Being down south, things move at a slightly slower pace so it has taken me a few extra days to get my hands on the latest Single Batch release from Little Creatures, The Quiet American.
I first heard about it when we did a Little Creatures Beer + Food Event at Five Bar in February. We had been lucky enough to have along Andy, one of the Little Creatures brewers, who hinted at the upcoming release. So I’ve been keeping my eye out and now, having read all about it for the last week and no less than 4 trips to the bottle shop I finally got some. Of course I looked like an indecisive alcoholic on the first 3 trips as I stood staring at the fridge doors. The last trip resembled more of a Indiana Jones / Holy Grail style moment as I spotted the bottles on the shelf though I grabbed 6, not just 1.
I also picked up the copy of The Critics Choice Australian Best Beers I had on order so it was a very happy, beery day!
For those who don’t have a copy here’s the Top 10 and Congratulations to everyone!
- Feral Hop Hog
- Stone & Wood Pacific Ale
- Little Creatures Pale Ale
- Holgate Temptress
- Bridge Road Brewers Chevalier Saison
- Little Creatures The Big Dipper
- Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale
- Knappstein Reserve Lager
- Mountain Goat Hightail Ale
- Murray’s Angry Man Pale Ale
Little Creatures describes The Quiet American as a hybrid style. I prefer to think of it as the bastard child of a one night stand. The two parent styles who stumbled drunkenly on to each other are a Belgian Strong Ale and an American IPA. The nose is unmistakably fresh American hops, aromatic and raging with grapefruit and as though someone put a dollop of honey in there too. We’re talking proper honey too, the type you’d find in some country shed, made by a kind old lady named Betty. The Quiet American tastes rich, spicy and bursting with sugared orange, maybe even a hint of vanilla somewhere in there and distinct hop bitterness that comes together in an oh-so-nice contrast.
I was dying to try a little home cooking + beer matching and cook a dish with a good amount of heat (but not so much you burn off your taste buds) to go with IPA elements and some spice to go with the Belgian yeast. It had to be a dish screaming with the right flavours (hence by title of ‘loud food’) … so we made Cayenne Pepper Spiced Hake Fillet with Butter & Garlic Leeks, Mushrooms, Red Onion and Capsicum.
The Quiet American washed over the Cayenne Pepper with ease and that great Cascade and Chinook Hop bitterness somehow boosts and settles the flavour at the same time. The red onion slightly caramalised so it went really well with the rich orange flavours of the beer and the leeks provided delicate spice.
We sat back after dinner and somehow our bottle of Ron Zacapa XO made it to the table. A sip of this followed by The Quiet American and oh-my-god. It was good. It was damn good! They complimented each other extremely well, rich orange notes, spice and alcohol sweetness from a bigger than normal booze level in both the rum and the beer. Of course that booziness may have also contributed to the happy feeling I was having but we’ll forget that for now.
Cayenne Pepper Spiced Hake Fillet with Butter & Garlic Leeks, Mushrooms, Red Onion and Capsicum
- 2 x Hake Fish Fillets
- 2 x cloves Garlic, finely diced
- 1/2 Leek, sliced
- Button Mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 Red Onion, sliced into wedges
- 1/2 Red Capsicum
- Cayenne Pepper, Plain Flour, pinch of Oregano, crack of Black Pepper and Egg White for the light coating