In a very thinly-veiled effort to give this chronicler a few days’ breathing space, I thought I’d throw open the bar and pose the question close to everyone’s heart at 6pm. What’s everyone’s most desired drink, loved libation, needed nepenthe?
As you’re all probably aware, Ozboy’s Full Ale is my own preference; that or some local wine with dinner. The great advantages of home brew include never running out; being able to tweak the recipe to one’s own taste, and enjoying a premium product for a tiny fraction of what you’d pay at the store. The disadvantage occurs when friends and rellos acquire a taste for it, and you end up having to satisfy a lot of thirsts. I get around this by encouraging them all to take up home brewing themselves; my cousin (who lurks here—g’day mate) has taken the art further than I, and produces a wide selection of quality drops.
I never tire of trying new beers, though. I’ve tried all the big-name British beers; Boddington’s, Newcastle Brown Ale, Tetley’s and so on. My favourite is Breakspeare’s Bitter, for which I developed a taste while working at Henley-on-Thames many years ago. I have sipped the Guinness at the St. James’ Gate factory in Dublin, said to be the best Guinness on earth. I even don’t mind Budweiser export, though of American beers I tend to concur with Monty Python’s analogy. But I stand to be corrected. In Europe, I don’t mind Carlsberg and Leffe.
Among Australian beers, Coopers Sparkling Ale and (if you dare) Vintage Ale are my favourites. OFA is actually a clone of Vintage. I suppose you should all try Fosters Lager at some point (but Yanks be careful, as one future president discovered when his buddy, tennis great John Newcombe introduced him to it one night in a bar in Maine). Our two Tasmanian flagship beers, Cascade Premium Lager and Boag’s (below) are also well worth a look. Across the Tasman, I don’t even mind the occasional Steinlager.
So, how about you? I’ve got ’em all behind the bar. Taps are yours.