Given that I am going to be producing a blog dedicated to Victorian beer it’s best that I get this out of the way early.
I AM A QUEENSLANDER.
There I’ve said it and I make no apologies for it. The blood in my veins is not red, it is maroon. I call a street directory a referdex, I like pumpkin scones and the first beer I ever drank was a XXXX.
And there my friends is the problem. While Queensland may be able to dominate the nation in sport, have beautiful weather and be an economic powerhouse, it’s standards when it comes to its beer of choice are woeful. XXXX sits at the bottom of the tree even when compared to the other mass produced Australian beers with the possible exception of West End (Yes, I am bagging your beer South Australia but you also have Coopers so suck it up). So while I can be fiercely parochial about most things when it comes to my home state, I must bow to all others when it comes to beer.
That has meant that I have always looked elsewhere for my amber refreshment except for that brief flirtation with Powers of course. (Why did you forsake me Bernie?). WA had me for a while with Swan. Cascade and Boags made me appreciate little Tassie a bit more. A long time living in Sydney meant I even downed a Tooheys or two and the Pale Ale from the aforementioned Coopers is my ‘always a 6-pack in the fridge’ beer.
In 2008 I moved to Melbourne to live and ended up working in a bottleshop that specialised in Australian microbrews especially those from Victoria. I had a history as a wine wanker and had always thought I had reasonably sophisticated tastes when it came to beer but was shocked to find out how little I knew. Of course I had heard of lagers and bitters but now I was dealing with saisons and raddlers and wheat beers and porters. A whole new world was opened up to me and I started to become a beer nerd.
It slowly began to dawn on me that once you remove your parochial blinkers it is hard to ignore how important Victoria is to Australian brewing. At some point in time during the 90s a green wave had swept up out of the south and it seemed everyone, including myself, was drinking VB. It appeared to become the nation’s beer of choice and given that another Victorian beer, Fosters, is seen by the rest of the world to be our national drink, it’s hard not to think of Victoria as the home of large scale brewing in Australia. Micro-brewing has also taken off in Victoria. In their publication The Beer Lover’s Guide To Victoria’s Microbreweries the Victorian Government notes that of Australia’s 120 microbreweries, 35 are in Victoria and that number is expected to rise to 50 by 2010.
Victoria is clearly the home of Australian brewing and the purpose of this blog is to celebrate it.
I have always found with wine writing that I enjoyed reading about the people and the process much more than the outcome and I think this applies equally to beer. The aim of All Ale The Big V is to look at brewers and their philosophies on beer, beer travel, marketing campaigns and everything else that occurs before we take that stubbie out of the fridge. So, with that in mind, I will keep any tasting notes to a minimum and I won’t pretend that my palate is any more sophisticated than the relative beginner that it is.
So let’s raise a glass to Victorian beer in all it’s shapes and forms.