Duchessic + Curry

The result is spine tingling, heart fluttering beautiful. I got aromas of green apples, sour lollies and tropical fruit. The mouth feel is delicate, just light little bubbles the carry subtle sourness, straw, funk and stone fruit, in particular apricots. Oh and the colour … did you see that colour?! Heaven.

If I had one piece of advice for shopping at the International Beer Shop, Cellarbrations Carlisle or Mane Liquor or any of the other great beer-centric bottleshops in Perth it would be this … ask the staff because,

a) They know their stuff, love their beer and are just downright nice folk

b) They can tell you what’s new/fresh/limited release, and

c) They will point you in the direction of beers you will fall in love with / eternally lust after.

Here is a beer recommended to me by the guys at Cellarbrations Carlisle and it falls into all categories, especially the last – love at first sip!

Duchessic (frame)

Duchessic comes from a bit of a collaboration between Italian brewery Birra del Borgo and Belgian brewery Brasserie Cantillon. I was already a little familiar with Cantillon from their amazing lambics but this is the first beer I’ve tried from Birra del Borgo. The Duchessic is roughly a combination of Birra del Borgo’s regularly brewed Duchess beer, which uses spelt instead of barley, and a year old lambic from Cantillon.

The result is spine tingling, heart fluttering beautiful. I got aromas of green apples, sour lollies and tropical fruit. The mouth feel is delicate, just light little bubbles the carry subtle sourness, straw, funk and stone fruit, in particular apricots. Oh and the colour … did you see that colour?! Heaven.

The bad news is that it’s a limited release – very limited – I’d get your first born packed and ready to trade because the Duchessic appears to be leaving stores fast!

Now, food, what on earth was I going to match with this? Keeping in mind I had no idea what this beer was going to taste like I decided a quick Google search was required. Typing in the words “Duchessic Food Match” into Google picked up BeerAdvocate as the first result, I clicked on the link and saw the words ‘Cuisine (Curried, Thai)’ so that was that. I made a green chicken curry.

No longer in the mood for a long cooking session now that I had settled into the evening with this delicious beer, I did the cheats curry and used paste from the jar (but it was an Asian-y looking jar so I feel that somewhat redeems me).

Green Curry Paste Watermarked

I was a little skeptical about this match, my initial thought was that the curry would trample over the delicate Duchessic but the beer softened the chili and the mix of sour and heat was a nice little combo. How or why, I have no idea but I was happily enjoying my curry and beer and that’s good enough for me!

Green Chicken Curry (1)

White Rabbit + Merrywell

The Merrywell (1)

I had not visited Crown, aka the casino formerly known as The Burswood since, well … since it was no longer The Burswood. A recent visit to Perth put me at The Crown Promenade so I had the chance to check out the area.

I have to say that I was impressed, now it actually looks and feels like a destination spot rather than a there’s-nowhere-else-open-at-3am-for-a-drink spot.

My partner and I decided to check out The Merrywell for dinner after which we rolled, full bellied and smiling, back to the hotel.

The inspiration for The Merrywell is loosely based on a kind of American diner feel, mashed up with lots of wood and dark browns, and thankfully without all the gaudy diner paraphernalia.

It was the usual beer list mystery bet when opening the menu. Will there be anything crafty or will it all be generic? Whilst it’s not a craft beer lovers delight it’s certainly got a few notables to keep you away from the bland end of the scale. Great names like White Rabbit, and Mountain Goat are there and there’s even long necks of Swan Draught.

I picked White Rabbit White Ale as my beer for the night, something soft and refreshing with lovely subtle spices and banana. Most of the dishes we selected had very bold flavours so the White Rabbit found it hard to match up with the assertive foods like BBQ Pulled Pork Quesadillas and Lollipop Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Fondue. However, it was a decent partner to the Pink Snapper Tacos, a slightly softer flavoured meal with subtle spices and White Rabbit also washed nicely over the Mini Beef Burgers.

Buffalo Wings & Tacos at Merrywell (2) Quesadillas and Mini Beef Burgers

Pizza + Mash

I recently found a new mate … and all it cost me was fifty bucks.

Mash

MashMatesBanner_MatesOptions

I recently found a new mate … and all it cost me was fifty bucks.

I’ve found myself at Mash Brewing a number of times so it seemed sensible to join their Mash Mate program and after getting my Mash bottle opener I think I would have joined purely for that!

Mash Mate Card

So with a free pint to redeem and a hungry belly my partner and I set about heading to Mash for a late lunch.

We sat outside and enjoyed the varied view of Bunbury – a strange mix up of water, boats and coast beside a giant pile of what could be wood chips, mills and machinery that looks like giant Tonka trucks. It was nice to see kids enjoying the school holiday sunshine by launching themselves into the water though a few of the belly flops sounded as though they would have stung!

We tried out the Mash Rye the Hop Not and Mash Challenger English IPA with a Prawn, Cherry Tomato and Basil Pizza to share.

The Rye the Hop Not is not only a fantastic name for a beer but a pretty good brew too, we think we order it every time we visit. Spicy, earthy and nicely hopped with a lingering bitterness. I really enjoyed the Challenger IPA too, it reminded me of the James Squire Stow Away IPA (hopefully Charlie won’t mind me saying) in that it’s nice to drink an IPA that’s not all about the hops and bitterness. The malts are beautifully balanced with the fruit and bitterness and I thought I got a nice little hit of pepper too, delicious!

Both beers were a little dominating for the pizza which was tasty, generous with prawns and cheese though would have liked more basil to really bring out the flavours.

Mash - Jan 2012

Duck + Braggot

Braggot … Braggot … What?

Mitch, Chef at Five Bar and food-dude behind Beersine (go and find Beersine Pale Ale Cheese, it’s amazing), asked me whether I’d tried any of the Red Duck beers. I’d never heard of them but Mitch said they were fantastic and that was plenty for me. I made a trip to the International Beer Shop and since then these have been sitting in my fridge waiting to be opened.

Red Duck Beers (1)

Before I get into the drinking side of things I’ll first say that I didn’t know what a Braggot was. A quick look on BeerAdvocate gave me a good definition and, as always, my copy of The Oxford Companion to Beer also taught me a few things.

Basically, the braggot style appears to date back to at least the 12th century. It’s produced by combining mead and ale; hop character and bitterness balance out the honey sweetness with herbs and spices also thrown into the mix. Now, however, I had to ask myself – what’s the difference between a braggot and a honey beer? This comes down to the amount of honey used – if there’s more honey than malt then it’s a braggot. If you’re keen, I found this pretty interesting.

Funnily enough I didn’t actually do any of this reading about braggots or even Red Duck until I sat down to write this. Normally I would read up before trying the beer but I wanted to try them without too much preconception of what I was “supposed” to taste

So without knowing much about the beers it seemed as good an idea as any to try them whilst my partner and I tackled the glamorous task of cleaning the house.

First up, The Bear

I have to say that I love the packaging and whilst we’re on the topic of appearances this beers pours a stunning hazy copper colour, downright sexy. At first the aroma was like having a fresh mango squished under my nose, followed by more tropical fruit and fresh citrus. Drinking it was surprisingly, there’s certainly honey there but it’s not in the way you might expect.  It’s soft and smooth honey sweetness with biscuity, spicy and fruity stuff going on too. Delicious and a little bit dangerous at 9.8% abv.

Red Duck - The Bear (1)

More sweeping, wiping and tidying later, we then cracked open the Smells like a Pony

By this time I was wondering about the names and judging by their list of limited release beers they’ve been rocking the animal theme for some time – dragon, ox, pony, bear, bee and tiger all make an appearance. A few months ago Crafty Pint did a  series of articles ‘What’s In A Name’ so if you’re interested in hearing about the Red Duck beer names from the brewer, you’ll find the article here.

Not knowing what exactly a pony smells like I can only say that when I put my nose into the glass I got a big whiff of booze and raisins. I do, however, like the name – it’s fun and memorable. There’s beautiful red fruit followed up by a good whack of tartness.

Smells like a Pony

Hottest 100 + Beer

I have to confess. I’ve never voted in this before, mainly because I’m pretty lazy and it all just seemed too hard. How on earth do you select a top 5? I’m sure it doesn’t need saying but there are some really amazing, delicious, tasty, dangerous, sexy, heart-pounding exciting beers being made all over the country … how the hell do you pick a top 5?

It’s Hottest 100 time again – beer style, of course. That’s right  – the Taphouse Hottest 100 is back and if you’ve not got your votes in yet I suggest you hurry up! Pick your favourite Australian beers from 2012 and vote now peoples!

Taphouse Hottest 100

It all sounds so easy, right?

I have to confess. I’ve never voted in this before, mainly because I’m pretty lazy and it all just seemed too hard. How on earth do you select a top 5? I’m sure it doesn’t need saying but there are some really amazing, delicious, tasty, dangerous, sexy, heart-pounding exciting beers being made all over the country … how the hell do you pick a top 5?

I reckon James Davidson from Beer Bar Band blog had a great system for selecting a top 5 – check it out here. If only I could steal it but sadly the percentage of beers I drink that actually end up on Untappd are rather small. I’m not sure whether to put this down to laziness or denial, either way it’s not an accurate tool for me to judge the beers I’ve most enjoyed in 2012.

In reality I could have spent hours painstakingly putting together a top 5, based on any number of criteria from most consumed, most written about, most interesting, most whatever. In the end I looked at my list of beers on my blog and voted for the five beers that jumped out at me and triggered great beery memories.

Feral Ales at Five (1)

I remember the first time I tried this, it blew me away! Feral Hop Hog is hands down one of my favourite beers and spotting a barrel fermented version made me excited like a small child fueled by red cordial. Generally only found at Feral Brewing, Swan Valley, but sometimes it appears at my old stomping ground, Five Bar in Mt Lawley.

The Monk - The Chief

The joyful sounds coming from the table at the Perth Royal Beer Show awards when the team at The Monk picked up their award was awesome. Tasting the beer at the Exhibitor Tasting was even better.

On a side note, be sure to like /follow Two Brewers Abroad – Steve (formerly of The Monk) and Steph (formerly of Gage Roads) as they hit the USA for lots of beery adventures!

Goat Bottles (1)

Gotta love a collaborative limited release brew! The first bottle I tried of this was a gift from some friends and it was love at first sight. An amazingly tasty beer and I was lucky enough to drink it with Goat Brewer, Dave, at The Night of the Goat at Five Bar, Mt Lawley … well, we all drank this until it ran out but luckily there was plenty of Surefoot Stout and Hightail Ale to ensure we were replenished!

Black Market IPA Words

When I am at Bootleg Brewery and this seasonal beer is on tap I just have to have it. It’s that simple. If you’re lucky you may be able to find a 6 pack in your local bottle-o, I do love the packaging on this one too – ye olde newspaper style.

Temple Midnight IPA (1)

Tried this around the time of my 30th birthday, made pizzas and chilli prawns and it was sensational. I remember sitting on the couch, sipping away and wishing my glass would do that magical refill thing from the Tim Tams ad.