NOT A PALE ALE IN SIGHT
So, fellow BringBitz bloke Dave and I have a regular session, accompanied by partners and sometimes children, in which each of us supplies four different beers. We call these catch-ups Bring Beer (note the capital Bs). Bring Beers are held alternately at our homes. For example, this Tuesday it was at my place, next one will be held at Dave's abode.
When we started Bring Beer (too long ago to politely point out) eight beers in a session seemed to disappear regularly. Nowadays we are more moderate in our consumption, and leftovers are consumed over the next few evenings at our leisure. On Tuesday (a weird day but crazy Dave still plays football on winter weekends and I work most Sundays) we only knocked over four beers, an all-time low. But, we had a great time, eating, drinking and enjoying some (obviously) enlightening conversation.
So, to the main item on the agenda ... the booze. All four beers enjoyed were dark which didn't reflect our mood, I might add.
ASAHI DRY BLACK
The first on the table was a Japanese beer - Asahi Dry Black. Dave tells me that dark beer is considered a health drink in Japan. Which sparked a conversation where I revealed (probably not for the first time) that my mum was ordered to drink Guinness when she was pregnant with me. Anyway, on with the beer review. Asahi's Dry Black, firstly, is completely drinkable. It is a European style dark beer but doesn't have the "thickness" of the best of this category. A pretty dry malty taste that slid down very easily. 5.5% alcohol. Verdict: 7/10
WILLIE THE BOATMAN - BLACK BUNNY DARK ALE
Now, this was promising. Great brewery name (for obvious reasons Willie the Boatman appeals), great beer name (Being a Rabbitohs NRL supporter). And, boy did it live up to its promise. It had a great coffee/chocolate taste that lingered on the palate after each mouthful. It smelt great, too. Just 4.7% alcohol, and you could enjoy a session with this beer alone. Brewed in the inner west of Sydney, Australia, it's great to see another drinkable dark beer in Oz's ever-growing craft beer market. Verdict: 8.3/10
WEIHENSTEPHANER TRADITION BAYRISCH DUNKEL
A classic. Weihenstephan is a Bavarian brewery that boasts being the oldest in the world (Alteste Braurei der Welt) with a founding date of 1040 (even I'm not that old). Like all of the Weihenstephaner range, it is a great beer. Quite light in colour for a dunkel (German dark beer), it has quite a sweet toffee/coffee flavour. It comes in at 5.2% alcohol. Verdict 7.5/10
STOMPING GROUND BUNKER PORTER
Despite it being brewed in Collingwood, Melbourne in the heart of AFL (Aussie Rules football) territory, we couldn't help but joke we reckon the referees in the NRL "bunker" probably drink too much of this 6.2% beauty before officiating at Rabbitohs NRL games. Has a great chocolate/roasted coffee bean flavour but is still quite sweet on the palate. Verdict 8.1/10