Day 3 (or Day 4 as some may say, Launch was day 0 I swear!) was overall pretty fun and entertaining with..
Newstead Brewing - Barrel of Laughs & Black & Tan
Arguably, barrel aged beers can take some getting used to, so can barrel aged ciders but that was the entire point of this event with 3 barrel aged beers and 2 barrel aged ciders on offer.
I tried the Sour Saison, a Baltic Porter, a Barley wine and a barrel aged Cider (although I don't recall which one, chardonnay I think) and sat down and started tasting.
The cider was super dry and not that fruity but was a decent start to a beery evening after wandering about in the Brisbane humidity.
The Saison had an odd taste that I didn't overly enjoy but the Barley wine was decent with a big boozy hit and a rum and raisin like finish.
I completed my paddle with the Barrel aged Porter which was not dissimilar to the already good Newstead Porter 21 feet 7 inches but with a slight boozy bump from the ageing, only minor though.
From there I moved onto the Tails and Heads collaboration between Newstead and Brisbane's James Squire pub the Charming Squire.
A Black and Tan is where one beer is dark and one is light but the two are mixed together in theory to create a layer with light on the bottom and dark on top although I clearly failed at pouring mine..
Newstead brewed Tails which is the Hefeweizen and Squire brewed the Heads which is a Dark Ale, both beers work as intended but the Hef for me wasn't as strong as I'd expected.
The Dark Ale from James Squire was a solid, malty and very moreish beer that I thoroughly enjoyed, I think this style is their strong suit.
Pouring the two together however just seemed to result in me making a mess of the table as I clumsily blended the two together with varying results.
Heads & Tails are on tap for the rest of Brewsvegas so give them a go at either Newstead or Charming Squire.
Fromage with FortitudeSo when I booked this event all I was thinking about was the cheese, I thought you know I've had most of Fortitude's great line of beers, this is all about the cheese.
You know what though? I underestimated two things, the Golden Ale which I'd never had and the effect the cheese would have on the beer.
There was no hand holding just a simple introduction for each beer by the entertaining Dan Rawling's from Fortitude with Witches Chase cheese maker Millsy giving a solid run down on each cheese as well as some of his pairing suggestions.
After this we were free to drink the beers and cheeses as we pleased making up our own minds on matching which cheese with which beer.
We had dried apple, apricots, sultanas, quince paste and some crackers and toasties to pair with 5 cheese, 2 Cheddar, a Red Leicester, a blue and a triple cream brie.
For the beers there was a full range from Fortitude/Noisy Minor with their Lager, Golden Ale, Anzus IPA, Admiral Ackbar Red IPA and Yasterbov Ukrainian Imperial Stout.
I'll admit that now days I really don't go for lager, I don't enjoy the aroma and usually don't enjoy the taste but the lager did match perfectly with the cheddar and the triple cream brie with a slight nuttiness adding to the flavour.
I've had all the beers before with the exception of the Golden Ale which was the stand out for me, not only because I hadn't tried it before but because it is so full flavoured with a lovely hoppy aroma and a great smooth malty finish.
For the cheeses I could eat the Triple Cream Brie all day, it was just so tasty but in all honesty each one had something great going on... With my favourite pairing being the Imperial Stout and the Blue as it out that slightly funky flavour all the more, which may be partly because there is a hint of Belgian yeast in the stout.
It seemed everyone enjoyed the night, it was quite intimate and there wasn't a large amount of noise so it was really easy to hear everything and asks questions comfortably, I know I went away feeling very happy and satisfied.
If you are interested in the cheeses or the beers you can now get the Lager, Golden Ale and Anzus IPA in bottles around Brisbane at selected craft beer bottle-shops (check my links on the right) and for the cheeses you will have to visit Witches Chase Cheeses on Mount Tamborine but it's worth the drive!