Top 5 of March 2014 – A Month in Review

Top 5 of March 2014 – A Month in Review

Another month has come and gone, and it’s time for my second ever recap of the month that was. March was a BIG month for a lot of people here in Brisbane, with events such as Brewsvegas and the Noisy Minor Shout keeping a lot of us thoroughly hydrated (and dehydrated the next day). My unique count jumped a staggering 66 beers, with most of them coming from those two events alone. It’s no wonder I am taking somewhat of a hiatus from beer for a while, and adopting April as my “No Beer Event” month. It doesn’t sound as catchy as NOvemBEER or OctSOBER, but maybe if you folks can think of a good name, post it in the comments below.

If you haven’t read last months Top 5, I mentioned that I’m using to get my beer listing for the previous months. With so many good beers these last 31 days, it’s been a hard sort, but here we go!

The personal set rules of the Top 5 are this:
1. It has to be a beer that is new to me for that month.
2. Well, that’s it really.. just needs to be a new beer.

The Top 5

This months unique beer count totals 66, with the top 5 being:

5) Cavalier Brewing/Brewtal Brewing – Midknight Mongrel – Unclassified (Dark Hoppy Wheat Beer) – 5.5% ABV – 4.5  star-icon
The term ‘Mongrel’ in it’s title suited it perfectly. A mish-mash of 3 different realms of beer (dark beer, hoppy beer, wheat beer) came together wonderfully but made you shake your head to try and figure out what you were actually drinking. The beer hadn’t been created on Untappd when I went to check it in, so I had to create it. Trying to come up with the style was incredibly difficult.
4) Noisy Minor – Admiral Ackbar – Imperial /Double Red – 8.5% ABV – 4.5 star-icon
“It’s a trap”! Alright, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system, lets talk beer. Admiral Ackbar was the stand-out beer of the day from the Noisy Minor Shout for me. Very rich flavours and hopped all to hell, this beer is not for the faint at heart. A slight creaminess came from the red, which helped to balance things out nicely.
3) Bacchus Brewing – War and Peat (2014) – Russian Imperial Stout – 11% ABV – 5 star-icon
What is it about a barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout that makes me all warm and gooey inside? Could it be that it’s boozy nature makes me drunk after one glass? Nah, it’s gotta be the rich earthy flavour provided by the barreling matched with the very sweet, very roasted, and yes, very boozy flavours of the Stout. War and Peat was no different. This beer took top spot at the first annual Brewsvegas Untappd event at Tippler’s Tap. It beat out 250Beers and Westbender’s Jaffa Wit by a mere vote. I must admit, I had intentions on voting Jaffa until I got to the War and Peat on the tasting paddle. Sorry, guys.
yummy mummy2) Bacchus Brewing – Yummy Mummy Rocky Road – Specialty Grain  – 5.5% – 5 star-icon
Day one of Brewsvegas saw me at Kerbside for the ‘Craft Alley’ event, which presented a slew of brewers sampling off there top beers. I arrived a bit later then some fellow bloggers, so I took the opportunity to grab some suggestions on where to spend my limited beer tickets. The unanimous choice was the Yummy Mummy from Bacchus. If beer could give you diabetes, this would be the one. Marshmallow, peanut, and chocolate flavours were all that you could taste. A true definition of a dessert beer.
Hair of the Blog1) Bacchus Brewing – Hair of the Blog – Imperial/Double IPA – 10.5% – 5 star-icon
Yes, yes… it’s ANOTHER Bacchus beer. What can I say? They make a top drop and they also had around 50 different beers at Brewsvegas, so it was kind of hard for them not to get a few in the top 5. This was only the third Bacchus Beer Bloggers Series beer I had tasted and it was worth the wait. Tapped at Newstead Brewing Co for the “Second Combing” which raised funds for the World’s Greatest Shave, this beer was simply ace. Big malt, hop, and alcohol flavours blended together in harmony to make a dangerously smashable Imperial IPA. The beer was matched with a wonderful rendang curry with proceeds from the combo going to fight Leukemia. A great beer for a great cause.

There are some honourable mentions this month simply due to the immense amount of good beer that came out of Brewsvegas. Beer Geek Rage Quit was a BrewCult beer made with the intention of confusing and polarizing beer fans. Alt Model Matt Hofmann’s brain child is a Hoppy Pale Lager. I’ll let that sink in for a second… hoppy pale lager. I found it very refreshing and would really love to see more of this style hitting taps. As I mentioned in pick #3 of the Top 5, 250Beers + TheWestbender’s Jaffa Wit was beaten out by a solitary vote, but the closeness of the race goes to show how great this beer was. Orange and chocolate flavours provided a taste one doesn’t come to expect in beer. Finally, Knights from Newstead Brewing Co is a Cascadian Dark Ale that went down smooth as silk. All of these beers would normally have made the Top 5 if it weren’t for the high level of quality that was on display this month.

This Months Let Downs

It can’t all be smiles and rainbows in the beer world. There were a few beers that didn’t quite live up to the expectations I had of them. These don’t necessarily need to be beers I didn’t enjoy (though, they will make their way on as well), but ones that I had high hopes for and fell well short of them.

As I mentioned earlier, there were very few disappointing beers in March. Brewsvegas brought out the best in all brewers and we were treated with nothing but quality for the most part. I did have 2 that left me feeling a bit lacking though.

Rogen Josh from Noisy Minor was a tasty beer. It was an interesting beer. But would I drink it again? Probably not. The strong cardamom flavours I got out of it were a bit too overpowering for me. I got a weird filmy taste on the back of my tongue which took a strong IPA afterwards to really clear out. I will give this beer points for originality, sheer bravery, and big flavour profile, but it’s not one that will be passing my lips again.

Hills Hefe from the new Hipwood Brewery at the International Hotel had a bit of a sulfuric scent that you really couldn’t shake. Most of the other beers they had flowing were pretty decent, but this one was a let down. My guess is Hipwood may still be going through some growing pains and the new brewer will have this all sorted out soon enough

Notable Notes

The month of March will be one to put in the books. With my final few days in Townsville, the World’s Greatest Shave event at Newstead, the Noisy Minor Shout, and Brewsvegas, it’s clear to see why. A ton of new friends have been made and wonderful memories created. With such a big month, April is going to be a quiet one to make up for it.

Tasting paddle at TSV Brewery
Tasting paddle at TSV Brewery

Some of you who read the blog may recall I was in Townsville house sitting for the in-laws. I had a chance to sit with the Righteous Brewers Townsville and had a great time with them. Before I left back to Brisbane, I had a chance to sit down with Scott Eckford, head brewer at Townsville Brewery. We went through sampling and tasting notes of their core range, took a tour of the brewery, and had a good long chat about where Townsville was heading in terms of beer appreciation. I’ve been really slack about getting this article published, and to Scott, I apologize for that, but keep an eye out for that entry.

Lads at Newstead getting it done for Leukemia research.
Lads at Newstead getting it done for Leukemia research.

The weekend following my return held a great event at Newstead Brewing Co. “The Second Combing” of 250Beers Hair of the Blog IIPA was on March 13th, and it coincided with the World’s Greatest Shave. 5 lads, including Mr 250 himself, shaved off their flowing locks to help out a great cause. Over $5500 was raised for the event and goes to show how much good our little community can do. The beef rendang that was paired with the beer was wonderful. Hats off to head chef Petet Swatton for the great combo.

St Patrick’s Day came and went with nary a green beer or a Guinness, but I did get to finally sit down with Ross from Bacchus as well as the other bloggers involved in the Bacchus Beer Bloggers Series for a tasting. Unfortunately, Ms Cassie Potts was not in attendance, but we did have James of Beer Bar Band fame enjoying a few with us. The beers were top notch (other than Liam and Ammo of Drunken Speculations beer, which I STILL haven’t had), but the company was the best part of it all. I was finally able to meet Nick of and Jack from Sitting down with all of these folks and sinking a few made me feel even worse about missing the brew day. Thanks to the Scratch for allowing us to take up a corner of the building and not actually buy any beer (note: a few of us did buy some afterwards). There will be a proper write-up done on this, but that’s to come.

The Noisy Minor Shout was on the 22nd, and saw a large number of us don T-Shirts and paint the town black, white, and yellow. 8 beers, 4 pubs, and a bunch of rowdy beer geeks of all description led to a fantastic night. The Fortitude Brewing/Noisy Minor crew put on a fantastic event.

Brewsvegas. What can be said about it. An amazing week with amazing beer and amazing people. There are a few things I missed in my write-up summarizing the week, but then again, it was a huge event. The most entertaining aspect was the Scratch vs Tipplers war. Each bar attacked each other with increasingly intricate pranks. There were some ‘XXXX grenades” tossed, sign boards changed, posters stating ‘Beards Only Admittance’ and others showing Corona Bucket specials. Other nights saw a wall full of pictures of the Tippler’s boys half nude and sprawled on the bar, or bar owners’ beers being spiked with FourEx. Some went too far and graffiti’d furniture, but were swiftly punished with duct tape and super soakers in retribution. Social media got involved with #scratchvstipplers and even took the Scratch side by posting a fake “Who the firkin hell is..” about Jim Gold.  The crowning achievement though, the deed that gave Tippler’s Tap the win in my opinion, was the fake website, a mock website of the Scratch’s real site. Take a look at the two to compare. Absolutely brilliant! The whole week was full of original events including Eau de Brewski which saw single hop colognes, and a whole scope of ideas. I am upset I missed a few events, like Broga at The Mill and the ‘After Dinner Beers with Bacchus’, ‘Get Flawed’ at Newstead, and many more, but it just means next years planning and pacing will have to be better.

Blog Stuffs

The Lonely Pint only saw three entries in March due to travelling around and also so I could focus more on Brewsvegas and other events of the month. I did get to visit Bitter Suite, Green Beacon, and the Embassy Bar, and plan on having a few more for the month of April, so do keep your eyes out for them. If there is a place you want to see featured, let me know and I’ll be happy to look into it!

Blog posts are going to be a bit fewer this month, however. I’m taking the April off from beer events, so my consumption will purely be home-based, or casual out-for-the-night-with-the-wife beers. I do have a new feature that will start running in April that will feature more beer reviews in a slightly different fashion. I’m really excited about it and hope you guys will be too. There are also a few articles I’ve been meaning to get out for weeks now, and have started finally working on them, so expect to see some new old stuff.

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