Slow Cooked Chicken + Eagle Bay Black IPA

Getting my cook in with the crock pot and finding that chilli makes friends with Eagle Bay Black IPA

It’s been a while since I sat down and planned a dinner and beer match at home so on the weekend I decided this needed to be rectified. On Saturday morning I pulled out the slow cooker as this is now one of my favourite cooking appliances with its whole set-and-forget thing and I also like the way it makes the entire house smells like edible awesome. Chicken The previous weekend I did a fairly successful leg of lamb in the slow cooker so I decided on chicken for this time around. I found this recipe on Half Baked Harvest which, quite frankly, had me at the words “BBQ” and “beer”. My recipe ended up being slightly different because I emptied a half open BBQ sauce bottle into the slow cooker only to find it was only a single cups worth. The sauce was a random bottle that I think claimed to be a product of the Caribbean, you could tell from the cartoon of a guy with dreadlocks on the label. For the remainder of the sauce I quickly whipped up a homemade BBQ sauce, the recipe for which I got here however half way through making this I realised we were out of Worcestershire sauce. [Please feel free to skip ahead to the next paragraph when my ineptitude in the kitchen story has ceased]. After Googling “replacement for Worcestershire sauce” I got a little exasperated and threw in some fish sauce and an anchovy and then decided just to get on with life. Thankfully the result was pretty good. For the beer, the recipe used a pumpkin ale, I instead used a fairly generic pale ale soley because it was in the beer fridge. It was either this or one of the imperial (aka ballsy), smokey or sour beers of various origins that I haven’t gotten around to opening yet. Bring on the slow cooker! Slow Cooker Beer Chicken The chicken was a HIT – very tasty, especially once put into a homemade tortillas, peppered with fresh coriander and a good dose of chilli sauce. Chicken Tortillas lt seemed to me that the more chilli sauce I put on, the better the pairing with the Eagle Bay Black IPA.

“Say hey to autumn, cooler temperatures and our Brewer’s Series Black IPA is BACK!”

Chicken tortillas and Eagle Bay Black IPA

Read: Revisit Eagle Bay’s Black IPA launch for 2014 here

If you haven’t tried Eagle Bay’s Black IPA it’s something you should seek out. It is another of their Brewer’s Series, their seasonal range, that has already given us beautifully made beers like the Cacao Stout and Summer Ale. They’ve done their Black IPA in the past and it’s always a cracker. Between this and the Bootleg Black Market IPA it’s hard to pick a favourite so just to be fair I make sure to drink plenty of both!

Homemade Tortillas – 2 cups flour, generous dash EVOO, pinch salt and enough water/beer to get a dough. Let sit for 10 minutes, divide and roll out into whatever size you like. Cook each side for a minute on medium heat. Easy! I’d credit the recipe if I could for the life of me remember where I got it!

On this particular beer and food occasion, the Eagle Bay Black IPA had plenty of flavours to hang on to. Admittedly without any chilli, the beer dominated the dish, however the beers roasty malts did a great job of turning the bits where I had slightly burnt the tortillas into very tasty bites! The bright citrus hops gave the chilli something to play with whilst also taking the bite out of the acidity in the salsa. Overall a pretty good Saturday night in. Next up, I think it will have to be pork … maybe with something funky perhaps? wpid-img_20150328_200821.jpg

Bridge Road B2 Bomber + Highland Park 12yo

Sunday cooking, opening a seriously good beer and trying to pair it with whiskey. Not a bad Sunday!

After baking some bread rolls and putting a leg of lamb into the slow cooker on Sunday it was hard to resist the call of the beer fridge. I suggested that my partner and I open a Bridge Road B2 Bomber Mach 4.0. The B2 Bomber is an annual release Belgian Black IPA first released in 2011, and each year there is a tweak to the recipe, Mach 4.0 marks it’s fourth year of production. Bridge Road B2 Bomber Mach 4.0 This years Bridge Road B2 Bomber is stunning, aromas of chocolate, red berries, some roast and faint tobacco. The flavour follows through with spice, earthiness and citrus, a little smoke and raisins. Not only does the Mach 4.0 smell and taste great, it looks amazing. I mean seriously, look at this colour! Bridge Road B2 Bomber Mach 4.0 The last time I had this beer was during an event I did with Beersine for WA Beer Week last year – Beer and Food Masterclass. As always Mitch’s food was beautiful and we paired this with a dessert of chocolate mousse topped with strawberries, rosemary and Laphroaig 10yo, a particularly smokey single malt scotch.  The result was divine. Dessert Inspired by this memory, my partner and I grabbed a few bottles from the shelf to see what would pair nicely. Under advisement from my partner, he is the whisky man, we selected Highland Park 18yo, Highland Park 12yo and Laphroaig 10yo.

Highland Park website

[In the interests of full disclosure I work for Coca-Cola Amatil and Highland Park and Laphroaig are both in the portfolio hence why these were close on hand however this was not work related.]

Both my partner and I agreed that The Highland Park 12yo was the best match, it was the Goose to the B2 Bomber’s Maverick. Highland Park 12yo is one of my favourite whiskies, the aromas of honey, cinnamon, pear and vanilla alongside a slightly smokey, apple and spice palate, it’s just bold enough for me without being too smokey. Together with the Mach 4.0 I found that it bought out the red berry fruit and smokiness of the beer without being too overbearing, which is what happened when paired with the 18yo. The Laphroaig 10yo carried too much smoke that without the sweetness and earthiness of the strawberries and rosemary from the dessert last time, was just too dominating. All in all not a bad Sunday if I don’t say so myself!              

Weekend Reading #32

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.

Draft Magazine | Yeast & Bacteria 101 – Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus, Pediococcus

Oh yeah, talk a little yeast and bacteria to me and I’m a happy girl! Mostly because I am still wrapping my head around these magical things. This is a great article to break down “brett”, “lacto” and “pedio” in a way that even me, lacking a lot in the science department, can understand.

Pirate Life Brewing | Why Cans?

I recently interviewed Red, brewer and co-founder of Adelaide’s new Pirate Life Brewing, so I had a good look around their website. This graphic is a fantastic summary of why cans are great. Whilst you’re there though, take a look around the site, I love the way it’s written. It feels like your best friend wrote it, the tone is casual and fun and honest.

Draft Magazine | Let’s ban “hoppy” and “malty” from beer descriptions

A valid argument here. “Hoppy” and “malty” not only don’t tell a beer lover about the beer but they also exclude any one who isn’t familiar with hops and malts. It doesn’t need to be Shakespeare or war and peace but make it relatable and interesting.

Australian Brews News | Try It Thursday

I have been really enjoying this series by Pete Mitcham that each week puts a spotlight on an Australian craft beer. Reading them makes me thirsty!

A Pirate’s Life for Red

Adelaide’s newest brewery, Pirate Life Brewing, opened its doors earlier this month with two WA mates at the helm – Red and Jack. Check out my interview with Red here …

Pirate Life Brewing started as an idea between two friends in WA, travelling across the Nullabor and passing gorgeous beaches via dusty roads and travel size BBQs, to come to life in SA where on March 1 the doors opened on a new brewery.

Check out their travel video here

The friends and brewers behind Pirate Life Brewing are Jared “Red” Proudfoot and Jack Cameron. The two brewed together in Scotland at BrewDog before each returning to WA. Red took up a position at Cheeky Monkey in Margaret River and Jack went to Little Creatures in Fremantle. Fast forward 18 or so months and Red and Jack alongside Michael, Jack’s father, have established their own brewery in Hindmarsh, Adelaide.

Living and brewing by Pirate-like ideals, aside from plundering and pillaging of course, Red and Jack have three core beers – Pale Ale, Throwback IPA (session IPA) and a double IPA – which will all be available in cans and kegs. In fact, Pirate Life Brewing are just weeks away from sending beer to WA with plans for Victoria soon to follow.

Recently Red answered a few questions so read on below for more details on the brewery, beers, social media and inspiration …

Jared Proudfoot
Red at the 2013 South West Collaboration Brew Day at Eagle Bay Brewing

How long had Jack and yourself been planning Pirate Life? Do you rememeber when you first thought “I want to open a brewery with this guy?!”

It probably harks back to our mid-BrewDog days when we realised we were both on similar tracks in the brewing world, both (quite coincidently) from WA and enjoyed brewing together. MC (Jack Cameron’s old man) would have just arrived in to Aberdeen and coordinating the build of the 1st BrewDog bar as well so it was a pretty good time for us and probably all stemmed from there. We both came back from Scotland around the same time and both needing jobs found ourselves gaining different skills and experiences at our respective employments but always knowing that we’d be opening a brewery together. After being back for around 18 months we really started seriously looking at getting something going, with limited resources and opportunities it was looking fairly grim, however, a unique opportunity presented itself in The Barossa Valley, SA. Which didn’t work out, I’m afraid, but it did get the ball rolling.

What do guys have in common?

BREWING! A love of good beer, food, wine, camping or travel and taking time out to enjoy these things. Not taking the world (nor the brewing world [or ourselves]) too seriously, sport viewing, some participation and healthy ‘get on with it, get it done’ work ethic.

When you talk about inspiration on your website, who comes to mind and why?

It could be anyone really. I love to cook (when time permits, not often nowadays) so following The Food Lab blog or watching The Cook and The Chef, Great British Menu or seeing how Heston goes about things and seeing if/how I can somehow relate that back to beer is pretty fun and food science is quite interesting. James and Martin [BrewDog] are obviously up there and I keep a close eye on what’s going on back in Scotland. There are a couple of brewers in Australia, a few in America and one Belgium that I keep an eye on as well. There’s always improvements to be had around a brewery so always looking at the way mechanics or engineers or plumbers get things done and always looking for continual improvement is pretty important. Work smart not hard, although, sometimes the smart way to work is hard.

You say on your website that Adelaide is “heaps good”, what first drew you to the city?

It was almost by chance. An opportunity landed at our feet to look at leasing a brewery in The Barossa, which didn’t come to fruition, however, during our several reconnaissance trips to SA we realised Adelaide was the place we wanted set up camp. It is such a good little city, which is sad I guess as it cops a bit of flack from around Australia for being boring, I can assure you that this city is far from boring. We’ve just gone through the Fringe Festival period and there is such a massive buzz about the place.

What’s unique about Adelaide’s craft beer scene compared to the rest of the country?

South Australians know good product. Whether that be food, wine or beer – if you’re not up to scratch you’ll get found out pretty quickly. Before I arrived here I would have said that the craft beer scene was pretty juvenile but being here now for a few months and visiting around the place I now know that’s not the case! There are some very good small operators scattered around the place pumping out some decent beer, we’re just glad to have been welcomed so openly by the other brewers and we’re keen join ranks and help represent SA beer nationally.

What learnings did you take from your time as head brewer at Cheeky Monkey that were valuable for opening Pirate Life?

Firstly being involved with a startup and the Cheeky Monkey build helped a fair bit with more of the project management side of our install, it was also pretty handy to brew beers and see the immediate response that having a front of house allows. It also helped clarify my vision about how I wanted to go about making beer i.e. having a production brewery where the key focus is to pump out a whole heap of good beer. The beers that you have to brew to cast a net and have punters come to your venue to make up the main percentage of your revenue are different to what we’re able to produce as a nationally distributed production brewery. Essentially we’re able to dial the beers up a notch or two and sell what we want to drink as opposed to what puts bums on seats and kids in a playground.

You’re putting your beers into cans, what is the attitude to cans in SA?

So far (only having cans in the market for one week) it has been really great. South Aussies are pretty clue-y when it comes to food and drink and can understand that when we say the reason we put beer in can is purely because it’s better for the beer. Whatever is the best for the beer we will ensure to do our best we can to implement that.

Why did you pick a Pale, IPA and IIPA?

Well we have a baby ‘Session IPA’ at 3.5% called Throwback IPA our West Coast Pale and the big boy IIPA. We like flavourful, and admittedly, hop forward beer so to kick off with these as our initial core range seemed an appropriate way to go about things. We’ve always had 5 beers planned for our ultimate core range but thought it important to launch with only three of them.

Our philosophy is that our core range is always available in both keg or can.

We (fermentation capacity permitting) have planned for a more malt forward beer which might be released around Good Beer Week and a 5th later in the year. They are secret though so I can’t tell.

Are there plans for limited release beers and if so, can you give any hints on what you might do?

Being former BrewDog boys having a bunch of single batch beers is pretty important to us. We’d get bored otherwise. We very deliberately purchased 2x single brew length tanks and 4x double tanks for our starting CCVs. The two smaller ones will be dedicated to big beers and our single batch beers so we will be able to churn out 12+ specials a year. Our specials will be available in keg and 650ml bottle.

Your website is beautifully written, like reading something your best mate wrote, so I have to ask, who’s writing it?

Ha! There’s a bit of a mix there. I’m generally responsible for most of the content at the moment, however, we have a pretty fantastic marketing chick, Lauren, on board (who’s based in Melbourne but originally from Adelaide). So generally she will ask for content, I’ll write it up (when I’m in the mood) and bounce it back to Jack, MC, Lauren and her sister, who’s a copywriter, for their perusal and final touches. I’m quite proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together – this extends to all of our marketing and design.

Pirate Life has been pretty active on social media long before you opened, how important do you think social media is to a new brewery?

Pirate Life on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook

Vitally important. It’s also massively important how you go about it. There are multiple platforms, each of which require their own unique content. Jack has taken lead on the social media side of things and does a bloody good job of it. Lauren and I keep an eye on things and will post stuff or edit posts if it needs it. Social media is also two-way traffic so we probably have to improve our engagement little bit so hopefully when things settle in to a more of a routine we can identify these areas and give more back to the punter. You’ve no idea how full on the last few months have been! Throughout our many launches we’ve had here in SA we’ve had a lot of people say that they’ve been following us from early days and have really enjoyed seeing things unfold which has been really nice. We’ve been on a pretty full-on journey and it’s been nice to be able to share that anyone who’s been interested in joining us.

What will be the three biggest trends in craft beer in Australia?

No1. by a long way is cans. 2nd would have to be a move away from the bigger hop bombs to smaller and more sessional beers. 3rd will see an increase in sour offerings, whether they be a delightful little Berliner Weisse or a full blown pseudo-lambic.

Do you have plans to send beer to WA?

Yep. WA will be an important market for us. We’re launching in to WA for early/mid April and then in to Victoria early May. Once we’re comfortable with production in those markets we will roll out the rest of Australia. We will be having a big launch in the city and a series of smaller launches around the metro area and one or two down south so I can see my dog. And family and friends.

Thank you Red! Can’t wait to see Pirate Life in WA!

Read More: Crafty Pint – The Year of the Pirate

Forget the “craft” debate, let’s get rid of “snob”

Forget the word “craft”, it’s the word “snob” that really needs to be eliminated from the beer vocabulary.

Last week I posted about the word “craft” – Craft is the Word – and I know I was pretty late to the debate. It’s a topic that has been discussed at length by beer people far more experienced and opinionated than me. I wasn’t really compelled to write on the topic any earlier but since it seemed I was reading articles on the topic on a weekly basis so I found myself thinking about it more and more – hence the blog post.

Since writing the post, what has become far more apparent to me is that the word “craft” is not nearly as dangerous or threatening as the word “snob”. If there is one word that needs to be erased from the beer community, to me, it’s this one.

Beer snobbery is exactly what beer is not about. I could dribble on at length on the topic but another Australian beer writer, Glen Humphries of Beer is Your Friend, has already done it and, quite frankly, it’s spot on. Please read it here.

Seeing beer snobbery in action, like when someone tells someone else their beer choice is shit, and reading misleading mainstream articles that refer to ‘beer snobs’ like they are common place and representative of all craft beer drinking people is harmful.

Ok, so maybe it’s not harmful in the same way that smoking is harmful but the word ‘snob’ doesn’t encourage people to try craft beer, it reinforces a perception of exclusivity and elitism. None of these things are good.

The irrelevance and inaccuracy of the term ‘beer snob’ peaked for me on Sunday.

On Sunday it was International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day and all around the world women in the beer industry came together to brew beer. The style is pre-determined and I think there were hundreds of breweries around the world that participated. For the first time here in WA we did one too, I wrote an article on it for Crafty Pint which will be going up soon so I won’t be going into details of the brew here, but the happy feeling I still have from being part of such a day is wonderful.

IWCBD 2015
Ladies from the beer industry all around WA come together for International Women’s Collaboration Brew Day

It felt great to be a part of a genuine community and the way that Chloe, Charlotte and Leala of Young Henry’s Beer Farm, located in Metricup in our south west, threw open their doors and welcomed everyone in was generous and warm and, in my experience, completely indicative of the attitude of the beer community.

Beers flowed freely, no question was foolish and everyone was encouraged to get involved.

This is the beer world that I live in and its attributes of generosity, shared experience and support are echoed in the bartenders I know, the retailers I met and the people who drink craft beer. Sure, there are some moments when I shake my head, when I hear comments that are needlessly negative or mocking of others, but they are not the majority.

Move along beer snobs, we just want to drink good beer, share it with good people and that’s about it.



Weekend Reading #31

Articles this week from my new favourite Craft Beer Rising (UK) and local stuff from Australian Brews News & The Sip

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 West Australian | Big Deal for Colonial Small Ale

Kicking things off with something very local with the news that Colonial’s super sessionable and super tasty Small Ale, yup that was a lot of S’s, has been canned.

The new 360 degree can, meaning it lifts the top off rather than just a small opening, lets people get their noses stuck into the beer and releases all its brilliant aroma in all its glory.

Release the hops, Small Ale is here. Plus the can looks really freakin’ cool thanks to come great design work by Emergence Creative.

Australian Brews News | Get busy drinkin’ or get very boring

Staying in Australia we have another great read, because the content on Australian Brews News is always tops, is some thoughts on enjoying craft beer. Recently it feels that craft beer articles are appearing more and more in mainstream media and they all tend to be the same, either stating craft beer is expensive or craft beer people are snobs. It’s like writing an article comparing Nobu to the sushi at the servo. Anyway, the same things tend to happen, the article gets clickbaitingly savaged, beer geeks get offended and lather, rinse repeat elsewhere. Pete Mitcham, the author of this article, offers a few measured thoughts.

CNN Money | How to start a successful craft beer brewery

More than some sort of guide, I thought this was interesting to see what it was like for someone opening a brewery in the US.

It is particularly interesting during this time in the US when craft breweries seem to be opening left, right and centre (at least that is the impression I get from reading articles on the internet). And last years Brewers Association conference left this super quotable line that I just love,

“Don’t fuck it up,”

Paul Gatza, director of the Brewers Association

Not every craft beer is amazing but amazing beer is well crafted.

More on the Brewers Association conference from last year and that great quote here.

ISSUU | Craft Beer Rising Issue 3

I have ben really enjoying this ISSUU app for my beer reading recently and Craft Beer Rising comes out of London but it is interesting to see the many parallels between their market and ours. There’s lots of good reading here but in particular I liked this short list from Melissa Cole.

2015 Predictions

Craft is the word

For me the word “craft” is still relevant and it still has meaning but its not what defines the industry, its not what it was built on nor what will continue its growth

“It’s got a groove, it’s got a meaning”

For those playing along at home, yes I am attempting to channel a little John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John in ‘Grease’ because hell yeah when it comes to the subject of beer, craft does has a groove, craft certainly has a meaning.

In recent years that meaning has been debated, a lot. It seems like every other week I am reading an article about the definition of craft beer, whether is it about an overwhelming need for a definition or a questioning whether its really such a big deal.

“It’s been a depressing spectacle this last couple of years watching people who share a love of great beer tear each other apart over trying to define what craft beer is.”

Pete Brown, 2013

Article – Pete Brown: Is anyone still interested in a definition of craft beer?

The argument for a solid definition of a “craft beer” and “craft brewer” can sometimes feel like a call to action, for all small and independent brewers to unite and take a stand to ensure that the big brewers, the giant corporations, don’t get their grubby mitts in the craft beer pie.

Article – Brewdog: Defining Craft Beer

Article – Brewdog: Defining Craft Beer – Take 2

“Legal definitions are everywhere and are designed to protect a product’s reputation from poor imitations.”

Brewdog, 2013

Those big brewers, giant corporations, like Carlton United and Lion Nathan have their craft beer range of beers, Matilda Bay and James Squire respectively and I often see debate in the social media world as to their credentials. The big brewers are too big, owned by an overseas company and produce too much for these beers to be labelled craft.

Or are they?

How relevant is the size of production or the ownership of the brewery? In relation to the current Brewer’s Association (US) definition its very relevant. It defines craft beer by how much beer the brewer produces, the ownership of the brewery and the method by which they brew. Read the full definition at the Brewers Association website here.

CBIA: A national body which represents the Australian craft brewing industry

A little closer to home we have our CBIA, the Craft Beer Industry Association, which defines craft beer in a much more simple but still meaningful way –

“Craft beer is borne of a mindset, an idea between art and science that inherently requires the skill of a brewer”

Article – Australian Brews News: On the definition of craft beer

Though I am sure many people would disagree with the above, calling for specific outlines and guidelines, it resonates with me because my personal definition of craft currently lies more with intention than it does ownership.

For me the word “craft” is still relevant and it still has meaning but its not what defines the industry, its not what it was built on nor what will continue its growth. Craft brewing means to me that the brewers are creating something they love and that they want others to enjoy, it’s about creating beer with the best ingredients they can get for the beer they want to create and whether they are trying to replicate a long respected style or create their own, the final product is something made with passion and integrity. Call it craft, call it small batch, call it artisanal, as someone who loves beer these words get my attention but my decision to drink these beers rests on so much more.

Article – Draft: The meaning behind craft beer

I read articles calling for a definition of craft beer and I don’t disagree with the argument, I think I just feel there is more happening in the industry, more pressing issues than a single word that require attention. Of course I say this knowing I am on the outskirts of this amazing industry. I don’t own a brewery, nor do I brew beer and nor does my income depend solely on the continued growth of craft beer. I am a blogger, a cheerleader at best and there is so much about beer worthy of pom poms and summersaults – brewing innovation, the diversity of flavour, the celebration of tradition and availability of international beers alongside beers that were brewed a few kilometres from home. Let’s celebrate all this and not get caught up in the little things like a single word. Get caught up in beer, it’s much more fun.

Article – Stone & Wood Brewing: Be good, not crafty!