Friday, November 30, 2012

Find me at

I heard that it's totes vibin' over at WordPress, so I'm joining the cool kids where it's all at...or something like that. (Actually, I just prefer the authoring/editing backend that WordPress offers...)

Thank you to all who have followed this little lowly blog about beer and those bars and bands that help make beer extra good. But DON'T GO...just update your links!

I have now moved this blog over to the new site at:

Find me there and read my latest post about Stone & Wood Garden Ale!


Photo of blogger James drinking a Mountain Goat Triple Hightail at the brewery

Friday, November 2, 2012

The Perfect Beer World (The Session no.69)

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin's archive page.

This month's Session is hosted by Jorge Zarate of the blog Brew Beer And Drink It. His chosen topic: The Perfect Beer World.

"What is something you would like to see change...something that will take us closer to the Perfect Beer World? The topic is wide open, even if you think that what you want to change for the better is not important or ridiculous...share it! I have personally been looking into gruit ales, few beer drinkers pay attention to gruit or even 'real ales' and would love to see more micro-breweries include these on their menus..."

A great topic from Jorge for this month's Session, because it reflects one of the most common conversations that rises when craft beer lovers/nerds/snobs/drinkers gather. The context, tone and depth of discussion on this topic varies greatly, but it always comes back to the simple reality of how we all just want to have good more beer. To have good beer, however, we need a world that appreciates beer and world where good beer is readily accessible.

If beer is truly appreciated for its science and art, then beer will be crafted, brewed, packaged, transported/stored, sold and served correctly and respectfully, resulting in a perfectly poured and appropriate consumed refreshment or meal in a glass. Furthermore, that beer will have been created for the purpose of brewing good beer, instead of any market or business considerations.

Achieving such complete perfection, across the full life-cycle of beer, may essentially be impossible in today's capitalist and global economy.

Controlling every aspect of beer from grain to glass in beyond reasonable because it passes through far too many hands in the vast majority of cases. Whilst I'm fast learning the advantage of enjoying beer brewed locally and on a small scale, which mostly allows for much of the beer's life-cycle to stay somewhere in the vicinity of perfection, I am more of a mundane realist when it comes to what I can have.

What I can have, I believe, is the perfection of accessibility to good beer.

What we currently have here in Australia at the moment is very limited access (relatively) to craft beer and good beer. Bottleshops, pubs, bars, venues and restaurants and still dominated by a sad selection of samey, not-good beer. Taps, fridges and shelves remain overwhelmed by generic, bland, mass produced, adjunct-filled lagers that are industrially brewed with altered/extract base ingredients. The vast majority of time we are still faced a boring "choice" of macro-swill/shit beer/cat piss/may as well be water, even in this age of thriving craft and diverse beer of flavour.

Today, the majority of pubs I walk into still have a line up of beer taps that are 80-90 per cent generic lagers. The beers may have different brand names but they are all the same style and their appearance varies only in the slightest. Even worse, the selection is exactly the same all year round. Lager is fine in the heat of Summer, yet even in the stout and porter appropriate weather of Winter it is still all lager, lager, lager. The biggest selling point of "differentiation" tends to be Imported/Premium/Local beer. Blerg. It's still the same beer!

The common beer choice in this imperfect beer world...lager, lager, lager, (cider), lager...

The same continues in almost every bar, restaurant and bottleshop. It may be slowly changing, with craft beer growing along with some recognition for the available diversity of beer styles, but we are a very long way off perfection.

I drive 45km to and from work. On that drive I do not pass a bar, pub or bottleshop where I can get good beer. Melbourne may have a many great beer venues, small breweries and specialist beer shops, but they are still few and far between. Those hints of a future preferction are mostly "craft beer venues" and are currently the exception. On my hour long drive home from work I pass numerous pubs and hotels, none of which provide any options for a thirsty guy to choose from a selection delicious local ales.

In the perfect beer world I will be able to walk into any place that serves/sells beer and find a diverse selection of beers, diverse in style, maker and character. I'll be able to purchase a flavoursome and well crafted beer that suits the time, place and weather...anywhere!

The right beer in the right place at the right time...that beer world will be perfect.

A regional Queensland pub takes their first steps to a perfect beer world.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A quick Beer Bar Band Halloween

What? Halloween? What's that?

Yes, it's mostly a foreign concept here in Australia...but it's also an excuse to theme another day full of beers, bars and bands. And we can now, because Pumpkin beers are now available in Australia! (Read Jenn's blog post for more on that: Boo! Spooky Pumpkin Ale Scones)

So here is a beer, a bar and some bands with a Halloween feel for this dark night of pumpkins and lost souls...

BEER - All Hallowed Ale by HopDog BeerWorks

Recently arrived on the shelves of Melbourne's craft beer retail, HopDog BeerWorks is producing some very tasty hybrid style beers with a twist that celebrate the craft of beer. Craft beer!

All Hallowed Ale is a Belgian Pumpkin Ale brewed with roasted pumpkin, specialty sugars and spices. It pours a golden-amber, providing a pumpkin appearance. The Belgian yeast dominates the aroma and flavour, but the pumpkin is also clearly there on the aroma. The pumpkin is a bit lost in the mouth though, as the Belgianness of cloves and a little banana plus bitterness take over. Good softer hits of spices and sweetness....but not enough pumpkin for me. I did not pick the 7.3% abv because it is very easy drinking.

My experience with pumpkin beers is very limited so far. Unfortunately the best one I have tasted is still about two weeks away from being available in bottles - the very pumpkin Artisan Pouseure spiced pumpkin ale from Moon Dog Brewing. We tasted this year's batch at last week's Fed Square Microbreweries Showcase and it was just exactly what we want from a pumpkin beer.

BAND - Aussie Halloween-ish songs

When I look for some spooky rockin' locals on my playlist...well, it's a bit of a stretch. Nonetheless, I head straight for a bite of girl punk from the last decade. Maybe more fluffy than dark, but all good grisly fun...have a listen...

Zombie Girl by The Spazzys

Dating The Undead by Sin City

There's plenty of appropriate songs from the locals guys Deadman by Expatriate and Dead Dog Standing by Ratcat, plus plenty of tracks from Grinspoon. Of course there is also plenty of Halloween style fuzz from the Aussie metal scene...but my own playlist lacks the short-fast-loud at the moment (and this post has been too hastily last-minute to mine that rich well).

BAR - The Tote Hotel, Collingwood.

The bar that died then returned to life!

At age 30, The Tote was shut down under the weight of bad government policy for live music venues. It was revived by several spirits who care deeply for the culture and sound of Melbourne's music. Read the story on Wikipedia or buy and watch the brilliant documentary, Persecution Blues: The Battle For The Tote.

Dark, hard rocking, sticky carpet (less sticky now though...since the original bandroom carpet was torn up at time of Tote death). Many Halloween appropriate bands have blown through the speakers of The Tote bandroom, Cobra room and front bar. An icon of Melbourne's live music scene and culture. Often scary...but thankfully there is Mountain Goat beer in the fridges. Rock on...forever.

Long live The Tote.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Beer - Brown Ale Day Beer Review: Big Brown Beaver

Today we have enjoyed many local brown ales for Brown Ale Day. It has been excellent drinking, proving the versatile variety of good brown ales from modern craft brewers. We have had typical Melbourne weather, four seasons in one day - sunny, warm, windy, cloudy, wet, cold, and more sun - and the brown ales have suited each weather situation so well. The brown ales have also matched beautifully with today's lunch, dinner and snacks. Brown ale win!

One of the best brown ales that I've tasted this year was the Big Brown Beaver from The Wig & Pen.

Richard Watkins, the brewer and heart & soul of Canberra's Wig & Pen, is a master brewer of the highest order. He is revered among the brewing community, an expert in science of cask conditioned real ales and the art of the Randall hop infuser.

We visited the Wig & Pen brewpub in April this year, on an Easter road-trip planned for for the specific purpose of drinking a Saturday night away at Wig & Pen. It was a brilliant night indeed. We were joined by Ian Morgan, the senior brewer from Holgate Brewhouse, and his brother-in-law, along with the best tasting paddle in Australia...

Now...tha'ts a generous tasting paddle of quality beer!

That night the Wig & Pen was also pouring a brown ale named Big Brown Beaver (Richard loves cheeky names for his beers!) through the NZ Hallertau hop filled Randall.

The brewer's tasting notes say of this 5.9% unfiltered brown ale: "Big Brown Beaver is a malt driven brown ale for the hop lover. Beaver has a strong malt flavour and leaves a satisfying bitterness on the back of the palate. As it is dry hopped through 'modus hoperandus' it has different aroma each week depending on the wims of the brewer, which creates an evolving and easily savourable ale."

It was a delightful drinking experience - full, balanced, long and complex. Caramel sweetness to start then a long hoppy finish of bitterness. This was one of those beers that could turn a non brown ale lover into a true brown ale believer!

When it comes to crafting beer, Richard Watkins is conventional yet punk. Brilliant browness.

Beer - It's all brown from here!

Brown Ale Day is ON!

Yes, we're deep in the brown now.

We are drinking and sharing brown ale beers to celebrate this frequently unpopular style. The talk of craft beer too often seems to be about IPAs and black variant beers. How about some love for the brown?!

Hope you can join us, here's why:

Beer runners we are, today started by completing a 10km fun run through the tough hills of a local town. Ouch. Thankfully, the reward of good beer was motivation again! As soon as we arrived home we cracked our first brown ale and consumed it with banana, peanut butter, choc-chip, brown ale muffins that Jenn baked yesterday.

Here is how Brown Ale Day has run visually for us so far...

BROWN ALE FACT: In the Top 100 beers of the Critic's Choice: Australia's Best Beers 2011, brown ale was the 5th top style in the list of 100 beers. That was an improvement of three spots after it was the 8th most occurring beer style in the 2010 list. The 2011 list included: 2brothers James Brown (#95), Murray's Angry Man Brown (#59) and Moon Dog's Henry Ford's Girthsome Fjord (#26).

Share your Brown Ale drinkings and love via #BrownAleDay

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Beer - Get down with Brown on October 21

Tomorrow, Sunday 21st October, is Brown Ale Day! Join us in celebrating this too often underrated yet richly diverse category of beer style by simply drinking a brown ale.

Why is it Brown Ale Day tomorrow? Well, Jenn simply decided that it would be! It is nothing official or formal. There are no events, no website or statement of purpose and no organising committee. It is simply a random day that we've set aside for drinking just brown ales and calling for others to do the same, because this unjustly under-appreciated beer style needs more exposure and support.

Over the last few years there has been a growing number of celebrations for craft beer and beer styles, primarily driven online. Following IPA Day and International Stout Day...Jenn asked "why isn't there a brown ale day?". She loves the brown, more than anyone else I know. Brown ale is also the style she most commonly uses for cooking because of it's versitility in food.

So now we're extending the concept and declaring a day of brown beer for October 21, simply because the open forum of the internet allows us to do so.

For the full short-story of our Brown Ale Day's origin, read Jenn's post at Soaked in Beer: Celebrate the Sedate – Brown Ale Day

Tomorrow we encourage you to drink a brown ale - maybe one you've never tried before, maybe a local favourite - drink it and share something about it online.

We will be lining up a selection of brown craft beers from Australian brewers.

Local breweries that produce a brown ale are in the minority. There are certainly many more browns available now than there were two years ago, but that is primarily just a reflection of the recent growth in the craft beer industry. Nonetheless, the brown ales currently available on the market are all diverse and wonderfully drinkable.

We've done our best to track down every available packaged brown ale from Australia. The only browns we could not find at this time were the 2brothers James Brown, a strong Belgian brown ale made with banana lollies which is a very limited seasonal and it's the wrong time of year, as well as Murray's Angry Man Brown Ale which we haven't seen in Melbourne for a long time (about since the Murray's Pale Ale was rebranded with an Angry Man label as well).

Anyway, there is plenty here to fully brown up our day in different ways!

Social media will be the outlet of our brown celebrations. Find/follow/connect and all that at:

Other online channels to share brown ale experiences tomorrow include posting pictures and words to the likes of Tumblr, Flickr or your blog. Go on, make a big brown blog!

To link in with our Brown Ale Day, use the hashtag of #BrownAleDay when posting your brown drinking thoughts and experience on Twitter or Instagram.

Oh...and there is so much more beyond the sad old Newcastle Brown Ale! Brown ales in the crafty 21st century is much more interesting...

...brown up!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Novelty Beers (The Session no.68)

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin's archive page.

This month's Session is hosted by Tiffany Adamowski of the blog 99 Pours. Her chosen topic: Novelty beers.

"What novelty beer comes to mind when you think: Is this beer just to strange to stay around? Why in the world would they choose ingredients most beer drinkers have never heard of ...what the heck is a qatar fruit? If it’s okay for beer to taste like tea or coffee, why not pizza? If wild yeasts are allowed to ferment beer, then why not beard yeast? If oysters, why not bacon? If pumpkin’s good enough for pie, why not beer? Since hops are flowers, why not brew with actual flowers?"

I love exploring beer, all beers! I will try any beer I come across and there are definitely some weird and wonderful beers out there these days. Actually, the list of ingredients with which brewers from around the world are experimenting now seems to be endless, as is the number of never-seen/tasted-before beers that I have consumed in the last few years. Even in this small corner of the beer world, Scott Wilson-Browne of Red Duck alone plans to brew 50 new, unique beers in the next year!

There's just too many delightfully eccentric and peculiar beers to mention or even recall. I'm too much a fan of big, bold beers that some people may dismiss as novelty. Hence, I struggle to pick one to highlight because I'm always looking for the next one.

So I thought that I'd take this topic down the road of what the term "novelty beer" means to me...

An imperial pale ale brewed with peated malt, chipotles and blackberries; an uber smokey golden ale brewed with 100% peated malt; a 11.3% abv bread beer inspired by ancient Egyptian brewing; an imperial milk stout that drinks like a Crème Brûlée; gin aged beers; wheat beers with melon and guava; beers with sugar beet, kopi luwak, horny goat weed...Auld Bulgin' Boysterous Bicep?!?

Novelty or craft?

I call these beers craft!

Why not novelty? Simple, because I would drink them again and again and again...!

They may initially be novel in nature - new and unique - but when I continue to drink such a beer because I love it, the beer hence becomes familiar. No longer novel but a regular treat of good beer drinking, beyond the diminishing tag of novelty.

This is what defines my concept of novelty: a quirky concept that I won’t revisit once experienced. It will remain novel because it is a one-off experience. And should I happen to drink a novelty beer more than once, it is likely to only happen a very small number of times and for a specific reason to match an occasion/situation, so the beer still remains a novelty.

More often than not, a novelty beer is a shit beer. You don’t buy/drink it for the beer, you buy it for the concept emitted by just part of beer, such as the name or packaging, rather than the whole beer experience. Novelty does not respect the beer, it is produced for a reason other than the combined science and art of brewing.

A classic novelty beer from my corner of the world is Piss beer. As you would expect, the Piss beer concept was born from a boozy joke. The men behind the Great Britain Hotel in Richmond were more than happy to “take the piss” to help promote their pub in the spirit of Aussie larrikinism.

Piss is a generic 4.9% abv lager. For any good beer lover, it literally is piss. It's an easy laugh. You drink it once so you can say that you literally have drunk piss. Thankfully it's easy to perceive the joke of the beer, as the Great Britain Hotel holds a special and respected place in Melbourne's craft beer evolution. It was the first pub to sell Mountain Goat beer (exactly 15 years ago this month!), opening a new wave of craft beer industry and culture in this now beer rich city. Yep, GBH was ground zero for Melbourne's 21st century craft beer boom!

Other Australian novelty beers in this vein include Broo, Good Head and Kwencher. These beers could all be the same beer: generic, bland, "premium" lagers. They are simply a name and a label that makes them a one off.

There’s also Skinny Blonde with it’s heat sensitive label. On a cold bottle the label shows a bikini clad girl, then as you drink the beer and the bottle warms her bikini disappears.

Not surprisingly they are all contract brewed for non-brewing companies that have a single beer brand that capitalise on the marketing dollar. Do they serve a purpose? I don't think so, that's why they are novelty beers.

And then there's Duff. The latest attempt to market the famous beer brand of The Simpson's was squashed earlier this year by the might of 20th Century Fox's copyright lawyers*.

Under the label of "The Legendary Duff Beer – Premium Lager", the beer was brewed at Eschweger Klosterbrauerei in Germany. Despite media reports claiming that all remaining Duff beer in Australia was required to be poured down the drain by retailers and the distributor because it is now illegal, stock of the beer is still kicking around bottle shops of Melbourne. I stumped across cans of it and thought it would be appropriate for this post.

Indeed, this Duff beer sadly lives up to my interpretation of a novelty beer. It seems to be a Czech Pilsner but tastes like beginners homebrew. It is unbalanced with a grainy texture. The taste and mouthfeel was essentially beer flavoured lemonade. It’s drinkable, I was able to consume the whole beer, but the short finish on it wasn’t particularly pleasant.

The label is iconic but there is no respect for anything more about the beer than just the imagery. Although, maybe that's what the real Duff beer of Springfield is like...dirty, weak swill drunk by just a few old disheveled men who are sad permanent fixtures at Moe’s bar? Surely it should at least be an American lager with the brown-ish appearance of the cartoon.

It might be fun to have the empty can on display in my "man cave", but not for the sake of the beer.

I'll stick to drinking the crafty brews that I don't want to be a singular, novel, experience. Hand me a pint or three of that harshly smokey, 7% abv golden ale made from 100% heavy peated distilling malt! Mmmm...yes, Rex.

*For an excellent insight into attempts to use the Duff brand in Australia, read The Return of Duff Beer – Only This Time it’s 'Legendary' by Amanda Scardamaglia of the (now ceased) IP and Media Law blog, The Fortnightly Review.

Monday, October 1, 2012

If I have inspired only one, I have inspired

Sucktember is OVER! WOOHOO!

Yikes, what a month. For a full 30 days (31 days if you count the actual hours), team Beer Bar Band has worked hard on our physical health and fitness through a personal program of full-on detox and training. Our main aim was to get back in shape for running in the Melbourne Marathon Festival, but there was also the desire to simply reclaim robust fitness and health after a somewhat gluttonous winter and leading into summer.

During all of September we had no beer or any form of alcohol. The only beverages we allowed ourselves were water, green tea, sports drinks (only after long runs) and coffee, which was cut back compared to normal consumption levels. I also stopped drinking orange juice, of which I used to have a glass every morning. The disallowed list during Sucktember further extended to any desserts, chocolate, sweets, chips, cheese and fast food in general. Intake of bread and any processed foods were also minimised.

The other key component of Sucktember was daily and diverse exercise. That involved waking up at 5:00am for 45 minutes of pre-breakfast exercise (exercise-bike cycling or yoga), going to work, then coming home and completing another hour or more of training/exercise (running, riding, weights, resistance, skipping, etc.), with one rest day in the week. Mostly, we were in bed by 9:30pm every day to be ready for the next 5:00am start.

Today, two weeks out from the half marathon, the taper begins. With the commitment to Sucktember over, the really tricky part starts now. During October - aka ROCKTOBER - we will allow ourselves to once again enjoy beer, but we need to steer clear of indulging and undoing the hard work of the last month ( least until the marathon run has been conquered!). Unfortunately, we both have the type of body that puts on weight and falls out of fitness very quickly without regular persistence.

I post here today because yesterday, half way through running 22km(*), I had a realisation that brought great satisfaction: even though I pursued the extreme program of Sucktember for no one else other than myself, my regular long runs have also inspired someone to better their health with exercise. It was a comment from a while ago now, but it is purely heart warming to be told that my actions have resulted in someone else's pursuit for improving their fitness health. Something I have done, without the intention to influence, has made a small positive difference.

Over the past month I have filled my Twitter and Facebook feeds, as well as this blog, with nothing else but exercise updates and lack-of-beer-whinging, but from it has come constructive impact...and no matter how small, that is special.

Fat James at age 21.
It's special to me because I know intimately both ends of the scale.  I did not have a healthy body until the age of 29. Through all my youth and early adulthood - from the earliest of my teenage years to deep into my twenties - I was obese (pushing into WHO Class III obesity of "very severe"). After five years of arduous hard work (then even more hard work) and plenty of lifestyle change along the way, I thankfully discovered real health and fitness, gaining the body I have today. Now my cardio fitness and weight** supports my ability to run a long way...and live longer.

32 & ready to run again!
I now know big change is possible, after believing for so long that it could never happen. From experience I also understand that it is much better to be fit than fat. Consequently, I desire to share with others the goodness of being in top condition whilst still being able to enjoy pleasures like beer, cheese and chocolate. Mmmm.

If you are very unfit/unhealthy, the journey to significant improvement will be long and painful, and it will also be via a different path for everyone (just find what works for you!), but the reward is fantastic!

And there's some excellent recent science for beer loving runners!  A commentary paper published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition provides a summary of beer and health science presented at the 6th Beer and Health Symposium held in Brussels last year (and yes, funded by the Brewers of Europe industry organisation, but the science is rigorous). The summary includes findings from peer-reviewed science that note moderate beer consumption boosts bone health; and it can improve immune-system function! Beer winning!

A Sierksma and FJ Kok (2012), Beer and health: from myths to science, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2012) 66, 869–870; doi:10.1038/ejcn.2012.30

Although the science unpublished, the following presentation by an aptly qualified exercise physiology scientist is a highlight for the beer runners - Beer after exercise: Yes or no? Professor Manuel J. Castillo says: "Beer quenches thirst and is frequently consumed after practicing sport or exercise. Beer is mainly water but also contains alcohol. Research into whether alcohol content prevented adequate recovery and/or rehydration found that neither a specific nor a negative effect could be attributed to the intake of beer compared to the intake of just water. In conclusion***, at least in healthy, young adults, beer in moderate amounts is as effective as water for rehydration and recovery after exercise." (***based on a 4.5% abv beer in 660ml amounts)

Throughout September 2012 I ran for beer with no beer. Right now I am the healthiest and fittest I have been for several years...and it feels great. I will fully appreciate drinking beer once again...and any tipple of an ale will be much more rewarding.

Balance is the real factor that matters.

If I have inspired just one person to take some action on their health, then I have inspired...for the better. That is something I never expected that my shy self-doubting self would achieve. I'll celebrate with a beer!

*Yes, this post made much more sense mentally during a 22km run.

**In 2007 Runner's World magazine published a useful article about a runner's ideal racing weight: "What's Your Ideal Weight?"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Play this...and run for your beer!

September is Sucktember this year in Beer Bar Band land. As noted in my previous post for The Session, I'm in training for my second half marathon and hence needed to do some serious work on reclaiming fitness and pace after a lazy and indulgent winter.  Since May the days have been very short and very cold, resulting in the seeking of comfort through much fine cheese, dark chocolate and imperial ales.

So, the last 3 weeks - 25 days now - have been completely dry, as well as lacking any sweets/treats, even soft drink. With intake minimised, my training regime has been maximised. It has been intense, hard and painful, but the results are showing. I have been running at least 3 times a week, including very long runs every weekend. It’s necessary for all-round health…especially as someone who enjoys drinking so much good beer, of which there is no shortage around Australia at the moment!

My running may be much more amateur and sporadic than some of the other beer runners from across the globe, but I am proud to be part of the beer running brigade.

One week to go in Sucktember* and I’m on track. I've almost hit my weight goal and I have been able to reclaim my sub-4min.20sec/km race pace over 7-10km. Most importantly, I can cover the half marathon distance again without dying. On Sunday I made it to 21.55km.

When I finish the Melbourne Half Marathon on October 14, my reward will be our now traditional 'refuel with carbs and good beer' session at Mrs Parma's and Beer DeLuxe in Melbourne city. It's the motivation!

As with the vast majority of amateur runners in this portable-music generation, I run to music played from a smartphone strapped to my arm. I haven't used music in a race yet (mostly due to race etiquette and concentration whilst in the middle of a large crowd)...but am strongly considering it this time around just to help me get through the distance.

On countless running playlists you are bound to find the typical workout hits, such as the 80's classics of Eye of the Tiger, Born to Run and Scandal's The Warrior (yep...all of those songs are on my playlist…because as motivational gear-ups, they just work!). Oh...and no, my playlist does NOT include Flock of Seagulls' I Ran (So Far Away).

I love Australian rock, so the tracks that fill my ears as I run are a driving collection of tunes from local bands.

So here are 10 songs I recommend every music loving Aussie (and everyone else!) includes on their running playlist. It's a collection of strange, random and classic songs that have the beat, energy and somewhat appropriate lyrics to get you through the distance...

Ten Aussie Rock Tracks For Your Running Playlist

(Note: none of the below videos really do the songs justice...not in the way the original album versions thrive when in your ears!)

1.  'Till The End - The Living End (from State of Emergency, 2006)

Lyrics that drive you onwards: "'Til the end, 'til the end. I'm never gonna give up 'til the end, 'til the end. I'm not gonna stop til I've tried, not until I'm satisfied!"

The back catalogue from Melbourne’s rockabilly punk-rock-pop trio, The Living End, is full of excellent running playlist songs thanks to the pace of their punk-ish influence. The opening track from "State of Emergency" is nothing short of perfect. Fast, high energy and all the lyrics can easily be translated to a war cry for prevailing over a long run: "I'm never gonna give up 'til the end!"

Other rocking appropriate Living End songs for a long run include: Roll On, Into the Red, West End Riot, End of the World, Save the Day.

2.  1000 Miles – Grinspoon (from New Detention, 2002)

Lyrics that make you want to run further: "A thousand miles, come get all your files, put on that plastic smile, a thousand miles. Go go go, go go go!”

Like The Living End, much of the music (plus many of the song titles) from Western Australian rockers Grinspoon are ripe for running. The lyrics to 1000 Miles are brash and violent...but they'll get you running! This song ignites with a hard-rock electric guitar country-twang then... "Well, I got drunk and I got stoned, shot my family left my home, went out on a killing spree, 'coz what you did was fucked to me", sung by a (quite possibly) drug-fucked Phil Jamieson during the height of Grinspoon’s early success.

Other Grinspoon tracks to beef up your playlist: Champion, More Than You Are, Bleed You Dry, Just Ace.

3.  Pace It – Magic Dirt (What Are Rockstars Doing Today, 2000)

MAGIC DIRT - Pace It from Glendyn Ivin on Vimeo.

Lyrics that pick up the pace: “Oh can you feel it, something comin' closer to you're body. Oh can you see it, someone's taken over from where you started…”

The album "What Are Rockstars Doing Today" was a big change in output for Magic Dirt. After their fuzzy loud and long, experimental garage rock beginnings during the early 1990s, many fans saw this album as a pop-sellout after the band signed with Warner Music Australia. However, songs like Pace It proved the Magic Dirt still had their garage grunge origins inside them. It's a song that builds and drives you faster with front-up electric guitars and Adalita's repetitive call of "can't see it, can't feel it, can't steal it, can't keep it, can't need it, can't believe it, can't trace it, can't face it, can't lace it, can't taste it, can't pace it, can't erase it..."

4.  Say Something - Something For Kate (Echolalia, 2001)

Lyrics that say you better run: "I don't want to stand and compute, I want days and weeks to burst out of you..."

Ok, so the often nerdy, philosophical and emotional lyrics of Something For Kate are a stretch to apply to running...but as a long time favourite local artist, they feature strongly on my playlist with solid tempo and energetic songs, especially from their first three albums. The album "Echolalia" helped me through some dark days of my twenties and so songs like Say Something are second nature to me, allowing me to tune out from the task of running and mentally escape to those rocking gigs at The Corner Hotel.

More Something For Kate speed work: Prick, Electricity, Hallways, Working Against Me, Cassandra Walks the Plank.

5.  Knockouts - Ouch My Face (from Ouch My Face EP, 2009)

Lyrics that drive you onwards: "Can you handle this?"..."I'm bulletproof, baby..."

This hard rocking trio from Melbourne's small bar scene rocked my face damn loud one New Year's Eve at The Espy, after which I bought their self-titled EP. This sweet heavy track, of which I really can't decipher any of the other lyrics, has been on my running playlist ever since.

I guess you'd describe their music as a bit of mid-90s post-grunge with a little screamo. They are one of those raw little gems you discover on dark late nights out enjoying live music at random pubs and bars.

When you want to run far, it's all about mind over matter...which is beautifully encapsulated by the opening statement of Knockouts from lead singer and artist, Celeste Potter: "Can you handle this?"

Run this too: Junk Punk Baby

6.  Miracle Mile - Expatriate (from Hyper/hearts, 2012)

Lyrics that drive you onwards: "I ran a miracle mile to live it today..."

Whilst the first single from their long awaited second album, released in July this year, is not my favourite Expatriate song, it certainly kicks off strong, is lyrically appropriate and definitely does the trick on a running playlist.

If you can’t be bothered making a playlist, Expatriate’s first album, "In the Midst of This" works well as a running playlist on it’s own (with the one exception of ballad You Were There).

Expedite your playing with more Expat tunes: Crazy, Are You Awake, Get Out Give In, Gotta Get Home, The Spaces Between

7.  Hurt MeThe Jezabels (from She’s So Hard EP, 2009)

Lyrics that drive you onwards: "Still now I can hear the dogs bark, I can hear the dogs bark..." ... "Hurt Me, Hurt Me, Hurt Me, come down to the world..."

Guess what, long distance running hurts! To get through it…sometimes you just have to ask for that hurt. And what makes you run faster than the thought of being chased by vicious dogs?

The first three EPs released by The Jezabels, before they smashed through to Aussie popularity with the release of their debut album, are full of great running tracks thanks to the fast hands of drummer Nik Kaloper. Hurt Me opens their second EP release, "She’s So Hard". It's full of emo and dark religious undertones...but the beat and recurring theme of hurt makes this song perfect for running. It was the song that helped get them noticed before the release of Mace Spray saw them explode across national radio via TripleJ.

More songs from The Jezabels to bring the party to your running playlist: Be A Star, Disco Biscuit Love

8.  Go Go - Ratcat (from Blind Love, 1991)

The go lyrics: "Can't stand still, can't say no, gotta go fast, yeah I gotta go. Go Go (gotta Go Go) Go Go here Go Go there Go Go Everywhere !! So speed kills I'm in for thrills, count me in, I play to win."

My wife was a Ratcat fan girl in her teen I discovered them almost 20 years later through her collection (and catching a Simon Day solo gig at The Retreat back in 2010). Ratcat's 90' garage pop hits the right beat and fun for picking up the pace.

Also: Racing, Run & Hide, Yes I Wanna Go

9.  My Car Doesn't Break - Spazzys (from Aloha! Go Bananas, 2004)

Lyrics to bring the speed: "Alright, lets go, step on the gas, it's time to lose this disco trash. Cruising, moving much too fast and I can't make it on time, flying down the boulevard, sun is shining, feeling fine."

Ahh the middle of the last decade there was the Spazzys, Australia's best all-female Ramones tribute band! Ok, so they weren't really a tribute band...but they were VERY Ramones in sound and style. They even ended up touring and playing with Marky Ramone. They had some minor hits, most notably a cover of My Boyfriend's Back, which may have been too cutesy punk-pop to capture their live energy and punk-ish rockability, so their Video Hits efforts were dismissed by the audience that would have loved them in the pub with their threeway rock-chick vocals. Say what you want about this flash-in-the-pan, they rocked live and they were fun. They promised a better second album...but it was never delivered. The fast Spazzys songs roll nicely on a running playlist, whilst dripping in memories of 2003-2005.

Get spazzy on your run with: Action City, Zatopeks and Zombie Girl

10.  Blood, Sweat and Beers BugGiRL (from Blood, Sweat & Beers EP, 2009)

Lyrics that drive you onwards: "You gotta sweat, you gotta bleed, rock and roll is all you need... blood, sweat and beer!"

Brother and sister pub-rock duo, Bug GiRL, bring the AC/DC and Motley Crew sound to the 21st century with these lyrics that just say it all... sweat for beer!

Bug up your run to the pub with other tracks like: Fire Highway, Motor City Lover and V8 Motor

Other great, sometimes random, Aussie songs on my running playlist:
  • Baby2 and I Don't Ever Want To Change by The Drones
  • Benedict and Military Strongman by Jebediah
  • Buy Me A Pony by Spiderbait
  • Go Go Go and Let's Heart Attack by Bit By Bats
  • Killer by Whitley
  • Lullabies, Lies and Goodbyes and Mix Tape by Big Scary
  • Honey and Sgt. Suffer by Papa vs Pretty
  • Imorta, Little Death and Say It by The Clouds
  • Teenage Rampage and Boys Boys Boys by Sin City
  • Cassandra by The Galvatrons 

Get out there for a run! You don't need to go far, just get started. Keep at it and soon you'll be running much further than you ever expected. You're heart will thank you and the beer you drink will be so much more rewarding. Cheers!

*5 days to go and about 33kms of running to knock over...then it's time to taper and once again taste a beer...!

Friday, September 7, 2012

How Many Breweries in 2017? (The Session no.67)

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin's archive page.

This month's Session is hosted by Derrick Peterman of the blog Ramblings of a Beer Runner. His chosen topic: tell us how many breweries the Brewer's Association will count five years from now in 2017, and why you think it will be that number.

"Where is it all going? The growth shows no sign of stopping and the biggest problem most breweries have is that they can't brew beer fast enough. But can the market really absorb all these new breweries? Are we headed for a cataclysmic brewing bubble where legions of brewers, their big dreams busted, are left to contemplate selling insurance? Or is brewing reaching a critical mass, only to explode even more intensely in a thermo-nuclear frenzy of fermentation?"

Well, this is a timely appropriate topic for The Session...for two reasons.

First, the host is Derrick Peterman who blogs as Ramblings of a Beer Runner and, for me, this month is all about running! For the second year in a row I have signed up to run the Melbourne Half Marathon in October. I had never run before the age of 29ish, but slowly took up running in late 2009 with Jenn to loose weight and improve our overall health. It worked (after much hard work) and we completed our first 10 km fun run in October 2010.

After every fun/event run we do, we celebrate with a beer session afterwards. Often it’s an immediate-ish post run beer at Beer DeLuxe (as most of the runs tend to be around central Melbourne).
8Wired Tall Poppy post 14km Run for the Kids 2011

The health balance of beer and running actually makes very good sense, once you start down that path. I’m not one who stays fit and in easily, after an obese youth and early adult years. So distance running ensures I can maintain the shape that took me 3 years of harsh effort to claim.

I also enjoy following online the exploits and writings of other (real) beer runners from around the globe, such as  Tim Cigelske (The Beer Runner!) and Claire Walsh (Will Run For Beer) and Suzi Storm (Ok, just one more beer...)

A Feral Hop Hog post Run for the Kids 2012
Now, to help make some dint in the 5kgs I’ve stacked on so far this year, we have committed to a month long detox, health kick and training program during September to restore my power to knock off 21 kms in 90 minutes. It also helps confirm that we’re still not alcoholics...yet. Some people do Febfast, others do Dry July. Previously we've done our own personal month long detox and fitness kicks, namely NO!vember, even Half-Arsed Febfast. This time, it is Sucktember. And yes, 7 days booze or soft-drink, chocolate & sweets, low carbs...lots of running and sucks!

Anyway, following on from that, the second benefit of this Session topic is that it’s not focused on beer as a beverage. No tasting or consumption of alcohol is required to review beers or discuss styles, allowing me to participate without any hindrance to my alcohol free efforts during Sucktember. Nice one (…only 23 days to go!).

Anyway...time to get onto the topic…

My exposure to the US beer industry is minimal. Hey, I’m down under in Australia! So I’ll need to take a slightly different angle with this post.

We do receive a small number of beautiful beery exports from America, such as Moylans, Southern Tier, Victory, Rogue, Green Flash and Heretic. However, I am mostly oblivious to the business side of the US beer industry. Hence, I’m not really in any position to comment on how many breweries the Brewer's Association will count five years from now.

Aussie brewers tend to suggest that the craft beer industry in America is a good 10 to 20 years ahead of Australia’s young craft brewing endeavours. Our local craft beer industry is experiencing some good times, with new growth and recognition, but there is still a very long way to go. So I suspect Australian beer will mostly continue to plod along at about the current rate up to 2017.

Although, I do wonder if history will repeat. Both in Australia and the USA there were several times during the last century when breweries were plentiful and producing a large range of beers, but they were eventually all bought up and consolidated by the largest breweries in the name of big business. Will it go that way again?

Craft beer popularity is indeed rising. The market share is still tiny, but growth is strong. The big multinational breweries are watching closely the performance of the craft beer market and developing strategies to be major players in the sector. Presenting very attractive offers to acquire the top performaning craft beer brands is surely the next part of the 1980s to return to life in the 21st century...?  We are already seeing a change in strategy of the big, now foreign-owned, breweries in Australia, with Lion (under Kirin) buying out Aussie craft beer pioneer (of sorts) Little Creatures.

In Australia, I predict that the number of breweries will still be increasing in 2017, but begining to plateau as the market space for small breweries becomes a little squishy.

Maybe. Although, I hope not. I hope this a good beer explosion Australia-wide, a true craft be reveloutin that overruns the taps of all pubs and bars. Pipe-dream...but let us dream!

Over the last 15 years, new (primarily craft) breweries in Australia have had to work very hard to turn the common drinker of bland lagers onto flavoursome craft beers. However, they have had free reign over their local market and plenty of opportunity to break new ground in Aussie brewing.

Today, it is surely becoming harder for brand new beer businesses to capture some of that virgin market. Breweries are everywhere now and many of them are innovating. It will soon take something extra special for a new brewery to be noticed.

However, let us never believe that any form of innovation and evolution will ever stop. Who knows what 2017 hold for beer here there or anywhere! There may soon be an X-Men style giant leap forward in brewing that will completely change the game from the ground up.

Nonetheless, I suspect many of the traditional beers styles will still dominate in 2017 but there will be new varieties, hybrid and beer concepts that we can’t even fathom yet!

Ok, enough randoming and rambling, here is my concrete prediction for Derrick's Session topic: I’ll be visiting the US brewing industry as a tourist sometime in the next 5 years (...umm...better start saving!) and much more of America’s craft beer will be legitimately available here in Australia (fingers crossed for Russian River, Dogfish Head and Stone)!

Since I’m not a betting man, I'll end with less of a prediction and more of a desire for 2017. In five years time I'd like to be actually working in the beer industry…maybe with a craft beer shop, maybe with a brewpub (better get that lotto ticket), more likely in communications support for the craft beer industry…or maybe it’s still unlikely that the beer industry will support professional beer writers in 2017. Where's my DeLorean?

Friday, August 3, 2012

One Beer To Rule Them All (The Session no.66)

The Session is a monthly event for the beer blogging community, started by Stan Hieronymus at Appellation Beer. On the first Friday of each month, all participating bloggers write about a predetermined topic. Each month a different blog is chosen to host The Session, choose the topic, and post a roundup of all the responses received. For more info on The Session, check out the Brookston Beer Bulletin’s archive page.

This month's Session is hosted Craig Gravina from the blog Drink Drank. His chosen topic: The One Beer to Rule Them All.

"What if you were to design the perfect brew—a Tolkien-esque One Beer to Rule Them All. The perfect beer for you, personally. Would it be hoppy and dark or strong and light? Is it augmented with exotic ingredients or traditionally crafted? Would your One Beer be a historic recreation or something never before dreamt of? The sky is the limit on this one."

Earlier this year The Crafty Pint, Australia’s best (and really only) website for all things Aussie craft beer, ran a competition called “The People’s Pint”. The aim was to submit a concept for your perfect beer, with the best entries put to a public vote and the winner would have their beer professionally brewed. All that was required was a name for the beer and some form of description in under 50 words. The winning beer was brewed by Temple Brewery & Brasseries and launched to the people during Good Beer Week in May.  The winner, selected by public vote, was called Double Hoptendre. Styled as a “Double Hopped Rye Red Ale”, the beer was described simply by the tagline "A woman walked into a bar and ordered a Double Hoptendre. So the bartender gave her one…"

The competition and beer were a success, but probably more a battle of wit rather than the people's collective desire for their favourite beer.

The intention of The People’s Pint was basically the same for this month’s Session – design your perfect beer. Hence, I am returning to the beer idea I submitted for The People’s Pint (it didn’t make the finals) because I’m too indecisive about all things beer to start from scratch again.

As someone who just loves craft beer in all forms and advocates for beer diversity, with the belief that almost any beer can suit a certain time and place, I’ll never be able to truly decide on one beer to rule them all.

I have enjoyed some fantastically WOW beers that rule in name and drinkability… to mention a few: Beelzebub's Jewels and The Empress from Holgate Brewhouse, xeRRex from and the His/Her Majesty series Yeastie Boys, the Black Hole series from Mikkeller, God Jul Islay Edition by Nøgne Ø …I could go much goodness flowing from these champion beers.

However, as of mid-2012, much like in early-2012 when I entered The People's Pint, there is a mishmash of beer styles that I currently love...all the way to a desert island. They are smokey beers, sessionable beers, red ales and big (imperial) beers.

My entry for The People’s Pint combined these personally favoured beer styles to create something along the lines of a smokey imperial red ale. At this time, in this ultimate beer of beers would be red, bitter, smokey and boozy but light enough in body to drink several in one session.

And the name of my one beer to rule them all: Bluey's Bushy Bitter Boozy BBQ beer.

(You see, “Bluey” is Australian slang for a red headed guy. Basically, blue = red. Yes, irony. Who knows how this slang came to be. Just Aussie larrikinism, I suspect. Right now, there are not enough excellent red ales being produced by Australian craft brewers. It is a very underrepresented style around here!)

As something of a continuation of by Beer Bar Band - letter B - theme (I love some excessive alliteration), the name describes the elements and purpose of my perfect beer.

The aroma conjures thoughts and desires of a campfire in the Australian bush; it’s an imperial ale (around 7%) for good boozy times yet it is also sessionable (through a lighter, less dense body), easy enough drinking to enjoy with mates around the barbecue.

My 5B beer would incorporate crystal and smokey peat malts, the aroma hops would provide a grassy, piny aroma of the bush and the bittering would support a long yet cleansing finish.

It would be filtered to provide a clear, brilliant red appearance and to lighten the body for drinkability. 

Beautiful to look at, to smell, to drink and to remember...again and again. That's what I want from my perfect beer.

Possible? I have no damn idea! I am not a brewer yet, so for now I will just fantasize about the concept…and maybe email the idea to Moon Dog Brewing, who seem to be able to make anything work…!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Beer - #IPADay review - Mornington IPA

This quick post, in honour of International IPA Day 2012, (drunkenly) looks at the IPA from Mornington Peninsula Brewery.

I chose this beer because it is my most checked-in IPA on Untappd. The reason for that is because the Morningtoin IPA spent several recents months on tap at the bar of one of it's biggest fans, Brad Merritt...the owner of my local, Oscar's Alehouse. Hence, many friendly pints of this been have been consumed, in a row, a short stroll from home.

One of the youngest small breweries in Victoria, Mornington Peninsula Brewery had quiet beginings in 2010, but is now starting to make some serious noise. Lead by head brewer, Andrew "AG" Gow, Morington is now producing hit after hit of quality, good-drinkin' brews. Without straying too far outside of style and classic modern brewing, the brewery is growing quickly as it finds favour with Victorians with their fresh, richly flavoursome and balanced beers.

From the bottle the Mornington IPA pours a deep cloudy amber, a lovely hue, clearly full of yeastie floaties. This beer ain't filtered! The beer's head is gives good...size and whiteness. The head retains reasonably well but is a bit loose. The important part, when it comes to head, is that he legacy left behind...the beautiful. The Mornington IPA gives good lacing.

The aroma is full and lush, robustly hoppy without punching up your nose. As described by the brewer, stone and tropical fruits like apricot and peach lead you into this beer. Late hop additions of Citra, Amarillo and Centennial give this IPA plenty of front hoppiness

This beer is spot on for body and carbonation. Actually, the look and feel of this beer is more along the lines of an English IPA, but the aroma and taste is all American hops. In the mouth the lushness continues with a solid malt backbone and long hoppiness that doesn't overstay it's welcome. There is sweetness a-plenty to keep you coming back, yet the hops are still king.

Yes, the Mornington IPA is a good honest local IPA. It's a beer to enjoy with friends at a bar or at home with a spicy curry dinner. Drinkable by the pint yet satisfying by the pot. A classic, tasty brew...and an excellent choice for IPA day.

We're heading back to Morington Peninsula Brewery for a quick visit (pizza lunch and beers) on Sunday, which is exciting because I love their space and setup, plus...they have just released a new Imperial Stout (...which I won't be able to drink because I'm driving)! Local beer joy. That's what it's about!

And then there was IPA Day hops p0rn...

Beer - #IPADay ...hop to it!

Today is IPA Day, a social media celebration of craft beer through a global collective toast to the India Pale Ale.

To learn all about IPA Day, read my article on Australian Brews News - "IPA Day the Second" - which was published this morning in honour of the day.

How can you hop on IPA Day? Easy... simply share your IPA (or hoppy craft beer) photos, videos, blog posts, tasting notes, recipes, and thoughts with the world via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Google+, and other social media platforms using the #IPADay hashtag. If you're not into such social media things, then just drink an India Pale Ale beer today!

Tonight I will post a review of a local crafty IPA. Mmm...thirsty.

Until then, to help stimulate the tongue, here is a visual post of some hoppy-style beer "art" via the social media app pixlr-o-matic, which have been consumed in Beer Bar Band land during 2012....

image of Red Hill Brewery Queen's Diamond Jubilee British IPA
Image of AIBA Gold Medal winner Mountain Goat Rye IPA

This photo-set has shown me that I tend to drink IPAs from a tulip glass. FAIL, it seems! According to much of the beer literature I have read over the last few days, the appropriate glass for an India Pale Ale is actually a pint or tumbler! So yes, enjoy your IPA today by the pint (or tumbler)!

Image of the Clock Tower IPA from True South
The Clock Tower IPA from True South.

Mmm delicious hybrids. Black IPA or White IPA? BLACK IPA (...sorry..."American Black Ale") WINS! I am yet to enjoy a White IPA, but I love any attempt by a brewer to bring new life and character to beer styles.
image of blogger with the doctors Orders Plasma White IPA and Mountain Goat/Mikkeller collaboration, Gypsy and the Goat Pepperberry Black IPA in each hand
Dark and light IPA side by side, the Doctors Orders Plasma White IPA and the Mountain Goat/Mikkeller collaboration...Gypsy & the Goat Pepperberry Black IPA

And then there are the magnificent Red IPAs...

IPA, such a wonderfully versatile style of beer...just like good beer as a whole, deliciously diverse!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Beer - Moon Dog Black Lung II

I love to blog when a beer, bar or band excites me. Tonight...the new Black Lung II from Moon Dog Brewing has excited me... seriously.

Wow...I love this beer! It's big, smooth and offers just the right amount of smokey bacon in front of a little tar. yes, if you know me (in person) or have followed my beer writings closely (unlikely!), you will know that I love the Moon Dog brewers and their crazy-ass beers. I do tend to write and tweet/facebook about them regularly-ish ...but that is simply because Josh, Karl and Jake continuously brew interesting shit (aka. excitingly good beer). They are also three genuine, intriguing (read: arousing) and entertaining Aussie guys the words flow easily when seeking to share their story. Yep, it's hard (hehe..."hard") not to blather all over them.

Moon Dog operate a tiny brewery in a converted workshop, which sits under the shadows of the massive Abbotsford brewery, the home of Carlton United Brewers (Fosters/SABMiller). They brew generally outragous craft beers that challenge the majority of beer drinkers and even beer nerds, offering a unique hit of crafty indulgence to Australian drinkers. Moon Dog are our own slice of BrewDog or Dogfish Head, when those breweries were in their infancy.

Moon Dog beers are fun, irreverent and unique. Often a ménage à trois style smash, the beers always present something worth checking out for the pure sake of originality and a beer experience, which is exactly what I'm after. They have produced one beer that I did not enjoy...the Magnificent Mullet Series: Billy Ray Citrus was too "sausage" for me. Nonetheless, everything else I've had from these big-assed, crazy-head homebrewers cum commercial brewers has been actually magnificent. Yes, I even fully loved Symbiotic Solipsism.

Other local drinkers (mostly beer nerds) complained about carbonation issues with the early bottle runs of Moon Dog beers last year, but that noise has dissapated significantly in past months. So maybe the brewers have made some improvements to their processes. Bottle conditioning extreme beers is a difficult science after all!

Back to Black Lung 2...

Whilst the original Black Lung was a delight, the new Black Lung II tickles my fancy WITH A BIG STICK thanks to it's ageing in whisky barrels that replaces he sweet vanilla of the former bourbon edition with the red hot camp-fire bacon of this...

Dark and deep, bold and balanced, it ticks all the boxes for late night winter drinking. Beer Daisy Steiner would say, "this... is the good shit."

Yes, I'm a non-smoking smoke-head as well as a hardcore geek for imperial stouts, so I naturally love this style. But there are many beers like this that I drink and enjoy...and there are those that excite me so much that I stay up past midnight* just to blog about it.

There is actually a nice subtle hop character peeking through from the back of this stout, but dominating is the woody whisky flavour that has been imparted by barrels from a distillery in Albany, Western Australia (Great Southern Distilling Company Distillery). The Moon Dog brewers has declared that they are "pretty happy with how it came together" and that they will be a fair few bottles hitting the local market.

So, beer nerds, head to your good beer retailer and snap this shit up! Maybe even tuck a few away in your "beer cellar" to see how it developed over time. Also, drink more Islay whiskey. cheers.

*I usually go to bed about 9:30pm to start the next day at 5:00am with a fitness workout session.

**Also... fuck this blogger for calling Black Lung a Porter and daring to compare it to Yeastie Boys xeRRex. So so sooooooo far apart Mr/Ms Ber Tracker 1.0!

***Whilst I'm being random with my asterix, check out the brilliant/amusing Tumblr feed for the tag Moon Dog