Tag Archives: Photogenic

Posts with (in my wholly-biased opinion) particularly fetching photos

Little Creatures Pale Ale on Australia Day

Little Creatures Pale Ale
Little Creatures Pale Ale, taken later with my new camera

Ordinarily, I have a fairly ‘involved’ Australia Day. Especially given that I’m not, you know, Australian. But it’s basically my favourite National Holiday, and I do wish our own Waitangi Day were more like it — something I’ve tried to implement, occasionally, with moderate success (if I do say so).

My first Australia Day was in 2001, when I was a summer scholarship student at the ANU in Canberra. And it was freaking awesome. Blisteringly hot weather (which I’d usually vote against), the Triple J ‘Hottest 100’ on the radio from 10am onwards, wading pools to sit in, barbequed food aplenty — and, on that initial occasion, a case of Coopers Sparkling Ale. Now, I usually take the day off, buy some good Australian beer, and mooch around somewhere sunny (but with shade nearby), listening to the ‘radio’ over the internet. Owing to an overload of Extraneous Stuff this year, my plans were somewhat mucked-about, but I still made sure to get myself well-stocked with lovely Big Country beer — and was moved to note it in the Diary at least, if I couldn’t have myself a proper Day.

I’ve said it many times before, but I really do love Little Creatures Pale. Coopers Sparkling was my first good Australian beer, but Creatures Pale has become probably my favourite, full stop. “Favourite” is always a tricky title to hand out, especially when you’re a Big Nerd. But when you are the Big Nerd at a Big Beer Bar, people do ask. Often, and pressingly. And I think that if push came to absolute shove, Creatures Pale would be it. It’s just so reliably lovely, nicely middling between ‘flavourful’ and ‘mellow’, and it also — keeping the situatedness of beer firmly in mind, as I always insist — just has, for me, so many brilliant memories densely packed into the brainspace around it.

The actual photos on this post are from about a month later, when I’d finally gone and splashed out on a new camera. I’m enough of a weirdo about these things that I did pretty much insist to myself that the new gadget’s first beer photo be the beloved Creatures. You have to get these things off to good starts, you do. It’s a lovely piece of kit, and still enjoyably baffling as I get to know the nearly-innumerable bells and whistles.

There is some bloody marvellous beer-related photography going on at the moment, and if you’re not already acquainted with the work of Aaron Caruana, Jed Soane, and Robert & Kim from ‘Beer Lens’ (just to pick my three most-frequented favourites, which helpfully also manage to hit the Big Country, Little Country, UK and US buttons between them), you damn well should be. I know that good gear isn’t even half of what makes for good photos, but those are the sorts of people who make me want to lift my game.

I’ve always loved the plea to use a glass for your Creatures, too, so was instantly presented with an excellent opportunity to take the macro settings for a spin, as well. I really like the result, with its awesomely-blurred Background Peter looking on. And seriously, folks, if a beer is worth drinking at all, then it’s worth drinking from a glass. That’s the rule.

Verbatim: Little Creatures Pale Ale 26/1/11 $20/6pk @ GG 330ml 5.2% Happy Australia Day! Though this is basically my tamest, since my first. Too much extraneous stuff, this year. But this stuff is just mandatory. And there’ll be a Cooper’s Sparkling, later. It’s just bloody lovely. That’s the word. This is always my arm-twisted citation for all-round favourite, when people ask here at work.

Little Creatures Pale Ale, serving suggestion
Little Creatures Pale Ale, serving suggestion
Little Creatures Pale Ale
Diary II entry #58, Little Creatures Pale Ale

Russian River ‘Pliny the Elder’

Russian River 'Pliny the Elder'
Russian River 'Pliny the Elder'

‘Pliny’ is one of those stupidly-highly-regarded beers that make for a rather weird tasting experience. You always worry about the Emperor’s New Pale Ale effect, and when it’s brought over ‘unofficially’ (however carefully), there’s the vexed question of whether any Not Overwhelmed reaction is down to an over-hyped thing itself, or simply the result of difficult travel. This wasn’t a “grey market” import, this was a trade; brought over by some travelling Americans and exchanged with one of our regulars for some local Good Stuff. From its time in a chilly bin filled with ice and water, it had lost its label, but that was smoothly replaced by an awesome tea-towel from Steph’s house (to help keep it cold on its trip to the pub), which I couldn’t resist including in the photo.

I thought it was really tasty; properly big and fruity and resiny and just what you’d expect and want out of a West Coast Double IPA. But it didn’t completely melt my face and leave me overawed — I’d have put Hallertau’s bigger IPAs comfortably in its league, for example — though there’s just no way to tell whether that’s because something genuinely face-melting had an imperfect journey or if that’s just what it was. Two out of the four of us had had it before, and did attest to it being better last time they had it, but that just opens up the batch-to-batch variance and the subjectivity cans of worms.

Which is really the whole lesson, isn’t it? There is no objective “best” beer. You like what you like, and that’s just how it should be, especially if you can start to put your finger on just why you react like you do to something — and doubly-especially if you remember to keep in mind what the brewer was trying to do when you evaluate something. Personally, I thought this stuff was bloody good — but I don’t think you need to go so far afield to get something in its class.

Verbatim: Russian River ‘Pliny the Elder’ ÷ 4 w/ Steph, Johnnie + Llew. Sample traded for some local goodies by Steph. Apparently treated about as well as you’d hope, but S+L still say it’s not at its best. The pine needle side is lacking, going more to melony fruitiness. To me, it’s Maximusesque; all those Northwest hops. It’s always tricky to try something so ludicrously highly regarded — you always worry about the prospect of Emperor’s New Pale Ale. I really like this, but it hasn’t knocked me out of my shoes; maybe that’s a travel thing, or maybe the blessed subjectivity. The 3 are all agreed that I have to retry Moa Pale Ale, so here’s hoping that was a dud. Consensus here [about ‘Pliny’] is both tastiness + disappointment. Not up to legendary status.

Russian River 'Pliny the Elder', bottlecap
Russian River 'Pliny the Elder', bottlecap
Russian River 'Pliny the Elder'
Diary II entry #57, Russian River 'Pliny the Elder'

Dogfish Head ‘Midas Touch’

Dogfish Head 'Midas Touch'
Dogfish Head 'Midas Touch'

Scott, the bar manager at Malthouse, dropped some Big News during our shift — something that had been brewing for a while, but which I felt was sufficiently ’embargoed’ that I didn’t mention it directly in the Diary lest I get my act together uncharacteristically quickly and jump the gun by posting it on here. The short version is that, after ten years — an honest-to-goodness decade — he had resigned. He’s off to run the Hop Garden, a new neighbourhood bar opening soon in Mount Victoria, owned by James Henderson of Bar Edward fame. For us, it’s a helluva loss, but their new place is a tremendously exciting prospect, so it’s full of that bittersweet “hate to see you go, but dead keen to see what you do next” vibe.

In the spirit of first things first, though; Big News deserves Big Beer, so I fetched this one out of my personal stash. I’d been looking forward to it for ages, and couldn’t think of a better opportunity or anyone more worthy of sharing it.

This is Dogfish Head in Resurrection Mode, taking a crack at re-creating an old recipe — the oldest known, in fact. The idea was to take the remains of vessels found in the 2,700-year-old tomb of King Midas, run them through all sorts of chemical analyses, and get a reasonable approximation of what the drink they once held was like. So in with the now-standard barley went honey, white muscat grapes, and saffron.

It is suitably wine-ish, and honey-ish, but also still definitely a lovely and peculiar ale. I just loved it, for both its intrinsic and circumstantial properties. I wanted to drink whole pints of it, standing around in the sun somewhere — and still wanted to, even knowing that this is 9% and would swiftly knock me on my arse. It’s light and lush and it feels like what I — a Beer Nerd, after all — wish wine tasted like while at the same time being totally recognisable as ‘just’ a staggeringly interesting golden ale.

Dogfish Head 'Midas Touch'
Diary II entry #47, Dogfish Head 'Midas Touch'

Verbatim: Dogfish Head ‘Midas Touch’ 27/12/10 ÷2 with Scotty on the occasion of some Big News. 330ml $? from NWT (in my notes, but the internet died) [actually $10] I like it a lot, that’s the main thing. Beautiful golden peachy colour. Scotty through the saffron would be mostly giving colour, then we (proudly) realised we’re both sufficiently middle-class that we don’t know what it tastes like. The grapes come through a lot, making it very winey, but soft at the finish, not acid / sharp. The flavour makes you expect a whallop finish, but it’s just this lovely gentle wash instead. Wonderfully rides that line of Different Enough But Not Too Different.

Twisted Hop ‘Nokabollokov’ Imperial Stout

Twisted Hop 'Nokabollokov'
Twisted Hop 'Nokabollokov'

Good old bloody-great-big Imperial Stout. Where would we be without you, then, huh? There are occasions where something as big and lovely and just-about-terrifying as this are just mandatory. Like here, catching up with a good friend and his family, in something of a now-weirdly-traditional Boxing Day Second Christmas.

And ‘Nokabollokov’ is just exactly what I want in one of these, too. It’s thick and gloopy, utterly dark, wonderfully flavourful — smoky, almost meaty in its bigness and richness —  and kinda-vaguely-worryingly-easy to drink, given its strength. So it does pay to take it slow, or share — or both.

The scanner only slightly picked it up, but waving this thing around and pondering comparisons to such seemingly-bonkers referents as Oxo™ cubes lead to Diary II’s first spillstain. I thought that was pretty appropriate, for something this stainingly-dark and sneakishly-strong. I’ve been a lot finnickier with Diary II, so far, but my usual obsessiveness was overwhelmed by the fair-enough-ness of the situation.

Twisted Hop 'Nokabollokov' Imperial Stout
Diary II entry #46, Twisted Hop 'Nokabollokov'

Verbatim: Twisted Hop ‘Nokabollokov’ Imperial Stout 26/10/10 @ the Lanes in Yorick Bay. 330ml 8.6% $9ish @ Regional. Toby poured it for me, and reported it being distinctly treacly, which is always a good sign. It’s utter blackness — together with the stark label, it’s stunning. The bubbles are almost scarily dark + crema-ish, but to start it’s worryingly easy to drink. The bitterness builds as it warms + you drink, though — but not to an unwelcome level. Smoked Oxo™ cube, maybe, with caramel, says Toby. Suitably, it’s my first Diary-spill, too.

BrewDog ‘Paradox: Isle of Arran’

BrewDog 'Paradox: Isle of Arran'
BrewDog 'Paradox: Isle of Arran'

My Christmas Day was a rather relaxed affair, this year. Less of my already-smallish family was in town than usual, so things were toned right down, presents were waived entirely, and my sister and I spent a good few hours taking my niece / her daughter for a bike ride and a muck-around in the park. The flatmates were also out of town, so I came back into the City late at night to feed the Cat and treat myself to some nice quiet time with a good beer and a good book. I paired this, one of BrewDog’s ‘Paradox’ series of whisky-barrel-aged stouts, with Surface Detail, the newest book by the equally-Scottish Iain Banks — who himself had basically introduced me to whisky with an earlier (non-fiction) book of his. The hot summer day had turned into a crisp and clearish night, and Catface (evidently happy to have company) plonked herself nearby on the deck and just mooed at me occasionally, as she does. It all went together bloody marvellously; a fine present-to-self.

Malthouse had imported two of the other ‘Paradoxes’ the previous year, and the contrasts among them are a staggeringly awesome testament to the richly varied world of Scotch — each is aged in barrels from a different distillery, and the stout is absolutely transformed in unique and well-worth-finding-out ways. The ‘Smokehead’ version (with somehow-varied whisky barrels suspected to be from Ardbeg) tasted appropriately enormously of smoke — somehow glorious, righteous smoke, like you’d get standing nearby the burning houses of your enemies, I said at the time — and the ‘Springbank’ edition was just propelled into all-around massive flavourful heights, with all sorts of lovely richness biffed in at speed and with purpose.

This one was comparatively ‘confronting’ — really quite a full-on spicy nose to it, with borderline-concerning funky edges that defied pinning-down. It’s a deliciously and seriously complex kind of a thing; something of a fight to get to know properly, but damn well worth it.

Verbatim: BrewDog ‘Paradox’ — Isle of Arran 25/10/10 10% @ Home. $10+? [Actually $15] from NWT. Out on the deck, with the latest Banks book, which seemed apt. We loved the Paradoxes at work, so I had to get this. Very different. Smokehead was righteous fire; Springbank was enormous lushness, this is actually quite confronting. There’s a funky, feisty tartness to it. Spicy, gingery, rough woody. The ‘funk’ in the nose is almost off-putting, but you’re rewarded for getting past it. Not that it’s a struggle, but the clangs on a few alarm bells get ready, at least. Hanging out here with Catface makes for a very civilised end to a nicely understated Christmas.

BrewDog 'Paradox: Isle of Arran', the igloo joke
BrewDog 'Paradox: Isle of Arran', the igloo joke
BrewDog 'Paradox: Isle of Arran'
Diary II entry #44, BrewDog 'Paradox: Isle of Arran'

Tuatara ‘X’ Anniversary Ale

Tuatara 'X'
Tuatara 'X'

Still (mysteriously) Wellington’s only local brewery, Tuatara recently arrived at their tenth birthday and celebrated (as breweries understandably tend to do) by making themselves a beer for the occasion. Essentially, they blammed ‘Ardennes’ up a few notches, landing it at a suitably1 anniversary-ish 10%. It debuted at Beervana and was apparently well received, and we had a few bottles in stock at work to plug the gap in between the availability of kegs.

Despite liking ‘Ardennes’, and also heftierBelgianesque beers in general, this just isn’t My Thing at all, which put me in rare disagreement with some usually-similarly-minded folk. But hey, subjectivity, right? For me, it committed the basically unforgivable sin of being just kinda naff; not different enough from Ardennes, other than in the strength — and that strength just rolls all around your face with its syrupy hotness and ruins any real chance for balance, or depth, or character. It’s your birthday, so you should go a bit crazy, but if your only thought for how to go crazy is to effectively pour petrol into one of your existing beers, something is amiss.

And — maybe that strength is to blame — shouldn’t you also make sure all the bolts are tight on an anniversary release? These things arrived with horribly-wonky labels that made you wonder just how dark it was in the warehouse that no one noticed nor cared, and the text on those misapplied labels also shipped with an awesome typo which cited their use of heretofore-unheard-of boble hops.

Tuatara can do great things; when their beers are ‘on’, they are delightful and accessible local takes on iconic styles of beer — although they really need to get around to admitting to themselves (and the rest of us) that their deservedly-popular APA is now part of the family and not a “limited release” as per the label, since it’s been continuously-available for some eight months. But Tuatara are also capable of alarming bits of rushed decision-making, over-stretching (with a side of corner-cutting), and evident narcolepsy at the switch. ‘X’, sadly, is a product of those latter temperaments — which is doubly depressing for a Birthday Beer.

Verbatim: Tuatara ‘X’ Anniversary Ale 2000-2010 19/11/10 10% 750ml shouted by a customer + shared. Essentially an embiggened Ardennes, it’s an over-strong tripel. Similarly dry, Belgish nose, but not alarmingly fumey. Warming in the face, though. Honey-ish, oily texture. Actually oddly ‘normal’, but with that hot, boozy finish.

Tuatara 'X'
Tuatara 'X' and its oddly crinkly label
Tuatara 'X' and its typo
Tuatara 'X' and its rather neat typo
Tuatara 'X'
Diary II entry #37, Tuatara 'X' Anniversary Ale

1: I’ve commented before on the “borderline numerology” trend among brewers, particularly in regard their own anniversaries and such. I remember it initially striking me as evidencing a lack of creativity, but I quickly decided I liked the obsessiveness and nerdery of it.

White Rabbit ‘Dark Ale’

White Rabbit 'Dark Ale'
White Rabbit 'Dark Ale'

I have to explain to people sometimes, at work, that if I compare something to Little Creatures Pale Ale, then I think that thing is a very good thing indeed. So I was curious to try something from White Rabbit, a new-ish operation outside of my beloved Melbourne, and sort of East Coast Cousin to the famous Creatures.

But when we had this at our stand at Beervana in August, I was a little meh about it. It was something of a misunderstood orphan, really. Unlike the Stone & Wood, Bridge Road and Coopers beers we had, the Rabbit didn’t have anyone from the brewery over to talk about it — and the name threw us locals a bit, too; by “Dark Ale”, they mean Brown Ale rather than anything Portery, or further South.1

In between having it at Beervana and having it on tap at work, my friend Glenn (a former colleague at the College of Surgeons in Melbourne) was in town and muled over a few interesting-looking bottles of beer for me, in what is becoming a neat little tradition (he’s repaid in Tour Guidery around Wellington’s Interesting Little Places). One of these was included, so I gave it another go. And was glad I did.

White Rabbit 'Dark Ale'
Diary II entry #17.1, White Rabbit 'Dark Ale'

Especially once you’re not expecting anything dark-dark (expectations can really do funny things to how you taste a beer), it presents itself as pleasantly rich but still nicely easy-drinking. Lots of malt character, and a interesting little sideline of a certain sort of mustiness and a subtle fruity wineyness. This bottle was almost-alarmingly sedimented, which also leant a nice big smooth layer of foam. It was interestingly-divisive, on tap at work; much of the Beer Nerdy crowd didn’t really go for it, but it was surprisingly good (given their usual prejudices against Australian beer and things darker than gold) at winning over more ‘mainstream’ drinkers. I do always enjoy stumbling upon effective ‘evangelism’ beers; seeing people have that ‘wow, this is tasty’ moment when you give them something that goes against their preconceptions is a very rewarding thing, as a bartending Beer Nerd.

White Rabbit 'Dark Ale'
Diary II entry #17.2, White Rabbit 'Dark Ale'

Verbatim: White Rabbit ‘Dark Ale’ 30/9/10 muled over by Glenn 4.9% 330ml From memory, this is Little Creatures’ baby brother in Healesville, outside the beloved Melb. We had it at our stand at the Beer Festival, but it was a bit of a misunderstood orphan, as none of its people were over. I was a little meh about it, but I think the name threw my expectations — it’s really a brown ale, and as one, is rather good. Quite rich but still very easy, a little musty and a little winey. Seems to be a national thing; Moo Brew’s ‘Dark Ale’ was also a Brown. Not a lot of Aussie Porter… maybe it’s just usually too fucking hot. I should’ve said MOO BREW ‘DARK ALE’. I’m not good at making new habits.2 This is definitely growing on me. The head is particularly impressive — big + smooth + resurrectable. (There was an almost-worrying amount of sediment in the bottle; that’ll help.)

1: This might be (or might be beginning to be) an Australian Thing; Moo Brew do it too with their ‘Dark Ale’. Maybe it’s just almost always Too Damn Hot for anything blacker and heavier — though of course, the delectable Coopers ‘Best Extra Stout’ is an obvious counter-example.

2: Perhaps I should explain why I chastise myself for not writing in capitals (here, as once before). They’re kind of like little visual hyperlinks, so that I can more-readily see what entries talk about other entries, basically. Things got quite hard to navigate with 300+ entries in Diary I — though I was still capable of occasional Rain Man-esque feats of spookiness like turning instantly to the page that contained the more-than-a-year-ago diary entry for Stone & Wood’s (delicious) ‘Draught Ale’ when Brad from the brewery saw my book and asked if his beer was in there…

Golden Bear ‘Bear Trappe’ 2010

Golden Bear 'Bear Trappe'
Golden Bear 'Bear Trappe' 2010

I suspected I’d like this; it was recommended by a few people who are usually good for such things (including Kieran, the Beer Wizard in Residence at Regional). But I was pleasantly surprised to utterly freaking love it.

Golden Bear is a tiny little brewery at the top of the South Island — an area charmingly-sprinkled with such neat little operations; it’s a popular area for people to go to drop out of the rat race and do what they love, instead — and a few such people do exactly that and start brewing. The chap from Golden Bear is Californian (the name comes from a symbol for the state), as is my friend and fellow bartender Halena, so I thought I’d split this with her after a shift (much as we’d done with a similarly-fantastic Sierra Nevada ‘Southern Harvest’). I had it all poured and photographed, and then had a minor freak-out when I remembered that I’d lost my pen that night and that all the spares seemed to be blue. I’m very much a Creature of Habit, to the point it borders on being problematic sometimes, and I was hesitant to give in and muck up the colour scheme of Diary II so early. (Diary I has its share of random-pen entries, so I do manage to sort out my priorities, eventually, but they always felt… odd.)

As you can see, it pours a very appealing hazy dark gold and has a pretty damn luxurious big thick white head that is easily resurrected with a little swirl when you’re further down the glass. And you definitely will be swirling it, because you’ll want absolutely all you can get of the insanely lush and fresh fruity nose — helped in part, no doubt, by the brewer’s clever inclusion of actual peaches in the mix. It is, to quote my notes, “just bloody lovely”; absurdly well balanced, delicious, and just different enough.

Golden Bear 'Bear Trappe'
Diary II entry #15, Golden Bear 'Bear Trappe'

Verbatim: Golden Bear ‘Bear Trappe’ 2010 27/9/10 $17 @ Reg. 750ml ÷ 2 with Halena after a Monday shift. (The Californian connection again, after all, like with Sierra Nevada Harvest.) 7.5% Cute punny name, nice big-ass bottle with a nifty re-sealable plastic screwcap thing. Big strong Belgian tripel with actual “black-boy” peaches thrown in, rather than just waiting for the sometimes-peachy note you get. Just bloody lovely. Massive fruity + fresh nose, nice thick white head that’s easily resurrected. Neither too-sweet nor too-tart. And damn, am I glad I had a backup black pen; I was freaking out for a second, there.

Coopers Original Pale Ale

Coopers Pale Ale
Coopers Pale Ale, signed

This entry from Diary II is unique (so far), in that it contains absolutely no tasting notes. Coopers bloody-lovely Pale is something I’ve had umpteen times before, but had never given its own entry; the Diaries were never about recommendations for other people, originally, and I knew this well enough that I didn’t need to write about it.

And then, Dr. Tim Cooper himself — the latest heir to take the reins of the brewery — paid our little country, our little town, and our little pub a visit. My first proper bar-tender geek-out was when Richard Emerson — another heir to another eponymous brewery — visited the Malthouse on one of my first few shifts. I’ve had a few such borderline-fanboy reactions to meeting other beer industry folk since, but none as acute as this, for a while.1

Tim was in town for a bit of a shindig to celebrate the new-ish mass-importing of his beers into the Little Country; we’ve had several kegs of Sparkling, Vintage and Stout on tap already. And he seems to be an utterly lovely chap. A semi-regular customer — a Suit who is occasionally-bothersome, but harmless enough — insisted on shouting a round, and Dr. Cooper elected for a Pale (apparently his favourite go-to of their range), so I joined him, and then revelled in my unashamed nerdery by asking him to sign the bottle.

Coopers Original Pale Ale
Diary II entry #14, Coopers Original Pale Ale

Verbatim: Coopers Original Pale Ale 23/9/10 at work, bought by the same random occasionally-bothersome suit who shouted the above. (And I do mean ‘shouted’.) This round was precipitated by the appearance of Dr. Tim Cooper himself. There was a bit of a do for the new imports and such. And he seems like an utterly lovely chap. He picked one of these for his in this round, so I joined him, then wrote this, obviously. And just as I was thinking a photo would be lame, I got him to sign my bottle. Now that makes for a photo opportunity. [Heh; no tasting notes.]

1: The pairing is really rather apt. Emerson’s Bookbinder was probably my first proper local microbrew; Coopers Sparkling was my first Australian — and both are members of my All Time Favourites and were therefore written-up together for my contribution to the Malthouse Beer Blog. Coopers & Emerson’s would also have to be acknowledged as leading the proper-brewing trends in their respective countries — though the former takes the gong by a hundred years, and the latter makes up for tardiness by being much more experimental.

Unibroue ‘Trois Pistoles’

Unibroue 'Trois Pistoles'
Unibroue 'Trois Pistoles'

I get mistaken for Canadian, sometimes (I have very idiosyncratic accent — and no idea why I do). I have Canadian relatives, I’ve been to Canada (though I was not of beer-buying age), one of my favourite bands (The Tragically Hip) is Canadian, as are some of my most-beloved TV shows (Wonderfalls, Due South). So, how the hell did I get to Diary II without any Canadian beer, so far? And how the hell did I get this far without this legendary Canadian beer,1 in particular?

I don’t really have an excuse. But here I am, solving both problems at one delicious time. Because this beer is very much not one of those times where you finally try something much-hyped and are left with a confused look on your face, wondering what everyone elses’ fuss was all about. This deserves the not-insignificant fuss it generates.

It’s a dark, broody looking brown with purply highlights that show up against the light or during a swirl — and which suspiciously-well match the Apocalpytic-looking painting on the bottle. Compared to its big, chewy, Belgian-esque brothers, this one has a fresh, ‘uppy’ and particularly plummy fruitiness that brings a whole smackload of deliciously tart flavour into your face — like a crabapple straight off the tree. I do love the more-typical sticky fruity Belgians like Kwak, but this is just utterly fantastic as itself, and as a comparison.

Unibroue 'Trois Pistoles'
Diary II entry #11, Unibroue 'Trois Pistoles'

Verbatim: Unibroue ‘Trois Pistoles’ 18/9/10 9% 355ml $9 from Rumbles. Ticking off another of those embarrassing Never Hads. Very dark brown-with-reddy-purply-highlights-on-the-swirl. Suits the broody Apocalyptic painting on the bottle. The nose is fresh, uppy and plummy, and that nicely tart fruitiness carries on into yer face. Almost crab-apply. Nice to have that side showing up in one of these big Belgian-esque ales — a fresh change from the stickier sweeter ones like Kwak. Old Port wine character, they say, which is fair. (And hey, Three Pistols was always a favourite Tragically Hip track.)

1: The aforementioned favourite band, The Tragically Hip, even did a song (on their 1991 album, Road Apples) called ‘Three Pistols’. I can only assume it’s not directly related — it’s likely that both are named after the Quebec town. I’m a big enough nerd that I made sure I listened to it while drinking the beer — and while writing up this entry, weeks later. These things have to be done, really.