craft beer

Brew Review: Rodenbach Grand Cru

Brew Review: Rodenbach Grand Cru

The Belgium brewery, Rodenbach, is entirely devoted to making one particular, very different type of beer. It’s not a lager or a pilsner and it is by no means an “easy drinker”.

The flavour can be described as almost “winey” with a tart acidity. This is due to the way the beer is aged: Not in your conventional casks, kegs or barrels, but in huge wooden tuns that are as high as the halls that they stand.

The Best Beers in the World

We know not everyone will agree with this list but we’re going to use it anyway! 

So here they are, based on hundreds of beer-fanatic’s reviews on Rate Beer... The 5 best beers in the world. 

5. Toppling Goliath - Mornin’ Delight 

Basically pancakes and stout all rolled into one. Hailing from USA, this is a strong, Russian Imperial Stout made with maple syrup . 

4. Russian River - Pliny the Younger 

Pliny the Younger is a hop explosion. hopped three times more than their standard IPA, and dry hopped four different times, this is a hop-head’s dream. 

3. Cigar City - Hunahpu’s Imperial Stout 

Stout aged on Peruvian cacao nibs, ancho and pasilla chiles, cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla beans aged in apple brandy and rum barrels before being blended together. 

2. Toppling Goliath - Kentucky Brunch

Another one from Toppling Goliath and another very strong imperial stout for the list. Aged with whisky barrels and a heap of coffee 

1. Westvleteren - 12 (XII) 

Not only is this widely renowned for being the best beer in the world, its also very rare (and expensive) Westvleteren has the smallest output of the Trappist breweries. If you can get your hands on one of these, snap it up and bring it in to share with us!


Barley What?

The Forester’s team have been pretty excited about a particular Belgian keg that we’ve just received. Let’s just say it’s not your average beer…

Aside from being aged in Muscatel Barrels, To Øl’s “Mine is Bigger Than Yours” is a strong barley wine that clocks in at 12% ABV.

So what is barley wine? (Or Stingo or Wee Heavy as it's been called in other parts of the UK). For a start it's got nothing to do with wine.

These things are usually dark, full-bodied, rich and fruity. But what really defines them is the strength… With an ABV of anything upwards of 7%, it’s not something you swig in pints, or schooners for that matter. There’s a good reason it was once named the sitting down beer (less far to fall).

The style of barley wine has been around as long as beer itself. In the days before refrigeration, summer-brewed beers could easily turn to vinegar so these sorts of big, strong ales were brewed to help preservation.

Here in Australia, the style has seen somewhat of resurgence with local brewers including Moondog, Mountain Goat, Feral and more dabbling in barley wine production. This Friday during our Prohibition Party, We’ll be tapping another highly regarded Barley Wine from the United States: Clown Shoes Brewing's Crunkle Sam.

Despite its relatively low production, barley wine is not about to vanish, so order a pot and enjoy! 

Funny Beer Business in New Zealand

So, what do we know about New Zealand? The people speak funny, Lord of the Rings was filmed there and they’re pretty good at rugby. 

What fewer people realise is that there is also a booming craft beer scene and some pretty incredible hop varieties being grown down there too...

Garage Project is a particularly interesting and somewhat wacky little brewery based in Wellington. The two guys behind the business are Jos Ruffell and Pete Gillespie, friends who share a passion for pushing the boundaries of brewing to the limit.

Their "Death From Above" is a self proclaimed “Indochine Pale Ale”. It uses aggressive, high citrus character hops and then adds mango, chilli, Vietnamese mint and lime juice. All the ingredients you’d expect to find in beer, right?

Prefer something with a bit more of a local flavour? How about ANZAC biscuits? The "Pan Pacific" is brewed with golden syrup, oats, toasted coconut and a combination of New Zealand Motueka and Australian Galaxy hops.

The most absurd of all could be the “Umami Monster”. It uses sea water, seaweed and fermented fish to create a monster of dark savoury smoke and rich umami complexity.

If all this is appetising to you, watch this space because Forester’s Hall might just have a bit of a surprise waiting around the corner.

Picklebacks Anyone?

If you’ve managed to find our little upstairs dive bar, Woody’s Fine Liquor, you might have noticed a few strange drinks being served to some particularly unruly customers. What was that coloured liquid that people were chasing their shots with? And since when did shots get served with pickles!?

We give you… The Pickleback: a shot of whiskey, quickly chased by a shot of pickle brine. The basic idea is that the brine works to offset the taste of the whiskey and the burn of the alcohol.

It is fabled that this bizarre practice was born in Brooklyn, USA. Reggie Cunningham, the father of picklebacks, originally used Old Crow bourbon and an accompanying shot of brine from a jar of McClure’s spicy dills. It was shockingly good. Not the Old Crow part, exactly, but the pickle brine, which washed that away, leaving a snappy, savoury tang that curled about the last remnants of the smoky bourbon.

Here at Forester’s Hall, we make our pickle brine in house. We’ve gone slightly overboard and decided to offer no less than 8 jars of pickly goodness upstairs at Woody’s Fine Liquor. They have been artfully created in our laboratory and have undergone rigorous taste testing (whisky included). Think Apple and cinnamon, lemongrass and chilli, Watermelon and mint, Beetroot and many others to come. We also proudly serve the original pickleback with imported McClure’s pickles and Old Crow Bourbon.

So in summary…

  1. Find Woody’s Fine Liquor, upstairs at Forester’s Hall on Friday and Saturday nights
  2. Ask for a pickleback at the bar
  3. Do the pickleback
  4. Repeat

The Worlds Oldest Brewery...

Weihenstephaner Brewery can be found in the Bavarian beer-drinking heartland, about a half-hour drive from the Oktoberfest hub in Munich. 

There, in the beautiful town of Freising, brewers have been hard at work since 1044, when Benedictine monks at the Weihenstephan monastery decided they needed something to wet their whistle after a hard day at the office.

Although the brewery makes several classic German styles, including a helles (light-coloured) lager, a dunkel (dark) lager, and a doppelbock (a strong, malty brew), it's best known for its Hefeweissbier. 

This traditional Bavarian-style wheat beer has an amazing golden hue and hints of clove and banana in its aroma and taste. These are classic features of Bavarian wheat beers, and come from the brewery's yeast strain, which it has been using since the 1980s. There's also some tartness that comes through, thanks to the wheat. 

Come and try some of Weihenstephaner’s finest beer and learn even more about the art of German brewing from 7PM during our Oktoberfest celebrations. 


So you may have noticed the "Sour" label next to some of our tap beers. Sour beer? "huh?" you may say, but these beers have intentionally acidic, tart, sour tastes.    

"Sour" is a broad term for beers that have a funky/barnyard or other characteristics not generally found in beer. 

Yeast or bacteria (similar to those found in yoghurt) intruding into the brewing process produces pleasingly sour, food-friendly beer, that is mysteriously complex and engaging.  

The temperature at which the beer is fermented and then stored will then play a large role in determining how quickly the aromas, flavours and acidity develop.  

At Forester's Hall we have our fair share of sours, so come down and ask one of our staff for a try, you may just love it!