Tag Archives: Boutique Beer

Good Beer Week This Weekend

So what are you doing this weekend?

Craft Beers

Craft Beers

Well we’re still deciding between the many events scheduled at the Good Beer Week festival in Melbourne, Australia this weekend including Foodie events, Good Times events, Beer 101 events and more. Check out the list at the Good Beer Week website.

“It’s becoming one of the best beer festivals for craft beer lovers in the world”, said Max from the Beer Of The Month Club.

Cheers,

Beer Of The Month Club Goes to The Holgate Brewhouse

Well it’s that time of the month again folks where we search for the latest and greatest craft beer for members and gift recipients alike. So we started the search this month by first looking at previous beer of the month club selections and came to the conclusion it was about time we featured a beer of the bitter variety. But it had to be an award winner (a prestigious or multi award winner, either one, we’re not fussy) and after much deliberation decided to head up the Calder Freeway to the Holgate micro brewery in Woodend Victoria.

Woodend Sign on the Calder Freeway

Woodend Sign on the Calder Freeway

The Holgate Brewhouse was founded by Paul and Natasha Holgate after seeing the specialty craft beer industry thriving in the USA and Europe while travelling in the 1990′s. And as a direct result they decided to bring their love of craft beer to Australia and started brewing their own in 1999 in a small town called Woodend in Victoria. And after a few successful brews the Holgates decided to take over the old Keatings Hotel and called it the Holgate hotel where today you’ll find them brewing their own range of craft beers, serving it on tap and cooking up some wonderful gourmet food using the best local ingredients.

Holgate Brewhouse

Holgate Brewhouse

We arrived around lunchtime on a Sunday and found the Holgate staff busy pouring pots and taking food orders. And while we waited to speak with Colin (aka ”the manager”) I took the opportunity to take in the atmosphere and get to know the pub a little better where I saw families, couples and friends seated at the bar and inside tables enjoying a beer or two with matching gourmet food being ordered by what seemed like the majority of customers. And then it appeared (drum roll please); the famous Holgate Brewhouse tasting paddle with not 4 but 8 different craft beers on offer. But be warned if you’re driving folks because it’s equivalent to four standard drinks which meant I could safely taste about half of each but by no means left disappointed.

Holgate Brewhouse beer tasting paddle

Holgate Brewhouse beer tasting paddle

And after much deliberation (even though we knew what we wanted, but it’s safe to try before you buy and someone’s got to do it) we decided on the Holgate Extra Special Bitter for the April Beer of the month and will be back for more in the not too distant future. Watch this space.

Rob loading beer cases

Rob loading beer cases

Quote from the Holgate Brewhouse website:


ESB
Extra Special Bitter
5.0% AV / OG 1.046 / IBU 40 / EBC 20
Gold Medal – AIBA 2000, 2001, 2006;
2010 Gold & Trophy Royal Perth Beer show 2009

Your new best friend. A long-standing favourite among beer enthusiasts and our most awared beer. A classic earthy English bitter you meet in the pub and invite home for a round of snooker and darts.

And that’s what we did (except without the snooker and darts unfortunately), but enjoyed the journey just the same. So thanks Colin (the Holgate Brewhouse manager) and team for your hospitality and would highly recommend the experience for all beer lovers.

Cheers,

Robert (founder and ceo of Gift Of The Month Clubs)

Are you on Facebook? Tell us what you think about the Holgate Extra Special Bitter.

 

My Beer Tasting Paddle, February Beer Of The Month Club Selection

The Beer Of The Month, February

Every month we search for a new and exciting beer for our growing  membership, and it doesn’t matter what style it is as long as it’s a craft beer. Also known as a boutique beer or micro-brewed beer.

Coldstream Brewery

Coldstream Brewery

So this month I reached out to Coldstream Brewery and after speaking with Rohan Peters (one of the micro brewery founders) decided to take the journey down to Coldstream for some good old fashion beer tasting, Yarra Valley style.

I actually grew up in the suburb next to Coldstream, a place called “Gruyere” (officially called a Hamlet, not a suburb) and have nearly always taken a different route when visiting my parents to the route I was taking this time through Lilydale. Lilydale is the closest main town to Gruyere and Coldstream and the drive bought back lots of memories as we passed Lilydale High School (the High School I went to before Billanook College), the Lilydale Train Station (where everyone used to meet before going out on a Saturday night) and the York on Lilydale pub where pots were going out of fashion (if you know what I mean) and many other great landmarks across town all reminding me of a different time and story.

But enough about me, let’s talk about the Coldstream Brewery.

Quote from the Coldstream Brewery website:

It all started over several pints while Mike and Rohan were backpacking around Europe back in the 90s. After some serious taste testing of Pilsners and Ales they realised that for a country that loves beer, Australia was lacking when it came to choice and quality.

Back home they teamed up with Phil and Cam two other life-long mates and set about turning their love of craft beers into a business where each could put his skills to use. Phil’s winemaking skills to craft the cider, Cam oversaw construction of the brewery, Rohan took on sales and marketing while Mike was able to use his local contacts to source materials, including a state-of-the-art pizza oven.

When I arrived I decided to try the Coldstream Brewery tasting paddle and was advised by one of their friendly staff to start from the right side and work my way back to the left. It was a beer tasting journey from light to dark, with a delicious Cider finish.

Here’s the description of the beer (and Cider) in the Coldstream Brewery tasting paddle:

First beer. Czech Pilsner
(4.5%)

Coldstream Czech Pilsner

Coldstream Czech Pilsner

“As traditional as it gets, our Pilsner is a light and hoppy European style lager. This style originated in the city of Pilsen in the Czech republic. To keep it true to the style, we brew our Pilsner mainly using hops called Czech Saaz that come from the Czech Republic. It is brewed using a traditional layering process involving a cool fermentation and long conditioning over several weeks at a very low temperature.”

Second beer. Crisp Pal Ale
(4.6%)

Coldstream Crisp Pale Ale

Coldstream Crisp Pale Ale


A delicious golden ale brewed with premium quality English malting barley and delicately hopped with the classic aroma varities, Fuggles and East Kent Goldings.”

Third beer. Real Original Ale
(4.8%)

Coldstream Original Ale

Coldstream Original Ale

“Our Real Original Ale is a traditional English style bitter that holds a strong malty body with a clean bitter finish. We use two different UK hops: East Kent Goldings and Fuggles, which ensure this traditional ale receives its full malty flavour.”

Fourth beer. Grand Porter
(4.8%)

Coldstream Grand Porter

Coldstream Grand Porter

“It’s not a Stout, Bock or a DoppelBock. Our Grand Porter is a smooth tasting dark ale, which uses five different Malts such as chocolate malts and amber malts, to ensure it exerts a full range of dark flavours such as burnt toffee and caramel. The aroma and all together flavour of this dark ale is second to none, making anyone fall in love with it. Originating from London in the 18th century this beer is still much alive today.”

Last drink on the tasting paddle. Cider
(7%, GLUTEN-FREE)

Coldstream Cider

Coldstream Cider

“Our cider is made from 100% apple juice, strictly no powedered concentrates, using a variety of red apples grown right here in the Yarra Valley. When the apples are collected they are put into a cider press which crushes the apples releasing the juice. The juice undergoes a fermentation process under cold conditions, because we use champagne yeast to ferment the natural sugars in the apple juice, they work best at colder temperatures. As the yeast “eat away” the sugars they release a natural CO2 gas that gets trapped in the cider, carbonising and giving the cider its fizz. This is a more natural process rather than force carbonating the cider. The last step is to then filter the cider leaving it crystal and ready to be poured into your glass.”

And the results of the Coldstream Brewery beer tasting paddle are?

Drum roll..checkout the before and after pictures..

Coldstream taste paddle

Coldstream taste paddle

Coldstream tasting paddle results

Coldstream tasting paddle results

As you can see (note: the picture views are different because the before picture was taken by someone else behind the bar and the after picture was taken by me, so to follow the drink order it’s best to view it from the paddle arm side) I enjoyed the Crisp Pale Ale, the Grand Porter and the Cider and not so much the Czech Pilsner and Real Original Ale. And because we want to introduce our members to new and exciting craft beers the February Beer of the month was awarded to the Grand Porter.

From Wikipedia,

Porter is a dark style of beer originating in London in the 18th century,[1] descended from brown beer, a well hopped beer made from brown malt.[2] The name is thought to come from its popularity with street and riverporters.[3]
The history and development of stout and porter are intertwined.[4] The name “stout” for a dark beer is believed to have come about because a strong porter may be called “Extra Porter” or “Double Porter” or “Stout Porter”. The term “Stout Porter” would later be shortened to just “Stout”. For example, Guinness Extra Stout was originally called “Extra Superior Porter” and was only given the name Extra Stout in 1840.

I wouldn’t describe the Grand Porter as a sessionable beer, like for example the Boatrocker, but it is an enjoyable beer well worth trying, and the beauty is opinions will vary and I look forward to reading your reviews on Facebook.

Cheers,

Robert (Gift Of The Month Clubs founder)