Weekend Reading #62

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.


All About Beer | The Rise (and the Return) of Craft Lagers

I think there’s a pretty significant call out for more delicious craft lagers and pilsners. I know in my often hop driven world sometimes there is nothing more I would like than a damn fine pilsner.

Incidentally I also would love to see more local Saisions and have them available in 330ml bottles. I’d really dig that.

Nikkei Asian Review | Japanese Craft Beer is Finding a Warm Welcome Away from Home

Hitachino Nest was one of the first beers I can remember putting on the bottle list at Five Bar when I was doing that sort of thing. The Hitachino Nest White Ale blew my mind and now I have a pretty decent craving for it as I write this.

The Guardian | The aggressive, outrageous, infuriating (and ingenious) rise of BrewDog

An interesting look at Scottish beer and hype juggernauts BrewDog, whether you love or hate them, I think this is a good read.

Other beers have customers, but BrewDog has fans

The Sip | New brewers make mark on Monk

Brewer Craig Eulenstein left the Monk Craft Brewery last year to join Melbourne brewery Fury & Son, coming soon to the city’s western suburbs. The brewery is now in safe and well skilled hands of Mal Secourable and Rhys Lopez.

More Reading: Australian Brews News – Fury & Son Coming Soon to Melbourne

More Reading: Monk Hop Harvest Dinner

Monk Autumn Red Ale

Independent | The UK’s Craft Brewery Revolution Has Only Just Begun

First I have to say that the Pride & Joy can pictured at the top of the article is just beautiful.

I’m looking forward to the start of Lost and Grounded Brewers by, in part, Alex Troncoso, coming later in the year. I was working as a rep for Little Creatures when Alex was running the brewery.

 

Monk Hop Harvest Dinner

The Monk’s first Hop Harvest Dinner in celebration of their first wet hop beer, featuring wet hops from Albany and paired with food made with and inspired by the same hops

Last month I visited Karridale Cottages and Hop Farm, and I was like a kid in a candy store, and I wrote about it for The Crafty Pint.

Crafty Pint: Where there’s hope, there’s hops

Karridale Hop Farm

Karridale Hop Farm

But Karridale is not the only place you’ll find hops in the south west, the Hops West farm can be found in Albany near the Kalgan River. Certainly not new hop kids on the block, their farm has developed in WA over the last ten years where they grow over 20 varieties.

Last month Matt and Mitch, operations manager and head chef respectively at the Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen, took an epic day trip to Albany to harvest fresh hops and return with their bounty to use in the brewery.

Monk at Hop West Albany

Photo taken from The Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen Facebook page

Matt and Mitch picked hops for three hours and returned to the brewery with more than eight kilos of hop goodness. The hops were to feature in five beers for the Monk’s first Hop Harvest Dinner, held last week, and also in all the food paired to each beer.

Monk Craft Brewery and Kitchen

Event: Hop Harvest Dinner

Where: The Monk Craft Brewery Kitchen

Date: Thursday 24th March

Hop Harvest Dinner at Monk

Matt Marinich at Hop Harvest Dinner

Operations Manager Matt Marinich

ONE

Beer …

Monk Common Ale featuring Kracanup wet hops. Kracanup is a hybrid style of Cascade and Chinook.

Paired with …

Chicken Crackle, Pancetta, Lardo with House Pickle, Hop Smoked Deviled Egg and Nasu Dengaku.

This was a heck of a way to kick off the dinner, an absolutely gorgeous pairing of big passionfruit and lime driven flavours in the Common Ale and it matched in wonderfully different ways with each element of the dish.

“There’s more fat than meat so, you know, the perfect amount,”

Head Chef Mitch on the pancetta

Monk Common Ale

TWO

Beer …

Monk Seasonal – Autumn Red Ale featuring Red Earth wet hops.

Paired with …

WA Carrots and Hop Leaf Emulsion.

You’ve never had carrots so damn good, pickle, roasted and if you were to turn vegetarian based on this dish no one would blame you.

Monk Autumn Red Ale

WA Carrots and Hop Leaf Emulsion at Hop Harvest Dinner at Monk

THREE

Beer …

Monk Wet Hop Ale – an American Pale Ale base using whole hops throughout the brew and absolutely no hop pellets. Brewers Mal and Rhys used three varieties, Kracanup, Challenger and Flinders at various stages over two days of brewing but they were largely unsure of what effect the hops would have on the final product having no specifications or measurements on the hops.

“It was a beautiful blank canvas,”

Head Brewer Mal on the hop varities

The result was a beer with a hop profile that is “very elegant” says Mal.

Paired with …

Poached Jindong Pork Lion and Zucchini

Poached Pork Loin at Hop Harvest Dinner

FOUR

Beer …

Monk Extra IPA featuring Challenger and Kracanup wet hops and served through a firkin at the table.

Described enthusiastically by brewer Rhys as being the “dankest offering”, the beer had the longest contact time with the hops with hops literally shoved into the firkin so that the beer was hopped from tank to glass.

Monk Extra IPA

Food …

21 day aged Macabee Dorper Mutton and Cauliflower

Macabee Dorper Lamb can be found on Baillee Farm in the Avon Valley. They use sustainable farming practices and head chef Mitch was more than a little excited to be working Macabee Dorper Lamb. The dish featured belly and rack with Mitch saying, “this is something I am very proud to serve.” Anthea  Brown from Macabee Dorper Lamb was also at the dinner and was equally appreciative, “it’s great to work with people like Mitch and Sam who appreciate meat with some fat on it.”

Hop Harvest Dinner at The Monk

FIVE

Beer …

Monk Speciality – Belgian Speciality Ale, a blend of sour brown ale and Belgian Quad that spent six months in red wine barrels with brettanomyces.

Paired with …

Custom made wheel of ‘Hopped Up’ Vintage Ale Cheddar Cheese. Anyone who has had Mitch’s cheese before will know it’s absolutely killer. This version used the Monk’s own Vintage Ale with hop leaf thrown in too.

Cheese and Belgian Speciality Ale


Big thanks to Matt, Mitch, Sam and the whole team at The Monk for inviting me along to a great night! Already looking forward to next  years! Extra special shout out to Mitch, this dinner marked this last night at The Monk, and wish him all the best for the next food adventure! 

Boatrocker Saison du Bateau + Cheese

Trying a couple of cheese pairings with Boatrocker’s Saison du Bateau

I fell in love with Boatrocker Brewery when I went to their first ‘Palate Cleanser’ event during Good Beer Week 2013, like a magnificent first date that sparked true love. At the time of the event the brewery, located in Braeside, Victoria, had only been operational for a few weeks. Owner and head brewer, Matt Houghton, hosted a small group at the brewery and took us through a tasting of his favourite sour beers from around the world.

Read more about 2013 Palate Cleanser here.

Since then as Boatrocker have released beer after beer that I have adored, in particular their infamous Ramjet.

So given my love of all things Boatrocker you can imagine my delight when I rediscovered two bottles of Boatrocker’s Saison du Bateau in the back of the home beer fridge.

[click PLAY above to see the full label]

I love a good Saison, it’s the sort of beer I’d like to have in the fridge at all times. It might sound odd but I really like the fact that this Saison is in a 330ml bottle, it just makes it more approachable if it’s just a bottle for one person.

The beer looks divine in the glass. I got aromas of lime sorbet, sourdough and a hint of pear and vanilla. There’s a lot going on in this beer but not in any sort of overwhelming way. It’s beautiful. The whole sorbet and sourdough aroma carries through to the palate, it’s citrus pithy, spicy and herbal with a dry and light mouth feel. I wish I had tried it alongside Saison Du Pont, the Saison generally considered the benchmark of the style, just to see how they compare.

Boatrocker Saison du Bateau

Boatrocker Saison du Bateu (French translation “of the boat”)

Boatrocker Saison du Bateau + Taleggio

Taleggio: An Italian caved ripened cow’s milk cheese

This was an unexpectedly nice pairing to the Saison du Bateau. The cheese, with its fruity, tangy and kinda salty flavours, seemed to coax out the spicy and herbal elements of the beer.

Boatrocker Saison du Bateau and Taleggio

Boatrocker Saison du Bateau + Chevre

Chevre: A French goat’s milk cheese

I love chevre; it’s gorgeous, creamy, tangy and bright all at once. Normally I pair it with Eagle Bay Kolsch; the bright citrus in the Kolsch is mirrored in the zesty cheese so it’s always a winner in my mind.

At first bite of chevre followed by a generous sip of Saison du Bateau I thought, “oh mannnn.” The beer swept over the cheese, melding wonderfully with citrusy flavours. The cheese seemed to release all the citrus and pithiness of the beer, smoothing over almost all the bitterness and the herbal elements of the beer sung out too.

Chevre

Weekend Reading #61

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.


Ars Technica | Researchers are brewing up medicines from beer hops

My partner found this article and sent me the link and I’m very glad he did. It’s an interesting read because rather than being the usual ‘beer is good for you’ article that’s mostly fluff this one looks at recent scientific studies of compounds found in hops and what medicinal benefits could be found in them.

Good Beer Hunting | The History of Brasserie Dupont – Trailer

How fitting that I am drinking a Saison as I watched this trailer. The trailer is less than a minute but I can’t wait to see the whole thing. Three words rang out to me – spirit, simple and true. Maybe these are the words we should be using to measure or define craft beer.

The Crafty Pint | The Story Of: Boatrocker Ramjet

Ah, Ramjet. One of my absolute favourite beers from one of my favourite breweries.

Back in January of last year I interviewed Boatrocker owner and brewer, Matt Houghton, for my own look at this wonderful beer. This piece from Crafty Pint gives more insight into this beer, its history and its very, very bright future. If I had a teleport, I’d be at ‘Ramjet Day‘ for sure!

Draft Magazine | Why are beer people so outraged?

It is a question that occurs to me frequently, I get confused at why some people type awful things on social media because someone doesn’t like a beer they love or visa versa. Why do other people’s opinions on a beer get someone else so agitated? This article looks at this and more.

Their emotional response to beer comes from passion, they say. And if beer consumers are passionate, that emotional response will sometimes be negative.

Climate Council | A brewed awakening: Climate change threatens BEER

Often it can be hard to comprehend something that is so big, something with so much impact and with that in mind I think this is a wonderfully simple and direct way of communicating climate change. I’d love to taste this beer for myself but I doubt this will make it to WA, if anyone tries this and feels like commenting below please do, I’d love to know!

Weekend Reading #60

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.


All About Beer | Who is this Brett and why is his name on all these IPAs?

Brett is the preferred nickname for Brettanomyces, a wild yeast strain that often is associated with flavour descriptions like ‘barnyard’ and ‘horse blanket’ but, as this really interesting read will show, there is a lot more to this Brett character.

I wonder we will see Brett IPAs popping up in Australia any time soon? Interesting to note the interaction of hops and Brett in the article and wonder whether it would be worth the risk of introducing a wild yeast strain in the brew house for it.

Draft Magazine | What the hell’s an IPL?

A good brief look at the India Pale Lager, aka IPL, as a style and it’s varying interpretations.

I haven’t seen many IPLs here, the one that jumps to mind is Camden Town Brewery (AB InBev, UK) and the only Australian one I can think of was from Yenda Brewery (Coca-Cola Amatil, NSW) but that was a limited release.

Beer is your Friend | Things you don’t know about beer aka the crankiest beer listicle ever

This is sensational, it’s spot on and very amusing and I like when I read something that tickles both those fancies equally. Agree with everything there and this is my favourite listicle ever.

 

Beer Interpretation #4: Dry Hopping

Alright, so this “dry hopping” thing, why do beer lovers get so excited about it?

Beer Interpretation is an irregular series of posts where I try to decipher the sometimes strange and always wonderful world of beer jargon, phrases and catch cries by drilling into the basics and interpreting the lingo. Basically I’m going to try and translate the nerdy beer stuff.


DRY HOPPING

Alright, so this “dry hopping” thing, why do beer lovers get so excited about it?

Hops themselves are exciting, they’re gorgeous to look at, wonderful to smell and they bring so much to beer – bitterness, flavour and aroma. That’s quite the significiant contribution!

Check out – Beer Interpretation #1: Hoppy

cropped-58441_562528247099708_170524408_n1.jpg

Hops, being the magical beasts that they are, get added at various stages of the brewing process and dry hopping is just another way for brewers to use hops.

Dry hopping happens after fermentation, so when the yeast has made bubbles and booze, and it’s done to give the beer a nice big hop aroma. The best examples to see dry hopping in action are beers like pale ales and their extended family, i.e. IPAs, double IPAs, etc, where a full hoppy nose is more than welcome, in fact it’s compulsory!

When hops are added early in the boil it results in the alpha acids in the hops becoming isomerized, which means the alpha acids undergo a chemical change, which results in bitterness. At the other end, after fermentation, dry hopping sees the hops treated a little more kindly. Whilst the temperature will still be warm, it won’t be anywhere near the high temperatures needed for the boil so the hops just hang out for a while, maybe a week, maybe more or less, allowing the intact essential oils from the hops to dissolve into the beer and BOOM, hello wonderful hop aroma.

Karridale Hop Farm

I get super excited when I stick my nose in a beer and like what I smell, it’s like a prelude for the palate and we all know how significantly taste is impacted by smell. That’s why you’re always hearing beer geeks bang on about glassware, your beer doesn’t want to be caged up inside a bottle, release your beer and all it’s wonders!

The problem with hop aroma is that it starts to fade, pretty much straight away and after a couple of months the aroma faded or changed alot, either way, not what you want. This takes us back to my previous post in this series, “Beer Interpretation #2: Fresh is Best”. Think of it like a fresh mango, when it’s ready to eat you want to grab that sucker and enjoy it, delaying just makes for a sad mango and nobody wants that.

More Reading: A Perfect Pint – Beer School: Hops

Go Buy Some Beer …

Your best bet for big dry hopping is going to be fresh pale ales and IPAs, much like my list for the first post in this series, so grab WA local beers like Feral Hop Hop, Nail Golden Ale*, Eagle Bay Pale Ale, Mash Copy Cat (and also Grasscutter, I had one today and forgot how good it smells!) to taste and smell what dry hopping can do for a beer.

Looking outside of WA, there’s plenty of great options, for instance pick up Mornington IPA (Victoria), Epic Hop Zombie (NZ) or pretty much anything Pirate Life (Adelaide).

*disclaimer: I still work for Nail Brewing

 

 

Weekend Reading #59

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.

For those lazy weekend mornings when you just want to stay in bed and catch up on a little reading – Weekend Reading is a weekly (ahem, usually) post with the articles I’ve enjoyed in the past seven days.


Australian Brews News | We’ve axed lowbrau advertising, says Bavarian group

Sigh. When people complain that your advertising is sexist and offensive it seems strange that you’d go down the path these guys have when it comes to their Crafty Bavarian range of beers.

The beers have been given “personalities” and each has a different 50s inspired pin up girl illustration and description. A shout out to the Hop Dock which I found the most offensive to read.

I went from feeling bored, reading about such out dated and poorly conceived execution, to feeling annoyed, angry and confused. I’m sure you will too. Be sure to click through and see the full range of beers.

Another great article by James at Brews News.

The Shout | Champion Brewers create AIBA Brew

I always look forward to these collaboration beers and love the idea of champion breweries from this competition coming together to make a beer. This beer sounds like it won’t disappoint either!

ABC News | Tasmanian estate brewer’s journey from paddock to pint of beer

A while ago I had been reading about a similar culture of farm brewing in New York. I like the idea of beer being made from hops and malts grown from the same place the beer is brewed.

Good Food | Is Australian craft beer worth the money?

Always a pleasure to read a well put together beer article and you’d expect nothing less from Crafty Pint founder, James Smith. An excellent read on the growing perception that all craft beer is expensive, why it is sometimes true and sometimes not and a link to a fun list of both pricey and everyday affordable beers.