One Bike, Two Birds, Four Trains and Eight Beers

Righto Kiddies, my mission today was to try and get to a few beer establishments, knock off a few frothy’s and stay out of trouble. My mode of transport: Bike and Train…  Being a long weekend and all, I figured the Booze Bus fleet would be out in full swing, so felt this was the safest option.IMG_3891

So I collected the deadly from storage, dusted it off and pumped up the tires. Got me gear together and set off down to Merlynston train station. (I just decided to type the station name in coz I recking its a great name).

Easy enough, I was on on board and whistling my way to North Melbourne Station where I would change to the Hoppers line to get to Altona.

Spotswood was my delivery, point, and got off and being around 12:30 in the Arvo, with what I would describe as a well earned thirst! I was soon at the doorstep of Two Birds Brewing.

IMG_3894I was immediately impressed with the facade of the Brewhouse, and didn’t need any coaxing inside. I was happy to note that I wasn’t the first to make it here today, at what the average punter would say is a bit early to get on the wagon, but hey, who’s an average punter?

Inside is a fairly relaxed atmosphere, with a wide glass window giving a view into the Brewery itself. Ok, time to get serious, up to thIMG_3898e bar, and order the tasting paddle. Now this is limited to 4 beers in the selection (I might offer them some longer planks), so I went with the Taco Beer, Bantam IPA, Rice Rice Baby, and Wolf of the West. The last two being seasonal brews only available on tap.

I was pretty happy with this setup, they have a tasting area in the heart of the brewery where you are immersed in the action. It took no time to lay the ears back and get stuck in. Now as it turns out that today, Sunday was International Womans day, and Jayne (head brewer and one of the “two birds”) was actually doing a brew to mark the day. Normally there would be no action in the brewery of a sunday, so I got a good glimpse of the artistry in action.

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Time to lay the ears back. Starting with the Taco, it had a subtle and enticing hop nose, which lead to a nicely balanced fresh hoppy flavour. I reckon I’d be happy to knock a few of these off on a nice sunny arvo! 2nd bevvy was their Bantam IPA, now if I were running the show here, and sticking to the bird/chicken theme, this could possibly be named the Kraienkoppe.. being a bit bigger and more showy beer, somehow Bantam just doesn’t quite convey the message for me. Now for the Rice Rice Baby, this I really enjoyed. I am finding of late I am taken by a style of beer which isn’t a huge hop blast, or malty load, but rather something with some finesse and unique flavour. This had me stumped, until Jayne’s husband Lewis came over and sat with me, giving me a few ideas on the flavours. Ginger it is, I seriously think I am flavour deaf! It was obvious as soon as he mentioned it, now how do I train my palette to connect with my memory? This got my fave tick for the day, so much so that I bought a squealer to take home. Finished with Wolf of the West. A big malty ale with a smooth and not too bitter finish. All in all great coupel of beers.

Once finished I started to take a few pictures of the Brewery, when Jayne walked past and invited me to come backstage and join the crew there. I didn’t need to be asked twice, one thing I was starting to feel here was they were all really into what they were doing, and just wanted to share it with anyone who was interested. As mentioned earlier, a brew was in the making, this one a red ale with some Hibiscus flower to be thrown in for colour and bittering qualities. Lewis at this time took a couple through on a tour which I jumped in on, and he took us through the entire process, happily answering all questions. It is really evident the joy and passion here, I could have easily spent the entire afternoon. I will definitely be back to hopefully try this red ale once it hits the taps.

Anyhow, I was wanting to get down to Williamstown to find a few interesting views to take some pics. I’ve recently picked up a couple of new lenses for the camera, and am eager to test them out. So back on the bike I was, wandering along the shoreline, eventually finding myself drawn into the wharves where I found the Sea Shepherd moored.

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I have always been intrigued by the ship, and what it’s role is on the seas. To find it here was an unexpected bonus, so I soon found the jetty where it was berthed, and as a stoke of luck, made it in time to get on the last free tour for the day. I have to say we as the public are only ever fed a snippet of their endeavours, and I can only say I am in awe of their commitment and dedication to the welfare of the marine life in our seas.

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Tour complete, and a couple of cloth badges purchased in support, I decided the angle of the sun was causing a slight dehydration to set in, so a quick check of where a local alehouse might be via Now Tapped, I soon had my sights set on The Junction Beer Hall.

A short ride later, and I will say my legs being a bit out of shape in this riding caper, were starting to show signs of “I couldn’t be buggered”, I happily dismounted in front of the Pub and headed on in for a refresher. Starting with the New World Pilsner from Tooborac Hotel Brewery, I barely had time to discover the nuances of it’s flavours, as it barely touched the sides. If I were to say anything, a touch of vanilla on the nose. Otherwise a good clean honest pils. Further perusal of their stock on tap, I settled for the Red Eye Rye from Dainton Family Brewery, along with a serve of some beer battered chips.

Now it seems that somewhere between walking to the bar, ordering, and going back to my seat, my stamina caught a cab home, leaving me with a severe case of CBF. Looking back at my tasting notes for this beer states this, so there it is. I’ll give it a 3.5

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Thankfully after a feed and this red ale, the cab driver realised my stamina wasn’t going to be offering a fare, and thew it back into the bar, allowing me to consider another ale. I can only thank the cabbie, as the next beer I tried was a pearler.

Called the Lebanese Pale Ale from 961 Beer. The beer menu described it as having been brewed with Lebanese herbs and spices, giving it a distinct Lebanese flavour and Fragrance. I will say it was exactly as described. Aroma was all a herb and spice mix, with the flavour mostly an infusion of thyme, evolving into a bitter aftertaste with an aniseed linger. This nearly took the honours today for top beer, but the points stay with Two Birds.

By now, the sun was getting low in the sky, and I knew I had a journey ahead of me to get home. Putting this aside, I decided there was an opportunity for a few good sunset pics from the other side of the bridge, so a “quick scoot” to Port Melbourne had me there just in time to capture these:

So I’m guessing you’re wondering “now I only counted 7 beers”, well you’re correct. After getting the sunset pics, riding back to Southern Cross Station, and catching the train home, I really needed a refresher. And a Holgate Brewery Mt Macedon Pale Ale fitted the bill and finished off a great day.

Hooroo until next time..

Cheers Gordo

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