Hey Hoff!

(as featured in Froth magazine #45, October 2019)

Having relationship issues and not sure where to turn? Your romantic paradise is drowning in the climate change of marital woes and you are desperate for some government action? Your partner won’t clean the skid marks off the bowl? Send it in to Hoff and he’ll match the perfect beer to your problem.

Hey Hoff!

I guess this seems like a pretty minimal problem in the scheme of things but I’m just not sure how to approach it! A little bit of history, I met my husband eight years ago, and after a few years of courting, eventually moved into his place, which we still share today! The problem is that I still feel like a bit of a stranger in my own home!! The house is filled with his stuff, and while I’ve tried to introduce my own things over time I’ve never made it further than a cushion here or a candelabra there before things get shuffled back to how they were. Help!!

Perplexed, Michelle.

Hey Michelle!

A classic problem right off the bat, and there’s nothing more classic than the Stone and Wood Pacific Ale. Bristling with tropical fruit, primarily passionfruit, this classic Aussie brilliantly showcases the galaxy hop, grown right here in this country! Located on the sunny beaches of Byron Bay, Stone and Wood is a mainstay of the Aussie craft beer scene and an absolute cracker to get your gob around on a Summer’s day. Hope this helps. Cheers!


Hey Hoff!

Recently my girlfriend got the job of her dreams in Brisbane, the problem is that we both live in Melbourne! I’m super happy to move up there with her and support her dream, however she’s worried that I’ll be giving up my own job too and thinks it might be a bit too much of a change! Admittedly moving is not ideal, and I’d have to give up Thursday mixed netball, but I still want to support her. How do I show her that I’m ready?! 

Sincerely, AJ.

Hey AJ!

Straight up I’m going to head into dessert beer territory, because this is sweet as hell, although I do detect a hint of saltiness. Dessert beers have really come to the fore of the beer scene in recent years, and rightly so. With an abundance of varietals, sweeter style stouts have certainly given darker beers an accessibility they previously lacked. An interstate move is also going to shake things up a bit so...oh, yes of course. The 3 Ravens Salted Caramel Milkshake IPA. Next!


Hey Hoff!

This is a bit of a sensitive one (and I hope he’s not reading!) but my boyfriend is a bit, well...boring in the bedroom :( We’ve been together for about 6 months now, and while everything is still great, I’m worried that maybe there’s a few facets to my “personality” that might go unexplored! How do I go about introducing a few “experimental” acts without scaring him off? I really like this one, but I want a bit more fun!

Frustrated, Caz.

Hey Caz!

Sounds like someone wants to mix their *nudge* Matso’s Chilli Beer with his *wink* Quiet Deeds Vanilla Porter! The best I can suggest in this case is to start with a bit of good old fashioned communication and compromise, this time in the form of the Six String Chai Porter. Smooth and easy going, but with a nice bit of spice, this beer is the epitome of experimental comfort. Maybe just keep the lights off for the first one!

Hey Hoff!

My husband’s parents are in town for a couple of weeks and while I do love them they are now talking about moving into the neighbourhood to be closer to our daughter! Every night coming home from work to find them sitting on the couch engrossed in the TV is starting to wear thin, and I’m worried about this becoming a regular occurrence! How do I mention this to my husband without making him think I don’t want them around at all? I just want some me-time back!!

Please, Jess

Hey Jess!

With the folks in town it’s always nice to be able to break out the fancy china, or in this case the fancy beer! Wildflower are doing some magnificent things with barrel’s at the moment, and none show this off better than one of the brewery’s regular brews, the Wildflower Gold. A little bit acidic, a little bit dry, and bursting with stonefruit and citrus, this is definitely one to bust out to impress the guests! I’ll cheers to that!

The Etiquette of Beer.

(as featured in Froth magazine #44, September 2019)

Beer, the cheeky thing. It’s a part of our culture. Ingrained in our lexicon. We toil hard. We earned a thirst. We slam it down. It’s the social lubricant. The amber fluid. Nectar of the Gods.
Have we been drinking it correctly though? Sure, beer is great, but have you unlocked its full potential? Not sure? Well this small guide is time tested, thoroughly peer reviewed, and will fit neatly into your mobile phone case for quick reference.


There’s so many beers to choose from these days, what do I do? Firstly, look around you. Where are you? What can you see on tap? Does everything look familiar? Time to change bars. Alright, are you somewhere new? Have a look at the taps. Any beers you don’t know? Great, time to pick a beer. You can see a lager, but it’s from a brewery you’ve never heard of. Get that one? Rookie mistake! While playing it safe and choosing a beer style you like is totally okay, picking the lager is a little too safe. You might as well burn this guide and just buy whatever is on the front page of a Dan Murphy’s catalogue. Instead, ask the bartender what their recommendation is. Did they pick the lager? Uh-oh, gotta change bars again. Was it something you weren’t sure of? Great! Time to move onto the next step.


Every beer should be consumed from a glass. Is your beer in a bottle? Pour it into a glass. In a can? Into a glass. Does the can say “Enjoy from the can”? Into a glass. Served to you in a glass? Ask for another glass. But what glassware is correct for your beer? 
This is an incredibly important decision. Glassware is the first step of beer enjoyment and appreciation, make a mistake here and you’ll set off a chain reaction of gaffes that will leave you not only ostracized from your present company, but worst of all, not savouring your beer. Some would say the best glass is the one in your hand. Incorrect. Others would dictate that each beer style has its own associated vessel. Also not true. Which glass is it then? It’s really very simple and actually quite hard to go wrong here. Every beer from every brewery has its own glass. The Boatrocker Ramjet 2015? It’s own glass. 2016? Own glass. 3 Ravens Juicy IPA series? Individual glasses. The Clout Stout in your cellar from 2012? I hope you kept the glass. Always ask your bottleshop or bartender for the correct glassware for your beer, I assure you they will appreciate it.

The Toast

An oft skipped but incredibly important step in beer etiquette is toasting. When enjoying a beer with your friends, saluting them with your glass is not only a sign of mutual respect for each other, but also an acknowledgement of all the beer that has come before. The history of the toast is woven through many cultures, however the ritual can be traced back to the first brewer’s themselves, raising their beers to the hoppy heavens, the clinking of their ceramic steins said to ward off nearby teetotallers intent to poop their party. So how exactly do you toast? In six easy steps, repeated once per round:

  1. The Raise: Get that glass good and high. How high? Higher.

  2. The Eye: Look at your comrades. Stare right at their optic nerves. Do not blink.

  3. The Clink: Knock those vessels together. Not too high, not too low. Hear the sweet music. Drink it in. Do not blink.

  4. The Chant: In unison, sing to the heavens.  “Cheers c**ts” 

  5. The Sip: Bring it to your lips. Tilt. Imbibe. Just a little bit. This is a ritual, not a party. Let your eyes water. Do not blink.

  6. The Place: Bring the glass down to the table. Once the receptacle meets solid ground, you may unlock your gaze.

All steps are mandatory, skip one and find yourself on a trip back to the bar for the next round. 

The Taste.

Your beer is in the accompanying glass, you’ve toasted your acquaintances, now what? Is it time to drink yet?  No. Now is the time to judge.
Bring the glass to your face. Get your nose in it. Inhale it. What is that? Earthy...no, floral. Not sure? It doesn’t matter, taste is subjective, and you are only wrong if you differ from others. Bring it up to the light. Look through it. What can you see? Hopefully beer. If you don’t see beer you may have taken a wrong turn, go back to the start of the article and begin again. If it is beer then look around. Is someone watching you hold it up to the light? If not, wait until they do. Someone saw you? Perfect, it’s time to get it to your gob.
Have a taste. How does it feel? Is it chewy? Juicy? Noone will know, just pick a word. Roll it around your tongue. Close your eyes. Swallow. How was it? Did you like it? You did? Then have another go. It’s time to relax and enjoy the rest of the pint. Didn’t like it? Tell everyone. Get on those group pages and let the world know. Copy. Paste. Feel the notifications at your fingertips. Deliver it to a sink. Take a photo. The world is waiting.


You’ve completed the steps and have found yourself devoid of beer. That’s okay, you ticked every box and suddenly the world feels a little different. It’s okay to feel like you have wasted time, that all past beers were treated with disrespect. It’s perfectly natural, but it is in the past. You now have the knowledge to move forward. Every morning will be brighter, every step lighter, a new found self-respect. Share your knowledge. Preach. Bring joy to those that bring you joy. If you find yourself slipping back into old habits it’s okay, reach for this guide and remember how you first felt when you reached that enlightenment. Then get another beer.


A tiny room. Adorned with the memories of a long life passed with nothing but beige sterility to hang them on. This was Joseph Fingal’s final room.
At the Last Lakes Retirement Village.
Eighty six years. A World War, that moon landing, love, despair, struggle, and all this racket called music. But, there was also Meredith. God damn Meredith. She walked in a way he had never seen, like waves that began at her hips and crashed at the upward kick of her heel. That low cut, button up dress with the hint of God’s secret recipe ready to burst forth at any moment. He opened his eyes. He almost went there again. God damn that woman. Why here? Why now?
Why did she have to be his nurse?
It was lunchtime. The herds moved through the corridors. Walking cocktails of Valium and Donepezil floating on vapours of boiled chicken and rice to the dining hall to consume what might be their last meal. They didn’t care. Routine had long enveloped their existence. Why not today? They didn’t care. But not Joseph. Not with Meredith flashing that bi-carb soda smile at his unknowing stare.
Joseph sat in his usual spot, at his usual table, next to the usual human bean bags he shared lunch with every day. He grunted silently through his nose.
I’m bored.
The same daily mantra.
But it ended abruptly.
He felt it breeze through the door. A walk he could recognise from two rooms away.
And Jeremy.
What did she see in that rugged, moustachioed, beatnik? This was his enemy. A privileged wannabe with the world handed to him.  A good dose of national service is what he needed. Dickhead.
He caught Jeremy’s eye and received a sympathetic glare.
Sympathy? I once met Liberace!
Joseph poked out his tongue. He wasn’t above any tactical manoeuvre. Jeremy just laughed and grabbed Meredith’s waist tighter. This daily tango had gone on long enough. Today would be his day.
Joseph stood. He puffed out his chest. The bean bags kept devouring. Today would be his day. He would tell that beatnik what for.
Then he felt it. Something was wrong.
A small ache at first, followed by a crushing weight pulverising his chest.
Something was very wrong.
Joseph clutched his shirt. The bean bags kept devouring. He tried to let out a plea.
She moved in a blur. She took control. She barked orders here and there. And then she held him. Meredith held him.
He was on the floor. Old folk scurried like snails trying to gain a better view of the feeble pile on the floor. Joseph stared between them all at the ceiling before his eye caught hers, but she slipped away into darkness, and the cold sleep took him away.
Light broke through. Blurs became outlines became a face. Her lips locked to his, forcing breath down his throat. She unlocked and rose to compress his chest. He coughed meekly and her determination transformed to relief. She kissed his forehead. He smiled. He tried to get up. She pleaded for him to stay down but his heart was full of adrenaline. He felt strong, and he rose. In the background he caught Jeremy’s eye and smirked.
He took a step. Then he felt it. The geriatric faltered. His legs buckled. His eyes stared at nothing as he collapsed backwards towards the ground. But it didn’t matter. This wasn’t boring. He hit the tiles hard. A raging, triumphant fist the last to hit the floor.

Rest in Peace Joseph Fingal.

You won.


Upon the jagged bough of twisted, writhing branches the crows sat neatly in order surveying the hungry path laid roughly before them. Hidden amongst the heavy darkness, twelve eyes lay judgment towards those passing beneath.

Eyes of true clarity and knowing glared at strangers trampling mindlessly, lost amongst the eerie unknown of the darkest depths of the wood. The surrounding forest teemed with the wickedly unkempt. Trees upon trees of foul, snaked veins, cursing in a stationary tongue. The overhead moon offered little but dancing highlights through which the ever-moving clouds started a slow dance of meager light battling dark that oozed across the stagnant hooked limbs of soulless oaks.

The crows eyed them almost immediately.

Alfred, and his still besotted love Meredith, stopped beneath the crow-laden tree while another check of his compass drew only confusion. A wrong turn became the wrong path, became the wrong direction. The constant panic grew them weary, and they sat and laid their backs against the nearest blackened trunk.

They had seen this before, the crows, many times along this same path. The lost traveller and the ever-swallowing wood.

It rose the moment their backs hit the gnarled torso of the old oak. A mist, blacker than the dark soup already enveloping the forest, swept along the earth towards its prey. Alfred at once felt the cold approach. A biting ice that drove up his spine and sprang him to his feet. The crows laughed mockingly, a distraction that burgled the lovebirds of their last precious seconds, and within moments they were swallowed whole.

The black diluted their eyes as they shivered hand in hand. The solid ground had drifted from their feet and they felt themselves slowly hovering with no clue as to any direction. Their screams were blanketed by the rich fog which left them in a muted haze. Their sense of touch the only bond between them. Alfred held her hand with desperation, but her fingers slowly began to slip from his grasp. He called out again, but his vibrations were silenced by the nothing. Minutes seemed like hours when the rich black became a warm grey. Still grasping hand to hand they wondered if their eyes had adjusted to the soup, but soon the greys gave way to orange until they found themselves before a lit cavern that snaked through a stone wall. Meredith’s hand finally slipped free as they fell to the ground on bended knee. Alfred pulled his love close. Above them, finally, a shrieking noise cut through the fading mist. The crows, cackling with glee, mocked from an invisible branch.

The lovers rose. Behind them the mist lay dormant, cutting off any option of exit besides the mouth of the cavern beckoning them inside, while a waft of rotting flesh endeavored to keep them at bay. Cautiously, hand to mouth, Alfred put a foot forward. The air stayed ever still. A few more restrained steps later and the couple strode with rapid abandon through the crooked vessel. The light and stink gained potency as they neared a sharp turn. Upon reaching the corner, Alfred peered around, one eyeball uncovered by the stone wall.

It was already watching.

He grabbed his love and made to escape but found no place to run. The blackened mist now engorged the exit, pulsing further toward them. It roared. A shaking bellow emanating from deep within a dark bowel. The couple fell back in a scramble, hurriedly gaining their feet and turning the corner with little option.

The beast rose above them.

A giant shadow backlit by a wall of torches. Its stench a foul barricade leaving them gasping for breath. Alfred pulled his love behind him and looked up to find three eyes peering through him from within the silhouette. They grinned. In a blurred moment of madness, Meredith was snatched away as Alfred felt invisible hands bind his torso with knotted rope. It pulled his skin, slightly tearing the flesh as the rope constricted ever tighter. Soaring above the pain he heard the tormented screams of Meredith as the guttural howl of the beast filled the cavern, both sounds entwining in a matted fusion of horrific symphony. The sounds perished abruptly, and as Alfred watched his Meredith fall to the ground, her limp body too was wrapped with mangled rope as the shadow perched above her.

It rose.

The beast grunted.

It was not her.

Without warning the rope pulled them from behind into an endless void as the black consumed them once again. They emptied their lungs of screaming terror as they heard the sweeping wings of the crows circling above. The ropes, ever tensed, pulled them further backwards into the gaping maw as the birds above dropped their wings and dived towards the lost couple. They cackled again with glee. It was time to feed.


I buy the Burgen ‘Soy and Linseed’ bread when I can. It has become my favourite bread. Today I am putting a raspberry conserve on it. The conserve label looked fancier than the other jars surrounding it on the shelf so I chose this one. I try to balance the layer of jam on bread. A new challenge everytime. How much did I like last time? Was it too much? I settle on a medium spread. Two sandwiches on a white plate that I just stare at. I know I should eat them. I have enjoyed them before. But today they just sit in front of me. I think about the effort to chew. About swallowing. About getting the sandwiches down. It’s too much. I push them to the side and sip on soda water. They are still glaring at me. Their purpose to be eaten not fulfilled. The energy expended to create these sandwiches from seed and fruit and flour wasted with no end game. I sip on soda water again. The sandwiches cry out to me, take us!


I grab the plate and dash to the kitchen, flip the rubbish lid and watch them fall to their wasted fate at the bottom of a fresh bag. I make my way back to the couch and flop to the cushions. I am drained, but unsatisfied. I want the sandwiches. I walk back slowly to the kitchen. The rubbish tin lid is still raised and I see them lying at the bottom. Should I? The bag is fresh.


I go to the cupboard and grab the Vegemite and some butter from the fridge. I pluck 4 slices of bread from it’s plastic sleeve. I try to balance the Vegemite and butter. A new challenge everytime.