Sunday, February 20, 2011

Good PR from a big brewer

You may recall my disappointment over the recent dark beer tasting conducted by myself and devoted AussieBeerBlog follower Darren (lol).

The Crown Ambassador results were particularly disappointing, and considering its profile and value, I decided to take the issue up with Foster's Consumer Relations.

I initially penned an email enquiring as to why the beer appeared to me to be off.  The response was somewhat condescending, advising perhaps that I was not used to the style of the beer, and maybe giving it some more time to mature.

My reply to this was that, according to well-known beer writer Willie Simpson, the 3rd release of this strong lager has been contaminated by the Brettanomyces microflora. And for Willie it took some prodding to get the Foster's chief brewer to actually admit that, yes, due to the blending of different ages and the use of oak barrels, some bottles may have Brett characteristics.

Therefore, it was a bit disingenous to suggest to me that the style was intentional. Particularly as the styles that do incorporate Brett and other microflora are distinctly Belgian ales, not strong lagers.

So, I advised, I believe that the resulting beer was not what the brewer intended, contaminated, and not what was advertised.  At no stage did I advise that I have a blog, and may in fact know my Brett from my Butt.

But... it ended happily.  Dave from the consumer relations team agreed and will replace my bottle, albeit with a 2009 edition.

So, after a couple of exchanges with major brew companies, I'm pleased to announce a progress score:

Fosters 1
Lion Nathan 0

Monday, February 14, 2011

Bogan Chic and Indonesia's Finest

      You've been to Paris and you've been Boston
      You've been to Fiji and you've been to London
      But you can't impress me
      'Cause I've been to Bali too

      Redgum - "I've been To Bali too"

Right, I've had enough.

So you've been to Bali.  That's fine.... nice place, nice people.  And you come back home with some souvenirs to show off: a sarong or two, a fake Rolex, and, of course, the ubiquitous Bintang singlet.

I don't know if it's a fashion peculiar to Sydney's Northern Beaches, but it does seem to your correspondent that this particular garment is on the way up.  And, in the main, worn by children.

OK. We've long had the VB tee and the Toohey's New towelling hat, so a bit of Asian couture is more than welcome in the bichrome of contemporary beer-wear.

And Bintang itself says a lot about Bali, as an appropriate beer for the climate and the food.  It washes down rendang & gado gado quite nicely.  I wouldn't necessarily serve it up at a beer tasting, but I would be happy to put a six-pack away while sitting on the beach eating satays.

But I would not give it to my children.  Nor would I encourage them to advertise the stuff, regardless of how popular this bogan chic is at school or in the mall.

Which message is louder:  "My Dad took me to Bali" or "My Dad gives me Bintang" ?

So, please, if you MUST show off your Bali trip, buy half a dozen fake Rolexes and give some to your kids.  Just not the Bintang singlet OK ?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Beer review: Bridge Road Chevalier Saison "le printemps"

Guide to review scoring is on the post Beeradvocate Ratings Systems
 Unless otherwise specified, these reviews are my own.

Bridge Road Chevalier Saison Saison / Farmhouse Ale 6.0%

B / 3.75   look: 3.5   smell: 3.5   taste: 4   feel: 3.5   drink: 4

Stamped "le printemps" which according to the web translators means "the spring".

a) Pours a white pillowy head, almost whipped egg-white. Cloudy orange, with good bubbling. Looks nutritious.

s) Sherbet/citrus, some wit-like spice, wursty/fleshy yeast, wet hessian/hay.
Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition
t) Rosewater/turkish delight, some funky farmyard, some lactic cheesiness, late grapefruit note, and bitterness like lemon pith. Complex and interesting, and an improvement on an earlier tasting (2008 B-).

m) Light and dry, like a cremant champagne, refreshing and easy to consume.

d) Like an aged, if not past-it, sparkling wine, but easy to drink; not for everyone, but lovers of lambics, sours, and wits should find it enjoyable.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Latest Haul

My good friends at Slowbeer stock a huge range of unusual beers, both local and foreign. Once in a while, I'll mix up a dozen or so long-necks for a bit of an adventure. (disclaimer: we have cross-links to each other's blogs; I bought these beers at full price, however).

Here's the latest:

  • Les Trois Mousqeutaires Maibock
  •    "   Sticke Altbier
  •    "   Kellerbier
  • Rogue Mogul Madness
  • Southern Tier Unearthly Imp.IPA
  •    "   Gemini Imp.IPA
  • Anderson Valley Brother David's Tripel
  •    "   Hop Ottin IPA
  • Achel Extra Bruin
  • St Bernardus Abt
  • Saison Dupont
  • Bridge Road Chevalier Saison Printemps

This time round I have a definite North American bias, eight of the twelve originating in Canada or USA.  The remaining four have been tried before; but it's good to return to what you enjoy.

I am particularly interested in the 3 x Three Muskateers.  Readers will recall my waxing lyrical over the Dieu Du Ciel beers; any chance to try Quebecois brews should always be taken, I reckon.

Aussie Beer Blog

Aussie Beer Blog