Before Brad posts some of our reflections on the truly wonderful week that was, here's a rundown of the Brewsvegas festivities as seen and experienced by Brewed, Crude and Bitter.
We had a wedding on Saturday night and as such failed to surface until late on Sunday afternoon. The Rocks Brewing Co. takeover at The Burrow proved an excellent way to slide into Brewsvegas-mode. We also made a quick stop into Archive for a cheeky brew before heading home. Big props to the coffee-infused One Shot Red Ale, The Butcher Porter and as always The Burrow's pizzas.
Brad has already submitted an excellent round up from the Instagrammys.
As Brad was otherwise occupied on Wednesday night, my lovely, understanding and very supportive wife accompanied me to the Feral Brewing tap takeover at Bosc. The chance to taste more beers from the Feral stable (or is it sty?) was not something that I'd give up lightly. I was dearly hoping that I'd finally get my grubby mitts on some Fantapants but alas! As Steve from Feral informed me, they were completely out of the much lauded imperial red IPA. On the plus side I tried some of the incredible Barrel Fermented Hog and the black IPA Karma Citra which I can't recommend highly enough. Emily and the team at Bosc have firmly cemented themselves as one of my favourite venues in Brisbane.
Where do I even begin? For us, Thursday just about provided the pinnacle of Brewsvegas. Having both managed to wrangle an extra hour off work, Brad and I started once again at The Burrow for Big, Bold, Bacchus! Four debut beers from Bacchus, one of which can never be repeated. A particular stand out for me was the Leidenschaft Berliner Weisse - a blend of 3 sour beers with a big passionfruit hit. I must confess that it was my very first foray into the world of sour beer and it definitely won't be the last. Ross Kenrick from Bacchus worked the room like the seasoned pro he is. He was even kind enough to talk with us about powdered peanuts, lactobacillus and brewing schedules. I should probably also mention that I consumed my third pizza in five days.
From The Burrow we made our way through the rain to Tippler’s Tap for the Untappd event. Ten breweries, ten beers, 1 winner. By the time we arrived the place was absolutely jam-packed, necessitating a wait outside until some punters had left (don't you know who we are?!). We grabbed some tasting paddles and made our way through all the offerings. That is, all except one, which in a twist of fate was to be declared the winner. Beer #10 on the list was Bacchus Brewing Co.’s War and Peat - a big imperial stout aged in Beenleigh Rum barrels. It only took one whiff to know that there was no way any of that beer was going in and around my person. Unfortunately for us, our formative drinking years involved several conversations on the big white telephone after drinking way too much rum and coke. As such, the big rum aroma was enough to send my stomach into a spasm of previously repressed, vomit laden memories. For us it would seem, War and Peat perfectly mirrored its namesake (you know the one, that light read by Tolstoy) – revered by critics but impossible to finish.
We had cast our votes and were on the way to the door for a relatively early night when we ran into fellow blogger Jason from Brews and Bacon. After a lengthy conversation on beard dandruff and the beers on offer we were convinced to make a dash through the teeming rain to Newstead Brewing Co. for their IPA Jockey event. Once there we had a few of the IPAs and also witnessed the utter devastation on Darren from 250 Beers' face when he found out that the beer he and Jack from The Westbender had collaborated on missed out on the Untappd Trophy by one vote. Now I'm not saying that I am solely responsible for this, but I was initially going to vote for their beer but changed my mind at the last second. Sorry, dudes!
On Saturday morning I made sure to drag my now very unhealthy carcass (pizza tally now up to four!) to The Scratch for a special Q&A with Brad Rogers of Stone & Wood, Dave MacGill of Moo Brew, Danielle Allen of Two Birds Brewing Co. and Andrew Gow of Mornington Peninsular Brewing Co. It was fantastic to hear their insights about the price of hops and the often limited availability of certain varieties, and also the pros and cons of using fresh hops as opposed to pellets or powder. In addition, there was talk of running a small business and the inevitable lack of cashflow that comes with running a brewery. One thing that particularly stood out for me was Dave's advice of “don't ruin a hobby by making it a career.”
In a perfect world we would have been able to attend more events, drink more beers and embarrass ourselves in front of more people. However, given my increased girth and decreased net worth I would say that we did fairly well for ourselves.