Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Beer - The Aussie Dry Lager Battle

This Sunday past in Melbourne was a sunny blue-sky day, much like today. A large portion of the city's population city was caught up in the return of AFL footy to our lives, as well as the Formula 1 cars screaming around Albert Park for the Australian Grand Prix.

It was the type of day that often drives drinkers to purchase and consume a six-pack or slab of easy drinking beers that are readily available at any local bottle shop or liquor superstore. (Also, these beers are often marketed IN YOUR FACE, everywhere you look.)

The current trend in beer products produced by the big commercial breweries for such occasions is the "dry lager". It is a style that I no longer understand. They tend to be very bland (if not completely flavourless), bodiless, flat and often labelled as a low carbohydrate beer.

You see, I can somewhat understand the "need" for and mass production of Australian lagers and mid-strength beers. However, in the last four years I have never come across any Australian person belonging to an apparent "clear majority" of beer drinkers that the big-brewers' market research suggests want watery bland dry lagers!

Even in North Queensland I witnessed drinkers choosing the flavoursome Blue Sky Brewery Pilsner, Little Creatures Pale Ale or foreign full-strength lagers like Corona over any such dry lagers. Whoever is bumping up the dry lager sales figures needs to try a real beer for once in their life!

In all honestly, I did spend much of my 20s in the pubs and bars of Melbourne, enjoying the pub rock music scene and drinking the usual beers that a Melbournian would be associated with - VB, Melbourne Bitter and later, Boags. When the low-carb dry lager concept really took off with Pure Blonde and Boags Classic Blonde, I misguidedly drank these beers in a silly attempt to mitigate my obesity.

Today, I am a craft beer lover. My drinking habits favour beers with depth of flavour, complexity, length, character, as well as exploring the diversity of beer styles. Additionally, since turning to craft beer I have learned how to drink smartly and balance good health, which has allowed me to drop all the excess weight I carried for 20 years. These days, I am fit enough to run 12kms in 50 minutes, yet still enjoy regular beers.

I will relatively happily revisit VB and MB in the right time of place, but cannot touch the new wave of "extra" dry lagers that are saturating the Australian beer industry, because they are pointless! No? Flavourless and with water like texture...what is the point to drinking such a beer other than to get drunk whilst messing up your body with a huge amounts of adjuncts? If you need to quench a thirst, drink water! It's good for you.

Nonetheless - in hope of saving myself from becoming a real beer snob - I decided to test these popular Dry Lagers to see if I could find any justification for their existence.

As a secondary mission, I wanted to taste these macro brewery profit makers against the Vale Dry from McLaren Vale Beer Company in hope of understanding why a company that is determined to be a craft beer producer would create such a product.

Currently brewing their two beers under contract at Australian Independent Brewer (AIB) in NSW, the McLaren Vale Beer Company beer are in the progress of establishing a brewery. Instead of first setting up a brewery, they decided to use their initial capital to establish a brand. Through their marketing, Vale Ale scored top spot (and big exposure) in The Local Taphouse Hottest 100 Craft Beers of 2010. Vale Dry came in at #9. The reaction to these results amongst the craft beer loving community was fierce and is well documented on a number of beer websites, such as The Crafty Pint.

All that aside...my question is:

Is there really ANY need for Vale Dry in the Australian beer market, against these beers...

  • Carlton & United Breweries (Fosters) Carlton Dry
  • Tooheys (Lion Nathan) Extra Dry
  • Sail & Anchor (Woolworths) Dry Dock
  • Three Kings (Independent Breweries Australia) Dry Lager

Note 1: All purchased from my local Dan Murphys I selected out of their fridge.
Note 2: Other products in the category include MAXX Dry by Coles and Coopers Clear, but would have been too much for me to include in this test.
Note 2b: I also completely disregarded XXXX Summer Shite Lager because it is shite. I tried it once last year out of curiosity and found no ever to ever let such a beer pass my lips again.

I would like to point out that I did approach the MVBeer team directly via email and asked them why they decided to produce a dry lager. However, whilst I recieve a response from them about a side issue, the "why brew a dry lager" question was completely ignored.

So, on a recent sunny Saturday afternoon, after a morning of household chores that induced quite a thirst, I sat down with each of these beers to test them side by side.

My comparison notes on these beers are as follows:

Three Kings Dry Lager
  • The clearest and most effervescent of these 5 beers
  • Provided the biggest head when poured from the bottle
  • Lightest/weakest colour of all these beers
  • Most "fake tasting" beer, providing no real beer character
  • Almost sickly drinking at the bottom of the glass (as it warmed)
  • Sorry, but this is just...yuk.

Tooheys Extra Dry
  • Equally brightest in colour with Carlton Dry
  • Provided the most decent head
  • Smoothest and softest beer of the 5, as well as the blandest  flat
  • Flat aroma with something oh-so-slightly fruity on the nose
  • Yeast comes through in that fruitiness, slightest hint of clove and banana
  • Blandest mouthfeel of all

Carlton Dry
  • Equally brightest in colour with Tooheys Extra Dry
  • Worst head with loose froth that was like bubble-bath foam
  • Slight orange peel taste and a hint of something nutty
  • A little bit more carbonated than Tooheys Extra Dry
  • Only drinkable if super cold/chilled
  • Awfully similar to Tooheys Extra Dry, just not as flat

Sail & Anchor Dry Dock
  • Most dull beer in appearance
  • Most pub-like beer in aroma and beery flavour with corn like notes
  • Watery mouthfeel and body
  • No flavour
  • Pretty inoffensive and hence easy to drink (if super cold) for piss beer.
  • Wife noted that Dry Dock is like beer cordial...water with a drop of artificial beer flavouring

Vale Dry
  • Clearly different to the above beers! hoo-rah...
  • Pale gold and cloudy in appearance, weak-to-no head
  • A sweet caramel sugar aroma, some fruitiness but also vegemite yeasty aroma
  • HELLO...there's some flavour here! However, still lacking any real taste punch and probably has too much in the way of cereal notes
  • A bit thick in the mouth, although a watery body
  • Not exactly "easy" drinking due to some tartness

By far, the unfiltered Vale Dry was the stand out...relative to the macro dry lagers. It has flavour and more body than the rest, but I am not sure I rate its drinkability and sessionability. I would need to try a draught version on tap.

Nonetheless, if you really must drink a Dry Lager...please consider the pointlessness of the macro products -  produced only for your dollar - and maybe pick up a pack of McLaren Vale Vale Dry. At least you will experience some exposure to taste with Vale Dry, as well as supporting a business that hopefully one day will build up to being a genuine craft brewery.

Ultimately, there is no need for any of these beers when there is the easy drinking, refreshing and flavoursome joy of the uniquely Australian Stone & Wood Pacific Ale! THIS is the beer dry lager drinkers should be choosing...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Beer - Still not there yet, Melbourne, but something Good coming

This week there was a wrap up of the recent Melbourne Food & Wine Festival in The AGE Epicure (22/03/2011) that provides an important perspective on where beer stands in the local cultural scene.

This cover-story article has not been published online, so here is what you will find on page 8:

Beering Up
By David Sutherland

"It's a shame more people weren't at the festival's first masterclass beer and food matching session - it seems food and wine aficionados still can't quite come to grips with the fact beer is a complex beverage with a multitude of flavour and aroma nuances that can complement or provide contrast to those in food.

Still, the crowd of 40 or so at The Beer and Cider House Rules session were eager, and increasingly ebullient as they make their way through samples of eight different beers and four ciders, each matched with tiny but exquisite dishes created by Andrew Black of Blakes Feasts.

Kirrily "Beer Diva" Waldhorn and Eric Walters from Gippsland's Grand Ridge Brewery provided witty and knowledgeable commentary, while Epicure's Ralph Kyte-Porwell moderated with his usual charm.

Guests were genuinely surprised by how well some of the dishes matched the beers - which ran the gamut from light blond wheat beers to hefty Scotch and Belgian ales - and the ciders.

At their best, the matches highlighted interesting flavour characteristics in both food and beverage, and the session was another small step in defying perceptions that beers and ciders are merely wine's poor - and rather crude - cousins."

Fantastic words there by David, who clearly understands the potential for and under appreciation of beer in a dining setting.

(Shame there was no mention throughout the feature of The Beer Diva's Victoria's Women of Beer show.)

So yes, whilst my fellow craft beer writers and geeks are caught up in the groundswell of amazing beer circling Melbourne, we are still an uber minority. Along with the building call to end beer tap contracts at pubs in favour of diversity and CHOICE in beer styles and flavours, we also need to explain to those around us at $28 for a slab of VB is NOT a good thing.

Alternatively...maybe everyone just needs to hold on and get ready to experience beer like never before...with Good Beer Week on its way!

We will see the likes of the Josie Bones crew taking on those "food and wine aficionados" with a new wave of detail and sensation provided to a food and beer pairing experience. Over in St Kilda, the The Local Taphouse will sit you with the brewers whilst you eat and drink (check out who will be at the exciting Brewers & Chewers Dinner on May 19)

For a sneak peak of what Good Beer Week is all about, check out The Crafty Pint story at: http://craftypint.com/news/post/good-beer-great-week/

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Beer - Atticus Finch Beer School #2

"I love that this is called 'Beer School', because the word 'school' is the collective noun for a gathering of drinkers", quipped Willie Simpson as he opened the second Blackhearts & Sparrows and Atticus Finch Beer School.

After enviously reading the Eat Drink Stagger blog post about Beer School #1 last year ("Be schooled in all things beery"), I was keen to make sure I didn't miss the next one that came around. When the event was finally announced in February and I saw that the "teachers" for the day would be Willie Simpson (Seven Sheds Brewery and renowned beer writer) and Simon Walkenhorst (Hargreaves Hill Brewing Company), I had purchased tickets before anyone could say Brettanomyces!

After a cool Summer, March 6th was a surprisingly hot and sunny Sunday afternoon. The wife and I arrived at Atticus Finch a little after the start time of 3pm (Sorry we're late, Sir. Public Transport, ya'know). Thankfully, the class was yet to begin.

The 50 pupils gathered throughout the courtyard/beer-garden, which appropriately includes a hop vine creeping over the fence from their next door neighbours. The class was made up of a clear male majority. Overall, most students seemed to be both local and already craft beer orientated. Therefore, this was no Beer 101, but more of a MasterClass in beer.

With all the shaded spots occupied, we found a seat along the fence, opened the beautifully presented folded-A4 "text book" and prepared for the drinking learning to begin.

The first beer of the lesson was a strange pick, the massive Infinium, a recently released champagne-like beer from a collaboration between Weihenstephan and The Boston Beer Company, which I wrote about on Australian Brews News (which also notes Willie Simpson's initial reaction to the beer): www.brewsnews.com.au/2011/03/to-infinium-and-beyond/

Although Infinium is an impressive beer with a big but dry flavour, it is a beer that is best enjoyed during a cool evening or with dinner instead of during a hot mid-afternoon. Also, over time it seems to be thickening a little with yeasty vegemite notes overdeveloping. So if you are seeking to buy and try the current batch of Infinium, get it soon!

Willie spoke of his aversion to collaboration beers as little more than a PR exercise, whilst Simon countered with his recent experience in producing the Two Hills Maibock in collaboration with Red Hill Brewery.

Following Infinium, the full list of beers sampled across the afternoon (in groups of 3 at a time) was:
  • Moo Brew Pilsner*
  • Haregreaves Hill ESB
  • Seven Sheds Kentish Ale*
  • Renaissance Discovery APA
  • Sierra Nevada Northern Harvest Americal Ale*
  • Mountain Goat Rare Breed Double Hightail Ale
  • Feral Brewing Hop Hog IPA
  • Kriek de Ranke
  • Anderson Valley Imperial IPA
  • Meantime Chocolate
  • Hargreaves Hill Abbey Dubbel*
  • Seven Sheds Willie Warmer Spiced Ale*
  • Rochefort 10 Trappistes Quadrupel
  • Mikkeller Viktoria Porter
  • Holgate Brewhouse Empress Imperial Mocha Porter
* indicates a beer that I had not previously encountered on my beer journey.

The beer line-up was indeed impressive and diverse. The order could have done with some finesse though and the conditions didn't suit too many of the beers in the second half. "There goes the open-air Beer School" Simon declared when we hit the hoppy beers are he explained how sunlight destroys the hops influence.

I have no desire to detract from this excellent event. However, I will make the following assessment notes about Beer School #2 (and only because I believe that the feedback is constructive and welcomed, as well as already providing Blackheart's beer manager Eden Gilbert with the following notes...)

The glass shapes and sizes - a beer pot glass, a small wine glass and a water tumbler - were not really utilised effectively. After the first few rounds, the glass which was filled with the next beer to taste was simply whichever glass was available. Although, considering the pace that the event moved along, as well as and the small number of staff tasked with filling 50 glasses, they did a commendable job with coordinating the event. Hence, I cannot really complain about drinking an Imperial Porter from a water tumbler...that would simply be beer-snobbery!

I will note that the Sierra Nevada Northern Harvest American Ale was rather disappointing. I suspect that it is a grey import (with Phoenix Beers only just now bringing Sierra Nevada into Australia legitimately) and therefore who knows how old this beer was or how it had been treated during the long journey to Oz.

Additionally, throwing in Kriek de Ranke in at half way was a bit messed up, as it destroyed the palate. A palate cleansing aged Gueuze may have been the better choice over a fruity Kriek at this point.

And in all honesty, by the time the class hit the big final three of the Rochefort 10, Mikkeller Viktoria and the (hmmmm YES) Holgate Empress...no one was really in a position to learn anything about these beers other than they are big dark rich beers (...so it was a good thing I have tried them all before!).

OK, enough of the beer-snob hypercriticism now. Beer School also did things very very well (in comparison to many of the other beer tasting event occurring throughout Australia).

Foremost, the teachers brought in for the event were relevant local academics of the highest quality, providing a privileged experience for us students.

Simon Walkenhorst and Willie Simpson are highly respected brewers in Australia. They proved to be very good communicators and complimented each other with their shared passion for the creative art of beer and brewing to a sense rather than a style.

The primary point of learning that Willie and Simon conveyed was an appreciation of how and why each of the beers are brewed, with particular insight into their own brewing stories and practices, along with guidance in the appropriate occasion to enjoy such a beer.

It was valuable to hear how Simon creates his Abbey Dubbel using a yeast strain from the Westmalle Brewery and high fermentation temperatures, which provide a strong raisin character and a element of funk. I struggled a little with the flavour and body balance of the Hargreaves Hill Abbey Dubbel, but was reassured to hear that Simon likes the beers "funky charm" (ie, it is not a fault by the brewer's character).

Beyond the beers that I already love (namely Hargreaves ESB, 'Goat's Double Hightail, Feral Hop Hog, Rochefort 10), my beer highlight of the day Willie's Kentish Ale, the flagship beer of Seven Sheds. The beer was designed as "something between the Fuller's London Pride and ESB".

Cooper-red in appearance, the Kentish Ale is a complex English ale that is easy drinking and a little rustic. It provides a healthy aroma of fruit and some biscuit. The taste is predominately malt driven with a caramel sweetness, yet nicely balanced by the Golding and Fuggel hops from Kent, England. The medium body is fairly smooth and the finish is long and bitter I look forward to one day enjoying this beer on tap.

I enjoyed learning about Willie's approach to brewing. He likes to imagine how an English brewery made beer 150 years ago and seeks to brew in such a manner. This includes a basic hop-back system that comprises of a recycled 80L Boags keg.

Nonetheless, the beer-joy of the day came at the end with our second taste (following GABS) of the Holgate Empress. It was the beer we went back to, purchasing another pot from the bar after the class wrapped up around 6pm.

The limited staff handled the event exceptionally by simply being friendly and helpful people. Furthermore, one of my pet peeves at such events - fresh water supply - was not an issue at Beer School, with water jugs regularly replenished.

The event closed with a lottery draw and giveaways of beers and brewery merch, leaving all in high spirits.

Overall, the friendly and relaxed atmosphere and social interaction at this Beer School was excellent. Despite the heavy impact of the sun and high alcohol content, it was an enjoyable and educational event. Most of all, unlike most other schooling attendances, it was delightful afternoon at Beer School.

I am now a big fan of Atticus Finch as a bar and venue, alongside my continuing appreciation for the quality of service and range provided by Blackhearts & Sparrows.

And finally, a BIG SHOUT OUT of thanks to all the brewers and distributors who supported the event with stock, including Innspire, Phoenix Beers, Holgate, Moo Brew, Mountain Goat and The Great Northern Hotel!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beer - A Melbourne Good Beer Week Prelude

Fantastic beery events across this city continue to provide Melbourne with the right to claim the title of Australia's craft beer capital.

This week promises to be a mini-preview of the (under-development) Good Beer Week, which will occur across Melbourne in May in conjunction with the Australian International Beer Awards.

This week includes:
  • Thursday: Murray's Craft Brewing Showcase at Beer DeLuxe, from midday, which will also launch a new set of beer taps at the Beer DeLuxe bar (along with the end of a Peroni contract tap presence! hoorah!); Federation Square Victorian Microbreweries Showcase Night #2, 4:30pm-8:00pm; plus plenty of St Patricks Day events throughout Melbourne pubs...I recommend enjoying a pint of Guinness at a geniune Irish Pub, the only way to really enjoy a Guinness. Try and avoid buying cans of Guinness from those national liquour superstores if you want to have a proper Guinness stout taste experience. Irish Pubs take pride in pouring a true pint of Guinness. The Dan O'Connell in Collingwood is my pick for a good St Pat's night out.

As always, I'll be at whatever beer events I can get to (am definitely locked in to be at both Fed Square Microbreweries Showcase nights once again!). If you see me...please say hi and tell me what is good and bad about beers, bars and bands across Australia...


Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Beer - A fun night of Victorian beer, brought to you by women.

In honour of the 100th International Women's Day today, it is my pleasure to applaud the local women who are enriching and influencing this thing I call my "beer journey".

Personally, in my own Gen-Y-small-corner of the world, I do not see the desperate need for any gender-based qualification or separation. It is only a distinction that I make today, because there is a global call for it.

I look around me and see females doing everything I do, in the same way that I do it or in a different way...but usually, just in their own way. Women who choose to be stay-at-home mothers tirelessly raising a loving family are inspiring, just as are the women who choose to embrace another path in life, such as a workforce career or pursing their own business/creative venture. Women who are duly respected in their endeavours to take hold of life in whichever way they desire is all it needs to be about...and that is no different to the male existence. It is the beauty of Australian freedom and hence my deterrence from the need to specify a gender qualification. However, I do understand that it is not a worldwide practice and the statistics authenticate ongoing inequality for women, so International Women's Day is a noteworthy cause that I support. Connecting the issue to my blog topic, the majority of Australians still seem to regrettably and wrongly associate consuming beer with males, primarily due to stereotypes.

But enough of the sociopolitical discussion here, this blog is written for anyone and everyone, beyond gender, race or creed. I would much prefer to engage in that debate over the table at a pub whilst enjoying a flavoursome Australian craft beer. So, on with the show...

As preempted in my previous post, last Friday night my wife and I excitedly attended the Beer Diva's Victorian Women of Beer show at The Thornbury Theatre, which was part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.

We knew little of what to expect from the show, other than it revolved around six of the most fun, friendly, interesting and switched-on people in the Australian small and craft beer industry...and they just happen to all be women.

Due to our dinner & show ticket purchase, we found ourselves at a table front and center of the stage. The make-up of our table provided a great insight to the general appeal of the show, with the table of 8 consisting of a balanced 4 males and 4 females...who were all there for different reasons.

There was a fair bit of Twitter action in the lead-up to the show, revealing the nerves of the Women of Beer as they prepared backstage. My own tweeting, about a steel bucket curiously sitting on stage, also beckoned a response from the host, Kirrily Waldhorn, as she first graced the stage to commence the show.

Kirrily's Beer Diva show provides an educational and humerous journey through the history of beer, as well as addressing common myths about drinking beer whilst seeking to break down those stereotypes that lead Aussies to associate beer with men. Whilst formally structured and stylish, the event was very much a relaxed and casual affair.

The aspect of this particular show that separated it from previous Beer Diva events was the inclusion of the Victorian Women of Beer (in the place of musical support from a singer and pianist). These women provided the highlight of the night as Kirrily quizzed them on their brewing history and then allowed them to share their beers with the audience.

To briefly return to my opening remarks, the theme for International Women's Day 2011 is - Equal access to education, training and science and technology: Pathway to decent work for women - which is indeed a theme for political leaders to address. However, the Women of Beer are an excellent example of Australian women taking hold of their own career paths to excel in any field they choose...

Sam Fuss and Jayne Lewis decided brewing was the life for hem when they fell in love with the Little Creatures Brewery in Western Australia. Their skill and commitment to the brewing craft has now installed them as Head Brewers at impressive microbreweries.

Nardia McGrath surprised her parents when she chose to fly away to Scotland to study brewing. Further, last year her boss at Bridge Road Brewers gave Nardia an open licence to craft and brew her own beer, which resulted in the amazing Megachile Pluto Braggot.

Finally, I dare say that Victoria would be without two of our best microbreweries without the passion and business sense of Karen Golding and Beth Williams, who have provided the pathways and vital support required for their brewer husbands to build and operated successful breweries.

The beers shared with the audience, via these women, were tasted and discussed through 5 Acts that looked at different beer styles and histories. They were:

  • Saison - Bridge Road Brewers Chevalier Saison (Nardia)
  • Wheat Beers - Hargreaves Hill Hefeweizen (Beth)
  • Pilsners - Red Hill Brewery Bohemian Pilsner (Karen)
  • India Pale Ales - Mountain Goat Rare Breed IPA (Jayne)
  • Porters - True South Cherry Bomb (Sam)

Beer Diva, Kirrily Waldhorn is a fantastic communicator. I was most impressed by her skill in presenting a script that could be understood and appreciated by both newbies to the world of beer but also to beer nerds. I learned a great deal from the show and aspire to one day be capable of communicating beer knowledge and evaluation with the expertise and finesse that Kirrily possess.

Ultimately, the theme of the night demonstrated this message: Beer can be sophisticated, beer can be brash. Beer can be serious, beer can be fun. Beer can be girly, beer can be blokey. Beer is a sensory experience for all. Enjoy!

Overall it was a fun night, full of substance and sustenance in a great venue for such an occasion. Thank you Women of Beer!

And now to further showcase the skill of my favourite woman, my wife, who captured these photos during the Beer Diva's Women of Beer show...

In further support of International Women's Day (March 8), here are some local media articles for your consideration:

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Beer - The Beer Diva presents... The Victorian Women of Beer

Where did the first two months of 2011 go?? Oh, that's right...these past months have dissolved into delicious bubbly memories of gold, amber and black across this craft beer city!

Yes, excellent beer events are occurring left-right-and-centre around Melbourne at the moment, which is awesome...but it is also hard to keep up with! To join in, I commend you to The Crafty Pint and Australian Brews News event & calendar pages.

Breaking into March, the wife and I will be attending two more very exciting good beer events this coming weekend. On Sunday (6th March) we will be at the Atticus Finch (East Brunswick) Beer School #2 on Sunday, featuring Willie Simpson (Australia's leading beer writer and Seven Sheds brewer) and Simon Wakenhurst (Hargreaves Hill brewer). Limited tickets are available from Blackhearts & Sparrows outlets.

But first, we will kick off the weekend on Friday night with what promises to be a unique and inspiring experience...in the The Victorian Women of Beer show at The Thornbury Theatre, which is part of the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival.

Here is the event's promotional description: In a stage show that is described as 'part theatre, part sensory indulgence', the women of beer promise to take their audience on a journey of discovery in five acts that will stimulate all of their senses through projected animation, original music, live performance and sampling five distinctive styles of beer. The show is "a joyous experience - punctuated by myth-busting facts, light-hearted history, global culture and beery philosophy — all which will leave you stimulated, entertained, and enriched by an unexpected education."

But who are these "Women of Beer", you ask? They are the brewers, beer educators and communicators and good beer advocates who are helping fuel my passion for craft beer by filling our local beer loving shops and bars with diverse and quality ales.

Kirrily Waldhorn, The Beer Diva, will host the fun and interactive night of beer education and exploration. Formerly an employee of a big commercial brewer, Kirrily is a now beer writer and educator, spreading the good beer word through her Beer Diva events and business.

Joining Kirrily are 5 women responsible some of Victoria's best microbreweries, including:

It's a stellar line up, matched only by the five craft beers they will be showcasing.

To convey my excitement, you only need to look at the beers that these woman have produced over the last year... Jayne oak barrel aged Mountain Goat's Rapunzel; Nardia relived an ancient style and made it distinctly Australian with her Bridge Road Brewers Megachile Pluto Braggot; Sam nailed Aussie Summer drinking with her Mint Ninja, the first commercial beer in a Australia to use the Sorachi Ace hop; and Karen and Beth combined their breweries to release Victoria's first collaboration craft beer with the Two Hills Maibock!

More importantly...I believe this event, driven by these intelligent, attractive and fun women, will further the cause of craft beer and the social acceptance of drinking beer more than any other event seen in Melbourne recently. A communication experience such as this will demonstrate that beer is now an accepted purveyor of complex flavour, rich character and a thoughtfulness that provokes communal discussion...proving that the "beer is a man's drink" perception is now a thing of bygone times.

Hope to see you there!

Event: The Beer Diva presents... The Victorian Women of Beer
Date and Time: Friday 4th March 2011, 9:00pm
Venue: The Thornbury Theatre
Location: 859 High St, Thornbury, Victoria
Tickets: $40.00 + bf advance tickets show only; $80.00 dinner and show + bf; $45.00 at the door if available
More info: http://www.thethornburytheatre.com/html_gigs/event_details/2011_03_04/2011_03_04.htm

Recommended reading: "The women of substance" by James Smith (aka The Crafty Pint) from The AGE Epicure, 1 March 2011.