WE’VE all heard about wine connoisseurs, but now we can become beer aficionados with the release of The 2011 Beer Lovers Guide to Australia.
But unlike fellow wine-specific publications, this book doesn’t teach you how to swirl your beer around and take a sniff. Instead, it examines all the nooks and crannies of the Australian beer industry and where to get the best brew.
Beer is normally the sort of drink you get cheap at the football or sip alone on your couch, but this book takes the traditional Aussie beverage and turns it into something much more. Did you know there are 44 standard flavours of beer? Not many people do. But those who do, will also be able to tell you the difference between a stout and a larger, pale ale and regular ale and what yeast can do to a drink. If you didn’t know any of these things and wish you did, don’t worry. This guide will tell you.
The book is also a guide to bars and breweries around Australia, reviewing places, menus and flavours to recommend the best spots for a good beer anywhere in the country.
And while the authors of The Beer Lovers Guide to Australia travelled across the country for the ultimate gourmet beer experience, we thought we’d stick to sharing the top three Victorian breweries recommended in the book:
1. James Squire Brewhouse
James Squire was a convict on the First Fleet in 1788, but went on to become the first commercial brewer in Australia. Now his legacy lives on in his Brewhouse in the Docklands. According to the guide, your tastebuds will get a work-out here as there are unlimited beer options and flavours. Who knew there was more than one type of beer? I always thought it was either normal or light!
2. Mountain Goat Brewery
Located in Richmond, the Mountain Goat Brewery made its name in specialty and seasonal beers and ales. The award-winning brewery offers a rare selection of big flavoured, high alcohol-content drinks, adding notes of coffee beans, chardonnay and other creative ingredients into their brews for a unique taste.
3. True South
A bit far from Melbourne in a suburb called Black Rock, True South offers a large range of beers for any palette. Infusing mint, apples and even scotch to their beers and ciders, their selection is designed for fancy dinner events. All their beers function like wine as they can accompany and compliment different foods.
All the breweries mentioned in The 2001 Beer Lovers Guide To Australia offer tours and double as restaurants, so you can enhance your palate and delight your tastebuds, as well as impress your friends or date with your knowledge of beer.
Beer terminology 101
Sometimes ordering a beer can feel like speaking gibberish, especially when you try to say names like ‘kolsh’ and ‘saison’. Luckily the guide doubles as a translator for the beer inept.
Yeast: An ingredient in beer that enhances flavours of banana, clove and apparently bacon! Present in Australian Pale Ales, yeast also denotes fruity and occasionally peppery flavours.
Malt: Malt heavy beers tend to be a darker amber colour and tone. The flavour is seemingly more bitter, but can express traces of coffee, caramel, chocolate and toffee in their Stouts, Porters and Dark Ales (all types of beer). Think Guinness.
Hops: An ingredient that enhances the citrus and herbal aspects of ales, often leaving a bitter and refreshing taste. Hop is the ‘ahhh’ noise you make after your first sip of a cold beer on a warm summer’s day
Ensemble Beer: The standard beer where no one elemental ingredient dominates and the flavours are balanced. So the basic, not fancy brew you might drink at the football for example.
The 2011 Beer Lovers Guide to Australia retails at $24.95 and can be bought online or at all good bookstores.