Sorachi Ace + Linguine

I can’t remember the first time I fell in love with Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace, I can’t recall where I was or who gave it to me but I remember thinking “wow”

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

Brewed in New York by Brooklyn Brewery

Farmhouse Saison

7.6% ABV

34 IBUs

Malt: German Two Row Pilsner

Hops: Sorachi Ace, grown in Washington, USA

I can’t remember the first time I fell in love with Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace, I can’t recall where I was or who gave it to me but I remember thinking “wow”. I still think “wow” each time I have it, like at The Big Apple & The Goat event during last years Good Beer Week where it was matched to Red Square washed rind cheese.

Sorachi Ace Hops: developed in Japan in late 70s | cross between Brewer’s Gold & Saaz hops | available in the US only since 2006

My partner and I opened a bottle over dinner recently and once again it was every bit as good as we remembered. The mouth feel was soft in a way that reminded me of eating fairy floss, the way it dissolves on your tongue. The trademark Sorachi Ace lemon flavours shine through both aroma and flavour, complimented by bubblegum, spice, pears, grass, bread and even a little white pepper.

Dinner was a prawn and chilli linguine, a dish I wouldn’t have picked to go with this beer but turned out to be a surprisingly good match. The beer somehow tamed the heat of the chilli, the delicate bubbles cleansing and soothing the palate, the strong lemony contrasting the heat and also complimenting the prawns.

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace with Prawn and Chilli Linguine

Want more to read? Hell yeah! I enjoyed these:

  • Brooklyn Brewery’s website for the story behind Sorachi Ace, the nerdy beer specs and tasty food pairing suggestions. There’s even an omelette recipe for you to try!
  • Brooklyn Brewshop – Sorachi Ace “Hop of the Month”
  • The Beer Cook – an old post but a good one, it’s a small journey through a few Brooklyn beers with some delicious sounding food to match

GABS Edition: 5 Minutes with Craig from The Monk

5 minutes, 5 questions with Craig Eulenstein, brewer at The Monk in Fremantle, talking all things GABS!

Good Beer Week is fast approaching! 10 days of epic adventuring through Melbourne with beer as your guide, what more could you want?

This years GABS will be 23-25 May at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, Melbourne.

One of the many, many, many events on the GBW calendar is the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS for short (and much easier communication after many beers). It’s a celebration of brewing creativity  and at it’s heart are the “festival beers” – beers brewed especially for and launched during the festival. The result is 115 beers that are totally unique and available for very first time.

Even more at GABS … The marketplace with even more beer, live music, plenty of food and craft beer college

One of these “festival beers” will be from Fremantle’s The Monk Brewery + Kitchen where Craig Eulenstein, previously of Mountain Goat, is brewing his first GABS beer as a head brewer.

So it’s time to spend 5 minutes/5 questions with Craig to talk all things GABS!

Craig at The Monk

What is so exciting about GABS?

For me GABS is a great way to break into the brewing industry as an individual, not just as a member of a brewing team. It is a chance to build up a reputation and release a beer with my name on it… providing people like it of course!!!

What beer are you brewing for GABS and what was the inspiration for it?

It’s a secret till GABS!! Buuuut…. It’s a Belgian Black IPA, the idea came from sampling a few over dinner one night. I really like Black IPA but the extra twist that Belgian yeast gives the beer really tiggled my fancy and I thought “I reckon I could do that!”

What will be the trickiest part of the brew?

Balancing Yeast ester with hop profile, don’t want one to outweigh the other!

Favourite beer from last year’s GABS, and why?

I actually didn’t make it to last years GABS, I was too busy working for The Man… but given that “The Man” was in fact a big hairy Mountain Goat I guess its ok.

Who’s beer are you most keen to try this year, and why?

I’m not too sure really, all of them! I will certainly be keeping an eye on my usual favourites, Feral/Goat/Cavalier/Mash/Bridge Road… just to name a few!

girl + Colonial’s Gazza

Gazza is made with all Australian malts and hops resulting in one very smooth Aussie. A background of fresh stone fruit with a layer of toast and borderline creamy finish. Tasty as hell and a cheeky and unexpected 6.3% ABV.

Yep, you’re looking at a thong stuck to a beer tap.

Why? Well, why the heck not?! It marks Colonial Brewing’s new Australian India Pale Ale “Gazza”.

English IPA: English hops, malt & yeast giving a moderately strong pale ale. Less hop and more malt flavours than American IPAs

American IPA: US hops, malt & yeast giving big hoppy and bitter beer.

Source: 2004 BJCP Style Guidelines

We are all pretty well versed in the English and American IPAs, officially recognised BJCP styles, but what is the profile of an Australian IPA? That’s probably a good start to a debate but let’s take a look at Gazza.

Gazza is made with all Australian malts and hops resulting in one very smooth Aussie. A background of fresh stone fruit with layers of toast, melon and grass with a borderline creamy finish. Tasty as hell with a cheeky and unexpected 6.3% ABV.

For Colonial brewer Paul Wyman Gazza is a great mix of an English and an American IPA,

Gazza’s Malts: Pale, wheat, Munich, crystal, dark crystal & a bit of choc

Gazza’s Hops: Cluster, Helga, Summer, Galaxy, Vic Secret

“That’s what I wanted because Australia clearly colonised from the English but now getting lots of influence from the American IPAs”

L: Paul Wyman M: Justin Fox R: Richard Moroney
L: Paul Wyman
M: Justin Fox
R: Richard Moroney

But the most important element about Gazza is that it showcases the high quality malts and hops we are lucky enough to have growing in Australia.

“Not everything is all about crazy beers from America & Europe. When it comes to IPAs fresh is best so drink local”

The drink local, drink fresh approach to hoppy beers is being echoed more and more. I’ve always known this, fresh is best when it comes to hops, but the burden of the beer nerd is over excitement when spotting beers from infamous US craft breweries like Stone, Rogue or Deschutes. You fill your arms with as many as you can carry, take your imports home, open, pour and enjoy. Then you sit down with something local like Gazza or perhaps Feral Hop Hog or Bootleg Speakeasy and that whack of fresh hops taste better than any American hop giant ever could after a journey over the oceans.

Gazza, you’re bloody beautiful and I’ll finish with the write up from the brewers at Colonial themselves …

Sitting smack back in the middle between a deep copper sunset and Ayers rock in colour, Gazza couldn’t look more Australian. The brew stands up with a fistful of Australian hop aroma, full of floral and grassy punch over background notes of melon and pineapple. The nose is backed up with a hearty malt palate showing sweet, nutty and toffee characteristics. The bitterness is mouth coating, just like any good IPA should be, and it lingers on the mid palate which is crisp and dry. All in All, the beer is a lovely balance of malt sweetness and Australian hops, best enjoyed in thongs!
Colonial Growlers, a gift from Paul Wyman cause he's a good good man. Thanks Paul!
Colonial Growlers, a gift from Paul Wyman cause he’s a good good man. Thanks Paul!

 

 

My Everest Beer

Watermelon Warhead became what I like to call my “Everest beer”, a beer that sounded so grand but had remained out of my reach …

Feral’s Watermelon Warhead, a German style sour wheat beer infused with local watermelon, was released for the 2012 Great Australasian Beer Spectapular. It took fourth place in The Critics Choice Top 100 that same year with editor Pete Mitcham describing it as:

Possibly the most insanely marvellous beer to hit the scene since the discovery of yeast, this is all that a good beer should be – and less. Full of flavour, complexity and thirst-quenching satisfaction, but with little more alcohol than a Seventh Day Adventist Church picnic. The beer to have when you’d like just one more.

The Critics Choice Australia’s Best Beers 2012

I did not get to try this beer in 2012. In March 2013 I was at The Sail & Anchor during their Feral tap takeover only to find Watermelon Warhead wasn’t being tapped until the following day. Later in the year I ordered Watermelon Warhead when visiting the brewery but the kegs were dry. 2013 passed by Watermelon Warhead-free.

Many of my friends have tried it and loved it, raved about it and flaunted their drinking of it on various social media platforms. Each check in on Untappd just added more salt to my sour beer wound.

This is how Watermelon Warhead became what I like to call my “Everest beer”, a beer that sounded so grand but had remained out of my reach*

*of course living 200km from Perth didn’t really help either

Image from Feral Brewing website
Image from Feral Brewing website

Then, one day, one very unexpected day, I found it.

Last weekend I walked into Clancy’s Fish Pub City Beach where we were having lunch with my partner’s family and saw this –

Clancy's City Beach - so good to see a list of beers more prominent than food specials :P

I ordered a pint with much delight. It arrived on the table and I almost went for a swim as I nose-dived into the glass for a big ol’ whiff.

It does what is says on the box/decal. Most certainly takes me back to primary school days and getting Warheads from the corner shop before netball practice, which incidentally isn’t the best way to prepare for any form of sport.

It’s the sourness that is tangy and fruity, not sharp and cold, that I really enjoyed. The watermelon flavour is hard to ignore and why would you? It’s soft and fresh and is well balanced against the sourness, throw in that crisp apple flavour and I’m sold!

It was a beer I had been waiting so long to try, had built up in my head (and palate) so much, and it made me a very happy girl. I loved the clean and refreshing flavours, the perfect balance of sour versus fruit, the low 2.9% ABV and I can’t wait to have it again.

Food!
Fried mice … a Clancy’s must have, Crispy fried squid tentacles, Tiger prawns and mango salad, Three beef sliders, Piri piri spiced baby octopus and Fish of the day
View from our table at Clancy's City Beach
View from our table at Clancy’s City Beach

girl + rum

My partner recently hosted a rum tasting but beforehand he did a trial run at home with me for an audience. Just me and seven rums – not a bad way to finish a work day!

Rum? Yep. RUM!

My partner recently hosted a rum tasting but beforehand he did a trial run at home with me for an audience. Just me and seven rums – not a bad way to finish a work day.

He took me through the different rums via English, Spanish and French distilling history. I made Captain Jack Sparrow jokes that were less than helpful. He told me great stories of piracy, slave trading, barrel-aging and blending. For an ex-whisky ambassador he sure knows a lot about rum too!

image
A line up of rum

My rum knowledge is pretty limited so it was interesting to sit down to a tasting where my mind and palate weren’t cluttered by my own expectations of what I should or shouldn’t be tasting. The variations from rum to rum were incredible and not unlike beer in terms of range and depth of flavour.

The Rum: Goslings Black Seal

Like sipping a Christmas cake, full of spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. When I revisited my empty glass the aromas were more like burnt sugar, giving you the sense you’d left the Christmas cake in the oven for too long. Perhaps something like a Sierra Nevada Big Foot with it’s port, raisin and spicy fruit cake flavours could match up nicely.

The Rum: English Harbour

English Harbour is one of my partner’s favourite rums. I liked the soft yet assertive flavours with honey and spice. It was probably the more subtle pick of the bunch but still packed plenty of flavour. In a way it made me think of a Kolsch, a delicate beer that is still full flavoured and complex.

 

Rum, rum and more rum

 

The Rum: Clement Creole Shrubb & Clement VSOP

These two Clement rum represented the French part of this rum journey. The Clement VSOP (very special old pale) was a funny combination of apples, smoke and cured meat. It reminded me of the first time I tried Schlenkerla Marzen, finding those meaty flavours in a beer was very strange but in a really good way.

The other Clement was a liqueur called Creole Shrubb made with orange peel and there’s no mistaking the orange. From the first sniff I exclaimed “jaffas!” with child-like delight. It’s super smooth and delicate and not too sweet.

The Rum: Matusalem 15 and 23 year old

The effect of aging was no better shown than with the 15 and 23 year old Matusalem rums from the Dominican Republic. I think these two were my favourites, the 15 yo gave familiar honey and spice flavours but it was the dried apple aromas that I particularly enjoyed.

Stepping things up to the 23 year old added a richness that reminded me of a fresh tray of Anzac biscuits, albeit some very boozy ones. I love that aroma of Anzac biscuits in beers too, I’ve gotten it from beers like Garage Project Red Rocks Reserve and Sierra Nevada Southern Hemisphere Harvest 2013.

 

 

GABS Edition! 5 Minutes with Justin & Paul from Colonial Brewing

5 minutes / 5 Questions with the brewers at Colonial Brewing, talking all things GABS!

Good Beer Week is fast approaching! 10 days of epic adventuring through Melbourne with beer as your guide, what more could you want?

This years GABS will be 23-25 May at the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, MelbourneOne of the many, many, many events on the GBW calendar is the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS for short (and much easier communication after many beers). It’s a celebration of brewing creativity  and at it’s heart are the “festival beers” – beers brewed especially for and launched during the festival. The result is 115 beers that are totally unique and available for very first time.

Even more at GABS … The marketplace with even more beer, live music, plenty of food and craft beer college

Now we turn the spotlight on two of my favourite beer people – Justin Fox and Paul Wyman, brewers at Colonial Brewing in Margaret River, to tell you about their GABS beer – Gary Lives On, a musk saison – a beer that has had a life all of it’s own …

GABS 2013 gave us Gary the White but where has Gary been all this time? He returns in 2014 in Gary Lives On
GABS 2013 gave us Gary the White but where has Gary been all this time? He returns in 2014 in Gary Lives On

What is so exciting about GABS?

Paul: What is not exciting about GABS? The fact that you have pretty much every brewery in Australia and the top brewieres from NZ and the world now all brewing a one of beer that you have never ever done before, seen before or even thought of before. Just to blow the palates and minds of the average punter who still thinks beer is just beer…wrong! Beer is so much more, means so much more and is an artistic expression of a passion and love that brewers have for their beers.

Justin: Paul was spot on, there is nothing not to like. The idea of introducing your lips to over 100 new beers appeals to the brewers as much as it does the beer geeks. GABS lets you taste flavoUr combinations you didn’t think possible, styles you have always wanted to brew, and interpretations that open up new doors… It’s a 2 session minimum event.

What beer are you brewing for GABS and what was the inspiration for it?

Paul: I will leave it to Justin to tell the story, he is a lot more romantic than me.

Justin: An occasion such as GABS is just the right time for us to bring back our old friend Gary (Did he ever really leave??).

[girl+beer: from here, we’ll let the pictures tell the story of Gary, the musk saison] …

CLG3558_GaryLeBron_Web_3 CLG3558_GaryLeBron_Web_2 CLG3558_GaryLeBron_Web_1

What will be the trickiest part of the brew?

Paul: I think the use of the candy Musk, these will posses very simple sugars that the yeast will love. Therefore trying to keep the taste, flavours and alcohol percentage under control will be the challenge. Plus getting the right amount of Musk flavour and aroma without being too over the top and still showcasing a well made Saison. 

Justin: Wow Paul is a wise man, the balance is the trickiest part of this brew as it is just about all brews. Showcasing an ingredient like Musk without forcing it down people’s throats is our goal.

Gary Le Bron
2014 is looking a little pink

Favourite beer from last year’s GABS, and why?

Paul: From last year I was impressed with the complexity of Two Birds Taco Beer. Plus surprise surprise Feral was up there with their Barrel Fermented Black IPA – Barrique O Karma. I think it is just awesome that so many beers released at GABS have become core range for some of the breweries now.

Justin: From memory I put Mountain Goat, Two Birds, True South and Feral all on the list. They were all very well constructed beers that gave a hint of something new but maintained that old favourite hype word – sessionability.

Who’s beer are you most keen to try this year, and why?

Paul: Ummm all of them! Just want to taste and try what inspired each brewer to brew what they did. Stand out’s though will be the crazy brewer’s from around Australia like Bacchus from QLD, Doctors Orders from NSW and Moon Dog from VIC and of course anything from WA.

Justin: Considering we plan to spend three sessions at GABS, the full list is well within reach. The thing I like about GABS and Beer in general, is the only real way to decide if a beer is good is to drink it! Beyond all the clever names and tempting tasting notes, you really have to have a few swigs of it all to decide what you like best!

For a full list of beers at this years GABS, click here

Keep up to date with all of Colonial’s GABS shenanigans by liking them on Facebook (cause they like you too!) and stalking them on Twitter

girl + Phoenix Beers Showroom

The words “beers showroom” are enough to turn my mouth a little dry so walking into the Phoenix Beers Showroom in Morley turned me into a very thirsty gal.

Don’t you just love finding new beery places?

The words “beers showroom” are enough to turn my mouth a little dry so walking into the Phoenix Beers Showroom in Morley turned me into a very thirsty gal.

I know the Phoenix Beers Showroom isn’t exactly new, it’s had it’s doors open for a while but this was my first visit so it was all new to me and besides, better late than never don’t they say?!

The showroom is related to the company Phoenix Beers who are importers and distributors of beloved beers from all over the globe. They bring us beer from Weihenstephan, Sierra Nevada, Yeastie Boys, Rogue, St Bernardus and many, many more. Their portfolio was pretty much my bible when I was designing the beer menu at Five Bar back when I was assistant manager. Some of my favourite meetings were with my Phoenix Beers rep.

The showroom is located near the Galleria Morley shopping centre, around the corner from what I believe is the Mrs Mac’s factory which provides a truck-stop like aroma whilst you shop, maybe that’s your bag, maybe not but at least you can follow your nose to beer heaven.

IMG_20140412_103749 IMG_20140412_103813

It’s about here that I should mention the two words that make any bar manager/owner cringe: liquor licensing. The showroom operates under a wholesaler license, rather than a retailer one like your average bottle shop would have, which means purchases must be a minimum of 9lts.

That’s about 27 x 330ml bottles or 4.5 six packs or a dozen big 750ml bottles. If you don’t trust my math, which I wouldn’t blame you, the store has a helpful guideline with the breakdown of what 9lts looks like. The staff are also quick with volume math. If you are anything like me you won’t need the guide and you’ll just think …

“Thank you liquor licencing for a compulsory beery shopping spree!”

Hence my first visit to the showroom ended like this … It’s also worthy of note that we left the house to do food shopping.

Beer shopping pornMy partner and I departed the showroom with over ten litres of pure beer indulgence and big smiles on our faces. This should tide us over for a little while.

Big thanks to Brad for the beery chat, for giving us a sample of a couple of beers and for being patient as we constantly interrupted his processing of our order by adding “just one more” beer.

Phoenix Beers Showroom

8/10-12 Dewar St, Morley

Tastings: Friday 3-6pm and Saturdays 2-4pm

Check out their Facebook page for more information!