March 3, 2014 by 250 Beers
So, the first ever Australian Craft Beer Rising day occurred last weekend (not to be confused with the other one in the UK). There were plenty of things happening around town and beyond to choose from with no less than eight venues in Brisbane registering CBR events.
Having committed to being a judge at Archive’s ‘Australia vs The World’ blind tasting event from midday, my Saturday started early. For me to arrive in good time for the start, I needed to be on a Brisbane-bound train at 10am. Having cleared a rather large preparatory breakfast in record time, I boarded the train amongst scores of others heading south.
The strangest of things was happening. There was more hustle and bustle at my local train station that morning than on a usual weekday during peak-hour. Having convinced myself that Brisbane was going to be inundated with a deluge of beer lovers I realised after ten minutes that my fellow passengers were all revellers heading to the Soundwave Festival. Silly me. More beer for me then.
I arrived first ahead of the other judges; Dan Rawlings from Holgate and Harley Goodacre from All Inn. Sadly, Rocky Reed from Northdown Craft Beer Movement didn’t make it. She’d accidentally double-booked her weekend and was off elsewhere but hopefully still drinking good beer. We’d RISE UP! without her.
Proceedings were simple. There were eight styles and everybody in the room received a 100ml taster of a Beer 1 and a 100ml taster of a Beer 2 for each style – one style at a time. We all had absolutely no idea what brands or what brewery’s beer we were drinking. It was very well run and exceptionally good fun. All participants simply circled their preferred option (Beer 1 or Beer 2) on their scorecard. The scores were then added up at the end and, although some of the outcomes were shocking such as Kooinda’s Pale Ale beating Sierra Nevada’s, there wasn’t much in it in terms of votes. One result was split by just two votes.
I was amazed that Archive had kept the cost of the tickets to just $10 and, in turn, equally shocked that only 40 or so had seized the opportunity to grab a bargain! I’m not complaining. 40 people was just the right amount for the size of the area we were in – the ‘next door bar’ – so-called because, well, it’s just next door to the main bar. Essentially, $10 bought ticket holders 1.6 litres of beer. That’s outstanding value for money.
Regarding the judging, I’d certainly offer to help again in the future because there wasn’t much judging to be done. Each judge introduced two styles to the rest of the room….well, that’s what was supposed to happen. What actually happened was that Dan Rawlings with his wealth of brewing knowledge and his passion for talking to people took the reigns and did most of the introductions. I did, however, introduce the porter style.
Once the event had drawn to a close a large group of around 15 of us piled into a car and a maxi-taxi and headed over to Newstead Brewing Co. who were boasting a tap selection consisting only of Queensland brewed beers for the day. Mark from NBCo had given me prior notice that a beer from Brewbake was being tapped for Craft Beer Rising which really is testament to what NBCo are all about in terms of embracing local talent. Sadly, by the time I arrived, I’d missed Brewbake’s offering which had sold out in under 40 minutes! I had to settle for Toybox Brewery’s Peppa’d Pig – a 5.6% peppered ham flavoured pale ale. Oh, what a shame! I’ve recently been in the presence of ‘Toybox Dave’ whilst he’s been in the process of naming a beer. I can’t begin to imagine the sheer delight on his face when he came up with the name Peppa’d Pig!
I was mid-oink when disaster struck. I suddenly felt rather naked. My bag was no longer draped over my shoulder. Where the hell had I put it? I hadn’t ‘put it’ anywhere. I just hadn’t picked the bastard thing up when we left Archive! I blame Dan Rawlings for making me go and arrange the taxi.
I blew a decent chunk of beer money on catching another cab to haul me back to Archive in order to fetch my man-bag but that wasn’t the real disaster. The real tragedy was that NBCo was at bursting point (their biggest day in turnover since they opened) and there were so many people in there that I knew and wanted to catch up with….I didn’t get the chance because I was in a cab with the worst driver ever. Lovely bloke but, jeez, he drove like a tit. It was borderline making me want to scream. I reiterated to him no less than a thousand times that my bag – with all of my worldly belongings in it (apart from my house keys – more on that later) – was sat on the floor in a bar for the world to see and steal if it wanted to. He still continued to drive at a snail’s pace. On the return leg back to Newstead, I reiterated that to him no less than two thousand times that I was in a hurry (for a Burleigh Hassle Hop actually) but it fell on deaf ears. I made it back in time for a quick Hassle Hop and then I strolled around the corner to Tippler’s Tap where the rest of the apres-Archive co-Risers were now residing….leaving behind lots of people and lots of conversation. There’ll be other times I suppose.
After a few more beers at Tippler’s – including my 28th Untappd check-in for the day – it was home time. I know my limits these days and I’m well aware of the consequences if I fall asleep on my long train ride home.
I made it all the way back to 250 Beers HQ to find that my door keys were inside the house. Despite a few knocks on the front door there was no waking Mrs 250 Beers who had fallen asleep with one of our boys. A gentle rap on his bedroom window failed to wake her so I climbed a fence (Craft Beer Rising indeed) and sat out on our back deck for a while…in the dark…beerless and hungry. Before you ask – yes, I did phone the house using my mobile phone but that didn’t stir her either.
Being locked out didn’t bother me. It gave me time to ponder a great day that was nearly over. Well done to James at The Crafty Pint for initiating the whole thing.
Ooooh, perhaps I should mention my Roast Beef Rising which happened the day after? I’d been hashtagging most of my Instagram photos with #CBR14 in the slim chance of winning a prize in a competition. Cheekily, I snapped a quick photo of my joint of beef being held aloft, hashtagged it accordingly and BAM! it won. Madness!
Incidentally, and just for the fun of it, my children and I sat in front of the oven that evening shouting “Rise Up!” to the Yorkshire puddings. If only they knew that their Dad was such a tool.