October 1, 2013 by 250 Beers
I figured that it was about time I struck a line through something on my beer bucket list; something that has been on there for a while: a visit to Brewhouse Brisbane.
There’s no real reason why I haven’t been before other than it’s geographically out of the way for me.
I decided to rectify my permanent absence by making an appearance at the Brewhouse’s first Sniff and Sip event last Thursday. The near sell-out all-ticket affair gave me the perfect opportunity to check the place out.
Sniff and Sip is a joint venture between the Brewhouse and Cassie Potts (WhatBeerToDrink) and means what it says. It’s a beer tasting function designed to encourage participants to further explore the senses of smell and taste whilst drinking beer. Last Thursday was all about exploring beers from Beer Here and Edge Brewing Projects.
For those unaware, Beer Here is basically a Danish gypsy brewer called Christian Skovdal Andersen. His beers have gained quite a cult following.
Having set foot in Australia on numerous occasions, Christian jumped into bed (probably not literally) with his Australian importer and distributor Adam Betts of Melbourne-based Northdown Craft Beer Movement and so, collaboratively, Edge Brewing was born.
Adam’s Northdown colleague, Rocky Reed, was our co-host for the evening. Ms Potts was the other MC.
With a pint of Brisbane Brewing Co.’s new American pale ale Texas Walker in my hand, I took a pew at the bar.
Being at the bar ensured that I was closer to the beer…
First up was the only Edge beer on the agenda: Cool Hops – a 4.6% Australian Lager. Whilst researching this post I was astounded to find that Cool Hops is rated extremely highly on RateBeer.com. Perhaps ‘astounded’ is too harsh however, the glass of Cool Hops that I was served (draught not bottled by the way) was quite poor. It gave off unexpected bready/banana aromas and tasted very bland and dare I say it ‘mainstream’. There’s a chance I had the first or last glass of the keg as mine was significantly cloudier than those around me. Research also suggests that Cool Hops is brewed at contract brewery Southern Bay yet a voice near me that evening remarked the kegs came out of Mildura Brewery. Perhaps the bottled variety comes out of Southern Bay? I’ll be on the look-out for a bottle to see if it will change my current low opinion.
The next beer was Beer Here’s double red ale Red Hops (7.5%). It gave off very crisp, clean fruity notes that were very inviting as was the deep amber hue. The taste was a little complex but in the end overwhelmed by a strong sweetness. The official tasting notes mentioned ‘burned sugars’. I can confirm that this actually means ‘sweet’. Not a bad drop though.
Thirdly, and the only other kegged offering, was Beer Here’s Executioner IPA (7.0%). Being an IPA fan I was looking forward to this. I wasn’t let down. In fact, I couldn’t put this one down. I gained a different flavour in every mouthful. Hops. Honey. Ginger. Nice.
I should mention at this point that each beer was being served with an accompanying canapé from the Brewhouse kitchen. You think canapé, you think finger food or ‘nibbles’. Forget that. The portion sizes were much larger than that and tasted absolutely fantastic.
The next Beer Here beer to appear (ooh, that rhymes!) was Harwood (8.0%) – a nod to the traditional English porter style. I enjoyed it immensely. It had everything that you’d expect from a porter; chocolate, toffee and backed with a hoppy bitterness. I want to drink this again for sure.
Fifth and finally was Whining Blonde (10.0%) – a Belgian style ale barrel-aged in Pinot Noir casks for almost a year. I was one of a small handful of lucky people to score a second glass of this. Thank God. I loved it. This style isn’t to everybody’s liking but I’d had a decent feed, the evening was drawing to a close and the boozy feel to this beer was appropriate. The Belgian yeast is quite apparent but so is the alcohol. It doesn’t try to hide amongst the fruit. Like I said, I loved it. My advice is to hunt this one down.
I was fortunate to be surrounded by great people for the evening. The guy to my immediate left was none other than Grant Clark, the owner of Brewhouse Brisbane. He talked me through his association with the place, the recent renovations and his realistic aspirations for the future. I had to confess to Grant that I was kicking myself for never having set foot in his pub before (although I had visited his old Brewhouse on Albert Street before its sudden, unforeseen demise in 2008).
Having broken my duck I’ll be back again without a doubt. Not only is the food bloody brilliant but they brew their own beer for goodness sake (under the brewery name Brisbane Brewing Co.)! What better reason to visit?!
Brisbane Brewing Co.’s scotch ale, Up Yer Kilt (5.0%), won a gold at the 2013 Australian International Beer Awards; the world’s second largest beer awards. The head brewer is award-winning Simeon Bonetti who oversees proceedings at the brewery in Albion. Sim won the title of Queensland Champion Amateur Brewer last year.
Brewhouse Brisbane is the largest venue in Brisbane tapping their own hand-crafted brews. There’s something rather good happening in that 124 year-old building and it’s well worth a visit.
If you’re looking for a value-for-money beer and food experience on a Thursday evening, the next Sniff and Sip event is scheduled for November 14th. Keep an eye out for ticket details.
Brewhouse Brisbane, 601 Stanley Street, Woolloongabba, 4102.