All Beers are not Created Equal

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From Grain To Brain

OK, so I admit I tend to bang on about this beer thing  a fair bit, and I might have a slight passion *slash* obsession with the magical amber, warm and fuzzy, miracle happy juice that makes everything bad and painful in the world a funnier, happier  place. A bit like watching a Care Bear being slowly pushed into a Teletubbys arse, it’s happy, funny and colourful while still retaining the complete wrongness of it all.

So, how does this combination of ancient elements get us to a place where we’re happy to witness a stuffed bear that’s shooting rainbows from its gut, slide into the exit tunnel of a furry, fat alien thing with a ladies contorted sexual aid flopping around on top of its head?

Well, let me explain…

There are 4 (main) ingredients in beer: Malt, Water, Hops and Yeast
anything other than this is referred to as an “adjunct” (apart from other grains such as rye and barley) and not so long ago in Belgium, Germany and surrounding Europe, if any adjuncts were put into a beer, they would confiscate all that breweries beer and probably make the brewer the main object in a game of realistic reverse hangman.  Germans have pretty much got it sussed when it comes to beer….and killing people. (Google:  “Reinheitsgebot” if you want to read more about the German purity law)

What is Malt?

Go get yourself a heap of barley, or wheat or rye from some farmer with his arse hanging out of his poo-catcher jeans, sporting a ‘front tucked’ flannelette shirt and a face that would scare a stray Rottweiler out of a butchers shop.
Then you need to do is germinate the grain or start them off sprouting into new plants, or grass’s, or whatever the hell their called. Now, part of the germination process is that once the grain has been wet for a few days and starts sprouting, it releases an enzyme which converts the starches in the grain to sugar and other elements, which is the food the little buggers need to grow into a new plant.
Grain has basically 3 parts, most of it is endosperm (hehehehe ‘sperm’) or starch, then there is a smaller section which is the Embryo or the baby plant (awwwww), and that contains those funky little enzymes we need. The third part is the husk that holds all of this shit together.
As a brewer, you want these enzymes and you want the starches, but you don’t want the enzymes to eat all the starch.
So just while this poor little grain starts opening its metaphorical eyes and kicking into life, stretching its legs while the enzymes eat the starch to provide food for it, you abort it quicker than pregnant Romanian gymnast by drying it out in a kiln, kind of putting it in a suspended animation. Once this is done, it’s termed as “modified malt” and you’re ready to brew with it.

OK, so now can we make some beer?

Sure, let’s do it.
First you need to crack your grain so all those enzymes can get in and eat all the starch and convert it to sugar. So run it through a mill and bust it’s guts out, we’re not trying to make flour here so don’t go spastic on the crush.
Ok, so now you need to add water to the mix, but you also need to find a way to drain it afterwards leaving all that husk and flour behind. I’m sure you’ll work it out, if some rock smashing monkey, back in the day when shoving a dinner plate through your bottom lip and finger painting in a cave was all the rage can brew a beer, I’m sure someone of your intellect can work it out, if not, google “false bottom” and ignore all the results about smuggling cocaine and Brittney spears arse.

Anyway, hold your water soaked grain at about 65c for an hour. This is the perfect temperature for the enzymes to go nuts over the starch we just liberated from the hulls like a 5 dollar hooker in a sausage factory.

So, once the hours gone, we need to rinse (sparge) the sugars out, this is usually done with water at about 75 Celsius to make the sugar is runnier and to get into all the cracks and crannies of the grain to wash all that goodness out. So at the end of the sparge, you’re left with a heap of malty sugary water (wort).
Now who knows what shit has fallen out of that crusty farmers face when he gave you the grain or what bugs and bacteria have floated out of your nose and mouth with your shit breath that would make a lost sheep’s sphincter pucker like draw-string pouch and decided to take residence on your sweet, sweet wort. So to sort all that out, we’re going to boil and kill any little bastards that are squatting in it.

So chuck it on some heat and bring it to the boil. This has a few more effects than just sterilising the wort. First it kills any bugs we don’t want in there, secondly there is a heap of protein that is sitting in the wort that can cause off flavours, boiling it helps it solidify and filter that shit out of your beer. It also gets rid of a chemical called Dimethyl Sulphide (DMS) which kind of tastes like creamed corn and not something you want prominent in your beer.

So at this point your wort is boiling, there’s an awesome malty smell wafting about, you’re into your 6th pint, your wife has told you that if you don’t open a window that she’s going to shove the mash paddle up your arse and all the blokes in the street come wafting over to see what you’re up to like pigs to the trough. Now is the fun time…HOPS!!

What are Hops?

Hops are marijuana for brewers, and in fact, hops and the good old bong fodder are distant cousins. It’s the stuff that brewers dream about rolling naked in. I even had the owner of my brew store tell me to open a bag of fresh cascade hops I bought, plough my nose into it and take a big whiff, he said “That’s what I imagine heaven smells like”. Smelling hops makes home brewers eyes bounce around in the back of their heads like a really bad acting porn star on ecstasy. It really is an amazing smell.
There’s a vast, VAST array of hops and a myriad of names like Galaxy, citra, Saaz, Pacific Gem, cluster, that I won’t get into, but depending on the beer you’re making, and the flavours you like, you have an array of flavours and aroma to pick from –
See here.
During your boil, there are ‘generally’ 3 additions, a bittering, a flavour and an aroma addition.
This is due to the ‘Isomerization” of the alpha acids in the hops….yep, fucked you on that one didn’t I?… ok so basically the longer you boil hops, the less aroma and flavour you get and the more bitterness you get. So to impart the bitterness, you boil hops for an hour, to impart flavour, you boil it for 15-30 minutes, to impart aroma, you boil it from 0-15 minutes. And there’s your 3 additions of hops. You can also ‘dry hop’ during the fermenting stage, mash hop, first wort hop blah blah blah, basically you can throw hops in at any stage of your brewing process if you want but really, the main additions are the ones I’ve already crapped on about to you.

So where were we? Oh yep, making beer…

Ok, boiled this puppy for an hour yeah?, thrown all our hops in and now what?

Impatient bastards aren’t you? So now is the important bit, we didn’t spend all that time sucking back beers and throwing in hops to have some dickhead from down the road come up and start breathing all his shit breath that would make a fat gorillas armpit hair curl into it, so cover it up, if you don’t have a lid make one form alfoil. The BIG thing is to not let any bugsbacteriawild yeast  get in there, it needs to stay bacteria free for our brewer’s yeast!
the next thing is to cool it down as quickly as possible so we can chuck (pitch) our yeast in.
there’s a few ways to do this, but the simplest is to chuck the whole pot into a bigger container packed with ice, you need to bring your wort down to about 20c for an ale and about 12c for a lager.
Once you’ve done that, you need to get it all in a clean and sanitisedsterilised, sealed containerfermenter.
Once it’s in there, and at the right temperature, it’s time to pitch our yeast!

What is yeast?

Well, it’s a fungi, and as you can imagine there are absolutely shitloads of variety out there from bread yeast all the way to toe nail yeasts and that funky dandruff your wife gets up in her badly packed kebab when she on the anti-biotics.

However, I’m going to focus on brewer’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) because I can’t brew a kebab and toes just freak me the fuck out.
Yeast has been around as far back as we can imagine, but the domestication of brewer’s yeast is something that has been developed only in the last few hundred years. A lot of the old breweries used open top fermenters and reused the same yeast over and over again with who knows what that floated in and dropped its funky load in with it. So over time, consequently it matured to yeast unique to that brewery.
These days you can get all kinds of yeast, tailored to whatever type of brew you’re doing. Some impart an earthiness and esters to the beer, others are designed to finish clean and neutral.
Brewing yeast comes in a few different forms, dried, liquid, and “smack packs” which require you to break a pouch inside the bag and wait for the two liquids to mix and swell before pitching.
 

What does the Yeast do?

it eats sugar and oxygen and then shits out carbon dioxide and alcohol.
That’s basically the crux of it. That’s its purpose really; to make bubbles and alcohol then we drink it.
It does impart flavour and some body to beers, sometimes desired flavours and sometimes undesired depending on the temperature it lives at.
So now that our beer is at the right temperature and everything is clean and sanitised for the yeast to move in and take a firm hold on the sugars.

Fermenting

Fermenting is the process of yeast converting sugars to alcohol and CO2.
As the yeast eats the sugar and oxygen, it expels Alcohol and carbon dioxide. In doing this it multiplies and multiplies until nearly all the sugar is gone or the alcohol content gets too high for it (depending on what you’re making), it ends up shitfaced, passes out and sinks to the bottom of the fermenter.
Usually about 10 days fermenting at the right temp and the process is done. If you taste the beer through the fermentation process, you will be able to taste the sweetness disappear and the alcohol and bitterness kick in.

 

When can I drink it?

You can drink it now if you want to, it might taste like it’s been passed through a dogs lower colan at this point (a healthy dog though, not a mongrel) but it’ll get you shitfaced if that’s all you’re after.
New or ‘green’ beer needs some time to balance out some of the shit that’s still floating around in there. You can filter this out if you want with a proper filter like a water filter, chuck it into a keg, force carbonate it with the CO2 gas bottle you have behind your keg fridge and be necking the stuff in a few hours. But your average new brewer will be bottling these brews which will take a few weeks to condition properly.

So, you have your bottles, all cleaned and sanitised and ready to fill up with your beer right? Cool, so now you need to add just a little bit more sugar to the beer before you bottle it, this is so the yeast can eat the sugar and turn it into a little bit more alcohol and produce some more CO2. Now since the beer will be sitting in a sealed container (your capped glass bottle) there’s nowhere for the gas to go except for back into the beer itself, and there you have your bubbles. But it’s not that simple; what you have done by adding more sugar is kicked off the fermentation process again slightly. So more yeast back into the beer and more time to let it settle out. The shortest time you should wait to be downing your brew is 2 weeks, but you’ll find it will be at its best after 4 to 6 weeks in the bottle.
This time allows for the yeast to fall out, it allows the flavours of the hops balance out with the malt and yeast and allows the beer to stabilize and mature.

Awesome!! I’ve just smashed 10 of my own beers and I love you bro!


Well done! You’re enjoying your fruits of your labour! But do you know what’s happening to you while you’re performing the robot dance and random penis contortions while being a drunken dickhead at your in-laws 50th?
Firstly, let’s get a couple of things straight!
Beer does not make you fat! What does make you fat is the half a pizza and a garlic sauce soaked kebab you stuffed into your glazed over, drooling and droopy eyed face the night before and the greasy bacon and eggs you decided would be a good idea for breakfast, as well as the lounging around on your stanky couch all day with a remote control in one hand and your purple headed womb ferret in the other.

The other thing is low-carb beers are a gimmick, you are being shafted!,
Beer contains NO Fat and NO Cholesterol and because the yeast ate it all, next to no sugar.

Here’s a rough breakdown that I found on the interwebnetsplorer:

 

Regular Beer

Light Beer

Water

327.4g

335.8g

Calories

153

103

Alcohol

13.9g

11.0g

Protein

1.6g

0.9g

Carbohydrate

12.6g

5.8g

Fat

0.0g

0.0g

Cholestrol

0.0g

0.0g

Calcium

14mg

14mg

Magnesium

21mg

18mg

Phosphorous

50mg

42mg

Potassium

96mg

74mg

Sodium

14mg

14mg

Niacin

2mg

1mg

Folate

21mcg

21mcg

 

So as you can see, you’re looking at about 5g-7g of carbs difference in a normal beer compared to a light beer.
A large carrot has about 6g, a Slice of white bread has  about 15g of carbohydrates and that French onion dip and Ritz you shove in your gob while downing a VB at your mate Kevo’s BBQ has about 40g of carbohydrates in it. Beer has Sweet FA Carbs to start with!
So, this is why I say to you, stick your low-carb beer, along with a carrot, a slice of bread and a dry cracker with dip fair up your balloon knot! I’ll have a beer with flavour thanks!

Faaaaark mate, I’m a bit pissed

 I bet you’re glad you had that massive slice of lasagne before you got stuck into it eh?
That’ll keep you from getting smashed?
Not really dopey, food will absorb some of the alcohol, but guess what?, that Lasagne isn’t going to be coming out of your turd cutter the same way it went in, it along with all the beers you just smashed is going to be absorbed too, so it might take you longer to get pissed, but you’re still going to be whistling chunks at the end of the night.

So, now you’re about to go the Oesophageal Eruption and start barking at the ground, lets discuss how the beer you drank got you here.

Alcohol hits primarily on the nerve cells within your currently gargling brain and interferes with the excitatory nerve pathways making you dopey and sluggish, and it also messes with the inhibitory nerve pathways which is why you thought it was ok to get your tube steak out and do the wristwatch in front of the in-laws with it. Basically, in excessive quantities it makes you dopey as well as brave. So this is why you do stupid things and embarrass yourself when you’re shitfaced.

It also effects your Limbic system which controls your emotional side, this is why some bogans get angry when their drunk and get into a bit of a  fisty-cuff with some other Mullet sporting, Guns ‘n Roses t-shirt wearing, 3 toothed, brickies labourer called ‘Wazza’. All up until the cops turn up and chuck ‘em in the back of the pork bus. At which point their both in tears calling out to their girlfriends ‘Shazza and Kazza’ about how much they love them.

So now that you’ve completed your involuntary personal protein spill, you feel much better and a lot more sober yeah? Well, no, not really. You have however, successfully pushed more blood into your brain and become slightly more alert from emptying the carrot yodel hole, but that’ll last just long enough to find your bed and collapse on it to pass out.
While you’re sleeping, your stomach and intestines are still passing alcohol to your blood stream.

Your Liver will clean about 90% of the alcohol from your bloodstream and the rest comes out when you unload your piss pocket, breath and sweat.
Your Liver only works at one speed and generally cleans about ¾ of a standard drink per hour, which is no-where near as fast as what you can drink the stuff. The Alcohol also turns valuable energy stores In the the liver to glucose which in turn ejects it into your water bag where it waits for that bronze expulsion in the morning.

Your Kidneys receive a message from your now inebriated “what the fuck is going on” brain to stop pumping water to everywhere, except to the bladder! And your Kidneys will pump out 4 drinks to every 1 drink of alcohol you consume, which is why you piss like a broken sprinkler when you’re dropping some frothys.

So when you wake up tomorrow morning, you’ll be dehydrated and your body will be suffering. Your organs would have broken into your skulls back door and flogged a heap of water that your brain likes to soak in so they can have a drink. Your brain, has woken up drier than a 70yo vagina stuffed with prawn crackers and Jatz biscuits, and because of this has shrunk in size, pulling in all the membranes that attach it to your skull and Whammo!, there’s your head thumper of a headache.

I’m never drinking again!

So you’re Heads thumping ‘cos your brains shrunk, you have reduced energy because your sugars are depleted, you’re liver is swollen because it’s been working harder than a Balinese lady boy at an end of year footy trip, And you’ve pissed more water than Japanese hooker on scat night at the bingo hall.

So, next time, drink water while you’re drinking your beer. Drink something like Lucozade before you go to bed as well as a heap of water. You’ll wake up a lot better and ready to throw a toe into the hairy dogs arse and start again.

 

Brew for Beer, not for Alcohol

I love beer, and I do tend to have a couple more than I should, more often than not. And I can get a bit rowdy and have a giggle and fart as you’ve probably guessed.
But I in no way condone the idea of using Alcohol as a way of getting off your chops and the only way you can have fun, and I really hate seeing people so drunk they can’t even walk.

I brew beer because I love beer, I brew it because I love the thousands of different interpretations it comes in, I love the taste, I love the smell, I love making it, I love seeing other people enjoy my beer, but I can’t stand a drunken fool.
If you drink to get drunk, seriously, you’re just another ring spanner in a massive box of tools that’s been knocked over on a Saturday night, and you deserve 90% of the shit you’re going to wake up regret, it’s your owb bloody fault.
There’s nothing wrong with getting a buzz from beer and getting the shits and giggles, but alcohol, when left untamed can be an all-consuming and unforgiving, monstrous beast that will leave a thick skidmark in every aspect of your life.
The trick to getting drunk is to know when to stop, before you ruin the fun for everyone. If you talk like a wanker, and act like a wanker, chances are you have a knob like the handle grip of a BMX.

Or you can just ignore that last bit and get shitfaced

 

Cheers,

BeerFingers

Festering Cesspool of Spunk Water

Which sick and depraved lumpy took a look at some discarded pot of funky, murky, swamp water, stuck in a corner somewhere, with a sulphury and rotten egg stench coming off it, smacked his lips together and went “hmm, feeling a tad thirsty, might just grab me a cup of that festering cesspool of crusty spunk water over there with the 4 inches of mould growing on the top”? Who did that? Who in their right mind would think of putting that festering slop in their mouths?

Who were these people? They must have suffered some kind of massive brain injury or just come back from doing the “Tim-Tam straw” thing using a recently deceased rodent and a bucket of hot back-end heifer extract, just looking for something to wash the taste out of their mouths? I mean how the hell do you get to the point where any of that shit looks tasty??

So, where did beer come from, who made it and why the hell did they put it in their mouths?
Well, it’s that bloody old, or at least an ancient incarnation of it, that no-one is exactly 100% sure. The odds are that someone had some grain or some grain hulls in a pot; it rained and filled with water, washed some of the starches off and kicked in some enzymes. Then some wild yeast floated in and went to town on the sugar that the enzyme’s created from eating the starch, it fermented out, and then some spotty loin cloth wearing spear chucker made his little brother drink it or he’d tell mum and dad about him romancing the family goat behind the tribal humpy while looking at rock drawings of boobs (I might have made that last bit up). And BAM! There it was, the golden juice of the grain gods was discovered.

 Apparently, according to the internet (and the internet doesn’t lie) beer goes all the way back to 10,000BC when the Ancient Iraqi women in what was then called Mesopotamia were making something along the lines of beer using white and black barley as well as wheat and honey. Around 5000 Years ago, the Ancient Chinese were knocking back this beery stuff called Kui with some bovine meat in black bean sauce, fried rice and a couple of spring rolls. The Egyptians were smashing pints about 3000 years before Jesus was turning water into plonk, and then the Egyptians taught the Greeks how to make it because Cleopatra was letting that Ceaser bloke get his end away with her.
Anyway, the Greeks then showed the Romans, then Romans shared it with bloody everyone because all they did was get shitfaced and root each other all day and didn’t give a tossed midget about who made the stuff as long as they managed to get blotto and find a warm spot somewhere to repeatedly meat stab each other’s syphilis infected genitals and orifices.

Ahem, might have got on a dodgy tangent there…anyway, moving on…

So a few hundred years later, when backing one out in the street and monthly baths were normal.
Back in the Mother Country, those zesty, scab encrusted Elizabethans would brew beer to preserve their water. See, water used to go bad a fair bit back then and if you drank it you could get dysentery or some other crusty disease due to the lack of a sewerage system, cleanlyness and waste cartage to get our filth away. So they used to brew beer as a way of drinking water so they wouldn’t all keel over from being a back and front passage super soaker.
So if you live in your own shit and bathe once a month, it might be a good Idea to drink nothing but beer (we all have a suburb in our towns carrying on this tradition). Even Captain Cook, on his way to Australia brewed beer on the Endeavour to stop his water supplies from going bad.

So, Beer has been around pretty much since we were banging rocks and rubbing sticks together, when “going out clubbing” actually meant you were guaranteed a leg throw at the end of the night. It’s been passed along through the ages, from Priest to gentlemen to Bogan to home brewer. It’s been around longer than Wine and possibly just as long as mead. It’s been more than just a drink, it was used as a medicine, a water replacement, and during the USA prohibition years, it was a “miracle cure”.
It’s been used in religious ceremonies, there was even a god of Beer and Brewing called “Ninkasi” who apparently was the Head brewer to all the other gods. French Monks made trappist beers and wheeled them out to the people on Deer back as a service to provide the community with beer, (Beers on Deers?, I might have possibly made that up too) ,and they still make trappist beers today to a strict order that you can just rock up and have a crack on.

It’s been a staple in the history of mankind, just as much as bread has; in fact, I read a great quote somewhere that “Beer making and bread making were different sides of the same coin” and I couldn’t agree more, I think that beer is to drink, what bread is to food.

Beer is not a lower class drink. Beer has a history of grand stature in our evolution, it should not be localised to culture or status. It’s something that has been with us all as humans since we uttered or first prehistoric words.

Next time you have a beer, remember that you’re actually drinking something that your great ancestors also delighted in, it’s something that has been with us through our highest and lowest times as creatures on this earth. It’s not a lower class drink for bogans that can’t afford a nice bottle of scotch or a fancy bottle of red. It’s a drink of Kings, Gentlemen, scoundrels and thief’s. It is, in fact the peoples drink.

As for the guy that first looked at that foamy festering pot of crusty, debris filled swamp water and thought he’d rather drink a pint of that shit than have his parents find out he just violated the family goat…

We thank you…..you sick bastard.

BeerFingers

All your beer are belong to us

What if I told you that your favourite urinal lolly wash beer and your top 5 favourite mainstream beers are probably made by the same company?

So, Say you were one of 2 or 3 biggest brewery owners in the land, and had a bit of clout about you because your grand daddy was Mitsubishi or some other big arsed corporate international giant that your government would like to invite into their knob polishing party.

You have a fair bit of buying power since you own 49% of all breweries and beer brands. You can make a product that’s not a really great beer, but the people will buy it because you can do it consistently and cheap without much competition. Because of this, you can throw a fair bit of cash into the lands economy and have a very big presence in your industry, life is good.

Then all of a sudden, here I come and start up a little brewery that people take interest in and word gets around a bit about my tasty beverage.
Now the Government already taxes the absolute shit dust out of my beers, and because I don’t have the buying power like you.

1 of 3 things is going to happen:

  1. I can’t afford the excise tax and fold
  2. I work my sphincter out until it looks like a torn windsock, and you come along and buy my company when it’s just getting ripe for the picking.
  3. I reject your offer for 3.3 Million dollars and keep battling myself.

OK, so, Lion Nathan who’s Grandad is Mitsubishi and Fosters whose turf Lion is stomping in are the 2 big guns here in Oz, then there’s Coopers who are independent and nowhere near as giant as the other two.
These “big two” pretty much run the show when it comes to beer. No matter what you drink, be it Tooheys, Hahn, cascade, James Squires, Maltilda bay or even Stella Artois or Heineken, these two big boys own it in Australia.

So, where does that leave us as the 5th biggest amber booze hounds in the world per capita? Well, kind of in the dark really. Most of us Aussies think that Hahn, Boges, James squires (malt shovel) etc etc are all different independent companies, and I suppose, to some small degree they are. But they are all actually owned by the “big two”. This means that money can be pumped into any of these breweries from Lion Nathan or Fosters group to make sure they stay above water and keep the produce pumping; it also ensures that the tradition of making a light, watery, easy drinking beer flavoured juice drink can be maintained for the majority.

So, now, when it comes to who can brew what and who’s running this two shit ringed circus, these boys tend to walk around swinging their dicks. They formed the Brewers Association of Australia and New Zealand, which by surprise is headed by the managing directors of:
Lion Nathan
Fosters GroupCUB
Coopers
DB Brewing (NZ Company)

So these blokes get into the governments ear and pretty much give advice on the way the industry should run. This keeps things in their best interest. It means they have a huge buying power, and can get grain, hops, equipment etc at rock bottom prices. They still have to pay the excise tax, but because of the bulk buying, it doesn’t impact them anywhere near as much as the craft brewery down the road.

Just some of the beers (and wines) that these two boys produce:

Lion Nathan
Fosters Group

So as you can see, we’re all pretty much governed by what beer we can drink, we’re also governed from having smaller, new independent breweries introduce their beers to us by the government’s crippling excise tax. It’s not an easy thing to start and operate a brewery in Australia.
Here’s a list of:

 microbreweries

and

brewpubs

find your closest one and make an effort to pop in and try their beer. Tell your friends, tell them to tell their frineds, tweet, like and +1 the crap out of it as much as you can.

The Craft Beer Industry need you, and if you like beer, you need them.

Cheers,

Beer Fingers

Craft Beer is a Rip off!

Wow, isn’t the price of Craft Beer a total Rip off?!
I mean $65-$70 and sometimes $80-$90 for a slab of 24 beers, when you can pay $40 for a 30-pack of something that’ll do the same job. What a total rip-off!

No wonder no-one buys all these fancy schmancy beers and all these little breweries can’t get their “ooo-la-la Hoppy, malty, wankity wank” boutique beers into the front bar taps of pubs and clubs! If they weren’t all so bloody money hungry, hardened up, battled a bit and brought their prices down, then they might be able to spark some interest. These “Craft Breweries“ charging us poor punters $70 for a box of their “hand crafted” beer, or $22 for a 6-pack of some “micro-brewed” blah blah are just money pigs!
Sure, it’s nice beer and all, but why should we pay so much, just so we can have a pint of tasty hoppy beer.
You don’t see that happening with Wine do you?, nooo, $12-$18 and you can get yourself a decent  bottle of red sometimes. I mean, if the Wineries can do it, then that’s how it should be for beer too! None of this charging us like a rabid, wild, double humped desert camel with a nest of angry ginger ants up shoved fair up its clacker just so we can have a beer after mowing the lawn or when mates come over, geeze! Why can’t they just charge the same as breweries like, Boags, or Tooheys, or Cascade or Hahn! Nup!, there are plenty of other breweries out there that don’t charge the earth for a carton of piss, why should the crafties have to charge so much?

You know what?, to some extent, I actually agree with the above…
What If I told you you’re getting royally “backdoored” with a fat man’s torn blundstone, laceup steel cap, that’s been walking across a freshly gravelled bitumen road on a 48c degree day for the beer flavoured drink that you just paid $30 a box for?

What if I told you that your nearest small brewery is already being raped by fat sweaty men, and as uncomfortable as that tar dripping, gravel filled steel cap boot is back up there in your turd cutter, the small breweries are actually being stretched out like a trying to push a house brick up into a goldfish’s bum by a whole bunch of obese sumo wrestlers wearing studded golf shoes, all trying to get a comfy spot in the breweries lower colon like a house cat on nanna’s couch.

(I have no idea how this shit pops into my head)

The truth is, you could be paying a shitload less for your favourite brewed bevvy of choice.
The truth is, up to 25% of what you payed for your favourite crafted amber have gone straight into the pockets of those fat arsed, Armani wearing, circle jerk champions in parliament.

You see, breweries pay two taxes. Firstly they pay GST, and then they pay an excise tax, this is essentially a tax on a tax. This means that for any income they make, depending on the output of beer and %ABV, approximately 25% of it goes straight out to the chair sniffers in parliament. This is on top of income tax, company tax, wages, bills, etc. TWENTY FIVE PERCENT! A quarter of everything they earn, gone to the Mr Shafty the tax man’s stubbly fingered hand.

To heat up the poker that’s already being jammed fair into the small breweries coighta, it has to be paid before anything else, every 7 days, Not once a month, not quarterly or annually EVERY 7 DAYS!

So here in Oz, you’re average small brewery makes 1000L of 5%ABV Beer, they pay about $1400 in tax, The alcohol content does make a difference in the excise tax, anything under about 3.8%ABV attracts a cheaper excise, this is the governments way of trying to promote lower consumption in alcohol for the punters like you and me. The contradiction in this is that for an equal amount of drinks; Beer Vs. Wine, Beer attracts about $15 tax while wine attracts about $3 tax. The wine industry has an excise rebate system that means the small winemaker can pay less tax while trying to get his winery off the ground.
Have a look around your local bottle shop at the plethora of wine you have to select from. Then compare that to craft beers, you’ll notice the differences.

Anyway, I don’t want to lose you in my ranting, so back to some metaphoric tangents:

It’s the Excise tax that keeps plummeting it’s dirty, hairy, and un-lubed fist into the mouth of small breweries and ripping out a quarter of the sustenance from their malnourished gullet that they need to survive on, this then leads to starvation and collapse.
Oh, and that’s not all. Just to throw a studded vice clamp onto their testicles, If a brewery sells its golden goodness in a container smaller than 50Litres (bottles, cans, smaller kegs), then they have to pay around an extra 50c per litre in tax. How’s that for shafting?
There are other, more complexed  intricacies  to how they work out how much to adjust the excise to, but by now you should be getting the picture that Small Breweries are copping a flogging before they can even make it off the ground.

So, yeah, agreed; The Price of craft beer is a complete rip-off, but what you didn’t know is that the Government is getting your money from behind the brewery, the Brewery itself is getting sweet FA.
The Breweries out there are doing it tougher than a patient man with an awesome left hook just to make the beer and distribute it in 50L kegs.
Putting their beer in bottles to compete against the big 2 boys at the bottle shop brings on another bum pumping from the Government.

Wine, because it never had the stigma of being a “lower class” drink, and always had that association with the “upper class” attracted a rebate from the excise, this means that the 4 litre goon bag you just bought for the 16yo in the car park only attracted $3 tax. The slab of monkey piss you bought yourself attracted somewhere around $12.

So, try to think of beer this way:
your Boags, or Tooheys, or Cascade or Hahn are all the equivalent of cask wine. Mass produced by machines to the minimal required quality. Sent to you by corporate giants with huge bying power that can squash the smaller guys.

Your craft beer is made by a battling man, who’s more passionate about beer than money, who probably came from homebrewing beer so he loves brewing it, loves drinking it and wants to share it with us and help bring us back from the tragedy that ruined Australian beer: the six o’clock swill. 

So why not buy craft beer?, you would rather pay more for a bottle of red than a cask wouldn’t you?

Oh and all these other “breweries” like Boags, or Tooheys, or Cascade or Hahn, all owned by one of 2 companies.  Read about it here: All your Beer are belong to us

Cheers,

Beer Fingers

The six o’clock swill

Early Bogans - Can you spot the Flannelette?

It’s not your fault you drink beer that looks like Bear Grills just wrang out a t-shirt that he soaked in his own urine, and wrapped around his head while he trekked 15k though  the middle of some obscure Arabian desert.

It’s not even your fault your knowledge, or lack there of, and taste of beer extends to VB, Super Dry or Pure Blonde, depending on which one has the fanciest label or which one is on special that week.
in actual fact, it’s the government’s fault, yes! you can blame the absolute bejesus out of those Sav-blanc doucheing,  hoity-toity, seat sniffing, boar faced, fat bastard, politicians.

You see, back in the early 1900’s and all the way up to the mid to late 1960’s, pubs had to close at 6:00pm.
This was a move by the government (backed by some right-wing christian society) to make sure all us blokes were home in time for dinner and spent a little time with our families before an official come knocking on the door to tell us that some bent nosed German whose knees and elbows didn’t work had shot our 19yo son in the face with a rifle fashioned from sauerkraut and bratwurst.

OK, so I might have made the last bit up, but that’s basically the reason why the pubs shut at 6pm.
So what does that mean for the fellas that loved having a few pints after work? Well, us Aussies, being the ingenious buggers we are, would finish work at 5:00pm, head down to the pub and absolutely smash as many beers as we could for that hour. #WINNING (can I hashtag in WP?)

So in-turn, the pubs catered for this, every day in-between 5-6pm they would have a happy hour of absolute mayhem while their doors burst open with ravenous men who were hell bent on shoving as much piss down their necks in 60min, everyone’s a winner!. So in the pubs, everything was tiled and hard-surfaced so that at closing time, they could just bring the hose in and clean up all the belly burley, spillage, blood and teeth for tomorrows onslaught of drunken bogans.

Well, since the pubs catered for the happy hour, the brewerys catered to the pubs, after all, they all need to make money somehow.
No more ESB’s or dark ales, they were all too hard to swim in, it was all designed so that it could be smashed back as quick as possible so that the thirsty punter could head up to the bar, get another round and fill up his piss pocket as quickly as possible. Taste wasn’t as important as killing a dozen pints in an hour and driving home to punch your wife, belt your kids and kick your dog. It was all about that one golden hour of legal drinking at the bar.
As you can probably tell, the 6 o’clock swill didn’t help things at all family wise, in fact it encouraged binge drinking and I would expect from this an increase in domestic violence.

Anyway, in the late 60’s, South Australia was the last to lift the 6 o’clock swill law but by then the damage was done. We had become accustomed to the watery, tasteless cat juice that brewerys were pumping out. It was, at that point, what we drank as Aussies. It was our beer. That crappy, tasteless, light lager that is just so easy to drink. The fallout from that is that it  still heavily impacts what we drink today. Fourex (XXXX), Fosters and West End were all spawned from the 6 o’clock swill. It’s something that had an effect on all Australians.

It’s only in the last couple of years that craft brewerys are slowly making their mark again and producing some beers that have some real quality. New Zealand are also producing some really great beers as well (They too were also subjected to the 6 o’clock swill). And we should be proud to call them our brothers. Unless of course, they start making shit beer, and then they can head on back to their stinky mud pits.

So, there-there matey,  it’s not your fault, you’re just drinking the same yellow trough inspector that your dad drank and possibly his dad before him. But now you know why, you don’t have to drink it any more, you don’t need to suffer the atrocities that your father went through.
Stand Up, be a man, support a real brewery and buy a craft beer.

P.S. Western Australia never took on the 6 o’clock swill law. So if you’re in WA, reading this with a Pure Bland or some other can of toilet lolly wash in your hand, you should be slapped repeatedly, daily, like a red-headed step child.

Cheers,

Beer Fingers

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