At Melbourne’s Good Beer Week in May one of the stand out events was East versus West: A Beer and Food Title Fight at Josie Bones. With the background music of Eye of the Tiger the east coast of Australia, represented by Josie Bones, battled with the west, represented by Five Bar / Beersine, for the bragging rights to beer and food pairing superiority. Despite not having a home ground advantage, WA came out victorious with the title belt aka a plastic WWE replica. Oh it was glorious! You can relive the magic here.
Last weekend as part of WA Beer Week Five Bar and Beersine hosted the re-match, aka round two, aka a chance for Melbourne to level the score. The format remained the same with three rounds covering yeast driven beers, hop driven beers and malt driven beers. It was all blind tastings so you didn’t know what beer you were tasting or whether the dish was a Beersine / Five Bar or Josie Bones creation.
Here’s how the battle unfolded …
Round 1 – Yeast Driven Beers
Last Drop Saison with Wort Poached Marron, Pickled Cucumber and Beer Blanc Sauce
Holgate Little Heifer Hefeweizen with Ripened Goats Cheese Croquette with Bacon Jam and Pickled Apple
The marron was a beautiful way to start the afternoon, soft and delicate with the cucumber adding a refreshing element. The Last Drop Saison, after geting rave reviews from punters at the Fremantle BeerFest the day before, continued to be loved here. A slight banana nose, soft and well balanced and lightly spiced, it was gorgeous. The two together proved a nice matching of delicate, soft but still very expressive flavours.
Half way through eating the second dish I decided that bacon jam was the way of the future. Honestly. Think about it. Bacon jam. Just ponder that for a moment and if you’re not drooling then I think there’s something wrong with you and we might not be able to be friends. The bacon jam added salty caramelised goodness to the soft and springy goat’s cheese croquettes. Holgate’s Little Heifer is a great example of a hefeweizen with sweet banana aromas and a nice silky mouthfeel. It cut through the oil in the croquettes and was a nice sweet/salt contrast to the bacon jam. This was my second favourite beer and food match of the day.
How the votes swung …
Favourite Beer: WA – Last Drop Saison
Favourite Dish: VIC – Ripened Goats Cheese Croquettes
Favourite Pairing: VIC – Holgate Hefeweizen + Ripened Goats Cheese Croquettes
Round 2 – Hop Driven Beers
Boneyard Golden Ale with Prawn Po’Boy with Chipolte Aioli, Vic Secret Hop Salt and Malt Vinegar Game Chips
The Monk Chief IPA with ‘Tongue in Cheek’ – Masterstock Beef Cheek & Ox Tongue Croquette and Kimchi
The menu, pre-reveal, described Boneyard Golden Ale as a “session IPA” and it’s spot on, fresh tropical hops backed up by soft lingering bitterness makes it damn drinkable. The hop salt on the chips had lots of people licking the chips to get the full flavour which was fun and perhaps a little uncouth but hey, that’s the fun of beer and food sometimes!
The Monk Chief with the aptly named ‘tongue in cheek’ dish was my favourite pairing of the day, the way the kimchi and hops played together was unique, tasty and I couldn’t get enough of it! The beef cheek and ox tongue bought out all the maltiness from the IPA, easily one of my favourite IPAs going around.
How the votes swung …
Favourite Beer, Favourite Dish and Favourite Pairing: VIC – Boneyard Golden Ale with Prawn Po’Boy.
Round 3 – Malt Driven Beers
Feral Razorback Barleywine with Peppermint Pavlova garnished with Local Berries and Local Milk Chocolate
Boatrocker Ramjet Whiskey Barrel Aged Imperial Stout with Whiskey Baba with Malted Chocolate Cream, Blood Orange Curd and Liquorice with your choice from three whiskey sauces
The barleywine and peppermint pavlova was, for me, the most intriguing match of the day. On paper I expected the barleywine to completely dominate the dessert but this wasn’t the case. The peppermint was able to stand out and cut through the big bold flavours of the barleywine making for a really interesting contrast. The berries were a nice complement to the deeper sweetness from the beer.
Like the Razorback, Boatrocker’s beer had that “oh my god” factor, with every sip you were impressed and craved more of those toffee and creme brulee flavours. It melded well with the baba which is essentially a booze soaked cake and you needed a big ballsy dessert to go head to head with the Ramjet. Due to my own eagerness to try the whiskey sauces, and by eagerness I mean I had all three doused on my dessert, I may have ended up with a dish that was more booze than dessert. Prior to this however it was a great match of similar flavours coming together.
How the votes swung …
Favourite Beer, Favourite Dish and Favourite Pairing: VIC – Boatrocker Ramjet with Whiskey Baba
So Victoria’s Josie Bones took the title belt on the plane back to the East Coast which just means we need to head back for Good Beer Week 2014 to retrieve it again. Congratulations Julia, Brendan and the Josie Bones team! Well played Mitch and Five Bar, well played.
Scores are level, the fight continues …
Thank you to Five Bar, Beersine and Josies Bones for another fantastic event! I feel privileged to be able to say I’ve been to both East versus West events this year and they have been great experiences in showcasing some fine beers and creative dishes. Bring on 2014!
Thank you also to Andy Mac at Five Bar and Mitch at Beersine for inviting me along. It’s always nice to go back to your old bar and feel like you’ve come home for a visit.