Vonu Pure Lager

Fijian Lager.  4.6% ABV.

DNPIM.  That is all.

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James Squire “The Hop Father” Celebration Ale

Apparently “Limited Release”. Sigh. Whenever I see this, which is typically with a wine, I think to myself, rather cynically, that it is only “limited” to how much they can sell. As it turns out, it is quite a nice ale.

Dark golden brown in colour. A rich malty and fruity nose that follows through to the palate, medium bodied with malts, fruits, pine needles and some hops. A drying bitter finish. A refreshing ale with some good weight and punch. 5.0% abv. 345ml bottle. $61 or thereabouts for a case.

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Young Henry’s Real Ale

From their website:

The Real Ale is our take on a traditional Best Bitter. In other words, where British style meets Australian tastes. We start with a 50/50 blend of English and Australian malts then add three of our favourite varieties of Aussie hops; Topaz, Galaxy and Ella. This gives a New World kick to an Old World classic.

Golden brown in colour, with a lovely stillness. A malty nose and a very English Ale palate, reminiscent of an Old Speckled Hen: malt, hints of caramel and wheaty hops, a certain steeliness and dry stones through the mid-palate, finishing with some bitterness and a touch of old dried fruits. Good length; its flavours linger. 4% abv, 375ml tins, $77 for a case from Hawthorne Super Cellars.

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Turkey Flat Sparkling Shiraz NV

The seventh edition, bottled November 2012.  I tried this upon release and didn’t like it much, a bit mean and green, so left it for a sleep.

And here we are.  It smells like a turkey flat shiraz with its plum, chocolate and olive tapenade.  The fruit has filled out, the tannins are prominent and seem to keep the impact of dosage down.  A savoury style, which is, well, Turkey Flat shiraz with bubbles.

Now – there is a thin metallic smell and palate sensation here, and a slight smell of horse. How much you enjoy this wine will depend on how tolerant you are of this, er, style.  I’m on the edge here, may be a one glass wine for me.  $40 on release.

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Four Pines Kolsch

I was introduced to the delights of Kolsch on a very hot day in Cologne.  Nothing like going to the source.  It was a day like today.  Big difference – almost no airconditioning in Germany, as its almost never needed.  Almost.  But the Kolsch does the cooling job admirably.

The Four Pines version is pale amber gold, and smells mildly of malt and delicate tropicals.  Round smooth and designed to slake a thirst without overwhelming with flavours, this is gently hopped, and lager like.

To be really picky, not as clean as I remember the Cologne ones and has a slight “home brew” tone, but it slips down very easily – which i think it is designed to do. Beer tasting is not so much my thing, there must be a better descriptor.

4.6% ABV. $4.50 each and $72 for a slab should be about right.

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2013 Muddy Water Pinot Noir

Waipara should be an area that produces a lot of good pinot noir.  And  its home to some revered names – think Bell Hill, Pyramid Valley, Pegasus Bay.  And even there YMMV – the Book Club crew have had some bad experience with one of those three.

Muddy Water have been around for a while but the business seems to have had its ups and downs.  This was available at the neighbouring Greystone cellar door for $NZ45.

It really needs to breathe.  It starts out as a whiff of strawberry, but the palate starts on a path of alcohol and acid, and the coffeed, blackcurrant fruit takes a while to unfold and show a sound properly made wine.  It’s a pleasantly medium bodied dry red, not especially varietal, No faults, just short of interest, or excitement.  14% ABV.  85-87 BCP.

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Coopers Best Extra Stout

Coopers are an Australian institution, imho. This brew is pitch black in colour. Deeply roasted malt and hops, molasses, coffee grounds and a hint of vegemite; almost woody. All these flavours follow through to the palate, with some pine needles and roasted nuts. Full bodied and full of flavour, with a lovely creamy texture across the palate, and a drying bitter finish. Is it too roasted? Meh, I am tempted to say burnt – would that be wrong? Not something for a hot day by the barbeque; more of a late night tipple when the evening is winding down and the temperatures are lower. 6.3% abv. And as a guide, $4.60 for a single and $63 in a case from Dans.

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Green Beacon Brewing Co Windjammer India Pale Ale

These guys are in Teneriffe, Brisbane… never heard of them until Sunday afternoon, but it would seem they have quite a range of interesting brews… and the brewery is just a hop, skip and jump away from me. Tempting. That part of Brisbane, Newstead, Teneriffe, and Fortitude Valley seems to be a hotbed for the brewsters.

Golden brown in colour. Lovely aromas, even as it was being poured. Lychees, passionfruit, hops and a hint of pine needles. Medium bodied palate, more hoppy than fruity, but both are there, with a bit of a punch, full of flavour. Very nice stuff indeed. Packed in 375ml tins, with a reminder on the back of the tin that says “This Beer Deserves a Glass”. Cheers to that! 6% abv. Again, unsure of the price but around $80 for a slab. Well worth a try if you like an IPA.

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Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division by Peter Hook

Here’s a first. Though it will not really be a book review; more of a “book vibe”. So, I’m not really into (auto)biographical works: I generally fail to finish them, finding them either too obsequious, or eventually just plain boring. I did finish the Kerry O’Keeffe one “According to Skull”, which, by the by, was very funny, and this one of course.

So this covers the history of Joy Division, from its genesis to its end on 18 May 1980. It has quite a blokey style – those boys from Salford certainly had a rough-n-tumble lifestyle – but I never really tired of it. There are nice mentions to other bands and personalities of that era: the Buzzcocks, Magazine, Sex Pistols, Martin Hannett and Tony Wilson. As well as the chatter, the book also has pictures from the time (somewhat interesting) and a timeline of gigs and songs played (less interesting) and miscellaneous reviews and comments (very interesting). Oh, there are also track-by-track notes on the tracks on the albums “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer”.

Makes an interesting companion to the films 24 Hour Party People and Control. There is also a Bernard Sumner bio which might be worth a look.

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Newstead Brewing 3 Quarter Time Session Ale

These guys are in Doggett Street, Newstead, Brisbane. Interestingly, the fine print on this beer says that it was “made and brewed by Newstead Brewing at Smeaton Grange NSW. Bottled for Newstead Brewing co by Brewpack, in Smeaton Grange NSW”.

Golden in colour. On the nose, lightly hopped and quite fresh, with hints of tropical fruits. Mid strength and medium to lightly bodied with clean bitter finish. An easy one to quaff when the mercury is high. Not sure of the exact price, but around $4.50 as a single and $80 for a case. So perhaps not the best value for money. 330ml bottle. 3.4% abv.

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