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Melbourne: Birds and Beers

I arrived in Melbourne last Friday and was quickly struck by two things: one, I have frickin’ amazing friends, and two, Australian birds are large, loud and odd.

I hopped off the airport bus and was whisked over to Richmond, where my friends, Fi and Mike are putting me up until I find a job (I told you they were nice). Once my luggage was stowed, we were off to Slow Beer, a craft beer bottle store with an on-license. That’s right, you can drink while oogling the beer – and there’s a lot of beer. Continue reading “Melbourne: Birds and Beers”

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Porter Night

Boxing Day bought a new set of beers – the porters. I was thoroughly looking forward to porter night – I love porters and the line-up was three of my favourites – Harrington’s Wobbly Boot, Moa Noir, and 8 Wired’s The Big Smoke. We decided for the sake of symmetry we should have a forth player and luckily Dad found a bottle of Invercargill Brewery’s Pitch in a cupboard (a stout, rather than a porter, but it was a rather casual tasting.)

Despite my big hopes, the night started out badly. I was an idiot and had brushed my teeth while Dad was setting up, as I forgotten to do so that morning. Really bad idea – the first few sips were not nice. Then Dad somehow managed to choke on his first sip. Then there was the problem of temperature (see following blog). After our false start though, we settled down to our tastings.

Harrington Wobbly Boot (Christchurch)
The head disappeared rather quickly, causing Dad to remark that it looked like a glass of coke. Although it didn’t have a lot of initial flavour, I found it had a lovely after taste. Dad disagreed, finding it bland and thinking it should have been colder.

Moa Noir (Blenheim)
The Noir, like many other Moa beers, is difficult to pour as it froths rather a lot (my sister in hospo verifies is not just my incompetence at pouring a beer, but the Moa). I’ll forgive it though, because it is lovely to drink, a bit hoppier and bitter than the Woobly Boot, while still maintaining a lovely malty after taste.

8 Wired The Big Smoke (Blenheim)
The Big Smoke is just that – big and smoky. Dad claimed it smelt better than it tasted, which I strongly disagreed with. I loved the taste, the smoke and the hops and the complexities. Dad said if I liked it all that much I could have the rest of the bottle and should go to Bamburg, home of smoked beers. I accepted said bottle and put Bamburg on the to-do list.

Invercargill Brewery Pitch Black (Invercargill)
Pitch Black had a strong Marmite smell (yeasty?) which, to me, is not a bad thing. I was disappointed with the speed at which the after taste disappeared though.

So what did we learn from our porter night? First and foremost, it wasn’t really a porter night – Wobbly Boot is a porter ale, Noir is a dark larger, and Pitch Black is a stout. This wasn’t a flaw though – it simply taught us more about darker beers. Second, summer is not a good time to hold a porter night – it’s simply too hot. Again not a bad thing – we’ve decided we’ll have to organise a mid-winter porter tasting!

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