S R Silcox - Author

Blog updated 2-3 times a month.

Month: February 2012

Sunday Sesh #25 – White Rabbit Dark Ale

This is the second last beer review for this summer, and it’s brought to you by White Rabbit Dark Ale.

White Rabbit Dark Ale

This little beer proves the Victorians don’t always get it wrong.

It’s a rich dark colour, hints of caramel on the pour. Not much head at all, which isn’t surprising since it’s more fizzy than carbonated. Not many bubbles, and it goes down very smooth.  It’s a little watery, but otherwise not too bad. Very little after taste, which makes it a good session beer.

It’s been a bit cooler up here on the Ridge, and this is the sort of beer I would enjoy in the cooler months.

If you like Kilkenny, you should give this one a go. It’s not as creamy, and a little more bitter, but not bad all the same.

I’m looking forward to giving the White Ale a go, though I’ll save that one for next summer.

Next week marks the last official week of summer, which means it’s also the last Sunday Sesh until the weather heats up again.

I’m still open to suggestions for a beer to finish off the summer with, so feel free to email or add your suggestions in the comments.

Until next Sunday’s Sesh,
cheers!

Sunday Sesh #24 – Mountain goat Hightail Ale

This week’s Sesh brought to you by Mountain Goat Hightail Ale.

These guys have got a pretty cool story about how they established their brewery. It’s a real backyard home-brewer to microbrewer tale.

I’m not sure what I was expecting with this one – I bought it because of the name more than anything. Certainly not because it was brewed in Victoria – I’m glad I didn’t realise until after the purchase. I don’t think I would have bought it otherwise.

As you can see from the first photo, it was a little bit excited to be opened.

Yep, it’s a boy!

It was a bit better behaved when I poured it though.

Dark and dangerous

It’s a bit of a surprise packet this one. It’s a bit rich and heavy for a summer beer, but I would definitely enjoy this one on a cooler day. It’s very robust, and the flavour sticks around giving a strong after taste.

It has the burnt toast taste of the Old Fart I reviewed previously, but it also has a sweetness that offsets it that makes it easier to drink.

Apart from the froth on the pour, there’s not a lot of gas or bubbles, so it’s quite smooth to drink. A good session beer in Autumn or Winter I think.

All-in-all, it’s not a bad drop for something made in Victoria. Recommended if you like something rich and malty.

Until next Sunday’s Sesh,
Cheers!

Sunday Sesh #23 – Little Creatures Pale Ale

This Sunday’s Sesh is brought to you by Little Creatures Pale Ale, and it’s going to be a straight beer review since I am champing at the bit to get some writing done today. I’ve been struggling to get words down and I’m finally getting some momentum, so this post will be short but sweet.

I’ve been meaning to have a go of a Little Creatures of some kind for a while now, and I’m wondering why it’s taken me so long.

Little Creatures Pale Ale

This is a bright orange colour (though you can’t tell thanks to my crap photography), and it has heaps of bubbles, which means the little creamy head from the pour sticks around even after you start drinking it.

I’m drinking this one on its own as opposed to with snacks like I would normally, and it’s going down a treat.

It’s a little fruity and very refreshing, though a little dry on the aftertaste. I could easily have a few of these, even on a cool day. I won’t today though, since the 1.4 standards drinks is going to my head already, which means I’m drinking this a little too fast. A good sign I say!

I’m looking forward to trying the other Little Creatures beers in the future.

Before I go, there are just three more Sunday Sesh’s left for the summer. I’ve got a couple of beers in mind for the next couple of reviews, but I’m searching for something special for the very last one. If you have anything you really think I should try, let me know in the comments. Or if you have two beers that you think would go well head-to-head, I’m certainly up for that. Let me know.

Until next Sunday’s Sesh,

Cheers!

Sunday Sesh #22 – 28 Pale Ale

This Sunday’s Sesh is brought to you by 28 Pale Ale, brewed by the Burleigh Brewing Company. The one thing I love about boutique breweries is the way they name their beers. Other brews in the stable include Big Head (claimed to be Australia’s first no-carb beer), the Black Giraffe (a black coffe brew) and an English style bitter called My Wife’s Bitter.

28 Pale Ale

The blurb for this one says it’s a 70’s style pale ale. Well, I wasn’t around for most of the 70’s but if I was, I would have enjoyed this beer. It pours alot like softdrink – you can see the bubbles flying up the inside of the glass, as well as the size of the head – but it’s all beer. It’s quite bitter, but smooth, and tastes very home-brewy. This is the kind of beer if you’d brewed it yourself, you’d brag about it.

I really enjoyed this one and will be adding this to my favourites to buy again in the future.
We’re on the cusp of the end of the cricket season, and the beginning of the footy season here in Aus. How do I know? The NRL Allstar football match was on last night, and we’re into the Tri-series One-dayers in the cricket.

Just before the Aus v India one-dayer started today, I caught the end of a charity cricket match in Wollongong, started by Adam Gilchrist three years ago. He had a few big names playing – Wendell Sailor, Merv Hughes, Darren Lehman to name a few – as well as some women’s cricketers and locals.

It made me wonder, what happened to the old testimonial cricket match when a big-name player retired?

The teams for these matches were typically composed of retired players, football players from all codes, a few women’s reps and media identities. The line-ups were enough to bring in bumper crowds, just to see all those big names together on one field.

I know we can’t do that every time one of our players retires, but I think we need to take a leaf out of the NRL play book, and reinstate a charity match at the very least. It’s something that could be the official opener of the cricket season, getting us prepped for the upcoming tour matches, and getting us excited about summer to come.

Twenty/20 has made cricket more popular since it’s inception, and it’s because it’s extremely exciting to watch. I love my test matches, but I also love sitting down and watching a match that has a result in under three hours.

Why not combine the excitement of T/20 cricket with the fun of watching league, soccer and AFL players pit their wits against the likes of Shane Warne and Brett Lee? It showcases the game at it’s most basic level – and that is how anyone can pick up a bat and a ball and have a go.

It does beg the question though – who would you have in your team?

Pick a Label, Any Label – Labelling Our Books

There’s a big discussion going on over at Rachelle Gardner’s blog at the moment (one of the many I currently cyber-stalk but have yet to post comment on), and it’s something I have started to think about since re-working my long-term writing plan.

One of the things I have learned about self-publishing from various sources is to make sure I know my audience. It’s one of the big reasons I want to re-jig my blog so that I start tailoring posts to my readers. Yeh, I’m still struggling with the concept that it’s not all about me, but I’m getting there.

The post poses the question “Should We Label Christian Fiction?” and the comments section has been abuzz with arguments both for and against.

It’s come about because (apparently) a few reviewers and readers have posted 1-star ratings and some not-so-nice reviews on christian books because they feel duped. For whatever reason, they didn’t get the book they thought they paid for, and/or the fact that it wasn’t clear from the blurb that there were christian themes.

I don’t like seeing reviews like that, and I think there should be an option to give a review without a star-rating if you read a book that disappoints because of content rather than ability.

Anyway, a few comments on the post took me by surprise. A few commentors are of the opinion that it’s almost an attack on their christianity if they should have to label their work as such, and they feel they’d miss out on sales, or that people would miss out on reading those books because of a label.

I tend to disagree. I’ll tell you why.

I write lesbian fiction. I also write young adult fiction, some of which has, and will have, lesbian/gay themes, while others will not. I fully intend on labelling my books as lesbian, if that’s what they are.

Why?

Because I want to reach the right readers. I don’t want to get 1-star reviews for my work simply because a reader doesn’t like the fact that my main characters are lesbian and it offends their morals or sensibilities, and I neglected to warn them in the first place. Those readers are not part of my audience.

Some writers (and I was one of them until I was shown the light) mistakenly believe that we need to get our work to the masses; to get as many people reading our prose as possible. While this is a noble dream, it’s not reality.

Sure, some books will transcend genre, but I think that will only happen if the book has universal themes and only after it finds its true niche in the first place.

I think the most interesting question though is where the line is drawn. When should we consider labelling a book such as christian fiction?

I think the line is quite an easy one. If you’re a christian writer, coming from a christian view-point, but the main theme of your book isn’t based around faith (ie your main character has a strong faith but the overriding theme of the book is, for example, finding love that is NOT based on finding God), or you have other universal themes that resonate with readers, then it’s not christian. In other words, if you stripped away the christian aspect of a character, would it make a huge difference to the way the book works?

I’ve read books like that, and I haven’t felt duped at all. Why? Because the character had other traits that I found fascinating or could relate to.

However, if your main theme is based on faith – having it, losing it, keeping it, finding it – and without that theme your book would be a shadow of itself, then it’s christian.

People like me who read books like that sometimes feel like we’re being hit over the head with faith, and that annoys me. You shouldn’t be worried about that because I’m not your audience. I’m not going to buy more of your books because I know I won’t like them.

And there’s the rub. Not everyone’s going to like your book. That’s not necessarily an indictment on your ability as an author, it just means that you need to work out where your book sits on the virtual bookshelf.

Give readers good information about your books, and they’ll decide for themselves if they want to buy them or not. They’ll thank you for it with great reviews.

Afterall, isn’t it better to label your books effectively in order to find the people who will like your work, rather than take a risk on people who won’t?