This is the school that is all about beer … the knowledge of beer, the pouring of beer and, yes, you guessed it, the drinking of beer!
Charles Cole and George Stafanou from Belgian Beer Cafe introduce the beer appreciation course run by the Centre for Adult Education (CAE) in Melbourne. George explains what the cafe chain is all about and Charles explains beer glassware and presentation of the amber liquid.
Their sessions are fun, but they believe beer appreciation is just as important as wine appreciation, and the days of beer being strictly for the blokes are gone. Women are becoming more and more interested, and certainly more knowledgeable.
A total of 20 points can be awarded to each beer and these are broken into four categories: appearance, aroma, flavour and body, and technical quality. Charles and George show you how to correctly pour a glass of beer and what to look for when tasting and even looking at it.
Broadly, beer comes in two main styles lager and ale. Lager is matured in the bottom of the fermenting tank and ales are fermented in the top. This difference came about due to weather lager has a longer life and kept better during the European summer.
Charles and George present a variety of ales pale, amber, brown and red, plus some lagers, porters and stouts. Finger food is served throughout this part of the course, showing how different beer complements different food. They also show how oily food and even lipstick can cause your beer to go flat very quickly.
Beer has an interesting history. It originated in Egypt, lasted through the Viking period, and was embraced by continental Europe, the United Kingdom and was particularly popular among Trappist monks. North America, Asia and Australia of course now have their own brews and those with "the palette" can easily tell where they originated.
Australia's first brewery opened in 1795 in Kissing Point in New South Wales. Cascade was founded in Tasmania in 1824 and our first beer competition was held in 1888 in Melbourne's Exhibition Building. In 1910, 6pm closing came in and in 1936 beer in cans first appeared in the United States. It came to Australia in 1957.
The Belgian Beer Cafe Bluestone is part of a worldwide chain which reproduces the feel of a Belgian pub and restaurant. They serve an enormous variety of beer, concentrating on Belgian products, and they take great pride in presentation. They match various styles of beer with finger food, fish dishes, gouda, red meat, sweets and anything else which might require a liquid accompaniment.
St Kilda Road in Melbourne.
Belgian Beer Cafe Bluestone beer appreciation courses cost $75 per person, including food and beer. They run every second Saturday.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.
21 Degraves Street, Melbourne 3000
Ph: (03) 9652 0611, fax: (03) 9654 7840www.cae.edu.au
Belgian Beer Cafe Bluestone
557 St Kilda Road, Melbourne 3000
Ph: (03) 9529 2899
Qantas: 13 13 13