Whisky Live 2009

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

whiskeyAqua Vitae in Latin means “the water of life”, of which the Gaelic Scottish translation is “uisge beatha” which gives the shortened word Whisky. Whisky is a broad term covering all alcoholic spirits distilled from grain mash. Whisky was first invented not long after the process of distillation was introduced to Europe around the 12th century, with the earliest known written account of the drink being from 1405, in the Irish Annals of Clonmacnoise.

Whisky is normally aged in oak barrels for extended periods before bottling with an estimated 60% of a whiskeys flavor contributed by the wood and the toasting inside the barrel it is aged within.This is not to say Whisky is a simple liquid before aging either, far from it. Whisky has between 200 – 300 flavoring compounds easily detected by chemical analysis after distillation.
For the novice or experienced Whisky drinker interested in finding out more about Whisky in its many forms the Whisky Live Expo is coming to Sydney this September. Whisky Live is an International event taking place in 20 cities located in 15 countries across the globe. The event was born in London 9 years ago, and this year will mark the events first time in Sydney.
The Whisky Live expo will be held at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, in The Rocks from Friday the 4th, to Sunday the 6th of September. Giving Sydneysiders the chance to broaden their drinking horizons with over 120 different whiskeys from all over the world to sample.
Tickets are $85 for a 4 hour session on Saturday and Sunday, and $95 on the Friday for a 5 hour session with the expo opening. The ticket price includes:

  • A Whisky Live tasting glass
  • 10 Whisky sample tickets
  • 4 beer sample tickets
  • Food, water, soft drink and coffee
  • An expo show bag

If your interested and would like to find out more details on the expo be sure to check out the official Whisky Live website.

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Mountain Goat – Surefoot Stout 5.0% Alcohol

Wednesday, June 24th, 2009

Mountain Goat is a relatively new Victorian brewery but they seem very capable when it comes to brewing a great tasting beer and this is earning them a legion of fans around the country. Their Surefoot Stout doesn’t seem to deviate any from the high standards set by their their other beers either.

In a glass it exhibits a medium sized tan head over a very dark almost black lightly carbonated body. Which aroma wise dominated by cocoa notes. To taste the flavor is mostly made up of toasted malt flavours accompanied by rich cocoa and coffee hints which leave a faint nutty quality in the aftertaste.

I found this beer to be highly enjoyable and satisfying, perfect for unwinding at home after work on a cold winters night.

Rating: 7.9 / 10

Link: www.goatbeer.com

Where to buy:

4 Newington Road
Silverwater 2218
delivered from
The Beerstore

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Gentlemen’s Pale Ale 4.8% Alcohol – SA

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

Wasn’t quite sure what to expect of this beer with it’s very original label. Pouring it into a glass presented a slightly hazy straw coloured brew with a mild aroma that displayed hints of plum and and tropical fruits.
Tasting this beer was definitely no chore it’s a beautifully balanced ale, on the palate the drinker is presented with an interesting initial hit of bitterness on the front of the palate, with hints of fruit and leaning toward apple and citrus.This then transitions at the back of the palate to a warm toffee flavour leaving a pleasant slightly sweet and tangy after-taste. This beer uses 2 varieties of hops (Sterlings and Goldings) that helps give this beer a high level of complexity, and keeps the drinker with the impression they are missing some of the more subtle flavours.

Verdict:This is without a doubt one of the best pale ales i have tried in a while, the after-taste keeps you wondering and drives you back for more.

Rating: 8.0 / 10

Link: Gentlemens Brewing Company Pty Ltd

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Red Angus Pilsner, NSW 4.5% Alcohol

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

Seems to me alot of microbreweries in Australia are making beer with a bovine theme lately. Mallie Bull and Holgate brewhouse with a bull as their mascot, then i came across this Red Angus Pilsner the other day whilst browsing an isle of my local Dan Murphys. I brought a bottle and put it in the fridge for later. Coming home from work today i was thirsty i wanted beer any beer, this one was cold and ready to go and it didn’t disappoint.

On the appearance side this drop is bright yellow in colour, with a loose sudsy head which quickly dropped down to a thin lace covering although the beer itself has a good level of carbonation. The aroma is dominated by floral notes (very similar in smell to a rose i thought).

On the drinking side i found the bitterness of the hops nicely balanced with the assertive malt flavours. Notes of pepper, lemon and honey where the primary flavors i could pick out. The beer then finishes with a mild dry bitter / tang as an aftertaste.

Verdict: I enjoyed this beer quite a lot,very refreshing! Not a beer i could see myself drinking all the time but it has a fairly complex taste and makes a very pleasant change from the mainstream.

Rating: 7.4 / 10

Link: Angus Beers

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Firefly – Fusion Brewing (NSW) 4.5% Alcohol

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

firefly_lagerFusion Brewing takes a unique approach to creating a brew, first they decide on a style of food to match. Then Matthew Evans (Chef / Food critic), dissects what key flavours are normally present in the chosen style of dish and what qualities a beer should have to further bring out these flavours. From here some guidelines are created and passed along to head brewer Brian Watson to transform  into amber liquid, which should then be the perfect partner for your dinner.

Seeing as so much care had gone into seeing that Firefly brew would be the perfect partner for spicy food, i decided it was only fair to try this number with a meal. In the name of science i cooked a nice hot chilli / ginger stir fry for dinner specially to enjoy this beer with. Upon decanting the bottle into a glass i was greeted by a lightly carbonated brew, bright gold in colour with an aroma full of floral notes.

Tasting the brew, the drinker is hit initially with a sharp pilsner style bitterness which i found to be a great blend with the heat from the stir fry. Upon swallowing pretty much all taste quickly subsides leaving nothing except a subtle sweetness on the palate, not much else to it, this is an exceptionally clean tasting beer.

Verdict: This beer is super clean in taste designed to compliment the flavours of your meal not fight them. That said i could also see myself enjoying a six pack of these beside the pool on a hot summers day. Can’t wait give their other beer “Bluebottle” another try with some seafood as it was intended, the first time i tasted it  i was in a pub and without any food to give the proper taste test.

Rating: 7.3 / 10

Link: Fusion Brewing & Firefly Beer

P.S It has also come to my attention this brew recently took out Silver in the 2009 Australian International Beer Awards. Full results sheet can be found here.

Related Reading: Pairing Beer With Food

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Old Admiral Ale 6.1% Alcohol

Monday, May 11th, 2009

I have been lucky enough to have enjoyed this beer many times on tap at the Lord Nelson hotel in The Rocks area of the CBD. But until yesterday had never seen it for sale in the bottle, all of this changed when i wandered into the Australian Wine Center at Circular Quay for a look and saw it nestled up the top of the beer fridge. Seeing it in bottle form was too much to handle! I decided i had to drop what i was doing and give it a proper tasting as all the times i have tried it previously my judgement has been a little bit skewed by previous beers enjoyed.

Pouring the dark brown coloured beer into a tasting glass showed a lively head which quickly subsided, leaving the liquid with a thin covering of light brown foam. The aroma was rather gentle, consisting of toasted grain containing nutty hints.

Upon tasting the drinker his hit in the front of the tongue with a sharp blast of bitterness that then seems to smooth out mid palate with flavors of coffee and caramel. Which then fades to leave a slight bitter aftertaste accompanied by a gentle sweetness.

Verdict: A very easy drinking beer with plenty of flavour. Maybe not for everyone, but one or two of these adds a welcome interlude to an afternoon session.

Rating: 7.1/10

Link: The Lord Nelson Brewery

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