Weekend Reading #13

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

Crafty Pint | Getting Blind with Crafty: Porter

This is a great series from Crafty Pint where a panel of tasters including commercial and home brewers and beer reps get together for a blind tasting on a particular style. In short, people who love beer get together and drink it. It makes for excellent reading, interesting results and a severe case of drinks envy.

Colonial Baltic Porter
Colonial Baltic Porter

 Popular Mechanics | The Science Behind the Craft Beer Explosion

A great little Q&A with Chris Baugh, a molecular biologist and brewing scientist at Sierra Nevada Brewing in California. Love a little science with my beer!
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NDTV Cooks | The Craft Beer Revolution: How Hops got Hip

First, a word of warning, if you are really annoyed by internet ads then this article may prove a little challenging / so irritating you want to poke yourself in the eye just as a distraction. Two ads appear down either side of this article, the one of the left obscures the first letter of each line. It was really annoying but not enough to make me stop reading, a comment on the article more than my patience.

I don’t read a lot about the craft beer scene in the UK so this really interested me as the UK beer scene isn’t just mainstream and craft but there’s the CAMRA, Campaign for Real Ale movement to consider also. From the sounds of it Camra beers are perceived as being for old farts whilst craft beer gets the all embracing term “hipster” image. It’s grandad yelling at punks to get off their lawn. I wonder how accurate this is? How much of beer drinking is a matter of identification?

“Real ale struggled to shake, as Brown puts it, its “old man, flat cap” image; craft beer is young, urban and fashionable.”

The West Australian | Craft Brewer Bucks Trend

A super short article that, if you are super pushed for time can be summarised as – Matso’s to release mid-strength soon.

Whilst I am not pants-wettingly excited I’m certainly not saying it’s not welcome. The more craft brews that are lower in ABV the better if you ask me. Why I included this short piece here is because I’m not entirely sure I agree with the idea that mid-strengths are the redheaded step-child of the beer world. I feel like there were more lower ABV beers at this years GABS (Great Australasian Beer Spectapular) which may reflect more brewers going down this path. In WA alone we had Rogers’ by Little Creatures changing the idea of a mid for lots of drinkers. I am pretty sure that Eagle Bay and Cheeky Monkey have had a mid on their taps from day one. Colonial also recently added their lower ABV beer to the rotation, their Small Ale. I have not gotten the feeling that brewers shy away from mids, in fact I kinda get the opposite.

Incidentally, the story I heard when I worked for Creatures, the story I always liked, was that Rogers’ wasn’t designed to be a lower ABV beer, it just happened to come out that way and they didn’t change it. I like stuff like that.
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girl + Dead Pony Club

My first thought when I poured the beer into a glass was “fat bubbles!” It’s full of fresh and crisp fruity hops with a dry bitter finish that practically dares you to take another sip. It’s also a mere 3.8% abv. Yippee! A tasty lower alcohol beer!

Brewdog Dead Pony Club

For those unfamiliar with the beer called Dead Pony Club from Scottish brewers Brewdog, the title of this post may seem a touch weird / creepy / a cry for help. For everyone else it’s just another blog post about a nice tasting beer.

So, Dead Pony Club – why the name? I honestly couldn’t say. I love a quirky website and punchy beer blurb but this made zero sense to me. Perhaps it’s because I don’t know anything about howitzers, internal combustion or mufflers. Heck, I don’t know anything about ponies either. My dad has two miniature horses which are definitely not ponies and that’s as far as my pony knowledge goes but I’m getting somewhat sidetracked. Why is this beer called Dead Pony Club? I don’t know. Does it taste good? Yes it does.

Something you can't do with bottles ...
Something you can’t do with bottles …

My first thought when I poured the beer into a glass was “fat bubbles!” It’s full of fresh and crisp fruity hops with a dry bitter finish that practically dares you to take another sip. This beer is all about the hops but not in an overbearing way. There’s piney, grapefruit and citrus notes and I got a little grassiness and biscuit flavours to boot.

It’s also a mere 3.8% abv. Yippee! A tasty lower alcohol beer!

For whatever reason the beers with big booze numbers get a fair bit of attention. Big booze is sometimes mistakenly equated with brilliance. The same can be said for high IBU and massively hopped beers. In reality, and I’m probably stating the obvious, it’s about balance over and above claiming the “biggest” something.

Dead Pony Club is well balanced and tasty with great fresh hop characters and is less than 5% abv, adding to it’s appeal. I can have a few of these and not worry about the booze factor too much or more accurately about the headache the next day. I’ve noticed that since turning thirty I don’t bounce back from boozy nights as brightly as I used to.

The problem is that great tasting, full flavoured lower alcohol beers are hard to come by. Recently my partner tried a booze free beer and when I asked how it tasted he replied “like sadness”.

Here are a few of my favourite low booze beers that don’t taste like sadness, regret or any other depressing flavours …

Little Creatures Rogers’

3.8% abv | Little Creatures Brewing | Fremantle (WA)

This is my go-to lower alcohol beer. Fun fact about this beer – the name is Rogers’ not Roger’s, as in it doesn’t belong to one guy named Roger but it belongs to two guys named Roger – namely Roger Bussell and Roger Bailey who designed the beer. I guess “fun fact” might depend on your definition of fun. Anyway, this malty, hoppy amber ale has long been a favourite of mine and has become pretty widely available.

Cheeky Monkey Travelling Monk

3.5% abv | Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery | Margaret River (WA)

It pours a gorgeous deep amber colour, you gotta love a sexy appearance, and is a great balance of sweet malt and fresh hops. I get hints of marmalade and oranges too. Available at the brewery, in bottles and mini kegs.

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Mini Kegs from Cheeky Monkey

Eagle Bay Mild Ale

3.5% abv | Eagle Bay Brewing | Eagle Bay (WA)

Tropical fruits, a little citrus and good bitterness. Available at the brewery and in bottles.

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Eagle Bay Mild at Morrie’s Anytime, Margaret River