Melbourne (beer is too) bitter

I’ve managed to try a few different beers since making it down to Melbourne.

James Squire Pepperberry Winter Ale – a dark, spicy ale. Chocolate in colour and flavour, quite bitter, not really a session beer but nice to warm up with.

Bells Brewery Black Ban Bitter – Bells Hotel is a brewpub near work, this bitter is their flagship beer. A coppery ale, very bitter without much hop aroma. I was a little underwhelmed, especially as a middie was $5. Nice to support a small brewer, but a beer has to have more going for it that just bitterness.

Coldstream Brewery Lager – another brewpub, this one on the way up the Yarra valley past home. Again, a bitter beer without much aroma, but this one was supposed to be a lager. Another disappointment, unfortunately. Perhaps next time I’ll try the bitter or pilsner and see if they are a bit more true to type. It was pale in colour, but also pale in flavour, other than the excessive bitterness.

So, I guess in summary, I’m finding craftbeers all to be a bit too bitter recently. Hopefully spring will bring with it some more hop aroma and flavour, meaning better tasting beers to enjoy as the weather warms up.

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.