5 minutes with Jacq and Mark from Eat The Street

Happening on 17 March as part of Eat Drink Perth, The Ultimate Craft Beer Tour is hosted by Eat the Street Perth Walking Tours

[ less than a six minute read ]

All photos and images provided by Eat The Street

Eat the Street is a Perth walking tour company owned and operated by Jacqueline Baril and Mark Padgett who, if you’ve ever met them, you’ll know are excellent guides and lovely people. They’re passionate and knowledgeable about what’s going on in Perth and both are particularly in love with craft beer. Late last year Mark became a Certified Cicerone and, along with yours truly, joined a small number of West Australians currently holding such a certification. So who better to show people around Perth to find all the really good beer?!

What is a Cicerone? The word Cicerone (sis-uh-rohn) designates hospitality professionals with proven experience in selecting, acquiring and serving today’s wide range of beers. From Cicerone website. It’s basically like a sommelier but for beer!

On Saturdays, they run a dedicated Craft Beer Tour that kicks off at 3pm, because it isn’t socially acceptable to drink in the morning, and for Eat Drink Perth 2018, they are hosting a one-off special edition. Happening on 17 March, Jacq says The Ultimate Craft Beer Tour will be like their regular Craft Beer tour “but cranked up to 11!”

Eat Drink Perth: 1 – 31 March 2018

“We will have a special guest join us at each stop ranging from brewers to craft beer educators,”

The tour is extra special for Mark as it will be his first event as a Certified Cicerone.

The group will be a little bigger than normal with 15 guests and up to three guides depending on the stop and the special guest* assigned to each stop. The details are still being worked out but you can be sure a stop at craft beer favourites Dominion League and Baby Mammoth will be on the schedule and some pretty special beers and food pairings will be on offer.

*Note: I will be putting the ‘special’ into special guest by appearing on the tour too!

So you can get to know your hosts-with -the-most, I asked Jacq and Mark to answer five questions for this latest edition of ‘5 minutes with …’

Eat the Street’s Jacqueline Baril and Mark Padgett \\ Photo courtesy of Eat the Street

Which Australian breweries should people be watching?

Jacq: Wildflower, Mark and I got to meet Topher while we were in Sydney for Christmas. What he is doing there is pretty spectacular.

Mark: Batch Brewing in Sydney, Aether in Brisbane, 3 Ravens in Melbourne, Artisan are always doing something interesting over this way and great to see some city-based brewpubs!

What’s the most exciting thing about WA craft beer right now?

J: The sheer number of breweries that have opened or are opening. Crafties are taking over. It means better beers on tap at the corner pubs and more adventurous styles are being brewed.

M: I think the quality. There has been a lot of growth in the last five years, but with that the bar has been raised for quality. Our local beer is amazing and certainly holds up to beers I’ve had anywhere in the world.

What was your epiphany beer?

J: Lindemans Pecheresse – there was this small bottle shop in Frank BC Canada that stocked craft beer. When Mark found it he bought the full range of Lindemans that they had available plus a few more choice internationals. Pecheresse and framboise were my favourites. This was the first time I had ever tried craft beer or lambics.

M: I can’t just list one so here’s a few! Weihenstephan Hefe Weiss beer, Jever Pils, Emerson’s Pilsner, Duvel, Cantillon Gueuze, Worthington’s White Shield IPA, Great Divide Hercules Double IPA

What is the most surprising thing one of your guests has said on your Craft Beer Tour?

I don’t drink craft beer! …. Saaaay waaaaht?

What is your favourite beer and food pairing?

J: Baby Mammoth did a Golden Gay Time pannacotta paired with the Golden Stout Time from Big Shed, it was awesome. For an at home pairing you can’t go past a good stout with lamb roast. It’s such a great way to warm up in the winter, and I am lucky that Mark is a great cook. My go-to local is the Nail Oatmeal Stout.

M: As Jacq indicated above, pretty much anything paired at Baby Mammoth ! Those guys are next level! But at home I love cheese and beer! All the cheeses and all the beers. Try a Schlenkerla Urbock with a smoked Gouda and a spicy salami or a Boon Gueuze with a double brie.


DON’T FORGET!

17 March 2018, 3pm : The Ultimate Craft Beer Tour – a special one-off tour for Eat Drink Perth 2018

Snapshot: Baby Mammoth & Rocky Ridge Collaboration Dinner

Snapshot – a post of (mostly) photos –
for a quick look at the recent Baby Mammoth and Rocky Ridge Brewing collaboration dinner featuring their Inglorious Chutney beer

Event:

Rocky Ridge & Baby Mammoth Collab Beer Launch

22 February 2018

 

Rocky Ridge Brewing head brewer and co-owner Hamish Coates
Hamish (left) and Baby Mammoth owners Tania and Ryan Lambson, Ryan is also the head chef as you might have already figured out from his clothes! You can read more about the Baby Mammoth and their dedication to beer and food by clicking on the photo to read the article on Crafty Pint by Guy Southern, aka Good Times Craft Beer
Chicken Sosatie, Green Peppers and Onions paired with Rocky Ridge Ace Pale Ale
Lacto Risotto, Fermented Coffee and Pecorino paired with Rocky Ridge Sour Buffalo
Hemp Seed Taco, Smoked Pickled Mushrooms paired with Rocky Ridge collaboration with Vasse Valley Hemp Farm, Dr Weedy’s Hemp Ale
Bobotie, Banana Leaf Rice and Sambal paired with Rocky Ridge collaboration with Baby Mammoth, Inglorious Chutney. This beer was surprisingly delicate and made using ginger, turmeric, coriander and inspired by chutney. This was a special sneak peek at the beer as it’s currently in four different wine barrels to referment and age for release in champagne bottles in a couple of months.
Grilled Banana Pound Cake, Chocolate BBQ Compote and Honeycomb Icecream paired with Rocky Ridge collaboration with Burnt End Smoking Co, Crimson

Wildflower + Cheese

Sydney’s Wildflower Brewing & Blending teamed up with Little Cheese Shop and Mane Liquor for a fantastic beer and cheese event …

The Wildflower bottles are striking because they look a little lost, beautifully lost.

Image from http://www.wildflowerbeer.com
Image from http://www.wildflowerbeer.com

The labels are beautifully elegant and nothing about them screams ‘beer’ yet their reserved appearance makes them a stand out on the shelf, which, in a market that gets more crowded by the day is pretty damn impressive.

Wildflower Brewing and Blending opened earlier this year and though the word “brewing” is right there on the label, it is actually the word “blending” that should get your attention.


Crafty Pint’s Nick Oscilowski wrote a fantastic article about Wildflower in the lead up to their opening. It’s a long story to tell including a little astrophysics, a European trip and, of course, lots of nerdy beer stuff so grab a coffee or beer, whatever is more time-of-the-day appropriate and settle in.


Wort is basically beer before it’s beer, the liquid before fermentation happens.

You’ll find Wildflower in Marrickville in Sydney’s inner west and they don’t actually brew, instead, they take wort brewed by another local brewery and then it goes through wild fermentation with their unique house yeast that founder Topher Boehm captured and cultivated from flora in the NSW region. Then it’s about barrel ageing and blending and the end results are what they’re calling Australian Wild Ales.

BJCP: Beer Judge Certification Program – training beer judges in 80 or so different styles

Despite how simple it sounds – step one: catch yeast, step two: ferment beer, step three: profit – it is far more complicated. You’ve got beers that are constantly evolving in different barrels, barrels that are imparting their own character, and blending them with other barrels in a way that results in a beer that is better than each individual beers on its own.

Wildflower made the list of Crafty Pint’s Best New NSW Beers for 2017, you can read the full list here.

I first spotted Wildflower on the shelf at Mane Liquor and, as you would have gathered from the opening, the bottles caught my attention so I grabbed one.

I attended Topher’s talk in July at the Australian Craft Brewers Conference in Adelaide where he spoke about mixed culture fermentation. I held on for some of what he talked about and was completely lost in other parts but I loved it.

Mane Liquor, 237 Great Eastern Hwy, Ascot

Little Cheese Shop, 89C Whatley Cres, Bayswater

Just before Christmas Mane Liquor hosted Wildflower along with Little Cheese Shop in an eight beer and four cheese tasting, an event that sold out in minutes of it being announced on the Mane Liquor Facebook page.

Luke, Wildflower’s barrel manager, guided guests through each beer with two beers paired to one cheese selected by Geoff from Bayswater’s Little Cheese Shop.

Elliot (Mane Liquor), Luke (Wildflower) and Geoff (Little Cheese Shop)
All of the cheese
Wildflower Gold Blend #1 and #3

Wildflower Gold Blend #1 is a blend of two barrels and, as the name suggests, was their first beer. Luke described it as being the most savoury of their beers to date.

Wildflower Gold Blend #3 is a blend of one of the original barrels together with a four-month-old barrel. I adored the nuanced fruit characters of nectarine, pear, lime pith and kiwi fruit balanced with a sourdough-like bread flavour.

If you’re interested in more Australian Wild Ales, check out Two Metre Tall (TAS) – here is a great interview with founder Ash Huntington on the Beer Sucks Podcast

These beers were paired with La Tur, a mixed milk cheese of goats, sheep and cows milk, that is bright and creamy with zesty citrus and made a great pairing to these two beers. These were my favourite pairings from the event. The underlying acidity of the cheese complemented the subtle tartness in the beers.

Wildflower Gold Blend #4 and #5
Elliot from Mane Liquor pouring out Wildflower beers

Wildflower Gold Blend #4 was funky and earthy with lime and grapefruit citrus notes.

Wildflower Gold Blend #5 had more acidity than the previous beers but it was well balanced with apple skin, white grapes, pear and vanilla characters.

Geoff paired these beers with Langres, a wash rind French cow’s milk cheese with a wrinkly orange rind. I’ll first say that it’s a really great cheese because my tasting notes may sound a little odd – tangy, tropical fruit and ham hock.

The fruit character in the beer and cheese seemed to cancel each other out so the acidity in Gold Blend #5 felt like it was being emphasised so I thought this cheese was better with #4.

Wildflower Gold Blend #6 and #7

Wildflower Gold Blend #6 is a blend of two barrels, one from February and another from March and had a slightly salty character. Throw in some subtle floral notes, fresh lime, apple and pear flavours and this was a super refreshing and fantastic beer.

Wildflower Gold Blend #7 is a blend of seven-month-old and five-month-old barrels and according to Luke is one of their most popular beers to date. Funky, earthy with sweaty socks, but in a totally good way, with a delicate citrus finish.

Paired with Section 28 Il Lupo, a cheese from the Adelaide Hills that is cave-aged for a minimum of 40 days, is fruity and a little chalky that was a nice pairing to both beers.

Wildflower Gold Blend #8 and #9
Wildflower Gold Blend #8 and #9

Wildflower Gold Blend #8 is the last of their two barrel blends and uses seven and five-month-old barrels. Big citrus pithy notes along with fresh lime and tropical fruit; pineapple, in particular, sprung to mind.

Wildflower Gold Blend #9 is a three barrel blend across four, five and six-month barrels where Luke said they had started to gain confidence in blending some of their younger barrels. Straw, mandarin, funky citrus, subtle briny character and sourdough.

Reypenaer VSOP, aged for 24 months, is one of my absolute favourite cheeses. The first thing you notice in this Dutch cheese is its striking orange colour and subtle white blotches, protein crystals that give it an interesting texture. It’s caramelly, buttery, nutty and has strong tropical and stone fruit notes. In this pairing, the cheese overwhelmed the beers but I was still very happy to see it on the board. Served with a red IPA or gutsy pale ale, I think this cheese absolutely shines.

Follow Wildflower on social media …

Creativity and Clear Desserts at Baby Mammoth

Baby Mammoth are clarifying orange juice, teaming up with their favourite booze makers and creating weird and wonderful dishes and they’re having a great time doing it …

Recently the crew at Baby Mammoth in Northbridge spent over a week trying to clarify orange juice. Why? Because they found themselves with a lot of oranges and, quite frankly, just to see if they could do. Negronis are one of their most popular cocktails and it uses orange peel as a garnish, resulting in lots of peeled oranges with no purpose. Rather than go to waste, the idea came up to juice them, clarify the juice and then make completely clear Harvey Wallbangers. They named this new cocktail the Clarified Banger. Baby Mammoth’s co-owner Ryan Lambson and bar manager Zack Garcia toldd me the story with big smiles and a lot of laughter. Just telling me this story leads the guys to another idea; to create a clear rocky road ice-cream topped with a clear chocolate sauce. It may or may not happen but it’s not really the point.

L-R: Ryan Lambson, co-owner and Zack Garcia, bar manager

Ryan and his wife Tania along with Zack and rest of the Baby Mammoth staff have a group chat on Facebook. Often the messages are a relentless stream of “really constructive ideas,” Ryan says and adds,“it’s lots and lots of fun, I don’t get bored.” Tania, in particular, Ryan and Zack say is an “ideas muse”. The constant collaboration between the whole team is impressive.

“I’m loving coming to work and having the freedom to do and create,”

Zack Garcia, Baby Mammoth bar manager

The creation of their cocktail Gran Pappy’s Love Tonic, featuring rum, tequila, watermelon and La Sirene Urban Pale liqueur, they say was a particularly hard cocktail to develop and just one example of their very collaborative process. “That cocktail was the bane of my life,” Zack laughs.

Photo from Baby Mammoth’s Facebook – Gran Pappy’s Love Tonic
Baby Mammoth’s Tania Lambson – Photo from Baby Mammoth’s Facebook

Zack says that putting up a call on Facebook looking for work is what lead to him to Baby Mammoth. “I was desperate,” Zack laughs, “I put the white flag up and Ryan replied.”

“Within three weeks he gave me the keys and the alarm code,” Zack says.

Ryan in the kitchen plating up – Photo from Baby Mammoth’s Facebook

For Ryan, feeling confident that the front of house is in good hands with Zack, has allowed him to enjoy getting back to the food side of the business, creating new dishes and pairings. For instance, when they tapped a keg of Cantillon Gueuze 100% Lambic, one of the most highly regarded beers in the world, Ryan created a food pairing of pineapple and thyme compote with creamy blue cheese.

Photo from Baby Mammoth’s Facebook

“With the way business is at the moment it’s really important to get creative,” Ryan says of the somewhat flat economy.

Creativity in the kitchen has always been focus at Baby Mammoth where monthly ‘chef lab’ events challenge each of their chefs to create a new dish based around a theme. Customers votes determine the winner.

August Chef Lab theme is Carnivale! Bookings Essential $20pp // Tuesday 1st August // Event Information Here

Photo from Baby Mammoth’s Facebook – June ChefLab Voting

“We can’t play it safe, we need to take some risks”

Ryan Lambson, Baby Mammoth co-owner

Really great beers not only inspire and influence Ryan’s food ideas but also their house-made liqueurs and vermouths and with Zack on board they are developing these further; showcasing them separately as well as within their cocktails. This means you’ll be able to order from a list just like you would a wine or a beer and as someone who has sampled many of their liqueurs and vermouths, this is very good news.

“The longer we do this, the more interesting people we met,” Ryan says and these people inspire him further. People like the crew at Boatrocker Brewery and Starward Distillery who they are collaborating with for an upcoming event called Glorious Food, Beer and Whisky on 31 July.

Photo from Baby Mammoth’s Facebook

“We wanted to put the two [Boatrocker and Starward] together and then of course do something really weird with the boys in the kitchen so Baby Mammoth also puts its mark on the dinner,” Zack says excitedly.

The stars aligned for the event with Paul Slater, Starward’s brand ambassador and Ben Lancaster from Boatrocker coincidentally in Perth at the same time making scheduling the event with two east coast companies surprisingly easy.

“Me and Zack were so excited that we went an email at the same time,” Ryan says of organising the Boatrocker beers for the event and it promises to be an impressive list with some barrel-aged beers and beers that have not been available in WA before.

The team hope the Starward and Boatrocker night can be an annual event and they’re also hoping that last year’s La Sirene dinner with co-founder and brewer Costa Nikias will happen this year too (nudge, nudge, hint, hint, if you’re reading this Costa!)

L-F: Costa from La Sirene and Ryan from Baby Mammoth at last year’s dinner
Malt syrup tart with white chocolate and preserved fruit paired with La Sirene Sour Red at last year’s La Sirene dinner at Baby Mammoth

Ultimately Ryan and Zack agree that it is all about having fun whilst giving their customers an experience.

“Our job is to be informative, help our customers, guide them, feed them lots of interesting stuff and hopefully they leave happy every time and come back,” Ryan says and nicely sums up why I keep going back to Baby Mammoth.

Lentil Curry, pickled cauliflower, cashews and house-made brioche

GBW Day 3 : Marketing and Brewers & Chewers

Another great day of Good Beer Week stuff with a great branding panel in the afternoon and Brewers & Chewers in the evening

Good Beer Week, Day 3

Wednesday 17 May

THE ROYSTON

In an Uber on the way to The Royston, taking a street that seemed to be packed with endless speed bumps, I realised that perhaps I was a little dusty from the night before. When I got to The Royston in Richmond, I was delighted to find Feral’s Biggie Juice on tap – a beer I’d not managed to try back home in Perth – and I asked the bartender, Ed, to recommend good food for a slight hangover.

That’s when cheeseburger spring rolls entered my life and all the right in the world again!

IMG_20170517_144903_649
Cheeseburger Spring Rolls with Tomato Sauce, Mustard and Pickles and Feral Biggie Juice

MARKETING : MAKE YOUR BRAND TALK

In the late afternoon I headed to Beer Deluxe at Federation Square, otherwise known during Good Beer Week, as the Trade Hub. The hub has been hosting great talks and panel discussions and the opportunity to learn from some of the industries finest.

I attended panel called Marketing : Make Your Brand Talk hosted by Luke Robertson of Ale of a Time, a podcaster and journalist. The panel consisted of Lawrence from Colonial Brewing, Danielle from Two Birds Brewing and Steve from The Honey Bar and Chunky Media.

IMG_20170517_182935_628
L-R : Lawrence from Colonial Brewing, Danielle from Two Birds and Steve from The Honey Bar and Chunky Media

It was a great panel and discussion topic that potentially could have gone for hours if time permitted.

Steve from Melbourne’s The Honey Bar and co-founder of Chunky Media, recommended that if you don’t have much budget for social media, the best approach is to pick one channel and focus on it.

“Dive into something that’s the best reflection of what your brand can be,” Steve said and was quick to point out this isn’t always Instagram.

“Facebook controls the world,” Steve noted about social media advertising, stressing that there can be much benefit from taking the time to learn about Facebook advertising.

Lawrence from Colonial Brewing discussed their approach to social media by using different channels for the different aspects of their business that encompasses two breweries plus several venues across Western Australia and Victoria. Whilst Facebook is used for the venues and the brewery, Instagram is for their overall brand communications so there is lot of forward planning and coordination when it comes to social media.

“We have to be nimble and smart,”

Lawrence, Colonial Brewing

Danielle from Two Birds Brewing discussed the importance of making sure your social media is authentic and personal. “It’s important to have a legitimate voice,” Danielle said.

“We are fortunate enough to have a story that people like to tell,”

Danielle, Two Birds Brewing

“People care about individuals,”

Steve, The Honey Bar

On the topic of dealing with negative comments on social media, Steve, Lawrence and Danielle agreed it’s best to take the conversation out of the public comment section, not to avoid, but to speak directly to that person. The fact that the complaint was made, Lawrence says, can be positive if it means that person wants to engage in conversation with you. Steve agrees and believes they will appreciate that, as the brewer/owner responding to the complaint, they’ll appreciate you’ve have taken the time to acknowledge and reply.

Whatever you do, all three agree, is do not hit back.

“Don’t reply to a direct hit with a direct hit back,”

Danielle, Two Birds Brewing

As a woman in the beer industry, Danielle is often asked about this topic and also the branding of Two Birds which she actually credits to someone else.

“We didn’t come up with the name. Someone else did and we paid them,” Danielle laughed. They loved it and the reference to her and Jayne, the co-founder and brewer, as the ‘two birds’.

‘Believe it or not, not everyone gets it,” Danielle said to a pretty surprised audience.

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Two Birds T-Shirt
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Two Birds Brewery aka Two Birds Nest in Spotswood, Victoria

The brand isn’t, and never was planned, to be about targeting women, instead they see themselves as a “gender friendly brand” and much more about the brand being a direct reflection of her and Jayne’s personalities.

When asked about advice for a brands personality and brand plan, the panel had some great tips.

“Try not to be everything to everybody,” Danielle said. “Focus on one thing.”

Lawrence added however that you still need to have some flexibility, such as the opportunity Colonial recently had to get involved with the Essendon Football Club.

“You need to be fluid,” Steve echoed reminding the audience that a business plan is not a business reality until it actually happens.

“The market will tell you who you are,”

Steve, The Honey Bar

Whilst planning is important, Steve reminded people to pay attention to data. Whilst your brand plan might include a particular target audience, you may get data telling you another group are the people getting into your brand. You need to listen to what the data is telling you.

When it comes to making time for journalists and bloggers, Danielle admits that it isn’t always easy to find the time around everything else involved in running a brewery. “It can be frustrating but it is worth investing in,” Danielle said, “and we’ve noticed a dip in sales when we have shied away from PR.”

“There are always interesting stories coming from the brewery,”

Lawrence, Colonial Brewing

BREWERS & CHEWERS AT THE LOCAL TAPHOUSE

This, to me, is a staple on the Good Beer Week calendar. It’s a beer dinner that combines speed dating with a meet the brewer event and it’s held at one of the most iconic beer venues in the country, The Local Taphouse in St Kilda.

Catching up with a table full of great WA people

Over appetizer, entrée, main and dessert, eight brewers take a seat at a table each, giving you the chance to chat before the bell rings and they’re up and off to the next table and you get another brewer to talk to!

Duck and pistachio terrine, mustard fruit chutney and autumn leaves

The evening was expertly MC’d, as always, by Pete “Prof Pilsner” Mitcham who also made sure to get each brewer on the microphone for a short interview throughout the night.

IMG_20170517_195232
Adrian Walker from Firestone Walker (US)

Adrian describes the Double Barrel Ale as his “home coming beer”, the beer that, no matter where he drinks it, always makes him feel at home.

The Double Barrel Ale was the first beer they ever released, an English Pale Ale that is partially fermented in their oak barrel brewing system and then blended with beer fermented in stainless, Adrian estimates the approximate blend being 25/75 respectively.

You can follow Adrian on Twitter here.

During his interview with Pete “Prof Pilsner”, Adrian turned the interview into more of a speech and encouraged drinkers to speak up if they see any Firestone Walker older than 60 days and he also encouraged drinkers not to forget about their local brewers, saying “you should drink your local beer.”

Fuller's (UK) Black Cab Stout
John Keeling from Fuller’s (UK) with their Black Cab Stout

Served on nitro, Black Cab is a beautiful roasty stout with a light body, black coffee and dry finish.

“Great beers have personality and character,”

John Keeling, Fuller’s

John strongly believes that in order to have great beers you need to employ people with personality and character too; boring and dull people will result in boring a dull flavour.

My friend Dan looking pretty happy and who can blame him?! Roast pork bell, cumberland stuffing, confit garlic and thyme

 

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Renn Blackman from Blackman’s Brewing (VIC) with Arthur Smoked Porter

This beer is named after brewer and co-founder Renn’s great grandfather Arthur. An easy drinking porter with a smokiness that’s in balance with the beer instead of totally dominating it.

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Stu from Yeastie Boys (UK / NZ) with Big Mouth Session IPA

The Big Mouth Session IPA was beautifully citrusy and lime pithy with a crisp bitterness and the recipe is one that Stu made as a home brewer.

I think it’s also worth nothing the t-shirt that Stu choose for the dinner knowing that Joel (Dutch Trading Co and formerly Cellarbrations Carlisle) would be at the dinner and who had organised these t-shirts back in 2013.

Ryan Schmiege from Deschutes Brewing with their Passionfruit IPA

The passionfruit IPA does what it says on the label with lovely passionfruit flavours and soft malts in support.

Ryan told us about the new two barrel pilot system being installed back home whilst he was in Australia. Previously experimental batches were brewed at their Bend brewpub but Ryan is looking forward to using this new system instead.

Profiteroles
Profiteroles, vaniella creme, salted caramel, pistachio praline

The Wild Beer Co beer that was served was the Wild Goose Chase Farmhouse Ale, Andrew described this beer has an introductory sour beer. It was a beautiful farmhouse ale and made using their apple yeast culture. Andrew said the culture came from one of their employees who had a small orchard, they collected it and put it into fresh wort and were really happy with the results.

In addition to this apple yeast culture, the brewery uses many others including a house ale yeast, a Saison and Brettanomyces mix, a grape culture, a sourdough culture and a mix lacto and Brettanomyces strain.

 

Having had a few beers and being fans of Bruce Willis movie, The Fifth Element, we asked Dave early about the name Akasha which refers to the ‘fifth element’ and they have indeed made a beer referencing the movie – the Korben D IIPA.

Sven and Juan from Naparbier with host Pete Mitcham

The guys from Spanish brewery Naparbier, Juan Rodrigues and Sven Bosch, were very interesting to chat with and hence the lack of photos.

Brewer Juan was a home brewery for ten years before starting at Naparbier. Sven, CEO of the brewery, wasn’t shy in proclaiming Juan was one of the best brewers in Europe.

Located near Pamplona, Naparbier exports half of their beer. Their home country of Spain is still largely “wine country” but is now home to around 600 breweries.

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L-R : Steve from Local Taphouse, Stu McKinlay from Yeastie Boys and Guy from Local Taphouse

Congratulations​ to Steve, Guy and the whole Local Taphouse team on another great event!

GBW Day 2 : Lots of Cheese and Kaiju! Dinner

Lunch at Milk the Cow, a licensed fromagerie in Carlton, and for dinner – Kaiju! Beer Degustation at one of Melbourne’s best Japanese restaurants

Good Beer Week, Day 2: Tuesday 16 May

MILK THE COW

Licensed fromagerie. Two of the best words ever to be put together.

Day two of my Good Beer Week adventure in Melbourne was spent with two great friends, Dan and Vicky. We met many years ago over a love of beer but we also share a love of all things cheesey – including so-bad-they’re-good jokes – and so we decided to have lunch at Milk the Cow in Carlton.

Cheese and Beer Flight // Large Size which gives you 90ml each beer and 30g each cheese

There’s also paired cheese flights for wine, cognac/armagnac, sake, whiskym, dessert wine/fortified and cider available.

This flight was –

  1. Midnight Moon with Napoleon’s Pale Ale
  2. Reypenaer VSOP with Palm Amber Ale
  3. Meredith Farm Chevre with Bridgeport Hop Czah IPA
  4. La Tur with Codeo Shiro

Each pairing was lovely and well put together, the stand out for me being the Midnight Moon and Napoleon’s Pale Ale and the most interesting was the La Tur with Codeo Shiro.

5 Cheese Cheesemonger’s Choice

The Cheesemonger’s Choice Cheeseboards change weekly depending on what’s fresh and new, we received (left to right)

  • L’Artisan Mountain Man
  • Mothais Sur Feuille
  • Chimay a la biere
  • Quickes Oak Smoked Cheddar
  • Swiss Gruyere

KAIJU! BEER DEGUSTATION DELUXE

The evening ended with my friends Dan and Vicky and I laughing at a very bad but awesome joke Vicky told whilst we tucked into an amazing dessert that was dish number eight in what was an amazing evening of food and beer.

In summary, wow.

The event was held at Japanese restaurant Kumo Izakaya on Lygon Street in Brunswick East, owner Andre Bishop – and official Dassai Sake ambassador – welcomed the packed restaurant to the evening with a serve of Dassai 50 Junmai Daiginjo sake and lead a resounding group “cheers!”

Dassai 50 Junmai Daiginjo

 

Swordfish Ceviche with Avocado Puree, Apple and Kalamansi paired with Kaiju! Krush

Nat Reeves, one of the co-founding brothers behind Kaiju!, explained that in the case of Kaiju! Krush the name popped into his head and he knew he had to make a beer to match it. It had to be a tropical fruit bomb and it had to be immensely drinkable for the ‘Krush’ part. If you have had this beer then you know that they absolutely nailed the brief, it’s a stunning beer!

Paired with the swordfish ceviche it was a gorgeous match, the tropical fruits in the beer working in harmony with the citrus of the dish.

Vegetable Tempura selection of broccoliini, pumpkin and sugar snap pea paired with Kaiju! Savage Wizard American Pale Ale

Massive passionfruit and guava notes in the Savage Wizard made it an absolute delight and it cut beautifully through the light tempura batter.

Home made vege chips and spiced nuts paired with Kaiju! Metamorphosis IPA

These were some seriously moreish snacks and the beer disappeared just as quickly! Metamorphosis is an Californian style IPA with a heavy use of crystal malt supporting Columbus and Cascade hops.

Traditional bincho-tan flame grilled yakitori with Murray River pink salt paired with Kaiju! Hopped Out Red Ale

The Hopped Out Red Ale was the second beer Kaiju! ever made and another great match to the yakitori which, my friend Vicky said, might have been even better than any she’d had on her recent trip to Japan!

Grilled freshwater Eel with cream cheese, blackberry and pickled ginger paired with Kaiju! Cthulhu on the Moon Black IPA

My first experience with eating eel was the stand out dish and pairing for the night! The light roasty character in the Black IPA paired perfectly with the eel and the hoppy notes complemented the slight sweetness in the dish.

Matt remarked that the beer came about after their designer came up with such an incredible label that they had to put a beer in it!

Saikoro Steak – black Angus strip loin with ponzu and wasabi paired with Kaiju! Aftermath Double IPA

The steak was cooked to absolute perfection. The beer was the first Kaiju! beer ever made with Matt describing it as having “lots and lots of dank American hops.”

Mini cheese platter of comte and savourine with sultanas and candied walnuts paired with Kaiju! Betelgeuse Imperial Amber Ale

Because you can never have enough cheese in one day! More delicious cheese and more delicious beer, the Betelgeuse is basically twice as big at their Hopped Out Red making it twice the fun!

Chocolate mouse with crumbed brownies, honeycomb ice cream and chilli meringue paired with Kaiju! Where Strides the Behemoth Double India Black Ale

What way to close out a dinner – barrel aged beer and a kick ass dessert, a beautiful pairing. The beer was aged in Pedro Ximenez barrels and this was just one keg of the four they made.

Amazing night, congratulations to the whole team at Kumo and Kaiju! on an excellent evening!

 

GBW Day 1 : Beer School and Stomping Ground

My first day of Good Beer Week included a trip to Beer School, hosted by Boatrocker Brewing, and then dinner by Michelin star chef Daniel Burns at Stomping Ground

Good Beer Week, Day 1 : Monday 16 May

Why walk when you can run? This seems to be the way I approach Melbourne’s Good Beer Week.

BOATROCKER BREWING : BEER SCHOOL

I landed in Melbourne around lunch time Monday and was sitting at the Boatrocker Brewing Beer School at Beer Deluxe for the 4pm session of ‘Cut, Contrast and Complement’ hosted by founder and head brewer of Boatrocker, Matt Houghton, and Rob Kabboord, head chef of Merricote.

Together they guided us through a great flavour education session with a plate of individual examples of flavours such as fresh lemon for sour, parmesan for umami and honey for sweet.

Pretzel for salt, honey for sweet, radicchio for bitter, lemon for sour and parmesan for umami

It’s one thing to read about beer and food pairing but it’s another to taste and experience, particularly with industry pros and broken down in this easy to understand format.

After identifying salt, sweet, bitter, umami and sour it was onto some beer and food pairings looking at examples of cut, contrast and complement.

Boatrockers beers are diverse, interesting and delicious so their ability to pair to food is pretty much boundless.

Contrast pairing of Boatrocker Orange Sherbert with Enokitake mushrooms and parmesan

For me, the Orange Sherbert was delicately acidic and definitely sherberty and paired with the Enokitake mushrooms and parmesan it seemed to round out the beer and soften its acidity. Really interesting!

Boatrocker Stout, only available on tap, a gorgeous English style stout

Trying the Boatrocker Stout was a little special since it’s not available in bottles. Gorgeous nutty, chocolate, coffee and fudgy aromas and flavours like black coffee, burnt toast and chocolate. So damn good.

EVENING WITH MICHELIN STAR CHEF DANIEL BURNS (NYC)

What a way to experience Stomping Ground Beer Hall for the first time – with a dinner by Michelin star chef Daniel Burns, co-owner and head chef at Tørst in New York, paired with beers by Stomping Ground and Evil Twin Brewing, of which Daniel is also co-owner.

Read more about Daniel : ‘Have you met Daniel Burns?’ on Phaidon

Justin Joiner (L) of Stomping Ground welcoming everyone to the evening alongside Daniel Burns (R)

The venue is simply incredible and there wasn’t a single thing I didn’t like about it. Freaking sensational. The brewery itself is beautiful too and I was stoked and surprised at how many beers they had on tap, it’s not your standard pale ale, pilsner, wheat beer, stout line up that’s for sure!

One part of the Stomping Ground beer list

Co-owner Guy Greenstone gave me a very quick brewery tour in-between courses. Half, single, double and triple fermenters give the brewery lots of flexibility and it’s hard not to get excited at the sight of a handful of barrels stashed out the back quietly doing their work.

The beers are fantastic, I wrote down precisely zero notes as I was too busy eating and drinking my way through a menu of deliciousness but my stand outs were the Bad Seed Berliner Weisse that was bang-on in terms of being delicate, lightly sour and immensely refreshing; the Barrel Aged Saison with just enough barrel influence that doesn’t steam roll over the Saison character and the Upside Down Brown was toasty with great sweet malt character.

Roasted Beetroot and Almond with Stomping Ground Bad Seed Berliner Weisse

 

Beef Tartare, Razor Clam and Shiso with Stomping Ground Bad Seed Berliner Weisse

 

Lobster Relish and Daikon with Stomping Ground Bad Seed Berliner Weisse

 

Mackerel. Poblano and Cucumber with Stomping Ground Market Saison

 

Smoked Celeriac, Scampi Roe and Kohlrabi with Stomping Ground Barrel Aged Saison
Duck, Carrot and Brown Butter with Evil Twin Brett Yeast Helles

 

Roasted Sunchoke, Thyme and Caramelised Apple with Stomping Ground Upside Down Brown

Daniel’s book, Food & Beer, was made available to purchase so I grabbed one and he was also signing them so I got to have a quick chat with him and thank him for a wonderful night.

L-R : Me, Daniel Burns and Wendy Marinich

Big thanks to Matt Marinich and the team at Stomping Ground Beer Hall for inviting me as a guest to this amazing event!

Beer sessions at the Food & Drink Symposium (FADS)

Sometimes beer gets forgotten at food and drink events but this isn’t the case at the Food and Drink Symposium. There will be a couple of opportunities to chat beer with a few great beer industry personalities making their way to the day.

WA’s first Food and Drink Symposium, aka FADS, is happening at the Claremont Showgrounds on Sunday May 28 and will “bring farmers, producers, chefs, educators and consumers together for a unique, community creating and sustainable food and drink event, with a day long program of talks, panel discussions and workshops.”

The concept is based on similar events such as Noma‘s MAD conferences and is being organised by Katrina Lane and Ai-Ling Truong, two well-known and active members in the local food scene. Katrina is a passionate local food advocator and Ai-Ling is the food curator and founder of Food Truck Rumble.

If you are interested in where you food comes from, if you use your own cloth shopping bags instead of plastic ones and if you prefer the markets over the nearby Coles, this event should be in your calendar!

Sometimes beer gets forgotten at food and drink events but this isn’t the case at the Food and Drink Symposium. There will be a couple of opportunities to chat beer with a few great beer industry personalities involved in the day. At the Q&A – Exploring the history of WA’s alcohol industry – Jack Purser from Indian Ocean Brewing and Sean Symons from White Lakes Brewing and former chief judge at the Perth Royal Beer Show Awards, will be looking at the craft beer world and how it has evolved.

Jack striking a pose at the Eagle Bay tent at last years Fremantle Beer Fest

After the lunch break, as part of the FADS Conversations sessions, Gerrard “Mitch” Mitchell and Paul Wyman will be hosting two sessions about beer and food. Each session will be focused on a beer style and pairing it with food but the guys don’t want people standing on ceremony, they’re there for a chat with you too! These casual and interactive sessions are free to attend.

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As a beer drinker in WA chances are you have enjoyed many of Paul’s beers. The Chief, a beautiful American Pale Ale that impressed both punters and beer judges, was from Paul’s time as head brewer at The Monk in Fremantle. From there Paul went on to head up the Colonial Brewing Margaret River brewhouse and now he is at the helm of Nowhereman Brewing, a new brewpub in West Leederville due to open mid-year.

Mitch is the executive chef for the Mary Street Bakery venues with extensive experience both locally and abroad, previously heading up the kitchens at Feral Brewing, The Monk and Five Bar. Mitch has established himself not only as a wonderful chef but as the beer and food chef in WA.

Paul (left) and Mitch (right) at Nowhereman Brewing

Within these sessions, Paul will examine one beer style, diving into its history and the style guidelines and Mitch will discuss the food he would pair with it and why. A small amount of beer and food will be provided since all that chatting will most certainly make you thirsty and hungry. But this isn’t a presentation, this is a discussion so the guys welcome feedback and comment, after all, beer and food is about conversation as much as it’s about flavour.

It’s having these sorts of conversations that Mitch and Paul both firmly believe is how food and beer culture will be promoted and shared.

“You need people who are passionate and constantly telling the same story,”

Paul

Small producers and brewers are often mistakenly labelled as each other’s competition but I rarely find any of them think like this, the reality is they are all fighting the same fight and one of the ways they do this is by singing the same tune. It’s about the importance of supporting local, about the stories behind each producer and why they do things a way that results in a better product in favour of something that purely serves to slash production costs.

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver Photography

When I ask the guys about how the industry will get these messages across, their answer is the same – education.

“Talk until someone starts rolling their eyes at you,”

Mitch

“Because all the big guys are constantly in peoples’ faces, you turn on the TV, open a paper, drive down the road, there’s something right there.” Competing with that kind of saturation is certainly challenging but constantly education and conversation is how that battle can be fought.

The conversation is never over because the industry is always changing. Free range eggs, Mitch says, are a great example, where the definition of what a free range egg has changed. “Now they [consumers] have to look for pasture raised,” Mitch remarks, “but we have only just taught people to look for ‘free range eggs’” and so the conversation continues.

Paul says it’s the same with beer, namely the definition of ‘craft beer’ that seems to be an increasingly blurring and overlapping category with global corporations releasing beers with packaging and marketing that echoes the style of a small, independent brewers. Often reading the small print on the back of a label or doing a Google search is the only way to determine if the beer in your hand is made locally by an independent brewery.

2014 : Paul, then with Colonial Brewing, chatting about beer at an event

For Paul and Mitch, presenting beer and food together makes a lot of sense and it’s more than just having something to wash down a messy burger. The increasing interest in food culture and the rise of craft beer are very much linked.

“It is amazing to see it start to come back – the rise of farmers markets, the rise of craft beer, all crafts are getting bigger. People want to know where stuff comes from,” Mitch says.

But the conversation about food culture is more than just knowing the name of the farm your cut of beef came from, it’s the importance of understanding exactly how every bit of food on your plate got there so that kids don’t grow up thinking that bananas come from supermarket.


Three easy ways to be more sustainable – Tips from Mitch

  1. Stop buying the “new” free range eggs and look for pasture raised eggs – if everyone did this tomorrow, “the big boys would have to go back to the farmers and make the system better.”

  2. Eat seasonally – with such easy access to almost anything we want, it is easy to forget that fresh product doesn’t grow in our backyard all year round but eating what is in season won’t just rack up points for sustainability, it will make for more flavourful produce in your cooking too!

  3. Eat 100% grass fed beef – Sure, it’ costs a little more but isn’t it worth it? “A few dollars per kilo in the scheme of things isn’t that much,” says Mitch and “instead of having 300gm of steak just have 200gm”


Like food culture, at the heart of craft beer is a sense of community, a connection with it’s local environment and an appreciation for quality ingredients.

Food and beer, individually and together, have a rich and long history – just look at the monks of old Belgian monasteries making beer and cheese – and bringing the two together is a great way to introduce people to good beer.

“Just getting people to drink craft beer is hard enough but I think if you can break that barrier down with food included, I think that really does impress on a lot of people,” says Paul. Beer is amazing on its own and then, when paired with the right dish, it can be incredible and take the beer to the next level.

The best food and the best beers I’ve ever had have always had two things in common – well put together flavours and an authentic story.


Paul and Mitch will be hosting two sessions as part of FADS CONVERSATIONS and each will feature a different style so if you’re thinking heading to one session, it’s most certainly worth returning for the second – just like any good beer is.

The Food and Drink Symposium is a crowd funded project, you can donate or donate AND get a perk with your hard earned cash here.

 

Beer & Food Pairing … but not all the time

Sure, it’s great when you find a beer and food pairing that’s perfect but it’s not always about THAT moment

It was a stinking hot day in Perth today so what springs to mind when you’re hit with a day like that? Beach, beer and BBQ.

Beach

After hitting the beach with our dog I just had BBQ and beer left on my hot-summer-day-to-do-list so I went home and threw some chicken wings on the BBQ and opened the beer fridge.

Maybe I should have something malty like a brown ale to go with the chicken wings that were coated in barbeque sauce. Maybe something smoky to go with the char of the BBQ. Maybe something hoppy. Maybe, maybe, maybe. In the end I grabbed a Berliner Weisse.

Nomad Brookvaler Weisse
Nomad Brookvaler Weisse – a Berliner Weisse with lemongrass, 3.6% ABV

There was no reason other than ‘hell yeah, I wanna drink that!” and sometimes that’s the best reason of all.

I love beer, of course, and I love it when you have a beer and food pairing that’s so wonderful together that you are convinced the two should never be served without each other. On the other hand, sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy a beer you want to drink and food you like to eat without thinking or even caring about whether they pair together.

After all, beer is fun – that’s the thing to know about beer, that above all else it’s super fun. Above pairing it with food, above pairing it with cheese, above how limited the release was, beer is fun.

Modus Operandi + Cheese

It’s been far too long between beer and cheese posts so here’s a recent pairing …

It has been far too long between beer and cheese posts …

A trip to the Little Cheese Shop in Bayswater inevitably ends in one delicious conclusion – lots of amazing cheese in the fridge at home. Then I spend the next couple of nights wondering whether it’s okay to eat cheese for dinner.

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Cheese! Great recommendations from Geoff and Kelsey in-store

Even though cheese for dinner is pretty damn great, pairing it with beer is even better.

The Beer

Modus Operandi Session IPA

Modus Operandi are based in NSW and their beers have gained a strong beer geek following in WA and rightly so, they’re cracking beers!

The Session IPA is 4.1 percent ABV and hopped with Simcoe, Citra and Chinook. It’s a really nice beer, super easy drinking and I loved the grassy and melon flavours that sit side by side with some stone fruit and a lime citrusy finish.

The Cheese

Reypenaer VSOP

A gouda from the Netherlands that is aged for a minimum of two years; both age and a salt wash contribute to the distinctive orange colour.

The taste reminded me of burnt butter and there are some nice rich caramel flavours, a fruity tang and a little nuttiness.

Together

A lovely pairing! The cheese is full flavoured and there’s just enough guts in the Modus Operandi Session IPA to support it.

The cheese brings out all the delicate fruits in the beer and the beers bitterness compliments the tangy of the cheese.

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Modus Operandi Session IPA and Reypenaer VSOP pictured on the right