Monday, November 30, 2009

Four into Three won't go

A severe lack of free time and 'head-space' has meant little time for quality posting and so, rather than peppering the blog with random uninteresting posts I figured it was better to starve you all and make you keener for the return!

December this year is effectively a three week month with Christmas Day and Boxing Day taking up the fourth weekend and for the hospitality industry this means trying to squeeze four weeks of fun, frivolity and festiveness into three weeks. Which you can do. Kinda. Almost. But you end up working like a one-armed Beirut bricklayer and finish up as flat as a shit-carter's hat.

We hosted a wedding yesterday and, while local beers were included in the tab, a table of younger blokes saw our International Beer Passport and decided to dig into their own wallets and pick out a few specials. However, when they spotted one particular offering, a new game was begun. "Pete, can I buy an Old Fart and have you send it to the two blokes on table 2?" Much hilarity ensued and a return attack came in the form of a Sheepshagger Lager. A Fat Yak followed and defeat was finally admitted when 500 mls of both Old Growler and Sweet FA was sent over.

While I don't encourage drinking irresponsibly, it WAS pretty funny seeing the reactions from opposite sides of the room. The dark looks from the Bride and Groom were trimmed when I assured them that the Top Shelf beers were not finding their way onto the bill!

Goes to show you, though, that the name of the beer can sometimes have an impact on it's saleability.

Prof. Pilsner

Friday, November 20, 2009

Ale Stars Epic adventure

Another month, another Ale Stars. Although, to be fair, this was no ordinary Ale Stars.

For a start, for the first time ever, the “SOLD OUT” sign went up on the morning of the event, the theme was Brewery-based rather than style based and we had our first international guest in New Zealand brewer, Luke Nicholas from Epic Brewing.

It was also memorable because, for the first time ever, I had TWO offers of a lift home (and couldn’t get a spot for either of them initially!) and a huge thanks to JJ for finding them a seat.

Luke Nicholas has been brewing for thirteen years and the last four have seen him running Epic Brewing. And when he says “I run the company” he means ”I am the SOLE employee of the company.” That’s a one man operation. The bottling and labelling, packaging and distribution is all out-sourced, and while this may mean relying on everyone else to get their bit right, it sure keeps payroll costs down. The brewing side of things is, however, is very hands-on with Luke tasting the brew at every stage from mashing-in to conditioning and all points in between. “Basically, I drink a lot of beer” was his own appraisal of his job description.

Luke was able to tell the crowd a few stories about his various ventures, including his novel approach to recreating the conditions of a trip taken by the original India Pale Ales. A wooden cask of his own Armageddon IPA was loaded on to the ferry that travels between New Zealand’s North and South islands and sent back and forth 126 times. The temperature changes on an equator crossing voyage were replicated by storing the barrel in the back of the engine room behind the kid’s playground, which almost brought about a ‘critical structure failure’ when the cask expanded in the heat and beer leaked out and solidified like varnish – a fortunate stroke of chemistry and physics which combined to re-seal the keg.

The consensus was that this experiment would not work in Australia as the ticket inspectors would not be able to cope with such an unresponsive passenger who couldn’t swipe his Myki ticket. 126 times.

Steve from the Local provided the highlight of the night – which really doesn’t translate well if you weren’t there to hear it all – but which I believe I can sum up in a few selected words and phrases and a series of pictures. Here goes;

“Free tool marketing” (I’m Tweeting in my pants), “Facebook, Twitter and Red Tube”, “whole mouth experience”.

Anyway, we were treated to Epic Lager and Pale Ale and finished with the very first Australian visit of the Armageddon IPA on tap. These beers came with some industry credibility as Luke informed us that, at a recent NZ Beer Awards where three of his beers were entered, he picked up 2 Bronze, 1 Gold and a best in class honour.

Our first SOLD OUT Ale Stars came to a close with plenty of banter and beer flowing freely in equal parts and it was pleasing to see (as well as a few new faces) that the size of the crowd did not affect the whole Ale Stars Feel.

And finally, for those wondering, despite not winning the trivia quiz (again) (by a single point) (again) I have done some research and the common name of the native flavouring herb from New Zealand is, in fact, The Maori Arse-Thistle. So there.

Prof. Pilsner

Friday, November 13, 2009

Forget Tiger Woods ...

Never seen so much interest in one bloke since that long haired evangalist walked the streets of Jerusalem two thousand years ago. Fair dinkum, every paper, every news report every radio station - in effect, every normal part of my daily life - has been taken over by 'Tiger-Mania'. Would you believe that we interrupted a radio segment to announce that the door to the plane of Tiger Woods was opening, and, and, wait for it ... "he's wearing a cap, red polo shirt and some shorts!" I shit you not.

Anyway, there is bigger and better news to report for beer lovers and it seems as though the buzz is as big as that surrounding that bloke what walks around and hits a little white ball. That's the same man who once declared that "All the best hockey players are white, all the best basketballers are black and the golf course is full of white men dressed like black pimps."

I don't know what Luke Nicholas thinks of sport but I do know that he can brew a fair beer. And his current tour is about as well planned and detailed as that golfing dudes'. Everywhere I have been in the last few days I've had people telling me about Luke's appointments. I was buying beer for tonight's Beer Dinner and Adam at Purvis Cellars was telling me about a Meet The Brewer tomorrow afternoon between 4 and 6 (free), Slowbeer has Luke appearing at a tasting night there tonight (Friday) 5 till 7, he will be 'on stage live' again at The Local Taphouse for Ale Stars on Tuesday night ($30 7pm start) after a trade tasting on the rooftop terrace from 2 til 5. I'll see if I can sneak in there in a 'Media Reporter' capacity! Does anyone have one of those pork-pie hats with "PRESS" sticking out the side?

"Ahh, one too many Epics!"

At some point I'm sure that Luke will take a breath and have a feed as well.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Ale Stars Special

This months Ale Stars at The Local Taphouse in Melbourne will feature a special treat. Not only will our guest be Epic brewer, Luke Nicholas, but rather than a style, the beer theme will be Epic!

Ale Stars kicks off at 7ish on Tuesday November 17.

Prof. Pilsner

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Beer Dinner will go off!

Almost a full house for The Courthouse Restauant Beer Dinner next Friday night. As of last night (Friday, I think ... it was a long week!) I had room for a table of four and a table of two - or one table of six. Or six tables of lonely ones. Whoever gets in first.

This one should be a cracker with some nice summer styles making their first appearance as well as a special dessert beer and a surprise beer too. Four courses and five beers for fifty bucks. Good work.

Prof. Pilsner

Friday, November 6, 2009

Relax, it's natural

Love a good beer ad. Especially when it's for an ALL NATURAL beer. Certainly looks natural to me.

Prof. Pilsner

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Beer Funny Pictures 02

With the warmer weather upon us, the time has come to think of new and interesting ways to drink beer, stay cool and impress your friends.

These guys have found that by using simple everyday objects from around the home, a pleasant afternoon can be enjoyed by all. A wooden door-stop, a couple of thongs (that’s flip-flops for the Septics, jandals for the Kiwis, Zoris for the Japanese or Hawaii Chappals for the Indians) a length of electrical cord and a regular household power supply. What more could you need?

How about adding to your list the following;

Ambulance subscription
Pre-paid funeral
Twenty cents worth of common sense or
Half a cup of “HAVE A F*#@EN THINK ABOUT IT!”

Then again, maybe Darwin was onto something, after all.

Prof. Pilsner

Thanks, Chris, for the pic. I don't believe it was taken at his last pool party.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How NOT to celebrate a Cup win

Funniest thing I have seen in a long time. Our Prime Minister tipped the winner of yesterday's Melbourne Cup - which is more than I can say for our syndicate - and proceeded to show the Nation the exact opposite way to celebrate. If anyone can think of a dickier way to ride a winner past the post, let me know. And, to top it off, he finishes with a "I don't really like the tatse of beer but don't want people to think I'm a poofter" move. Classic.

This might even be better and dickier than former PM John Howard's reaction to the Rugby World Cup win a few years back.

MovemBeer Update

For those following the Beer Blokes Melbourne Cup syndicate, a review.

We did our dough.

However, Dr Lager and I managed to trifecta the Cup Day Sweep. And he was in Sydney!

The Movembeer beer front was far more successful than the syndicate. A couple of MOuntain Goat Pale Ales, a couple of James Squire Pilsners (Pilsner being my MOniker!) and a couple of Fat Yak Pale Ales (Matilda Bay's MOst popular beer at the moment!)

I realsie that a couple of those may be a tad tenuous, but that's the way we roll in Movembeer here at Beer Blokes - No Rules for a good cause!!

Prof Pilsner

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Melbourne Cup 2009

Melbourne Cup Day is a special day on the Australian sporting calendar with ‘the Race that stops The Nation’ completing its 149th instalment this afternoon at three o’clock. It is equal parts aspiration and frustration, it is something that brings us all together as Australians and it is as good an excuse as any for a BBQ and a piss up. It’s also the reason for this blog.

Today, three years ago, our Melbourne Cup betting syndicate won us all enough cash that we could do something special. A few hundred each – not enough to invest or retire on, but enough to spend frivolously. Which is exactly what Dr Lager and I did.

Our winnings were handed over to our local homebrew shop in return for enough equipment and starter kits to get us into the brewing industry. We began brewing immediately – with success – and Dr Lager fired up the engine on this blog soon after. On Cup Day I like to crack a homebrew or two and toast our humble beginnings while sitting around with old and dear friends as we do every year. Sometimes we win a little, sometimes we break even and get our initial investment back – most years we just ‘do our dough’ – but nobody really cares.

It’s all just a bunch of blokes who grew up together drinking VB and being, well, just being blokes, really. Now we get together a handful of times every year with our families and ... well, not much has changed. Although there is not nearly as much VB around as there used to be.

To those who care, best of luck on The Cup – try to use your winnings on something special (and frivolous) something that might make your world a better place. You could even start writing a blog. That wouldn’t be such a bad thing, you know.

Oh and ladies, remember - frocking up & drinkig up usually equals f@#*ing up.

Prof. Pilsner

Monday, November 2, 2009

I’m just SO proud!

The Pilsner family had one of those weekends where a calendar full of events meant a flurry of activity, military-like timings and change-overs and more than a little bit of angst and stress.

On Sunday Mrs Pilsner was responsible for Pick Up & Delivery of Children services and clothes shopping for kids while my duties included market shopping, house cleaning and dinner preparation. Me and the Littlest Pilsner had the house to ourselves and were able to enjoy some quality Daddy-Daughter time.

Late in the afternoon as I was prepping the veg and making the gravy and poured myself a Weihenstephaner Weissbier in a beautiful Weihenstephaner glass that I had bought myself for Father’s Day. The Littlest pilsner (almost four years old) was on her Helping Step assisting me by eating stuff as quickly as I could cut it when she popped her little nose over the tall foamy weizen.

“Mmmm, Daddy, this beer smells like bananas. I like bananas!”

I don’t need to describe for you the picture I presented as this proclamation was issued. Quivering lip, tear in the eye, cheeks flushed with pride and joy. I couldn’t even speak.

Needless to say, I have elevated her standing in the family accordingly and effective immediately. She is now entitled to extra bed-time stories of her choice for a month, she doesn’t have to clean her room if she doesn’t want to and she will now receive a greater portion of my estate upon my death.

To my other two daughters – pick up your respective games.

Prof. Pilsner

PS; Daddy still loves you very, very much. But, seriously, pick up your game.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pass me my trumpet, please

Last night an 'industry' awards night was held. Well, an awards night run by Melbourne's largest suburban newspaper group anyway.

They run a customer vote-driven program each year called Local Favourites where people can nominate and then vote for their favourite shops, businesses, services and stuff. Restaurants & Cafes is one such category and The Courthouse Restaurant in Berwick (very capably managed by chef and owner Tim O'Brien along with yours truly) was sufficiently supported to win last year. Then we backed it up with another win this year which was nice recognition for a lot of hard work. I like to think it has a lot to do with the extensive local and international beer list that I have developed but the food and service might also be a small factor.

Anyway, back to the 'trumpet blowing'. This year the awards were expanded and the 17 restaurants that won their Local Favourite award went to the Hilton on the Park last night to compete for the title of Melbourne's Favourites - the Best of the Best.

And we won. Number One. The Best. Most Votes. El Champion.

Nice to be rewarded and a nice feeling to know that we shared the glory with our staff and our loyal guests. As we toasted our success with an Innis & Gunn, Tim and I both realised that the bit of publicity that would follow wouldn't hurt but the pressure of staying on top was going to be even harder next year.

Wish us luck.

Prof. Pilsner

MoVem-Beer 09

Welcome to the first of MoVem-Beer and the third year of Beer Bloke’s own take on Movember. This is the month in which Blokes and Blokettes can rustle up some funds for prostate cancer research and men’s depression by NOT growing a mo but by drinking beer instead.

Let’s face it, some blokes look like they could have been born with a mo ...

While others look either daggy, dodgy or downright dangerous ...

And Blokettes, I haven't forgotten about you! You can join in by growing a Beer Mo! E-Mail your pics to us at and I'll post them for a readers vote of the best. I'm sure I can even scam up a prize for the winner.

If you don’t look good in a mo but want to support Movemeber (now in its sixth year) just get on board by drinking beers with ‘MO’ in them and donate the cash equivalent of your purchases to either Beyond Blue or Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia. Too easy!

I know of some good beer blokes who will be participating in the mo-growing event this year and I’ll check with them to see if it’s OK to post updates and sponsorship details on my blog. We may even run a competition to see whose looks the ‘Best’.

Movember, Beyond Blue and Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia are the causes to support.

Prof 'No Mo' Pilsner