While we avoid rating beers on The Crafty Pint, preferring instead to talk about them and leave you to make up your own mind, it doesn’t mean we’re opposed to the idea. Especially when it’s done in such a straightforward manner as it is on the Great Set Of Tipples blog. None of this scoring for aroma, appearance, flavour and whatnot, simply a few tales, the odd joke and then what size of serving the blog’s creator would want if he went back for a second serving.
It’s a blog that came to our notice courtesy of the Back Of The Ferry team, who cited it as their favourite Aussie beer blog and an inspiration for their own jottings. It’s also witty, laced with acid quips and highly entertaining to read, at least in our opinion anyway – and comes with its own quirky features, such as “Six Degrees Of Norm”, which attempts to prove that every beer can be linked back to Norm from Cheers in six steps. So without further ado, over to Mr Tipples…
Name / Alias: Leon or @Tipplesblog in Twitterland
Name of Blog: A Great Set of Tipples, but in the spirit of NKOTB generally referred to simply as "Tipples".
When started: The 20th of June 2008, but like all good blogs (or at least mine) it died, only to be revived in February 2009, only to die again three months later. It made its final comeback on November 2010 and has been going from strength to strength ever since.
What I write about: Nominally beer, but more often than not the beer review is just an excuse for me to tell a story about my life, make pop culture references, and in jokes that are only funny to about three people (most of whom I drink with) so I probably could just tell them over a beer and save myself a lot of work.
What you do when not blogging: I work in the media/advertising industry – which is really just a way to get free beer. Other than that I like to think of myself as a beer soaked Renaissance man. There are the artistic pursuits of photography, reading, some frequenting of the Melbourne music scene, a little non beer related writing, nicely balanced with a love of the mighty North Melbourne Football Club, and time spent "researching" in pubs.
Why did you start writing the blog? For this I have to blame former workmate and good friend of mine – MB. Back in the crazy days of 2008 he was just young kid of 22 or something, finding his feet in the world of beer. He told me he wanted to try some different beers. We hatched a plan; each Friday we would go out at lunchtime, buy a new beer and then spend Friday afternoon drinking it and discussing its merits. We started writing down our thoughts in a book and then evolved onto the internet.
Of course MB lost interest (in the blog, not beer) so nowadays I write it solo. My education must have been alright though because MB now makes a living from selling beer.
Why should people read it? If you'd asked that question back in 2008 the answer would have been that they shouldn't – it was terrible. But over the years I've managed to add in enough filler, like Six Degrees of Norm (where we prove that all beers can be linked back to Norm from Cheers in six steps) and the Long Bow YouTube clip (where I embed videos that have some very tenuous links to beer) to make the reviews at least readable, if not actually entertaining. Plus how else are you going to waste time at work?
What do you love / enjoy most about beer? To answer this question I’d like to quote myself (how pretentious is that?) from a post about a friend's wedding:
It's not really the malt, or the special hops they use or the water from some magical local stream. Nope what makes people love beer is everything that surrounds it. It's the beer garden you sit in, it's the stories you tell, it's the laughing, the dancing, it's the band you see in the dirty dark pub, it's the footy game you watch, it's the family you catch up with for a beer.
Your favourite Australian beer? It changes day to day, but thankfully I always have the blog to consult, using my soon to be patented beer ranking system (based on the size of the glass you would like it served to you in) I see that it's most often dark beers so 2 Brothers James Belgian Brown, Holgate Temptress and Lord Nelson's Old Admiral all have to be up there.
Favourite non-Australian beer? Recently I was lucky enough to spend some time in the US where I had some awesome beers. Cigar City Maduro Brown was a standout though. Also I have a vague recollection of some banana flavoured beer that I had in Prague a few years ago, but like my recollection of many things it's a little hazy so I can't give you a name.
Favourite place to enjoy a beer? Really anywhere my friends or family are. That is usually a pub in South Melbourne (The Railway's a favourite) or North Melbourne (how could you go past the Courthouse or the Metropolitan?), but I guess my favourite place is on the balcony of the Wye River pub, perched on the cliff above the Great Ocean Road where you can find me every Australia Day weekend with my buddies.
Hopes for beer in Australia? The beer scene is changing so rapidly. People keep asking me if it's hard to find new beers to review. This is never a problem, there are so many great little breweries producing so many great beers. But what we need to do is make sure there is a market for this beer. Sure there will always be the hard core beer wankers (like myself, and let's face it most of the readers here) but we can't do the job alone, and that's why we all have to reach out to macro beer swilling friends and shout them a craft beer, we need to show them what they are missing.
"Give that they may drink."