Burgers + Beer Camp

We recently had a special occasion in our house – the first use of our BBQ for summer, happy days! For such an occasion we decided to make burgers and crack open our first Sierra Nevada Beer Camp beer for 2012 – #43, the Imperial Pilsner.

Sierra Nevada … two words every craft beer lovin’ hop head loves to hear/read/consume.

It’s Beer Camp time once again. What is Beer Camp, you might ask? Well, it’s basically a competition run by Sierra Nevada every year whereby wanna-be brewers submit a video as to why they should be chosen for Beer Camp. Winners get to hang out at Sierra Nevada with Ambassador Steve Grossman and together they all brew. The results are usually pretty amazing.

Thanks to the guys at The International Beer Shop I got a hold of the four beers in this years Beer Camp variety pack:

#43 Imperial Pilsner
#45 Floral IPA
#53 Oatmeal Stout
#65 Imperial Red Ale

We recently had a special occasion in our house – the first use of our BBQ for summer, happy days! For such an occasion we decided to make burgers and crack open our first Beer Camp beer for 2012 – #43, the Imperial Pilsner.

In keeping with female / male household stereotypes I was inside at the kitchen taking care of the potatos (we forgot to buy stuff to make a salad so it was a strictly burgers + chips affair) whilst my boyfriend was outside at the BBQ, paint scraper in hand, cooking up two pieces of scotch fillet and a few rashers of bacon.

Burgers with Smoked Paprika Potato Wedges
+ Sierra Nevada Beer Camp Imperial Pilsner

It was a hands-down delicious burger. It was simple, just beef, bacon, blue cheese and pan-fried mushroom and onions, which is highly unusual for me due to my tendency to get a fraction carried away, and the potato wedges were (I might say) crisp and yummy!

The burgers were great and the beer was sensational – upfront floral flavours backed up by breadiness and grassiness – but sadly together they were not a perfect beer + food match. The blue cheese and bacon easily trumped the beer with too much musty bitterness from the blue cheese and salt from the bacon. Oh well, as always, it’s damn fun trying!

Roast Lamb + Torpedo

There’s something about Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA that I just LOVE – those big, fresh hop aromas and bold flavours, bitterness that slaps you in the face and laughs … god it’s good!

Our local independent bottle shop recently had a special on 6 packs – just $21 – and so, recognising a bargain when we see one, my partner and I happily grabbed a 6 pack (resisted the urge to get 2) and headed home.

Armed with one of our all time favourite beers it seemed like the right occasion for a (mini) roast.

Despite very little experience with roasting food of any description (mainly because of the time required going against the grain of my only child impatience) I figured trying my hand at a mini roast would be a good way to go.

I slapped a marinade onto the lamb that consisted of garlic, fresh rosemary from our garden and a generous spoonful of Kick Ass Hot Beer Mustard (a recipe from Cooking with Beer by Paul Mercurio that’s quick, easy and oh-so-tasty).

The result was heaven! Perfect serving for two people matched with a fantastic beer – the mustard marinade got a little on the burnt side but that just made for nice crisp bits. I think with a little more mustard flavour it would have been a spot on match to Torpedo given it’s very assertive flavours. I think mini roast might become a regular favourite since cooking time is less than 45 minutes, much more in tune with my eagerness/impatience …

Prepping the Lamb with cooking companion – Sierra Nevada Torpedo
Ready for the Oven
Roast Mini Lamb with Garlic, Rosemary & Beer Mustard on a Bed of Veggies

Beer + Awards

Hitching a seat at the Perth Royal Beer Show Awards Ceremony with the team at Feral Brewing, tweeting with Jayne Lewis from Two Birds and finishing the night at Five Bar … yup, that’s a Friday night

Beautiful Three Course Dinner

Before I start I want to send a big THANK YOU to Feral Brewing

who so kindly offered me their spare seat at this years

Perth Royal Beer Show Awards Ceremony held at The Parmelia Hilton.

I arrived in the city a little early and found myself yawning so went on a mission to find a convenience store to purchase an energy drink. On my travels I ran into Mal, Head Brewer from Colonial Brewing, and brewers from Gage Roads who were on route to The Print Hall for a beer. They invited me along and beer certainly sounded a lot tastier than some horrible fluorescent energy drink.

After a pint of Colonial Alt Beer I headed to the Hilton for the big night. [Click here for a full list of the evenings winners].

The evening started with Swan Draught and Cowaramup Pilsener before we took our seats for dinner. I sat beside Jayne Lewis from Two Birds Brewing who’d been in town for the judging and having met on Twitter it was nice to make the leap into the real world. On that note don’t forget to follow Jayne on Twitter. Jayne tweets more frequently and with far more interesting stuff than I do. I got to witness her amazing high speed smart phone typing skills as trophies flew out in quick succession.

Sitting with the team from Feral, I got the chance to catch up with Brendan Varis who laughed at my story of selling Hop Hog to a customer at Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough.

Customer: “What can you tell me about this?” [points to Feral Hop Hog decal]

Me: “It’s fucking awesome”

Customer: “I’ll have a pint”

Entrees arrived and I’d been looking forward to a spicy Tandoori Chicken match with Feral Hop Hog but they went rather lighter on the spices than I had hoped. Perhaps it’s just my palate-slaughtering use of chillies at home that ruined my expectations. All in all it was still a tasty dish and for those wondering, because I had to look it up too, “timbale” is kinda fancy speak for “round” and “paratha” is Indian flat bread. Fancy!

One of the highlights of the night had to be the cheers, woops and clapping from The Monk Brewery & Kitchen table as they were awarded the trophy for Best Ale Draught for their The Chief – Amarillo Edition and pulled in a few 2nd places in big categories too.

The other highlight was being witness to a healthy dose of man-love from the guys at Billabong Brewery for each of the 4 trophies they picked up – Best WA Beer of the Show, Best Commercial Beer of the Show, Best Wheat Beer Packaged and Best Wheat Beer Draught.

Mains were delicious, I think the only comment from our table was the feeling of being fooled in thinking the parsnip was another prawn spring roll!

After cleaning my plate of entree and main, and our table had requested yet another carafe of Feral Hop Hog, I was struggling to find room to fit dessert. A choice had to be made so I merely sampled the Beeramisu, lovely creamy and soft, and instead enjoyed a full glass of The Monk Porter. After all, there has to be room for beer! It poured beautifully, a nice thick head, with soft chocolate and caramel flavours that was perfect for finishing the night on … (or least finishing dinner on before catching up with Five Bar’s chef, beer dude and all round top guy, Mitch for a beer or two at Five!)

Pourhouse + WA Beer Week

WA Beer Week offered an abundance of events to attend through Perth and the South West which, in turn, meant an abundance of excuses to head down to the nearest bar. The Lawn, upstairs at The Pourhouse in Dunsborough, offered up a $20 burger and beer during the week and the beer taps were taken over by only WA beers.

WA Beer Week, 9th-17th November, offered an abundance of events to attend througout Perth and the South West which, in turn, meant an abundance of excuses to head to the nearest bar.

The Lawn, upstairs at The Pourhouse in Dunsborough, offered up a $20 burger and beer during the week and the beer taps were taken over by only WA beers. Plus, just to show off, they also featured limited release beers including Duckstein Maibock, Colonial Kottbusser, Cheeky Monkey Belgo IPA and the Eagle Bay / Pourhouse collaboration the Romp Ferme Saison.

Myself and my boyfriend / partner-in-beer-crime arrived on Monday afternoon. The sun was shining and we had our pick of seats, it was exactly what we wanted.

I kicked off the afternoon with a Colonial Kottbusser; beautifully straw clear in appearance, the taste was something like a dirty, angry mandarin – take from that what you will.

Sunshine and a pint of Colonial IPA and middy of Kottbusser at The Pourhouse

Next up I had the Duckstein Maibock which I thoroughly enjoyed and totally neglected to jot down any notes. That’ll teach me to a) neglect to write notes and b) attempt to write the post some 7 days later. All I can say on the Duckstein Maibock is that it’s delightful and I look forward to getting another taste during the Margaret River Gourmet Escape this coming weekend.

With two beers down it was time to order some food and after consultation with the staff we both decided on The Lawn Wagu Burger – bacon, vintage cheddar and onion rings … oh YEAH! Other seriously tempting options included the Big Blue and the Pulled Pork.

I chose the Eagle Bay / Pourhouse collaboration brew – the Romp Ferme Saison – to go with the burger, for no real discernible reason other than I’ve generally found Saisons to be great food beers. The Romp Ferme Saison, which I am lead to believe roughly translates into “the farmhouse romp”, has got a lot going on – earthy, honey aromas and flavours of maple syrup, pepper and funky stone fruit, perhaps almost a cooked fruit taste.

The Lawn Wagu Burger is as good as it looks, generous on the ingredients (i.e. not one of those moments when the menu reads “bacon” and it’s the fattiest, smallest sliver you’ve ever seen) and genuinely tasty. The accompaniment of Sweet Potato Straw, though very simple, made for a different and tasty side.

The afternoon finished after two games of Monopoly (each of us with a win under our belt) and a final beer – Cheeky Monkey Belgo IPA. It poured a stunning burnt orange with big aromas of fresh grapefruit like any good American Pale Ale. The bitterness was assertive and piney with some orange on the back and definitively worth going back for seconds.

It was another great trip to The Pourhouse and now with summer almost upon us we have The Lawn to enjoy seven days a week from 5pm plus you can get this great $20 deal every Wednesday.

The Lawn
Upstairs at The Pourhouse

5 courses + 11 beers

5 courses and 11 beers at The Sail & Anchor Hotel in Fremantle for Beer & Brewer Magazine 5th Birthday Beer Degustation – what a tough way to spend a Wednesday night!

Here’s a quick run down of how I spent Wednesday 7th November:

9am: Drive up to Perth

11.30am: Change clothes (having realising I had managed to drop sauce down my top whilst eating and driving and yes, it was most certainly servo food)

2pm: Ditch car and hop onto train to Fremantle

3pm: Go to Sail & Anchor for launch of their new beers

6pm: Stay at Sail & Anchor for Beer and Brewer Magazine’s 5th Birthday Beer Degustation Dinner

… Yup, it was a tough day.

The dinner was kicked off by David Lipman from Beer and Brewer Magazine who welcomed everyone, as you would have expected, and also drew our attention to the door prize gift basket kindly donated by a well known adult shop, this was less expected. Before you ask, I didn’t win.  The vast majority of the guests were men so I had quite the laugh at the idea of a man arriving home late, jovial from an appropriate amount of beer, holding a basket of assorted vibrating and battery operated goods and trying to assure his wife that he was, in-fact, at a beer event.

Starter: Grilled Sardine Fillets with Crispy Skin and Salsa Verde
Served with:
Swan Draught and Billabong Wheat
Entree: 5 Spices Pork Belly served with a Grilled Tiger Prawn & Fresh Apple Sauce
Served with: Matso’s Mango Beer
Mash Pale Ale
Rogers’ dry hopped with Fuggles & Chinook

This entree was my favourite dish of the night. It’s hard to go past pork belly and this was beautifully cooked. The grilled tiger prawn took up most of the plate and, again, beautifully cooked. As far as matching goes the Mash Pale Ale was my pick of the bunch as it complimented all aspects of the dish. The beer itself was super fresh with an aroma much like sticking your head into a bag of hops. The Matsos Mango Beer matched elements of the dish, such as the apple sauce and the prawn, but was a little too sweet for the pork belly whilst the Rogers’, though drinking beautifully, dominated the food for me.

Mash Pale Ale
I adore this label and the beer inside is very tasty too!
Main: Spicy Char-Grilled Chicken with Carrots & Potato Chateau with Fresh Citrus Summer Salad
Served With: Gage Roads London Best
Sail & Anchor’s Boa’s Bind Amber Ale
Bridge Port IPA
Feral Hop Hog
Dessert: Warm Chocolate Volcano served with Vanilla Ice Cream & Chocolate Tuile Biscuit
Served with: The Monk Bounty Coconut Stout

This beer is insanely good, delicate coconut and chocolate and just one of those beers that is hard to put down, and it’s also a limited release so head straight to Freo before this runs out! The highlight of this dish was The Monk Brewer Steve Brockman’s introduction as he told the crowd of brewers, writers and other beery professionals that the The Bounty had been fermented in 400 individual coconuts … with many initially believing him …

Brie and Blue Cheese Board with Water Crackers & Dried Figs
Artisan Saison

The Artison Saison by Brian Fitzgerald was stunning, using two yeast strains – Belgian and French – with no added spices, the different flavours and aromas was overwhelming. I’d been chatting with Brian earlier who’d admited to being a little nervous, hoping the crowd would enjoy the beer, but was very much looking forward to the match with Blue Cheese. I’d not normally pair a Saison with Blue Cheese, assuming it would find itself at the hopeless mercy of overpowering blue however on this occasion it was a gorgeous match. At 7.2% abv with rich spices, fresh fruit and a bit of funk this Saison stood it’s ground well.

My first girl+beer name tag!

Mustard + Coopers

It has been a number of weeks since I’ve been to Bunnings on a weekend to enjoy one (or even two) of their fantastic sausage sizzles. It must be universally accepted that you can’t have a proper hot dog without mustard and so, since I woke up with strong urge to cook, it seemed like a good time to try my hand at mustard. Paul Mercurio’s Cooking with Beer book came to the rescue with a recipe for “Kick-arse Hot Beer Mustard”.

Check out more photos here

This mustard is delightfully easy to whip together and makes you wonder whether you’ll bother to purchase mustard from the shops ever again. The use of the words “kick-arse” and “hot” are no exaggeration so if you are a fan of big flavours, heat and bag loads of spice then you’ll love this mustard too. With so much flavour going on here I’m not sure how much impact 1/3 of a cup of Coopers Sparkling has on the finished product. Since it’s so easy to make I think I’ll mess around with different beers and see what difference it makes.

Now that I had made mustard it was time for hot dogs … well, actually it turned out to be more of a sandwich since there was fresh turkish bread on hand. (I’m trying not to giggle as the words “sausage sandwich” come to mind). Anyway …

  • Mushroom & Onion Sausages from the local Capel Butcher
  • Shredded Capel Cheddar
  • Tomato Sauce and KICK ARSE HOT BEER MUSTARD!

It was seriously tasty and I’ll be putting beer mustard on every dish for the next week!

Sausages with Kick Arse Hot Beer Mustard in Turkish Bread
(try very hard not to label this photo as ‘Sausage Sandwich’)