Drunken Speculation

Queensland Beer Week 2013: a Diary, Part I

qldbeerweekQueensland Beer Week was a nine-day festival of beer with events across the state (well, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Cairns), which wraps up today.

Being a Brisbane-based beer blogger, I felt compelled, nay obligated, to participate in as many events as I could. Only trouble is that my usual partner in crime – ammo – was staying in Canberra to prepare for an imminent move to the Sunshine State. My other go-to guy returns from a tour of the Caucasus tomorrow, so he was also useless.

The week would be spent supping beers and trying to coax non-beer nerd friends out. This resulted in a pretty haphazard approach to my week and I think I missed all the big events. Next year, maybe. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of fun to be had in Brizneyland. We begin on Saturday, 13 July:

qhc ian watsonSaturday

Queensland Homebrewing Conference. Excellent, boozy day out. Thanks to the team from Brewer’s Choice and the conference sponsors.

Sunday

Surprisingly not hungover but still tired. Spend the day as if I was hungover. Consider taking the two Panadol taped to the water bottle provided as part of my QHC goody bag. Decide to leave it in reserve for the week.

Monday

J – a colleague – sends out an email about QBW at work. Invite him to fill in at tonight’s Beer & King Island Cheese tasting, hosted by Chuck Hahn at the Pig & Whistle on Eagle Street.

beer cheese mondayS, J and I (which is me, not someone whose name starts with “I”) shoot the breeze in between tastings with Mr Hahn himself filling the gaps with Lion marketing and a bit of personal history. Not too crowded in the outdoor area, mostly 20/30-something professionals. The lineup consisted of:

  • Hahn Super Dry palette cleanser – uh, no
  • James Squire Pale Ale with double brie – thumbs up
  • James Squire Amber Ale with cloth-wrapped mature cheddar – thumbs up
  • Little Creatures Pale Ale palette cleanser – thumbs up
  • White Rabbit Dark Ale with smoked cheddar – thumbs down, cheddar overwhelmed the beer
  • James Squire Pilsner with triple blue brie – big thumbs up
  • White Rabbit Belgian dark ale matured in a whiskey barrel (it’s so special, it doesn’t have a name. Anyone?) with – and I quote my notes here – a “very blue cheese” (pictured) which merited a mixed response but I liked

Fantastic session, topped by Mr Hahn giving me a free Complete Beer Service & Sommelier’s Manual with his autograph on the back. A prince among men. I then tried to explain difference between American and Australian pale ales to my friends and failed miserably.

moo brew nachos mondayWe lost J but S and I headed over to Super Whatnot on Burnett Lane for the Moo Brew tap takeover. The $10 nachos with schooner of Moo Brew special is ordered with less than half a second’s consideration. We go the stout – which is a terrible pair with the nachos but great beer nonetheless – followed by the hefeweizen – more sour and less banana than I’m used to. Cabbed it home around 10.30.

Tuesday

Tried homebrew out of my brand new Spiegelau tulip. It did not provide any redeeming benefit. Lesson learnt: good glassware will bring a good beer to life but can’t add anything to what’s not there.

Wednesday

Final game in the 2013 Origin series was on, so I wasn’t going to register for any formal events. The tip at the QHC was that Brewhouse in Woolloongabba did 2-for-1 mains on a Wednesday night and I knew they brewed their own beer. I hadn’t been to the Brewhouse since it moved from Albert Street in the CBD a few years ago and wasn’t then the craft beer enthusiast that I am now.

sommeliers manual mondayManaged to sell some friends on it and I met S and W at the Brewhouse early enough to snag a seat from which I can see four different TVs – all showing the game. Brewhouse is split into two: the old Clarence Corner pub which is a TAB and dodgy as fuck and the bistro/craft beer niche, which attracts a better clientele. Good range available in addition to half a dozen beers brewed in-house.

Turns out the 2-for-1 mains tip was bullshit but the Brewhouse was offering a pizza and jug of house beer for $19, which is still good value, especially when the jug alone is $15. The pizzas were passable and served on the thinnest base you can imagine. Can’t explain why that might be. The beers were fresh and pretty good. I was driving, so I only opted for two: the Brisbane Pale Ale (very good American pale ale) and the Sunshine Honey Wheat (bit meh but might be livened up in a proper glass).

I tried again to explain difference between American and Australian pale ales to my friends and didn’t do any better than Monday.

I’ll leave it to other outlets to report on the game but suffice to say, even as a passing rugby league fan and sober but a Queenslander nonetheless, I was still on the edge of my seat towards the end of the game. The crowd at the Brewhouse was certainly rowdier than the crowd at the Archive three weeks ago. I’m pretty shocked that Queensland managed to win the series again but I’m sure NSW will do their best next year. Drove home and woke up the next day surprisingly refreshed.

Part II will follow on Wednesday.

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