adventures in craft beer in Perth and beyond

Bread + Beer

Whilst writing up my post for Coopers Pale Ale I stumbled across a recipe from the Coopers website for Damper. Bread beer, huh? Yeah, I’d like that.

First I had a couple of hurdles to overcome. One was not having any beer after a rather indulgent weekend so a trip to the local bottleshop soon fixed that. The second was a little more difficult – we don’t have a sieve in the house and neither did our local IGA. Damn. Whilst I was staring at a large tea strainer and wondering just how much patience I possessed (as a female only child the answer was unflatteringly clear); my boyfriend was juggling a packet of paper cups. It seemed like a decent solution – poke some holes and Bob’s your uncle! (and I do have an Uncle Bob).

After stabbing several paper cups with a variety of instruments – corkscrew, screwdriver, pen and sewing needle – it became glaringly apparently it wasn’t such a good idea after all. I continued on with the ingredients list and threw in rosemary picked fresh from our backyard and thickly sliced Spanish olives and, of course, a generous bit of Coopers Pale Ale. It was a strange thing to pour beer into a measuring glass so, for good measure I poured the rest of the 750ml bottle into two glasses for myself and my boyfriend.

As I write this the damper has another ten minutes in the oven so I thought I’d look into the origins of damper since I don’t much except some association with Australian Aborigines; I think I remember doing some sort of damper cooking thing as a kid at primary school. Wikipedia describes damper as “Australian soda bread” by mixing flour, water and milk (if available) and shoving it into the ashes of the camp fire. I figure since mine is in the oven it’s gotta have a fighting chance of being half decent .. surely.

Whilst at the bottleshop, reaching for a king brown size bottle of Coopers Pale Ale, I noticed the Thomas Cooper’s Selection Celebration Ale and just had to grab a 6 pack. Released in celebration of their 150th year, the Celebration Ale uses hops from Australia, New Zealand and United States and local malt. I hadn’t read a great deal about the ale but in my head I was expecting some sort of hybrid of their pale and vintage ale, instead it’s more of a hopped, sweeter and earthier pale ale with a nice deep red colour. As it warmed up in the glass all the flavours came together with really nice balance and medium body. A nice drop.

Just over an hour and 2 Cooper’s Celebrations Ales later …

Not a resounding success, it was still a bit doughy in the middle and perhaps being in a cake tin didn’t help it much either. I went a little overboard in the rosemary department but the olives were delightful. Looking at other recipes I think I can easily improve on the Coopers one by actually making a dough rather than a goo and do the whole kneading thing. We ate it anyway in a platter of marinated octopus, grilled chorizo, camembert and red capsicum dip. ¬†Oh well, it means I will have to get some more Coopers Pale and try it again sometime …

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