Three Sheets is colored like a typical pale ale: clear and darkish yellow. It has a powerful lemony scent and there is a quick hop strike at first sip but it quickly subsides. An underlying sweetness rounds out the flavors and a typical-for-the-style dry finish completes the drinking experience.
The next beer I ordered was Victory Bitter (5% ABV), a golden beer with a malty aroma that overshadows the hoppy hints. The flavor is quite peculiar. It is spicy but not hot spicy: spices like those you’d find on the spice rack in your mom’s kitchen. To me, it tasted peppery. It’s like black pepper and hop bitterness.
|Three Sheets (I forgot to take a picture of Victory)|
First up was Belgian Pale Ale (4.5% ABV) which is a clear, light copper in color. The fruity esters are obvious; it definitely has the quintessential Belgian beer smell. The bitterness of the hops hit not just the back but everywhere in the mouth. At the same time there is a fruity undertone that is not too difficult to notice. This beer is aptly named; it is very much a bitter pale ale and it is also very much a fruity Belgian. It’s an equal mix between the two. If you’d like to try its American counterpart, try a Raging Bitch from Flying Dog Brewery and imagine it a little milder. You’ll then have some approximation of what Belgian Pale Ale is all about.
|Belgian Pale Ale|
Next in line was Belgian Chocolate Stout (5% ABV). In its round snifter glass, this dark beer almost looks like a plum with light brown foam on top. It is pitch black all the way through until most of it has been drank. Then, when there isn’t so much beer for the light to penetrate, brown highlights start to appear. The aroma is absolutely exquisite: so rich, so flavorful. It’s like melted dark chocolate in a glass. They ought to concentrate this stuff and make cologne out of it. The taste is equally scrumptious with its smooth, mocha flavor and nutty undertones. I would almost have proclaimed this the best stout I’ve ever had until Nicole reminded me of one thing: the mouthfeel. Indeed, Belgian Chocolate Stout is much too thin for the style. The viscosity just isn’t there. A stout needs to feel like a milkshake; this one was a little watered down. Still, it’s a tasty beer and worth a try for anybody stumbling in from the rain.
|Belgian Chocolate Stout|
|Special Strong Bitter|
We had dinner at The Opera Bar that night and took some night photos of its namesake landmark. While there, I enjoyed an Opera Bar Organic Pale Ale which, at the time, I didn’t know was brewed by Redoak (actually, I didn’t know until ten seconds ago when I looked it up). Honestly, I didn’t take meticulous notes on this beer because we were seated outside (under an overhang, of course) and it was dark. Plus, I was captivated by the bayside scenery. The notes I did take say that this beer is clear gold in color like a good pale ale ought to be. The aroma is light on hops and considerably yeasty. Like most Aussie pale ales (RateBeer calls it an American but I don’t believe it), the hops are mild and fleeting. The yeast gives the beer a pretzel-like taste.
|Opera Pale Ale|
Australia is a big country and it necessitates big updates. I’m going to separate my posts by city so check back soon for the word on Melbourne beers.
P.S. Thanks to our networking with Aussie beer geeks, Australia is now home to my third largest base of readers. Thanks for reading, mates.
P.P.S. Foster's is not Australian for beer. It is Australian for "cheap crap we export to America." You won't find that swill at many Aussie bars or liquor stores.
From the moment I started walking around Sydney, I had a feeling that I would really like the city. Chris said it reminded him of San Francisco but to me it feels more like Seattle. Of course, the gray, rainy weather made it feel like the Pacific Northwest. We walked to the King Street Wharf, the Rocks, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge, the Circular Quay, Mrs. Macquaries’s Road, the Government House, a couple of breweries and bars, and some good restaurants.
We did our best to find fun things to do indoors that were not too touristy. But, we did go to Sydney Wildlife World and the Sydney Aquarium. We saw a bunch of spiders including the most poisonous spider (Funnel-web) in the world. The glass between us and them was really not enough. Look up the Huntsman spider and the Redback spider. Let’s just say that I am still having nightmares from staring at those eight legged creatures. In addition, we saw several snakes including the most poisonous snake (Inland Taipan) in the world. They also have a 5-meter male saltwater crocodile. Because it is winter he is being starved so we didn’t get to see a feeding. And, of course, they have traditional Australian wildlife: koalas, kangaroos, wombats, and cassowaries. The excessive amount of rain made the koalas look especially grumpy. However, there was only one smart enough to sleep in the tree that was under the overhang. The aquarium had two areas with underwater glass tubes that gave a great view of sharks, rays, colorful fish, and a manatee. They had some of the biggest rays I have ever seen.
I used my navigating skills to get us around the city. We made our way to Woolloomooloo—with a few stops to avoid being washed away by the deluge—where we enjoyed a lunch at Harry’s Café de Wheels. Chris told me about the meat pies he had when he was studying abroad in New Zealand so I wanted to see for myself what meat pies are all about. I enjoyed my chicken and veg meat pie so much that I bought a cookbook full of pie recipes.
I did a little research on breweries before we left. One that I came across was Lord Nelson’s Brewery. After a tour of the area of Sydney called The Rocks, we asked our local guide to drop us off at Lord Nelson’s. After looking through their list of brews, I decided on Nelson’s Blood (5% ABV). Nelson’s Blood is a robust porter that is advertised as a cold weather porter. After walking in the rain for the last two hours, this sounded like a great beer. The color was a really deep mahogany red with a tan/beige foam. The description says that espresso and dark chocolate flavors dominate. However, I only found hints of these flavors. The aroma had a light roast aroma, with light roast and malt flavors. The mouthfeel was slightly creamy. Although the flavor didn’t match the description, Nelson’s Blood is quite enjoyable. We snacked on some crisps (what we call chips) until we were hungry enough for a lunch of fish and chips made with barramundi. This is the fish they usually use to make fish and chips and is quite tasty. Lord Nelson’s also has a beer called the Quayle Ale that was named in honor of Vice-President Dan Quayle’s visit.
Overall, I really enjoyed Sydney. I wish we had more time to explore, especially without the rain. There were a lot of parts of the Sydney that I would have walked to but wet shoes, wet clothes, and chilly weather is not too comfortable. I would have also liked to take the ferries to other harbours. For example, we could have taken the Manly Ferry to a suburb of Sydney called Manly or perhaps a trip to Bondi Beach.
|The Harbour Bridge AKA The Iron Lung AKA The Coat Hanger|
|If you don't know what this is then you need to get out more|
|Yes, that is Col. Sanders eating above Nicole's head. The whole wall was of famous people who ate at Harry's.|