Tag Archives: 3 Ravens

Slowbeer and the tale of the disappointing list

My apologies for the lack of posts in the last week or so. Unfortunately finishing off the university year had been sucking up all of my time but that is now done and I can put some decent effort back into All Ale The Big V.  Everything will get prettied up a bit in the near future with a lot more links to all things beer and Vic.

I did find the time to pop out to Hawthorn recently to visit Slowbeer. What a fantastic beer shop.  It has only been open for a couple of months but it has already started to gain quite a reputation amongst Melbourne’s, and Australia’s, lovers of decent beers.  With over 600 beers available it’s not hard to understand why.

Chris behind the counter at Slowbeer

Chris Menichelli, who is one of the co-owners, took the time out to have a bit of a chat to me.  He told me that the store is something of a spin-off from Cloudwine Cellars which means that there is a solid retailing knowledge behind the venture.  Chris himself has been working in the industry for about 5 years and has a fantastic knowledge of the beer world.

Some of the Vic brews on sale

The Victorian brews have to fight for space on the shelves with beers from around the globe but they are well represented.  You can find the ranges from 3 Ravens, Bridge Rd, Holgate, Red Duck and Otway Estate just to name a few.  Of course we probably should try and broaden our horizon outside of Victoria sometimes and Slowbeer would be a great place to try something totally different.  Chris told me that they are thinking of perhaps getting a kegerator for the shop which would then allow them to fill reusable bottles.  Imagine the fun they could have with getting brewers to do one off specials.

I know it’s a week late but I just wanted to make a quick comment on the Top 20 Beers list that Peter Lalor put together for last week’s The Weekend Australian Magazine.

It seems Lalor’s list was driven more by what is available on the shelves of the magazine’s special edition sponsors, Dan Murphy’s, rather than any serious attempt at a definitive list.  Does anybody really think that between them Little Creatures, James Squire and Redoak produce 9 of the top 20 beers in the nation? And what about Coopers, Grand Ridge and Murray’s making up another 6?  Are the 15 best beers in the country produced by only 6 breweries?  I doubt it.

I find it hard to believe that anybody doing a serious study of Australia’s best beers would be able to ignore the output from breweries like Bootleg, Feral, 3 Ravens, Moo Brew or Red Hill.  If the list is going to be based on availability or on what is stocked at one particular retailer at least put that caveat with the piece.

Now I wonder what this list would have been like if Slowbeer had been the major advertiser?


The Fed Square Microbreweries Showcase

It has been a hectic few days so my apologies for not being quicker in posting my thoughts on the showcase held this week at Fed Square.

All Ale The Big V had a great night on Wednesday meeting brewers, marketers and distributors, all the while trying to find out some interesting tidbits for you dear reader. I need to thank everybody who was so generous with their time and samples.

The intention had been to visit every stand but the logistics defeated me. Next time perhaps.

What did we learn?

  • Temple have a big announcement in the offing. Will Ron finally be getting his own brewery?  And if so, where will it be?  Lots of secret squirrel work happening with that one.

Temple's punk rock protege Pat O'Shea

  • 3 Ravens bought along a ginger beer that also includes kaffir lime leaves.  Matt, the brewer, told us that it was a bit of a work in progress at the moment.  The ginger gives it a real kick and it will be a great thirst quencher on a hot day. It was also our first chance to check out the new names for some of the range.  The Bronze is now called the English and the Blond will be called the Golden. The new names also come with classy new labels which are an acrylic of some kind and are slightly raised in parts which give them a very tactile element.  We were also lucky enough to get a taste of the special bourbon barrel version of the Dark smoke beer which is on tap at Beer Deluxe.  It is very limited so get in there to see if any is left.

Matt and Marcus from 3 Ravens

  • Sweetwater brought their new Summer Ale and Porter down from the high country.  Pete told us that he is using summer saaz and galaxy hops in the summer ale with some of them being grown locally in the Ovens Valley.  His aim was to produce a sessionable beer for the warmer months.  I’m prepared to put my body on the line and see if he succeeded.

Sweetwater's head honcho Pete Hull

  • Bright Brewery are also going for a sessionable beer – a lager.  It’s not a beer that will change your life but it will go down a treat on a hot day.
  • Holgate have a mid-strength English ale on the way.  For the moment it will only be on tap.  Perhaps an option for those who have been talked into being the dedicated driver for the trip to Woodend?

There are other scribbles in my notebook which may hold important information but unfortunately the generosity of the “tastes” being given to me affected my already poor note taking skills.

I’m looking forward to chasing up a lot of the contacts I made on the evening and hopefully that will result in some more interesting tidbits appearing here soon.  Keep your eyes out.