Sunday, December 26, 2010

Seasonal news

Hope everyone's having a relaxing time with some decent brews.

I haven't pushed the enveloped regarding funny beers, although I foisted a Trois Pistoles upon an appreciative bunch of blokes at a party.  Went down quite well; no match for their Crowns and Stellas :-)

I finished off my "traditional" hefe last night. Still some "summer" hefe to go, although I detect a slight souring that, although not unpleasant, may increase over the next week or so. It needs to be finished shortly.

Package beers picked up for the season included White Rabbit White Ale, and Gage Roads Sleeping Giant. The former is a wit style, with an interesting pawpaw undertone that suits the summer months. The latter is an IPA. Although having prominant IPA characteristics, seems a little awkward and lacking integration.

Anyhow, some further Lion Nathan reading:

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/beer-bottle-exploded-in-my-face-surf-coach-20101225-197fw.html

Not surprising at all, yeah ?

Thursday, December 16, 2010

A couple of sour Belgians

'Twas a warm Saturday last.  Although the offer was very tempting, I declined my family's invitation to join them on the roller coasters of Luna Park. There were other things on the agenda.....

Learn How to Make Great-Tasting BeerAfter dropping them off, I went for a bit of a stroll up the hill towards North Sydney. Dropped into Dave's for a quick 5kg of pale malt and Pride of Ringwood pellets. No need for cara/crystal malt anymore, as I think the DIY approach has great merit (see recent post).  I'm thinking about an Aussie Pale, warm-fermented & fruity.

From Dave's, continued north along Miller Street, and soon found myself at Cammeray's greatest attraction (I know this all sounds rather serendipitous, but, yes, it was planned).  On warm days, the Epoque Belgian Beer Cafe opens its bifolds onto the street, giving the patron a good view of the passing trade, and a good lungfull of bus fart.

Beer and Breweries in Belgium: Stella Artois, Leffe, Kriek, Beer in Belgium, Lambic, Wheat Beer, Trappist Beer, Westvleteren BreweryBeing a warm day, and having worked up a bit of a sweat hauling my grain up the hill, I was in the mood for something crisp & refreshing. The beer that fits the bill (for those with the acquired taste) is gueuze. This for mine is the archetypal lambic beer, with a blend of old and new beers. It's not as mouth-puckeringly sour as some lambics (e.g. Cantillon), but still offers a real citrus bite, plus the wet hessian & dank funkiness that comes from the various microflora in these brews.  Outstandingly refreshing, as well as beguiling and complex. Timmermans was the brewer. I also recommend Lindemans Gueuze if you can get it.

Michael Jackson's Great Beers of Belgium, 6th EditionConfirming a mood for sour beers, I then had a crack at Bourgogne Des Flandres Brune. This is a Flemish "Oud Bruin" ale (again from Timmermans), of which the Liefmans Goudenband is probably the best known. Although sour, it has a fair whack of fancy Belgian malts, giving it rich flavours of preserved fruits, dates, caramel, licorice.

For mine this beer alone is worth the trip to a Belgian Beer Cafe. It's not universally well received (Beer Advocate community only gives it a C), however I think it sits aross several beer styles and is drinkable on any occasion.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Lion Nathan - no reply

Oh well, a week's gone by and I have heard not a peep out of Lion Nathan regarding my objections to their trademark protection actions.

In the interim, I have been researching exactly what it would mean to boycott this company's products. According to the website http://lion-nathan.com.au/brands/ it is quite extensive, and not just for beer.

Australian brands: Tooheys, XXXX, Hahn, James Boag, West End, Emu, James Squire, Knappstein, Bare Cove, Southwark

NZ brands: Steinlager, Speight's, Mac's, Lion Red, Waikato, Canterbury

International brands: Heinken, Becks, Birra Moretti, Budweiser (US), Kirin, Amstel

Maybe I would probably miss the occasional visit to Squire's brewhouse on King Street wharf, although I haven't been there for many months. As for the rest of the brands, I can't say I regularly consume any of them, so no great dramas there.

But, in looking around the website, Lion Nathan has quite a portfolio of wine. I think this is where a boycott would hurt (me, that is, not Lion Nathan)

For example:

Croser, Petaluma, Pikes, Mitchelton, St Hallett, Tatachilla, Stonier, Bridgewater Mill, Henschke.... among others.

Quite a few of these have a representation in my cellar....... hmmmm

OK, Lion Nathan, I'll give you one more chance..... but after that I'll have to start commencing to think about considering the clarification of the prospect of proposing the discussion of further steps towards a tactical response to the existent issues pertaining the aforementioned actionable parameters.

I'm not going to drink your beer, though.  And Squires Brewhouses are off the agenda, henceforth.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Lion Nathan - a tale of trademarks and hypocrisy

Another week, another trademark dispute involving Lion Nathan.

As reported in Fairfax press, a small brewer has been served notice from the lawyers at Lion Nathan, which has taken exception to Mr Michael Harvey's use of the phrase "Tosser's Extra Dry". http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/no-dry-humour-in-tossers-tugofwar-20101127-18bjq.html

Not content with objecting to the "Extra Dry", Lion Nathan has also objected to the phrase "Tosser's". Do they wish to confirm an association with the phrase ? I gotta say, the more they object, the more apparent this association becomes......

As stated in the article, the objection to "Tosser's" could easily be seen as revenge. Or bullying tactics.

Lion Nathan has also had success in protecting its "New" trademark, with the Trade Mark Office agreeing that a new brewery could not register as "New South Brewing Company". Not content with registering a commonly used English language adjective, Lion Nathan apparently also has the power to prevent anyone else in the brewing industry using said adjective. http://www.theshout.com.au/2010/09/27/article/Out-with-the-New-Lion-Nathan-wins-Trade-Mark-Stoush/RZHKGPWFVI

But it hasn't all gone their way lately. In May, it was reported the American company E&J Gallo Winery had a win in this country's High Court, over Lion Nathan's use of the word "Barefoot" in its Radler product. A Lion Nathan spokesperson whinged stated that "We are disappointed by yesterday's High Court ruling, which represents a substantial change to Australian trade mark law,”   (thanks to The Shout for that quote: http://www.theshout.com.au/2010/05/21/article/Lion-Nathan-stripped-in-Barefoot-battle/QALOKRVYTK.html) .

Lion Nathan could easily have learnt from the May experience when dealing with Tosser's and New South. Perhaps a little bit of empathy.

Not bloody likely. As Tosser's and New South have experienced, Lion Nathan has returned to the trademark courts with a vengeance.

And for what gain ? Your humble correspondent practices a life-long boycott of McDonalds, due to that company's obnoxious behaviour over the years.  Could I live without James Squires and Knappstein Reserve Lager ? On a principle such as this, yes.

As an aside, I have emailed Lion Nathan objecting to their stance against Mr Harvey. I'll keep you posted of any developments.

Aussie Beer Blog

Aussie Beer Blog