Escaping the grey with a day dream

In her 21 years, my colleague has already travelled A LOT. Europe, Asia, the Americas – she’s visited them all. But there is one continent she is particularly fond of: Australia. Since she is so in love with this country, she will tell us a little more about her beer experiences Down Under.

Out of my office window all I see is grey, dull sky: Once more I’m overtaken by the reality of winter in Germany. On days like these I let my thoughts wander to places where the sun is shining and summer is in full swing. On a specific day in January it is particularly bad: January 26, better known as Australia Day, the epitome of the Aussie way of life and vitality. The National holiday is traditionally spent at the beach, accompanied by a tasty barbeque and a cold beer. I had the pleasure of celebrating Australia Day in Melbourne when I was 15 and the country has had me under its spell ever since. Back in the days, I was sitting on St. Kilda beach enjoying a lamb burger. But as you might have guessed, something was missing. At that time I wasn’t legally allowed to drink alcohol in Australia. So I missed out on one of the essentials of Australia Day. Luckily, I had the chance to return to this amazing country and catch up on what I had missed. Now, I thought I might share some of my experiences.

Down Under is traditionally looked upon as a nation of beer drinkers – not without good reason: In 2014 the country was ranked 11th in the worldwide comparison of beer consumption, with an impressive 81.1 litres per capita. It didn’t really surprise me that Australia was only a few places behind Germany in terms of beer consumption. My home country took third place with 101.6 litres per capita. At that time, I had no doubt that Australians would live up to their name as the beer consumption champions among non-European countries.

In Australia, beer is best enjoyed in good company. The country offers a diverse range of pubs, beer gardens and bars where you can sit in the sun and enjoy a cold beer with your mates. The beer is also best enjoyed ice-cold. It is usually served perfectly tempered and adjusted to the Australian climate. To ensure the ideal beer experience, the drink normally comes with an insulated beer cooler. Pretty handy, don’t you think?

So much for “how” to drink beer in Australia. Now let’s take a closer look at “where”. Australians prefer to keep it simple: They love to enjoy their beer in combination with a good old Aussie BBQ. Rule number one I learned while staying Down Under: Whenever you are invited to an Aussie “barbie” don’t forget to bring beer in sufficient quantities (meaning enough for a whole football team)!

Since I spent the majority of my time in Australia in the state of Victoria, I made acquaintance with Victoria Bitter more than once. VB is a pale lager, which not only Victorians are passionate about. The beer is famous throughout the world and a popular export. Since a lot of Aussies have a special bond with beers made in their own state (and my host family was no exception), I remained rather local as far as beer brands are concerned. When it comes to Victoria, one other beer needs mentioning: Carlton Draught is a dry lager style beer, which I became very fond of over time. Other states in Australia also have plenty to offer: People from New South Wales like to enjoy a Tooheys, Queenslanders are passionate about XXXX and South Australians favour Coopers. But this is only a very general overview of Aussie mainstream beer brands. On top of this, Australia can also be proud of a booming craft beer scene. With over 200 craft beer producers, Australia has managed to appeal to beer lovers around the world.

Whenever it was about time for me to leave this fascinating country, my host dad would devote his whole attention to picking the right beers for me to take back to my dad in Germany. He would typically lose himself in endless explanations and a flow of information about the beers in question. Another thing that has never been missing from my suitcase on the way back home is a bottle of good Australian wine. In this regard, my host dad likes to emphasise the fact that Australia is not only a country of beer drinkers but also one of wine drinkers. But that’s another story…

Back to the grey and dull sky in Germany. Whenever I encounter my annual winter blues, I usually rummage around in my basement and allow myself an Aussie beer – and then winter is not so bad after all. 😉

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