3.5 years at the 3 weeds

16 06 2009

Adri and I had been married for 3.5 years last Wednesday. Had is only in the past tense because it happened last Wednesday. We’re still married, but for slightly longer than 3.5 years now.

Now I know that 3.5 years isn’t a traditionally significant milestone. But I think it still justified our trip to dinner at the 3 Weeds in Rozelle.

I love the 3 Weeds, and it really comes into its own in winter, with its dark timber and leather furniture and its huge fireplace. We both had the chicken pie and enjoyed some of their fine beverages. Adri had the Bulmers Cider on tap (where else can you find good cider on tap in Sydney?) and I had the Old Speckled Hen on tap.

The beverage highlights were after dinner though. I had the Sinha Stout which surprised me. Having had the lager I didn’t hold a great deal of hope for the Stout, but it was thick, chocolatey and delicious. Everything I hoped for in a warming after-dinner ale. Adri had the cocktail of the week – a Hot Toddy = brandy, lemon, cloves, cinnamon, hot water. It was so tasty and warming we made some at home over the weekend!

Can strongly recommend the 3 weeds. It’s fantastic.
Can also strongly recommend 3.5 years of marriage!

(Speaking of hot drinks and ciders – where do you reckon you can you get a hot cider in Sydney?)

The Thief is back

3 06 2009

James Squire has released it’s 2009 Hop Thief.

Tony Jones, Chief Brewer reveals: “The hops we are using to create the latest version of Hop Thief are a combination of the well established Australian variety Pride of Ringwood, which is known primarily as a bittering hop, and the locally-bred aroma variety known as Southern Hallertau.
“We have used hop flowers secured fresh from the 2009 Tasmanian harvest rather than using the commonly available pellet form and add them late in the fermentation process so we capture the floral flavours otherwise lost during boiling.”

Yum! I picked up a case from Vintage Cellars last night and I am very excited about trying it.

Also saw this yesterday. Never had the Vintage Imperial Stout, but would be very keen if I can get my hands on some.

Very glad to see more breweries doing the limited release thing. Moving away from bland, mass-produced beers and towards specialised craft beers is a good thing.


2 06 2009

Is there anything as tasty than beer can chicken?

I can only assume that these things would make it even tastier!

Available here. Tim, I’m looking at you!

h/t Nathan.

Feeling Bitter

25 05 2009

My good friend, Turns, and I were talking the other night at the Local Taphouse, and he was able to clear up a misconception for me.

Thanks to that Australian institution, Victoria Bitter, which is a tasty aussie LAGER, I was under the impression that the word ‘bitter’ meant a beer was a lager.

But I was wrong. Very wrong. Man of the world (and not too long ago, the UK) Turns, informed me that “bitter” was a word the brits used to describe ALES.

Why does this make me feel bitter? Well there is world of difference between an ale and a lager. Now don’t get me wrong, there are some fantastic lagers out there (YUM!), but generally speaking I’ll take an ale over a lager any day. When I’ve seen beers labelled bitter, I have been dismissing them as lagers and not necessarily worthy of another look. How wrong I have been! The term Extra Special Bitter, has become just that much more special to me!

Also, I would hate to think there are people out there buying VB thinking it is Australia’s answer to an English ale.

Phew! Glad I could get that off my chest!

The Local Taphouse

14 05 2009

Had a superb evening yesterday at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst.

The festival of Hamm’s birthday/farewell continued with the Guthries, the Tooses (NC), Ian, Turns, Calum, Nathan, Trevena and Hamm.

I had 6 sensational beers (don’t look at me like that! 5 of them were only samples – only about 2.5 standard drinks in total – I love a paddle):

  • Feral Brewing White,
  • Feral Brewing Hop Hog IPA,
  • Feral Brewing Boris Russian Imperial Stout,
  • Two Brothers ‘Growler’ US Brown Ale
  • Rocks Brewing Co ‘Byrne’s’ Red Ale,
  • Little Creatures ‘Stimulus’ IPA,
  • and I even tried a little of Adri’s Matilda Bay ‘Barking Flamingo’Framboise

It was a delightful evening of good friends, yummy food and delightful beers.

Check it out if you haven’t been there.

Guest Post – Cornelius on Mikkeller Beers

9 05 2009

Apologies for the thoughtlessness of Thursday. I’ll adopt the appropriate pose and get thinking for next week. In the mean time, please enjoy a guest post from my dear friend and beer mentor, Cornelius Frank.

The Danish are known for many things. Great pastries, Princess Mary…and I’m sure other things, but I’d never have picked them for a powerhouse in the beer world.

Smashing this misconception comes Mikkeller, the joint product of two homebrewers, Mikkel Borg Bjergsø and Kristian Klarup Keller. Although one of them has since left, the microbrewery has continued to pump out some crazy, out there and amazingly delicious beers. Taking conventional styles and putting a whacky bent on it (and then adding more hops), Mikkeller have created many memorable and distinctive brews.

While best known for using the civit faece filled coffee Kopi Luvak in their brew Beer Geek Brunch, they have made a mark with their distinctive commitment to setting new boundaries in brewing field, both in Denmark and the world.
Though hard to track down and costing a pretty penny, they really are worth it. Give the It’s Alight a miss though. At 12 bucks a bottle its by far the cheapest of the bunch but doesn’t do the brand justice. The Pale Ales and Indian Pale Ales are brilliant. All Others Pale is particularly excellent. A thirst quencher that hits hard and fast with the hops and mid priced at 20 bucks a bottle. Similarly priced is the Jackie Brown Ale (boom boom..many of their beers have juvenile titles but they’re brewing for the nerds so they don’t really care) although this has more chocolaty notes than you’d expect from a brown ale.

Mikkeller also heads into Belgium style territory with a few barley wines and a triple. All are surprisingly smooth for the ABV they pack and they pour well. They have developed a Wheat Barley wine (Hvedgoop..but I’m not sure what that means) that smells like Grand Ridge’s Supershine but without the chunky taste. At 50 bucks a bottle this might be a bit steep but get a few mates together and share one.

If you are into stouts then you can’t go past the Black Hole Imperial Stout or the Black Imperial Stout. They use champagne yeasts to build up the ABV to 17.5% though they don’t have the overpowering smell of something like Three Monts or SuperTennents. Clever guys.

Overall, Mikkeller is a crazy brewery. They make “out there” beers that excite the tastebuds and challenge common thoughts about beer style. If you’re only going to try one, I recommend the Single Hop Simcoe IPA. A classic IPA made using only one kind of hop (Simcoe..duh) that is amazingly balanced for so strong a beer.

Thanks Cornelius. Hope to hear more from you in the future.

Fun times at the BBC (belgian beer cafe)

23 04 2009

Half-Price Mussels

23 04 2009

If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend you get down to the Belgian Beer Cafe in Balmain (or the Rocks) on a Wednsday night for some half-price mussels and some tasty Belgian beer.

(It’s just as well the mussels are half price, cos the beers are EX-PEN-SIVE)

This is what Adri and I did last night with Hamm and some of the young trendy people from 7fifteen at St Paul’s.

Good times.

The Local Taphouse – Sydney Version

16 04 2009

I’ve blogged before about the Local Taphouse coming from Melbourne to Sydney.

I also promised more info once I had been.

Well I’ve now been (last Thursday night – how good are long weekends?) and I can say it was AWESOME!

They have decorated the place really well. Similar style to the Melbourne Taphouse. Tram seats along the walls, small tables, plenty of wood and leather-bound books (classy).

But clearly, it’s all about the beer.

The range is exceptional, certainly more than you could get through in a few visits. The also do a feature brewery each month and focus on that brewerys offerings. This month it is Bridge Road Brewers down in Victoria. I had their Aussie Ale and their “Bling” IPA. Adri had the Hargreaves hill ESB – which is especially tasty.

The food ain’t bad either. Adri had the mussells (all self-respecting beer venues must sell mussells these days) and I had a simple, tasty and reasonably priced pizza.

The location is a little awkward, parking wasn’t particularly easy. But I will definitely be going back for another round.

Beer News

4 03 2009

Outstanding, fantastic, sensational, uber-exciting news on the beer front!

The Local Taphouse, an awesome bar in Melbourne, with an extensive beer menu, that I have praised before has just started operating in Sydney!

It’s in Darlinghurst and a friend of mine who visited last night gave it a 9/10 for overall experience. A great range on tap that is expensive without being ridiculous and good quality pub food at a reasonable price.

More info here and here at le blog once I have been myself!