I flew back home on Sunday after a lightening-quick visit of Melbourne during Good Beer Week. In this instance “lightning-quick means “two-and-a-half days”, having flown in at lunchtime Thursday and out again on lunchtime Sunday.
For the pedants, I didn’t count Sunday morning in the tally as there was no chance of beer-related activity. And anyway, this is a beer blog not a “wait for your airport shuttle to arrive and catch a plane home blog”, which is exactly what I did on the Sunday.
So what you’ll get over the next three days is a recap of each day’s goings-on. I make no assumptions that you will find that interesting but, hey, it’s my blog and I’ll write what I like.
The trip didn’t start well with my flight delayed for an hour (the first such flight mishap I’ve ever experienced). That meant I had to make changes to my minutely-planned schedule even before leaving Sydney. So the visit to Thunder Road was scratched (I had been invited by the brewers) because I couldn’t make it fit between meeting an old friend beforehand and catching up with an old friend afterwards.
First stop was to meet the old friend. At Beer Deluxe, because I figured I’d kill two birds with one stone – “meet friend” and “first beer of the trip”. I’d never been to Beer Deluxe before, largely because I wasn’t able to find it buried somewhere in the middle of Fed Square. As part of Good Beer Week they had a pop-up bat serving Mikkelller stouts. Given that it was my first beer of the afternoon and the stouts were all about 10 per cent, there was just no way I was going to try and slog through one of them when there was more alcohol planned for the evening.
Instead, Untappd tells me I had three beers there – a Rogue Haznelnut Brown Nectar, a Nogne O 500 and a Pinky Framboise from Bright Brewery. The order of preference was: 500, Rogue and Pinky finishing last (that’s because I need to be in the right frame of mind for a sour beer. By the way if you’re expecting detailed notes on what the beers taste like, you’ll be disappointed. I just couldn’t be arsed ruining the experience of being out for beer in Melbourne by writing down my impressions of a beer. I’ll do that at home but not while I’m on holidays).
About two hours later I headed up to East Brunswick to meet the nephew at the Alehouse Project. I had a little time to kill so stopped in at the Great Northern Hotel, which was serving US beers. It’s a funny old pub, the Great Northern. At first glance, it looked a bit run-down and I figured I might have the wrong bar. But a quick look at the taps showed I was in the right place.
I quickly blew all my mental rehearsals, and asked for a middy instead of a pot (non-Australians: these are the names that NSW and Victorian people respectively refer to the same size of glass. Weird, huh?). While drinking that first “pot” – a Smooth Ryed by Bridgeport – I came to like the decor of the Great Northern. It is what it is – an old-fashioned local pub. If you like it, fine, if you don’t then you’re missing out.
Even though I’d had a late lunch in the form of a burger at Beer Deluxe, I figured I should stick to my plan of doing everything to avoid a hangover and order some dinner. Which was another hamburger. To wash it down I had a Lagunitas IPA (the first time I’d had anything from that brewery) and a Tipperary Pale Ale from Moylans. I absolutely loved the pale ale – can still remember the very distinctive tangerine flavour. Not orange, not mandarin but tangerine. I need to find more of this.
Then it was up to the Alehouse to wait for my nephew – who ended up getting off at the wrong stop – and drink some New Zealand beers. While I waited for the nephew, I ran into a few people I knew from the world of Twitter – Dave, James and “Cornelius” (it’s an alias). Always fun to meet Twitter people – and a little odd too. Even though we’d never met face-to-face, we began talking like we’d been hanging out for ages.
Beers drunk included a Gunnamatta by the Yeastie Boys, which I wanted to try after having read a very caustic review of it from an NZ writer who holds Monteith’s in high esteem. I found it certainly way better than the reviewer but wasn’t quite sure how I felt about it (if that makes any sense). That’s why, two days later, I bought a bottle to take home with me. Other beers were Bitter Bitch and Flaxenfeather from ParrotDog and an oatmeal stout from Renaissance. The nephew had arrived by this time and foolishly opted for a Nevarraven by Yeastie Boys – foolish because it’s 10 per cent and he felt it not long afterwards.
But before he was hit by that 10, we went back to the Great Northern for two more beers – a NorCal IPA by Moylans and an Australian beer – Mad Brewers Wee Highlander. By this stage I’d had enough beers that I can’t recall what I thought of either beer.
When the 10 per cent beer hit the nephew, I opted to try the Über service. Which would actually turn out to be the only time I tried it. Not because there was anything wrong with it – there wasn’t – but rather because I enjoyed walking or tramming it around Melbourne more than expected.
Day One Unique Beer Tally: 12