Monday, October 22, 2012

Aldi - Cheap beer but is it drinkable?

In an effort to cut down the price of my drinking habit I swapped some consumption to beer from wine and now looking for cheaper beer purchases. I started with Peroni and then went to Becks which can be bought for $40 a case. The Peroni was $54 a case. This is cheap beer when you think what you pay a glass at the local. I would suggest never purchase a six pack the price for twenty-four is far more economical. It want go off!

Peroni and Becks are both brewed, under license, in Australia with local and imported produces. Quite often a beer tastes as it does due to the water used. The brewers are not going to import water from Italy and Germany so locally brewed beer will be made with the local water, good or bad. I heard it said, many years back,  that Tasmanian beer had a fresher cleaner taste due to the fact that Tassy had the world's purest water. Not sure if that is still true now. Of the two beers, Peroni and Becks, I would slightly favor Peroni over Becks but they are both very similar tasting.

The two Aldi beers I am currently trying are Santiago Cerveza De Oror - $25 and Fraser Briggs - $30 a case. These are both very cheap beers even compared with the Becks ($40). The Santiago is fully imported so you get to sample their local water and the Fraser Briggs brewed in New Zealand for Aldi. At least they are not brewed in Australia with mostly local products. But are these beers drinkable?

Let's get the worst of the two out of the way first. The Santiago beer, brewed in El Salvador, is a weak almost tasteless beer. Pale in colour and pale in taste. I could not imagine an ozzie bloke wanting to down too many of these regardless of price. Australian beer has always been a big, bold flavored, heavy beer regardless of alcohol level. This beer would pass as mouth wash even at 4.6%. At $25 for twenty-four it may appear good value but from your first sip of this shockingly weak flavored beer you will feel ripped off. You wanted a beer and you got a beer flavored drink.

Fraser Briggs at least brings you some earthy yeast flavors and has a heady fresh bread bouquet. It has body and though a larger, it reminds me of a yeast beer. Even notes of banana and tobacco can be detected. You ARE getting a reasonable drinking beer for your $30 outlay. But once more this NZ brewed drop may not satisfy your hard drinking Australian. Better than the Satiago but not better than a lot of other beers. For the $5 extra per case, go for the Fraser Briggs. Nothing wrong with the water from the islands of the long white cloud.

Rivet comes in 330ml cans, the other two in long neck stubbies.  It is brewed in Vietnam and claims on the can to be "Full Flavoured" and a lager. A lager it maybe but like the Santiago beer it is almost without any taste. What this beer does have is the biggest, white, fluffy head I have ever seen on a beer. Pour slowly into a cold glass and make sure the beer has been in the fridge for at least 24 hours. The head is made up of fine white fluffy bubbles and looks delicious. Put the beer is disappointing and though 4.7% proof tastes like a light beer knock-off. Don't touch it!

Of the three beers tried the Fraser Briggs is by far the best. Followed a long way back by Santiago and I'm not even going to mention Rivet. Well I may have mentioned it but I will never buy it again. Even at $25/24 cans, it's just not a good drink. 

Saturday, October 6, 2012

T'Gallant Winery - Main Ridge, Morington Peninsula

If there is one thing the Mornington Peninsula is not short on it is wineries. There are hundred of them. And thankfully these are generally accompanied by very nice indoor and outdoor eateries. To date Montalto's is our favorite but dropping in there recently on a Thursday saw us looking for another venue. Eating in the herb garden at Montalto is a lovely experience but one you can only experience on the weekend through summer. So onto T'Gallant's Winery we go. Luckily it's only a few minutes away.

At T'Gallant's we could chose one of about four different eating locations. The day being sunny we chose one of the outdoor locations but slightly shaded from the sun. There were sunnier spots with views over the fields of vines, a relaxing sight. The scenery is beautiful with rolling hills of green. Grab a table, order at the counter and sip a sumptuous red while your meal is being prepared. Meals are delivered to the table and staff are efficient and friendly. You get the feeling the owners are serving you and they have a real interest ensuring your time with them is good.

I love a sausage and especially an Italian one so my choice was easy. The meals are moderately priced and of fair size. If you're a big eater choose an entree' first. Of course there is a good wine selections but fewer by the glass. The bottle price is reasonable and the wines are delicious. There is plenty of parking but I would imagine on warmer days, on weekends, the place may get full. Not sure you can book just be early to secure a table.  Drop in for a meal, a wine or coffee, you will enjoy your time at T'Gallant's.

Blue Orchid Thai - Caloundra, Queensland

Feeling like Thai? Happen to be in the main street of Caloundra shopping center? Then drop into Blue Orchid Thai for a great Thai meal. Though the ambiance and decor doesn't scream Thai it is pleasant.  Being on the second floor, if you get a window seat, you get a view of the main street below. Unfortunately the night I dined here I was accompanied by old rock and pop music from the local radio station. Hardly conducive to extending the eating experience. A long flight of steep steps lead you from the street to your table.

I had a new waitress serve me that night and she was both helpful and friendly. The regular staff were efficient and helpful also. If you are in a bit of a hurry, worry not, the service is quite snappy. The food is very tasty with a good balance of spice and flavors and good portions. The Dim Sims are quiet different to their Chinese  cousins and worth a try. The locals talk in glowing terms of their experience of dinning here and go back regularly for their favorite dishes. Price is moderate and value is excellent. Why not join the fan club?