Why All The Brewhaha?

Looking for a new way to wet your whistle but find the world of indie beers as hard to crack as the cutie in your tute with the oversized Neutral Milk Hotel tee and skinny jeans? VICTORIA BITAR breaks the ice. 


In the States, there was a time not so long ago, when alcohol consumption and production was subject to a plethora of weird and wacky restrictions. Thankfully, home brewing was legalised in the 1970s, bringing with it the emergence of a new alcoholic counterculture – craft beer. With an industry monopoly no longer maintained by giant corporations such as ABInBev (Budweiser, Stella Artois, Beck’s) and SABMiller (Miller, Foster’s, Peroni), small microbreweries were able to focus on producing brews with more complex flavours, quality ingredients, and higher alcohol content. This American movement triggered a world phenomenon.

The emergence of the craft beer scene was great news for those of us who like to appear a little fancy when indulging in the magical effects of alcohol. And, it’s not just because drinking non-mainstream beer is scientifically proven- I have conducted many social experiments- to make you seem approximately (precisely) 180% cooler to that hipster babe in the corner wearing plaid suspenders. However, don’t ever let anyone tell you that spending your days hammering down Carlton Draught and listening to Jimmy Barnes with your mates is a waste of time. As Australians, we’re quite lucky that many of our mainstream beer brands are richer in flavour than American favourites, allowing for an easier adjustment to the layered taste of craft beers.

There are a wide variety of outstanding brews, both local and international, to sample as a starting point. Australia hosts a number of famous breweries such as Mountain Goat, Feral Brewing, Riveride and Murray’s. Places like Dan Murphy’s – a.k.a. heaven – stock a large number of basic craft brews, but much like Bilbo Baggins, to discover the real treasures, you’ll have to make an epic journey to far off stores such as Steve’s Cool Booze, or The Oak Barrel.

Though craft beers may take a while to adjust to, people who usually down Carlton, Tooheys, or VB, may find Samuel Adams’ Boston Lager to their taste, with a little more character than regular adjunct lager. Those more partial to Boag’s may prefer Rogue’s Juniper Pale Ale; crisp, but with a tad more complexity. Of course, those who prefer a sweeter drink might just discover a preference for the taste of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Nevertheless, just like shopping for jewellery, antiques, and the perfect man, buyers must BEWARE OF IMITATIONS. Like the nefarious Mr. Gribble from Paul Jennings’ classic TV drama Round the twist, greedy corporate brewery owners such as Lion Nathan and MillerCoors are constantly trying to line their pockets by passing off as, or buying out, smaller breweries. True beer connoisseurs will steer clear of James Squires, White Rabbit, and Blue Moon labels.

Even if they are guilty of sending a few too many embarrassing texts to your ex, consistently putting your left contact lens in the right one’s case, or getting weepy whenever anyone mentions Ross and Rachel from Friends, drunk you is probably the most reliable wingman/woman you’ll ever meet. So next time, why not forego the VB, and try something a little more interesting? We promise – you’ll thank us for it later.

Vertigo  encourages responsible drinking. If you feel that your drinking is becoming a problem, seek help. You can talk to organisations such as the Student Health Services (phone (02) 9514 1177), located at CB01.06.01.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons