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Salute to International Wine Day!

Salute to International wine day!

Shiraz Mataro

Shiraz Mataro

Wine has been around for as many years as one can count and it’s that time of year again to raise your glass to International Wine Day. Salute!

Here’s some even better news. There are a number of health benefits to drinking a glass or two of wine. For example, moderate wine drinkers will lower their chance of liver disease, type two diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and various forms of cancer. A wine or two has also been known to reduce bad cholesterol or LDL and increases good cholesterol  known as HDL.

Plus a glass of wine won’t add much to your waist line either with approximately 100 calories only, plus wine is fat and cholesterol free.

So what kind of wine should you choose to drink? Well if you are new to drinking wine, here are some tips to make you look like you know what you are talking about, including what to drink and eat to to increase your overall experience.

Note: There are many varieties of wine to choose from and here are eight of the main varieties.


Riesling is a white grape from Germany. Bet you didn’t know that!? Pair a glass of riesling with turkey or hot food and dance the night away.

Pinot Gris

Pinot Gris is also another white wine you will enjoy. It comes from France and has a semi sweet taste which makes it very easy to drink for most people. Enjoy a Pinot Gris with a salad or mild cheese.

Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blanc is a very popular variety of white wine. It’s a white wine with a bit of honeydew and melon flavors mixed with a hint of mint, if you want to sound cool of course. Drink a Sauvignon Blanc wine with fish and white meat. For example, a sauvignon blanc goes great  with fish and chips!


Chardonnay is a dry white variety as well. The lemon flavor compliments seafood varieties like crab and shrimp and soft cheeses like triple cream brie. And is one of Australia’s most popular wine varieties.

Pinot Noir

Now to the red wines, and let’s start with a little berry picking shall we. Pinot Noir, a light-to-medium red wine, often tastes like cherry and cranberry, but it can have a hint of black raspberry cola depending on the region. Enjoy a glass of Pinot Noir with veal, duck and cheese like gruyere cheese.


Feeling fruity? Zinfandel is a wine full of exotic fruit flavors. This medium-red wine goes well with chicken, Thai food and cheddar cheese. Try it some day, you wont be disappointed.


Syrah tastes of blueberry, plum, tobacco, black pepper and more and has been selected in the Wine Of The Month Club, but don’t let the complexity of the flavour scare you, Syrah is a red wine that plays well with lamb, beef, and white cheddar. A great winter wine or enjoy it any time of the year.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a full-bodied red wine variety. It tastes of black cherry, baking spices, black currant and cedar. Pair this drink with some smoked meats and aged cheddar to properly enjoy. A great colder weather wine, but you can enjoy it at any time of the year.

Now that you know a few tips on pairing your wines, have a great  National Wine Day!


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About Stout Beer

Stout beer is usually related to creamy strong, dark beer. And a lot of times people will think of Guinness when stout becomes the conversation. And whilst many types of stout beer are creamy, dark and strong, a lot of varieties of stout are quite different to one another. For example; did you know Guinness isn’t very high in alcohol content?  That’s right, and it’s actually the same as Bud Light beer at 4.20%. Amazing!

The number one thing that makes a stout beer from other stout beers is the roasted flavour that comes from roasted barley traditionally made by highly kilning barley grain that has not been malted.

Let’s take a look at the history of the stout style to better understand and contribute to a stout conversation the next time it comes up.

Stout Beer – A little history

The word “stout” has been around for a long time and was used to refer to strong beers as far back as the late 1600s and early 1700s. And they were stronger varieties of porters which became known as “stout porters.” Porters first got it’s origins in London and became popular amongst you guessed it, porters! And because the flavour was so strong it tended to last longer and didn’t go bad as quickly as other beers. Plus it had a great tasted in warmer weather and was cheaper than other beers, The word “stout” was used to describe strong versions of all different types of beers back in the day and wasn’t actually a beer style of it’s own. For example, some people would refer to a Stout pale ale, but it eventually developed in to it’s own style people are more familiar with today.

When porters made went to Ireland the St. James’s Gate Brewery (Guinness) first started brewing it’s “porter” in the late 1700s. And it was was not at all like the  Guiness is know for in regards to being smooth, creamy and thick. Instead, it was a complex, big bodied and really strong beer with an alcohol content level at 7.5%. The brewery decided to use the name “stout porter” as a way to describe their stronger porter which after time became known as stout.

English brewers in the 1700s from the Baltic started brewing a stout called they name the Russian imperial Stout. It became a popular beer and very strong in alcohol content between 8 and 11%.  The Russian Imperial Stout was also aged for years and became very popular in the Russian Imperial Court.

Porters were very popular so breweries made them at different strengths which continued to promote the word stout. However there is still some confusion over different stouts and porters and often it simply depends on the beer’s strength.

Below is a list of some common stout styles.

Dry Irish Stout

This particular style of stout is often the one that people think of when referring to stout. Dry Irish Stout beers include tha famous Guinness beer, Murphy’s and Beamish beers in the UK. But a lot of people make the mistake of thinking these beers have a high alcohol content because of their dark colour when usually they are 3.5-5.5% ABV which makes them easy to drink. In most cases, a Dry Irish Stout is a medium bodied beer with a deep black colour associated with stout.

Russian Imperial Stout

Russian Imperial Stout was brewed in the 1700s for the court of Catherine II of Russia.And it sounds amazing doesn’t it? And to ensure this type of beer lasted it was loaded up with hops. It is a really strong beer typically ranging from 8 to 11% ABV and has a bitter taste with fruity notes.

Oatmeal Stout

As the name suggest Oatmeal stouts are brewed with oatmeal, surprise, surprise. And the oatmeal gives them a fuller body, smoothness and an extra note of sweetness than other stouts. Alcohol levels usually range between 4 and 7%.

Sweet (or Milk) Stout

It doesn’t sound very enticing, because the name suggest its flavour, which is true, because the sweet stout usually contains more residual dextrin and unfermented sugars than other stouts contain. And as a direct result this style of stout provides drinkers with a sweet profile along with the roasted flavour associated with stout. Milk stouts are another variation of sweet stout and usually have lactose and milk sugars in the brew.

Depending on your taste there’s usually a style of stout for you. And so we recommend going beyond the famous Guinness and trying some of the other varieties of stouts brewed across the world. And yes, Australian craft breweries are doing a stellar job brewing stout including this months Beer of the month club selection.

Watts River Brewing – Dry Roast Stout (Pictured above).



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Beer Of The Month Club. Watts River Brewing

Hi folks,

Long time between cheers! At least in blog terms.

We continued our never ending search for the best craft beer every month to deliver to our members and it was by chance my parents ran in to one of the Watts River Brewing family at a local bowls club.

So when Mum told me the story I wanted to know more about the two brewers who used to work at the famous White Rabbit brewery in Healesville, Victoria and thought.. these guys must know what they’re doing! I say this because the White Rabbit Dark Ale was one of the first craft beers I had the pleasure of tasting back in the day and was so impressed I started drinking more and more and..anyway back to Watts River Brewing.

Check out the Watts River Micro Brewery in the Yarra Valley on Google maps >

Watts River Brewing call Healesville their home in the Yarra Valley, Victoria - and use the Watts River right next to them as one of their main supplies of brewing water. In other words, it’s a great foundation for producing fresh locally produced Australian craft beer.

“Why did you leave White Rabbit?” I said to Ben (Watts River Brewing Co-founder), “We wanted to brew our own beer without the quality being watered down.” Okay, enough said. But I still love the White Rabbit Dark Ale.

This months Beer of the month selection is the Stout aka Dry Roasty Stout from Watts River Brewing.

Dry Roasty Stout

Dry Roasty Stout

Quote from the Watts River Brewing website.

“A dark, dry, roasty stout built on flavours of coffee and dark chocolate as well as a tiny hint of smoke drifting around in the background. Perfect to savour by yourself or share with an old mate.”

So instead of a roast, I propose a toast to the Watts River Brewing family and say cheers to a job well done. P.s we loved it :)


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It’s a monthly beer club where members
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Did Gary Lyon Catch First World Problems?

Gary Lyon started his media career during his football days when he reportedly approached a local newspaper and offered to write stories for them free of charge. And today, well yesterday a couple of weeks ago he had risen to the top of the football media world! That is until a story broke in the Herald Sun by Mark Robinson that Gary Lyon had slept with one of his best mates (and co star of the Footy Show) Billy Brownless wife.

A picture can tell a thousand words

A picture can tell a thousand words

But guess what happened next? Gary’s management and Channel nine announced Gary was suffering from depression and we were all supposed to say poor Gary and forgive him. An act that may be forgiven, but never forgotten – because how could you trust a bloke who would do such a thing let alone respect his old school team mate type commentary style again.

Actually now I’m starting to feel sorry for Gary. Poor Gary. I mean, he might just end up moving interstate so he can walk the streets like a non celebrity does, invest in businesses or property development and live a less public multi millionaire’s life.


GABS Best Craft Beers Australia

The GABS 100 best craft beers made in Australia has just been released.

Craft beer tasting paddle

Craft beer tasting paddle

The poll is supported by Dan Murphy’s, Crafty Pint, Australian Brews News and The Local Taphouse which attracts thousands of Australian craft beer fans voting for their top 5 Australian craft beers.

So here it is. Chug, chug..err I mean drum roll please..

GABS Hottest 100 Australian Craft Beers.
1 ‘Pacific Ale’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Stone & Wood, NSW)
2 ‘Hop Hog’ American-style IPA (Feral, WA)
3 ‘IIPA’ Double American-style IPA (Pirate Life, SA) NEW
4 ‘Pale Ale’ American-style Pale Ale (Pirate Life, SA) NEW
5 ‘Pale Ale’ American-style Pale Ale (Little Creatures, WA)
6 ‘150 Lashes’ Australian-style Pale Ale (James Squire, NSW)
7 ‘Pale Ale’ American-style Pale Ale (4 Pines, NSW)
8 ‘Kolsch’ (4 Pines, NSW)
9 ‘Former Tenant’ American-style IPA (Modus Operandi, NSW)
10 ‘Karma Citra’ Black IPA (Feral, WA) GABS (2011)
11 ‘Throwback’ Specialty IPA (Pirate Life, SA) NEW
12 ‘Hop Thief 7’ American-style Pale Ale (James Squire, NSW) NEW
13 ‘Taco Beer’ Specialty Beer (Two Birds, VIC) GABS (2013)
14 ‘Milk and Two Sugars’ Sweet Stout (BrewCult, VIC) NEW / GABS (2015)
15 ‘Beechworth Pale Ale’ American-style Pale Ale (Bridge Road, VIC)
16 ‘Golden Stout Time’ Sweet Stout (Big Shed, SA) NEW / GABS (2015)
17 ‘War Hog’ American-style IPA (Feral, WA) NEW
18 ‘Pale Ale’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Coopers, SA)
19 ‘Summer Ale’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Mountain Goat, VIC)
20 ‘Steam Ale’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Mountain Goat, VIC)
21 ‘Dark Ale’ Dark Mild (White Rabbit, VIC)
22 ‘Ramjet 2014/15 (Whisky Aged)’ Russian Imperial Stout (Boatrocker, VIC) NEW
23 ‘Three Sheets’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Lord Nelson Hotel, NSW)
24 ‘Red’ American-style Amber Ale (Nail, WA)
25 ‘India Red Ale’ American-style IPA (Prancing Pony, SA)
26 ‘777’ Double American-style IPA (Riverside, NSW)
27 Noisy Minor ‘Admiral Ackbar’ American-style Amber Ale (Fortitude, QLD)
28 ‘The Chancer’ Blonde/Golden Ale (James Squire, NSW)
29 ‘Cloud Catcher’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Stone & Wood, NSW)
30 ‘Newtowner’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Young Henry’s, NSW)
31 Noisy Minor ‘ANZUS’ American-style IPA (Fortitude, QLD)
32 ‘Fat Yak’ American-style Pale Ale (Matilda Bay, VIC)
33 ‘Bright Ale’ Blonde/Golden Ale (Little Creatures, WA)
34 ‘Small Ale’ Specialty IPA (Colonial, WA)
35 ‘Indian Summer Pale Ale’ Australian-style Pale Ale (4 Pines, NSW) NEW
36 ‘Hangman’ American-style Pale Ale (Rocks, NSW)
37 ‘Copy Cat’ American-style IPA (Mash, WA)
38 ‘XPA (Extra Pale Ale)’ American-style Pale Ale (Wolf of the Willows, VIC)
39 ‘Vale Ale’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Vale, SA)
40 ‘Dog Days’ American Wheat (Little Creatures, WA) NEW
41 ‘Imperial West Coast Red Rye IPA’ Specialty IPA (4 Pines, NSW) NEW
42 ‘Praline’ Belgian Specialty Ale (La Sirène, VIC) GABS (2014)
43 ‘Return of the Dread’ Foreign Extra Stout (Little Creatures, WA) NEW
44 ‘Roger Ramjet 2015 (Bourbon Aged)’ Russian Imperial Stout (Boatrocker, VIC) NEW
45 ‘IPA’ American-style IPA (Hawkers, VIC) NEW
46 ‘Tusk 2015’ American-style IPA (Feral, WA) NEW
47 ‘IPA’ American-style IPA (Little Creatures, WA)
48 ‘Australian Pale Ale’ (4 Pines, NSW) NEW
49 ‘Fred’ American-style IPA (Murray’s, NSW)
50 ‘Growler’ American-style Brown Ale (2 Brothers, VIC)
51 ‘Fancy Pants’ American-style Amber Ale (Mountain Goat, VIC)
52 ‘Windjammer’ American-style IPA (Green Beacon, QLD)
53 ‘Pale Ale’ American-style Pale Ale (Hawkers, VIC) NEW
54 ‘Watermelon Warhead’ Berliner Weisse (Feral, WA) GABS (2012)
55 ‘Californicator’ American-style IPA (Big Shed, SA) NEW
56 ‘Pale Ale’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Kosciuszko, NSW)
57 ‘Citrus IPA’ Specialty IPA (4 Pines, NSW) NEW
58 ‘Golden Ale’ Blonde/Golden Ale (Two Birds, VIC)
59 ‘Temptress’ Porter (Holgate, VIC)
60 ‘Pale Ale’ American-style Pale Ale (Hawthorn, VIC)
61 ‘Calypso’ American-style Pale Ale (Odyssey, VIC)
62 ‘Two to The Valley’ American-style IPA (Newstead, QLD)
63 ‘F-Yeah’ American-style Pale Ale (Big Shed, SA)
64 ‘Kung Foo’ Pale Lager (2 Brothers, VIC)
65 ‘Garden Ale’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Stone & Wood, NSW)
66 ‘Pale Ale’ Belgian Pale Ale (White Rabbit, VIC)
67 ‘Sunset Ale’ American-style Amber Ale (Two Birds, VIC)
68 ‘Dark Red IPA’ Specialty IPA (Six String, NSW)
69 ‘Atomic Pale Ale’ American-style Pale Ale (Gage Roads, WA)
70 ‘Angry Man Pale Ale’ American-style Pale Ale (Murray’s, NSW)
71 ‘Winston’ American-style Pale Ale (Shenanigans, NSW)
72 ‘Hopsmith’ American-style IPA (Akasha, NSW) NEW
73 ‘Clout Stout 2015’ Russian Imperial Stout (Nail, WA) NEW
74 ‘Grizz’ American-style Amber Ale (2 Brothers, VIC)
75 ‘#010 West Coast IPA’ American-style IPA (Exit, VIC) NEW
76 ‘Draught’ Kölsch (Colonial, WA)
77 ‘IPA’ American-style IPA (Mornington Peninsula, VIC)
78 ‘ESB’ Extra Special Bitter (4 Pines, NSW)
79 ‘Yenda Pale Ale’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Australian Beer Co, NSW)
80 ‘Rogers’ American-style Amber Ale (Little Creatures, WA)
81 ‘Splice of Heaven’ Specialty IPA (Moon Dog, VIC) NEW
82 ‘West Coast IPA’ American-style IPA (Batch, NSW)
83 ‘Vanilla Milk Stout’ Sweet Stout (Thirsty Crow, NSW)
84 ‘Barrel Breed Barley Wine’ UK-style Barleywine (Mountain Goat, VIC) NEW
85 ‘Bling’ American-style IPA (Bridge Road, VIC)
86 ‘The Fox’ Vienna-style Lager (Rabbit & Spaghetti, SA) NEW
87 ‘Session Ale’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Mismatch, SA)
88 ‘Crankshaft’ American-style IPA (BentSpoke, ACT)
89 ‘Pale Ale’ American-style Pale Ale (Mornington Peninsula, VIC)
90 ‘28’ American-style Pale Ale (Burleigh, QLD)
91 ‘3 Quarter Time’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Newstead, QLD)
92 ‘White Ale’ Witbier (White Rabbit, VIC)
93 ‘Sly Fox’ American-style Pale Ale (Feral, WA)
94 ‘ESB’ Extra Special Bitter (Hargreaves Hill, VIC)
95 ‘55’ American-style Pale Ale (3 Ravens, VIC)
96 ‘Metamorphosis’ American-style IPA (KAIJU!, VIC)
97 ‘Sparkling Ale’ Australian-style Pale Ale (Coopers, SA)
98 ‘Zoo Feeder’ American-style IPA (Modus Operandi, NSW)
99 ‘Hopped Out Red’ American-style Amber Ale (KAIJU!, VIC)
100 ‘Hazelnut Brown’ UK-style Brown Ale (Bad Shepherd, VIC) NEW


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Myer Closing Down

Myer is closing one of their flagship stores at Chadstone shopping centre and is being replaced by international retailer TOPSHOP.



“As far as we can tell Myer isn’t closing their entire store at Chadstone; but the sign is up to vacate a whole level of premium retail space at Australia’s number one shopping centre; a space they have held for a long time and TOPSHOP is advertised as their replacement,” said Rob from Gift Of The Month Clubs.

Industry experts have questioned why TOPSHOP thinks they can make the space work and Myer cant; or is it just a matter of international department stores having better managers than Australia’s  oldest department store?

“It’s not something we like to see happening to Australian brands,” said Rob, “and unfortunately reminds us of the recent downfall of Dick Smith stores.”

Myer has lost its way over the last decade or so with declining revenues, a plunging share price and market share lost in Australia to new entrants and international stores entering Australia.

“It’s definitely a worrying sign for Myer, investors and Australian retail.”


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The Problem with Myer’s “No Regets” Return Policy

Myer has introduced a No Regrets return policy in an effort to drive more foot traffic in to their stores over the traditionally slow February and March months after Christmas. But does this increase the possibility of buying something used?

MYER No Regrets Policy

MYER No Regrets Policy

“Our No Regrets Returns Policy is all about making it easier for you to experiment and try something different,” the Myer website says.

But will this increase the possibility of buying something used?

“Well I guess it does,” said Max from Gift Of The Month Clubs, “not that they didn’t always have a return policy, but it wasn’t openly encouraged like this and so it’s probably going to get used a lot more now which increases the risk of buying something that’s already been worn.”

But when Myer was asked if they saw this as a risky move they said:

“I don’t think so as long as people bring back products in saleable conditions … Myers always had a great returns policy it’s nothing different,” he says.


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Coffee and Breakfast Review at The Pantry, Brighton

I recently visited a well known cafe restaurant in Melbourne in the affluent suburb of Brighton, Victoria called the Pantry. I ordered breakfast and a coffee and whilst I enjoyed the experience I walked away with mixed reviews.

Pantry Breakfast

Pantry Breakfast

Kabir scrambled eggs, chilli, garlic, onion, parsley, side of harissa and toasted roti bread $20. Review. 5 stars

History: I have visited the Pantry on Church St, Brighton a number of times and ordered a latte. But on reflection I cannot remember a time when I thought “Wow that’s a great coffee” like I would expect from an establishment like this. I mean, the Pantry on Church St is probably the best known, upmarket cafe restaurant in Brighton, made popular by local residents and celebrities alike, and the food lives up to its reputation. But their coffee doesn’t reach the lofty standards set by their food, location and reputation.

Wind forward to today and I had just finished my breakfast when a man sat on the table next to me. After a while had passed I noticed his coffee looked a lot better than mine and so I asked, “Is that a latte?” He replied “Yes, but it’s a three quarter latte.” “Oh” replied, “That explains the colour.”

The man asked what type of coffee I had ordered, “A latte”, I said, “but it’s not very good.” And told me he had ordered a latte just the other day (at the Pantry – which obviously means he sometimes or regularly orders a latte) but had to ask for another half a shot and was the reason he had decided to order a three quarter latte instead.

We continued our conversation and he told me how the family owner of the Lavazza coffee company (who was in Australia recently) had visited the Pantry (who he said is Lavazza’s largest customer in Australia) and how they had stayed for nearly four hours before flying back home. And I wondered what they thought of the coffee..

So I told the man how I thought the Pantry food was great but the coffee left a lot to be desired – and said that in my opinion their standard latte wasn’t any better than what you could order at any sandwich shop in the suburbs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that; it’s just that it doesn’t match the location, food standard or reputation of the place – And so after having a nice conversation we parted ways.

And then it hit me – Lazazza coffee is a commercial coffee brand as opposed to being a small, specialty coffee roaster. Which explains everything. But this isn’t the type of coffee I would expect from a place like the Pantry. And there lies the missing piece to the puzzle. It’s the coffee beans!

Pantry review.
First class food. Economy coffee. Service good.


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Kogan Gloats Over Australian Icon Demise

Dick Smith recently placed itself in to voluntary administration while Kogan has used it as an opportunity to gloat about his role in the icons downfall.

““On one hand, we love competition — it gets us out of bed in the morning. On the other hand, is proud to have played a significant part in creating more efficiency in the industry and driving down prices for shoppers, which has had a noticeable effect on many large retailers, past and present,” he said.

Kogan is also promoting a “Dont get Dick’d” advertisement on

Rob from Gift Of The Month Clubs said, “I personally bought a brand name Acer laptop (as opposed to buying a cheap home brand) from Dick Smith over Christmas and are sad to see an Australian icon fall”.

Acer laptop

Acer laptop

Dick Smith administrator said..due to the financial circumstances of the Group, outstanding gift vouchers cannot be honoured and deposits cannot be refunded”.

“So I’m also wondering if my Dick Smith (or Acer) warranty is still valid?”

The news is a sad state of affairs for Dick Smith customers, staff, shareholders and Australian retail. So the team at Gift Of The Month Clubs got together to see if we could find a way to help Dick Smith customers who cannot redeem their gift vouchers – And are pleased to announce that for the next month we will give all Dick Smith gift voucher customers a 3 months free shipping voucher (Valued at $21) on all new 6 and 12 month gift memberships.

To redeem: Email support at gift of the month clubs after buying a 6 or 12 month gift membership and we will refund your account $21.

“It’s not a lot – but it’s the most we can do and if everyone did something it would go a long way to helping people who can not  redeem their Dick Smith vouchers.”

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