A guest blog on a beer and a film from OZ
This excellent article was written by EWB’s guest blogger from Down Under (well she lives in London, but she is from OZ), Courtney. I met Courtney on a brilliant trip up to Speyside. On this trip I found out that she has a passion for alcohol and films. I suggested she combine the two into a blog form, and so this blog post was born. She sent this to me months ago, but because I am useless, forgetful (so forgetful) and very busy, this is the first chance I have had to post it up.
Thanks so much Courtney. I hope this is the first of many more (apologies for being so useless!)
Courtney here. As I sit down I am surrounded by Australian paraphernalia – The Castle DVD playing, A bottle of Little Creatures Pale Ale in my hand, and You am I’s ‘Heavy Heart’ providing the backing soundtrack for my maiden blog post – my mind wanders back to 2002, when I travelled to Fremantle in Western Australia with some like-minded individuals to sample the best of WA (read: consume alcohol in venues that did not differ vastly from the public houses that I would frequent back in Victoria).
My unrefined palate was used to sampling the cheapest, most undignified of liquids that my university strained wallet could take, that would carry me to the desired level of inebriation. This was all well and good, until we decided to visit The Little Creatures Brewery in Fremantle. Stepping gingerly inside this vast space, with the taste of last night’s lost memories still burning strong; I sampled a variety of Bright Ale, Pilsner, Pale Ale and Rogers beer that would stick in my mind up until this point and beyond. With the logo of the little angel holding a frothy glass of ale beaming down on me like a little malted god, I started to appreciate, daresay enjoy, the amber nectar that my palate had been deprived in favour of herbal laced shots abruptly dunked into various energy drinks and consumed at high speed.
Having completely no knowledge of alcohol appreciation at the time – it was the strong citrus flavours that won me over first. “I can taste orange, and, well, flowers I think” I proclaimed as I sipped this delightful brew called ‘Little Creatures Pale Ale’. I could also detect something else – which I later discovered to be hops. A really dry hopped Pale Ale, to be more precise – well, at least this is my opinion. An interesting fact: The name “Little Creatures” is inspired by a song lyric from the Talking Heads Little Creatures album and refers to the live yeast cells that turn the sugars in malt wort into alcohol. Mmm relevant.
I am not claiming to know a great deal about beer. Up until my late teens I regarded the brew as merely a ‘malt sandwich’ – a term that my grandfather used when I quizzed him as to what he was having for lunch one day when I was a child. What I am now doing is immersing myself in alcohol appreciation, and fusing it with my other love – films.
My first sip – Yeasty, fragrant, with even the slightest hint of ice-cream. My second sip – strong, crisp, perhaps even the faintest detection of pine?
The film I have playing in the background is called The Castle. It is the film I felt most compelled to watch when I opened this illusive bottle of ale (illusive due to the fact that I had to visit a number of establishments to hunt one down. In one instance I was directed to the ‘Australia Store’. I must have sounded like a homesick migrant. I did pop my head in though, admittedly, and accidentally purchased some barbeque shapes. Apologies… I digress).
The Castle was made in 1997, and stars a young Eric Bana pre Hulk fame, Michael Caton, Stephen Curry, Sophie Lee and the brilliant late Charles ‘Bud’ Tingwell. It focuses on the Kerrigan family living in Melbourne, close to the airport. This lovable family are being forced to leave their beloved home (known as their ‘castle’) by the government and airport authorities. The Kerrigan family stick together and fight to remain in their house, taking their case as far at the High Court under the eye of questionable family lawyer Denis Denuto.
This lovable family coined many well know Australian phrases such as ‘Tell him he’s dreamin’ and ‘This is going straight to the pool room’. Ask any Australian, I guarantee they have said one of these phrases in the past 24 hours.
The films protagonist – Dale Kerrigan – narrates the story throughout, providing innocent reflection on his life and family. The film is quite sweet, with bitter overtones at certain moments – which is exactly what I am getting from the Pale Ale. Ice cream is playing on my mind (this tipple really does remind me of the dairy delight) and with this taste still dancing on my tongue, Daryl Kerrigan asks his wife “what is this?” to which his wife replies “Ice -cream, darl”. “What have you done with it?” he asks. “Scooped it from the punnet.”
This film really is a satire of Australian sophistication, and leaves the viewer with a warm, fuzzy feeling encapsulating the spirit of the classic underdog. An Aussie battler fighting his way to the top. The Pale Ale, hailing from the land down under need not fight its way to the top, because in my books, it is already right up there.
To close my first blog post for Edinburgh Whisky Blog, I will employ the medium of Dale Kerrigan:
“Dad, he reckons power lines are a reminder of man’s ability to generate electricity”
“Courtney, she reckons that Little Creature Pale Ale is a reminder of man’s ability to generate a damn fine APA.”
I am now a certified ‘hophead’.
Notes from my still developing palette
Citrus – predominantly oranges, Ice cream and caramel, Pine. Strong, dry hops. A light and hoppy smell, a touch of grapefruit
Little Creatures Pale Ale
If you find yourself in Western Australia, visit:
Little Creatures Brewery
40 Mews Road, Fremantle WA 6160