Tag Archives: cider reviews

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.

an invite for a pint of cider

I’ve never felt comfortable with the decision to accept PR contact because, I don’t know why, it feels a little…dirty – but yes, I have done it (so before you slag me off, I am ‘tainted’, hehe). It feels like a bit of a slippery slope: once you start accepting freebies, at what point do you a) stop because free stuff is ace especially when you’re poor and b) does it impugn on the impartiality of your review of the product or the meal?

This feels like more of a concern in the food blogging world. Not so much for beer blogging: I know beer journalists (yep, journalists, not bloggers) that get free beer – how else are they supposed to review it and make a living? Reviewing and visiting breweries is a time-intensive exercise – and I only do it for fun. I imagine it’d be trickier for those in the biz.

Sadly, I’m not in that journo camp. When brewery owner Nick Strong actually contacted this here humblr blog via our contact form (like whut?! people use our contact form? awesome!) to offer us free Coldstream cider because we didn’t have many cider reviews on the blog, I replied and said that Tristan and I would be happy to visit but would pay our own way, sample the brewery’s wares and report accordingly. This occurred last Sunday.

brewery exterior

First things first. If you want to go to Coldstream Brewery for lunch, you’d best book. I’d erroneously made the mistake of assuming that it’d be perfectly okay for me and Tristan to just swan in sans booking as the owner was expecting us. Strike one Gem. The brewery was absolutely packed. So yes, if you visit, book. Plus, it’s just good manners. Shame on me.

beer pour

After finding an awkward table to sit at, two beer tasting paddles were ordered. Just the thing for frazzled nerves.

tasting selection

From bottom to top: the autumn porter, the chocolate winter ale, the pilsner, the naked ale and lastly the crushed apple cider. Unavailable on tap, as they were seasonal brews were the spring lager and the summer ale though we did pick up a bottle of the latter upon leaving.

We started with the pilsner, which is closest to their ‘draught’ ale. It is very clean, refreshing and sessionable. Next up the naked ale which I’m a fan of – again, very sessionable, flavoursome and well balanced. This is the kind of beer I’d want to buy a six-pack of if I were going round to visit a good mate.

Third in the sequence is the chocolate winter ale, ooh what scrumminess! Surprisingly bitter, or more so than expected but you can definitely taste the chocolate and its scent permeates the beer to the last drop. Do note that the bitterness is not at all unpleasant. Try this while it’s available, it’s lovely!

bottles on the windowsill

Our waitress informed us that this year’s version of the autumn porter was nicer than previous year’s. It was roasty, with burnt coffee notes, a smooth mouthfeel though quite carbonated. Perhaps a tad too thin for a porter? Personal preference, but I would have preferred perhaps less of the burnt notes.

Ah but what of the cider? Coldstream’s cider is made of red apples and no concentrate though the odd green apple sneaks in, cheeky whatsit. The one on tap was the crushed apple cider at 5% ABV (not to be confused with their regular cider) and it was gorgeously clean and clear, bubbly, not too dry or too sweet which made it freaking fantastic.

Now, onto the food. There’s an excellent selection of food but judging from the price of the mains ($25-35), massive. I wasn’t particularly hungry when we arrived so I opted for the caramelised onion, goat cheese and spinach tart with walnut, roquette and pomegranate molasses.

walnut and cheese tart

It was going to be obvious that I’d wallop said entrée above so to bulk that up a bit, I got a side of simple steamed vegetables. It did the trick, providing a substantial meal.

steamed vegetables

Tristan made his life nice and easy and opted for the ol’ faithful parma.

chicken parmigiana

Our Coldstream adventures didn’t end there – we ended up taking home a 750mL bottle of the summer ale (seasonal release), a regular stubby of the original cider (for ‘research’!) which stands at 7% ABV and seems more tart. You can definitely taste the alcoholic content in it and perhaps though I confess I’m sensitive to it, more of that cider sulphurousness was evident and so I prefer the crushed apple cider. We also bought a six-pack of the porter regular which went down a treat. Again, I liked this more than the autumn porter because I felt it had a thicker mouthfeel and just more depth of flavour.

Erm, I may not have any notes on the summer ale, but it was shared liberally between three of us and went down a treat during a True Blood watching marathon. ‘Nuff said.

Coldstream Brewery on Urbanspoon

a drink to help you get…

…your dick inside her?

Hey, don’t blame me for that joke, I first innocently fell for it when @bobearth told me to look for it at a wine bar…dirty so-and-so!

What a glorious weekend – relaxed, been sleeping well (about as rare as sighting Halley’s Comet, honestly!) and bloody good weather. It is indeed a natural antidepressant.

After yet another breakfast jaunt, a drop-in visit was made to an evil alcohol supplying conglomerate. I was actually keen on getting some of the Monteith crushed pear cider that some friends said was available.

Success. It turned out that there were a couple of other perries in stock so we grabbed them with a view to drinking on the front lawn like good suburban bogans. You kind of bust your cover when you start reading and look like you’re learning shit.

Monteith crushed pear cider

The New Zealand Monteith’s pear cider is your choice if you don’t like your cider too sweet. The pear flavour is but a homeopathic drop in the actual cider. I could barely taste it. However, I liked it – no alcoholic harshness, no yucky sulphite presence (it contains sulphites but it’s not evident in the beverage). I know, sulphites are there for preservation, sigh. There’s a hint of colour. To be honest, I wanted it to be more alcoholic.

Kopparberg pear cider

Kopparberg’s pear cider was nowhere near as refined an example. The smell of fake pear hard candy emanates from your pint glass as soon as you fill it and it’s the colour of urine. It’s also really fucking sweet. The alcohol pops up every now and then, so it’s a bit ‘rough’. Under no circumstances will I drink this again voluntarily. On the upside, I guess it’s less disgusting than alcopops. There’s a little bit of sourness to keep the sweetness in check.

Rekorderlig premium pear cider

The Rekorderlig premium pear cider was a good deal less disgusting than the Kopparberg. Both are Swedish and Tristan made an educated guess that perhaps it is in keeping with Swedish taste to have them sweet? Rekorderlig initially smells of liquid bubblegum, and is largely the same colour as the Monteith. Taste-wise, I personally found it less insipidly sweet than the Kopparberg but Tris thought it was too sweet. I found it more refined.

If I were buying for a friend and they had a preference for sweet, I’d probably buy the Reorderlig for sharing. However, the winner out of the three consumed on the same day was definitely the Monteith.

Dickens perry

If you’re feeling really adventurous, then do try the Australian Dickens perry. Be warned though: this is sour, dry and tart. I struggled with the first gulp but after this last trio, I really want to have it again. It’s cloudy and there is a good deal of sediment in the bottom. Is this the discerning person’s perry? Definitely in style. Good choice to label it ‘perry’ and not ‘pear cider’…

2 Brothers Gypsy pear cider

Despite noticing it hit the Australian market in the colder months, Melburnian brewery 2 Brothers’ Gypsy pear cider has been very popular. A tad sweeter than Monteith’s but perhaps a little more carbonated? It’s widely available around Melbourne in bottles and on tap. I was even told by a pub worker that from a consumer perspective it’s 2 Brothers’ most popular product – though note, that’s not a cited fact.

Guys, this is just readily available perry. Imagine what kind of summer we’ll have if you love apple cider… So girls, and girlier men, throw out your alcopops and embrace what looks to be a spring and summer of more cider love.