Tag Archives: beer zine

not so pale in comparison

You might recall a while back I posted a review of a Melbourne-based beer (!!!) zine called Stubby Buddy that I happened upon in Sticky Institute’s mail order department. At the time, I actually purchased volumes 1 and 2. My fellow Melburnian beer blogging chums @jayelde of Beer Bar Band and @jkr442 of The Salving Font were speculating about the third volume’s release. I jumped into the Twitter conversation and said, oh wow, do you guys know about that zine too?!

Turns out they found out about it on this here humble blog, and gently pressed for a review of the second volume, so now’s the time to oblige them.

Stubby Buddy zine vol 2

Though the zine as a medium is usually a publication put out for general fun and enjoyment, again, just like in volume 2 of Stubby Buddy, you would be remiss to think it an amateur publication. Before we get to the meat of the zine (pale ale reviews), there’s an intro discussing the then recent liquor licensing laws that have affected the livelihood of small night venues that have live entertainment. Most notably affected by this was stalwart music venue The Tote in Collingwood which is now back in operation.

Then we get a sneak peak into the head of Dave Bonington, the brewer and co-founder of Mountain Goat Brewery in Richmond. This got me all excited because the Stubby Buddy staff interview him about their organic Steam Ale (which I enjoyed a fair few pints of before winter kicked in, ooh yes!). It’s excellent timing for me as Dave will be a guest at the next Local Taphouse St Kilda Ale Stars on July 20th.

After the interview, they give ratings on the Mountain Goat range – in fact, they rate my favourites the Steam Ale and the Surefoot Stout quite highly. I know true beer drinkers love the Hightail Ale but it’s still too heavy for me. Incidentally, the zinesters offer an excellent tip – try Hightail Ale with Surefoot Stout for an ‘awesome black-and-tan’. Wonder if the Goat will make one up for me if I go down? I’ll be sure to ask!

The first issue had a few cider reviews, and this issue has expanded on it. They review some of the more well-known suspects like Coldstream, Pipsqueak and Mercury and have a whole bunch of ones I’ve never heard of. I especially want to try Rahona Valley Vineyard’s Bob’s cider – a super dry at a whopping 10.2%! Anybody know where I can get it?

If you don’t know all that much about pale ales, don’t fret as there’s a page devoted to the appropriate schooling in which they manage to take good-natured digs at everyone – apparently the French make up for their cowardice with good booze as is evidence by a more fiddly version of the pale ale, the bière de garde (which would translate fairly literally as ‘beer for keeping’. Atticus Finch’s inaugural Beer School taught me that it’s quite nourishing for the working peasants). They also refer to Little Creatures as ‘girly’.

Then the reviews – very, very extensive and entertaining. I laughed out loud upon reading the following description of my previously loved Coopers Pale Ale (I am now a true man: I prefer the sparkling. There’s hope for me yet!)

Lacks depth but is very accessible. Like U2. Can’t be edgy anymore because it’s too popular. Kudos for being able to cellar it. Good bang for the buck.

I laughed so much at the U2 comparison that I made my better half stop his grown-up programmadore coding and listen as I read it out aloud. Still, I have a soft spot for the Coopers Pale Ale. I drank many a six-pack in the first summer I discovered the radness that was non-commercial beer (yes, yes, I realise Coopers is fairly commercial…cut me some slack, I’m talking about my n00b days…).

Many of the reviews on the beers and ciders are like this – cheeky, a little bit technical and to the point. There’s also a good article on Victorian pub pool rules, some beer snacks and the column ‘Barfly’s Rant’. I may have forgotten to mention that the back page is handy too – photocopy it and keep it on your person next time you go out for a serious tipple…

Stubby Buddy, back cover

This bit you might like to keep on your fridge – after you’ve filled it out.

Stubby Buddy, back cover

If you want to get in touch with the writers and give them your love, they are reachable on stubbybuddyzine at gmail dot com or check out the Facebook fan page.

a pithy guide to the Australian beer scene in zine form

Stubby Buddy vol. 1

Beer week continues! For your enjoyment today, we have a zine review on beer. It seems there’s a zine dedicated to just about everything!

As is usual whenever I’m browsing the Sticky Institute website, I start off by wanting to order one zine, and then leaving with seven or so in my online shopping cart. I was pretty gleeful when I saw a zine about beer and that it was selling for *one cent*. Mistakenly, I assumed it was going to be pretty bad but hey, who can complain at one cent, really?

Stubby Buddy is excellent, and the people who write it are articulate and clearly know what they’re on about. Their information is current and addresses issues in the beer industry that affect consumers right now. The first piece discusses the phenomenon of ‘low carb’ beer and cider and how commercial breweries are pushing these ‘products’ as the next big thing to snare the punters. Judging by this discussion, the zine was written just before summer 2009 got started.

The meat of the zine is devoted to beer reviews and there are plenty, mainly from various craft brewers around Australia, with a few international beer reviews peppered in between. Both Buzz and Bumble (the nicknames of our humble contributors) rate each beer out of five and state that anything with a three or above is “a fine and decent drop”. They also have a couple of cider reviews – hopefully they’ll have a few more next issue.

After the reviews, a brief history of Australian beer is given. I was quite surprised to learn that “at first beer wasn’t that popular. Rum was the preferred method of getting shitfaced.”, like in the West Indies (my father tells me that there rum is cheaper than beer so everyone drinks rum ‘back home’). This article had me giggling all the way through.

The column ‘Barfly’s Rant’ is spot on. Barfly goes on to list ten drinks that are overrated but are continually ordered by misinformed party animals. There are some pretty dodgy suspects on the list, and one item used to be an old fave of mine *winces*. It’s kind of cool, looking into the mind of a bartender and finding out what their bugbears are. If you ever read the zine and guess what my old fave is, I’ll buy you a beer.

Stubby Buddy can be purchased online or instore at Sticky Institute, city, Melbourne. I purchased volume 2 with this first one and will be keeping an eye out for future volumes as it’s of an excellent standard, and lots of fun. Stay tuned for a review of volume 2.