Tag Archives: beer reviews

drink’s everywhere but in me

note: I’m sorry it took me so long to make this post live…it’s something of a relic given what the world went through in 2020, and it was written in April 2020! Enjoy!

zine: Paper and Ink #13: Tales From The Bar Side by various contributors
drink: Gimme Da Loot! (7%, 16 fl oz, can) brewed by Revision Brewing Company (Nevada, USA)
music: Jan Jelinek avec Les Exposures, La nouvelle pauvrété (2003)

This afternoon, after making what can only be called the world’s worst bastardisation of a quesadilla, I had somehow managed to make the perfect cup of tea. I use my Red Hill Brewery stein, used THREE teabags of Madame Flavour’s Melbourne Morning blend, put in the perfect dash of milk, took my sad brunch and fabbo brew upstairs…

…then spilt the whole blasted thing because I put down the stein for a minute. Heart: broken.

As I write this, I’m currently waiting for the review beer to thaw out. It was right at the back of the fridge on my shelf (been hiding it deliberately for matching it up to a zine), so more on that later.

a beer can sits upside down inside a glass, draining very slowly

I chose this particular not necessarily for this specific beer, but because at the moment, no one has ‘tales from the bar’. At least, they shouldn’t in my state (Victoria – the isolation restrictions have been stricter than the national ones). Despite this, there was an outbreak at a healthcare location I frequent during a certain time period, so guess who consented to getting their nose…violated. The COVID test isn’t fun but they did give me my (confirmed negative) result in less than 24 hours.

an empty beer can with an illustration of Lenny from The Simpsons, and to its left, the front cover of a zine with an illustration of people playing pool in a pub

The intro by editor Martin Appleby, given this pandemic-stricken world we’re now living in, sounds like utopia to any alcohol wanker:

As you can probably tell from the title of this issue, the theme is bars and pubs. Specifically dive bars, shitty pubs and back alley boozers. Intended as a celebration of these places and the characters you find in them…

Realistically, it’s only been a month and a half that social isolation has been in place, but it feels like five, honestly. Christ, I miss my pub trivia crew. I didn’t even think I’d get to a place of ‘normal’ socialisation to even have one (I’m awkward and unwell, okay? why do you think I drink…? Don’t answer that!)

back cover of a zine on a blonde wood table - photograph of the front of a bar, with a bartender in white's back visible

The beer is fucking amazing. It’s the colour that hazy NEIPAs (New England India Pale Ales) are supposed to be, and I guess in it freezing, the citrus hops retained their flavour, so so juicy. It smells like a mix of orange – specifically blood orange? – grapefruit* rind and the of the fruit just under the surface. Half of the beer is still frozen in the can, by the way.

handwritten beer tasting notes in purple ink in a pocket-sized notebook on top of a zine

Passed the halfway mark of the zine, and pretty impressed with the entries – there’s a lot of poetry, and some really good short fiction pieces which go in places you weren’t quite expecting. For some reason, I thought this theme would attract a lot of try-hards playing up how drunk they can get, but so far, the seediness in many of the pieces feels authentic. My favourite piece is about a woman who lures attractive young men to her local, same time, same place, every week. The selections do celebrate rather than (pun intended) take the piss out of the dodgy familiars at bars or pubs that perpetually smell of urine and cigarette smoke. The contributors are generally from the US or the UK, and it makes me happy that the gender balance seems to be about 50/50. It’s also great to see some names that aren’t typically Caucasian!

The beer still isn’t melting all that fast, and given that it’s autumn proper, I’m not really surprised.

a beer placed at a tilt, filling the glass it's partially in with beer, next to a kitchen stovetop

Bloody hell, this is like waiting for Godot…I’ve finished reading the zine and my recommendation is check the website and see if there are still copies…or perhaps I just did that and sadly, looks like stock is all gone.

a beer can on an oil heater/radiator in front of a chest of drawers where books and other alcoholic paraphernalia can be seen

I guess the best endorsement I can give the zine is it really makes me miss reading at my local/s (I’ve got two in walking distance!) with a damn good book, and sneaking in a pint…or three. It also reminded me a lot of Patrick deWitt’s novella Ablutions which is a pretty 80s bloky bartender with various addiction issues and dysfunctions.

The remaining bit of the beer eventually melted…into beer-coloured water. It took forever to melt because in this part of the world we’re hitting autumn proper. (please don’t judge me on my thawing method or the messiness of my room.)

I love that the ‘loot’ on the cans are sacks, labelled with the hops used in this beer (Mosaic, Amarillo, Galaxy, and Citra). I’m trying not to go all beer wanker talking about this beer because I’ve been more about the spirits and cheap red, and christ, there are squillions of hop varieties that do all sorts of things to make the beer taste the way it does (self-promo! I found out when researching for the Australian and New Zealand chapter of this book; internationals are super keen for the hops in this region).

Omg, did I totally miss an opportunity to make a Corona beer-Coronavirus joke?! Yes, yes I did. My dopey humour is out-of-practice: must be all that work trying to finish Hilary Mantel’s 900-page finale to her Thomas Cromwell trilogy (she is one of the few authors to win the Man Booker Prize for her previous two) before May starts. I FKN DID IT.

*if you’re on medication that you take regularly, make sure you can have grapefruit and/or its juice if you’re lucky enough to be drinking swanky cocktails in isolation – it can be listed as a contraindication. This beer doesn’t have grapefruit juice in it but worth mentioning because I totally forget and am supposed to avoid it

Please follow and like us:

spoiler: there’s nothing about cellos

There were loads of things I intended to do today, but I got caught in reediting/reformatting a work-in-progress Dantean circle of hell. Hardly surprising…often (personal experience with poems over prose) a supposedly ‘final draft/version’ of something will still nag, and I’ll stupidly believe that I can fix it.

With poems, you have to make a decision at some stage to actually stop. Maybe it’s like social drinking? You know how much is going to hurt you the morning after, but that doesn’t always mean you stop…

zine: Play My Cello issue 1 by Astrid (2011)

drink: Tangerine Dream Altocumulus dry hopped tangerine Berliner weisse (4.4% ABV, 355mL can) by Sailors Grave Brewing (Orbost, VIC)

music: Insen by alva noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto

As a result of fretting over another hardcore edit, it’s a tad difficult to wind down. I tried watching The Mighty Boosh but its ridiculous racist/transphobic jokes and appropriation bug me so much, and it makes me feel like a killjoy. Yeah yeah, I know it’s a cult classic and all, and it’s different today, but for fuck’s sake, they do blackface. I started watching London Spy which so far, is fucking fantastic and tantalisingly slow but also makes me wish someone could do a Merthur fanfic crossover/rewrite (yeah, sorry, I’m sad and have no life).

Anyway, the zine. The creator has the most beautiful, uniform capital letter handwriting ever. I mean it! How on earth did they get it to be like that?! There’s a few photos and collages, but the zine is mainly made up of vignettes about life or life-like imaginings with photos. There’s also a double-page chart with comprehensive cider reviews! It just comes out of nowhere, yea!

It’s probably no secret by now (especially if you’ve ever read my Froth reviews) that I loooooove Sailors Grave beer. They do so much weird, wonderful shit. I’ve this one before. The can notes say it’s dry hopped with Amarillo and Cascade hops, and has tangerines and cumquats. It’s also given me a delightful buzz (yes, seriously, just from the one can?!)

As I try to wind down, I put on a gorgeous minimal techno album I’ve been listening to a little this week as noted above. I’ve used it as one of my ‘sleep’ albums…it’s perfect late-night lone listening. My only complaint is that it’s too short…I kind of want it to be a 3-hour set and lull me to sleep. I love glitchy music, and am so ready to blissfully crash now thanks to the beer, so maybe it’s okay.

Please follow and like us:

waiter, there’s some coffee in my beer

Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Breakfast.

I’d never had it, despite having had its newer sibling Beer Geek Brunch and a couple of its variants. How odd. So when I went to pick up a bottle of Beer Hop Breakfast (stay with me…) and saw that Beer Geek Breakfast was available, I grabbed a bottle.

Beer Geek Breakfast is supposed to be special because of the addition of ‘gourmet’ coffee. It’s too bad they don’t actually specify what coffee – don’t they know some people are sensitive about this sort of thing?! I mean, come on, we’re avid (or rabid?) coffee snobs here in Melbourne.

This imperial stout is rich, but smooth. Whatever the coffee may be, it is very prominent and complements the beer well. I was quite surprised that it’s actually got a fairly savoury finish – the coffee taste lingers on after you’ve swallowed. For some reason, I was expecting it to be sweeter. As you can see above, it’s very dark and completely opaque. The head is lighter than that of the Brunch. Unlike the Brunch, I think I would actually drink this with breakfast. The Beer Geek Brunch I would leave for the end of an evening.

As can be imagined, the newish Beer Hop Breakfast is very bitter. It’s a curious bitterness given that the stout and coffee compete in the flavour too. I find this a less savoury beer than the Beer Geek Breakfast and a little less coffeeish. I don’t think it’s limited to hopheads for enjoyment and full appreciation, but admittedly it is a challenging beer. Thinner mouthfeel than its vanilla sibling. My head is still twisted due to the fact that one doesn’t really expect coffee, hop bitterness and oatmeal stout to work. Am beginning to think that Mikkeller’s head brewer has signed some awesome pact with the devil…or perhaps with Bacchus. Truly – can the fellow do no wrong?

Please follow and like us: