Tag Archives: Bright Brewery

2017 book and beer chums

While I continue to finish up filling in gaps as hinted at over here, and partially filled here, 2017 book-and-beer matches! I embarrassingly keep a spreadsheet of this sort of thing, because it seems like a good idea when you read, drink and then have to remember or retrace your steps a lot.


issue #15 (Feb 2017)

BOOK: Books vs. cigarettes by George Orwell

BEER: Mountain Goat (Melb, AUS) Rare Breed ‘Pulped Fiction’ blood orange IPA

notes: the ‘Romance’ issue, so pairing good lit with good booze seemed pretty romantic to me. Learnt way more than I wanted to about the hygiene in French hospitals during early twentieth-century warfare, as well as a cool (or not, ha, ha, ha…anyway) unit to measure temperature that wasn’t the Kelvin (think it was this one), and Orwell did not have a happy childhood. His experiences at boarding school, and of being a partial scholarship recipient sounded awful – though, perhaps that’s testament to his skill in describing and conveying human behaviour.

issue #16 (Mar 2017)

BOOK: Ablutions by Patrick deWitt

BEER: TWO, gasp! Doctor’s Orders (Sydney, AUS) ‘Fleshwound’ & Brasserie Fantôme (Wallonia, BELG) India red ale.

notes: As of late last year, I just read Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential and feel like this novella is the dive bartender companion in that it describes some of the clientele and professionals in the industry in the late 80s-maybe early 90s. Both books are hilarious, and reading deWitt’s barman narrative makes it hard to ignore speculation on just how intimate he is with their way of life…it’s also a quick read. I’m not sure how on earth I managed to stretch out two good bottles of beer (not exactly small ones either…500mL and 750mL respectively!) to cover my reading period. I gobbled up this book.

issue #17 (Apr 2017)

BOOK: The Kraken Wakes by John Wyndham

BEER: Sierra Nevada (USA) ‘Narwhal’ barrel-aged imperial stout

notes: I’d somehow managed to find myself a new sharehouse to live, and completed this B&B way before things started to get awful. Froth ed gave me a bottle of the ‘Narwhal’ and trying to ignore that various beer sirens were singing, I read Wyndham’s classic with it. The book is scarily not as dated as it should feel. One of my favourite memories of growing up in England was watching Chocky, which is based on Wyndham’s book of the same name. Most of his famous titles are on booklists as examples of excellent speculative fiction – which I’m hoping to read more of this year (2018).

issue #18 (May 2017)

BOOK: Difficult Women by Roxane Gay

BEER: SPARKKE (Adelaide, AUS) ginger beer, pilsener, hard lemonade, cider

notes: Had started reading this late for a WMN book club meeting, and due to deadlines and a performance I was rehearsing for, didn’t actually get to read and drink at the same time. At the time, no one knew that I was going into hospital for depression (I went straight after the performance wrapped up, and given you can’t drink booze in hospital, there was no B&B for June).

It wasn’t a good month, but Emily and Clint getting a copy of Froth and the piece about Difficult Women signed by THE AUTHOR got me so excited, I had to get sleepers to properly knock me out that night in hospital (they didn’t know I was in, that’s why it’s so funny. Also first time in my life I’ve nearly puked in excitement!).

I wrote a funny bit of dialogue about how my mother, in unintentional Asian tiger mum mode, completely doused my excitement with a metaphysical wet blanket when I told her about what Em and Clint had done. She is, however, being a Magpies supporter, very proud of my brother driving the hearse for a former footballer who was granted a state funeral around the same time. But seriously, it wasn’t a good time of the year and photos of Roxane even holding Froth…it felt like an amazingly surreal and wonderful thing to happen and cling onto. We all have our s/hero/i/n/e/s! <3

(NB. 1. I don’t want to drive anyone’s hearse, famous or not. It does actually sound quite nerve-wracking & 2. Sparkke have since added TWO beverages to their core range, f*ck yeah! 3. I clearly need to up my game as an Asian daughter)

issue #20 (Jul 2017)

BOOK: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

BEER: 4 Pines (Syd, AUS) cherry coconut brown ale

notes: Another WNM book club selection, which I’d read way after the meeting. It’s been on my to-read list for years, and still haven’t seen its TV adaptation, which is apparently really good as well as quite different from the book. I knew it’d be full-on, so chose a beer to get me through its darkness (it did). Also loved what Clint did with the colour scheme of the woman’s garments.

issue #21 (Aug 2017)

BOOK: The Woman In White by Wilkie Collins

BEER: Bright Brewery (Bright, VIC) ‘Stubborn Russian’ imperial stout

notes: It was so much fun writing this, and getting to hang out in Bright despite the fact that it was actually freezing (one morning the hot water system froze over so it took a while to get it going!). Met some faithful Froth readers, who I again bumped into on New Year’s Eve last year, and keep trying to invent reasons to go back up to Bright. and they do kickarse things like raise awareness of important issues, whilst having fun! James & Jenn were fab hosts, as were their two kittehs!

issue #22 (Sep 2017)

BOOK: Wasted: a story of alcohol, grief, and a death in Brisbane by Elspeth Muir

BEER: Shenanigans Brewing (AUS) ‘Flower Power’ grisette

notes: um, risky choice of book when you write for an alcohol mag, BUT both the beer and the book evoked all those pre-summer feels when the flowers are starting to show, and scents of life become more intense. So, a memoir that deals with the death of a family member, and drinking culture in Australia had to go with a beer that is intensely low ABV-wise. It was also the beginning of a three-month stint in Northcote living with two magical creatives, and a cranky-as-fuck tabby. It was the most happy and productive period of my life I’ve had in a reeeeeeeeeeally long time. I love you Danni & Lolly (and Maddy-cat).

issue #23 (Oct 2017)

BOOK: A Horse Walks Into A Bar by David Grossman (translated from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen)

BEER: Coconspirators Brewing (Melb, AUS) ‘The Bookie’ pale ale

notes: second month of the Northcote sublet, and I found myself starting to go on dates. I met one gorgeous person a while back who didn’t at all like me, and he was mega into film. I’m hopeless with films, but I recall his pretending to sound like a gangster (no, not like an African one that supposedly terrorises Melbourne, whatevs, stupid fucking out-of-touch-with-the-twenty-first-century federal government), and what a hoot this book and beer were! Clint also designs for this Melb-based brewery, who are doing some delish fabbo things. Fond memories!

issue #24 (Nov 2017)

BOOK: A Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

BEER: Two Birds’ Brewing (Melb, AUS) ‘Passion Victim’ summer ale

notes: my last month in Northcote, and my housie Danni was such a sweetie, helping me take profesh photo where the month’s book and empty beer cans are popping out of a showbag!* I cackled out loud reading the book, and chose the beer because summer was coming, and it had Galaxy hops! It also reminded me of how much I miss the sciences. Adams clearly revels in knowledge, in a not-talk-down-to-others kind of way, but in a way that can’t help but infect you with a passion (har har) for the intersections of several disciplines.

*from a Froth launch

issue #25 (Dec 2017-Jan 2018)

BOOK: It’s Raining in Mango by Thea Astley

BEER: Sailors’ Grave (Orbost, AUS) peach melba pavlova cream sour

notes: having found myself in a somewhat oppressive living sitch, I had to lock myself in my room for a day to even read this book, which I totally chose on a whim but is wonderful – why isn’t it better known?! The reviewing beer bit was much easier, though also tricky given I was rehearsing like crazy for a performance. I got asked to leave that sharehouse whilst on a date, sigh. That sucked pretty hardcore. I’m thankfully still friends with the other housemate who is a wonderful human (them and their partner very nearly had to deal with my embarrassed tearful arse after going home from said date).

It was…a character-building year. Got my heart broken a few times, and made some really good, close friends. Hopefully 2018 will mean not having to be hospitalised, and not missing contributing to a single issue of Froth! I might go back and edit these later to reflect the respective themes of each issue (was lax with that, whoops) – this post is already longer than I would’ve preferred.

breakfast, bee stings and beer at Bright

Weirdly enough, there weren’t as many sore heads after the Bridge Road Brewery / Tanswells pub jaunt. Most of us managed to stumble on down to help ourselves to breakfast. The plan was then to get back on the bus and head to the Bright Brewery, which is conveniently located in the town of Bright.

A few of us took the opportunity to use our post-breakfast time to have our wallets violated by the local Beechworth Sweet Shop. The fudge from there was delicious and comes in all sorts of flavours but I was attracted by the more gimmicky fare on offer…

Pop Rocks

They did have a lot of other things that took me back to my British childhood. I safely opted not to buy such sweets so as not to cause financial and dental ruin.

Seeing as that wasn’t enough, we also bought out all the large fabled Beechworth Bakery bee stings (good work, Ryan!). I’m not much of a sweet tooth (anymore) but I bought a small one to see what the fuss was about. I’m really glad I got one – they’re actually not that sweet. They have a cream filling and have honey on top which is then sprinkled with almonds. If you’re in the area, you should definitely have one.


We headed back to Bridge Road Brewery around the corner and waited for the buses to pick us up. It turned out that we had managed to ‘lose’ two of our party. Not being able to get in touch with them, we circled some popular spots in Beechworth before deciding we really had to leave for Bright – but not before everyone stocked up with ‘travellers’. I can’t believe people were actually finishing 6-packs en route to another brewery. Some of these folks have stamina.

When we arrived, the head brewer Scott Brandon was on hand to greet us and give us a tour. It’s a very different set-up to Bridge Road Brewery. Most of their equipment was purchased secondhand from a Japanese brewery that had shut down. Pretty cool!

dave from bright brewery

At this stage, I will confess that it was very hard to concentrate – having to ‘enjoy’ a tasting paddle in a somewhat rushed time period may have been responsible for this…no doubt the staff had to work their arses off for thirty hungry and thirsty punters.

When you get your paddle, start with this side. Lightest to darkest is usually a good rule of thumb! From left to right we have: Hellfire amber ale, Bright lager, and Razor witbier. I have to confess that these didn’t do much for me, even though I’ve enjoyed the Razor on several occasions.


What can I say, I like darkies.

From left to right – Staircase porter (my favourite drop from Bright Brewery), Fainters dubbel (this one will hit you for six!) and the Brewers’ Choice (Winter Warmer stout). Ale Tsar Shandy got his growler filled with Staircase porter which was an excellent choice. Too bad the manky whatsit didn’t share on the way home…


The only thing soaking up the beer was nachos. Most people chose pizza as there were several flavours to choose from. Having had pizza the day before, I wasn’t in the mood for it. It’s a sad day when you realise just how much of a food blogger wankster you’ve become. Anyway, nachos – delicious. Enough for two? You bet! I know the brewery’s not really set up to feed so many people so quickly, but there were a fair few road trippers who waited a very long time for food. Our friend R didn’t get his kransky at all though was refunded. Naturally, there was much joking about a man and his wait for a sausage.


But wait, that’s not all! Scott, the head brewer, decided to treat us all to a special drop. It was sweet and had hints of stronger spirits and their barrels. As requested by the brewery, you didn’t hear it from me… *wink*

One reason Bright Brewery is worth visiting is that they have these fab mini-kegs that you can buy and take with you! I really wanted to get a Staircase porter one, yum. One of the benefits of the mini-keg is that the beer is super fresh. When possible, beer from a keg is always nicer than from the bottle.

It was finally time to head off home to Melbourne but not before a stopover at Milawa for some serious cheese tasting and shopping! Some other men bought sausages. Shandy proclaimed quite loudly that the procuring of beestings and cheese would result in some pleasures of the flesh.

Our faithful drivers safely deposited us elsewhere as they headed back to St Kilda. I freaking love The Local Taphouse, in case you couldn’t tell. So much so that I’ve decided to include a ‘we love beer’ widget on the blog so you can check out not just The Local Taphouse’s blog (and you should if you enjoy attending beery events), but also to other well-loved (by me at least!) beery folk.

Beechworth Bakery on Urbanspoon Bright Brewery on Urbanspoon

beer, breakfast, and three men drinking better beer

Beer Expo posters

(picture is of some promotional posters snapped at previous evening’s beer showcase as part of AIBA)

Beer and breakfast.

No, it does not sound like a marriage made in heaven.

However, I’m not a stranger to having beer in early part of the day. When I used to live in North Melbourne, I lived with an excellent homebrewer who had kegs and taps and everything. I was living the drunkard poetaster dream. One morning (8am or so), two of us woke up to discover that due to roadworks in the area we had no water.

We got water back at 3pm. Shall I let you connect the dots?

So no stranger to beer and breakfast, I went along to the ‘Hair of the Dog’ Breakfast at Beer Deluxe hosted by beermen.tv. I’m an avid hater of long, talky podcasts (though beermen.tv are really a ‘vodcast’ – that term doesn’t have much popularity though) but indebted to Todd of beermen.tv for kindly e-mailing some beer tasting notes my way (the term ‘mouthfeel’ is actually starting to creep in to my beer vocabulary and it feels goooood).

Being a little late, we were rushed through the door and sat down – it was a full house. Upon arrival, a glass of Mountain Goat’s organic steam ale, a beer I’ve enjoyed plenty of. Argue with me if you like, but this beer tastes markedly different on tap to what it’s like from the bottle and I prefer the latter. Don’t stone me yet though. Better yet, go and buy a 6-pack of it to drink, and then pay the Mountain Goat brewery in Richmond a visit and compare.

First course was already up as we rushed to our seats. Everything was too fast and furious for me to take notes on the dishes, so I’ve cheated and pinched a bit of info off James’ blog post whose blog you should all be reading anyway. I feel pretty guilty about this, so James, if you’re reading, I owe you a drink…or three *wink*.

Behold, crepes stuffed with ricotta, mandarin and sultanas. Scoffing these down was easy as piss. I haven’t had stuffed crepes for ages.

crepes stuffed with mandarin, ricotta and sultanas

This was matched with the Razor witbier by Bright Brewery. Like James, I too do not jump for joy for at witbiers but they’re a damn fine start for breakfast. Would definitely buy a 6-pack for some good old session beer drinking.

Bright Razor witbier

The second course was a slice of Spanish omelette with leek and prosciutto. I found this a bit dry and oily. Of course, that didn’t stop me from demolishing it.

Spanish omelette with leek and prosciutto

It was matched with Murray’s Whale Ale. There were jokes from beermen.tv fellow Mark that they chose this for its cute label, giggle. This is an American-style wheat beer, but it doesn’t have the characteristics of a traditional wheat beer that put me off. Quite a refreshing drop, and I would drink it again.

Murray's whale ale

For the third course of toasted rye bread topped with bratwurst and fruit chutney, we were given two beers in accompaniment. Pictured below with the course was Red Hill’s wheat beer (largely responsible for my palate deciding to give wheat beers another go). Apologies for the blurriness – the staff at Beer Deluxe were fantastically efficient! The second beer was Bridge Road’s Hans Klopek Hefeweizen. I wasn’t a big fan of the Bridge Road hefe the first time I tried it at a bar (at night, even). It seemed much nicer with food. My favourite breakfast beer and food match was this course and the Red Hill wheat beer, the beer being one of my least favourite beers from Red Hill Brewery, incidentally.

Red Hill wheat beer

Bridge Road Hans Kloper hefeweisen

Lost count of the courses and beers yet? We had started with beers with an ABV of 4.5% and slowly moving up the scale to 5% and this was in the space of about, ooh, thirty minutes? Work, kidneys and liver, work damn you!

I somehow managed to not get a snap of our fifth beer – Stone and Wood’s Stone Beer. I’d tried this the night before at the AIBA beer tasting in the Atrium, Fed Square and not liked it much. On this occasion, it was so much better. The fourth course nosh was baked lima beans with tomato and caramelised onion. The servings of this were huge and enough for me to get seconds! I looooove beans and seems like not everyone on my table shared this love. Oh well, more for me!

baked lima beans with tomato and caramelised onion

Two beers to go with the last two courses which were desserty – first the Sable Breton, my favourite course. These were just scrumptious! I found that the Holgate chocolate Temptress (a beer I could jolly well marry) went better with this than with the last course of Belgian waffles drowned in chocolate sauce. The richness of the Holgate and the fig were heavenly. Technically, however, it was the White Rabbit dark ale that was served with these pastries. The White Rabbit dark ale is far more sessionable drinking than the Holgate which I love as an after-dinner beer. I’ve knocked down a few pints of the dark ale and have to confess…I’m a little over it – it was my least favourite beer at this event. Good thing White Rabbit have a newly released white ale!

Sable Breton with crème fraiche and a fig molasses

White Rabbit dark ale

Holgate Temptress chocolate porter

Everyone was a bit sozzled and full by the time the Belgian waffles in chocolate sauce came out. I still managed to force one down, hehe.

Belgian waffles with chocolate sauce

A fantastic event. We were amply guided through the beer and food with good humour by our lovely hosts Mark, Damien and Todd and I even got to meet Mark briefly which left me starstruck for the day! I think I would have liked the breakfast to be a bit more leisurely as we really were cramming down the food and beer pretty fast but that’s a minor issue – the staff at Beer Deluxe were flawless and our fellow diners were friendly and keen to share thoughts on the beer. It was twenty (yes, that’s all!) bucks well spent! I understand that the event was possible due to the extreme generosity of all brewers of the beers served and you could do no wrong to go out and get a 6-pack of any of these beers. I even got to chat to Tom from Mountain Goat and met James of Beer Bar Band for the first time – I swear this dude is my beer twin (we seem to love a lot of the same beers and have similar preferences).

So guys, when’s the next one?!

Beer Deluxe on Urbanspoon