputin, the latter being the clear winner. Sadly, we ran out of time and it was not appreciated in its ideal conditions – the stouts were served a tad too cold and couldn’t wait for Old Rasputin to warm up though he was a sexy Russian indeed. No. 38 was pretty unremarkable, incidentally. Surprising but then it did seem like cardboard compared to Old Rasputin, the winner of the session for me.

After advising Tiffany to at least get some of said sexy Russian, it was a mad dash to the train station, alighting at another then hopping onto a tram to get us to the Terminus. Damn, for an American, she sure is transport-savvy, more so than our dear native Tristan.

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ambassadors for the (largely) amber ale

Three men. Twenty (or so) breweries. One apparently large but generous Mexican.

Tom of Mountain Goat fame and Barney and Miro from Beer Deluxe planned a trip to the States, the sole purpose being to sample the best of what the US could throw at these men, from the very lively craft beer scene.

Last Ale Stars we were treated to a slideshow to see where the lads got about to.

By some fluke of nature, I’d got there early on the night and had the good luck to chat to Tom just before the crowd was let into the front bar. He’d said to me that before beer (was there ever a time before?! hehe), he didn’t really have much interest in visiting the States. I nodded in agreement.

Here’s Tom posing as a confident informant with big cans…oh alright then. Those are actually massive brew tanks in the background.

ale stars - beer ambassadors

Inspired by their journey, the beer was chosen to focus on breweries the trio had got to visit.

ale stars - beer ambassadors

(Miro telling the story of the very large Mexican fellow who could have killed him, but provided him with consummate hospitality…overnight)

The nibblies on the night were not going to enough for me, so based upon Mel’s recommendation, I shared the gnocchi on the bar menu with Tris. It did not survive long. RIP gnocchi, we never knew you.

ale stars - beer ambassadors

Tristan took gorgeous photos of the beers sampled on the night but I thought I might just include the photo of all the pretty bottles from which the beer came and include my notes.

Ale Stars Sep 2010 beer lineup

Lagunitas ‘A Little Sumpin’ Sumpin” Ale – the group seemed pretty passionately divided on this one: either it was love, or hate. I personally loved it – didn’t taste like it had 7.3% ABV. A little too chuggable! It uses a mixture of German, European and US hops and softened with wheat to add a ‘bready’ character. The Lagunitas brewery is apparently the size as that of Little Creatures. It also has an infamous car park. I’d say this is a nice entry to hoppy beer.

Avery India Pale Ale – an American IPA. I don’t seem to have many notes on this except ‘very, very bitter’. This is very much in keeping with the West Coast IPA aesthetic as they favour hop flavour over malt. Didn’t quite have as much depth as the first beer sampled though it is possible I just wasn’t used to the bitterness. Been a long time since I had a beer I felt was too bitter for me!

Avery ‘Salvation’ – a collaboration brew with Russian River after realising that both breweries had a beer that had the same name. Rather than have one brewery pull their beer, both blended their ‘Salvations’ and thus we have the result here. Beer is love, folks! This is quite an alcoholic drop at 9% ABV and it’s obvious in the taste, and a little warming. Quite fragrant too.

Left Hand Milk Stout – a bit of a softie as far as stouts are concerned, due to the addition of lactose powder, and not milk. These milk stouts are very, very smooth and silky on the palate. Very aromatic but as far as stouts go, a little thin for my liking. I need to stop drinking those extreme beers perhaps!

It was fantastic to live vicariously (and perhaps with healthier livers!) through our Beer Ambassadors, and wonderful of them to regale us with their tales of beery derring-do. You can read their chronicles on their blog. Naturally, you can read Prof Pilsner’s account (he always gets them up lightning-fast!) and also our beloved Local Taphouse’s too.

Feel free to sift through Tristan’s photos below.

Shandy has one final word for you – make your choice: Jesus or hell?

ale stars - beer ambassadors