Game Day Follow Up with Cam & Chris

The heady celebrations have started to wind down on Swan st, and the Richmond faithful have finally come back down to earth. So I followed up with a couple of Richmond flogs to see how they pulled up.

Stu: Welcome gents, well done to your team on an absolute thrashing of the giants in the grand final. Thought I’d touch base with you after the piece I did on the grand final got you boys a bit prickly.

Cam: More like we’ll done to me, won that game off my own boot.

Stu: Sorry I’m not sure I follow?

Chris: Cam partied so hard he still thinks he actually played on the day.

Stu: I see. I notice you guys have the limited addition Carlton Draught cans with the Richmond theme.

Cam: Greatest beer I’ve ever had.

Stu: Carlton Draught is the greatest beer you’ve ever had?

Cam: It is when it comes in this can.

Stu: The can improves the beer?

Cam: I don’t give a shit about the beer. This is the best can ever made.

Stu: Remember those keg cans, they were pretty fun.

Chris: Remember that time I kicked your arse when you bad mouthed Richmond’s sweet can?

Stu: I’m just saying the keg can was ok. It’s all got Draught inside either way so it’s not the greatest beer ever.

Cam: Why do you hate Richmond so much?

Stu: Because they’re a pack of flogs, and their supporters aren’t much better. What’s that got to do with beer cans?

Chris: Well where’s the Hawthorn themed beer then?

Stu: What? Well there’s a whole brewery named after us. Well more after the suburb to be fair...

Cam: I hate the hawks. They’re always winning the flag.

Stu: You just won two out of three years!

Cam/Chris: YELLOW AND BLACK!!!

Stu: I’m calling this interview off. You guys are drunk.

Cam: Well we haven’t stopped celebrating since the win.

Chris: I stopped briefly but then got a second wind.

Stu: Do you even remember the game?

Cam: Who cares we won!

Stu: This is a beer website. Can we at least get back to that? What was the beer you enjoyed most on the day?

Chris: These Richmond themed Carltons.

Stu: I don’t think they had these on the day?

Chris: Well I don’t care, that’s the beer I most enjoyed on the day.

Stu: You blokes are complete flogs, just like your shithouse football club.

Cam: I hate the hawks. They’re always winning the cup. It’s not fair.

Stu: Yeah you mentioned that mate.

Cam: Hey how good are these cans?

Stu: Jesus man. How many have you had.

Cam: I’ve never drank a beer in my life.

Chris: Yeah why do you hate Richmond so much Stu?

Stu: What a waste of time. Enjoy those Carltons boys, you Richmond flogs.

At this point I terminated the interview. However, the boys persuaded me to have one more... Melbourne has a funny way of sucking you into the footy world though, and the next day I woke up with a Dusty Martin haircut, a Bachar Houli beard, a six pack of Richmond themed Carlton Drafts sitting on the kitchen bench and one phrase on my mind...YELLOW AND BLACK!

*All views expressed in this article are those of Chris and Cam, they definitely participated in this interview.

Suburban Brewing Spring Beer Review

The verdict is in on the Spring beer we brewed last month, and my fridge has been a team player.

Keg in fridge

Keg in fridge

Since the trusty Suburban Brewing beer fridge finally packed it in, all of the cold ones we enjoy here have to be jammed into my regular fridge (Pros and cons to this arrangement). Now I find myself stuck with a keg of beer and no shelves, I must say, maybe I don’t need that much fridge space after all.

While it is a bit of a pain, I’ve been more than wiling to accommodate Paddy’s insatiable thirst for fresh cold beer at the expense of things like “food” and “eating”.

This keg was lucky enough to be filled with the Spring beer we brewed last month (find out more here), and it must be said, it has a beautiful hop aroma that I’m quite pleased with.

The final product - Our take on a Spring beer

The final product - Our take on a Spring beer

As we forgot to both whirlpool our beer, and filter going into the fermenter (Ok for shame, fair enough), we’ll forgive you for thinking we might have brewed a NEIPA. This thing is CLOUDY! Ok, maybe not at NEIPA/orange juice levels, but if we had have done it properly, we’d have got a pretty clear brew by my estimates. Cold crashing helps in these situations, as does time in the fridge in general.

The Spring beer itself is easy drinking. This is a lower ABV (for a home brew), nice and bright ale that begs us to come back for more. Only a slight bitterness really, has definitely mellowed out a bit more than I anticipated now. Still such a pleasant aroma coming off the brew too, those Galaxy and Citra hops did the trick.

I’ve suggested to Paddy we brew this one straight away again, I think I can improve it in the following ways:

  • Give the bittering addition the full 60 mins

  • Add a little carapils to increase mouthfeel

  • Super charge the hops aromas through dry hopping

Normally we end our reviews with a few lines on how we enjoyed the beer we just tasted. While this isn’t strictly a review, I have to say not only will I be going back for more for some time yet (We kegged about 18-19 litres of it), I’ll be brewing it again to try and improve it. I do like how it has come out, but I know we can do better.

This brew was pleasing in many ways, not least of which was just getting the gear back out after a long cold winter. It will be a good one for the warm spring arvos to come, and I’ll certainly be sampling a few after working over the veggie patch on the weekend.

Only other thing I’ll mention is we got nice carbonation in the keg, not an area we have much experience in so pleased that it worked out. Soon enough we’ll track down another old fridge and return the garage to it’s former glory, until then, I guess my eating days are behind me!

Winter months and fermentation

Things slow down at Suburban Brewing over the winter months, with temps in the garage to low to allow for steady fermentation.

If you face this issue also you have a couple of options: look for a yeast strain that can ferment your brew within the ambient temp ranges you’re experiencing (this can be challenging in some areas - maybe a lager yeast that can handle up to around 12 C might work depending on your circumstance), or utilise some sort of temp control.

Controlling fermentation temp is actually one of the key areas you can focus on to improve your consistency. One head brewer once told me they think a consistent fermentation temp is more important than sanitation in home brewing. While I’m not sure I agree with that statement, I do think it’s a highly important area.

The first kind of fermentation temp control I ever saw was a mates grampa zipping up an insulated jacket around a plastic fermenter. This might stop some of the smaller fluctuations, and despite its daggy look, isn’t that far off the mark in term of insulating a fermentation vessel.

I’ve tried various positions in my house, including in my lounge room near the heater over the winter months. These can solve the ambient temp issue to a degree, and with some form of insulation (I used sleeping bags), can keep you in a reasonable fermentation range. What this approach can’t do though is keep a “consistent” temp (the issue that brewer was so concerned with).

There are also cheap heating mats and belts that can offer some degree of warmth if that’s all that is needed. I’ve never gone down this route, mostly because I question the safety of these cheap imported products and don’t want to leave them switched on I my house. If you don’t share these concerns, then by all means, this will probably help over winter. If I was to buy one of these products, I’d perhaps look at the mats used for germinating seeds, these strike me as a slightly more robust piece of equipment.

The high end solution, and in my opinion most likely to yield positive results, lies in the large range of automated temp control units: either with a coil or spear submerged within the fermenter, or controlling a fridge/modified freezer that contains a fermenter.

These automated units have temp probes and in some cases can keep your fermenting beer to within +/- 1 C of your intended temp. What’s more, some of these units can actually heat and cool, so are perfect all year round.

Is a temp control system a big expense to lay out for something you arguably can do without? Yes. Will it pay you back in far more consistent and ultimately better beer? In my opinion, absolutely.

Venom Golden Ale Review

Sweet with just a hint of bitterness, this Venom Golden Ale is so refreshing that it puts Solo to shame in thirst quenching

The Good: Venom has a perfect recipe with this Golden Ale, it is not too bitter and it is not too sweet with subtle malt and yeasty flavours that make it a delight to drink when you are hot and sweaty and in need of an immediate thirst quenching.

The Bad: Bad is such a strong adjective to use, instead I will point out the noticeably disappointing thing from this beer: it’s scent. I really tried to pick up the hops and other aromas that you usually associate with a Golden Ale but really struggled on this front. It was there but it was just underwhelming with its presence.

Enjoyment: This beer was far too easy to drink, its sweetness is a huge plus for Venom as well, making it a good entry level drink for non beer drinkers to get behind (I am always an advocate for encouraging people to drink beer, legally of course!). I personally have had Venom before and I can earnestly say that it is a dependable beer to choose when you are out and about. Whether you are just going around to a friends house or heading for a night out, this is the drink you should be choosing.

Bodriggy Speccy Juice Session IPA Review

Bodriggy Brewing have produced one of the easiest drinking session beers in Speccy Juice that it ought to be outlawed!

The Good: I will be the first to admit that I love a good IPA, that collection of flavours that usually dance across your tastebuds is an amazing thing and always a welcomed delight at the end of a long day. Bodriggy Speccy Juice most certainly delivered on giving me a welcomed hit of goodness, hitting me with the usual hop flavours that you expect from a good IPA. What is great with this beer is that it is not an overwhelmingly powerful hit, it is the subtleness, providing you with a great scent of tropical and fresh scents (it reminds me of walking through a nursery after a cool morning, with the sun beaming down, the air is crisp and the scents that emerge are amazing). This is a very nice all rounder.

The Bad: Admittedly I struggled to find anything wrong with this beer. It hit all the right notes and was on point, however if I had to be picky then I would say that the carbonation of this beer was excessive. I know that is such an inconceivable concept to grasp but when you are drinking this beer the heavy carbonation can be a bit off-putting.

Enjoyment: This beer was unbelievably easy to drink, thus making it the perfect session beer and at 1.1 standard drinks it is perfection. With that mix of tropical and citrus flavours that you get hit with and an unbelievably great aroma it is an amazing concoction to drink. In fact I enjoyed this so much I downed it in practically record time, making it one of the hardest reviews to complete but almost making it one of my picks for 2019.