Life Is Getting Better, Australian Beer Dept.

Americans know that Foster's is "Australian for beer." That's actually not true -- Foster's is a marginal player in the Aussie domestic market, although the Foster's-owned VB brand is very popular. But what I think of as Foster's-like beer -- feeble lagers, "refreshing" but why not just have water -- has typified the Australian domestic beer style. As it has in most other places on this side of the Pacific.

Until now! A craft brew explosion, in the good sense, is underway in Australia, promising to correct one of the few sub-standard aspects of the Aussie lifestyle: bad beer. I'll have more to say about this shortly, but for now, here is the view this afternoon from the place I'm staying in Sydney. Each of those 11 bottles is a local craft brew, including four from the influential James Squire range of beers and one from the phenomenal Lord Nelson Brewery, where I have been dozens of times over the years and where my wife and I tried pints' worth of various brews last night. The bottled version of Lord Nelson's "Three Sheets" ale, perhaps not as good as straight from the brewpub but still very good, is second-from-right in the picture below.

Eleven varieties was all I wanted to carry from the local BWS store, not all that they had in stock. That is a glamo[u]r shot above, so I could include the establishing detail of the Sydney Harbo[u]r Bridge in the background of a view from Milsons Point / Kirribilli. Below is a more workmanlike straight-on shot showing the labels, out the other window and with the beers in different order from above. This time with Lavender Bay in the background. Further analysis soon.

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Also to come: updates on the "Hall of Beer Heroes" series from last month.
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James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Carter's chief speechwriter. His latest book is China Airborne. More

James Fallows is based in Washington as a national correspondent for The Atlantic. He has worked for the magazine for nearly 30 years and in that time has also lived in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He is an instrument-rated private pilot. He is also now the chair in U.S. media at the U.S. Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, in Australia.

Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a N.Y. Emmy award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. His recent books Blind Into Baghdad (2006) and Postcards From Tomorrow Square (2009) are based on his writings for The Atlantic. His latest book is China Airborne. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.

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