1) There are lots of things about travelling that are great. For me, one of them is the chance to try a few new beers. I’m sure I drive my wife crazy with my habit of stopping in at various bottle shops to scope out their contents, looking for an unfamiliar label on a bottle or can. In a way, it does seem a bit silly; you go on holidays to do something different and there I am doing what I’d do at home.
2) Still, it’s what I was doing during a weekend away at Orange earlier this year. When we arrived at our accommodation, I unpacked all our bags and then said I was going down the road to check out the bottle shop I noticed when we drove past it. It was there that I spotted a few beers that were new to me. That’s when the “beer travel rule” kicks in: that when confronted by a number of beer brands you’ve never seen before opt for the local one. Because who knows whether you’ll ever see it again.
3) The beer I ended up choosing was a pale ale from Two Heads Brewing in Bathurst (which, technically, is not Orange, but still close enough for me to tag it as “local”). I can’t remember a whole lot about it as I don’t take notes on every damn beer I try. But I did buy a four-pack of the stuff and drank all of them, so it must have been decent.
4) And I figured I’d never see that beer again. So it was a nice surprise to have the brewery contact me a few months later asking if they could send me some beer to review. I told them no. Just kidding, of course I told them yes. Saying no to free beer – what do you think I am? An idiot?
5) As well as the pale, the package that arrived in my mail box held their Piper XPA, Indian Papa Alpha IPA and Miller’s Porter. I was underwhelmed by the XPA and IPA; there seemed to be an insufficient amount of carbonation in beer to really lift the flavour. But that porter, jeez that was a nice beer. It has a complex flavour, notes of chocolate and caramel flowing over the tongue. And I don’t know if there’s a bit of smoked malt in the beer, but I swear I could taste a smidge of a bacon flavour. Just the tiniest smidge. It’s a beer that definitely passed the “jeez, I wish I had another can of this in the fridge right now” test.
Free or paid for?: The guys at Two Heads sent me a free four-pack sampler.
Categories: Beer of the Week