January 16, 2014 by 250 Beers
Well, it seems that my self-imposed beer drought last November was probably a good thing because December saw 86 new beers caress my palate. These figures are based on Untappd check-ins and corroborated against my antiquated yet reliable Excel spreadsheet tally – which is more detailed than it needs to be but it provides accuracy.
86 is a high number of unique beers to rattle through for one calendar month so allow me to dissect as briefly as possible.
Straight away I can knock last months count to 80 as there were six meads that made their way onto my unique beer tally. Mead isn’t beer of course yet I was able to check them in on Untappd and so therefore they weren’t overlooked. My introduction to the world of mead can be found by clicking here.
I can account for another 24 beers almost immediately as I built myself a rather large beer advent calendar to enjoy during the lead up to Christmas. The DIY process can be found here and the contents can be viewed here.
The night of the tapping of the Bacchus Beer Bloggers Series can be attributed to ten new beers. These were the six collaborative Bacchus brews as well as these four: The Devil Loves Simcoe (7.2%) IIPA by Summer Wine Brewery, Zephyr – a 7.5% witbier by Doctor’s Orders Brewing, Decembeer Christmas Ale (6.5%) by Kooinda and Sideshow Brewers and lastly Nøgne Ø’s 6.5% Saison (which might be pronounced ‘Saisøn‘ but nøbødy knøws). A big, big night.
The long-awaited opening day of Newstead Brewing Co. and a pre-opening taste of their beers enabled nine new beers to appear on my tally. Seven of the nine were NBCo. beers but on the night of the grand opening I also chugged back an Uppercut 2 IIPA (9.3%) at Green Beacon beforehand as well as a Little Ripper (4.7%) by Matilda Bay at The Waterloo Hotel afterwards. Another big night.
The Scratch Bar can be held responsible for the appearance of seven new beers on my beer listing last month. After a miserable, run-of-the-mill, work-related Christmas function at a run-of-the-mill pub pouring run-of-the-mill lagers, I convinced two colleagues that a trip to Milton would be a good idea. I managed to put away a glass or two of the third incarnation of Bacchus Brewing’s Bo Jingles Rum Aged Choc Cherry Stout (11.0%) and a Hop Bomb IPA (6.5%) by Boatrocker Brewing. As we were leaving, Ross and Josh from Bacchus arrived at The Scratch with a delivery and the last standing colleague and I were handed a decent sized taster of Bacchus’ Holy Moly Christmas Ale (11.6%). A true example of being in the right place at the right time!
The four other beers from Scratch’s taps were consumed during some pre-event drinks. The evening in question was for the third Sniff & Sip session at the Brewhouse. The problem was the S&S wasn’t due to kick-off until 6.30pm. I usually finish work at 5.00pm so, journey time deducted, I had an hour to kill. Luckily for me, The Scratch was holding a Camden Town Brewery tap take-over. Originating from a London suburb myself I was keen to get my lips around some Camden beers after the news broke last year of their little arrangement with Stone & Wood. I polished off a Hells Lager (4.6%), Ink Stout (4.4%) and the Pale Ale (4.0%). Unfortunately, my optimism was soon diminished. As much as the Camden beers were clean and fairly balanced, they were no better than average. The pick of the bunch was the stout. Before bundling into a taxi and heading to Woolloongabba to the Brewhouse there was just about enough time to slurp a Bacchus Altbier (4.0%).
The third Sniff & Sip at the Brewhouse was held to showcase Brewcult. Those at the sell-out event were beaming at the fact that Brewcult owner/brewer Steve ‘Hendo’ Henderson was our host. Another fun and informative night was had by all. Having already tried most of Hendo’s beers I still managed three new beers along the way; Brewcult’s Supa Fly Rye IPA (5.8%), Hendo’s collaboration brew with Sim from Brisbane Brewing Co. – a rye beer called Dry Your Ryes and lastly Brisbane Brewing Co.’s Rose Milk Stout which was fantastic!
Dan Murphy’s stores in Queensland have finally picked up their game and started to stock some new beer. Some are imports and some are Australian. It has to be said that whilst most of the 17 beers that I drank from Dan’s last month were pretty good, some were quite naff.
Highlights were Japanese Baird Brewing’s Rising Sun pale ale (5.0%), Single Take session ale (4.5%) and Suruga Bay IIPA (7.5%); Inbranata (6.4%) a fantastic wheat beer from Italian outfit Birra Del Borgo; Bridgeport’s Hop Czar IIPA (7.5%) and Kingpin (7.5%) double red ale; Oakham Ales’ Bishops Farewell (5.0%) and Citra (4.6%); St Feuillien’s Blonde (7.5%) and Tripel (8.5%). The final decent drop from Dan’s was Feral Brewing’s Sly Fox (4.7%).
There were two middle of the road purchases. Moa’s strange collaboration with Shane Warne – a pale ale called 99 Not Out – was one. It really wasn’t that bad despite all of the negative publicity. The other was a 7.0% whisky beer called 1488 from Scottish distillery, Tullibardine. I might avoid it in the future but only because I’ve now tried it. It certainly hit the spot whilst I was drinking it though.
There were four beers that I tried last month from Dan Murphy’s that I’ll be steering clear of from now on. In no particular order…Shepherd Neame’s Bishops Finger (5.4%); Cricketers Arms IPA (5.2%) from Asahi’s Australian craft beer brand, Sundance Brewing; two from Coldstream Brewery in Victoria – the Czech Pilsner (4.5%) and Pale Ale (4.8%). All four did nothing for me whatsoever and were very bland indeed. Quite why Dans is stocking the two Coldstream beers is beyond me. They should be encouraging people to buy good, Australian craft beer not putting them off it. The green bottle of the pilsner should have been enough of a warning sign for me.
A generous freebie sample from Sail & Anchor’s PR crew in the form of a bottle of Changing Tides (11.0%) barley wine that arrived at 250 Beers HQ during NOvemBEER finally got opened in December. It was/is a good drop! The brewers at Sail & Anchor sure are changing the tides with their limited release beers. A slight marketing boo-boo which sees an image of Santa Claus featured on the packaging suggests that the beer is now out of date (which it isn’t). BWS are now selling these off at $10 per 640ml bottle which is a bloody bargain. They started life on the shelves between $18 and $20. Do yourself a ‘flavour favour’ and grab a couple to cellar until next Christmas.
To finish off this rather long round-up of December’s uniqueness I’m left with nine beers. Eight were bottles or cans apart from one which was Fortitude Brewing‘s Summer (3.2%) – quaffed during a hot day at Pig ‘n’ Whistle Riverside. Whilst I didn’t mind it and found it quite pleasantly thirst quenching, I can’t help but feel that the name ‘Summer‘ along with the very Aussie green and gold decal will mislead punters. Both of these important sales tools scream ‘lager’ at me when in fact the brew is more of a tart ginger beer which may not be to everybody’s taste.
To wrap up then, the last eight were from various shopping trips around Brisbane. Other purchases from these sprees featured in my beer advent calendar so these are the remainders.
From Craft was Dogfish Head’s 90 Minute IPA (9.0%) and Stone Brewing’s boringly named IPA (6.9%). Grey imports or not – I wanted to try them both and nobody can tell me what I can or can’t spend my own money on. Perhaps grey importation is a subject for a future blog post?
From Queens Plaza in the CBD (which is well worth a visit if you’ve never been) I acquired Summerfest (5.0%) by Sierra Nevada and Digital IPA (7.0%) by Yeastie Boys.