Gold class cinema

Priscilla and I went to see Hairspray at the new Greater Union Gold Class cinema at Parramatta last week. A normal Gold Class ticket costs $30 but Priscilla and I were fortunate enough to have some gift vouchers we used.

We were a little surprised by the experience, to tell the truth. We were greeted by a staff member, who explained that they try to act like a good restaurant and sat down in a large lounge or bar to wait for our session to start. We were handed a large menu and advised that we can order food and drinks to be brought into us during the movie and what time we would like it.

Antipasto plate

Priscilla and I were running a bit late as we just wanted to watch the movie, not the ads and weren’t expecting this rigmarole. We quickly selected an ‘olive and cheese platter’ and a couple of drinks, then ushered in to our seats, which we had earlier picked while purchasing the tickets.

The seats are mechanised recliner chairs, set in pods of two with a small table between the two. We figured out how to operate the chairs, then the movie started and a few minutes later our food and drinks arrived. Well, actually, Priscilla’s drink arrived, mine went mysteriously missing but after the movie we saw that the table behind ours had a suspicious looking empty glass. After the movie we told them my drink hadn’t arrived and were handed a refund – $4.40 for a glass of coke! As an aside, the soft drinks are the only item on the whole menu that didn’t have a price next to them, understandable at $4.40 each. This is expensive for a regular soft drink, but about right for the movies, if you think about it.

Gold Class seating

While the experience was good, it didn’t feel that different to our setup at home. Dad has setup a high-definition wide-screen projector, we have two leather recliners, we can server beer or soft drink in glasses with nibblies or even dinner. The whole “Gold Class” experience isn’t that far from a good home theatre setup these days and you don’t have the communal experience that going to the cinema usually gives you.

We enjoyed the movie, by the way, although Priscilla felt uncomfortable with John Travolta and Christopher Walken being affectionate. Lots of colour, lots of fun.

Heritage Lager

Fermenting: 05/09/2007 Bottled: 27/09/2007

Thomas Coopers Heritage Lager

Having such good memories of the previous time I made this beer, I decided to do it again.

Ingredients:

  • 1.7kg can Thomas Cooper’s Premium Selection Heritage Lager
  • 1 kg Ultrabrew (500g malt, 250g dextrose, 250g maltodextrin)
  • 24g Hersbrucker hops

Can you believe it? It was 3 years ago almost to the day I started brewing the last one. I guess that also means this site has been going that long, given I started it to track my brewing progress and recipes. This batch is the 39th lot of beer I have made since that first one back in June 2004. Not including another 6 non-beer drinks (3 cider, 2 ginger beer and 1 forgettable lemonade).

I’d say the best thing about home brewing is being able to try some of the great flavours of the world, right at home. I can try a new beer from Belgium, Brazil or Poland, then try to make it at home. It can be expensive to buy a case of these beers – have a look at how much a single bottle of Chimay costs – but create the same thing in your living room and discover how much flavour and history there is in a simple beverage.

I guess that’s what “Thomas Cooper’s Heritage Lager” is about as well – flavour and history, recreated in a barrel next to my lounge.

Bottling notes: Straw yellow in colour, pretty clear already, should be good to drink in 3-4 weeks.

Beer and Brewer Magazine

I spotted a new magazine in the newsagent a couple of weeks ago and thought I would buy it. It is called Beer and Brewer Australia and is aimed at the “beer enthusiast.”

Magazine cover

This is the second edition, apparently it comes out quarterly. There is a small (4 page) section at the back of the book related to home brewing, but more space is devoted to cooking with beer or cooking food that goes with beer than brewing itself.

A greater proportion of the book contains articles and features about Australian beers, breweries and pub with some international content (mostly travel) thrown in. The advertisements are quite large and the articles feature big glossy photos, compared to the written content.

The cover article Women in Beer tells a little of the history of beer brewing and how it has been long regarded as a gift from a Goddess and how women were the original brewers. The main part of the article is a Question and Answer session with 8 prominent women in the Australian beer industry (or 7 prominent and one bar staff). It has some great advice for women looking to try beer that are coming from a wine background as well as explaining what women are looking for when they drink beer compared to men – apparently they are more discerning and appreciate the complex flavours in boutique and craft beer.

The magazine generally stays away from the blokey stereotypes of beer drinkers. Some of the photos of women are a little suggestive I guess, but no more so that in Dolly or Cleo magazine. It’s just here the girls are holding beer steins. Beer is celebrated as a complex, flavourful drink chosen by discerning consumers rather than the bland, branded, ‘means to an end’ beers that you see at your local.

There is a companion website at beerandbrewer.com that has some of the content from the first edition if you’d like to try before you buy. At $6.95 the magazine not an inexpensive purchase, but I guess it’s not too bad once every three months. Especially if you have a friend or two to read it after you.