By Brew Dog. At first I was afraid, I was petrified. I thought this porter was thin and a bit nothing. But then I realised that this is probably the most traditional porter I’ve had. It’s not thin and nothing, it’s just not rich and dessertey. It’s a porter that can be enjoyed all night long by all people in all weather. Good stuff.
Oct 29 2011
Oct 29 2011
By Yeastie Boys. ‘A black IPA that some call a Hoppy Porter’ sees a good descript to me. Basically yea, a porter that’s a bit IPAey, nice if you like both of them.
Oct 29 2011
India Saison, a collaborative effort from Nøgne Ø and Bridge Road Brewers. Crisp and hoptastic, one for the front porch watching the sunset with some nibbles.
Oct 29 2011
Earlier this week we, us and the gang went to an Extreme Beer tasting night at The Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst, which was a collaborative effort between the bar and The Beer Lovers Guide To Australia people. Basically we were taken through a tasting of five extreme beers and could then purchase some more if we wanted for additional beery goodness. We wanted. Here’s a quick run down of what was on offer.
Cross Breed Seedy Goat by Mountain Goat. An IPA with a hint of coffee, the bitterness of the hops and coffee match well. From the outset I was dubious as I’ve never really liked IPAs but I’ve also not tasted many. After this one I might have to start having a go occasionally as I thought this was pretty good. A strong flavour, but without the eeegh aftertones that IPAs used to give me. An interesting way to start.
Nordic Rye Ale by Beer Here. A Roggenbier (Scandinavian rye ale) that was traditionally brewed to slake the thirst of farmhands, as it was safer to drink than the local water. Also far more delicious – I really liked this one. I noted it down as a soft dessert beer, it was smooth and a little rich, but not as much as its 8.0% ABV would suggest. Would be very nice to sit down with after a meal.
Moylander Double IPA by Moylands. Double generally meaning more in the beer world, this is an 8.5% IPA from the US. Apparently it’s common in the US to find IPAs that have higher than usual ABVs, though I didn’t have any when I was there recently. Similar to the earlier IPA, it lived up to its ‘double’ moniker but still managed not to have a nasty aftertaste, though some of the rest of the table didn’t agree with me. A very strong flavour that’s bound to put many off, though I imagine if you’re a fan of IPAs you’ll appreciate it. I could be convinced, but I think I’d need to conduct further research into the topic. If anyone would like to provide research subjects, I’m sure you know where to find me.
Wild Thing by Murray’s Craft Brewing Co. This one was sitting back tempting me to just dive into it, a big dark Russian Imperial Stout with a little head like a crema on a good black coffee. I love a good stout and this one was no disappointment – big, rich, chocolatey and huge flavour, but again belied its 10% ABV. This is exactly what I look for in a dessert beer and will be something I seek out in future. Nothing like a Guiness, it’s much closer to a big porter style, which is where stouts have their roots. In fact, they used to be called ‘stout porters’. Was my pick of the paddle, for sure.
Rex Attitude by Yeastie Boys. Wins points for the name alone, this was a very interesting little number. The scotch drinkers loved it, as it it has a rich smokey flavour an is acually made with 100% heavy peated distilling malt. The style is listed as ‘smoked beer’ which makes sense given the flavours involved. Not something to drink all night, but definitely worth a go.
After the paddle was finished with we were free to go and purchase some additional brews to satisfy our curiousity.
Ganko Oyaji by Baird Brewing Co. Supplied by an appropriately named member of the table, this one ended up being a little disappointing. Given its position in the proceedings that’s by no means saying it was rubbish, but it just wasn’t quite there. It’s also the only beer of the night to taste like its ABV (10.8%), it’s a barley wine from Japan whose name translates to ‘Stubborn Old Man’. Not bad, but not something I’d go out of my way for again.
Black Tokyo Horizon: a collaboration between Brew Dog, Mikkeller & Nøgne Ø. Holy. Shit. Seriously. Pours like used motor oil with a fine crema head, it’s an Imperial Stout that first attracted me by its ABV (17.2%), shocked me momentarily by its price ($45 for 330mL, but I saw it today in a bottleshop for $40) then absolutely floored me when I tasted it. Those who follow my twitter account saw my reaction at the time, this is a very special brew that I wasn’t aware was even possible with beers. I’m going to cut through all the gushing and say that if you see this anywhere and you enjoy a porter or stout, you owe it to yoourself to get one. Don’t think about the cost, (it’s not that much really) just buy it and spend an hour of your life savouring its brilliance, preferably with someone else to enjoy it with you. Go on, you deserve it. Consider it educational.
Nut Brown Ale by Samual Smith. I think. Not part of the extreme beer menu, this was just a tasty way to wrap the night up. Nice.
So that was tuesday night, which also included a copy of The Beer Lovers Guide To Australia. Inside this publication I saw an ad for The Beer Cartel up in Artarmon. Given it’s pretty close I decided to check it out today. They’re just getting started with being a fancy beer joint having opened earlier this year and have also started getting in kegs of interesting beers and selling them by the growler – not the euphemism, a 2 litre bottle. They were between kegs when I got there, but out of my visit I’m currently enjoying…
Bitch Please: a collaboration between Brew Dog and Three Floyds. Another big’un at 11.5% ABV, it’s a barley wine that’s hugely enjoyable. I’m new to this style too, having had my only previous experience last tuesday. Basically it’s a delicious way to spend $25. It’s a bit rich but has a very pointy flavour running through it (you may notice I’m not very poncy with my tasting notes..) that leaves a pleasing aftertaste, and was brewed with peated malts and spent 8 months in old Jura single malt whisky barrels. Again, something to do if you get the opportunity.
Some of the above cash points may sound like a whole lotta moola for a beer but given how much I’ve spent on some bottles of wine I think it’s reasonable. Obviously it’s a once in a while sorta spend, but it’s good for the soul to have a crack at this stuff once in a while. I’m a person who’ll drink something ridiculously fancy while eating a (nice) pizza from up the road, I’d rather spend the majority of the cash on drink than food. That may strike foodies as odd, but it’s really two sides of the same coin. My dad has a magnet somewhere (it’s not on his fridge because he went and bought one finished in brushed aluminium..) that says ‘Life’s too short to drink bad wine’ and it’s true, especially in Australia. You can get fantastic booze for not a whole lotta money and the same thing obviously goes for beers but once in a while you gotta splash out and treat yourself, if only to keep things in perspective. Otherwise you may end up settling for Yellowtail or Fosters, which are two things that do our nations’ booze producers huge disservice worldwide. Alls we need is some promotion and protection of our local brandies and we really could take the world’s squifflers by storm.
Oct 25 2011
Hoi hoi. Etc. Gallumphing.
So recently I’ve been playing two games, Dark Souls and Forza 4. They sound rather disparate titles, but hear me out here – for all their opposing notions, they have some things in common too. I’ll start with Dark Souls, as that came out first. If you don’t know much about it, it’s basically a hack n slash RPG with roguelike elements liberally mixed in. [If you don't know what a roguelike is, check this out for a quick intro.] It’s not quite as harsh in death as a roguelike in that you only lose your souls (both currency for items and the consumable used for levelling up) and your humanity (you wander around as an undead until you choose to restore your humanity). What sets this apart from other hack n slashers is the difficulty level that is often reported as ‘brutal’. That’s probably for want of a better word – while it’s possible for any ol’ mook to kill you in seconds, you have to have rather stuffed it up for that to happen. If you’re careful about it, you’ll dispatch them fine. Where it really gets hard though are the bosses – for reference of those who’ve played it, I’m up to a rooftop battle with a couple of gargoyles. I’ve only tried it twice (and I was a little drunk the second time) but both times I lasted barely long enough to do any damage. I won’t launch into a review as those are easy enough to find about the place, but suffice to say it’s a game that presents a huge barrier of entry to and would be off putting for people who don’t know what they’re getting into.
Forza 4 is a racing sim, and it might be the best one yet. Depending on who you ask that’s either a reasoned opinion or I’m a frothing xbox fanboy who’s blind to its glaring faults. Its competitor is the latest Gran Turismo game you see, so there are many of the usual internet based arguements about which is superior in every way. Also as usual they’re unreasoned, poorly researched (if at all) and totally pointless, but hey.. it’s the internet. Suffice to say I’ve not played GT5 so am in no reason to know either way, but I can say that I’m not tempted to buy a PS3 in order to play it. Anyway, its a game that’s been geared to be fun for all players, no matter their skill. In this I can say that its been rather successful, as I (who am rather good at these things) can still have a bunch of fun playing with less experienced friends. It has its flaws; they took out the endurance racing for some reason, which I really enjoyed and the engine swap options seem to be a little less bizarre – ie, no more V8 shopping cars but still a solid effort. It’s recommended anyway, if you’re after a driving game.
So how the hell are these two related? Well, Dark Souls takes a game type that would usually see you hacking a swathe through countless mooks with nary a scratch on you and turns it into an experience that brutally punishes mistakes but ends up all the more rewarding for it. Forza 4 takes an experience that can easilly be insurmountable for a newcomer (remember this is sim racing, not Need For Speed racing) but adds layers of assists to ensure that there’s an experience in there for everyone. By working hard at presenting a cohesive experience to the player they both ensure that a deep, rewarding experience is available – in Dark Souls case to a niche section of the market who love it, in Forza 4′s case to basically anyone who likes tooling about in cars. In both cases though it helps to get very familiar and nerdy with the skills required and more importantly the physics and real world reasoning behind why such skills are required for success. Just as a little guy with no strength or endurance will survive for long in a fight, a little car with skinny tyres and a huge V8 will struggle to get around a corner without ending up a twisted wreck. Sometimes though, getting a bit sideways can lead to a big grin.
Oct 09 2011
The latest in a long dormant series of things I have built is complete! Previewed here for premium members, it’s a plinth for my kitchen that I might place my breadmaker on, or perhaps utilise as additional bench space for cookery. The last rubbish coat of varnish was slapped on last weekend, so today it came home. As you’ll see, I couldn’t get a car for the occasion, so I went with the SEA method of furniture moving. It was super effective!
Very securely attached to el beastie.
The marble came separate, as I’m not silly. It was actually a more wobbly ride on this trip due to the weight of the slab and tools in the back.
With wheels for +10 to manouverability. Matches the desk! In fact, it was the remains of the same tin of varnish.
In place and ready for plinthination. Takes up a bit of room, but is still better than the ol’ pair of milkcrates that the breadmaker used to perch upon. All in all, great success! .. Except for the rubbish varnishing job. I’m lazy, and those slats were really hard to get into…