Friday, January 19, 2007



I hope you all had the opportunity to catch up with friends and family over the Christmas break and, more importantly, had the fortune to share a glass or two of your favourite laughing liquid with said family and friends.

The holidays, if you are lucky enough to have more than a few days off, is the perfect time to try a new beer or five - with extra time to sit and appreciate beer, time to cook up a treat that is flavour-matched to the beer and time to recover if it all goes pear-shaped.

The new trend with office or work parties seems to be to down-size everything for political-corrected ness fears of upsetting people and, as a result, less “nice beers” are offered. So it is on your own broad shoulders to get on down to a good bottle-oh or fine liquor purveyor and suss out some interesting and often off beat beers. I have a few places that I would be more than happy to recommend, but I don’t yet have their permission and if I give them a big rap, I want some freebies anyway. Allright?

Apart from the standard offerings this Christmas I enjoyed a very nice Christmas brew called, appropriately, Christmas Cheer. This one comes from the Sydney craft brewery, Redoak ,and is one of their very well constructed specialty brews. Based on the Christmas pud recipe of the brewer’s grandmother it pours a beautiful rich copper-red with a nice thick collar. A heady warm aroma of spiced fruit and sweet sugary air greets the shnozza and beckons you to continue. Speaking of continuance, as the bottle notes promise, the beer actually changes personality as it warms in the glass -flavours develop and round out, spice notes get sharper - so that there is a feeling that the beer is enjoying itself along with you.

Redoak produces a number of this type of brew - complex, fruity and a little different. A while back I tried their Belgian Chocolate Stout. They also have a Blackberry Hefeweizen and a Choc Cherry Stout along with more mainstream style Pilsener, Pale Ale and Vienna red-style Lager. At 250mls each they price up a bit, but then you’re not skolling a dozen, are you?

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