After Melbourne, Nicole and I flew to the Outback and Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park, home of Australia’s most famous geological standout— Uluṟu/Ayers Rock. Oddly enough, Kata Tjuṯa/Mount Olga is a nearby formation that is bigger in area, height, and Aboriginal sacredness but, for some reason, it never hit it big in the European-descendant demographic. I think I can see the reason why, though. Being such a monolithic structure makes Uluṟu a little more impressive than the conglomeration that is Kata Tjuṯa.
|Kata Tjuṯa/Mount Olga|
Beer dork that I am, I was making quite the show of assessing my beer by holding it up to the light and in front of a white piece of paper. Not surprisingly, this turned a few heads. One such head belonged to Todd, an employee of Blue Sky and the man who was about to proctor the Believe it or Not bar trivia. Politely, but with obvious curiosity, he asked what in the Sam Hill I was doing. After a quick explanation I handed him my card, he handed me Tess’s card (she being the Advertising & Marketing Manager for the brewery) so that we might get in contact and get an insider’s view of Blue Sky, and thus set in motion a series of events that eventually capped off our Aussie journey (do be patient, dear reader, for these events will unfold before your eager eyes through my most masterful storytelling).
And, hell yes, we participated in the pub trivia. If you don’t know me but have read this blog then you can be assured of three things: I like beer, I like roller coasters, and I like pub trivia. Just like at the Mitre Tavern, we placed second. The killing round was the sports round; it was almost exclusively about cricket, rugby, and Aussie-rules football. To a couple of Americans, these sports look like the bastard children of Quidditch and Calvinball so, needless to say, we floundered. We did, however, get the bonus round correct and walked out of Blue Sky with a free six-pack of Blue Sky Pilsner (4.5% ABV). Sweet.
During the game I enjoyed a Cairns Gold (3.3% ABV). This time I know I got the right beer because they served it in a “stubbie” AKA bottle. I know that in America we call short bottles stubbies but it seems that all bottles in Australia share this designation. Cairns Gold is very clear and has the color of dark champagne. It is the color that non-beer geeks associate with beer. A floral hop aroma is pretty easy to root out (yes, Aussie readers, I know what “root” means to you but I’m writing to a predominately American audience so get your mind out of the gutter). These floral hops have an interesting effect on the taste; the beer is not bitter but possesses a sweet, flowery, and fruity flavor that is reminiscent of eating a honeysuckle. I would pin the causes of the flowery and fruity flavors on the hops and the sweetness on the malts.
The final beer I had before departing was True Blue Stout (6.4 % ABV), a beer that, I think, is suffering from an identity crisis. The colors are right for a stout: dark, chestnut brown, red highlights, and an off-white head. The aroma, however, is slightly off. It has a very mild smell and it’s not very roasty. It smells, instead, like the sweet malts found in a nut brown ale. The flavor redeems True Blue to some extent; it does taste a little bit like a stout with a mild roast flavor and light coffee and dark chocolate aftertaste. It also has a tiny base of bitter that sits in the back of the tongue. However, as I drank, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was also tasting the nutty flavors of a brown ale. Whatever redemption was in the flavor was taken away by the mouthfeel; True Blue is too dang light to be a stout. It’s not heavy and it’s not thick and creamy. A stout should feel like a meal, this beer was just too thinned out. It tasted quite good, though; I just don’t believe it’s being marketed correctly. My advice to Blue sky: re-brand True Blue as a brown and then formulate a new, monstrously thick recipe for a stout and serve that sucker on nitro.
We have more to talk about including a rainforest trip, snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, and a lot more interactions with the fine folks at Blue Sky. Stay tuned for more.