Quaffers: Canberra brewers spring into action

Canberra’s brewers generally greet spring with a slew of new brews.
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BentSpoke, Braddon, offers Farrer’s Wheat, its first wheat beer, and Reflector, a malty, hoppy beer made by a bunch of dads on Father’s Day.

The Wig and Pen, Llewellyn Hall, offers Aviator Bock, a strong beer for heroes, alongside mid-strength Aqua Amandi wheat ale for the lunch crowd; English Brown Ale and London Porter for cooler days; and Grassy Eider, a hand-pumped, high alcohol (6.6 per cent) variant of Irish red ale.

Pact Beer Co is launching 42.2 Summer Ale at the Old Canberra Inn on November 5, as part of Canberra Beer Week. “It’s a refreshing lawn-mowing beer with enough hops to keep the beer nerds happy,” says brewer Kevin Hingston.

Christoph Zierholz offers Old Fashioned Bohemian Lager and a Burragorang Bock, both contract brewed for George IV Inn, Picton, but available also at Zierholz Fyshwick and Canberra University outlets.

Greene King Abbot Ale 500ml ★★★★ $7.99

Suffolk-based Greene King brews beer and runs pubs, restaurants and hotels across the UK. Its mid-amber coloured Abbot Ale offers fruity and malty aromas and flavours on a generous, warm palate. After a few sips, a refreshing bitterness begins to build, offsetting the malt sweetness deliciously.

Konig Ludwig Weissbier 330ml ★★★★½ $4.90

Konig Ludwig, an outstanding example of the Bavarian, bottle-conditioned wheat style, comes from the Warsteiner​ brewery. Be seduced by its cloudy, pale golden colour; abundant white head, sweet, fruity aroma and rich, creamy palate with a zesty, ultra-fresh finish.

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Chris Shanahan: Simao and Co Vintage Fortified 2014 is wine of the week

Simao and Co Vintage Fortified 2014 Alpine Valleys and Glenrowan, Victoria $48 ★★★★☆ Points: 94
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This is the story of a seventh-generation winemaker, six grape varieties, purple feet and a totally slurpy wine inspired by Portugal’s vintage ports. In 2013, winemaker Simon Killeen left the old family business, Stanton and Killeen, and shortly afterwards struck out on his own. Like his late father, Chris Killeen, Simon loved Portuguese port. Inspired by a vintage in the Douro Valley in 2012, he made Simao 2014 by applying traditional Portuguese techniques – including foot-stomping of crushed bunches, stalks and all, and hot fermentation – to shiraz, tinta roriz, alicante bouschet, tinta barroca, durif and touriga nacional. He fortified the wine with neutral brandy spirit. This brought the alcohol content to 20.5 per cent, arrested the fermentation and left around 60 grams per litre of sugar in the finished wine. The result is a ripe and vibrantly fruity wine, made even juicier by its slight sweetness and cut by the racy tang of brandy. It’s in the approachable, elegant style of Portuguese vintage port, but should age gracefully for some decades.

Vickery Riesling 2015 Zander family Quarry and Kosi blocks, Eden Valley, South Australia $23 ★★★★½ Points: 96

Last year MD Wines launched Vickery Watervale Riesling 2014, made jointly by former Leo Buring riesling maker, John Vickery, and Phil Lehmann. In 2015, the pair produced two rieslings, one from Watervale (reviewed two weeks back), the other from the Eden Valley. The Eden Valley lies a little further south on the Mount Lofty Ranges than Clare and, being cooler, produces a different style of riesling. The 2015 shows a highly aromatic, floral side of the variety with a strong but delicate, dry palate combining apple and citrus-like varietal flavours and powerful acid backbone.

West Cape Howe Two Step Shiraz 2013 WCH Langton vineyard, Mount Barker, Great Southern, Western Australia $24-$28 ★★★★ Points: 94

For good reason shiraz remains Australia’s most widely planted grape variety. Our vignerons harvest around 400 thousand tonnes of it every year, putting it a nose in front of chardonnay’s 380 thousand tonnes, but streets ahead of nearest red rival, cabernet sauvignon’s 220 thousand tonnes. Almost every region has its shiraz, in styles driven largely by climatic differences. In Western Australia’s deep south, West Cape Howe 2013 combines bright, fresh red-berry flavours with the black pepper character seen in cooler climates. There’s a savoury element, too, so it all adds up to an appealing, distinctive expression of our national red specialty.

Toolangi Chardonnay 2014 Toolangi vineyard, Dixon’s Creek, Yarra Valley, Victoria $25.65-$28 ★★★★ Points: 94

Garry and Julie Hounsell planted Toolangi vineyard at Dixon’s Creek, Yarra Valley, in 1995. They hand the fruit over to various winemakers including, for chardonnay, David Bicknell of Oakridge and Willy Lunn of Yering Station. Bicknell makes the higher priced “Estate” chardonnay ($38), while Lunn makes this classy drop, which is also estate grown. It shows the juicy nectarine-like varietal flavour of Yarra chardonnay bubbling through the textures and flavours derived from fermentation and maturation in oak barrels. Taut acidity pulls all the flavours together into one enjoyable whole.

Schild Estate Grenache Mourvedre Shiraz 2013 Barossa Valley, South Australia $14.25-$18 ★★★½ Points: 90

Who can resist the sweet, ripe fruit flavours of the Barossa in a favourable vintage like 2013 – a year marked by warm, dry conditions “but without any significant periods of severe heat”, write the Schild family. Their 2014 blend leads with the appealing aromatics and ripe, red-currant-like flavours of grenache. The other varieties come into play on a solid, earthy palate, backed by mourvedre’s​ rustic tannins and spice and the generous flavour and softness of shiraz. This is an easy wine to love – and the price is right.

Willow Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir 2013 Willow Creek vineyard, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria $33.25-$40 ★★★★ Points: 94

Established in 1989, Willow Creek arrived in the comparatively early days of Mornington Peninsula pinot noir. At the time grape growers and winemakers were learning how to manage the variety in the vineyard and winery. The blossoming really began in the 1990s, followed by a great finessing this century, as ever-better fruit arrived in wineries. In Willow Creek 2013, winemaker Geraldine McFaul​ captured the fruit flavour of a warm season in a cool climate. The seasonal heat shows in the great ripeness and richness of fruit flavour and firm, grippy tannin structure. This powerful combination should nourish the wine through a long cellaring life.

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Sam Burgess’ family not expecting him to return to NRL any time soon

South Sydney prop Tom Burgess expects his brother Sam to play out the remaining two years of his English rugby union deal before considering a return to the NRL.
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Burgess, who has also been linked with a move to Super League side Leeds, was the target of heavy criticism during England’s disastrous Rugby World Cup campaign and there has been speculation he was set for another code switch since the hosts crashed out of the tournament after losing to Wales and Australia in pool matches.

The future of the former Rabbitohs superstar was even the subject of an advertising billboard for Irish betting agency Paddy Power in Manchester last Saturday, where the Super League grand final was played at Old Trafford and England met Uruguay at Etihad Stadium in their final match of the World Cup.

The billboard featured a photoshopped picture of Burgess in his English playing kit with his thumb hooked like a hitch-hiker and holding a sign which read: “Old Trafford”. Alongside him were the words: “I’m a rugby league player. Get me out of here!”.

​But Tom, who is in camp with the England league team ahead of its upcoming Test series against New Zealand, said Sam remained committed to Bath and was determined to ensure his time in rugby union was a success.

“I get asked about a hundred times a day in Australia, especially from South Sydney fans,” Tom said. “It is a bit of a talk of the town at the moment about whether Sam’s going to come back to league or not but at the moment it’s just speculation.

“It’s what everyone wants in league but at the end of the day it’s his decision and he’ll make the decision based on how he’s feeling. He’s signed up for two more years at Bath so that’s it.”

Tom, who caught up with Sam before attending the Super League grand final, said his brother was unaffected by the criticism of his selection and performance at centre for England in the World Cup.

“The tournament has been massive and there’s been a lot of pressure around that,” he told PA. “I think he’s handled himself very well. To get in there in the first year of rugby union is pretty outstanding to be honest. I’m proud of him.

“The experiences that he’s had this last year have been awesome for him. I don’t think he’d change that now. For him to play in a World Cup as a dual international, I don’t think he’d regret that.”

Bath coach Mike Ford, who played halfback for the now defunct South Queensland Crushers, predicted earlier this week that Burgess would stay in rugby union until after the 2019 World Cup in Japan but England league coach Steve McNamara has no doubt he will return at some stage.

“At some point I am sure he will come back – whether that is six months, 12 months, three years, five years, who knows,” McNamara told the BBC. “It is the game he was brought up with.”

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Bulldogs Curtis Rona has no regrets about leaving Cowboys as he celebrates Kiwis call up

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Curtis Rona may regret his decision to leave North Queensland. That, if he had hung around for just one more season it may have been him instead of current Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt scoring THAT try in the greatest grand final of them all.
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But after being selected for the New Zealand Test side in a breakout season in which he scored more tries than anybody other than Fijian flyer Semi Radradra, you’d understand why Rona isn’t looking back.

“There are no regrets there,” Rona said.

“[Feldt] scored a good try, [Michael] Morgan gave him the flick pass of his life. I know people spoke about me leaving, [saying] I should have stayed and won a comp with the Cowboys. But there was no certainty of a starting position there and I was there for two years.

“They did offer a contract but I needed a fresh start and I got that down here.

“I had an opportunity to get game time at the Bulldogs and that’s why I’m counting my blessings, I’m so grateful they gave me the opportunity to do what I do out on the field. My family has moved down to Sydney and we’re happy to be here, I’m grateful for everything I’ve got.

“Full credit to the Cowboys that they won the comp, their maiden premiership. I’m happy to see J.T. [Johnathan Thurston] get it because he’s wanted it so bad and you can see from his outstanding year and Dally M that he’s the player that deserves it the most. It was a good win by the Cowboys.”

Injuries to regular wingers Manu Vatuvei and Jason Nightingale gave Rona the chance to join the Kiwis’ 23-man squad for their tour to England. While Stephen Kearney didn’t hesitate to extend an invitation, Rona’s wife Jacinta needed some convincing. The couple are expecting their first child on November 7, right in the middle of the Test series.

“It’s been really hard for us – we’ve been speaking about it for months,” Rona said.

“We’ve put in procedures there where we have family support to help us if the baby comes while I’m away. It wasn’t an easy choice but sometimes you’ve got to look after your family in other areas as well as being there for them.

“She was proud of me making the squad but it’s not like she was excited about me leaving. She’s supported my career and I’m so grateful we’ve worked out a solution.”

The 23-year-old had to make another hard decision when he got the call from Kearney. The Waitara product, who scored 23 tries in his first season at Canterbury, represented the Junior Kiwis in 2012 but is also eligible for Australia after spending much of his youth in Perth. However, the chance to pull on the black jersey again proved irresistible.

“You don’t just do it for yourself but your family and friends,” he said.

“It represents your culture and where you are from.”

After a stunning start to his career under Des Hasler, Rona will be a heavily marked man next season. However, the 195cm, 105kg flanker isn’t daunted by the challenge.

“It was good on a personal note to have a full season of NRL so people know what I can do,” he said.

“I think the best is yet to come for myself. Next year is going to be a bigger and better year. I know people say that, that it’s a cliche, but I know how the system runs at the Bulldogs with the players and environment around me. It’s going to be exciting for 2016.”

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Racing NSW mulling Kevin Moses appeal as trainer braces for sale of stable star Zoutenant

Racing NSW is still considering whether to appeal the overturning of a disqualification handed to Randwick trainer Kevin Moses, whose stable star Zoutenant could be sold before lining up in the Brian Crowley Stakes on Saturday.
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Only days after having a 12-month disqualification for a cobalt positive quashed by the Racing NSW Appeals Panel, Moses’ joy could be slightly soured with one-time Magic Millions hopeful Zoutenant an uncertain starter at Randwick.

The veteran trainer was hoping to use the listed sprint as a potential springboard to the group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes on Derby Day.

Moses has swiftly moved on from the cobalt positive incurred by Felix Bay in a restricted race at Hawkesbury in April after his disqualification was reduced to a two-year suspended sentence, provided he does not incur another prohibited substance breach in that time.

He is unlikely to challenge the $20,000 fine imposed on him by the Racing NSW Appeals Panel.

“I can appeal, but that will have to go to a judge and for something that should never have happened, it’s already [cost a lot],” Moses said.

“I sponsor a couple of guys [who work in the stable] and we’ve got staff that are all close together. They were all happy with the decision.”

Moses has maintained a regime of vitamins and supplements triggered Felix Bay – whose water intake has been kept to a minimum after incurring a three-month ban for bleeding in 2013 – exceeding the 200 micrograms per litre of urine threshold in a pre-race test.

The Racing NSW Appeals Panel wiped the disqualification on the grounds no conclusion could be established on how the excessive levels of cobalt came to be in Felix Bay’s system.

Chief steward Ray Murrihy said the governing body was still considering whether to appeal that decision and escalate the case to the Racing NSW Appeals Tribunal.

“Racing NSW will obviously look at the reasons for the appeal decision and will make that call,” Murrihy said.

The long-awaited hearings into the Victorian cobalt positives will begin when training partners Lee and Shannon Hope face the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on Thursday, two days before the Caulfield Cup.

Moses’ Zoutenant beat home all bar arguably Australia’s best colt Exosphere in the Roman Consul Stakes last start, fuelling the trainer’s confidence for the Brian Crowley hit out.

But the owners are considering a lucrative offer for the Wyong Magic Millions winner, who will have Tim Clark on board should the sale not proceed before Saturday.

“At this stage he will be running,” Moses said. “He’s come through [the Roman Consul run] very, very well and I couldn’t be happier with him. We haven’t had to do much with him.

“He’s fit and he’s poking along enjoying himself. You’re not going to get them fitter than what they are, so you’ve just got to keep them happy.”

Chris Waller’s San Domenico Stakes winner Japonisme will shoulder 58.5 kilograms as topweight for the Brian Crowley should he be an acceptor when final fields are declared on Wednesday morning.

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Residents invited to join Maitland City Council weed blitz this weeken

Lantana is one of the weeds being targeted during the weekend’s weed blitz.Residents of Maitland Vale Road, Tocal Road and Lemon Grove Road in Maitland have been invited to participate in a weed blitz weekend.
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On Saturday and Sunday Maitland City Council will ­encourage local residents to help build on the weed control initiatives undertaken on public land and road reserves.

Residents should target any lantana, bridal creeper and asparagus fern from their properties.

The waste can be deposited in skip bins which will be at the entrance of Tocal College between 9am and 5pm both days of the weekend.

Staff will also be at Tocal College to answer questions and hand out free information brochures.

To register interest in this project or to receive a free weed information pack, contact the coordinator on 4978 4029.

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Men of League continue to unite for worthy cause

Ben Ross will be the special guest at the Men Of League golf day later this month. Photo: GETTY IMAGESAs a code, rugby league cops its fair share of criticism but there is plenty of good things that happen within the game.
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One of those is the Men Of League Foundation, which helps out former players, coaches, referees, committee members – basically anybody that has had anything to do with the game – when they fall on tough times.

The Dubbo branch is headed up by Martin Cook, who was heavily involved with the group from its beginnings a number of years ago, and members will come together on Friday, October 30 for their annual golf day.

Former players Jason Death and Ben Ross will join Dubbo’s own current NRL star Isaah Yeo in attending the day, while other local legends such as David Peachey, Ronny Gibbs and Wes Maas will also be involved.

Ross achieved rugby league and Australian television infamy earlier this year when he broke his arm while arm-wrestling Wendell Sailor live on The Footy Show but he had an esteemed career that saw him play representative football on multiple occasions.

He played 173 NRL matches across four clubs and represented his home state of Queensland on six occasions.

Entry fee for the day is $50 per player or $150 for a team of three, with the event being played as a three-man ambrose.

Money raised on the day will support the Dubbo branch of the Men Of League, which has done plenty to help out since its inception four years ago.

Perhaps the biggest feat achieved locally for the group was a fundraising dinner for the family of Chris Thompson, who left behind three children when he was killed in a motor vehicle accident last year.

The funds raised from that dinner went into a trust which is being used to help his three children get a quality education

“Our local Men Of League has assisted plenty of good rugby league people in its time, and we’re currently helping a couple of people,” Cook said.

“We’ve provided assistance to Kailem Barwick, who is an 18-year-old that played 10 years of junior league with South Dubbo Raiders and is doing it tough with Ewings Sarcoma.

“And there’s David Whitfield, a Dunedoo local who has cancer-related illnesses and requires a hip replacement.

“Men Of League are assisting with the renovation of his bathroom as he currently has a shower with a very high hob, which is making getting into and out of the shower increasingly difficult.”

The entry fee for the golf day covers prizes, green fees, a barbecue brunch, lunch, a Men Of League golf ball, finger food and guest speakers.

There are also opportunities for sponsorship, with banners on tees and greens coming at a cost of $400 while a banner on either a tee or a green will cost $200.

Nominations for the event can be made by contacting Craig Mears at the Dubbo Golf Club pro shop on 6882 2201, while further information on the event can be obtained by contacting Ross Tighe on 0428 289 324.

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Volunteers make it happen

Helping hands: Some of the volunteers from last year s event, from left Nat Green, Megan Velardi, Jamie Beresford, Laura Velardi, Fred Axford, Jordan Hanimair, Tallara Duck, Jodie Duck, Monika Hanimair and Geoff Duck.ON Sunday more than 1000 brave athletes will converge on Port Macquarie for the annual Port Macquarie Ironman 70.3 event.
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Pivotal to its success every year is the number of volunteers that spend hours assisting in all sorts of ways, from handing out drinks to keeping the competitors on the course and everything in between.

Each year volunteers give up their time to assist and it is very much appreciated according to Adam Renn, Event Director of the Port Macquarie IM 70.3.

“They’re crucial to any of our Ironman events anywhere all over the world,” he said. “It’s as simple as this – if we don’t have them then the event doesn’t run.

“What makes Port special and what defines the character of the event is the way the community gets involved.

“It is what makes Port such a great location according to Mr Renn. Every year they receive get a great amount of support.

“They help to create some of the magic and it is one of the things we often hear in our athlete feedback which reflects on the success of the event,” he said.

“I’d say to anyone thinking about volunteering to please do so. We’d love to have you on board with the team and it is exactly that – a big team.”

If you are interested in volunteering click here.

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Canberra United looking to extend their reign to make W-League history

RIGHT: Dubbo’s Nicole Begg kisses with W-League trophy after she captained Canberra United to last year’s title. Photo: GETTY IMAGESCANBERRA United’s experienced core group of players sets them apart from the rest of the competition and gives them a fighting chance to create history as the first W-League champions to go back-to-back.
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That is the opinion of Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who returns – after missing last season while she recovered from a knee reconstruction – to further strengthen Canberra’s title ambitions.

Williams is one of seven foundation players, including star Dubbo sisters Nicole Begg and Ashleigh Sykes, in the star-studded Canberra squad for Sunday’s season-opener against Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium.

While all the off-season talk has centred around competition newcomers Melbourne City and their impressive recruiting spree, Canberra have quietly added the necessary pieces to complement their existing structure.

It is that consistency and knowledge of each other’s game that Williams believes will prove crucial in the long run.

“I think we’re definitely in the top four and definitely in play-off contention,” Williams said.

“I think there’s a lot of hype surrounding Melbourne City and they’ve recruited some big-name players, [but] it’s the marathon that’s going to win the race and not a sprint.

“Canberra’s proven that we don’t always start out strong, but we do finish really strong.

“This season, having the core of last season still here, we don’t have to start from scratch again, so we can improve on that.”

Begg, Sykes, Williams, defenders Ellie Brush and Rebecca Kiting, and midfielders Grace Gill and Caitlin Munoz are survivors of Canberra’s inaugural team in 2008-09.

Matildas striker Michelle Heyman – the W-League’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 50 goals – will also return for the defending champions.

Canberra has also added Mexican midfielder Veronica Perez, English striker Jodie Taylor and New Zealand international Emma Kete, and home-grown trio Emma Checker, Jenna McCormick and Nickoletta Flannery in their quest to to win the grand final in successive years.

“In all leagues around the world it’s really tough to do the double,” Williams said.

“It’s going to be hard, but it’s not an impossible feat at all.

“The beauty that Canberra has is that not a lot of people come and go.

“The team has been training pretty much for each other for years on years now.

“There might be a little bit of tweaking, but as soon as pre-season started, we could go into how we wanted to play, which is an advantage for us compared to the other teams.”

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Accused drug dealer Brendon Thomas arrested outside Orange court

AN accused drug dealer remains in custody after he was arrested for 20 supply charges on Monday as part of Strike Force Rupas.AN accused drug dealer remains in custody after he was arrested for 20 supply charges on Monday as part of Strike Force Rupas.
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Brendon James Thomas, 23, did not apply for bail in Orange Local Court on Tuesday and it was formally refused.

He was charged with 15 counts of supplying a prohibited drug greater than the indictable amount, two counts of supplying drugs in small amounts, two counts of supplying drugs in commercial quantities – 944 grams and 125 grams respectively – and supplying on an ongoing basis.

The drug offences allegedly occurred between December last year and April this year in Newcastle, Charleston, Warners Bay and Macquarie Hills, and involved ecstasy and ice. Thomas was also charged with knowingly participating in a criminal group.

His solicitor Michael Madden said Thomas needed to show cause to be granted bail.

“That’s on the basis of the commercial quantity charge, but I would argue that’s not the case,” he said.

But after further deliberation, Mr Madden asked for the release hearing to be held on Friday, where it would be taken over by Legal Aid.

Thomas did not appear before the court.

He had already attended court on Monday for driving with ecstasy and ice in his system in May, which put him in breach of two good behaviour bonds for drug possession and resisting and assaulting police from last year.

At the hearing, Mr Madden said Thomas had undergone full-time rehabilitation and argued the police-related offences, where he kicked an officer in the chest, were alcohol-fuelled, not drug-related.

The pre-sentence report said Thomas has abstained from drug use since his arrest and drank less often.

Magistrate Terry Lucas handed Thomas $600 in fines and a three-month disqualification period for the drug driving charge, but did not act on the bond breaches. He also quashed a habitual offender’s order after Mr Madden argued it was three years old.

“When you go home, you need to thank your solicitor – there will be no action on the Section 12 bonds because of the good reasons provided in the pre-sentence report and the submissions from Mr Madden,” he said.

“Breach it again and it’ll be ugly.”

But the reprieve was short-lived and Thomas was taken back into custody by strike force police outside the courthouse. Thomas has links to Newcastle, where the strike force is targeting a drug syndicate.

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