Curry + Chocolate Stout

Wednesday Night at The Pourhouse
Curry + Beer = $20

On a late Wednesday afternoon my stomach was rumbling and I wanted a beer. I will be the first to admit that this is not a particularly unusual state for a day in my life. A quick look on Facebook reminded me that The Pourhouse does Curry+Beer for $20 every Wednesday. Since it was my night to cook dinner the offer was all the more enticing.

My boyfriend and I went straight after work and as it turns out we were not the only ones who decided that getting there early would be a good idea with pockets of the venue were already filling up. The temptation of The Pourhouse was doubled with the week long event – ‘Chocolate Stout Challenge’ – a friendly competition between South West breweries, Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery and Eagle Bay Brewing Company who are each pouring their limited release chocolate stout.

Eagle Bay Chocolate Stout and Cheeky Monkey Cacao Stout

We went directly to the bar, eager to participate in the friendly stout versus stout competition. Cheeky Monkey’s Chocolate Stout is brewed in cahoots with Gabriel Chocolate whilst Eagle Bay collaborated with Bahen & Co Chocolate Makers to brew a Cacao Stout. Whilst chocolate stout may not go with curry it was almost an alliterative match and that was good enough for us.

Our visits to The Pourhouse are frequently defined by boardgames and beer (hello again alliteration!). In the spirit of tradition we picked up a game of monopoly and settled in for a couple of hours. I have never really played Monopoly with any real sense of strategy  which is perhaps why I was left broke on several occasions. Constantly paying super tax and ending up in prison a lot certainly didn’t help matters either. We played throughout dinner and enjoyed another couple of beers, this time a Moody Cow Porter and Colonial IPA.

The Pourhouse | 26 Dunn Bay Road, Dunsborough
Wednesdays Curry Night – $20 Curry + Beer

The curries were tasty and naan bread is a must and at just $2 its hard to resist. The Pourhouse gives you the choice between three curries – lamb, chicken and eggplant. The promotional material suggests only James Squire beers are available with the curry but don’t fret – you’ll have a choice of whatever is on tap – happy days!

Eggplant, Lentil, Sweet Potato and Coconut Curry with Papadums

As the night went on we suddenly realised we were sitting in a venue that was now standing room only. Not too bad for a Wednesday night during winter in Dunsborough.

Between several games of Monopoly where I was forced to mortgage most of my properties, four beers and two delicious curries we ended up walking out the door very happy and completely forgetting to cast our votes in the Chocolate Stout Challenge. Never mind, another great night at The Pourhouse enjoying a variety of great local beers … no wonder we moved to the South West!

Laundry + Beer

It’s not often that you associate laundry with beer but on this occasion it’s very accurate – welcome to the Laundry Cafe in Busselton, a former laundromat, and home to a few tasty beers!

Laundry Cafe
43 Prince Street, Busselton | (08) 9754 1503
info@laundrycafe.com.au

In the spirit of Strictly Ballroom, in anticipation of my Paul Mecurio ‘Cooking with Beer’ book arriving any day now, it is fair to say that craft beer love appears to be everywhere here in the South West. It isn’t surprising given the growing number of breweries setting up here and exposing (in a good way, not an arrestable way) more people to wonderful beer. And it isn’t just breweries who are making noise about craft beer, it’s bars and restaurants joining in on the fun too.

Since moving down here I’ve enjoyed Bootleg Brewery’s Raging Bull at Must Wine Bar, Feral Brewing’s White at 3 Oceans Winery, Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black at The Pourhouse and Mountain Goat Steam Ale at Clancy’s Fish Pub in Dunborough. This is only a few beers in a handful of beer loving venues and now I can add the Laundry Cafe in Busselton to that list of wonderful bars.

For those who ever wanted to drink inside a laundry … here’s what it looks like

The Laundry opened in May 2012 and, as the name suggests it used to be a laundromat. A large canvas image of two rows of dryers hangs on a back wall in a way that makes you do a double take and check you’re not actually at the laundromat; it’d be kind of embarrassing if you were trying to order and drink. There are a couple of washboards and wooden pegs on the walls, all these little touches are enough to add subtle atmosphere without it feeling like a is being forced down your throat.

My boyfriend and I went to check it out on a random Saturday night and despite only four beers on tap, it was delightful to find that half of these had local favourite Eagle Bay Brewing pouring from them. There is a strong emphasis on using local produce in the South West, restaurants and cafes food menu are bursting with locally grown beef and veg and now it’s creeping on to beer lists too! We enjoyed tall glasses of Eagle Bay Vienna Lager whilst sitting at the bar, always our preferred place to sit though not many bars in the South West seem to encourage it, and felt right at home. Who’d have thought – me, feeling comfortable at the bar … who’d have guessed. I’m looking forward to getting back to enjoy the food soon!

Eagle Bay Vienna Lager at the Laundry Cafe

Pumpkin Soup + IPA

Trying my hand at a creamy Thai Pumpkin Soup and discovering that the IPA in my fridge goes really, really well with it. Happy Sunday!

Thai Pumpkin Soup with James Squire Stow Away IPA

I’ve had a flu for the better part of the week, leaving me feeling far more ‘girl+snot’ than ‘girl+beer’ so it’s not been a very beery week. No point in drinking it if I can’t taste it.

To kill off the last of this bug, I decided to try my hand at a Thai Pumpkin Soup from Bill Granger’s ‘Bill’s Everyday Asian’ cook book. I’ve used this book many times and it’s suitably covered in dots of sauce and oil. I love when my cook books look like this and it makes it easy to remember what recipes I’ve liked the most! This soup is stupidly good and pretty easy. That’s two boxes ticked! It also makes quite a fine match to a James Squire Stow Away IPA. I have to be honest, this kinda surprised me.

Bill Granger’s Thai Pumpkin Soup
from ‘Bill’s Everyday Asian’

I don’t find the Stow Away IPA particularly bitter; the bitterness is more soft than tongue-rippingly sharp but there’s a little spice and some malt sweetness in there too. I suspect an American style IPA with far bolder bitterness would have pulverised the poor little soup into submission and perhaps this is why this particular IPA made for a good match to the soup which calls for spices such as cumin, coriander and cinnamon. As it is a Thai style soup it also required some heat so in went a couple of chillies and a nice dash of paprika. I say “dash” because the recipe calls for a teaspoon but I didn’t have any clean ones on hand so I guessed. The chilli and paprika created a slight chilli heat to the soup and mirrored the slight bitterness in the beer.

I’d like to be able to say this beer + food match was set up, planned and expertly executed but I’m not that clever. In reality I made the soup and my boyfriend wandered past and dropped a beer beside me thinking it might work – he’s a good man.

Soup + Beer
You’ll note that saucepan is almost filled to the brim …
I’m not sure what ‘serves 4’ means to Bill but I think he’s feeding some very big people!

Risotto + IPA

Cooking with beer is still something of an undiscovered land for me. I am aware of it and have read about it but have only dabbled with it at home. However, you have to start somewhere.

“If there’s liquid in a recipe, it might as well be beer”
Paul Mecurio “Cooking with Beer”

Cooking with beer is still something of an undiscovered land for me. I am aware of it and have read about it but have only dabbled with it at home. However, you have to start somewhere.

So when I found myself running out of stock whilst cooking risotto it made sense to throw some beer in there. I was drinking James Squire IPA at the time so almost two bottles of that went into the pan.

IPA wasn’t the ideal addition to the dish as it added a bit too much bitterness to what was essentially a soft flavoured risotto served with rosemary lamb french cutlets. Perhaps a nice rich amber ale with more malt sweetness would have matched better to the spanish red onion and red capsicum. But that’s the great thing about beer, experimenting with it and seeing what works beautifully or, in same cases, what could work better.

Spanish Onion, Red Capsicum & IPA Risotto
Rosemary & Mustard French Lamb Cutlets

Spanish Onion, Red Capsicum & IPA Risotto

Spanish Onion, cut into wedges

Button Mushrooms, thinly sliced

Red Capsicum, thinly sliced

2 cups Aborio Rice

Chicken Stock and James Squire IPA

Rosemary & Mustard French Lamb Cutlets

Fresh Rosemary

Seeded Mustard

Garlic

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Leave to marinate and cook to medium rare on hot pan

The Final Product
Risotto & French Lamb Cutlets with James Squire IPA

girl + crafty pint

Does one article allow me to call myself a “writer”? I ask because my first article was published on The Crafty Pint recently and I’m keen to re-label myself as a “writer” rather than “alcoholic blogger”; it just rolls off the tongue easier.

Does one article allow me to call myself a “writer”? I ask because my first article was published on The Crafty Pint recently and I’m keen to re-label myself as a “writer” rather than “alcoholic blogger”; it just rolls off the tongue easier.

The Crafty Pint is one of the best beery sources for news and updates on what’s happening in the Australian Craft Beer scene. Basically if you love the craft beer being made around the country then you should have this bookmarked, and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter and like them on Facebook – seriously, do it now. It’s good for you. And they were good enough to ask me to write an article which makes me like them even more!

My article is about Cheeky Monkey, the newest brewery to call Margaret River home, and I was lucky enough to be able to have a chat and a beer with Jared (aka “Red”) who is their Head Brewer. I think I can get on board this being-a-writer business; I just might need to learn some bigger words.

Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – chatting with brewers is always delightful. I bombarded poor Red with question after question and thankfully he’s a patient man and I quickly realised I could have done a separate article purely on Red.

He came into brewing through the simple desire to do so. Once upon a time he worked as a contractor for Western Power and spend his days looking up, staring at power poles before he kinda thought something else might take his fancy. He discovered Brewdog, boundary pushing Scottish brewers, loved their beers and got on the website. It just so happened they were looking for brewers so he applied. Part of the application process involved listing some favourite beers and a few more steps later, Red found himself finishing up his job and jumping on a plane within 24 hours of each other. There isn’t much I don’t love about his story of becoming a brewer.

Fast forward 18 months and Red had gone from novice to senior brewer at Brewdog and back in his home town, Margaret River, he got word of a new brewery opening up. He seems completely at home in his first Head Brewer position, passionate and all about the beer, he is making tweaks and adjustments to his regular beer line up so that he’s 100% happy. Funnily enough the Cheeky Monkey beer I enjoyed the most. the Traveling Monk mid-strength Red Ale was, at time of our chat, the one he was most wanting to play with and throw more hops in. I won’t argue with the creator but I did love the beer so I’m looking forward to trying it later down the track.

Where the monkeys brew

He is also in the process of working on the next limited release, a chocolate stout, that they run under the label ‘Brewer’s Choice’. At the time of our chat both he and Eagle Bay Brewing had one in the development stage. Eagle Bay Brewing Co are located in Dunsborough, about 50km north of Margaret River and Cheeky Monkey, and are just another great craft brewer in the South West. Neither view the fact they are brewing a similar styled beer as a negative and in fact they may take part in a fun side by side tasting at a mutual venue; another example of the openness of the beer community that I adore. Cheeky Monkeys chocolate stout will be using cacao husks and nibs from local chocolatier ‘Gabriel Chocolate‘ and should be pouring off their taps shortly.

The next time you are at Cheeky Monkey and if Red is around be sure to say ‘hello’, he’s happy to chat and he makes great beer – I’m sure you’ll find something to talk about.

Many Cheeky Monkeys