16 September 2011

Newcastle Craft Beer Week Events!

Without further ado here is the full list of events for  Newcastle craft beer week in the last week of November 2011!! Woohoo!
It's gonna be beertastic!(All entry priced are listed in Australian dollars)
Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th Hunter Beer Co. Oktoberfest
Monday 21st - 6pm -
Beer & Cheese - $40 per person
@ Prince of Wales Hotel
with McLaren Vale Beer Co, Lord Nelson Brewery & Murrays Brewery
Monday 21st - 7pm
@ Bar Petite
Women & Beer - $40 per person (Female ONLY Event)
Hosted by Kirrily Waldron (The Beer Diva)
All Beers brewed by females by 2 Birds Brewing + True South + Hunter Beer Co.
Monday 21st - 8pm
The Junction Hotel
Meet The Brewers - $30 per person
With 4 Pines Brewing Company & Rocks Brewing McLaren Vale Beer Company
Tuesday 22nd - The Boardwalk Craft Beer Crawl
6pm Silo Restaurant and Lounge with Hunter Beer Co. Head Brewer Keith Grice
8pm Dockyard with Murray's Craft Brewing Co Head Brewer Shawn Sherlock
$50 includes both Silo & Dockyard Events
Tuesday 22nd - 7pm
The Burwood Inn
Aussie Craft Beer Showcase - $35 per person
Hosted by Lachlan McBean with guests
Wednesday 23rd - 6pm
The Delany Hotel
The Art of Brewing - $40
Hosted by Coopers Brewery Technical Manager Simon Fahey
Also Includes 'Newcastle Home Brew Awards'
Home Brew Awards Entries limited to one beer / brewer Sample brews to be dropped into
Mark's Home Brew Shop, Maitland Rd, Islington
Wednesday 23rd - 7pm
Newcastle Cruising Yacht Club
'Where it all Started' - $75
Matilda Bay Brewing
4 Course Dinner with 8 Beers
Wednesday 23rd - 7pm
Clarendon Hotel
'Meet The Brewer Dinner' - $75
Burleigh Brewing
Hosted by Owner/Head Brewer Brennan Fielding
Thursday 24th - 6.30pm
Albion Hotel
'Official Newcastle Craft Beer Week Dinner' - $99 per person
Featuring The Brewers from
Stone & Wood, Feral, Mclaren Vale, 4 Pines, Murrays, Hunter, Burleigh & Holgate
Friday 25th - 12.00pm
The Delany Hotel
'Tales & Ales Long Lunch' $75
James Squire Brewing
Hosted by Chuck Hahn
Friday 25th - 7pm
Clarendon Hotel
'Let's Get Crafty' $45
Hosted by Little Creatures & White Rabbit
Saturday 26th - 12.00pm
Albion Hotel
Beer & Food (BBQ Session) $50
Hosted by Holgate Brewhouse, Stone & Wood, Mountain Goat
Also featuring a special guest host.
Saturday 26th 6pm
Albion Hotel
'Have a beer with the brewers'
A informal chance to share a beer and chat with Australia's best brewers!
Sunday 27th 12pm - 4pm
Warners @ The Bay
5th Annual Beer Festival - $50 per person
30 Brewing Companies Involved
Contact the venues direct to book into any events follow the links to their facebook pages for contact info.
or contact me and i'll point ya in the right direction: dane@beerbeer.org

05 September 2011

Newcastle Craft Beer Week!

I am pleased to announce that our beaut city of Newcastle is hosting it's first Craft Beer Week between the 21st and 27th of November 2011! With 12 pubs onboard and over 20 brewery partners as well the event is set to go off! Not even Sydney- you know that other city in N.S.W. has an event like this. Over the course of the week there will be a whole range of beery events happening such as a Home Brew competition, beer style based pub crawls and a Ladies only beer tasting event hosted by none other than the Beer Diva herself  Kirrily Waldhorn. Newcastle has always been a  beer town as it is home to the highest percentage of home brewers in the country! This event will really show the city's love of PROPER BEER!
More info on the week will be posted on the lead up to the event- so watch this space!

01 September 2011

Pales In Comparison

With the recent arrival of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale officially in Australia I felt the need to compare it against two of the nations favorite pale ales-- Little Creatures Pale Ale and Murrays Nirvana Pale Ale.
Sierra Nevada is a America craft brewery based in Chico California which has been regarded by many as the one that kick started the American Craft beer revolution!  Way back in 1980 they brewed the first batch what was to become the bench mark west coast American Pale ale that has inspired craft brewers and home brewers alike since due to its big game changing hoppy aromatics cascade hop driven beer.
While you could buy this brew in Australia for about $7~9 AUD per bottle at selected bottle shops for many years now,  it was usually brought in to the country as an "unofficial grey import" which very much compromised the brews quality.It was brought over via various countries with no temperature control  and by the time it reached here it would be very close to the best before date or past it!
Now thanks to the demand of  Australia's PROPER beer drinkers and Phoenix Beers in Western Australia -Sierra Nevada is now officially available in Australia! Transported from the USA via refrigerated container so us Aussies can now enjoy fresh Sierra Nevada Pale Ale the way its creators meant it to be! It is also alot more affordable now at about $20AUD a six pack!!
So I picked up a sixer and a couple of local Pale Ales from the local supermarket bottle-lo. To make it fair as some of you may already know I do live near Murrays Brewery(lucky me:) but for intensive purposes of the comparison I decided to pick up a bottle of Nirvana Pale Ale at the supermarket bottle shop as the bottle would have been stored under the same/similar conditions as the other two and not directly from the brewery which would I think give it somewhat of an advantage.
Okay on to the comparison!
Little Creatures Pale Ale (W.A. Australia) 5.2%ABV

My first real American style Pale ale way back in 2004 and gave me my first hop hit! It was amazing the floral fruity aroma and the drinkabilty was awesome! The malts and hops melded together perfectly going down.... slightly sweet in a good way on the finish.  Probably one of the first beers that I really raved about to both friends and family. Every time I bought this beer back then I enjoyed every drop! Now over the years I have gone on to much more bigger beers such as  hoppy double IPA's.... does the creature still liven up my palate and senses? In a word no.It is not  the beer I remember as a younger hophead. The Aroma is there but only just....I noticed there is no slight yeast sediment  in the bottom of the bottle like before either. The mouthfeel is now alot thinner too no real hoppy hit like back in 2004.  Okay it is a good beer... but having the memory of tasting what it should taste like is very dishearting. Maybe they thinned it out to appeal to the demand? Different/less hops used? Have I punished my palate too much with hoppy goodness? I have been drinking mostly wheat beers lately so my hop senses have been calmed down too.  In a nutshell good beer if nothing else is available or you haven't tried it before...... still I will also say a good entry beer into the world of craft beer. Cute label though.... they haven't changed that!   $20~23AUD a six pack

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (Chico C.A. USA) 5.6%ABV

Now this what I was craving! Nice balanced cascade hop aroma on the nose and some medium malt tones. Not much of a head after being poured slowly into my shaker pint glass. Very enjoyable going down a good malt backbone without being too overpowering. Nice hoppy finish and very hard to put the glass down!  I kept going back to this stuff over the course of the comparison . Extremely smooth and drinkable while giving you a hop hit.The brewers really got the balance right with this one !
Would be a regular to go to beer if the 24pack case price was right but its still up there around the $77~80AUD mark. The sixer is the way to go with this guy at $20 bucks and also the fact the bottles are 345ml and not 330ml like LCPA and MNPA.  A fantastic beer..... I can see why it has inspired many .....including me!  Gotta love that label....

Murrays Nirvana Pale Ale (N.S.W. Australia) 4.5%ABV

Now this beer after poring correctly had the biggest retaining head out of all three. Awesome BIG hop aroma on the nose from those kiwi hops used- lots of fruit characters and a hint of floral. Going down slightly heavier than the other two with a more assertive malt tone. Good balance between sweetness of malt and hop bitterness. Nice fruity hop finish and very satisfying.  A pleasure to drink. Excellent off tap too if you see it out there!  As some of you would know Murrays Brewery's beginnings were actually inspired by a visit by Murray himself to a diner in the United States were he tried Sierra Nevada Pale Ale...and loved it! The rest is history and he and his brewers have created a fantastic example in this evolution of the style! Well done guys! $15AUD a four pack or $15 bucks a growler fill at the brewery!
It is great to see Sierra Nevada available officially in Australia now and at a reasonable price too! Fantastic drop would like to give it a go off tap some day!  Little creatures has tied us over 'til now... sorry old friend you just 'aint what cha used to be! But in the end I really crave my good 'ol hops and freshness you can't beat from a true craft/micro brewery and Murray's Nirvana Pale Ale would be my choice if all three were offered to me.