The goal seemed very, very simple – to drink 10 new beers while up in Sydney last Friday.
That’s not 10 beers that have only just been created, but rather 10 beers that are new to my own palates.
Seeing as how last Friday was the Harts Pub Meet the Brewer event – where there would be 12 beers on tap – and that ahead of that night-time function I’d also planned a visit to the Lord Nelson and then Harts for lunch (their burgers are so special) it would seem the ‘‘10 beers’’ target would be knocked over stupidly easy.
And yet, and yet.
I figured a tasting paddle at the Lord Nelson would take care of half of them in one hit. But they don’t have tasting paddles, informed the guy behind the counter (who them threw down my half-pint on the bar like he was trying to break it).
So instead of five I left with just two – the Quayle Ale and Victory Bitter. And I left after the Vic Bitter because it tasted wrong. If I was drinking homebrew I’d call it infected – but surely proper breweries don’t get infections.
So then I went for a Harts hamburger, and to taste the range for a newspaper beer column. I’d sampled them before but couldn’t for the life of me find that notebook, so I had to go try them again. That meant I just picked up two newbies – the Convict Lager and the Rum Barrel-Aged Butcher Porter.
I’d had – and loved – the Porter before but figured the addition of the rum barrels made it a new beer. And it is – I’m no fan of spirits but the rum notes work very well with this porter.
That took the score to four out of 10. Could have been five but the beer I had with the burger was a 77 IPA from Riverside, which I’d had before. Stupidly I ordered a pint of the stuff – at 7.7 per cent I needed to go back to the hotel for a nap after a pint.
After awaking, I checked Twitter and found that the HopDog/Riverside collaboration Assaisonner Tri Canus Flumen (what does that mean? I have no frigging idea) was being tapped at Spooning Goats.
Googling the Goats’ location on my smartphone (and marvelling at the fact I could do that with a device I could hold in my hand – yes, I’m very, very old), it turned out the place was just a few blocks down the road from my hotel.
And so I collected beer No5 in a small bar that’s partially underground and very, very easy to miss. Which I suppose just adds to its coolness, as far as those younger than me are concerned.
I could have had Beer No6 here too but I chose to have another ‘‘old’’ beer – a Riverside Amber Ale. Yep, I like Riverside – and I swear it had nothing to do with the fact that Dave – along with a few other people I only know through Twitter from Riverside was right next to me at the bar.
After downing the Amber I headed to Hart with five beers left to get. And I got them – though only just. See, they were serving them in schooners and I had overlooked the need to actually eat dinner beforehand.
So those five beers went to my head. Well, actually it was a few more than five – I had another Riverside beer too (sensing a pattern?) and a Pacific Ale after Brad Rogers wanted to buy me a beer (I still feel like I’m committing a faux pas if I ask a brewer to get me a beer other than one they’ve made.
For the trainspotters here’s the list of the remaining five, with whatever I can remember about them. Note that my recollections diminish substantially the closer we get to the magical 10 – there’s a very good reason for that.
No6 Red Hill Saison: Apparently this was the debut of this beer – which made it truly a ‘‘new’’ beer. It’s pretty sessionable and pretty fine.
No7 Thirsty Crow Vanilla Milk Stout: It wasn’t as good as I was hoping. But that’s my fault – having heard so much about this beer, I’d already imagined how it would taste. And that sort of build-up is unfair on any beer. Being impartial, it was chocolately, coffee-y and slightly sweet and well worth spending your money on.
No8 Illawarra Brewery Rust:Yeah, I have had this before but Dave from the brewery said that, this time, they’d made it by using a hopback (at least I think that’s what he said they’d used, things are a bit sketchy at this point). So that qualified it as a new beer. I can definitely remember a tasty hop hit right up the front that hadn’t been there in the
previous incarnations of Rust.
No9 Young Henry’s FBi Radio Red:I do remember liking it. But I don’t remember adding it to Untappd while at Harts, so I was shocked to wake up the next day and see it there.
No10 Young Henrys-Two Birds collaboration Otaku: Having this beer at No10, when my taste buds and memory, were no longer working, was a serious error on my part. And I offer a grovelling apology to the brewers (though Jayne from Two Birds may forgive me given that I let her my jacket for a decent chunk of the evening). This beer includes ingredients like seaweed and green tea and was really a beer I’d wished I’d tried earlier – when I could remember it.
So I made it to 10 but there were still more beers that I missed out on – like a second Thirsty Crow beer and an offering from Doctors Orders (a brewery from whom I’m yet to sample anything…but still hopeful it’ll happen one day).
But I guess that’s always the case, always another beer you wished you’d tried.
Categories: Venues and events