Five Islands Brewery

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Iron Wolf Brewery
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Where to start, the venue or the beer? I think it's always good to start on a positive note, so I'll start with the venue.

Situated on the ocean side of the Wollongong Entertainment Centre, the balcony offers views over City Beach (well the dunes anyway) and is near Wollongong Stadium, the big park alongside City Beach, etc. If you know the Gong, you'll have no troubles finding it.

There is a large balcony with about 20 tables along it. Inside is nicely decorated, although nothing stands out as distinctive. An island bar greets you as you enter. There was a jazz band playing by the brewing equipment which is easily viewed from the bar area - some DME large mash tuns and fermenters. A big plus is that children are welcome and there seems to be a decent menu of bistro and restaurant food.

The beers... we were there with the kids, so I didn't have time to try all of the in-house brews. I'll list the beers and our comments:

Bulli Black

Not a bad ale. Malty and lightly carbonated. I couldn't find a fault in the beer, it was just a tiny bit too sweet (caramel?) for my taste. Nice hop (fuggles, I assume) characters. I give it a thumbs up. The Mrs is sure my Black Wasp Ale is better, though B)

Porter Kembla
Apart from the obvious and cheesy name, the beer is a decent Porter. Full flavoured, tasting strongly of chocolate malt, with a lingering bitter aftertaste. Quite nice. The best of the 4 I tasted. The Mrs doesn't like the aftertaste. It's a style issue, I think.

Strawberry Blonde
My partner was going to avoid this beer because of it's "girly" naming and marketing (the ad we'd seen in the local rag basically sold it as a girl's drink) but was sold when the barman told her it was in the style of Belgian Fruit beers. How wrong he was! Mrs PoMo has travelled Western Europe and tasted many of the continent's finest beers. Her favourite being Belgian lambic fruit beer... This beer tasted like a softdrink in comparison. I tasted it and found it hard to taste beer. It was like strawberry syrup flavoured with honey. No hint of malt or hop. Sickly sweet. Thumbs down from both of us.

Longboard Belgian Wit
I can't express enough my dissappointment with this beer. Too sweet, too "orangy", too sugary, not cloudy enough, too goddamn sweet. It was an effort to drink the whole pint... I did anyway, assuming it might improve towards the bottom of the glass. Even the addition of a lemon wedge would not save this beer. Brave to attempt the brew, but it is just all wrong. Wit is supposed to be sweet, and there should be a hint of orange rind (bitter rind) in the flavour. Longboard is thickly syrupy sweet and overdosed in sweet rind essence. I'm sorry, but I won't be drinking this beer again until I hear that they've changed the recipe.

Other beers offered are the Dapto Draught and Rust - Irish Red Ale. Unfortunately we didn't get to try these. Given the better standard of the Black and Porter, I'd guess the draught and Red Ale would be OK... Next time I'm down at City Beach, I'll pop in and give them a sample. Definately worth a visit if you're in the 'Gong and thirsty. Give the local beers a try. They also have various standard beers on tap, as well as a range of wines, spirits etc.

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