Pint of Origin ACT – The Courthouse

Pint of Origin was a seriously good beer event that happened all week long for Good Beer Week. It also had the added bonus of the childish but endlessly amusing acronym of PoO.

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Pint of Origin was a seriously good beer event that happened all week long for Good Beer Week. It also had the added bonus of the childish but endlessly amusing acronym of PoO.

Pint of Origin started during last years Good Beer Week where five pubs with ample taps acted as homes for WA, SA, NSW, TAS and QLD. The term itself came from Adelaide’s Wheatsheaf Hotel. It meant that throughout Good Beer Week punters could cover off an Australia wide beer tour without straying far from the remaining Good Beer Week shenanigans. Happy days!

This years PoO saw additional pubs representing VIC and ACT plus three regional venues took showcase a selection from every state.

My partner and I managed to visit all the states PoO venues during Good Beer Week, usually as a warm up or cool down from an event.

First up we have The Courthouse Hotel who represented the ACT.

Oh and advanced apologies for my awful night time phone photography!

Where: 86-90 Errol Street, North Melbourne
When: Monday 20th May after the Prickley Moses Rare and Wild event

Beer

I had heard many good things about the Wig & Pen Mother Funker Gueuze but sadly it was not available that day. Instead I chose the Weizenbock from Zierholz, a nice big wheat beer on steroids with nice real banana flavours. I liked it!

Next up I had the Wig & Pen Bob’s Armpit sour ale, the name was strangely enticing or perhaps I’m just too curious for my own good. I found it lightly sour, maybe more like a sour and an amber ale had a baby. Of course I might also be talking dribble since I had tasted more than ten different beers at the Prickley Moses event earlier.

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Food

Steak Tartare, Olive Tart and Truffled Aioli – this was beautifully served, I love it when the presentation is so good you almost don’t want to eat it. This was definitely some of the best steak tartare I’ve ever had.

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Cheese – there are generally only two reasons why I don’t order a cheese board – a) the cheese sounds bland and/or b) the price tag is ridiculous. The Courthouse cheese board was neither of these things. Another nicely presented dish and we sent back a virtually clean plate.

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Service

We sat at the bar which is always our preferred “table”, I guess that is the bartender in both of us. As a result, we’ve met some great bartenders and this was one such night. Harpreet at The Courthouse was fantastic, he was friendly, polite, knowledgeable and happy and helped us pick beers and food. Thank you Harpreet. We mentioned his name during conversations with a few Melbourne locals and they agreed wholeheartedly!

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Why My Wife’s Bitter … and other Brewers & Chewers stories

A beer event that combines elements of a meet the brewer session with musical chairs and speed dating is destined to be sensational.

Brewers and Chewers Collage

A beer event that combines elements of a meet the brewer session with musical chairs and speed dating is destined to be sensational.

That’s exactly how the Brewers and Chewers event was described in the Good Beer Week programme and that’s exactly what we got – minus the potential awkwardness of speed dating and lack of seats at musical chairs of course.

Brewers and Chewers found a handful of Australian and International brewers and tempted them to The Local Taphouse in St Kilda for a dinner party with the twist.

Here’s how it worked – Eight brewers, eight tables and about twenty minutes on each table before the bell would sound and it was time for the brewer to move on.

The food was plentiful and delicious. The main of roast pork featured some heart stopping good cracking and social etiquette was the only thing stopping me from licking the plate clean from the beet cured ocean trout.

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The beers, as you’d expect, were all stunning. Each brewer had one of their beers represented and the taps flowed freely. Picking a favourite would be like choosing your favourite child … but since I don’t have any I guess it should be easier. I’m going to go with Bright Brewery’s Fainters Dubbel – it still stands out in my mind and after nine days of Good Beer Week, that means I really, really liked it.

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It was a fantastic event with great food, tasty beers and magnificent company. What made the evening a complete stand out was all this combined with excellent service from the staff at the Local Taphouse and having Pete Mitcham aka Professor Pilsner to host proceedings.

“In no particular order but starting with number one …”, Pete Mitcham

On stage Pete got the event started by introducing each brewer with a few words and a round of applause before they were sacrificed/seated at their first table.

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The story of the beer from Camden that almost didn’t make it

Jasper Cuppaidge – Camden Town Brewing (UK)

“We love lager!”, Jasper told our table so it’s not surprising he chose his Camden Town USA Hells Lager to bring along to Brewers and Chewers. The USA Hells Lager had lovely citrus, cereal and apricot notes and light stone fruit flavours and is an American hopped version of their regular Hells Lager.

But the beer nearly didn’t make the journey from UK to Melbourne and at the last minute Jasper was left with little option but to put the beer on a plane. Jasper joked, “it cost more to get the beers here than it did me!”.

Jasper also chatted about what’s coming up soon for Camden Town including plans to go to cans and a twice yearly keg swap with Stone & Wood (Byron Bay, Australia). Exciting!

The story of how Eric was destined to become a brewer          

Eric Ottaway – Brooklyn Brewery (USA)

Eric said that for him it’s all about good beer and friends, he was clearly in good company at Brewers and Chewers.

I asked Eric how he got into brewing, “do you believe in fate?” he asked in reply. Eric was in health care before he began as a brewer and has since discovered that his great, great, great, great, great uncle had links to a hop farm in Brooklyn. It seems Eric may have been destined to brew great beer for us!

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The story of why My Wife’s Bitter

Brennan Fielding – Burleigh Brewing (QLD)

Burleigh Brewing make a beer called ‘My Wife’s Bitter’. It begs the question, why? It’s an obvious question and one that Brennan seems to be asked frequently. I asked him at our table and then later the host, Pete Mitcham, asked him to tell the story for the crowd.

“How many nights did you sleep on the couch?”, Pete asked Brennan.

“You guys have it all wrong”. Here’s the story.

It was actually Peta’s, Brennan’s wife, idea to name the beer. Whilst in Hawaii Brennan made beer and named one after their daughter and another after their son. “Why don’t I have a beer named after me?” Peta asked Brennan. There was no reason, the right beer just hadn’t come up yet. Then one day, whilst hanging out the washing, Peta had a lightbulb moment. “My beer’s name is My Wife’s Bitter”, she exclaimed, as in a bitter beer for her not a statement about her. However Brennan didn’t feel the meaning would translate in Hawaii where there’s no English heritage for the traditional English style. “Hold on to that name”, he told her.

At Burleigh Brewing the beer started life as a special release beer and now is part of their regular line up, so Brennan made an English Bitter as a gift for his wife.

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The story of many, many new beers        

Jos Ruffel – Garage Project (NZ)

I had to ask about the Garage Project their 24/24 concept – 24 new beers in 24 weeks – I had to ask “why?”

“The more you brew the better you get” Jos remarked and after brewing 40 new beers in their first year of operation he would know what he’s talking about. Initially gaining brewing inspiration from chefs and restaurants in what ingredients they use and how they use it, they now have their own library of ingredients. The brewery itself has transformed into it’s own source inspiration. With this in mind, check out their GABS beer – Death from Above.

The story of beer battles in Italy        

Leo DiVincenzo – Birra Del Borgo (Italy)

I only know two things about beers in Italy,

1. Moretti

2. Birra Del Borgo’s Duchessic is one of the best beers I’ve ever had.

The Italian craft beer scene is clearly very healthy; Leo estimates there are more than 500 craft brewers – “we are all fighting against Peroni, Moretti and Heineken”.

With so many craft brewers in a country known for it’s wine I couldn’t help but find some similarities between Italy and Margaret River. Given a recent article that threw up the idea that breweries in the south west were harming the reputation of the Margaret River wine region, I asked if there was any competition between craft brewers and wineries.  The answer was simply no. A sentiment that I am confident is shared by the vast majority of the south west but I was interested to ask.

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The story of Scott’s first ever barley wine

Scott Brandon – Bright Brewery (VIC)

We talked about the Great Australiasian Beer SpecTAPular and his entry into the festival – the Supermucilaginisticepialidocious. Not only is it a mouth full but it’s a barley wine. They went for this style because he had never brewed one before which begged the question, “how is it?”, we asked.

“It’s awesome”, he replied.

I had the Bright Fainters Dubbel with dessert and it was an amazing match. The dessert of honeycomb ice cream, chocolate stout brownie and butterscotch sauce was chewy and decedant, nutty and sweet. The dubbel’s richness, raisins and spice was a perfect compliment.

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All brewers were fantastic company, each time the bell rang it was much too soon. Other brewers who I haven’t mentioned yet are Tim Thomas from Hop Dog (NSW) and Ashur Hall from Illawarra Brewing Company (NSW) who were also excellent company but sadly my note taking wasn’t perfect.

Thanks to Steve, Guy, Ashley, Head Chef Paul and all the staff at The Local Taphouse for going to great lengths to ensure we all had a lovely night, never wanting for anything.

Thanks to Pete Mitcham for being the host with the most, it was great to meet you and I hope to cross paths again with you soon, preferably where there’s beer of course.

And of course thank you to the Tim, Scott, Ashur, Jasper, Leo, Jos, Brennan and Eric, it was a genuine pleasure to meet all of you. So long and thank you for all the beer.

Good Beer Week Match Report

Good Beer Week was 9 days, that’s 216 hours
There were 140 events, that’s 1.5 events for every single hour. If you factor in sleep, let’s be generous and say eight hours, that’s ONE event for every waking hour.

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Good Beer Week, Melbourne. I think ‘Epic Beer Week’ would be more accurate, let’s do some numbers!

Good Beer Week was 9 days, that’s 216 hours
There were 140 events, that’s 1.5 events for every single hour. If you factor in sleep, let’s be generous and say eight hours, that’s ONE event for every waking hour.

The words ‘beautiful madness’ spring to mind.

My blogging intentions for Good Beer Week were simple but perhaps a little ambitious – a blog post every morning about the previous days events. I got through a couple before realising it was not going to happen. Over the next few days though, I’ll be reliving the rest of my Good Beer Week adventures and updating my beer list … in the meantime, here’s a bit of a summary –

Highlights of the Week (in no particular order)

GBW Local Taphouse

GBW - The Goat

Pint of Origin

Dim Sum

East v West

GABS

Cheese

Dim-lights of the Week (once again, in no particular order)

Having our hotel room on the same floor as the hotel gym. Seeing people exercising as we left for another day of beer and food overindulgence seemed cruel and unusual. The urge to tackle someone on the treadmill was almost irresistible.

Dropping an entire wedge of lovely cheddar on the floor during The Big Apple versus The Goat lunch at The Mountain Goat … then contemplating the validation of the ten second rule out loud and been denied.

Rambling like a giggy school girl when telling Birra del Borgo brewer Leo DiVincenzo how much I loved Duchessic.

Headbutting a taxi door whilst trying to get inside.

A few words that made me laugh

Hearing someone confirming their booking at the hotel by yelling “boo-ya!”

“If all the West Australians could please fuck off”, Chris Badenoch of Josie Bones giving a kind send off just for the WA folk at East versus West: Beer and Food Title Fight

“Is it true that you are a mid level drug lord?”, Pete Mitcham to Birra del Borgo brewer Leo DiVincenzo referring to the anchovy oil he bought from Italy to Australia for a collaboration brew with The Wheaty called My Anchovia.

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“This morning in the theatre whilst we were sleeping …” @DrRiggsy talking about sharing a hotel with @6foot6brewer

“On behalf of The Local Taphouse we’d like … *sound of glass smashing *, Pete Mitcham being interrupted at the end of Brewers and Chewers at The Local Taphouse St Kilda

Best on Ground – Beers that made me say “mmm”

Brooklyn Brewery Anniversary Lager – stunning copper colour and great citrus, piney and candied sugar flavours

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Mountain Goat Rye IPA – ruby red grapefruit aromas that had me nose deep in my glass for a few minutes

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace – always stunning

Mornington Peninsula Imperial Stout – rich, lush and dangerously drinkable

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Cavalier Juniper Pale Ale – beer and gin had a baby

Bright Fainters Dubble – rich, spicy and fantastic

Croucher Black IPA – fruity hops with a great dose of coffee malt flavours with a little burnt toast finish

Brewcult Acid Freaks – balsamic vinegar and beer, who’d have thought? A sinful pairing.

Duckstein Coconut Porter – brings me back to being a kid and having lamintons at morning tea.

Feral / Wig & Pen Pig Pen – slightly tart and oh-so-refreshing

Moon Dog Selvmordstokt Cherry Wheat Porter – black cherry, chocolate and coconut. My GABS notes say “YUMMY”

Two Birds Brewing Taco – I am definitely a mexi-can

This list could go on and on … I should stop now and probably get myself a beer.

Cheeky Monkey loose at GABS

A couple of weeks ago I asked head brewer Jared “Red” Proudfoot a few questions about their GABS creation

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The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS, begins today and offers “92 specialty brewed beers and plenty of old favourites”. Amongst those 92 GABS beers are a handful from the south west including one from Cheeky Monkey, Margaret River.

A couple of weeks ago I asked head brewer Jared “Red” Proudfoot a few questions about their GABS creation …

What beer are you doing for GABS?

It’s an Imperial Red Ale weighing in at 7.1% and hopped to fuck

What was the inspiration for it?

Me – Big Red. Haha, nah. It’s just a decent Autumnal style which will carry on into winter. Big, Malty and hoppy.

What flavours are you aiming for?

Big caramalty, full on flavoured hoppy beast of a beer.

What will be/was the most challenging part of this brew?

Restraint when it’s ready for drinking.

Which malts and hops are you using and what made you chose these?

It’s a malty beer so it’s got a broad spectrum malts in it. The three main contenders are Maris Otter, Cara malt and Munich with varying degrees of crystal/cara malts a touch of roast, wheat and acidulated. Hops are lots of Columbus, Centennial, Amarillio, Simcoe and Nelson Sauvin. It will be dry hopped at least three times throughout conditioning.

Which other GABS beers are you looking forward to trying?

Haven’t had the luxury of time to sit down and check them out I’m afraid. I’ll probably have a good look when I’m on the flight over.

If your GABS beer was a person, what outfit would he/she be wearing?

Hmmmm… She’d be wearing a corset with a knee-length tartan skirt and stockings into an pair of old, well worn Doc Martins. Obviously she’d be a Red Head.

GABS – 24-26 May at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton
Check out the website for more information

The Cheeky Monkey Imperial Red Ale is beer number 23 and can be found at Bars 1 & 2, section 2

Colonial brings Gary to GABS

Here is a short Q&A with Colonial Brewing head brewer Justin Fox about their GABS beer – a white stout called “Gary the White”.

Good Beer Week is well and truly underway! It’s halfway through the week and thus far I’ve not ended up curled in a ball in the corner of a pub somewhere so I’m considering that a win. It has been amazing, so much great beer, interesting and funny people and food that makes you want to overindulge so badly that it would result in being in the hospital but you’d think “that was totally worth it”.

In amongst a huge number of events lies a beer festival, just to make sure your liver was a quivering mess by the time the week was done. The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular (aka GABS) happens at the tail end of Good Beer Week so they let you warm up to it which is considerate/evil.

Plenty of south west breweries are getting in on the action for GABS, you can check out a run down by some chic at Crafty Pint.

Meanwhile here is a short Q&A with Colonial Brewing head brewer Justin Fox about their GABS beer – a white stout called “Gary the White”.

What was the inspiration for it?
It was only my first week at the brewery and we decided to get involved with GABS, and that meant brewing that week for the beer to be ready in time! We wanted to take the opportunity to thank departing brewer Mal Secourable for his friendship and great work at the brewery over the years. When we noted his car park space is actually named “Gary the White” the beer just sort of rolled on from there…

What flavours are you aiming for?
We are aiming for a creamy, warming stout, as light in colour as we can muster, with hints of roast and espresso.

What will be/was the most challenging part of this brew?
Balance is an issue for any first crack at a new recipe, but I think our biggest challenge is to get some malt complexity into the beer without introducing any colour. The same goes for getting some roast / coffee flavours.

Which malts and hops are you using and what made you choose these?
We ended up with a decent mixture of pale malts, each one to try and introduce another layer to the final body and we stayed down the English path for the hops.

Which other GABS beers are you looking forward to trying?
I actually only know of a few others at this stage, both of which captured my interest. Eagle Bay and the Monk are getting together with a chocolate concoction which looked good on the twitter feed. The other is my old assistant brewer Renn Blackman from the Monk. He is doing a large scale of an experiment he did with some leftover wort a few years back, the Killer Python Kolsch! The small was surprisingly tasty so looking forward to trying the reincarnation!

If your GABS beer was a person, what outfit would he/she be wearing?
Ah, therein lies the great mystery of “Gary the White”… nobody knows!

GABS – Royal Exhibition Building, Carlton | 24-26 May
Colonial Brewing Gary the White is beer number 24, available from Bars 1 & 2, Section 2
Grab an official guide or jump online

East versus West

When an event starts with Eye of the Tiger blaring from a stereo you know that you’re in for a treat.

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When an event starts with Eye of the Tiger blaring from a stereo you know that you’re in for a treat.

It was East versus West: Beer and Food Title Fight. The prize was the unofficial naming of who was the beer capital of Australia. Some may say it was a fight long in the making.

In one corner we had Josie Bones representing Victoria, in the other we had Five Bar putting on gloves for Western Australia.

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Josie Bones had the home ground advantage and the WA team had travelled a long way, would they have what it takes to go toe to toe with Josie Bones?

The format was simple. Three rounds, each round featuring two beers (one from each state but of course you didn’t know where the beers were from until the end) and food matchings. Patrons were asked to judge each match on a scale of 1-5 and then pick their favourite beer and favourite dish.

The bell was rung, literally, and round one got underway.

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Round One – yeast driven beers

Hefeweizen + Pressed Lamb Terrine and Cured Lamb Loin
VERSUS
Saison de Miel + Pheasant Ballantine with Spiced Chutney

The pressed lamb terrine had lovely spices against the rich lamb loin and the hint of mint on top was refreshing.

The hefeweizen served as a great palate cleanser, cutting through the richness in the meat and complimenting the spices with its own Belgian yeast coriander flavours.

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The texture of the pheasant was just divine, almost luxurious and presented beautifully.

The rich Saison with sweet-ish fruitiness contrasted nicely with the spicy chutney. It also has to be said that the lacing on the saison was down right sexy. You’ll have to take my word for it cause I neglected to take a photo.

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I scored these matches evenly very good, call me a fence sitter but it was a tough round to tell the two apart! My favourite beer was the Saison de Miel and favourite dish was the pressed lamb, to me they were the most interesting of the round.

Round Two – hop driven beers

Imperial Pilsener + Confit Pork Belly with Yabby
VERSUS
Barrel Fermented American IPA + Spiced Brisket

Pork belly is one of those dishes that seems to make people lose their minds, particularly when it is done well. So when it’s presented to you beautifully, melts in your mouth and makes you savour every bite – yep, mind lost. The ‘surf n turf’ style dish with pork from Western Plains in Mt Mercer and yabby from Mildura, set the bar even higher than round one. It had a soft smoky component whilst being sweet and rich yet not overpowering.

The wet hopped imperial pilsner was divine, the aromas wetter of sweet wort, cerealy and a wee bit boozy. It was big on flavour too, I got cooked citrus and tropical fruits.

As a match though I found the beer and food fighting each other, the bubbly tropical fruit in the pilsner against such a creamy, rich and smokey dish.

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Confit pork belly was going to be hard to top but then the spiced brisket swaggered into the room. I say swaggered because it was gorgeous to look at with the rich brisket sitting on a creamy celeriac pillow and topped with a dotting of pomegranate. For me, the pomegranate made the dish, they’d pop in your mouth and release a soft sweetness and fruit into the brisket.

The barrel fermented American IPA (which you may or may not have guessed what it is) tasted amazingly fresh. Big big tropical hops backed up by vanilla oak reminded me why this is one of my favourite beers.

As a match this was my favourite, it was a beautiful and interesting marriage of flavours between the pomegranate and tropical hops, the vanilla oak and rich brisket, the spices and the carbonation and citrus in the beer.

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I scored the brisket and IPA as my preferred match, the IPA also got my score for the preferred beer then I agonised over which dish I preferred the most. I went for the brisket in the end because I found it a really interesting dish, one that made me really think about what I was eating and I like that in a dish.

Round Three – malt driven beers

Imperial Stout + Smoked Waygu Brisket with Carrot and Licorice
VERSUS
Scotch Ale + Off the Wagon Wheel

The imperial stout was outstanding, truly one of the best beers in an event full of beautiful beers. Coffee beans and pure dark chocolate encased in a delicately creamy body … Oh my … And it was a great match with smokey waygu brisket. The dusty chocolate flavours in the beer complimented the charcoal and licorice flavours in the brisket. The sweetness from the carrots, which initially I didn’t expect much from, were needed for the sweetness in the stout.

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The final serve was an Off The Wagon Wheel with a scotch ale. The texture contrasts in the wagon wheel were fun and interesting, crumbly oat biscuit on the outside and soft marshmallow on the inside. Drizzled in elegant chocolate, it was a great dish to end on.

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The scotch ale was perfect for sipping on, contemplating the amazing dishes and beers we had been lucky enough to have. The nose was soft and reminded me of raisins and the taste was full flavoured without the really chewy mouthfeel that can sometimes accompany it.

My vote for the matching favoured the brisket over the wagon wheel, but only just. The imperial stout got my beer vote and the wagon wheel got my food vote.

With the votes all in it was time to count and to keep us entertained we were served Beersine Pale Ale cheese, hop honey and fresh bread. I tried not to drool when the cheese came out but it was tough.

Now … For the reveal … Here’s the full menu, complete with which beers were which and which state served what:

(Again, sorry for the poorly lit photo)

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The winners were declared and WEST was declare the winner! Congratulations Five Bar and chef Mitch aka Beersine.

Huge thanks to all involved in this sensational event, I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the afternoon!

Here’s how it broke down:

Round One – Yeast was won by Victoria with their Pobblebonk Saison de Miel paired with Pheasant ballantine with spiced chutney
Round Two – Hops was won by Western Australia with Feral Barrel Fermented Hog paired with Spiced brisket from Boyup Brook
Round Three – Malt was won by Western Australia with The Monk Scotch Ale paired with the Off The Wagon Wheel
Favourite beer overall went to Feral Barrel Fermented Hog (WA)
Favourite dish overall went to the Spiced Brisket (Beersine / Five Bar of WA)
Favourite beer and food pairing overall went to Feral Barrel Fermented Hog and the Spiced Brisket (WA)

GBW Day 1 – From Goat to Cookie

It started at Mountain Goat, invaded The Royston, then Stone and Wood before ending at Cookie

It started in Richmond at Mountain Goat Brewery and it finished at Cookie …

We arrived at Mountain Goat a little early but found most people had the same idea. We were greeted with Mountain Goat Steam Ale and Brooklyn Brown Ale, I had the Steam Ale and that went down very, very well. A little to well perhaps …

The afternoon consisted of five courses of amazing food and each matched with a beer from Mountain Goat and Brooklyn Brewery. The afternoon also contained a lot of memorable quotes that are perhaps not fit for printing and since I dropped an entire wedge of cloth aged cheddar on the floor, I had best keep my mouth shut. I blame the knife.

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Entrees were a selection of dishes to pick and choose from. Bloody Mary onion rings in Brroklyn dark ale batter, salt cod brandade croquettes and mini open Reuben sandwiches but the highlight was definitely the sticky New York ribs. It was a delicious match with the Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager.

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As you can see, the ribs were very tasty, sorry if you actually wanted to see them served! They were rich and sticky but not over the top, or end of the table picked out spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

Tom from Brooklyn Brewery chatted about their Silver Anniversary Lager, basically a special version of their flagship lager, they dry hop this one with Cascade hops and it is bottle conditioned. It was stunning, it poured this gorgeous vibrant copper colour so I found it hard not to keep holding it up to the light. This action left me very vulnerable to looking like a total beer nerd but hey, it’s going to happen to all of us at Good Beer Week.

The lager had huge flavours that held up perfectly to the smack down of sticky ribs; citrus, tropical fruit and a shot of candied sugar sweetness. Delicious.

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A small group of us then went to have a quick look at the brewery where there was a brew already on the go and it needed a little attention, namely hop attention. When asked if someone wanted to throw 3kg of hop pellets into the tank my arm instinctively shot up. Yup, I’ll now be adding Mountain Goat to my list of beers which I will lay claim to having helped brewed. Soon I will be intolerable I’m sure.

Mains were served and it was more than a little indulgent … Not five or ten but 18 hour braised lambs neck with caramelised sweet potato mash. Pardon my awful photography but frankly it is a miracle I remembered to take a photo before devouring this dish in a very unladylike manner.

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They served the Brooklyn East India Pale and the Mountain Goat Rye India Pale Ale with mains and it was the rye IPA that not only stood out, it jumped in the air, did a back slip and then took a bow. It was amazing.

I couldn’t help but compulsively stick my nose in the glass, the aromas of ruby red grapefruit from the Goat Rye IPA were addictive. Hoppy, spicy and a little honey, the beer was uber-fresh, less than two days old, and was an instant favourite at our end of the table.

Then dessert arrived. According to the menu there were five different cheeses heading our way after dessert so many of us had agreed that cheese was way better than dessert so we would probably just taste dessert rather than overindulge. Oh how wrong we were.

Chilli and dark chocolate fondant with freeze dried mandarin, oh yeah! Served with Brooklyn Local 1 and Mountain Goat Fx Stout, from looking at the beers it seemed obvious that the stout would win over the hazy straw colour Local 1. Wrong again.

Brooklyn Local 1 is a strong Belgian ale made with their house Belgian yeast. Its spicy coriander and almost witbier like characters were a surprisingly good match to dessert. I think it was a little contrast and a little compliment, especially the Belgian yeast qualities with the chilli and freeze dried mandarin.

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Ok, now time for cheese and admittedly my notes have been getting a little less detailed. We were spoilt with Milawa Ceridwen Goat’s cheese, Berries Creek Blue cheese, Ashgrove matured cloth cheddar (the one I accidentally dropped on the floor), Wicked white mould brie and Red Square washed rind.

The stand out match was easily the washed rind with Brooklyn’s Sorachi Ace. Our end of the table were already Sorachi Ace fans and we happily tucked into our bottle before stealing a half bottle from an adjoining table who were heading for the door. The washed rind was a fantastic example of great creaminess and strong mushroom rind that just begs to be eaten. The Sorachi Ace just bubbled over it and it was heavenly!

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From there we invaded, and trust me that is the correct word for it, The Royston – home to the WA Pint of Origin so it was a showcase of Feral, Bootleg, Matso’s and more. I went for a Feral Fanta Pants that, whilst delicious, was perhaps a little over ambitious considering the mass of beer we had just come from.

Soon it was time for a nap and whilst you might be giggling at me, it was a damn good nap! Unlike some I managed to keep it to a quick nap and not a three hour sleep and in no way am I referring to a certain tall brewer from Fremantle. I’m confident that my cheekiness will come back to bite me in the coming days …

Next we were off to The Gathering where Stone and Wood were pouring their first kegs of this years Stone Beer, an annual limited release. Set at Blender Studios filled with various art projects, located down an alley that was marked by the presence of a big taco truck it seems fitting to describe it as ‘oh so Melbourne’. It is a phrase that as a Perth-ite feels compulsory for me to say at least once during my Melbourne adventures.
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The Stone Beer was lovely and light bodied with a great roastiness and toffee notes going on. I briefly got to meet the brewer, Brad Rogers, and hopefully I managed to avoid sounding like a crazy beer fan as I told him how much I enjoyed their beers.

By this stage it was definitely time for some dinner so a handful of us walked to Cookie, Melbourne’s beer hall meets Thai food and we sat down to a feast of spiced chicken, soft shell crab, drunken noodles (name of the dish and in no way reflective of how we were), pan fried squid and pork ribs. The beer list was a short novel but I didn’t have a look in fear of analysis paralysis, instead I opted for a nice little Berlinerweiss from Bridge Road Brewers that I had spied on tap earlier. At 3% abv with a little funk and a little green stone fruit flavours, it was a great way to softly finish a very big day.

Day 1 survived … Day Two, let’s see what you’ve got!