Boutique breweries in the news

Beer Tuesdays’ SMH had an article in it’s Good Living section titled It’s no small beer.

The article tells of the many seachangers setting up their own breweries. For people who are only accustomed to beer that needs a marketing department there is some excellent info about lesser known ales and lagers to try. Mostly it talks about the companies making the beverages, rather than the beers themselves, though.

At the end of the story there is a list of some of the different craft/boutique/micro breweries and their products. See how many you have tried.

I’ve previously had:

Let me know which you’ve tried. If you haven’t tried many, or are keen to, a lot of them are available at your local Dan Murphy’s or similar.

Todays fortune

My webmail application runs the unix fortune program, showing a witty quote above your email. Todays fortune is reprinted below:


The temperature of heaven can be rather accurately computed. Our authority is the Bible, Isaiah 30:26 reads:

Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of seven days.

Thus, heaven receives from the moon as much radiation as the earth does from the sun, and in addition seven times seven (forty nine) times as much as the earth does from the sun, or fifty times in all. The light we receive from the moon is one ten-thousandth of the light we receive from the sun, so we can ignore that. With these data we can compute the temperature of heaven: The radiation falling on heaven will heat it to the point where the heat lost by radiation is just equal to the heat received by radiation. In other words, heaven loses fifty times as much heat as the earth by radiation. Using the Stefan-Boltzmann fourth power law for radiation:

(H/E)4 = 50

where E is the absolute temperature of the earth, 300°K (273+27). This gives H the absolute temperature of heaven, as 798° absolute (525°C).

The exact temperature of hell cannot be computed but it must be less than 444.6°C, the temperature at which brimstone or sulfur changes from a liquid to a gas. Revelations 21:8:

But the fearful and unbelieving… shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.

A lake of molten brimstone [sulfur] means that its temperature must be at or below the boiling point, which is 444.6°C (Above that point, it would be a vapor, not a lake).

We have then, temperature of heaven, 525°C. Temperature of hell, less than 445°C. Therefore heaven is hotter than hell.

— From “Applied Optics” vol. 11, A14, 1972

A quick Google shows that there is a little known riposte. See it here. I’m not absolutely convinced of the science of the two articles, but it is an amusing distraction. It is best not take ourselves too seriously, you know.

Cascade Draught

Cascade Spicy Ghost Draught

Fermenting: 20/08/2006 Bottled: 18/01/2007

Priscilla smuggled this can of Cascade Spicy Ghost Draught back from Tasmania during her trip back home in March. I’ve made it up into a batch with some Ultrabrew (500g light malt extract, 250g maltodextrin, 250g dextrose) and added some Goldings hops. In a couple of days, after the vigourous initial fermentation, I will add some honey to the brew.

Cascade’s marketing doyens describe it like so:

A zesty wheat inspired draught with balanced hopping creates a refreshing spicy beer with a smooth yet slightly tart palate.

Which pretty much tells us nothing except it is really a wheat beer, despite being labelled as a ‘draught’. Goodness knows what they think draught is supposed to mean as a style of beer – it is a method of storing and pouring. I guess they are implying it is the same as the mass produced bland lagers you can get on tap in most places in Australia, whether they are branded bitter, lager, draught or even pale ale.

A popular feature of the last Cascade beer I made was the ripping yarn. Here is the one for the Spicy Ghost:

In the dead of night, it is believed a solitary, mischievous figure struts the granite halls of Tasmania’s Cascade Brewery, Australia’s oldest continually operating brewery.

According to legend, he lurks in dark corners, taking cover in the cool, cavernous cellars and materialising now and then. Here the ancient stone walls whisper of the past, of colonial times when life in Hobart Town was rough and ready.

This wheat-inspired draught brew is ghostly pale with a spicy edge that hints at a frisky character. The flavour is haunted by orange and coriander with quenching tart shadows and a mysterious underplay of rum.

An intriguing beverage… for true believers.

Update 04/09/2006: Added 800g of Blue Gum Honey on 27/08/2006. Still bubbling slowly 2 weeks after fermenting started.

Update 18/01/2007: Finally bottled this beer. Yay!

Book review: The Richest Man in Babylon

The Richest Man in Babylon cover

This is a short book of 144 pages that gives basic money advice in the form of parables. The premise is that the ancient city of Babylon was famed throughout the world for the richness of it’s citizens, their money sense and the benefits to the society of this knowledge.

The book starts by telling the story of a hard working chariot maker who has little to show for his labours. He talks to his friend the musician, who is similarly poor, then resolves to find out the secret of wealth from Arkad, The Richest Man in Babylon.

The following chapters in the book tell different short stories, as told by Arkad, which depict basic financial advice. The three main points are:

  • Save 10% of all you earn.
  • Get advice from people knowledgeable about money.
  • Invest your savings to earn more money, then reinvest that.

The Richest Man in Babylon is a pretty easy read and much less dry and boring than most financial books. It may be too brief for some, and the advice too simplistic, but the book is really advocating a set of principles for wealth creation and leave the next step up to you. I purchased it from Angus & Robertson for $13.99.


Aerobie Aeropress in Action

The Aeropress is a coffee machine a bit similar to a french press or coffee plunger. It makes excellent quality coffee in less than a minute.

You might remember Aerobie as the company which made those ring frisbees back in the eighties. To update you a little, an Aerobie still holds the Guinness world record for “longest throw of an object without any velocity-aiding feature” – over 406 metres with 30 seconds airtime.

I bought an Aeropress for my Dad for his birthday back in May. We’ve now been using it for about 3 months as our main coffee making paraphernalia. It produces noticably better coffee than our previous machine – a $20 drip brew coffee maker.

I won’t review it too much, there are multiple in depth reports out there on the internet already.

For $54 delivered (in Australia) from Coffeepress it’s an inexpensive way to enjoy your coffee, or to have as a backup when your superduper machine goes off for repairs/upgrades.

I’d describe the taste as very smooth – not bitter like some coffee can be – and the best feature is how quick and easy it is to use and clean.

Training Day

Shoes and Tie

I just got back from two days of induction and training for my not-so-new job. Having been at the company for over 8 weeks certainly gave me a headstart on most of the other people who were in the course.

It was a draining couple of days. The extra travelling time, the different work environment, the stricter dress code – all combined to make the experience less than idyllic.

The frustrating thing is the induction was a bit of a trial run for when my office moves from the suburbs to the city in a couple of months. Any tips to promote long term happiness when working in the city?

Book Review: Making Money Made Simple!

Making Money Made Simple! Please note that the title of this book is not “Making Money Made Easy!” This book is really about money basics like budgeting, saving and setting goals.

Noel Whittaker is a Brisbane based financial planner who originally wrote “Making Money Made Simple!” in 1987. Since then it has sold more than a million copies and been through 29 reprints and 16 editions. The copy I bought from Angus & Robertson was © 2001 and cost $21.95.

The “Secret Rule” of wealth, according to Whittaker, is to save money on a regular basis. Spend less each month than you earn, using the extra to pay off your borrowings, or invest the extra money where it will gain in value. Saving your entire pay packet this month, or frittering it all away, will make very little difference, but the habit of saving a little each month will.

Our financial future will not be guaranteed by a pay increase, or lotto win: we will always find things that come along and steal away our wage rises. But by putting a little aside each month, allowing small additions and compound interest to build over time, in time a great “money tree” will provide for your retirement, family and feeling of security.

The book details the 3 main areas to invest in — cash, property and shares — and gives a brief introduction to each. Personally I felt this part of the book was a little shallow, but if you view the book as an introduction to money management, rather than an investment and taxation howto guide, it is adequate.

I was encouraged to purchase this book after reading this post on Money Manager:

Q. I am a 20 year old university student with $15,000 in savings and no debt. I am thinking of investing some or all of my money. To be honest I know nothing. Any advice at all?
A. Congratulations on your proactive approach to finance. You should invest in two books – The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason and my book Making Money Made Simple! This will put you on the right path. Meanwhile, keep your savings in one of the high interest rate online accounts offered by organisations like ING.

This book explains money matters in a simple manner to those who haven’t really thought things through before. Like most people, I have areas of expertise and areas of ignorance, and this book gives a good grounding across the whole area of personal finance.

I found the book to be a little dry in writing style, but the chapters are relatively short. Priscilla thought the most annoying thing was the low prices Whittaker quotes for houses – regular houses for $80,000 or $100,000 or “executive” houses for $250,000. Numbers like that seem to mock the Sydney housing market at it’s current levels, but I wonder what will they think of a $500,000 median house price in 2026.

Atheist quotes

Spotted via Atheist Quotes

Artsch Quotations

I’m inspired to post this link after following links from Neil & Petes’ blogs over the last few days to places like Undo Jesus. Reading the stuff on that site and others linked to it, like the Who was Jesus article has got me a bit down.

I’m not being challenged to the core about my beliefs, as some of the christians Joel encountered on his tropical holiday were, more filled with sadness for the lost. The way God has chosen to reveal Himself in this world and His grace in letting life continue despite our sinfulness, is being despised and ridiculed by His creation. The church has not always been perfect, nor will it be, for it is also filled with sinful men and women. At least those sinful creations acknowledge God, and seek to bring glory to Him as is right.

I hope and pray that we can all be more effective in showing love in this world, rather than causing more division, and that one day the church will again be seen as bringing enlightenment to the rest of the world, rather than accused of attempting to breed ignorance and slavish devotion by the Intelligentsia.