Where was I? Oh, yes...
Next along the heavenly path was the Little Creatures stand, however as much as I like these fine Australian brews, i am familiar enough with them to skip them and seek more mysterious ales and lagers. No, not you, Fosters, stay overseas as far away as possible from our shores - there is a reason we export you.
Standing out like a beacon in a sea of pale ales was the White Rabbit White Ale. An Australian craft ale that was not a pale ale? Well, pickle me in alcohol and call me Irish (oh, please!), but my eyes were not deceiving me. Here was something a bit more adventurous than the ubiquitous pale ale, an attempt at something beyond the ordinary. It sounded suspiciously like a Witbier, which means both white beer and wheat beer, and can mean either. They're a confused lot, the Belgians. Probably something to do with producing over 600 beers in country a third the size of Tasmania. Upon asking the keen custodians behind the stand, they assured me it was indeed based on the Belgian style in the manner of Hoegaarden, but in addition to the usual coriander and orange peel, juniper berries were thrown in for good measure. Hell, i didn't even know juniper berries were real, let alone thinking of adding them to beer. Ballsy.
I was pleased to find that they had avoided the temptation to reduce the volume of ingredients to being of no consequence. They'd never get a job working for Carlton Cold, putting flavour in beer, no way, man. I'm not sure what the value is of the juniper berries apart from differentiating it from Hoegaarden, but at least they were trying. The result was a refreshing ale with a lingering, subtle aftertaste, worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as its inspiration. This deserved a few more tastes, and some hearty discussion with the boys behind the stand regarding the merits of beer and other great profundities. I think you blokes should crack another one. Right on cue. Cheers!
I may well have stayed there forever, but one of the world's great beers was calling me, so i tried a token Rogers beer due to its marginally lower alcohol content and the fact i'd never tried it before. As a nod to traditional English ales, it was more distinct by its familiar Little Creatures hop profile, which is not a bad thing, but it is not Franziskaner.
Speaking of which, it was a callin' me from across the room, but standing in the way was a nasty looking beer from the old dart called Hobgoblin. What harm could possibly come from such a beer? At 5.2%, it seemed harmless enough, but packed a punch (thank god i proof read before publishing. It originally said "packed a lunch"), less subtle than Fullers London Pride or Old Speckled Hen, but just as obviously drunkenly named. It wasn't holding back, but what really promised to do me in was the Innis & Gunn from Scotland, not so surprisingly aged in whiskey barrels. Don't get me wrong, i like my whiskey, and my beer, even on the same night, or even alternating, but whiskey beer? Really? It sounds like some godawful idea dreamt up by some uni students after twenty schooners. It's the beer equivalent of a deep-fried Mars bar.
Moving right along, i spy an old friend. A very old friend. 1397 to be precise. Mmmm...Franziskaner Weissbeer! But wait! I've run out of time. Part IV soon!