Beer Highlights of the High Country

A few weeks back I finally had the chance to visit the ‘High Country’, an area in North Victoria that’s developed a reputation as a  craft beer hub.

I’ve been meaning to visit for quite a while, mainly because of my love for Bridge Road Brewers, who have been responsible for some of the more interesting and creative beers in Australia in recent years.

Bridge Road’s brewery is situated in the quaint historic town of Beechworth. Set in a lovely old brick building, the brewery has some good grub, a buzzing atmosphere and, most importantly, plenty of good beer taps.

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2012 Beers are a Changin’ Awards (aka the Oscars of Beer Awards)

Bear Republic and Green Flash – Unofficial Sponsors of the Evening

Welcome to the 2012 inaugral Beers are a Changin’ Awards. After deriding the pointlessness of beer lists, I thought I would establish my own subjective, unofficial and entirely random beer awards. You know, because that’s so much more meaningful than a list.

So join me on a metaphorical amber carpet that’s sticky, wet and stained by malty liquid substances.

The sponsors for this night of nights is Bear Republic and Green Flash (they were the beers in my fridge).

The host is, thanks to tonight’s sponsors, inebriated and ready to roll. The host may refer to himself in the third person tonight to confer a greater sense of authority upon his made-up awards, which have been carefully voted on by the Beer Geeks Academy (of which the host is the one and only member).

Without further ado,

The Award for the Best Brewery

The nominees are:

  • Murrays Brewing
  • Feral
  • Bridge Road
  • Mountain Goat

The envelope please…. and the winner is…Read More »

Putting the beer back in beer

“I might argue that the average mass-market beer doesn’t look like beer, smell like beer, act like beer, is not made from proper beer ingredients, is not made how beer is made and is generally lacking in beer attributes”.

– Garrett Oliver in Beer and Philosophy: The Unexamined Beer Isn’t Worth Drinking 

For a long time, the big beer corporations (BBCs) have tried to talk about anything but the beer itself. The BBCs applied ‘the mushroom theory’ when it came to their drinkers, ‘Feed ‘em shit and keep ‘em in the dark’. They differentiated their beers through advertising not the product itself, and made beer a superficial symbol of personal identity, giving only a cursory nod to the brewing process in between their marketing garble.

The BBCs branded and ‘blanded’ beer. They removed the sense of place from beer by taking ownership overseas and brewing ‘imported’ beers locally. They reduced taste and ignored the diversity of beer styles to produce indistinct and boring carbon-copy lagers. Basically, they produced beers that weren’t worth talking about. But times are a changin’, and so are the beers.

A niche movement of microbrewers and beer drinkers are galvanising to make beer something worth talking about again. Microbreweries are putting the beer (in the real sense, not the marketing BS sense) back in beer in Australia. Read More »

Beers To Knock Your Socks Off

Once a beer drinker has conquered the summit of lagers, pale ales, bitters and white beers, they may yearn for beers that are bigger and bolder still – beers that will really knock their socks off.

Here are what I consider some of the best beers available in Australia, in the biggest and boldest styles. The beers I have chose are numbered to progressively increase the challenge for the beer drinker, taking into account factors like costs and abv, as well as the beer’s greatness (based on its boldness of flavour, its complexity and any other intangibles). Read More »

Best brewery in Australia: Murrays or Feral?

Murrays and Feral Brewing are the cream of the crop when it comes to Australian craft beer, as no other brewers have experimented across such a breadth of styles with such positive results (although a few are on the case, see The Contenders further below).

I’m a sports fan and like to turn everything into a competition, so it isn’t enough to say that these two breweries are the best, I need to find out which one is the true champ of Aussie craft brewing, so I’m going to break this down, a beer at a time, to determine which brewery takes the title.Read More »