Itchy Green Pants was released in February of this year to commemorate Matilda Bay Brewing Company's move to their new home in Port Melbourne. Naming of the brew was tongue-in-cheek - mindful of the suffering that brewers encountered as they worked through the hot and heavy manual labouring process of brewing in their green work shorts.
My first and second encounters with Matilda Bay's Itchy Green Pants (IGP) were on the very same day. What are the chances of that?
Part 1 - The Criterion Tavern, Brisbane CBD.
I'd just successfully completed a very demanding project at work and my clients were insisting on celebrating the fact with a beer or two. Being the nice guy that I am, I agreed. I also let them choose the location. Their choice of The Criterion on George Street, Brisbane didn't really surprise me as its quite close to their offices. I wasn't too enamoured at first because I'd been there some years prior. Perhaps as much as 4 years ago. Back then, the place let itself down on all counts - poor beers, poor food, poor sticky floors. Apparently, according to my clients, The Criterion had increased the quality of their food somewhat and they had a nice selection of beers on offer which "might appeal to me". What were they suggesting?!
The place was heaving for a lunchtime and the food was very good, well priced and didn't take long to arrive. The thing that surprised me the most was that a Matilda Bay brew was sitting there on tap! Lucky me!
Always looking for a new beer to try, I had absolutely no hesitation in ordering myself an Itchy Green Pants. They only served beer in pots or pints which meant that I was forced to have a pint as I didn't much fancy battling the crowds at the bar frequently topping up a pot. Besides, my hands are quite big and pots don't really sit well in my grip. Note how I've made 2 extremely poor excuses to condone drinking a pint? Ha ha ha!
Trying to keep in mind that this rendezvous with clients was more important than my impromptu rendezvous with IGP, I paced myself sensibly.
It has a real fresh, zesty (yet not too fruity) taste to it and accompanied my meal very well. Like many of IGP's stablemates at Matilda Bay, it weighs in at a very sessionable 4.7% abv.
I don't usually drink beer at lunchtime but I'd made an exception for a couple of very important clients after a tough project and with an afternoon of work ahead, I played it sensible and didn't overdo it. I had one more pint and then headed back to work with a wry smile on my face content that I'd stumbled upon IGP wondering if we'd ever meet again.
Part 2 - The Regatta Hotel, Toowong.
I spent the afternoon tapping away on my keyboard often with my head in the clouds dreaming of IGP like a love-struck teenager - smitten, the morning after an excellent first date with a dream girl.
The day drew to a close and myself, KT and JC headed to The Regatta Hotel in Toowong courtesy of Queensland Rail who, I must say, were running their trains on time that day. A noteworthy fact.
The trip was pre-planned and diarised. It was the annual get-together with ex-colleague, SH.
Upon arrival, it was clearly evident that SH had arrived before us as he'd already found us a table and was half way through a beer. It was outside overlooking the Brisbane River. Now, SH isn't a particularly big fellow and the table itself was a little round thing no bigger than 50cm in diameter. Great that he'd gotten us a table but I wasn't convinced that 4 grown men could comfortably crouch around this thing that was only marginally bigger than the plate that I'd been served my lunch on 4 hours previously.
I did the gentlemanly thing and offered to get the first round in. I strolled in towards the main bar aware that we were very likely to buy a round of drinks each. I had one thing on my mind "I wonder what beer I can choose here that will satisfy me after 4 rounds?"
The bar was steadily filling up with a 'Friday night crowd'. Well, why not. It was a Friday evening after all. I was aiming for a gap at the far end of the bar. The first set of taps that I passed while zig-zagging through the throng of happy faces contained none other than a Matilda Bay beer called Alpha Pale Ale. Not unusual you might think? Well, here in Brisbane it isn’t the norm. Neither is the fact that on the second set of taps was Dogbolter - another Matilda Bay brew. I kept walking. Dodging blokes here and there. Blokes that were carrying 2 drinks. Some blokes performing heroics carrying 3 wet glasses of beer - wishing I'd get out of their way more than I wanted them out of my way! I'd waltzed passed 2 Matilda's.
Feeling like I was pushing my luck having strolled past 2 Matilda Bay beers, I squeezed into the gap at the bar and there, sitting in front me was the third set of taps with a third Matilda Bay offering...you've guessed it...Itchy Green Pants. What a stroke of luck!! I ordered pints (seemed impolite not to) and the stroke of luck continued as the bar maid only charged me for schooners.
The conversation rolled on into the night as we reminisced with SH about the 'good old days'. As the daylight disappeared we were treated to a rainbow in the Brisbane sky.
Due to the heat and humidity of Brisbane plus the absence of beer mats on our saucer-like table, puddles of condensation from our glasses had slowly merged into a small pond. My attention was soon turned from conversation to concentration. I was concentrating on stopping continuous drips of water from falling onto my jeans. I didn’t want my day of Itchy Green Pants to evolve into an evening of Silly Wet Pants.
After the embarrassment of a wet crotch was avoided, I headed home. To my delight, I walked through the front door to find that the wife had bought me a take-away Indian curry. I had a 4pack of Cobra's in the beer fridge but that's a story for another time...
Thanks for a nice day Matilda Bay.