Weekend Reading #2

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there is excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

For those who didn’t notice from my ridiculous rate of Instagram-ing, Twitter-ing and Facebook-ing I have recently returned from 9 days of Good Beer Week action so I might be a little light on for reading material for you but I was busy drinking beer! Whoops!

The Guardian | Cooking with Beer: Ale and Hearty Ideas

The Australian edition of The Guardian news website

A post by Perth based writer, Max Brearley in the ‘Australia Food Blog’ section featuring my good friend and great chef Mitch Mitchell aka Beersine. Mitch shares two of his favourite recipes accompanied by photography by another talented person I’m fortunate enough to call friend, Jessica Shaver.

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver Photography
Photography by Jessica Shaver

Craft Beer | Sustainable Uses of Spent Grain

American craft beer website

You can read about Game of Cones here if I can be so bold as to plug my own blog within my blog … which apparently I can

Inspired by Beersine’s spent grain pretzels at the Good Beer Week ‘Game of Cones’ event, I went looking for a few related articles on using spent grain. This was a really interesting read on what some American breweries are doing with their spent grains. It’s more than cattle feed!

Spent Grain on a Brew Day for Colonial Baltic Porter
Spent Grain at Colonial Brewing, Margaret River

Crafty Pint | Good Beer Week 2014 Review: De Vrolijke Boot

One of Australia’s very best craft beer news website

Naturally most of my beer reading has been orientated around Melbourne’s Good Beer Week and living vicariously through others by reading reviews of events I wasn’t able to attend. In my defence there were hundreds of events and the week only goes for nine days! This event was held at Merricote along with beers by Boatrocker Brewery and stretched across six courses. The cacao cigar paired with Ramjet, a whiskey barrel aged imperial stout, sounds like something I would really, really like!

Beer is Your Friend | Good Beer Week Recap

One of my favourite Australian beer blogs by Glen Humphries

Summing things up nicely, an art I am yet to master due to my tendency to simply spew words, Glen writes about discovering Feral Watermelon Warhead and Rodenbach, going to GABS and eating lots of cheesesteaks.

GBW 2014: Game of Cones

A Melbourne tramcar restaurant, some silly costumed Colonial men with beer and a food menu by the one and only Beersine

“Tonight, we feast”

These were the words that started the menu for Friday night’s Game of Cones event for Good Beer Week. Held on Melbourne’s iconic Colonial Tramcar restaurant the coincidentally named Colonial Brewery teamed up with beer/food chef Mitch Mitchell aka Beersine to present a menu of beer inspired food matched to hand picked hop driven beers.

We were greeted at tram stop 125 by our Colonial hosts for the night, brewery manager Richard and brewers Justin and Paul who were all suitably dressed in Game of Thrones attire. Recovering from a cold, Paul’s unusually raspy voice added gusto to his already impressive costume whilst Richard’s legs were all too comfortable in black leggings.

Richard and James
I love this photo! [left] Colonial Brewery Manager Richard Moroney [right] Crafty Pint James Smith
On board we filled three tramcars and set off towards St Kilda, each carriage hosted by one of our costumed Colonial friends. The carriage I was on was hosted by Richard who guided us through the menu, discussing the selected beers and the food pairings.

Please pardon my awful phone photography here …

To start we tucked into some spent grain pretzels, made with the leftover malt from after mashing in the brewing process, with ‘I can’t believe it’s hop butter’. We were also treated to Smoked Wort Jubes with Hop Sugar made with Cascade hops; wonderful little cubes that melted in your mouth.

Our starting beer was Colonial’s own Small Ale, a reduced alcohol india pale ale that is a full flavoured, tropical fruit and citrusy beer in a 3.5% ABV responsible body.

Kim Chee, or kimchi, a fermented vegetable dish from Korea that generally uses cabbage as it’s main ingredient

Next up was a kim chee omelette which was served up with collaboration brew My Antonia by American brewery Dogfish Head and Italian brewers Birra del Borgo. My Antonia boasts fresh citrus and pine flavours and a medium bitter finish, a great match to the spicy/sweet character of kim chee and base for the omelette’s fresh chilli to play on.

“Bridgeport is my beer spirit animal,”

Richard explains this feelings for this American craft brewery

The main event was a pork shoulder croquette served up on a celeriac romoulade. To accompany there was Mountain Goat’s Rye IPA and Bridgeport’s IPA. The latter is an IPA favourite amongst the Colonial guys whilst Richard spoke of their admiration for Mountain Goat who have been brewing since 1997 and laid the path for many since.

Beersine cheese is available from Mane Liquor and Cellarbrations Carlisle

As we neared the end of our tramcar ride we were served Beersine’s Pale Ale Cheddar, hop honey and lamb bacon – three life changing foods that I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in in the past. True South Black Rock India Lager and New Zealand’s 8 Wired Fresh Hopwired landed on our tables to accompany. The Fresh Hopwired was mind blowing and exactly as it sounds, a fresh and punchy and ridiculously good with the Pale Ale Cheddar and hop honey. Meanwhile lamb bacon in all it’s sweet, fatty goodness happily went with the Black Rock India Lager.

We departed off the tram, some of us smuggling whatever we couldn’t bare to leave behind, whether that be beer or that last precious chunk of cheese, and jumped on a bus to go to The Botanical. More beer and food goodness was unleashed with lamingtons and Colonial’s Gazza, the limited released Australian IPA. Made with all Aussie malts and hops I think Richard says it best:

“It’s big and it’s loud and it’s hairy”

… and it ends not with a bang but with a lot of beer The tramcar leaves us at The Botanical

Thank you to Colonial who gifted my seat to this wonderful event, I keep telling them if they spoil me like this I’ll keep coming back. I think they are now stuck with me. But in all sincerity, thank you very much!

GBW 2014: The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular aka GABS

If you’re thinking of heading to the last session of this years GABS festival I highly recommend you do! Read on if you really need more persuading …

Over the last two days I’ve survived two sessions at this years GABS festival held at the Royal Exhibition Building nestled in Carlton Gardens.

Two sessions + 45 different beers = one palate wrecked but very happy girl.

Session Five, the final one for the weekend, kicks off at 12noon with loads of events and activities on top of all the beery goodness. At 1pm there’s a Paddle Race Challenge at The Local Taphouse stall, you can learn about beer and cheese pairing at 2pm in the Coopers Craft Beer Challenge and if you’re feeling strong you can arm wrestle a brewer at the Bridge Road Brewing stall. For more information on these and more events, download the ‘GABS 2014’ app for both android and iPhone or check out the website.

I was impressed with the festival last year and this year they’ve continued to leave me wide-eyed. Improved layout gives you a wider scope of the brewers market where you’ll find stalls from your favourite Australian and International brewers. When I say stalls I’m not talking trestle tables with an ice bucket on top, I’m talking full bars and there’s giant cardboard monsters, lots of fresh hops, a caravan and today there was even a barber on hand for free haircuts!

Now let’s get into the beer. There is a lot of it, there are easy drinking ones and rich, crazy ones. Here are my top tips from the last two days …

Sharing is caring
Did I mention there are lots of beers at this festival? The festival beers, those brewed especially for the GABS festival, number well over 100 so if you’re looking to try as many as possible then I’d recommend playing team. Share paddles with your friends, consult and get different beers.

Eat first and eat big
Make sure you have a big feed before you get there and start drinking lots of beer. There’s plenty of food at the festival however if you drink first and then think about food you might find you’re already a few stumbly steps behind.

Talk to people
There are brewers and brewery reps galore who are always up for a chat, introduce yourself, say hello and ask whatever you want to ask. The beer community is generous and full of great stories.

Remember context
Some of these beers are monsters, rich and truly indulgent. Some are clean pilsners and low ABV ales, remember this when evaluating your beers. You wouldn’t have a steak tartare and complain that it wasn’t cooked enough! Same goes here, there are beers that aren’t meant to be hop monsters or extremely boozy.

Beers to try

Temple Scarlet Super – fresh cranberries, hibiscus flowers from Queensland and bacteria to give you a real cranberry fruit flavour with assertive tartness. This is the best way to start your day.

True South Spice Market – if you’re like me and have a cupboard full of assorted spices like cumin, curry powder and coriander this beer embraces all these spices within a soft Belgian witbier. I don’t know how but it is so well balanced and flavoursome and still very much a wheat beer at heart.

2 Brothers Creme Caramel – stupidly rich and indulgent, this baby is not subtle and not for the faint hearted. If you’re the sort of person who orders decadent chocolate desserts then this is for you.

Brewcult Pepper Steak Porter – 60kg of black peppercorns went into this bad boy, the taste is just what it says. I reckon some beef jerky wouldn’t go astray here.

Renaissance Brewing Export Pilsner – full of NZ hops it is clean, refreshing with hoppy tropical fruit. You could easily have a few of these on a Friday night.

Have fun and don’t forget to vote for your favourite beer of the festival!

Apologies if this post is riddled with typos, it has been a rather big day!

GBW 2014: The Cheese & Cask Ale Experience

My intentions for Good Beer Week was to go to events I hadn’t attended last year but there were two events I couldn’t bare to miss because they were so good last year – one of them was the cheese and beer experience at The Local Taphouse in St Kilda.

My intentions for Good Beer Week was to go to events I hadn’t attended last year but there were two events I couldn’t bare to miss because they were so good last year – one of them was the cheese and beer experience at The Local Taphouse in St Kilda.

This year the team at the Taphouse teamed up with Milk the Cow, a licensed fromagerie also located in St Kilda, to present five cheeses matched to five cask ales. Hosts for the night were James, resident beer geek at the Taphouse and Laura from Milk the Cow, together they presented some great matches that this cheese and beer loving gal happily indulged in.

Meredith Farm Chevre + Red Duck Secret Squirrel English Brown Ale
The fresh goat’s milk cheese with it’s uber-creamy texture, big citrus flavours and tart finish was a beautiful way to start the evening. It was a really good and really unexpected match to the Red Duck beer, it’s nuttiness and fruitiness mingled nicely with the cheese’s fruity citrus flavours. The beer itself was by Derek Hale, an award winning home brewer who was invited to brewed with Red Duck, and he added crushed and toasted hazelnuts alongside some Frangelico.

Quickes Mature Cheddar Truckle + Timothy Taylor’s Landlord Pale Ale
The English cheddar, a cows milk clothbound cheddar is aged for twelve months and was everything you want from a strong cheddar – sharp, bitey and a little dusty. “Make fantastic nachos with this!” Laura suggested and I’m sure she’s right! The stone fruit flavours in the cheddar softened the hop bitterness in the beer and acted as a good complement to the English Pale Ale’s soft sweetness.

Wensleydale + Bright Traditional English Best Bitter
Many of us associate Wensleydale with claymation cartoon Wallace & Grommit but we were all surprised to hear that sales jumped huge 27% when the movie was released. Laura also surprised us with the fact the recipe for this cheese originated with a French Cistercian monk who moved to Wensleydale. The cheese is sharp, citrusy and a little dirty, like it was stored in a container that previously held a strong blue. Bright’s traditional English Best Bitter was one of my favourite beers of the night. I loved the sweet malt combined with spicy, peppery and biscuit flavours. The malt sweetness softened the bite from the cheese but didn’t dominate the pairing.

Reypenear VSOP + Illawarra Black IPA
Laura declared this to be her favourite cheese, “cut off a wedge and just chew on it” is a serving suggestion I could really great behind. Biting into this cheese, you can see why she loves it so much. Reypenear is a two year old Dutch cow’s milk Gouda, the long aging process actually results in a 25% loss in original weight. It is washed in hot water to remove the lactic acid and showcase sweetness and caramel flavours. This cheese is hard to come by in Australia so it was extra special to have it on our plates. Paired with the Black IPA with it’s sweet malt and slightly roasty flavours it was a gorgeous complement of sweet cheese and sweet malty beer whilst the roasty bitterness provided just enough contrast to keep things really interesting.

Herve Mons Brillat Savarin + Prickly Moses Barrel Aged Brett Red Ale
The night finished with a bang with this ultra oozy creamy triple cream brie, bloomy mushroom and salty flavours and at 75% fat you just know it’s going to taste amazing. The Prickly Moses Red Ale showed a little funk with sweet plum and raisin notes. Together it was a nice match, funk playing nicely with the mushroom in the brie.

GBW 2014: Meeting new people – Paul from The Rainbow Hotel

Today I met Paul who is a bartender at The Rainbow Hotel and it only reaffirmed my strong belief that beer people are the best people.

Today I met Paul who is a bartender at The Rainbow Hotel and it only reaffirmed my strong belief that beer people are the best people.

Wandering round Fitzroy I was looking for a Pint of Origin venue, a designated venue doing tap takeovers all week showcasing beers from each state in Australia, and found The Rainbow Hotel on St Davids Street. All Good Beer Week long they have handed their beer taps to New South Wales, meaning that beers from the likes of EKIM, Doctors Orders, Thirsty Crow and Young Henry’s are all here for your beer drinking pleasure.

On arrival I asked Paul for a recommendation, given it was my first beer of the day he suggested Young Henry’s Newtowner, a beer that apparently doesn’t usually make it outside of Sydney’s Newtown. I grabbed a pint, ordered some food and sat down in the beer garden in the unseasonal sunshine.

This was my very first Young Henry’s beer. The Newtowner is an English Summer Ale with lovely apricot and mango aromas. Beautiful stone fruit, medium bitterness and citrus, it was a great beer to start the afternoon!

My very first Young Henry's beer - Newtowner
The Hod Rod Burger ... The burger was ace - messy enough to enjoy but not so much that you were concerned for your clothes!

As time passed and I took photos of my beers, caught up on some emails and stalked people on Twitter, you know, the usual, I overheard Paul talking customers about Pint of Origin and what beers were available. He happily gave tasters to help people pick their next beer and plugged upcoming events at The Rainbow for the rest of the week. He spoke highly of the previous nights food and beer matching event where he says the stand outs were the Thirsty Crow Vanilla Milk Stout with a caramel driven dessert and the Murray’s Angry Many Brown Ale with a heavily spiced kangaroo dish.

Paul’s pick of the bunch is the Riverside Seventy Seven IPA, a big American style IPA using four different hops and clocking in at 7.7% ABV. Like many of us Paul is a self confessed hop head so if you’re the same I suggest you drop in for a pint!

GBW 2014: Brew vs Cru

Yesterday marked the first Good Beer Week event on my calendar – Brew vs Cru featuring Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewery and Martin Spedding from Ten Minutes by Tractor and held at Vue de Monde

Yesterday marked the first Good Beer Week event on my calendar – Brew vs Cru featuring Garrett Oliver from Brooklyn Brewery and Martin Spedding from Ten Minutes by Tractor and held at Vue de Monde.

On Arrival …
Vue de Monde is located on level 55 of Melbourne’s Rialto tower. Guests were checked in at lobby reception before heading up via the elevator where the buttons only go up to 54. Yep, this place is a little fancy.

Walking into the venue and seeing the view of Melbourne is breathtaking though after a lot of drinks perhaps somewhat overwhelming! But that was a problem for later in the afternoon.

Staff greeted each guest with two glasses, one of Brooklyn Brewery 2009 Wild One and the other of 2010 Blanc De Blanc Sparkling.


Introductions …
Garrett Oliver, brewmaster at New York’s Brooklyn Brewery, was well known by most of the guests given the level of beer-geek attendance. Highly respected and a wealth of experience, we were all ears when Garrett spoke. He introduced himself and talked to the twenty years he has spent with Brooklyn Brewery, one of the most loved American craft breweries, remarking how Brooklyn have “grown more interesting over time” with new releases, dedicated barrel programmes and a dedication to making beers they want to drink.

Martin is the owner and wine maker at Ten Minutes by Tractor, the winery is located on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula where he says the conditions lend themselves perfectly to Pinot and Chardonnay. The name of the winery comes from the distance between their three vineyard sites taking ten minutes by tractor to get to. I love this little story.

1st Course
Food: Crab, Kohlrabi
Beer: Brooklyn Sorachi Ace | Wine: 2011 Tmbt Estate Chardonnay


Chef Michael used WA crab for this gorgeously delicate dish along with fresh dill, lemon and sesame toast. The Sorachi Ace was stunning as always with it’s lemon peel, hints of dill and fairy floss-like mouth feel. The Chardonnay used grapes from all three Tmbt sites and I loved it’s fruity, slightly buttery and rich flavours.

For me I felt the beer was the winning match, the dill and lemon flavours in both the dish and beer were wonderfully complementary. The wine was beautiful but felt a little too big for the delicate dish.

How the Room Voted: A draw!

Second Course
Food: Smoked Bone Marrow, Onion, Thyme
Beer: Brooklyn Cuvee La Boite | Wine: 2013 Tmbt 10x Pinot Noir


The dish was served with onion done three ways – roasted, pickled and fried. The beer came from Brooklyn’s Ghost Bottle range, experimental beers and very limited release, so limited in fact that these beers came from Garrett’s personal beer stash. The Cuvee La Boite is made with a variety of spices including fresh kaffir lime leaves and saffron and so named after the spice shop La Boite who inspired and assisted in developing this beer.

I stretched a canvas for him to paint on

Garrett described La Boite as the world’s leading spice blender and walking into the store is an evocative experience “like paintings, they [the spices] took you places.” The beer was beautiful with subtle spices and a delicate mouth feel and pretty appearance thanks to the saffron.

The wine was amazing, a single vineyard Pinot Noir from north of Mornington Peninsula. It was full of juicy rich red fruit and will be released at the end of June.

For me the beer and the smoked bone marrow dish were perfect for each other, the sort of pairing that reminds you why you seek out these experiences. It’s the sort of pairing that should never be pulled apart, when having this dish you should have this beer and visa versa. I particularly loved the way the sweetness of the onion bought out sweetness from the beer.

How the Room Voted: Beer – this was the only round to have a clear winner

Third Course
Food: BBQ Beef, Beetroot, Munthari
Beer: Brooklyn Cuvee Noire | Wine: 2009 Tmbt Estate Pinot Noir

The barbeque sauce in this dish took two days in the making and the beef was wagu tenderloin. For those like me who are thinking, ‘what on earth are munthari?!’ they are a native Australian berry that added a hint of sweetness to the dish. The beer boasted roast, chocolate and coconut qualities that only got better as the beer warmed up. Made with a Belgian yeast and it went into Woodford Reserve barrels in June last year for up to eight months. Garrett pointed out that the beer wasn’t in a champagne bottle, “champagne is in a beer bottle, the French just have better marketing.”

The 2008 Tmbt Pinot Noir sold out in a couple of weeks after it appeared in James Halliday with a rating of 97/100 and pictured side-by-side with a Grange of the same rating but priced hundreds of dollars more than Tmbt. This wine is made with grapes from all three Tmbt estates and is the result of what Martin describes as a generally cool year in terms of weather.

For me the Pinot Noir was a beautiful match to the beef, adding some spice and richness to the meat that complemented it very well.

How the Room Voted: Another draw!

Fourth Round
Food: Apple, Truffle
Beer: 2013 Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout | Wine: 2010 Blanc De Blanc Sparkling with 30 grams Dosage

This pairing was the one that generated the most conversation and debate on our table. A few of us wanted to spilt their vote in half because there were elements of the dish that were perfect for the beer and others perfect for the wine. The dish was a wonderful combination of soft layered apple, candied walnuts, truffle, grape and celery leaf. The apple and celery leaf was great with the wine’s acid, citrus and very subtle sweetness from the dosage. Incidentally only a dozen bottles of the Blanc De Blanc received the 30 grams dosage and ten of them were at this event.

It’s a shame you had to resort to doping!

Garrett Oliver joking with Martin Sledding on his dosage

The rest of the dish, the truffle, crumb, grape and walnuts were just fantastic with Brooklyn’s imperial stout. The Black Chocolate Stout was the first beer Garrett made at Brooklyn back in 1994 and they often do tastings of their older vintages to see how they aged. For matching with desserts Garrett likes to use younger, fresher vintages, as they have “more elbows”, perhaps referring to the fresh chocolate and coffee notes that dominate this luscious beer.

For me, given that I couldn’t chop myself in half and vote for both the wine and the beer I had to go with beer only because I’d never think to pair such a bold beer with an apple desert and this pairing really made me think and dissect what was happening. I freakin’ love that!

How the Room Voted: Another draw!

Even my wife voted against me!

Martin commenting on the Apple, Truffle pairing

Fifth Round
Food: Cheese, Bread and Jams
Beer: 2012 Brooklyn “K” is for Kriek | Wine: 2004 Mccutcheon Vineyard Chardonnay


Oh cheese, how I love you! Mounds of sliced Comte cheese, a French cow’s milk cheese, started landing on tables and I had to stop myself from grabbing fistfuls of the buttery fruity cheese just for myself. Served with assorted breads from a local Melbourne baker it was a great way to finish a delightful long lunch.

The Kriek clocked in at over 10% ABV and is the result of a beer from their Ghost Series. Aged on Wisconsin cherries for five months there are a couple of hundred barrels back at Brooklyn that will be released in 2015. Moreish as hell, a little funk and cherries that make you want to jump in a bathtub of them, I can only imagine what it will taste like next year.

Martin’s Chardonnay was equally special, coming from his own “museum stock” it’s another single vineyard number and its slightly buttery and crisp acidity were great with the cheese … As did the beer. This pairing was a seriously hard call.

For me I had to go with beer, I’ve been told Kriek and Comte cheese are great together and I well and truly understood the hype when having it here.

How the Room Voted: Almost a draw – 4 1/2 versus 3 1/2 in favour of beer

This man’s seriously got game!

Garrett remarked this was one of the closest matches he has participated in for a beer versus wine event. The room was buzzing throughout the afternoon with excitement at the calibre of guests and the pairings. Both Garrett and Martin clicked as presenters and clearly loved being in an environment of people who want to learn and experience what these two professionals had put together.

It’s not just passion – we fell in love

Garrett’s comment was hard not to write down, simple and genuine and what makes the brewing industry so wonderful to be involved in.


Weekend Reading #1

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there is excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

The Beeroness | Stout Meatballs with Beer Barbeque Sauce Glaze
Jackie Dodd – author of The Craft Beer Cook Book & her website ‘The Beeroness – Have your beer and eat it too’

Recipes regularly drop into my email inbox from The Beeroness which keep me both hungry and entertained in equal amounts. This recipe is screaming out at me, begging to be made – gooey caramelised flavours, tender meat and beer sauce – it’s too good to simply leave to words. I’ll be making these bad boys very soon. If you beat me to it I’d love to know how they turned out!

Topped with some melted butter and ready to bake! It might not look all that pretty but the result is yummy
I’ve tried many great recipes from Jackie’s book – here’s the start of her tasty beer bread

The Splendid Table | The 7 Flavour Categories of Beer: What they are, How to pair them
American radio show food focused since 1994

When sometimes an IPA isn’t your run-of-the-mill IPA it is really great to read an article, or even a beer menu, that is categories by flavour rather than by style. This article uses seven different flavoured descriptions to breakdown beer styles and pinpoint the foods that can work best with them.

Draft Magazine | Brewery to Watch: Big Alice
American online beer magazine

A short article on New York’s newest nano-brewery Big Alice Brewery that takes a “farm to kettle” approach to brewing. Imagine visiting the farmers market, taking back hand fulls of the freshest, in season produce and then making your beer from there. Well, that’s what these guys do …

Love Beer, Love Food | Stone’s New Saison & A Summery Seafood Treat
Lindsay is a Certified Cicerone, home brewer and serious home cook

Bringing together Stone’s latest Saison with her own zesty, fresh vinaigrette dressing for oysters. Read her story and get the recipe here.

Oysters by Jerry Fraser
I love oysters and no one does oysters like the King of Oysters Mr Jerry Fraser

The Herald Sun | Alehouse Rock: Melbourne Brewers are Getting Crafty
Latest Melbourne and Victorian news

In the days leading up to Good Beer Week this article was published in The Herald Sun. At it’s core it is an article about the growing craft beer scene in Melbourne but broken down from the points of view of brewers, retailers, bar owners and a chef.

Grand Marnier + Bootleg

I love an accidental pairing, one that just drops into your lap as if given to you by a higher power. This happened recently when I cracked open a bottle of Bootleg Brewery’s Up and About Breakfast Stout and then my partner poured himself a nip of Grand Marnier Centenaire

I love an accidental pairing, one that drops into your lap as if given to you by a higher power. This happened recently when I cracked open a bottle of Bootleg Brewery’s Up and About Breakfast Stout and then my partner poured himself a nip of Grand Marnier Centenaire.

Bootleg Up and About Breakfast Stout

Bootleg Up and About Breakfast Stout

Another in Bootleg’s series of “one offs” – their limited release beers – following hot on the heels of their Coconut Hefe, so hot in fact there is still coconut Hefe kicking around.

The breakfast stout is with brewed with oatmeal and coffee and when you open it there is the unmistakable aroma of coffee beans balanced out with soft milk and chocolate flavours.

Grand Marnier Centenaire

First introduced in 1927 to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary

This French orange flavoured liqueur is just gorgeous; busting with orange and a delightful mix of herbal, boozy, maple syrup and Jaffa chocolates.

Grand Marnier Centenaire


The liqueur softens the coffee flavours in the beer, lifts out it’s chocolatey-goodness and mixes perfectly with Grand Marnier big orange notes. The Grand Marnier lingers after the beer has gone but begs you to have another gulp of stout and keep enjoying the combination.

Beautiful together



girl + Two Smoked Porters

Beavertown Smog Rocket versus Feral Smoked Porter

On a visit to Mane Liquor recently I was gifted a bottle of Beavertown Smog Rocket (they are such nice guys!) and so I thought it was only appropriate to buy some Feral Smoked Porter and do a little comparative tasting.

The Stats:

Beavertown Smog Rocket – London | Smoked Porter | 5.4% ABV | 23 IBU

Feral Smoked Porter – Swan Valley | Smoked Porter | 4.7% ABV | 22 IBU


Beavertown Smog Rocket:

First I have to say that the name Smog Rocket is sensational; it’s fun and descriptive in just two words. It’s a smoked porter with magnum and chinook hops; the malt bill is made up of a base of Simpsons Best and speciality malts including smoke, caramalt, crystal, oats, Munich, brown, chocolate and black.

“Any style of beer can be smoked; the goal is to reach a pleasant balance between the smoke character and the base beer style”, BJCP Style Guidelines

Sadly the Smog Rocket was fiercely over carbonated resulting in about a fifth of the bottle being lost to the floor as I did the hand-under-glass-run to the sink. The head finally settled to about 2mm thick over a lovely muddy ruby brown colour.

The ashtray aroma hit me in the face, as it settled I could get a background of bacon and fruits like apples and pineapples. The flavour was difficult, the initial slam of ashtray was quite confronting, so much so that I genuinely struggled in drinking it. It wasn’t until the last couple of sips that I started to get hints of black bitter coffee and raisins.

Feral Smoked Porter

Feral Smoked Porter:

Smoked Porter: Not officially recognised as it’s own style, instead falling under the more general ‘smoked beers’. Check out BJCP (beer judge certification program) guidelines here.

Compared to Smog Rocket the Feral Smoked Porter poured black, almost inky. Curiously there was zero carbonation, yet the others in the four pack had been fine, perhaps it was the beer or maybe my glass, I don’t know.

The aroma was a lovely honey smoked bacon with those smokey flavours carrying through on the palate alongside cured meats and a very dry finish that sat at the back of my throat.

My vote: Feral Smoked Porter – more than just smoke

Beer + Toasties

Eagle Bay launch their limited release Black IPA at Mane Liquor and invite Toastface Grillah along for the ride!

My love of cheese is well known and this definitely, absolutely, 100% extends to toasted cheese sandwiches.

I bring this up because on Friday night Eagle Bay launched their Brewer’s Series Black IPA at Mane Liquor with toasties provided by Toastface Grillah.

Retail and Marketing Manager for Eagle Bay, Margi rockin' the tasting table
Eagle Bay Retail and Marketing Manager Margi rockin’ the tasting table

Eagle Bay Black IPA: Available in growlers and $20 6pks at Mane Liquor, 237 Great Eastern Hwy Belmont

The Brewer’s Series is the seasonal release label for Eagle Bay which means this delicious black IPA won’t be around for long, on the upside it also means we can probably expect something winter warming to take it’s place.

Eagle Bay Black IPA in my beloved Mane Liquor glass

Also on tap at Mane is the Saisonnay: Eagle Bay x Mane Liquor collab – saison aged in fresh chardonnay barrels first released November 2013

The black IPA is a lovely balance of tropical fruit and citrus hops alongside toasty and slightly chocolate malts. Fresh off tap the black IPA seems to have more pronounced hop aromatics. Whether tap or bottle this is definitely a beer worth seeking out, the dry toasty tropical fruit finish is genuinely moreish.

Eagle Bay Brewer's Series Black IPA

The launch at Mane felt just right for Eagle Bay, the two have worked together and supported each other for a long time so it made sense for me to have my first sip of Black IPA whilst standing inside Mane Liquor. Serving Toastface Grillah sandwiches was just outright genius and will make other sans-toasty shopping adventures feel a little empty.

... each were as tasty as the other, trust me, I checked ... ALOT
… each were as tasty as the other, trust me, I checked … ALOT
Toastface Grillah's Chilli Cheese with some Eagle Bay Black IPA
Toastface Grillah’s Chilli Cheese with some Eagle Bay Black IPA