Sierra Nevada + Cheddar

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.

Maffra Cheddar

Together …

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.

Hottest 100

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:

Option 1:

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.

Option 2:

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.

My Hottest Aussie Beers of the Year
My Hottest Aussie Beers of the Year

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.

Hottest 100 - 2013

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!

5 Minutes with Ross from Cheeky Monkey

Five quick questions with Cheeky Monkey’s new assistant brewer – Ross Terlick

5 minutes, 5 quick questions, get to know your local brewer better!

Here’s 5 minutes with Ross Terlick, newly appointed assistant brewer at Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery

L: Alex, head brewer R: Ross, assistant brewer At Cheeky Monkey Brewhouse
L: Alex, head brewer
R: Ross, assistant brewer
At Cheeky Monkey Brewhouse
Finish this sentence : The WA craft beer scene needs more …

… excise relief.  Make it cheaper for us to make and we can charge less for it, making it more accessible for people and we can continue to grow the industry.

Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed?

Moon Dog Great American Challenge.  First beer I tried with Brettanomyces and I absolutely loved it.

What beer did you have last night?

Last night I was drinking home brewed Rye Pale Ale

Best beer for drinking at a BBQ?

While cooking the BBQ a nice crisp, bitter Pilsener. While eating a robust, hoppy IPA.

Favourite beer and cheese pairing?

I’ll go for the old chestnut of Imperial Stout and blue cheese.

That's one big hunk of stinky Stilton!
That’s one big hunk of stinky Stilton!

 

Thanks Ross! Don’t forget to check out the article, ‘Hey, We’re The Monkeys’ at Crafty Pint about Alex and Ross and their future plans for Cheeky Monkey!

Next up will be the boys from Colonial Brewing and the 5 quick questions I put to them after my interview for another Crafty Pint article, coming soon!

5 Minutes with Alex from Cheeky Monkey

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.

Alex and Ross at Cheeky Monkey, December 2013
Alex and Ross at Cheeky Monkey, December 2013

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.

Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery

The next five minutes will be with Ross Terlick, new assistant brewer at Cheeky Monkey and includes an awesome beer and cheese pairing!

girl + Liebster Award

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.

Ravello, Italy, 2010
Ravello, Italy, 2010

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 …

Hops – Cowaramup Brewing, February 2013

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.

Beer is Your Friend … the truth is in the name, beer IS your friend, and this blog is too.

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!

Drunken Speculation … no pulling punches and a lot of humour and beer, my kinda reading.

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?

#temptingtuesday – December

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:

DecemberThen 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:

December 2

December 3

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.

beer snacks

Beer + Podcast

I’m sure it will be unsurprisingly to learn that my regular reading materials consist largely of beer related websites such as:

  • The Beeroness – I’m sure you’ve noticed my growing love affair Jackie’s recipes
  • Craft Beer – ‘celebrating the best of American beer’, good feature articles
  • Two Brewers Abroad – Steve and Stef from Perth are brewing, drinking and learning their way around the States, lucky bastards, sometimes I have to stop reading cause I get too jealous!
  • Draft Magazine
  • and of course compulsory Aussie craft beer reading – The Crafty Pint & Australian Brews News

There’s also a handful of fellow beer blogs who I have bookmarked:

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.

Tasting Tray and Beer List
Seeking new beers at GABS 2013 in Melbourne

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 …

Here's me looking pretty damn happy with myself at the South West Craft Beer Festival earlier this year
Here’s me looking pretty damn happy with myself at the South West Craft Beer Festival earlier this year