Spotting a can of Tooheys Blue on the shelves at my local Dan Murphy’s was quite a surprise. I didn’t think they even made this beer any more, thought it went the way of beers like Reschs Real and Tooheys Country Special (much to the eternal chagrin of my father, who loved him some Country Special).
Maybe Tooheys Blue is the latest in some sort of retro resurrection effort that sees Tooheys bringing back beers of days gone by. Or maybe it’s always been there in the store but I’d never noticed because it’s in the mid-range alcohol section and I never have cause to go looking there.
But it forms part of my beer history – or beers I used to drink, as it says up the top there. All that means is that this week I’ll be running through beers I remember drinking at one time or another – most of which I no longer touch.
This one would come from the very early 1990s, when my Friday night hangout was the Oxford Tavern in Wollongong. Easily the best band venue in the city at the time – if not ever – with the benefit of hindsight, it was a bit of inner-city Newtown style hipness in Wollongong.
It’d put on all sorts of bands. It was the sort of place where you could start a band, rehearse a few times and then score a support slot at the Oxford early in the week. If you got better, you’d progress to the coveted Friday and Saturday night slots.
That’s where my friend’s band, The Culprits, started – on the Friday and Saturday headlining spots. And that’s where I’d be every Friday and Saturday, drinking a 2.3 per cent Tooheys Blue. Why? Well, because I lived too far from the Oxford to walk and wasn’t exactly so flush with cash that I could cab it home. So I had to drive to the pub and then remain sober enough to drive home again (hint: being able to drive at the end of the night makes you very popular indeed).
Tasting it now, there wasn’t much that surprised me. The only thing that did was the dark colour of the beer; it’s surprisingly deep for a mid-strength beer. Don’t think I noticed that before because every other time I drank this would have been out of a bottle or a can.
There’s a slight aroma of sweet malt and, as you’d totally expect from a lowish alcohol beer, the taste is a bit on the watery side. But to be entirely fair, I drank this on a warm afternoon and it did go down very easily.
Still, I’m not going to be rushing to buy a six-pack any time soon. Or ever, actually.