You don’t need to travel too far from most capital cities before you encounter the beer desert where taps are dominated by identical lagers and bottle shops stocking pretty much the same with maybe the odd bottle of James Squires or Coopers thrown in for a bit of variety.
Of course, it’s not enough to throw beers into a bottleshop and expect them to sell to people that have never heard or tasted them. It’s great to see that bottle shops such as the Purple Palate at Maleny on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast not only stocking good beers but educating their market about them as well. The bottle shop has teamed up with local beer writer Graham Reeks to present regular beer tasting sessions on Saturday afternoons.
As the name suggests Purple Palate is known for its wine, but over the past few months it has been hosting beer tasting sessions for customers in Finbar’s, the adjacent pub.
Maleny store manager Andrew Jones said Purple Palate is known for presenting wine tastings and dinners, but as good beer is increasing in popularity he has expanded the concept.
“One day I looked at my sales in my imported ranges, and boutique beer sections and thought why just wine tastings?” Andrew said.
“I had developed a good boutique market, with some great imported beers, and was drawing customers from well outside my local area, all of whom enjoy good beer.”
Purple Palate in Maleny stocks over 100 different domestic, imported and boutique beers and regularly introduces new beers to its fridges.
Andrew asked Graham Reeks, who writes widely about beer including for Australian Brews News and the recent Critics Choice book, to guide the sessions. Graham introduces each beer, brewery and beer style with a few tales to complement the ales and answers questions from the floor.
“It’s not high-brow beer tasting, but a fun afternoon, with good beer and food, and great company,” Graham said.
So far sessions have included a store showcase and a New Zealand special. The next session, starting at 2 pm on Saturday 21 May will feature a range of at least eight British ales and stouts.
$30 includes generous samples and gourmet pizza to accompany the beer. Call Purple Palate on 5494 2499 to book a ticket, and keep an eye on the Australian Brews News events calendar for more dates.