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.
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
“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
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
“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
“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
“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..
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.
Porter is a dark style of beer originating in London in the 18th century, descended from brown beer, a well hopped beer made from brown malt. The name is thought to come from its popularity with street and riverporters.
The history and development of stout and porter are intertwined. 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.
Robert (Gift Of The Month Clubs founder)