Wollongong

Signs of a beer nerd

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Today there were two examples of proof that I’m undoubtedly a beer nerd (as if the fact that I write a blog about it wasn’t enough of a giveaway).

The first example was that I made a 90-minute round trip to Brett’s Bottlemart in Thirlmere to get a growler of beer from Holgate, easily one of my favorite breweries. So it’s a little odd that I don’t think I’ve mentioned Holgate before now.

The first time I tried their beers was when I started writing my beer column for The Mercury and they sent me some samples. Normally when I sample a brewery’s range I expect to find at least one beer I don’t like, but that wasn’t the case with the Holgate samples – they were all good.

Since then, I’ve also tried their draught-only beers, like Road Trip, UXB and Nut Brown Ale, and found their record for quality continued. I liked all of them.

So I had great expectations for Gruit Expectations, (see what I did there?) which was today’s growler purchase of Holgate beer from Thirlmere. It’s a ye olde style of beer called gruit, which was made back in the days before hops were used to flavour beer. Instead they used herbs and spices.

The Holgate website is rather coy as to what made it into their beer. What I can taste is cinnamon, coriander, nutmeg and some ginger, as well as a bit of a peppery bite. And there’s also a slight cough lolly taste at the back end. There is also the strong aroma of dried apricots.

All-up it’s quite different from any other beer i’ve ever had, and also quite intriguing. It’s not a session beer because i think the spicey flavours would become overwhelming but for a beer you sit and savour it works. This could have easily been a bit of a novelty beer but they’ve made it work.I put it down as another winner for Holgate.

The other sign of being a beer nerd came this evening at a work do at Wollongong Golf Club. We were in the function room and the selection of beers at the bar in that room was very, very ordinary. They didn’t even have any Coopers in the fridge.

So the beer nerd in me said “I can’t drink any of that crap” and so I went out to one of the other bars to find something I could drink. Luckily the main bar was much better stocked with Little Creatures, Vale Ale and Two Birds Sunset Ale. That last one was a surprise because I’ve not seen that beer anywhere else in town. So I bought one of those, relieved that I wouldn’t be forced to drink Coke instead.

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