#StoneSpecTAPular – Stone Beer in Australia

As you may know, Stone Brewing is one of the biggest and most critically acclaimed craft brewers in the world. Previously, Stone’s beers had only been available in Australia as grey imports and their founder had been particularly outspoken against the distribution of these unauthorised beers.

On Saturday April 5 in Melbourne, the Local Taphouse in St Kilda, and East Bruswick’s The Alehouse Project, said founder was on hand during a one-off opportunity to try the full range of Stone beers sanctioned by the brewer. Needless to say, it was an opportunity I wasn’t going to pass up.Read More »

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Birra Italiana at the Taphouse

Italy is not widely known as a place for quality beer and I, like others, was surprised to learn that in fact Italy has a burgeoning microbrewery scene. But perhaps I shouldn’t have been. In a country famous for its love of great food and wine, it makes sense that craft beer would also thrive.

The SpecTAPular, the Local Taphouse’s quarterly tribute to a country and its beers, presented a great opportunity to drink some Italian beers rarely if not never before seen on these shores.Read More »

Beer and Coffee – a perfect match?

Coffee and beer are both bitter tasting, body-altering, and potentially complex liquid substances. They also both have their ‘geeks’ who extol the virtues of different styles, pontificate over the flavours in their drink and who seek out more complex flavours and combinations for imbibing their liquid substance of choice. It only makes sense then that coffee and beer geeks would eventually get together and combine their love of all things bitter in the one drink.

A number of beers with coffee have been released by Australian craft brewers and coffee houses and growers in recent times and the combinations of beer and coffee are becoming more creative all the time.Read More »

Growler: Another fad or a revolution?

Beer growlers have become a big part of the Australian craft beer scene in the past few years. Growlers are basically bottles of around 2L containing takeaway draught beer and which last up to a week or so. But are growlers worth the hype?

Growler pros

Beer tastes better from a growler

Growlers do give you better beer, enabling a draught beer experience in the home. The growler tends to produce a fuller mouthfeel and guarantees freshness of beer, which is not always the case with the bottle.

Growlers are cool

Let’s not deny the novelty factor is playing a large part in the Growler’s success. It’s cool to rock up to a place with a growler (though you might need to bring your own esky because it’s tough to find enough room in the fridge!).

Growlers are social

They are made for sharing. You can split the costs, the beer, and bury one of these bad boys in no time. So start looking for your growler buddy.

Growlers aren’t expensive

The cost of growlers isn’t bad at all. There might be an initial hit for the bottle but it usually costs upwards of $20 for a fill, depending on the beer of course. When you figure that a growler is slightly less than a six-pack, this is a reasonable price for good quality beer and depending on the beer it will often work out cheaper than buying in bottles. Also, you may find small batch brews that don’t make it to bottles do make it to growlers.

Growler cons

Once you start you can’t stop

Once you start drinking, you usually need to finish the growler off within a couple of days or you lose carbonation and flavour. This means you need to clear some time for a good drinking session, especially with the higher abv beers.

If you have a drinking session with a buddy, a house party, or a weekend at home for drinking, this shouldn’t be a problem (I would also love it if you could take a growler to a restaurant, if it’s BYO wine, why not beer?).

These days, you can also find Squealers (about half the size of a growlers) and even Whistlers (half the size of a squealer) which can help to get around this issue also.

More info about growlers and where to find it

A Beer Pilgrimage

Everyone has their own story to tell about their journey to better beer drinking. Here is mine…

I remember the first time I drank the nectar of the Gods. My parents were having a dinner party at home and while they were talking and drinking, I snuck into the laundry, and plucked a bottle of VB from a sink filled with ice. After forcing down a few gulps, I tipped the rest down the drain, and wondered what the fuss was about.

Nevertheless, I persisted with beer, mainly because I had to, it was a rite of passage. I forced down warm cans of Melbourne Bitter in the park, pitchers of Carlton Draught at suburban pool halls, and pints of VB at the local pub. I learned to drink beer if not enjoy it.

And then I had that first Eureka! beer moment when I stumbled across a beer called Little Creatures at a hip bar in the city. Its taste was unlike anything I’d ever had before, it exploded on my tongue, bursting with flavour. Without yet even realising it, I had discovered the beauty of aromatic hops.Read More »

New Zealand Beers on Tap – The Local Taphouse May ’11 SpecTAPular

As part of the Good Beer Week festivities across Melbourne this week, there was another SpecTAPular at Australia’s ‘best beer bar in the land’ , The Local Taphouse. Pouring 20 different beers, from 20 different New Zealand brewers, this was another great day to get ‘paddled up’ and sample a few brews (or all of them). Now let’s get straight to the beers.Read More »