Beer and cheese are two of my favourite things – stupidly delicious with a huge arrays of flavours and just so damn good together. Just like my beer journey, exploring cheese and beer pairings never ends and is, first and foremost, a lot of fun.
Beer and cheese are two of my favourite things – stupidly delicious with a huge arrays of flavours and they’re just so damn good together. Just like my beer journey, exploring cheese and beer pairings never ends and is first and foremost a lot of fun.
The Beer …
Sierra Nevada Autumn Tumbler 2013 – sweet malt, brown sugar, chocolate and roasty with low hop bitterness
The Cheese …
Maffra Mature Cheddar – fruity, slightly tangy, nutty and coats the tongue nicely. Aged for 8-12 months and made in Victoria.
The malts from the tumbler mingled happily with the nuttiness in the cheese, even bringing it out a little more as if it was shy to begin with. Being a more malt driven beer with low hop bitterness, the fruitiness in the cheese was able to shine through and go nicely with the beers sweet malt/brown sugar flavour.
There’s also a nice contrast between the cheddars tangy quality against the roasty flavours in the beer.
A Silly Analogy to sum things up …
Like a boxing match between two even opponents, both the beer and cheese bought some tasty punches to the ring – where beer punched with malt, cheese countered with fruitiness – but neither knocked the other out.
Should you try this at home?
For sure! As long as you can find some Sierra Nevada Autumn Tumbler 2013 still kicking around. Maffra cheddar is supplied by Blue Cow Cheese Company and shouldn’t be too hard to stumble across if you hit your local store that has a decent cheese selection.
I get stuck when people ask me what my favourite beer is, it’s a super tough question because it changes constantly depending on mood and how much time the other person has whilst I mentally flick through beers I have enjoyed – of which there are many, a tribute to both how many great brewers are out there and how dedicated I am to my hobby.
So when faced with this time of year – voting in the Hottest 100 Australian Craft Beers – I had two options:
I treat it like a round of “fast money” on a game show, run with gut instinct and pick the first 5 beers that come to mind.
Sit down. Dedicate however long it takes to go through the beers I’ve sipped, gulped and loved in the past twelve months. Score them based on drinkability, creativity and style. Then of course I’d have to decide how many spots I give to regularly brewed beers and how many to once-off/limited release beers – then I’d have to question myself as to whether it really matters if the beer is a regular or seasonal, after all it’s a poll of the best beers of the year, not of the sub-category of core beers versus limited release beers versus collaboration brews. Then I’d have to …
… and I think you see where I am going here. Option 2 ends in me sitting on the floor beside the refrigerator, faced pressed to the cooling aluminium, rocking back and forth holding crumpled pieces of paper and muttering about Vic Secret hops, wheat malt and wild yeast.
So sensibly I chose to take the path of Option 1 and came up with this list, the first five beers that came to mind, that made me think magic was real.
Feral Hop Hog – Consistency terrific, hits the spot and it’s the Aussie IPA that you hold the others up to.
Nail Clout Stout – So much hype around this beer, how could it possibly live up to it all? Well that’s easy, it does it by being truly awesome.
Moon Dog / Nogne O Selvmordstokt – My favourite beer from this years Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, genuinely interesting and beautifully balanced, teasing you to peel back the layers.
4 Pines ESB – I had the first, loved it. I got another. Loved that too. It reminded me of when I feel in love with IPAs, this beer reminded me how amazing ESBs can be.
Stone & Wood Pacific Ale – I still get child-like excited when I see this beer, it’s almost irresistible.
Inevitability there are some amazing beers I could have spent hours considering, fitting them into the final list including Brew Cult Acid Freaks, Mountain Goat Hightail, Boatrocker Ramjet, Colonial Small Ale, Eagle Bay / Mane Liquor Saisonnay, The Monk Chief, The Monkn Bounty, Two Birds Taco …
The poll is proudly supported by The Crafty Pint and Australian Brews News, click here for the info.
Voting closes on 16th January and there’s a chance win some beer too!
Five quick questions with Cheeky Monkey’s new head brewer – Alex Poulsen
Recently I’ve done a couple of interviews with some of the great brewers from the south west and at the end, just for the fun of it, I’ve thrown five quick fire questions at them. The results have been funny, interesting and definitely worth sharing so I thought perhaps it’s something I could turn into a regular thing.
So here’s 5 minutes with Alex Poulsen, head brewer at Cheeky Monkey who I recently interviewed, alongside new assistant brewer Ross, for the Crafty Pint. If you’re so inclined you can find the article here.
Favourite album to play in the brewhouse?
I don’t really listen to albums in the brew house. We listen to a lot of heavy metal (Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden etc), East Coast Hip Hop (Immortal Technique, Jedi Mind Tricks) and Australian alternative (Karnivool, Dead Letter Circus etc) on Pandora.
Finish this sentence: The WA craft beer scene needs more …
… bars and restaurants behind it. It’s definitely changing for the better but there’s nothing more frustrating then seeing an in depth and well thought out wine/spirit/cocktail list and a relatively bland list of bottles/taps.
Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed?
Oh man, this is a tough question. Probably Stone & Wood Pacific Ale or [Feral Brewing] Hop Hog.
Dessert or cheese?
Can I say both? [of course you can Alex!]
What beer are you drinking right now?
It’s 9AM so coffee is the name of the game. I had a Garage Project Death from Above last night. It’s such an awesome beer.
The next five minutes will be with Ross Terlick, new assistant brewer at Cheeky Monkey and includes an awesome beer and cheese pairing!
The Liebster Award is an award given from one blogger to another, a way of saying – “Hey, you with the obsessive photo taking and wordpress account, I just love what you’re doing!”
I get pretty happy whenever I get a notification on my blog that someone has liked or commented on a post. I love talking to people about beer, it’s a big reason behind why I started girl+beer in the first place so when conversation happens, when I get to talk with people through my blog or other social media related shenanigans it gets me all excited!
Then one day a week or so ago, I got doubley excited – I had a comment on my blog from a fellow blogger, the Travelling Corkscrew who, aside from having a fun name and a great blog herself, nominated little ol’ beer swilling, hop loving, malt adoring, me for a Liebster Award.
You might be thinking, ‘gee that’s very nice but what on earth is a Liebster Award?’ and it’s a fair question, I didn’t know what one was until very recently either.
The Liebster Award is an award given from one blogger to another, a way of saying –
“Hey, you with the obsessive photo taking and wordpress account, I just love what you’re doing!”
Thank you very much to Casey aka Travelling Corkscrew! Thank you for nominating girl+beer and, more importantly, for reading. Knowing that my readership extends beyond beloved beer nerds (and immediate family) puts a big smile on my face, making great craft beer accessible is something I am pretty passionate about.
I’d definitely recommend checking out the Travelling Corkscrew and following her wine-hopping Swan Valley adventures. Like me, she is lucky enough to be living in one of the most beautiful and bountiful parts of WA.
As part of the award, Casey asked me a few questions – here goes!
If you could drink only one beverage for the rest of your life what would you choose?
My heart and palate say “beer”, my liver says “water, you fool!”
What’s your favourite spot in perth for an evening drink?
The beach on a nice still night
Which social media channel could you not live without?
Facebook, I’ve got so many photos and memories there
What is your favourite blog post that you’ve writteN?
One called The article I would have liked to have seen prompted after reading a beer article in The Sunday Times that, in my opinion missed the point of WA craft beer. Rather than get all ranty/angry and post a list of things I didn’t like, which isn’t really my style, I just wrote my own version.
If you were stranded on a desert island, what 2 items would you take?
Call me a smart ass but I’m still going to have to say it – I’d take a boat and a radio. Of course I don’t know how to start/drive/stop a boat but let’s not let that fact get in the way.
Where is your favourite place in the world?
With loved ones, doesn’t matter where. Oh and Italy is awesome too.
What’s your best diet tip?
Don’t. Everything in moderation and do what your body tells you.
who/what is your blogging muse?
Beer and my partner, he is a driving force and a boat load of positive energy for me.
What’s your favourite movie and TV show?
I’m a Die Hard kinda girl and favourite show would have a four way tie between Friends, Frasier, 30 Rock and Arrested Development.
Share your favouite blog photo you have posted …
Like any good beer, the Liebster Award is designed to be shared around and so I nominate these blogs with a hearty “cheers!” and a gulp of Mountain Goat IPA (as that’s what I’m drinking right about now) …
250 Beers … a Brisbane beer blog that’s not only alliteratively pleasing but a great read about beer, what’s happening in Bris-vegas and the best advent calendar you’ve ever seen.
Ale of a Time … another fab name and, you guessed it, another great beer blog. You’ll notice a theme going here now, I tend to read a lot of beer relate things. Hailing from Melbourne, Ale of a Time has now also hit the airwaves with a podcast. Yay!
Beer Bar Band … more wonderful alliteration but also throw in some tunes and a lot of running, reminding me that I really need to start again. Great reviews, insights and a lot of fun..
Congratulations to my fellow bloggers!
For the bloggers mentioned above, here is how it works:
The rules… (may vary from blogger to blogger) So once you get this award:
Thank your Liebster Award presenter on your blog
Add the link of the award presenter’s blog who awarded you
Post the award on your blog
Answer the questions given to you by the award presenter
Present the Liebster Award to 5-10 bloggers that you enjoy
These blogs should have less than 200 followers
Create 10 questions for your awardees to answer
Notify the awardees by leaving a comment on their blog
Please link us back when you post! We would love to read your answers!
And here are your questions from me:
1. What is the most recent meal you’ve cooked?
2. Favourite place to enjoy a beer?
3. Where is your next holiday planned?
4. Favourite blog post you’ve written?
5. Favourite photo you’ve taken for your blog?
6. Finish this sentence – the Australian craft beer industry needs more …
7. Best beer you’ve had this month?
8. What were some alternative blog names?
9. Cheese or dessert?
10. As you are writing this what are you eating / drinking?
What’s your favourite snack with beer? Yup, it’s another #temptingtuesday blog post folks!
What the heck is #temptingtuesday I hear you say? (well, in my head you do). It’s combining my love affair with Twitter, the fun of chatting with great people and my eternal affection for beer. The mechanics are simple, just like its author, where on the first Tuesday of each month I ask the big wide Twitterverse a beer related question. I get inspired and blog the results.
Being as it’s December and the count down to Christmas is now on, though something I am ignoring like an ostrich, my first instinct was to ask a #temptingtuesday question relating to Christmas. So I posted this on Facebook and Twitter:
Then I realised it was maybe a little predictable and if I hadn’t thought that far ahead, cause I’m just not that organsied, then perhaps other people were in the same boat and this question would result in very few answers. So I changed my mind and asked this instead:
The results were drool-worthy and have me on the look out for celery salt. It was also good to know there are a lot of cheese-obsessed people like me out there in the world.
Another blog I enjoy is Ale of a Time by Luke Robertson who is based in Melbourne and a regular contributor to Australian Brews News.
Luke aka @AleOfATime and Dave aka @MelbDave have recently started a podcast named after Luke’s blog. The first episode – Frothing at the Bit – introduces us to our wonderful hosts and they talk about beer blogs, grey imports and a few beers they’ve enjoyed. It’s a good first episode, not just because they say nice things about my blog (aw, shucks guys, thanks!) but because it’s fun and interesting chat about beer, something I love.
I do a lot of driving in my job so I am always looking for good podcasts especially since between Triple J gives me the shits between 12 – 3pm. I’ve been listening to RadioLab, some TED Talks and one beer podcast from the US called Beer Geek Radio.
I’ve listened to one or two other American beer podcasts and they’re way too blokey for me with too many references to someone being smashed/constantly drunk. Boring and oh-so-frat party. No, thanks.
Give me conversation, give me good beers and give me something Aussie – oh hello, Ale of a Time!
Episode 1 of Ale of a Time got me thinking about why I started my blog. Luke makes the comment that if you’re going to write a blog it’s best not to expect anyone to read it. Whilst at first those words sound a little pessimistic, implying that blogging is an exercise in futility, it’s actually very sound advice.
I never properly entertained the thought that anyone would read my blog, after all why should they? The internet is a world full of incredible information, endless education and lots of amusing videos of cats chasing laser pointers and riding automatic vacuum cleaners that look like giant hockey pucks.
I started girl+beer because I love beer, because I had left the world of bars and pubs and I missed talking with people about beer. I also missed learning about beer; when you’re constantly updating a beer list of 70+ bottles you are more inclined to be up to date on new releases, fun things brewers are trying or how your old favourite breweries are expanding and getting closer to world domination. Writing girl+beer encourages me to research, read, ask questions and seek out new beers.
The unexpected goodness from girl+beer has been people, even those outside of immediate family, actually reading and enjoying my ramblings. I’ve met more people who share my passion and want to talk about beer, some I only know in the Twitterverse and other’s I’ve met in person but all have involved some big laughs and great conversation.
So if you’re thinking about starting a beer blog, I say go for it. Stop thinking. Do it and do it your way, in your own voice. Oh and have fun …
Recently I had a week off work, a mini-holiday, and it seemed the perfect time to get a little creative in the kitchen and try my hand at pasta. Me being me I wanted to include beer in the mix …
I’ve been meaning to try and make pasta for a while but then I see half price fresh pasta on sale at [insert giant supermarket chain here] and I end up buying a few packets cause it’s cheap and convenient. Recently I had a week off work, a mini-holiday, and it seemed the perfect time to get a little creative in the kitchen and try my hand at pasta. Me being me I wanted to include beer in the mix so I went straight for The Beeroness website and found Jackie’s recipe for Homemade Beer Pasta. Jackie’s recipe calls for wheat beer but since I was already drinking a Coopers Sparkling Ale that’s what went in!
2 cups plain flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup wheat beer
I mixed all ingredients together in a large bowl until I had a nice elastic dough which was then left to rest for half an hour. In this time you can make whatever mix you would like for your ravioli, I decided on a mushroom, chive and goat’s cheese filling –
300g button mushrooms, finely diced
Handful fresh garlic chives
2 tablespoons goat’s cheese
Put olive oil into pan and add mushrooms, leave to slowly cook on low heat, stirring occasionally. Add white pepper when about half way cooked through. When mushrooms are cooked place in bowl and mix in chives and cheese.
Back to the pasta – cut the dough into 4 – 6 manageable pieces, start with one and leave the others in a bowl with a damp teatowel over the top to stop the dough from drying out. Rolled the piece of dough into a flat and roughly rectangular (and I do mean “roughly”) shape about 2mm thick. If you have a pasta roller this will probably be a lot easier and quicker than a rolling pin but if not, a rolling pin will still get the job done. Place heaped teaspoons of your filling and lay it out evenly on the pasta, be sure to give yourself enough space to cut into ravioli.
Next you want to roll out a second piece of pasta, hopefully of similar size and shape to the first and place it over the top. This can be a little tricky, you want to try and get it right the first time as it’s kinda like when you put contact paper on your school books as a kid, if you peel back a section to start again it ends up a little sticky and not quite right!
Squish the two pasta layers together whilst getting rid of any of the pesky air pockets that have probably formed. Use a pastry brush to lightly moisten the pasta around the filling (i.e. not on the lumps) then take a sharp knife or pizza cutter to cut out the ravioli squares. The water should help you squish the layers together so your ravioli stays together.
Toss into salted boiling water and ta-DA now you have fresh homemade ravioli!
And now that you’re an expert on homemade ravioli you can play with different fillings –
When sitting down to watch the big 50th Doctor Who anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor I was keen to find a beer match for my Doctor-ing adventures.
I really like Doctor Who; I like it a little less when there are weeping angels involved but generally speaking it makes me almost as happy as beer does. When sitting down to watch the big 50th Doctor Who anniversary episode The Day of the Doctor I was keen to find a beer match for my Doctor-ing adventures.
Initially I was going to open Yeastie Boys Rex Attitude on the grounds that the beer was going to be full of big, unapologetic flavours, exhibiting a TARDIS like ‘bigger on the inside’ sort of vibe.
Instead I went for a Moon Dog/Nogne Selvmordstokt – a wheat porter with cherry sour wine. So what makes the beer and The Day of the Doctor go together so well?
The beer is a collaboration brew … the episode features three Doctors working together, does it get more collaborative than 3 Time Lords? I doubt it.
The beer combines three elements – wheat, porter and cherry sour wine .. remember, three Doctors.
One of the breweries involved is Moon Dog … moon = space, dog = K9 … it was meant to be!
Even the name of the beer “Selvormordstokt”sounds like a far away planet, doesn’t it?!?
As for the beer itself, it’s fantastic (said in my best Christopher Eccleston voice) with an aroma of cherries in brandy and flavours of black cherry, chocolate, a little coconut and a soft sour kiss on the end. An ideal sipping beer to have whilst pretending Time Lords are real and many things are be bigger and more interesting on the inside.
It’s kinda like damper or soda bread; the result is a crumbly hard crust with a soft, dense middle. It’s super tasty and great with a slathering of butter or a dab of beer bacon jam!
I’ve been loving the recipes and fun of The Beeroness for a while now so it’s probably unsurprisingly that one of my most recent purchases was a book from the Beeroness herself, Jackie Dodd –The Craft Beer Cook Book by Jackie Dodd. Packed full of great recipes, I’m sure the pages of this book will end up dog-eared and sauce stained in no time!
The first recipe I went for was the Beer Bread – it’s no yeast, no resting time and no fuss! It’s kinda like damper or soda bread; the result is a crumbly hard crust with a soft, dense middle. It’s super tasty and great with a slathering of butter or a dab of beer bacon jam!
Here’s what you’ll need …
3 cups plain flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups wheat beer
4 tablespoons melted butter (for mix)
2 tablespoons melted butter (for topping just before baking)
The only wheat beer I had in the fridge was from Norwegian brewers Hanndbryggeriet, their Bavarian Weizen, so in that went and the remainder in my glass (any excuse to open a beer!) It’s a very lovely wheat beer minus the big sweet banana character sometimes found with the style, instead it’s spicy, citrusy with hints of white pepper.
To make the bread you want to mix all your dry ingredients together then add beer and butter. Combine ingredients well – this may require you to get your hands in there! Throw the dough into a lightly oiled loaf pan and top with last bit of butter. Bake at 190C for 30-40 minutes (depending on how temperamental your oven is) or until golden brown.
I also put a pan of water, about 2 cups, at the bottom of the oven as it’s something I’ve found suggested in a lot of bread recipes. Even in recipes that do not call for it, it has, for me, resulted in a softer and more evenly baked bread.
My only other advice would to be make two batches, it’s likely to be devoured quickly!
From here you can also make your own additions, get a little wild and crazy!
For my rosemary and garlic beer bread I simply added:
Both turned out lovely, the cayenne pepper was just enough to know it was there but not enough to turn you into an eye-watering, red-faced lunatic.
Next time I think I’ll try cheese and paprika!
On a side note, I used Coopers Sparkling for both these breads and I reckon it contributed to a slightly softer bread with more rise to it – thank you yeast! Of course I’m speculating and could be wrong but it just means I have to make more bread and experiment with different beers. All in the name of science of course.