Yesterday was a bit of a beer-adventure to various venues in Melbourne. First was a lunch-time visit to Biero, which from the outside is this small un-assuming little red-brick building:
The reason for my visit was their advertised "Black Friday" promotion, all of their taps would be devoted to black beer, 8 stouts and 2 black IPA's. Given the promotion and Biero's reputation as one of the craft-beer-venues in Melbourne, once inside, I was surprised to find I was the only customer!
While the barman was friendly and knowledgeable none of the black beers had been tapped yet (some of the promoted beers were not even in stock yet), so there was some wait while they were tapped and run through the lines. However after a bit of a wait (and lots of foam) I did get Karma Citra Black Ale that I wanted to try:
Feral Brewing Company's Karma Citra India Black Ale advertised as "a rich malty black ale that showcases the tropical fruit character of the hop variety citra." The fresh citrus type hop flavour and aroma reminded me very much of what the house smells like in late summer when all the freshly picked hops are drying, very pungent and refreshing. Unlike with pale IPA's the dominant hops in this 'India Black Ale' are balanced nicely with the dark roasted malt flavours.
After enjoying the beer at Biero it was time for a tram-trip to Abbotsford for the CUB Brewery tour. The Carlton and United Brewery is a huge imposing building taking up several city blocks, and I was looking forward to seeing how the 'big boys' make their beer. Unfortunately, the experience was a waste of time and there was little to see or learn or do that was interesting or entertaining.
The 'brewery tour' consisted of a 1/2 hour 'beer information and CUB advertising session' held in the 'visitor center' where we were told the basics of how to brew beer, by a tour-guide who obviously knew nothing about making beer other than what's in the PR brochures. That was followed by a 1/2 hour look at the bottling line which likely would have been impressive if it had been working, however since it's winter and production is on the low-side this week's quota was finished yesterday. This left our tour guide to ineptly try to explain the grandeur of what we'd have seen when it was working. There was no mention of seeing, visiting, looking at or even being told about any of the actual beer production details or gear (other than they make 2million L per day), no look at the big mash tuns, filters, large tanks, fermentors or any large shiny stainless bling, or other interesting stuff to look.
The tour also included a "complimentary tastings of fresh, cold beer" so I sampled a couple of CUB beers that I don't remember trying before: Carlton Black and Fosters Lager, neither of which I feel the need to drink again. However the Bulmers Pear Cider and something 'triple hopped' from Fat Yak (neither of which were brewed at the Abbotsford CUB plant) were both worth of an additional glass.
After being so disappointed by the CUB 'tour' at least Mountain Goat was well worth the walk up the street and around the corner. Mountain Goat are one of Melbourne's oldest (and more famous) micro-breweries. They are open to the public on Wed and Friday nights and are situation in an industrial area of Richmond and inside another un-assuming red-brick building:
Just a few steps away from the bar is Mountain Goat's brewery area (tours are offered on Wednesday) so at least I got to see some bits of stainless beer making gear after all:
European Bier Cafe for a nice malty German Lager:
Comedy Club Friday night gig, enjoying a couple of stubbies of Coopers Sparkling Ale from the limited bar selection available, before finishing the night with an interesting pizza. Panned Pizza is located adjacent to Melbourne's Greek Precinct, with 'American Style' (thin based pizza) served by Asian shop attendants - a very multi-cultural mix and tasty pizza: