"In the beginning"


The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily the views of the blog management, (on the other hand, they are not necessarily not the views of the blog management).

No effort has been made to stay within the bounds of the truth in this blog as it has always been the view of the management that the truth should never be allowed to stand in the way of a good story.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Good Aussie Beer.


The first comment on this post, thanks Mike, raised the name "Fosters" to explain;
For many years Fosters was the flagship for Carlton and United Breweries, of late
they have chosen to promote different beers from their range, but Fosters is my

choice of beer when in Victoria, which is fairly often.

An Ode To A Beer Drinker.

Here in Oz, we are known as Beer drinkers, probably our climate suits a long cold

beer better than say; Scotch, Vodka, Brandy, Gin etc, and most of us have never

really got into the cocktail thing, Margarita’s and the like.

We have had an interesting history where alcohol is concerned, (and in lots of

other ways too) starting out with Rum as the drink of choice way back in

settlement days.

This was very likely a carry over from the fact that Rum was the sea-farers

choice, and our colonists, (free men and women or otherwise) all faced months

at sea in sailing ships before arriving here.

Rum became a trading and payment commodity, and was used by the ruling

class to keep their inferiors in line.

Because the ruling class held such tight rein over the Rum supplies, the ever

ingenious working class soon turned to brewing Beer as an alternative.

As was the case everywhere at this time, horses either for riding or for

drawing the carriages or walking, (known here as shanks’ pony) were the

only method of getting around, and as it was a dry dusty place, little

“bush shanties” or “watering holes” began to spring up everywhere the

travelers went.

Our history of “gold rushes” also helped to popularize the hotel or “pub”

during the height of a gold rush each little settlement would have more

hotels than our major cities while the gold lasted, being little more than

shanties (shacks) these would just be deserted when no longer profitable.

Gradually as the towns became established so the pubs would appear, small

towns could only boast one pub, while as their size increased, so too did the

number of pubs.

Meanwhile the cities developed, and each new development, (suburb)

spawned its own pubs and regular clientele.

In the time that we might laughingly refer to as modern times, our pubs

went through a long period wherein they had to cease trading and close

up at 6 PM each day and not reopen until 10 AM next day,

(no trading on Sundays.)

This era, known as the 6 o’clock swill, was my introduction to beer

drinking, we had a system that said, if you joined a “school” of your mates

for a drink, each member must buy a “round” of drinks for the “school”

in turn.

This system worked fine, unless you had called into the pub for a beer

with your mates after work and were there at closing time, then it was

not unusual to have 4 or five beers lined up as they started the “time

gentlemen” chorus, then started the “swill” to get them down in the

next 10 minutes.

This wonderful 6 PM closing stayed with us until the late 1950s, all

throughout that time, and for quite a while afterwards, women were

not permitted to enter these sacred portals, there were “ladies

lounges” for their use, strangely though women were permitted to

serve behind the bar.

Fortunately our laws and our drinking habits have both improved over

the last 30/40 years, we now have an excellent range of locally grown

and produced wines, both red and white, and if we are dining out these

are a popular choice,

Having said that, the popular choice is still a cold beer if we are at the

other Australian institutions, a “barbie” (bar-b que) or at a sporting


As with most other things we are fiercely loyal to our own states beer

and only tolerate other brews under protest.

Here in Queensland we also have a Rum distillery, Bundaberg, which

has won our loyalty too, not so the distillery, they saw fit to sell out to an

overseas company a few years ago, thus far they appear to have got away

with this travesty, no doubt helped to some extent by an excellent series

of TV ads featuring “Bundy Bear” who is, of all things, a polar bear!!!!

Hope you enjoyed that brief glimpse of the real Australia, see ya at the pub,

and don’t forget, it’s your shout.


The presidents of Australia’s four major breweries, Tooheys (NSW)

XXXX(Queensland), Carlton (Victoria) and Cascade (Tasmania???) were at

an international beer conference.

They decide to all go to lunch together and the waitress asks what they

want to drink.

The president of Tooheys says without hesitation "I'll have a Tooheys New."

The President of Cascade smiles and says "I'll have a Cascade Draught,

brewed from pure mountain water!"

The Carlton president proudly says "I'll have a Carlton, the King of Beers!"

The bloke from XXXX glances at his lunch mates and says, "I'll have a


The others look at him like he has sprouted a new head. He just shrugs

and says, "Well if you blokes aren't drinking beer, then neither will I."

They say there are only two states to be in, Pissed and Queensland.


Hale McKay said...

Very good and enjoyable history of Aussie beer and imbibing. You don't mention Fosters - acording to the commercials we see in the states "Fosters is Australian for beer."
...I guess we were suckered in, eh?

Jan said...

Hi Peter
Carlton or Fosters for me and pissed and victoria

Hale McKay said...

I too experience senior moments, Peter. On you comment on my blog, you mentioned the addendum about Fosters. So I cane back and scrolled to "end" of the post but couldn't find the addendum. Well, one thing is for sure - addendum ends in "dumb." By the way, I did go back to the top of your post. Yep, I'm organized alright.

mreddie said...

Interesting bit of history there. ec

LZ Blogger said...

Peter - I absolutely loved the XXXX GOLD I had while in Brisbane. One of the local Warfies there said that they don't even drink Foster's in Australia... that they just ship it to the states, because they save the GOOD beer for the Aussie's and that we yanks don't know any better! ~ jb///

Merle said...

Interesting post. Could it be you are feeling the heat?

It has been shocking here and after a shower of rain, now it is just too humid.

Did you ever post ` To all those born before 1945. I think you did
but haven't gone looking for it.
Jan comes up with some great jokes. She should be blogging!!!

Prerona said...

hey - this was really nice :)

Ms. Vickie said...

Hi Peter, Thanks for sharing this interesting history.
I know a good cold beer goes a long way during those
hot summer times. I do know the beer we have in the states
is so different from the beer you have there and I would
love to try some Aussie beer one day.

JunieRose2005 said...

Such an interesting post, Peter! I liked reading all that history!


OldHorsetailSnake said...

We had a brewery right here in Salem, Oregon. Free samples were the big thing....

Carolyn said...

Interesting stuff-- I should have brought a beer w/me while I read it, lol! Is there really a place called "Pissed?" Does anyone ever get "pissed off in Queensland?"

Just askin'... ;)

StringMan said...

Now that I'm fully armed and equipped to order with the best of the blokes, I can't wait to head down under and hit a few pubs. Thanks for the primer.

Da Gal said...

Cheers Peter!

FTS said...

I'll drink to that :)

Big Dave T said...

I was touring a brewery once with some older gentlemen and as we were climbing stairs, one said, "I count steps the way I count beers." I was confused as to what he meant until he said, "That was about three steps." In reality, it was about twelve. I understood his comment then.

I hear Australians count their beers the same way.

Maria said...

Thanks for the insight into "down under" drinking. I had the best time reading this and although, I am not a beer drinker, it makes me want to visit an Aussie pub.

Jamie Dawn said...

I wonder if German beer is better than Aussie beer?
I'll never know because I'm not a beer drinker.

Cliff Morrow said...

Here's to you and here's to me... good post Peter!!!