Thursday, June 10, 2010

Beer haul for Long Weekend

Went for a casual drive around a few decent Northern Beaches beer shops. I use the term "decent" guardedly; there is no shop in this district that comes anywhere near Platinum (in NSW), or others interstate.
Nevermind... always an interesting exercise, despite the limitations.

My reason for this trip was to find an interesting mix of Aussie (& NZ as it happened) 6-packs.  Paul & family are here for BBQ duck tomorrow. Not sure exactly how to match beer to this. Perhaps something fruity and crisp ?  Or something rich and sweet ?

Vintage Cellars Forestville - Cascade First Harvest $22.99 six-pack
This beer is now on its 9th release. I've never fancied this beer, but always prepared to give it a go. Every year is different, as the Cascade crew try different hop clones & hybrids. Ostensibly English Pale Ale - may lean towards American every so often. My reviews of the last three editions show consistency in flavour (approx 3.5 - worthy/good), but I have had varying reactions to the aroma and overall drinkability.

1st Choice Forestville - James Squire Malt Runner $15.90 six-pack
You can also see why I tend to eschew the Cascade First Harvest. Ridiculous price for a six-pack. James Squires beers, on the other hand, always offer value. And that includes the limited release beers also. I've read varying thoughts on this beer.... some say it's a Cherry Ripe in a glass, others pick the malt. Will this go well with BBQ duck ?

Porters Liquor Balgowlah - Monteith Winter Ale Doppelbock ($16.99) 4 Pines Pale Ale ($19.99)
Thought the Winter Ale might go nicely side-by-side with the Malt Runner. Beeradvocate reviewers, however, tend to give it more of a warming, chocolate character, so maybe dessert for this one.

4 Pines in a bottle.  Fantastic.  This fact was why I headed to Balgowlah. The Pale and the Kolsch are available in bottle, and for the $20 a six-pack price. Compared to the Cascade price, this is good value (as yet untasted, admittedly). The draught 4 Pines beers are pretty good, and it's great to see local bottlo's supporting their packaged offerings.

Brookvale Cellars - Ekim Viking IPA  ($25.00)
When I first saw the hand-written ABV and bottling date information on the label, I thought "hmmm... just like Happy Goblin".  Funnily enough, that's where it's brewed (Happy Goblin, Mt Kuringai, NSW). The bottling date is early May, so still nice and fresh and with a month under its belt in the bottle.  Should be ideal.  The price is high, but I'm happy to fork out for tiny, local brewers.

Paul & I will go through these tomorrow, and our considered opinions will follow.

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