Words || Anna Glen
Illustrations || Natasha Michels
Beer is the quintessential beverage you share with a mate. It is often said that Australia is a land characterised by ‘mateship’ and if beer is anything to go by, this cannot be denied. Australia has the fourth highest consumption of beer per capita and our former Prime Minister Bob Hawke has the Guinness World Record for sculling over two pints of beer in 11 seconds.
What follows is a guide to beer. A guide, in fact, to mateship.
Coopers – Your Best Mate
Coopers is still run by the Coopers family and remains the only large scale, wholly owned Australian brewery. Thus, Coopers is your reliable friend. It’s like family, and will always have your back.
Fosters – Your Fake Mate
Fosters takes on the Australian identity, but beware, this friend is not what they seem. Fosters was initially a loyal buddy, exported for the first time to Australian soldiers during the Boer War. Alas, times have changed. These days Fosters is rarely seen on home soil, but can be found gallivanting across England. Fosters has become so popular there, it is now the second highest selling lager in Britain.
VB – Your Old Mate
Your friendship with this friend is basically built on the fact you have known each other for so long. You may have nothing in common, but what you do have is history and a comfortable familiarity. This is the essence of VB, because it might not be to your taste but it has been around long enough to warrant some affection. It’s average, but it’s also unpretentious and easy enough to drink.
Grapeshot spoke to James, a bartender from Dove & Olive pub in Surry Hills, about craft beer to gain a little insight into some of the new kids on the block.
Yulli’s Fat Nerd – Your Dark and Mysterious Mate
Yulli’s Fat Nerd is dark and mysterious on the outside, but nice and sweet on the inside. A fan of dark beers, James says Fat Nerd is his favourite because it gives a “fantastic mouthful of toasty, sweet and fruity chocolate, packed with a huge vanilla essence hit”. Fat Nerds can be hard to find, but can you usually discover them chilling out at Dove & Olive, Keg & Brew or at Yulli’s in Surry Hills.
Ale Pacino – Your Creative Mate
Say hello to my little friend, Ale Pacino. This friend likes to collaborate and is always coming up with new ideas, whether it’s to decorate the house, or for that new screenplay you’re writing together. This creativity can be seen in Ale Pacino, which combines “two different types of Malts (Ale and Carapils) and two different types of hops (Centennial and Citra)” to create what James calls “a delicious beer with fruity citrus notes, a smooth mouth feel, and bitter finish.”
Stone & Wood Pacific Ale – Your New Best Mate
This is a new person in your life you have instantaneously clicked with. They tend to appear in your early twenties when high school friends are beginning to dissipate. If you feel like a change in brew, Stone & Wood has all the qualities of a new best friend. According to James it has “made a name for itself as one of Australia’s best craft beers” and was the winner of Dove & Olive’s very first ‘Craft Beer Fight.