Back to Beer!
March 31st, 2010 by Jeff

I lost my way with the beer blog after the Philippines. I think it had to do with my getting Dengue fever, which hit me full force in Australia. I just didn’t want to drink anything alcoholic until I recovered. I think it took me about two weeks to get back to 100%. I then allowed myself to have a few cold ones; I guess I just lost my desire to write about it. But in the spirit of “a little hair of the dog that bit you” (and the fact that some of the comments and emails out there requested and update), I thought I’d get you all caught up on my sampling.

Once I was finally recovered enough to enjoy a nice cold beer, I was already two weeks into our time in Australia. The first thing I discovered about beer down under was that it was expensive there. If I recall correctly, a six-pack of premium beer there set me back about $16 (the beer money savings was probably the only good thing about me getting Dengue). While in Australia I sampled a number of beers, but was not really impressed with anything I tried there. I’m sure there has got to be something good there in the microbrew category, but I just didn’t stumble into it. I loved everything else about going “Down Under”, so I guess I’ll just plan on a second trip there to find out what I missed.

While the beer in New Zealand wasn’t any cheaper than in Australia, I did find a better microbrew selection (maybe I was just fully recovered and ready spend a little more time looking). My two favorite breweries there were Mac’s and Monteith’s. On the second night we were in Auckland, we ventured out with our new friend and couchsurfing host, Lorenzo, to a party, thrown by the nicest bunch of South Africans you’d ever meet. We were told to not worry about food but we might want to bring some beverages. We drove off to the party planning to stop to get some beer. After striking out at two different bottle shops (liquor store to you and I) we finally found one open. The store had a very large selection and I walked out with two different selections from the Monteith’s brewery. The first was their summer ale (don’t forget I’m down-under and in their summer in January). The second was their red ale. The summer beer was a golden lager with a little spice and a bit of honey. The red was a take on the traditional Irish ale where they added burnt malts to give it the red color and some nice chocolate notes which balanced out the hops, so the beer was not to bitter. Both beers went down quite nice with the sausages they were serving from the grill. Kate and Olivia (my sister-in-law) definitely liked the summer ale over the red, and we continued to seek it out and drink it throughout our time in NZ.

As I noted earlier, I also really enjoyed the Mac’s brews. They offer a Black Stout, a Red Ale and a Golden Lager, all of which I could drink on a regular basis. But I especially liked their Great White wheat beer. As I had noted in earlier blogs, I really like unfiltered wheat bears in the tradition of Hoegarden, and this particular beer did not disappoint. It was crisp and refreshing with a hint of orange and some floral notes coming from the coriander they add during the brewing. However, their ads say you might detect aroma of bananas and bubblegum, but I think that is just wrong for beer (and I wouldn’t say I detected that, even if I did). The only disappointment came from the packaging, as I am collecting bottle caps for my nephew Jack, unfortunately this brewery uses a plain pull top bottle cap which is effectively destroyed when you open the bottle.

Lastly, I also really enjoyed Speight’s beer while we were in the city of Queensland. I sampled both their dark beer and a golden lager. The golden lager was just simply well done. It had a nice refreshing flavor that went down smoothly after a day of jumping out of planes (or shopping in Kate’s case). Their Old Dark was also good. I just wish I had more time to explore these breweries beers in a little more depth. I’ll put that on my to-do list for my next visit to NZ.

In front of the brew house in Queensland

In front of the brew house in Queensland

Unfortunately, my beer samplings diminished significantly after leaving New Zealand. It seems the whole microbrew craze has not caught up with Thailand, India, The United Arab Emirates (that one I can understand), or Egypt. While I did drink beer in all of those countries, it was typically your garden variety Heineken, Tiger, and Carlsberg licensed for mass production outside of their original countries. The one exception to that is probably Thailand with Chang beer and Singha. While Chang beer is probably more iconic of the two brands I prefer the Singha with my Thai food. To me it was just a little better at putting out the fire left in my mouth by the green or red curry I had just eaten.

Now that were in Europe, I’m looking forward to sampling some of the local fair. I saw a number of breweries last night on our bus trip to downtown Madrid. I may just let the girls shop as I sit on the sidewalk and quaff a few.



4 Responses  
Pappy writes:
April 4th, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Sounds like you have it figured out.
BTW: TRY: flyAA1998 Thats the
year I retired.

Steve Hawes writes:
April 15th, 2010 at 10:10 am

Hi Jeff,

Ted told me he talked to you about a Solar compny we are working on an RFQ for that is based in Madrid, are you close to that city?

Shoot me an email or call my cell.


Patrick writes:
June 1st, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I’ve been remiss in following your great adventure so I thought I’d catch up. I’m gonna have to take time off to read all the great posts. So instead I just looked at the pictures. It’s all wonderful.

Happy trails,

Patrick writes:
July 4th, 2010 at 11:18 am

Hi Jeff and Fam.
I’m writing to the beer blog just cuz. I’m actually writing to ask your whereabouts. I lost track about 2 weeks ago. Did you go home? It’s about a zillion degrees here so I suggest you go around one more time.


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