Desert Island Discs is one of those inelimably British British cultural institutions.2 It’s been going since WWII, and is likely responsible for all those brilliant scenes in High Fidelity3 wherein the record shop staff assemble their Top Fives for various (increasingly random) scenarios. The idea is simple: imagine yourself cast-away on a remote but pleasantly habitable island. What records would you wish were there with you? What would you summon to keep you company, if you could? Pausing to take stock of enduring favourites is a genuinely worthy meditative experience — especially with a memory like mine.
Anyway, Desert Island Beers is an ongoing project run in collaboration between the All Gates Brewery’s blog and Real Ale Reviews. Recently, they embarked on a bit of an Australasian Excursion, inviting a bunch of Antipodeans to participate and ponder what they’d want to have with them on their hypothetical island. I was chuffed4 to be asked to join in, and spent an enjoyable evening at the Malthouse, perched on the bar with laptop and beer(s), flicking through my Diary and contemplating my options.
In no particular order — by which I mean to say this isn’t a ranking or a table of medals, this is just the sequence in which I put them on the list — my Desert Island Beers were:
- Little Creatures Pale Ale (my Fallout Boy)5
- Hallertau ‘Minimus’ (for sessionable loveliness)
- Liberty ‘Never Go Back’ (a mandatory B.A.M.F.)
- Rochefort 6 / 8 / 10 (a Big Belgian Trappist Thing)
- Yeastie Boys ‘Gunnamatta’ Earl Grey IPA (as my “weird”)
My full write-up went up on the All Gates Brewery website over the weekend — my phone beeped and notified me as I arrived at Gunnamatta beach, as featured in the above photo, fittingly enough — and includes elaborated reasons for picking each of the above, as well as my attempts to choose books, an album, a meal, and a luxury item to take in addition to all that lovely beer. It was heaps of fun to participate, and reading around the other entries is a great little window into the personalities of other ‘beer people’ that you might not otherwise hear a lot from; I wholeheartedly recommend you have a wander through their collection and keep and eye out for new local castaways over the next few weeks.
1: Which is the wrong Gunnamatta — it’s named for a song which is, in turn, named for a surf beach a thousand kilometers away in Victoria — but the beer-and-beach-matching was gloriously nerdy enough to justify a minor diversion to end my recent (i.e., it finished yesterday) little roadtrip around the NSW South Coast. To compound the matching (and to atone for being in the wrong state, perhaps), we were listening to the song, at least.
2: The Beeb’s website isn’t massively helpful — for slaves-to-copyright reasons — to those of us in further-flung parts of the world. But there’s a rumour, you know, that, apparently, I hear, you can download these things through, um, unofficial channels.
3: In both the book and the film; H.F. is a very-rare instance of a page-to-screen adaptation that works brilliantly well, if you ask me — especially considering that the latter translated the story forward in time and to another continent. The Wikipedia page for the novel — in true fantastically-geeky style — includes the lists, if you’re impatiently curious.
4: Which felt suitably British.
5: Not, I hasten to emphasise, my Fall Out Boy. The story goes that the band were nameless and called for audience help, whereupon someone suggested the name of Radioactive Man’s sidekick. The band fucked up the spelling / typography, evidently having missed the reference — which, to me, amounts to proof of a deprived upbringing and a possible cause of their relentless crapness.