Melbourne – Day 3 – Beers and Cheers

I had read about the burgeoning beer scene in Melbourne and after some research, found a great option to check it out – The Collingwood Beer Trail. For $20, I would get 3 tasters for 4 different breweries, each of which focused on a different style of beer. Collingwood is an industrial area slowly being gentrified and being taken over by local breweries. The first stop, where I picked up my ticket, was Fixation Brewery.

Known as the brewery that brought West Coast IPA(WCIPA) to Melbourne, it was located in a bright warehouse space which had been overrun today with 3 different Bucks (bachelor) parties (more on one of those later.)

Before the beer, I had my first toastie – in this case, a smash cheese burger with mustard – which definitely was a good choice to sop up all of the beer I was about to imbibe. Ah yes, the beer. Since they focus on IPAs, I chose 3 of their more balanced (not bitter) options.

Sun Ray – Session Hazy IPA (HIPA)

Fixation IPA – WCIPA and the only beer they brewed their first 2 years.

Fuzz Club – Peach & Apricot infused HIPA and the best of the lot.

Next up was Molly Rose, which was a very small brewery that focuses mostly on Farmhouse Ales and Sours. Since I’m not really much of a sour drinker, I went with 2 of their farmhouse ales and their version of an Aussie lager.

When Life Gives You Lemons – Hazy Lemon Ale

Grapefruit Shimmy – Grapefruit Farm Ale

Lager #3 – Aussie lager

All 3 were light and very refreshing – really quality beers. As I was sampling, I notice this guy with devil wings who has handcuffed to another dude. I assumed and turned out to be correct, that this was part of one of the Bucks parties I had seen at Fixation. The groom was the one with the wings and various members of the party rotated being handcuffed to him to make sure they didn’t lose him – smart idea. They had already been to the next stop I was heading to so I wished them luck and continued down the trail to The Mill.

The Mill didn’t really have a focus, more just whatever the brewer wanted to do at any given moment. I opted for 3 different styles.

Oisihi – a brand new rice lager he had released last week
Dark Lord – a black IPA with 6.66% ABV
Feathered Serpent – Mexican chile stout

The first 2 were very nice, the last one eh not so much. In order to make it extra spicy they had dumped an entire bottle of an extreme hot sauce, which ended up making my mouth and lips catch on fire – no gracias. Fortunately, the server took pity on my and gave me their new Rose sour instead, which was very tasty.

After threatening all day, the rain finally started falling. I asked the server how far the final stop was and he said “oh you’re going to get drenched, mate.” Great. But given the area, seemed like Ubers would be hard to come by, and it really wasn’t that far – what’s a mile anyway? Well, when you have 10 different styles of beer in your belly and rain coming down – longer than you think. Still, I took this as a sign for me to press on.

I eventually arrived as the last spot – The Stomping Ground Brewery and Beer Hall, which was about 10x the size of the previous stops.

For my last 3 tasters, I chose some darker beers given the turn in the weather.

Bearbrass – nitro milk stout
Tropical Coconut Stout – self explanatory
Bunker Porter – a Baltic porter

All of these really paled in comparison to the previous stops but were still OK. The Bunker Porter was the best of the three by far, so I saved that one for last.

After over 3 hours of tasting beers, I was ready to head back to my place to rest up. Later I was going to what would probably be one of the highlight meals of my trip plus meeting up with an old friend at his DJ gig. To be continued…


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