Almanac Beer (and Wine) Review: Incident at Mystery Pub/ Greenock Creek Shiraz

Once a month on a Friday we have Mystery Pub. Claire and I alternate researching a local cup-shop and with buzzing expectation and frisson swirling about the cabin drive the happily oblivious spouse to it.


Recently I took my wife to the Kentish in North Adelaide. Neither of us had been there for decades. Tucked in near Melbourne Street it enjoys an almost feudal location in a cul de sac and sitting out the front of the sandstone grog-dome on a mild afternoon we watched some locals strolling in after a tough day in commercial law or obstetrics.


With a staccato burst of click, click, click one of the zappy bar staff lit the gas heater which impressed Claire but didn’t concern me for I was in shorts (and a shirt too). August is normally the only shorts-free month for me.


It was then that a most dreadful event occurred. Claire asked for a second house red and it was decidedly acceptable, doubtless enhanced by the low chirping from the surrounding punters and our golden hour of honeyed light and gentle parachuting into the weekend.


But in a moment of retrospectively acknowledged delusion I heard myself say at the bar, “And I’ll try a Heineken 3.”


Returning to our table with the accompanying feeling of self-congratulatory triumph that one always experiences when purchasing a round of drinks, I sat and took a sip.


The celebrated continental brewers describe their beer as being, “lower carb, lower calorie” but omit to say that it will also “lower” your sense of well-being, general life optimism, and faith in your otherwise excellent decision-making regarding refreshment choices.


It’s an unspeakably terrible beer. It’s as thin as a spider web and has less charisma than a bureaucrat’s corpse. The flavour seems made in a sterile European lab by faceless automatons who unblinkingly pour anonymous liquids from one test-tube to another, and I suspect I’m correct.


As many an old bloke in a quiet country pub has probably muttered to anyone and no-one, “I had two of those. My first and my last.”




Thursday was an excellent day and with late-afternoon cause to celebrate we swung by the Broady beer garden for a twinkling hour. At home with some gnocchi on the stove and our wedding playlist percolating about the kitchen (opening song- “Summer Love” by Sherbet) we extracted the cork from a bottle of red. Nowadays, of course, using a corkscrew is an event in itself and this too caused our epicurean hopes to simmer. We took out some special occasion wine glasses.


I had visited Greenock Creek wines in the nineties. It’s not in Greenock but on Seppeltsfield Road in Marananga. Their wines are delicious but hard to get so it’d been ages since I’d had one. The (Honorable) Paul J Keating was likely our Prime Minister when I last had this joy.



The 2016 Apricot Block Shiraz is remarkable. I’ve a palate that needs to ease into things and any initial slurp is sometimes like a slap on a cold morning to me before I settle into my work. This time it was velvety seduction. By candlelight the glass was all inky and alluring and the plonk was complex and subtle and like a Bruce Dawe poem, I knew returning to it I’d locate fresh meaning and my world view would be buoyed.


It made an elegant and synergistic partner to our pasta. As we eased through it our dining table conversation proceeded to the centre of our world and the wine, like all powerful forces acting for good, gently moved herself into the background.




For more from Mickey, click HERE.





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About Mickey Randall

The Sportswriter, Revolver, Lebowski. Met the girl when we were thirteen. Married her last year.


  1. John Butler says

    Mickey, I think the Heineken police would like a word. :)

  2. Comparing a red with a Bruce Dawe poem. I must remember that.

  3. Me too JB. I’m sure they’re in breach of the Geneva Convention, or some such.

    Smokie- on the topic of wine and words I’m keen to get the new book, Blood on the Typewriter, about the country’s best plonk scribe Philip White. He’s magnificent.

  4. Dear Mickey,
    I am writing for a friend who is now old and tired and been reduced to 3 middies of Peroni Leggera (their light beer) after golf. He says full strength beer sends him to sleep on the long drive home.
    Have you sampled this brew? I trust it ranks somewhat higher than Heineken 3 in your estimation. Do you have any advice for my ageing friend? Is “light” beer acceptable in any circumstances? Any specific lower alcohol brews meet your exacting standards?
    Pickled Putter of Perth

  5. Dear PP of P

    Like you I’m on light/mid-strength beer for health reasons and can suggest Coopers Mild Ale (although apart from the weather should anything in life be mild?) while to my palate your beer of choice the Peroni Leggera goes well. In the Eurovision of Light Beers it is right up there as the votes come in while Heineken 3, like the UK recently, receives nul points and should be subject to an inquiry.

  6. Daryl Schramm says

    You need to use those special occasion wine glasses more often Mickey. I like ‘Rogers’ as a slightly above mid for its taste and colour. I need at least a couple of full strength Tooheys Old from the tap after my golf.

  7. Thanks Daryl. We’re off to the Clare Valley for the long weekend (Penwortham) and reckon there’s a good chance we’ll get some wine for the special occasion glasses.

    I worked with a bloke (now retired) who didn’t touch wine or spirits but loved an ale and reckoned Tooheys Old was the best beer he’d ever had anywhere in the world. I must try it again!

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