Monday, May 30, 2016

Scenic views and friendly brews

Things I see on my bike rides and runs...

I'll be the judge of that...

BJCP Session 4 was held at The Wig & Pen as we learned about Scottish lights, heavies and exports, Irish reds, dark milds, and British browns and strongs. Very tasty!

One of the best values for money is the soup at Bean & Grain at the Fyshwick Markets; hot and tasty and served in a cob roll for only $10. Today's offering was French Onion.

French Onion Soup
I know my friends are geeks; lovely bonkers geeks that is. Here they are in their matching t-shirts.

Calamity Sue and General Philosopher in His & Hers geek-wear

Monday, May 23, 2016

Good Beer Week, Melbourne

We went to Melbourne for Good Beer Week, so there will be lots of beer among these photographs - partly business, but nearly all pleasure. We began at the Hotel Lincoln while waiting to be able to check in to our room.

In the evening there was a beer-off between Feral and Colonial at The Royston in Richmond. We caught a tram out there to help them decide which was better. For $20 There were five glasses of each and a voting slip. The beers ranged from wheat beers and pale ales to IPAs and porters. Feral won by one point. 

Brendan Varris (Feral) wins the 'trophy' from Sorcha Gillen (Colonial)
The next day I went to the National Gallery of Victoria to see an exhibition on 200 Years of Australian Fashion. I'll post about this more later, but there were some other pieces of interest, including this installation by Fiona Hall using PVC, glass beads and wire.

Dead in the Water by Fiona Hall
Reminiscent of the display cases used in museums, the cabinet is split in two as though above and below a waterline. Above the line the delicately-pierced 'masculine' plumbing pipes have a 'feminine' lace-like appearance. Hall's environmental concerns are made clear by the forms below the waterline which are inspired by aquatic animals. The artwork suggests the unequal relationship between natural resources and human effluent.

Model for a Sunken Monument by Ricky Swallow
Jock Clutterbuck's burnished aluminium sculpture, Niagara is comprised of segments of circles, which are meant to represent the violence of cascading water and arcs of spray and mist. Apparently the title is symbolic of any powerful waterfall. The artist claims that although most people have heard of the Niagara Falls, most people have never seen them, so they are as fictitious as the artwork.
Niagara by Jock Clutterbuck
The gallery is full of symbols and shapes, both in artworks, such as this meticulous model of a spiral staircase by an unknown carpenter/ designer, and the building itself.

Meanwhile, Him Outdoors sat at the Beer de Luxe and waited with a pint - that's his style of art.

Drinking proceeded apace at Young & Jackson with a talk Joel Drysdale of Venom Brewing.

That evening saw us at Two Row with Stephen Allerston, the pilot brewer from Brew Dog. What a great job this is: he tries brewing different styles to see whether they are worth taking further. He had a long chat (i.e. was pestered by) with Him Outdoors about beer recipes, and we tried the Tactical Nuclear Penguin (32% Imperial Stout), Sink the Bismark (41% Imperial IPA), and Elvis Juice (6.5% American IPA) - all of which were very tasty.

Through a glass Geordie
I managed to get tickets for Matilda, the Musical, which was thoroughly exciting. They were the theatre-owner's tickets and the best seats in the house - front row centre of the dress circle. Him Outdoors hadn't packed any theatre-going clothes so we had gone shopping earlier in the day for this lovely new smart shirt.

Stage all set for Matilda
Various venues throughout Melbourne are Pints of Origin for the week. The Gertrude featured beers from Tasmania, so we sampled several.

One of these chopping boards is not quite like the other ones... but it has got a picture to help us identify it.

The dinners were excellent, though. That fresh pea, asparagus and artichoke and linguine was probably the healthiest meal I had all week. Him Outdoors obviously went with bangers and mash.

The next bar was Catfish in Fitzroy, where there was pop-up parade each night featuring tap takeovers and limited edition beers. Tonight was Panhead's turn. 

Panhead beers at Catfish

On the way home, Him Outdoors stopped to chat to this little fellow. He introduces himself to them with the greeting, "Hello possum!" Yes, it's a little but weird.
Possum in the park
I managed to squeeze in another bit of theatre on Thursday morning. I had to sit with a group of schoolkids, but the play at La Mama, Tales from a City by the Sea was excellent nonetheless. 

Walking through the streets of Melbourne, one gets to see some great graffiti, such as this wonderful work. Him Outdoors sighs as I take photos and tells me that I've probably taken them all before, which is possible. But here it is again.

We visited the bars of Fitzroy, Thornbury, Abbotsford and East Bunswick.

The Northern Git. Outside a bar.
The tap list at Carwyn Cellars
Cleansing Ale by Two Metre Tall and Red Sky at Night by Old Wives Ales
Halcyon Belgian Imperial IPA from Thornbridge Brewery and Tripoli from Wheaty Brewing Corps
Pass the Courvoisier and Rantallion's Restorative at Moon Dog
Dinner at Atticus Finch was special - there were four courses, each with three Scandinavian beers and three cured meats; hams, sausages, salamis, terrines, sopressa, bacon, chorizo... all served with pickles, onions and chillies.

As well as a new shirt, we bought Him Outdoors a new pair of boots. We weren't the only ones, as our friends and drinking companions had done exactly the same thing!

The next day started with a trip to the Queen Victoria Market for coffee and breakfast.

And then off to the serious business of GABS 2016 (The Great Australian Beer Spectapular) Session One. It's a fabulous event with a whole load of beers to try in the salubrious surroundings of the Royal Exhibition Building. I have copious notes on all the beers I tasted, but I shall post them elsewhere.

In the evening we caught up with the Scottish Tassie Devil at the Great Northern Hotel, which was the Pint of Origin for the U.S.A. we did our darndest to do it justice, as you see.

As well as beer and culture, we have to fit in some sport, so were lucky enough to be invited to the members' stand at the MCG for the AFL game between Collingwood and Geelong. The person who took us along is a Collingwood supporter, and they won, so he was happy.

And back to GABS for the final evening, Session Four.

Him Outdoors running out of hands at GABS
Luke from Prickly Moses rang the bell to bring the session to a close.

That's all, folks!