Saturday, October 31, 2009

It’s not just me, then?

A great post over at Pete Brown’s Beer Blog that touches on some issues we have been examining here for a while.

I know sometimes I bang on about certain issues (the posts that Mrs Pilsner refers to as my ‘Redneck Rants) but I just feel at times there is a need to create some balance in the debate. Binge-drinking has long been one issue that I have railed against. By that I mean the harm of binge drinking itself and the poorly formed arguments trotted out by the media.

We’ve spoken before of things like personal responsibility, taking ownership of your actions and ‘STC’ – Suffer The Consequences – and how it gets a bit annoying when the Good Majority gets punished along with the Evil Minority. Well it seems we are not in this fight alone, Beer Brothers. And Sisters, sorry Reg.

Writing for The Publican magazine, Pete has used the release of Government generated figures which show that the overall consumption of alcohol is dropping in the UK, to highlight the distinct lack of reporting of same by the nation’s major newspapers. These would be the same papers that manage to fill page after page with regular scare-stories of binge drinking, beer-fuelled violence and negative health effects of beer.

The article finishes by giving some suggestions as to how we might begin to redress the imbalance and bring some much needed sensibility to the problems faced by some in our civilised society. And here’s where we are both singing from the same hymnbook. Binge-drinking is a problem – for those who partake in the unhealthy practice, and those affected by their behaviour – but the problem is NOT as widespread as the media would have us believe.

We all need to take up ‘arms’ against the enemy. Next time the dinner party conversation comes around to this issue, pipe-up and remind those gathered that overall alcohol consumption is decreasing and bingeing is a problem for a small percentage of the population. We need to deal with it properly – but not by whipping the backs of those who are doing the right thing.

It’s not the final tap of the hammer that cracks the stone – it’s the thousands before it. Start hammering!

Prof. Pilsner

Friday, October 30, 2009

Boonie’s Binges Banned Backwards

Interesting to see that Foster’s has come out today and apologised for using former Australian cricketer and holder of the unofficial Sydney to London beer drinking record as a model for a marketing promotion conducted in the 2005/06 and 06/07 seasons.

A senior executive, Chris Maxwell, said the company now sees that using David Boon as the model for a talking doll which was activated by TV commentary signals was the wrong kind of ambassador for the VB brand.

“Looking back, we have decided that was the wrong thing to do. We didn't have the foresight to see that this issue was going to be so significant. And in glorifying that behaviour we have added to the issue of the normalisation of binge-drinking in Australia.”

"We thought that David Boon had a perfect fit with VB. He was a good Aussie bloke, with good Aussie values. However, we have had a lot of criticism around using him in regards to this binge-drinking issue,'' Mr Maxwell said at a Sponsorship Australasia conference in Sydney yesterday.

I guess the reason that Foster’s decided to apologise for the use of Boonie some four years AFTER the promo finished was because they were speaking at a sponsorship conference – I don’t even recall there being much fuss at the time. I assume the standard gaggle of wowsers auto-posted their outrage to newspaper letter columns at the time but other than that?

And as for Boonie being a “good Aussie bloke with good Aussie values” – couldn’t agree more. The fact that, in his younger days, he did something a wee bit silly (52 cans on a flight to London silly) in an isolated case of peer group pressure and sporting club culture doesn’t mean he should become the poster boy for binge drinking. We’ve all done things that, looking back, we see as irresponsible or unhealthy or lacking good judgement, but most of us also move on, learn from the experience and don’t repeat the mistakes of our youth. Some of us even mature.

Can we stop generating a mythical moral majority where I just don’t think it really exists? The bleaters are always going to carry on but, you know what I reckon? There really are still a thousand times more of US than there will ever be of THEM!

Perhaps by way of assuaging* their guilt, Foster’s could bring out a new Boonie doll this cricket season which says things like; “Do us a favour, Knackers, and put the kettle on?” or, “Tell you what, Shags, let’s put these cans down and share a strawberry parfait!”

Prof. Pilsner

*Assuage – now that’s a word you don’t often hear in these pages, is it?! I think it means that they are making thereselfs feel better by being sorry. Or sumfink.

and thanks to Mrs Lager for pointing me to the story - I don't read The Big Paper!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Showcasing good blokes and blokettes

I was going to write up a post on the Victorian Microbreweries Showcase tomorrow, but, put quite simply, I had so much fun I had to do it now. That way, if the mood takes you, you can get down there tonight for the second, and last, instalment.

The Atrium at Federation Square is a magnificent canvas on which to depict the community spirit of the Beer Industry. A generous space that allows room to move but at the same time keeps everybody close creates a warm and welcoming environment. That the beers on offer are hand crafted and, in most cases, poured for you by the craftsman him/herself is something of a bonus.

20 plus brewers were displaying their brews (I lost count a little bit towards the end) and with some showcasing a single beer and others offering half a dozen ... well, let’s just say that their was something for everyone. Generous to a fault, the brewers were only too happy to talk about their beers, their breweries or their businesses as well as their plans for future releases and hopes for special release brews.

Arriving early, I felt as though I had the place to myself with some still setting up and others trying to find display stands as others ‘road tested’ their fonts and, in the case of Simon form Hargreaves Hill, their converted esky temprite system. Chatting to the reps and the brewers I felt as if I were at a private beer tasting for one! This illusion was soon shattered as I turned to discover that a couple of people had gate-crashed my beer-do. And when I say a couple, I mean about two hundred – all of a sudden the joint was chockers! The difference between ten past four and twenty-five past four was illustrated by the rise in noise level from ‘private conversation’ to ‘football crowd at train station’. By the time half-five arrived – along with The Suits – there were queues at every booth and the anticipation of trying something new was palpable.

Something of an Ale Stars Road Trip then began to take shape as half a dozen of us bumped into each other, and we eventually morphed into a kind of human beer drinking wave snaking through the various stands, sometimes splitting off to seek out an individual favourite, only to rejoin the amorphous beast some two or three beers later.

Despite the fact that my head was getting reasonably light, my tasting ticket was not getting particularly shorter. As I said, these beer guys are generous to a fault. It’s difficult to explain just how this event feels to the average punter and I hope the pics do the feel some justice. It’s hard to explain the sensation, but before long you are comparing notes with some bloke you’ve never met and giving and taking suggestions for beers ‘you just have to try’. Strangers become instant friends and calls of ‘where did you get that one?’ and ‘have you tried their Hefeweizen?’ ring out through the growing throng. As I said, it’s just a lot of fun.

If you can get down there this afternoon between four and eight you might see what I mean, in any case, you won’t be disappointed.

Prof. Pilsner

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Kwak Tales

I need your help!

Kwak, along with Innis & Gunn is the most ‘popular’ beer on our beer list. And by popular I mean the easiest to sell when someone says; “Surprise me!” People who order these beers fall broadly into two categories.

The first are those who don’t know much about beer apart from the two or three brands they usually drink and want to try something ‘fancy’ – they’ll go for Kwak. The second are those who know a little or a lot about beer and want to treat themselves or try a beer that they have only heard about till now – they’ll go the Innis & Gunn.

The Kwak is also popular due to the marketing value of its distinctive glass. Whenever a guest orders a Kwak, the staff know to take the ‘long way around’ to deliver it so that we show off the glass to the rest of the diners. The number of other guests who then ask “what was THAT?!’ ensures a good crack at extra sales. And here’s where I need the help of the Beer Blokes’ readers.

I always tell the Kwak story to the guest as I’m pouring the beer – it’s a great tale and it buys you a bit of pouring time as well as engaging the diner. A while back a guest was telling me about a restaurant or bar he had visited somewhere in Belgium where the Kwak glasses kept ‘disappearing’. Apparently the bar owner, sick of having his expensive glassware frequently ‘liberated’, devised a basket-on-a-pulley system attached to the ceiling behind the bar.

When a punter would front the bar and order a Kwak the barstaff would reply with;
“Left shoe or right shoe?” The prospective drinker would have to surrender one shoe which would be placed in the basket and hoisted up to the ceiling – when he got his Kwak glass back, you got your shoe back.

Can anyone shed a light on this tale? Is it a true story, a Beer Myth or a story made up of bits of other stories? Does anyone know of the Bar or restaurant in the story.

Prof. Pilsner

Microbrewery Showcase reminder

Just a quick one to remind lovers of fine, handcrafted beers that the Victorian Microbrewery Showcase kicks of today and concludes tomorrow.

The Atrium at Fed Square is the venue and this time around a record 24 brewers will be offering their wares for your beery pleasure.

The gig kicks off at 4 and goes through until 8, tasting tickets are $25 for 20 samples with a $2 glass deposit and you also get a $5 food voucher with that.

Come and see if you can spot me there.

I'll be the one outside the entrance at ten to four, hopping on tippy-toes from foot to foot and pressing my nose against the glass until the very large Kiwi with the sunglasses and a Number Tag opens the door.

Prof. Pilsner

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beer Bones

Flicking through this months’ Beer Advocate magazine I smiled as I read that beer is the latest wonder food in warding off a disease. This time around osteoporosis is in its frothy sights as new research shows that moderate beer intake can help to protect against weakening of the bones.

And in further good news, beer comes out ahead of wine – again – which was found wanting in preventing brittle bones. It seems that the high levels of silicon found in beer (who knew?!) not only protect against bone breakage, it also helps to boost new bone formation. Magic!!

The study involved 1,700 women with an average age of 48 and found that women who drank beer had stronger bones than those who didn’t. Ultrasound scans of the women’s hands revealed a denser bone structure than those of the non beer drinkers. And, girls, you don’t need to go out and grab slabs of the amber medicine, either, as the tests revealed that there was no difference in the results of those who drank less than a pint a day to those who drank more. Even a little is a lot!

That’s worth raising a glass to, isn’t it? As is the fact that I get to use another of my Sexy Scientist Series!

Prof. Pilsner

Monday, October 26, 2009

Moron VB

Sorry, I’ll read that again ... MORE ON VB.

The latest instalment of the ongoing saga regarding Australia’s highest selling beer, Victoria Bitter, is up and running.

In previous posts I discussed the reaction to ‘changes’ to VB by its brewer, Carlton & United Breweries. These changes involved dropping the alcohol by volume level of the beer from 4.9% down to 4.8% last year and then again to 4.6% earlier this year. The uproar has been deafening with a conga-line of self confessed career VB drinkers threatening to switch beers because their favourite brew has turned to something worse than water. Some have claimed the courage of their convictions and have already switched brands.

So now we hear rumours that VB has not just changed its alcoholic strength (by a ‘whopping’ .03%) but has in fact become – DAH DAH DAH ... DAAAAAH!!! – a completely different beer! They reckon it has been switched for the 4.6% ABV Fourex, the flagship brew of Queenslanders! And not just a Queensland brew, but one which is brewed by the company’s brewing rival, Lion Nathan. There may be a small flaw in your theory, there, dickheads.

I have managed to procure two stubbies of VB – one of the old 4.8% variety and one of the new 4.6% beasts. I will conduct a strictly controlled secret experiment (secret because you can imagine the damage to my reputation as a Beer Bloke if I were to be seen drinking VB!) and I will post the results.

Again, wish me luck.

Prof. Pilsner

Saturday, October 24, 2009

De Coinq

Or, show us ya Golden Apples!

Not much more than a year ago I didn’t know what a Saison was. Never heard of it let alone was I able to identify it as beer style. Also never liked quinces. Or Golden Apples as they were once referred to.

Now here I am drinking Saison flavoured with quince. There you go!

Bridge Road Brewers Saison is part of their upscale Chevalier range – named after a Frenchman, Jacques Chevalier, who called Beechworth home during the gold rush and ran the sawmill which was powered by the waterfall that cascades beneath the old stone bridge where brewer Ben Kraus grew up and brewed his first batches and from which Bridge Road Brewers gets its name which will bring us back to doh!

The beers in this range are special brews in stylish 750ml bottles which are great because they look good on the table and encourage the sharing of beer – very noble. The Saison is a beautiful interpretation of a Farmhouse Ale, 6%, lightly golden, dense white head, crisp dryness with plenty of refreshing tartness from the yeast that is as good on its own as it is paired with foods from seafood to cheese.

Picking quinces from his own garden, Ben candies the fruit by boiling in a sugar syrup for 6 hours before adding the cooled mix to the primary ferment. The resulting Saison de Coinq takes no more than a little of the fermentable sugars from the fruit but graciously accepts the added colour and flavour to add a rounded note of interest to the overall taste.

Ben plans to double the quince content for next year’s limited release batch.

Prof. Pilsner

Change to Courthouse Beer Dinner date

Just a quick one to let you know that the date of the next Courthouse Restaurant Beer Dinner has been changed. That'll teach me to post the details before the boss and I had checked the diary!

The new date is Friday November 13 and, while we will still try to sneak in some Oktoberfest beers we might also sneak in some Friday The 13th beers and some MoVemBeer beers as well.

7 o'clock for a 7.30 start, $50 for 4 courses and 5 beers, me rabbitting on about beer.
You could do worse.

Prof. Pilsner

Friday, October 23, 2009

Beer Goggles

In this weeks instalment of Beer Blokes and Science we present a research piece from the University of Bristol in 2008 which set out to study the;

“Effects of acute alcohol consumption on ratings of attractiveness of facial stimuli: Evidence of long-term encoding,” Alcohol and Alcoholism, 43(6): 636–640.
Lycia L.C. Parker, Ian S. Penton-Voak, Angela S. Attwood, and Marcus R. Munafò.

For you and I, that means; “Is there really such a thing as Beer Goggles?”

Here is their hypothesis.

“A strongly held popular belief is that alcohol increases the perceived attractiveness of members of the opposite sex. Despite this, there are no experimental data that investigate this possibility. We therefore explored the relationship between acute alcohol consumption and ratings of attractiveness of facial stimuli.... We tested participants immediately following consumption of alcohol or placebo and one day later, in order to investigate whether any effects of alcohol persist beyond acute effects....”

And their conclusion;

“Alcohol consumption increases ratings of attractiveness of facial stimuli, and this effect is not selective for opposite-sex faces. In addition, the effects of alcohol consumption on ratings of attractiveness persist for up to 24 h after consumption, but only in male participants when rating female (i.e. opposite-sex) faces.”

This is important scientific research for three reasons.

1. It proves that beer can, in fact, make your world a little better, if only for up to 24 hours,
2. It might encourage normal, well-adjusted people to take up Sciences if they realise you can do stuff that involves drinking lots and lots of beer and then look at nice faces, and
3. It gives me another excuse to use pictures from my ‘Sexy Scientist’ folder.

The only piece of this puzzle that I can’t explain is this;
“We tested participants immediately following consumption of alcohol or placebo ..”
I’m sorry, but what’s an alcohol placebo?
“This group gets some Bavarian Lager and this group ...Hmmm? I know, give ‘em Carlton Cold!”

Prof. Pilsner

Beer Degustation at The Max

Melbourne Cup Week is just a terrific block on the calendar for anyone living in or visiting Melbourne. There are no tribal divisions, team colours or any ‘us and them’ attitudes, its all just a buzz around the traps that give the town a community feel.

It’s a special time for the Beer Blokes as it was the winnings from our Cup Syndicate three years ago that paid for the brewing equipment that produced our homebrew and led to the creation of this blog, so, you know, well done us, eh?

Now if you think you will probably win a stack of cash on a horse you chose in this year’s Cup because of the jockey’s colours or because your wife told you the name reminded her of something then you too can put your earnings to good use. And why wait until AFTER the race is won, if you’re so confident? Get out on the town on Cup Eve and spoil yourselves.

The Hotel Max is hosting a Bridge Road Brewers Beer Degustation dinner on Monday November 2nd. Seven beers and six courses plus nibbles on arrival will greet diners who want a real dining experience rather than just a meal. The menu is available up front so that you can decide which course you’ll most look forward to and the matching beers are listed as well. The Max itself has a nice website as well so you can get a feel for what they do. I should disclose that I have no connection with the dinner or the Max, it’s just something I received an e-mail about and am planning on doing myself, so don’t book in and then complain that you don’t get me hosting it!

The Hotel Max is at 32 Commercial Rd Prahran.

Prof. Pilsner

Courthouse Restaurant Oktoberfest Beer Dinner

It seems that over the past few weeks I have spent a fair amount of time talking and thinking about beer and food matching. Between bumping into BeerMatt, pouring some very nice food beers at Purvis Cellars tasting night and dining with The Beer Diva at The Local Taphouse (a review of which I really must finish and post) and planning the next Courthouse Restaurant Beer Dinner it feels as though I have been looking at beer in a very one-dimensional way.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

It has been particularly interesting to note that the issue of Beer & Cheese has popped up so frequently. The Beer Diva certainly had the assembled drinkers in no doubt that beer was a supremely superior match for cheese than wine. James at The Local Taphouse had matched similar cheeses to the Trappist beers the week before that and the Courthouse brainstrust had been sourcing specialty local cheeses to match up with some of our favourite brews.

The Taphouse in Sydney has also held a couple of Beer & Cheese events, proving that while The Grape has held the mortgage on cheese matching, it may actually be The Grain which comes out on top when it comes to harmony and balance.

The Prof will be hosting the next Beer Dinner at The Courthouse Restaurant in Berwick on Friday November 13 and those lucky enough to hook a spot will be treated to some very nice Oktoberfest and Oktoberfest style beers along with some traditional fare and some modern takes on some old favourites as well.

At just $50 for four courses and five beers with my hosting flair thrown in for free – what more could you possibly want? Friday October 30, 7 o'clock for a 7.30 start.

Prof. Pilsner

The Courthouse Restaurant

Thursday, October 22, 2009

MoVem-Beer is coming

Newer members of the Beer Blokes family may not be aware of the annual on-line Beer Fest that is MoVem-Beer, a special time of the year for very special people.

Specifically it is for blokes who LOVE a beer, LOVE supporting worthwhile charitable causes but, quite frankly, do not look very good at all when they grow a moustache. In fact, for blokes who look positively dodgy/evil/game show host-y when they incur any sort of facial hair – have I got some good news for you!

MoVem-Beer is simple. Based on the very popular and successful fundraising exercise, Movember, which raises money through the sponsorship of blokes growing a moustache during November, our version involves simply drinking beer. Much easier. But not just any beer, no – you need to work a bit here.

The beers you choose for MoVem-Beer must fit into the ‘MO’ theme and long-time readers will know that, over the past three years I have managed to very roughly squeeze just about every beer I drink into the ‘MO’ criteria. Some simple examples will include standards like MOosehead, MOuntain Goat, Birra MOretti, MOo Brew ... you get the picture?

But, by using a bit of imagination and a touch of Beer Blokery, you can make any beer fit. Previous examples have included Red Hill Golden Ale (MOrnington Peninsula), a six pack of Outback beers (Multiple Outbacks) and some Chimay, Orval and Westmalle Tripel (MOnastery Beers).

The next part of the deal is that you work out how much you’ve spent on your MoVem-Beer beers and donate that to the Men’s Health initiatives operating during Movember. If you still want to go ahead and grow a Mo, send us a link to your Movember page and we’ll see if we can drum up some dollars for you there, as well.

And, Girls, Ladies and Blokettes, I haven’t forgotten you. In a few months time we’ll be back bigger and better with the return of Fanuary.


Victorian Microbreweries Showcase 2009

At the end of this month Melbourne’s Federation Square will again host the microbreweries showcase. While it is probably time to re-vamp the name to reflect that the showcase is all about quality craft beer and not the size of the operation producing it, the event is well worth supporting.

For $25 and a $2 glass deposit, lovers of decent beer can get a tasting ticket for twenty 60ml samples and a $5 food voucher which will allow you to try beers from around 18 brewers from around the state. It is also a great opportunity to speak to the people crafting these beers and ask them how and why they do it – or you could just let them know that you love what they do and give them a thrill that way! In addition, and don’t tell anyone that I told you this, you can help to support your favourite brewer in a sneaky way.

If you can’t finish all your tasting tickets, don’t chuck the leftovers in the bin. ‘Donate’ them to the brewer of your choice. The brewers receive a small commission for each ticket ‘spent’ at their display (not that it’s enough to pay for the petrol home in most cases) and every little bit counts.

Perhaps more valuable is the People’s Choice for best beer in each category. This forms part of a media release which provides a great piece of advertising and brand recognition for these blokes who are working hard pumping out decent beers for us so the least we can do is fill out a few responses for the beers that really sing to you.

The Victorian Microbreweries Showcase at The Atrium at Federation Square (Flinders Street end towards the MCG) is on Wednesday and Thursday October 28th and 29th. It kicks off at 4.30 and they kick you out about 8.

Prof. Pilsner

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ale Stars IPAs

It seems as though Ale Stars at The Local Taphouse has taken the next step. The participants look at each other, well, differently now. Not in a creepy or dicky ‘Brady Bunch Opening Credits’ sort of way but just, you know, differently?

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that so many regulars return each month that we just recognise more faces and have a closer friendship with each other, or that because we have an Ale Stars shirt the place just looks different, or that the anticipation of good beer just makes people smile more? Not sure, but it makes for a very pleasant environment in which to drink beer.

A seemingly smallish crowd of 35 or so made the noise of dozens more giving further credibility to the assertions I made above and Shandy had his work cut out for him to pretend to keep order. Maybe because, as a group, we are better edu-macated in the mysterious ways of beer, we have begun to chat more about the beers? The selection this time around certainly made for plenty of comment.

A brief history of the India Pale Ale style was followed up by a Fuller’s IPA. Sweetish biscuity malt aroma and a nice earthy hop flavour gave us a good start to this style with a good example of the English IPA. Sweeter smelling than the taste let on.

An Emerson 1812 IPA followed and this one turned the tables on the first beer. A much more prominent hop aroma told one story while the taste revealed a smoother, sweeter finish which was almost hop-less. The New Zealand take on the style provided a beer for quaffing although there was a feeling that the assertiveness had mellowed since previous brews due to an unavailability of the right hops.

The next beer fell somewhere in the region of an American take on an English style with an Australian craft brewer’s spin on the style. Murray’s Icon 2IPA at 7.5% raised the bar on the previous 5 percenters but left no doubt as to the validity of this beer’s claims as an IPA. Nice tight head, big floral aroma, citrusy hop flavours woven into a well constructed biscuit malt base and just the right carbonation to knit it all together. It tasted nice, too.

Gouden Carolus Hopsinjoor finished the official portion of the night with a Belgian interpretation of an IPA and this one left no one in any doubt as to the Belgians ability to produce something very special. At 8% it should perhaps have been a harder task, yet this one slid down like a Liberal leader’s popularity. A head that The Elephant Man would be proud of, spicy hop aroma and bready grain malt sweetness – this beer had more interest than a Cash Converters loan. The overall impression was refreshing and drinkable while the individual elements seemed to pop in to surprise with each fresh sip.

The trivia was, as usual, enjoyed by all, disputed by many and thrown together at the last minute. A good mix of general beer knowledge, technical bits and current beer events made for a close contest. So close, in fact, that even a countback couldn’t split the two winning teams. Suggestions for a tie-breaker included everything from a taste-test to a game of Malt/Hops/Yeast (based on Rock/Paper/Scissors) and from a Guess That Beer to a Cage Match to the Death. A tie-breaker question was reluctantly produced to break the deadlock.

The night finished – as it always does – with Ale Stars fronting the bar, buying each other beers and, eventually, holding each other up or dragging one another out the door. G’Day Simon! And this is where Ale Stars is getting more and more enjoyable. The ‘Afters’ is becoming a session in itself with groups relaxing and catching up and talking crap and sharing thoughts and lamenting the fact that it will be a month before we get to do it all again.

As I headed out the door and realised there were still plenty of Ale Stars scattered around the room it occurred to me that the month might just fly past pretty quick. And, if my crew can’t make it again next month and keep using poor excuses like “I’m in Albury/ Healesville/ Canada” and I have to drive, then I might take up Jo and Bran’s offer of a spot on their couch.

Prof. Pilsner
Ale Star ‘S’ 17

Yes, I got my shirt last night!

A Bloke and his kid walk into a pub

Had a nice story passed on to me by the Brother-In-Law which beautifully illustrates that mystical bond between a father and his son, that special, magical nexus that links the generations and creates a better world.

Oh, and it’s about beer, too.

A couple of friends – for purposes of protecting their identities, let’s call them Dave and Jo – had stopped off at a pub in Inverloch on the way back from a family holiday with their two kids. The three year old boy, let’s call him Sam, raced into the Public Bar ahead of the family so as to scope the joint and identify the location of the playground.

As the family caught up with the forward scout, Dave was greeted with a loud and excited announcement from his son.

“Dad! Awesome news!!”
“What is it, Sam?”
“They’ve got Horse Beer!!”

Dave caught up with the lad and sheepishly wove his way through the amused regulars and made his way to the bar.

“I ‘spose you’d like a Horse Beer, then mate?” said the smiling publican.

As the Brother-in-Law said to me, Horse Beer – or CUB’s Carlton Draught – is probably a beer that should not necessarily be dismissed out of hand. In fact, as mainstream, medium bodied beers go, a pot of Carlton Draught, rotated correctly, properly stored, well poured and thoughtfully presented to a thirsty man on a hot day is not the worst thing that could happen to you.

I hope that Sam’s enthusiasm for his Father’s simple pleasures continues to develop and that his parents encourage his sense of joy and wonder. And maybe down the track I will recount further tales like this involving ‘Goat Beers’, ‘Yak’ beers, ‘Ned Kelly’ beers or even ‘That beer with the Boobies on it’ beers.

Prof. Pilsner

Oktoberfest Tasting

Anyone reading this like to drink beer?
How about 1at 10 beers for $10? Sound good?

Tonight from six at Purvis Cellars you can take part in the Oktoberfest Tasting where tables of fine beers will be set out for your browsing and sampling pleasure.

As a special treat, your very own Prof. Pilsner will be appearing live pouring and talking beer. Come in and learn something about some new-in-town beers or reaquaint with some old favourites. And remember, there are no dumb questions - just dumb answers!

Purvis Cellars are at 615-617 Whitehorse Rd Surrey Hills (Melbourne)
9888 6644

Tasting kicks off at 6.

Prof. Pilsner

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Push for .02% drives the wrong message

There is a concerted push by some in Victoria to lower the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) of motor vehicle drivers from .05 to .02. Those on the side of reducing the threshold include high ranking Traffic Police as well as politicians and social welfare groups.

As a volunteer Emergency Service worker involved in Road Crash Rescue I am reasonably familiar with the damage that careless driving can do persons and property but I am not sure that this is the right approach, on two fronts.

First, the push to lower the limit has come of the back of some road crash statistics – 39 deaths in five years involving BAC levels of between .02 and .05% - which, in anybody’s language is too many, but Victoria consistently clocks up around 350 road deaths per year, so is that really a significant proportion? The figures also don’t reveal how many of the 39 deaths could be attributed TOTALLY to the BAC. Plenty of people with zero Blood Alcohol and plenty Blood Alcohol die due to speed, fatigue, inattentiveness, inexperience, risk taking and talking or texting on a phone, so will lowering the legal BAC change anything?

The second issue I have is that, yet again, we are ignoring the real problem. We don’t have a drink-driving problem, we have a dickhead problem. The many thousands of responsible drivers who enjoy one or two quiet ales after work, after sport, at many school and community functions and on countless other occasions will be penalised and demonised for the behaviour of a group whose concern for themselves and others will always come second to poor impulse control, strong negative peer group pressure and a general attitude of F@#K YOU MATE!!

Bring down the road toll, sure. Bring in harsher penalties for those who wish to roll the dice and lose, sure. Bring in even harsher penalties for those who don’t get the message the first, second or subsequent times, sure. But don’t change the playing field because some are cheating – make them follow OUR rules, instead.

The story is here.

Prof. Pilsner

Monday, October 19, 2009

IPAs for Ale Stars

Tomorrow, Tuesday the 20th, sees the second episode of the second year of Ale Stars at the St. Kilda Local Taphouse featuring India Pale Ales.

All hop heads and those wishing to know how we feel are urged to attend. 4 cracking beers and a feed for only $30 – can’t get much better beery value than that!

See you all there.

Prof. Pilsner

People who really need a beer - Part 4

Every now and then Beer Blokes slots in one of these posts to remind us all of the life-enriching power of the Amber Nectar and how its absence can create voids that can only be filled by making stupid comments.

This week we welcome the fun-starved micro-intellects who have gotten thereselfs all in a flutter over, well, a very small issue, really.

The Cranbourne Cup is a regional annual race meeting that raises little interest to anyone other than the loyal locals who fill the Bogan Enclosure, drink heaps of Fizzy Yellow, place a few bets and hope to end up in the same cab home as Sharon from accounts. But this year was different.

As part of the crowd entertainment the organisers ran the Midget Cup – a piggy-back race down the main straight featuring blokes carrying dwarves in jockey’s silks on their backs. Not a particularly enthralling or engaging spectacle, I had to admit, but certainly more fun than some other half-time spectacles I could recall. Well, despite the fact that all participants – regular and pint-sized – appeared to be willing as well as smiling all the way, there has been a massive uproar and gnashing of self-righteous teeth.

Everyone from the State Premier and the Minister for Racing And Not Letting Anyone Have Fun have come out in ‘defence’ of the ‘little people’. Don’t mind that they WERE PAID to appear and have stated that they don’t feel belittled (sorry, couldn’t help meself) by performing within their obvious physical capabilities. Their spokesperson, Jeremy Hallam, published a response to the do-gooders who were claiming that the ‘race’ was demeaning to short people, politically incorrect and socially unacceptable.

Jeremy is a regular at a restaurant and bar I used to work at and I consider him to be a top bloke. Although short in stature he is a giant in terms of his drive, his ambition and his determination to do what he wants to do, all the while accepting his limitations but not allowing them to plot his destiny. He is a great self-promoter, hard worker and a clever organiser having arranged events and fund raisers for local youth. If he wants the Nannies to lighten up – then lighten up!

It was all a bit of fun, it was enjoyed by those who joined in and, although not especially entertaining, it was an amusing distraction for the crowd for all of two minutes. And if it hadn’t been captured in a grainy, shaky video on a cheap phone camera and then sold to the Media, it would have been as memorable as it was brief.

And lastly – those who have the various forms of Dwarfism are not called ‘little people’, ‘short-statured people’ or ‘differently abled people’ – they are called dwarves!! Being a dwarf is a part of who and what they are, like being Caucasian, Catholic, Columbian or a Collingwood supporter.

Chill out, have a beer.

Prof. Pilsner

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You know what I think of research

Regular readers are probably more than familiar with my general attitude towards most scientific research, but this piece brought a smile to my beer-drinking apparatus. The Brother-in-law works at a venerable Victorian place of special high learning and sent me some interesting lab based tid-bits.

Haven’t we all, at one time or another, sat with a nice beer and pondered the following; “Would it be better to be smashed over the bonce with a full glass bottle – or an empty one?” Wonder no more, Beer Blokes and Blokettes!

From the opening line which boldly states;

“Beer bottles are often used in physical disputes. If the bottles break they may give rise to sharp trauma. However, if they remain intact they may cause blunt injuries”,

You just know these guys are fairly serious about their craft. And they don’t miss a thing! They went on to conduct a series of drop tests to determine the force required to break both a full and empty 500ml glass beer bottle versus the force required to break the human skull.

Now, I know what you’re all thinking; “But Professor (Pilsner, not Skullsmasher), surely the impact zone of the bottle, the variable nature of the wall thickness and bottle curvature and its relationship to expected stability have direct implications on the results?”

Well, of course! But don’t worry, these Bar-Fight Poindexters have considered all of this – AND MORE!! What about the fact that beer is an almost uncompressible liquid? Huh? Thought of that too, didn’t they! And the fact that beer is a carbonated liquid and that any impact is likely to cause the bottle to explode if it’s full, thus rendering it a less effective Head Hitter. They thought of that, too.

I can sense that this is all getting a bit too exciting so I will cut to the Money Shot. The team from the University of Bern in Switzerland came up with the following formula and conclusion;

E = (Mn / (Mt + Mn)) x W

where E is the Energy (of course!), Mn is the Mass of the bottle and Mt is the Mass of the body part swinging the bottle i.e, the arm or the shoulder (which can be assumed to weigh 2.4 to 4 kg) and W is the work performed by the muscle.

So how did you do? The team found that through electrohydraulic experiments using human skulls (don’t ask) neurocranial fractures occurred between 14.1 and 68.5J3. Now, as empty and full glass bottles were found to break at forces of 30-40J, respectively, it is clear that both are capable of cracking the thinner parts of the human brain-holder. In addition, empty bottles were sturdier than full ones and took less energy to raise and swing. But I think we all knew that, didn’t we?

They did concede, in the last line of the conclusion that further research was recommended to assess the overall danger of bottle related head trauma. Good for them and I wish them luck!

Next week in ‘Beer and Science’ Beer Blokes will look at the age old question – Does a gutful of lager really make people of the opposite sex better looking?’ No, seriously, Chris sent me some research papers on that as well!

Prof. Pilsner

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

But wait there’s more...

I had written the preceding piece (or the one following piece if you haven’t read it yet) at the end of last week and set it to post over the weekend. This was partly to make up for being a bit slack the last month and because I knew I was in for a busy weekend.

Well, you wouldn’t believe it, but I was ‘talkin’ beers’ with some guests as I delivered their initial drink order – A little Creatures Pale Ale and a Cascade Light, for those playing at home – when I started talking up Matilda Bay Brewery in general and Fat Yak Pale Ale specifically when two of the group mentioned they knew one of the brewers.

“Not Neil Whittorn, is it?” I asked.
“Yes. It is! How do you know Neil?” they asked excitedly.
“Beer.” I offered matter of factly.

What a coincidence. Again. I’m genuinely talking up a beer, again, only to find that I’m ‘singing to the choir’, so to speak. Coincidence, or Beer Karma? Again. What are the chances of talking about a particular beer, only to find that you’re talking to the brewer’s sister-in-law?

And if you’re reading this, Neil, the photo that the group asked me to pose for shows a tray of Fat Yaks and Beez Neez but only Beez Neez glasses. I only had Beez Neez glasses. I don’t have any Matilda Bay or Fat Yak glasses. Yet.


Prof. Pilsner

Monday, October 12, 2009

Lucky you know a bit about beer

Twice in the past week I have been chatting to a guest in the restaurant about beer, and specifically about beers produced by one of Australia’s two big brewers, Carlton & United Breweries. Not unusual in itself but, in the midst of making small talk and welcome I had cause to talk about specific CUB issues only to be told – on both occasions by the guests dining partner – that they, in fact, work for ‘The Big House’.

Now as you might imagine I talk about beer a fair bit in the course of a normal nights’ work and, if I sense a kindred beer-spirit, I might talk about beer quite a large bit! But really, what are the chances of bumping into CUB employees while talking about CUB beers twice in the same week? And what are the chances of ME talking about CUB beers and NOT making a back-handed slap at their lack of soul, lack of love for the beer lover and lack of imagination when it comes to making beer?

Fortunately, again on both occasions, I was speaking no ill of the company and my observations/comments were true and correct! Interesting though, that both times it was the partner ‘outing’ the employee ...

Prof. Pilsner

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Naughty glasses in Brisbane

Just saw over at Beer Matt’s blog where the powers-that-be in Queensland are looking at banning glasses in pubs as a result of people being attacked. Presumably by glasses. I wrote here back in March last year when sections of the Melbourne media were pushing the same issue. That is, looking at things arse-about.

Why ban glasses? I’ve been to plenty of places that serve beer and never once have I been tapped on the shoulder by a snarling pot or schooner saying; “Ay yoo Jimmy, wanna fight?!” I have, however, been annoyed by a pissed idiot looking for trouble because, well, he’s a pissed idiot. I’m guessing he didn’t turn up at the venue like that, though. Seems to me the solution to a simple problem is usually, well ... simple.

Don’t let the idiots get pissed. Now, because idiots don’t usually wear a label stating that they are an idiot (although wearing sunglasses at night, T-Shirts with rude words on them and Collingwood football jumpers are a bit of a pointer) assume that everyone has the potential to turn wayward. Serve them beers, in glasses, and keep an eye on them. Have the venue manager do the same and wander through the venue like a proper manager would.

If someone starts to get a bit silly, give them a bit of ‘stink-eye’ and let them and their mates know you are watching them. If necessary, ask them quietly to settle things down a tad. Most will take the hint and settle things down without fuss. But, the longer you let them go, the more difficult it is to rein them in. You don’t need to be a prick about it to get the message across – just be quick and consistent. If the Noddies turn into beer-fuelled dickheads, then you cut them off. If their mates try to buy for them, cut them off as well.

Don’t punish the good beer people who are having a good night out and are respecting the beer. That’s not fair.

Check out Matt’s piece here.

Prof. Pilsner

Friday, October 9, 2009

Contract Brewing

Isn’t it every boy’s dream to grow up to own a brewery? Or is that just something we wish for once we acquire the taste for beer?

For many that dream has turned to reality and, in almost every case, it is the result of hard work, determination, more hard work, a bit of luck and some more hard work. And a fair bit of cash. Oh, and a little hard work.

On recent visits to Mountain Goat in Richmond and Bridge Road Brewers in Beechworth the thing that struck me even more than the quality of the beer was the fact that, while we were all happily drinking, the brewer was happily brewing not more than a few feet away. And they were brewing in equipment that they had bought in a space that they had paid to occupy using power, water and gas that they foot the bills for. In short, there is as much capital investment in a craft brewing operation as there is investment of emotion and passion and care for the end product.

But the OTHER reality is this; for many of those dreamers, owning and operating a brewery on even the smallest scale, is more a fantasy than a dream. Lack of funds or the ability to convince someone to stump up the funds, nervousness about the economic forecast, inability to make the emotional and time commitment – whatever the reason, some can’t live the dream. For many of these people, there is contract brewing.

Having your recipes brewed, bottled, labelled and shipped for you is a means of getting your beer out there to the waiting masses, to establish your brand and build your market. Contract brewing is done by large, purpose built breweries or by smaller independent breweries looking to maximise the operating output of their plant or to simply help out would-be brewers who may be in a situation similar to the one they found themselves in years earlier. Other breweries are contracting out some of their regular brews to contractors where capacity has been reached and they want to concentrate on special or limited release beers. Either way, contract brewing has a place in the craft beer landscape.

I hope I haven’t made it sound as though I think that true craft brewing is King and contract brewing is Evil, I just want to establish the facts before asking for your comments. Many brewers who are making their beers by contract are upfront and honest about their operation. They may call themselves a ‘Brewing Company’ rather than a brewery, or they may (if you look at the label closely) list the company who makes the beer for them. Others list the office address on the beer. But, some ‘real breweries’ also use the tag ‘Brewing Company’ so this can be confusing as well.

Where do we go from here? It’s hard enough to get more people drinking better beer without also having to teach them the difference between contract brewers and brewers who have made the concrete, risk-all, financial and emotional commitment to brew good beer. Should we even tell them? Is there really a difference to the drinker? What about the brewer? Does it matter to them? Should we support a move towards a trademark of integrity like the Heart Foundation Tick or Buy Australian campaign to help identify craft beer that is brewed on site by the brewer him/herself?

Let me know what you think.

Prof. Pilsner

Thursday, October 8, 2009

How To Turn Wine into Beer

The Courthouse Restaurant in Berwick is a grand old building with plenty of character (even when I’m not in the house!) – just ask Kelv. It is therefore well suited to special occasion dinners, which we like to host every month.

Last week we went with a Duck & Pinot dinner for the first time. An ambitious project but one we managed to pull off with ease. If you don’t mind me boasting just a bit. Four dishes featuring duck in various forms matched masterfully with four different Pinot Noirs – two from Tasmania plus a New Zealand offering and a youthful French to finish.

Now, I hear you all saying; “Professor, a post about WINE, have you gone completely mad?!?”

Well, no, thank you for asking. And I’ll explain in a moment if you’ll let me finish.

A few of our guests had been to a couple of our previous Beer Dinners and were keen to see if my hosting of this event included any of the Wine-Wanker bagging that seems to feature a little bit in the hosting of my preferred gigs. I did not disappoint – although, I only really made comparisons between food and wine and food and beer matching. These matches were fine and enjoyed by all, but it wasn’t until the night ‘wound down’ that we really began to kick into gear.

Rod and Barb are some of my favourite Beer People and are in regularly. They are more than willing to take a chance on a new beer and are even more willing to trust my judgement as to what they might like. After a couple of hours of duck soup, duck rillettes shepherd’s pie and confit duck main with a cheese board to follow, they and their daughter Ashley and partner Scott were right up for some beer chasers. And chase we did.

And what better way to turn a Duck Dinner into a Beer Dinner than with some ‘matching’ beers. That is, beers matched to ducks. On a recent trip to Mansfield we stopped in at Jamieson Brewery and I think I saw a duck on the river so we kicked off with a Jamieson Pale Ale. Crows sort of look a bit like ducks so I followed that up with a 3 Ravens 55 APA.

I was beginning to struggle a bit at this point, but then inspiration hit me. A Scottish Elderberry Ale! How’s that I hear you ask? Well, I remembered a conversation that I had with Shandy and in his broad Scot’s accent I heard him describe an ale as dark as this. Only it came out ‘duck’. Brilliant. I was right out of ideas at that point and finished the night with the only beer that I had left.

A Red Duck Bengal IPA.

Prof. Pilsner

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

And they say I’m a Beer Snob - Part Two.

Further to my story of the VB Drinkers’ Lament, today’s paper featured a decent write up on the VB change. It followed on from the slab-loads of letters to the editor pissing and moaning that VB had lost the taste that had made it “the best cold beer for a hard earned thirst” in so many successful ad campaigns. And here’s a picture;

With some words ...

Forty years a loyal VB quaffer, Geelong pensioner John Carvill reckons his beloved beer "doesn't have any bite" any more. He now drinks Toohey’s Extra Dry.
"I tolerated the first change (when the alcohol content was reduced by 0.1 per cent three years ago), but they shouldn't have fiddled again," he said.

A few comments, if I may.

1) No Bite? And you’re happy to switch to a double filtered ‘dry’ style beer? Couldn’t afford Carlton Cold? Dickhead.

2) This bloke is pictured emptying a stubby of clear liquid. Either CUB has well and truly watered down VB, or this peanut didn’t even have the plums to waste a bottle of actual, real beer. Dickhead.

3) He ‘tolerated’ the first change – if by ‘tolerated’ he means ‘failed to notice’. There is more than a fair chance that he drank twelve slabs of the new stuff before CUB publicised the ABV change the first time around. Double Dickhead.

Check out the full story, it’s a laugh. Some of these ‘career VB drinkers’ need to swap there beer for a cup of cement and harden the f@#k up!

Prof. Pilsner

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

And they say I’m a Beer Snob

Dr Lager and I took our families together for a short break in Beechworth, North East Victoria, during the school holidays and the trip has generated about six posts that I’m currently fine-tuning. We were discussing Beer Labels – as in, the terms used to describe various types of Beer Drinkers – when we began a colourful discourse on the difference between a Beer Snob and a Beer Yob.

On my return, I began plodding through five days’ worth of newspapers and was a bit mystified by a series of short letters to the editor regarding an Australian institution of beer, VB. Victoria Bitter, referred to nationally as VB so as to trick interstate drinkers into thinking that the brew is NOT from Victoria, is this country’s top selling beer by volume. In Victoria alone it accounts for 28% of the amber fluid downed in the state.

The letters in the paper were all in the same vein – “I am never drinking VB again”, “ripped off by new VB”, “VB has changed for the worse” – all that sort of thing. There could only be two answers to my query. Either these drinkers had accidentally bought the new VB RAW (low carb VB, just what the beer world was missing) or CUB had suddenly begun brewing VB to a different recipe while we had been away. NO to both the above.

I think I wrote earlier this year about CUB dropping the alcohol level of VB down 2 percentage points from 4.8% to 4.6% a move which saved the company some tens of millions of dollars in beer tax thus preventing the need for a price rise. I don’t want to come across as ‘all beer-knowing’ but I would be happy to lay a fair wad of cash on the fact that most VB drinkers would not be able to taste a 0.02% change in ABV. An even larger wad says that MANY would not know the difference between VB and Foster’s Lager if the bottle wasn’t labelled. That’s no slight on the VB drinkers – it’s just a fact.

Take a photo of your computer screen NOW. I am going out to buy a stubby of VB. That’s right, you heard me, VB. I have some 4.8% VB in the fridge at the restaurant and I will do a side-by-side comparison to see if I can detect any difference.

Wish me luck.

No, seriously, wish me luck.

Prof. Pilsner

Monday, October 5, 2009

Beer Blokes NRL Grand Final review

Melbourne Storm (4th) vs Parramatta Eels (8th)
Clear blue skies, top temperature of around 17c, light winds.

3 Trial games, 26 Home & Away games, 2 Finals Matches and it all comes down to this one day. Eighty minutes of determination, concentration and, for the winners, a lifetime of jubilation.

Pre-game preparation and the warm-up.

They say that the key to a good finish is good preparation and this is no more evident than in the case of a Grand Final. You need to be focussed on your goal and committed to doing whatever it takes. Don’t change a preparation that has worked for you up till now and most importantly, “Don’t leave anything in the tank when the final siren sounds”.

So I went with a James Squire Pilsner. Tried and true, a great example of the style and locally brewed. The original James Squire had a hotel and brewery in Parramatta so I figured his would be an appropriate nod to history.

First Half.

Another James Squire Pilsner. If it’s working for you, don’t change the game plan. At the five minute mark Melbourne break the line to put first points on the board. I celebrate with restraint – it’s early – and go with a Matilda Bay Fat Yak as I had planned.

24 minute mark and Cooper Cronk throws a terrific dummy to break the line and put Adam Blair away for Melbourne’s second try. Professor Pilsner opens the fridge for his second Fat Yak. The Storm look like they may make the Prof pay for his pre-game promise to toast each try with a fresh beer.

Half time.

The Storm waste a few scoring opportunities and Parramatta’s lack of big stage experience and Melbourne’s pressure sees the Storm go to the half time break 10 -0 up. The Prof breathes a sigh of relief and enjoys a Bridge Road Pale Ale.

Second Half.

45th minute. Parra get themselves on the scoreboard with a try to Eric Goethe Jnr to make the difference just 4 points. No beer there. 4 minutes later and Greg Inglis takes a high bomb uncontested and strolls under the dot to score. To celebrate such a no-fuss, consistent and pack-leading team effort, a Mountain Goat Pale Ale makes its first appearance. 16-6.

6 minutes later ... Billy Slater latches onto a perfectly executed Adam Blair offload to score the Storms’ fourth try and with a reputation for taking a big lead and then going right on with the business, The Prof is starting to worry that he won’t see the end of this contest. 22-6.

70th minute, ten minutes to go ... Parramatta score twice in consecutive sets to put the frighteners up both the Storm and the Prof and narrow the gap to just 6 points with five minutes to play.

76th minute. Another Mountain Goat Pale fills the glass as Greg Inglis slots a wobbly field goal to take the score to 23-16 to secure the clubs’ third premiership in just a twelve year history. As Channel Nong shows a total lack of common sense and respect for its viewers and cuts to the news as the siren sounds, I am forced to crack a celebratory Little Creatures Pale Ale, close my eyes and imagine seeing the trophy being handed to Melbourne captain, Cam Smith.

The empties are removed from The Stadium and The Prof retires, happy, proud and just a little bit wobbly but looking forward to next season already. Well done Melbourne. Premiers 2009.

Prof. Pilsner

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Plenty of US vs THEM

Here I am, sitting at home, beer in hand waiting for 5.30 and the NRL Grand Final to begin. My Melbourne Storm has achieved the rare feat of contesting their fourth decider in as many years and I will have to watch it all from a thousand k’s away.

In 2006 we were very unlucky to lose the big one to the Brisbane Broncos, the following year we gave the ‘Silvertails’ from Manly a good ol’ Victorian hiding only to follow up last year with a forgettable effort against he same team. In those three years we received an element of support from Sydneysiders who hated Brisbane and detested Manly and Sydney wasn’t too bad a place to hang out for the weekend. This year is very, very different.

The Parramatta Eels represent the western suburbs of Sydney, a Rugby League heartland and home to more Rugby League shops per square kilometre than anywhere else on earth. It is where we usually stay when we go north for the Grand Final and it is one of the few places I have found in Sydney that embraces the week leading up to the games’ showpiece. It’s the only place outside the stadium itself that flies team flags, hangs team posters in shop windows and hangs team scarves from its’ cars windows. Even when Parra are not playing. But this year, they are.

And all of a sudden everything is all about us versus them. Sydney has finally shown some spirit and some interest in a game that they claim to be their own. 74,000 fans turned out to see the Eels fight for a spot in the GF against traditional Sydney rivals, the Bulldogs, which made all Victorian sport supporters wonder – where were you all every other game of every other year for the past ten? Crowds of six, seven and as many as 11,000 would regularly trudge through the turnstiles at traditional suburban venues and state-of-the-art modern stadia alike, but if the weather was a bit iffy, the team lost the previous week or there was something decent on the telly, it was not unusual to see that crowd figure halved. Fair weather friends are no help to the team.

So now, Sydney has a team to support – and another to hate. Radio, net forums, newspapers and bars across Sydney and suburbs are abuzz with vitriolic talk of ‘those bastard Mexicans’ these infiltrators from the South who have had the bare-faced cheek to pinch two of our trophies in the short history of their club and who have the audacity to seek to pinch another this afternoon. Insults have been traded, word games played by players and officials of Parramatta and commentators and past greats of the game have had their say.

But, as any Victorian sport fan knows, there are only two places for talk. One is on the field of battle when the whistle blows and all arguments are settled. The other is on the podium after the final siren when you hold the trophy aloft, congratulate your team and commiserate the losers. And then, maybe a third – over a shared beer late in the day. And into Monday. And maybe some more on Tuesday. And a quiet one on Wednesday. And then ....

Good Luck Stormers. I will ride every bump, hit every gap, share every hit-up and celebrate every try with you from my couch. And I’ll do my best to go beer-for-beer with you as well.

Prof. Pilsner

Saturday, October 3, 2009

More Beer Karma

Isn’t it a funny thing. As we get older, we get wiser. At least, that’s the theory. At the very least, as we get older we should be making fewer mistakes. And learning from the ones we continue to make.

Almost exactly a year ago I was relating to you the story of a certain AFL champion player/shit bloke/dickhead. I suggested that his disrespect for his beer was directly related to his inability to achieve every forwards’ dream of kicking 100 goals in a season of football. Beer Karma saw to it that, despite several opportunities and numerous team mates’ efforts, he fell short of the target by a single straight kick in the last game of the home-and-away fixture. Welcome back to Beer Blokes, Brendan Fevola.

Well, he hasn’t learned a thing it would seem. After season’s end last year on his teams’ ‘Mad Monday’ celebrations, Fev was strutting around the centre of the city of Melbourne sporting a tutu, hat and large pink sex toy. As you do. His team mates went for the more traditional fancy dress gear; ie; Fancy Dress. See “common sense & Decency” in the dictionary.

His club’s officials were beginning to tire of Brendan’s unfailing ability to generate plenty of press column inches of bad publicity for the organisation and declared that “any more alcohol related indiscretions would result in Fevola’s contract being torn up”. {Insert sound effect of ripping paper ... here.}

Fev – in short – got rather shit-faced at the AFL’s premier awards night, the Brownlow Medal presentation for the leagues’ Best & Fairest player, and made a total tool of himself on national TV. As a result, Fev has been told that his services are no longer required. The bloke can play a bit of footy but, seriously, how many times should it take before you step back, take a good hard look at yourself and say, “ I need to reassess the way I treat my beer”?

Good luck for the future, Fev, wherever you end up.

Prof. Pilsner

The Bloke is Back

A hectic few weeks of school holidays including a trip to Beechworth, a birthday party, a couple of play-dates, brewery visits, Beer Diva Dinner, NRL and AFL final series commitments, beer reviews, paperwork wars with various bureaucracies and a funeral is concluding and your regular blogging service will resume shortly.

Apologies for the delay.

I am working on a dozen posts at the moment hope that you will think that they are worth the wait!

Prof. Pilsner