The Quiet American + Loud Food 2

Curry is certainly what I’d classify as LOUD food and proved to be a great match with The Quiet American. Great to play with locally produced foods as well, this dish uses Crunch Preserves Chilli Achar, made in Busselton, and enhanced the curry and stood up boldly to the fresh American hops

It’s not a secret that beautifully hoppy beers can be great partners to food with a bit of heat in them, like a loved-up couple. It’s about balance between hop bitterness in your beer and heat in your dish. So it’s not about using so much chilli that it brutally murders your taste buds, subjecting them to a slow and painful death, but instead it’s about being just spicy enough so the hop bitterness from a gulp of delicious IPA or Pale Ale enhances that spice.

As winter approaches I will be doing a short series on beer and curry experiments as I’ve read lots of bits and pieces on lager with curry, links between India Pale Ale and curries (it seems the British ‘Curry and Pint’ night is a pub favourite) and played around a little with beer & food matching for small events in the past but I think it requires a more dedicated approach. And yes, if it means drinking more beer and making lots of different curries then I’m happy to take on the role. I’m just dedicated like that.

Anyway, back to the point of The Quiet American, Little Creatures latest limited release, and another LOUD dish – Curry!

My boyfriend and I got home from work late one night and decided curry was a tasty but easy, ‘cannot-be-stuffed-with-anything-else’ dinner. We used sauce from a jar and added some locally produced Chilli Achar (Crunch Preserves) just for shits and giggles. And by “some” I refer to the massive dose that fit on the largest spoon we could get into the jar. Incidentally, the Chilli Achar was an impulse purchase from Boyanup Petrol Station on our Ferguson Valley adventuring where we also got bird seed … love country towns. Moving on … our Chicken Madras Curry with Chilli Achar, Mushrooms and Red Onion was another great hit with The Quiet American. I’m really enjoying the way red onion plays with the rich sweetness in this beer though my opinion is bias since I have started a (totally healthy) love affair with red onion and add it to almost every single dish. It tastes good and it’s just so darn pretty (there’s a joke in there somewhere). With the addition of the Harissa Paste, the curry carried the right amount of heat matched with the American hop bitterness. I keep saying “matched” because, well, it’s accurate but it’s more than that. It enhances and alters the spice flavours, like a collaboration between two great brewers that gets all beer geeks excited.

Madras Chicken Curry & The Quiet American

Chicken Madras Curry with Chilli Achar, Mushrooms and Red Onion

  • 1 Chicken Breast, diced
  • Jar Madras Curry Sauce
  • Massive dollop of Crunch Preserves Chilli Achar (or Chilli Pickle)
  • Sliced Button Mushrooms
  • Sliced Red Capsicum
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Garlic
Throw in everything and simmer for ages!

Little Creatures: The Quiet American

In a passionate one night stand a Belgian Strong Ale and an American IPA got together and made something beautiful!

Hoppity hop hops and sweet rich orange …

Crafted By: Little Creatures, Fremantle

Style: Hybrid (the bastard child of a Belgian Strong Ale & American IPA)

Status: Limited Release – get it when you see it people! ‘Single Batch’ means not much will be around

Available by/through: 568ml Pint Bottles and on tap at Little Creatures and a handful of select venues

Booziness: 7.2% abv

Taste: Rich oranges, spices and American hop bitterness

Look: Pours clear golden and quickly settles into a slightly darker form

Production Bits:

  • Pale Ale Malt, Abbey Malt, CaraBeige, CaraAroma, MunichMalt and Belgian Candi Syrup.
  • 55 IBU
  • New Seasons US Cascade and Chinook Hops

The Quiet American + Loud Food 1

The Quiet American is a damn fine beer bursting with flavour so you need some loud food to go with it

Being down south, things move at a slightly slower pace so it has taken me a few extra days to get my hands on the latest Single Batch release from Little Creatures, The Quiet American.

I first heard about it when we did a Little Creatures Beer + Food Event at Five Bar in February. We had been lucky enough to have along Andy, one of the Little Creatures brewers, who hinted at the upcoming release. So I’ve been keeping my eye out and now, having read all about it for the last week and no less than 4 trips to the bottle shop I finally got some. Of course I looked like an indecisive alcoholic on the first 3 trips as I stood staring at the fridge doors. The last trip resembled more of a Indiana Jones / Holy Grail style moment as I spotted the bottles on the shelf though I grabbed 6, not just 1.

I also picked up the copy of The Critics Choice Australian Best Beers I had on order so it was a very happy, beery day!

Beer + Beer Book
A Great Beer Day

For those who don’t have a copy here’s the Top 10 and Congratulations to everyone!

  1. Feral Hop Hog
  2. Stone & Wood Pacific Ale
  3. Little Creatures Pale Ale
  4. Holgate Temptress
  5. Bridge Road Brewers Chevalier Saison
  6. Little Creatures The Big Dipper
  7. Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale
  8. Knappstein Reserve Lager
  9. Mountain Goat Hightail Ale
  10. Murray’s Angry Man Pale Ale

Little Creatures describes The Quiet American as a hybrid style. I prefer to think of it as the bastard child of a one night stand. The two parent styles who stumbled drunkenly on to each other are a Belgian Strong Ale and an American IPA. The nose is unmistakably fresh American hops, aromatic and raging with grapefruit and as though someone put a dollop of honey in there too. We’re talking proper honey too, the type you’d find in some country shed, made by a kind old lady named Betty. The Quiet American tastes rich, spicy and bursting with sugared orange, maybe even a hint of vanilla somewhere in there and distinct hop bitterness that comes together in an oh-so-nice contrast.

I was dying to try a little home cooking + beer matching and cook a dish with a good amount of heat (but not so much you burn off your taste buds) to go with IPA elements and some spice to go with the Belgian yeast. It had to be a dish screaming with the right flavours (hence by title of ‘loud food’) … so we made Cayenne Pepper Spiced Hake Fillet with Butter & Garlic Leeks, Mushrooms, Red Onion and Capsicum.

Cayenne Pepper, Oregano & Black Pepper
Preparing the Hake Fillets

The Quiet American washed over the Cayenne Pepper with ease and that great Cascade and Chinook Hop bitterness somehow boosts and settles the flavour at the same time. The red onion slightly caramalised so it went really well with the rich orange flavours of the beer and the leeks provided delicate spice.

Cayenne Spiced Hake Fillet matched with The Quiet American

We sat back after dinner and somehow our bottle of Ron Zacapa XO made it to the table. A sip of this followed by The Quiet American and oh-my-god. It was good. It was damn good! They complimented each other extremely well, rich orange notes, spice and alcohol sweetness from a bigger than normal booze level in both the rum and the beer. Of course that booziness may have also contributed to the happy feeling I was having but we’ll forget that for now.

A Great Beer Day – Ron Zacapa XO with LC Quiet American & 2011 The Critics’ Choice Australia’s Best Beers

Cayenne Pepper Spiced Hake Fillet with Butter & Garlic Leeks, Mushrooms, Red Onion and Capsicum

  • 2 x Hake Fish Fillets
  • Butter
  • 2 x cloves Garlic, finely diced
  • 1/2 Leek, sliced
  • Button Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 Red Onion, sliced into wedges
  • 1/2 Red Capsicum
  • Cayenne Pepper, Plain Flour, pinch of Oregano, crack of Black Pepper and Egg White for the light coating

Beer + Shower

Happiness is the simple things … like a cold beer in a hot shower – you know it’s true!

The great thing about our shower caddy is the space, there’s a spot for the body wash, there’s a spot for face wash and there’s a little space left over … oh look, my beer fits there!

We all know it. We all love it. You perhaps don’t post about it on the internet but a cold beer whilst you’re in the hot shower … holy hell … it’s bliss.

Running at Sunset

Having come home to find a case of James Squire Four Wives Pilsener had made it’s way into our fridge, I popped one open and took a sip before realising my intention was to come home and go for a run. Despite the cold refreshing beer begging me for attention like a neglected only child, I went running.

I have to say, I live in a beautiful part of the world.

I arrived home and lets just say, not confidently fit, more weazy and sweaty, but opening a beer solves all and there’s something properly relaxing about a hot shower.

It’s the merging of two wonderfully simple things – a crisp, cold and refreshing beer that you’ve been thinking about for at least an hour and a hot shower where you just couldn’t give a damn about how much water you’re using.Happy Wednesday everyone!

Everyone does this … right?!

Update! Project Pint Bottle Beer Garden

I guess I could have gone to the shops and bought a pot plant but that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun. This project has so far involved an angle grinder, potting mix and the compulsory consumption of Little Creatures Pale Ale

Construction has commenced with a bit of a bumpy start so there may be some rebuilding to be done but at least things are growing … at least I think they are!

Basil and Coriander for ALL!

Brewery Update!

News from Bootleg Brewery – Listen Up folks!

News from Bootleg Brewery, Margaret River

April 2012

Bootleg Black IPA is currently in the tanks just in time for the colder weather. Put aside a weekend and head down to Margaret River, anyone who’s lived there will tell you it’s great in winter, and try (or get reacquainted) a nice big pint!

There’s also a cider in the works, can’t wait to see what comes out!

Stay up to date with Bootleg through their Brew News

Ovila Quad

Gotta love a collaboration brew, especially when it involves Sierra Nevada!

When you say ‘Sierra Nevada‘, I tend to get a little excited. When you say ‘collaboration brew’, I tend to get very excited so imagine my child-like delight to discover Ovila Quad, a collaboration between Sierra Nevada and the monks at the Abbey of New Clairvaux.

For those not familiar with Sierra Nevada, here’s a brief run down – freakin’ amazing beers …

Ok, really, it’s the heart & soul of Ken Grossman who built a small brewery in California in 1979 with the goal of producing exceptional ales and lagers. Against a back drop of home brewing, chemistry and physics on 15th November 1980 Ken Grossman brewed his first batch of beer. This would then become Sierra Nevada Pale Ale – a beer I personally love and I am yet to meet anyone who has tried it and not enjoyed it. Today I am always keeping an eye out for their limited release brews, the result of the Sierra Nevada Beer Camp and anything else they might be up to.

The Ovila Project sees Sierra Nevada closely following monastic brewing traditions dating back centuries by the monks of Abbey of New Clairaux. According to the website there are 3 beers that will be produced, all limited releases and bottled in cage and cork 750ml bottles. However, we had the Quad (not the Spiced that’s due for release later in the year) so how many they are brewing over how long, I’m not entirely sure.

Ovila Quad presents beautifully in the glass and, perhaps because I had been looking forward to opening the bottle for weeks (I was waiting for a slab of stinky blue cheese and a night when I didn’t have to work the next day!) it didn’t smack me in the face when I had the first sip. That’s not to say it’s lacking flavour, it’s just that I was expecting a Hulk-type assault on my senses (sorry, just saw ‘The Avengers’ last night). There are wonderful dark fruits and warmed raisins and spice flavours. There’s also that definite booze sweetness coming through the 10.4% abv in a very pleasant way, all in a medium bodied, well balanced Belgian-inspired ale.

We paired it with Blue Cow Blue Cheese and it has to be said that matching beer and cheese is simply divine. When I co-hosted food & beer events at Five Bar I used to enjoy the cheese matching the most. The contrasting flavours of medium bodied, port-like sweetness from the Ovila against the creamy aggressive blue cheese was absolutely lovely.

If you’re in Perth, the best place to try get a hold of this beer would be the International Beer Shop.

Thank You to Andy Mac for the gift of a bottle of Ovila Quad!

Ovila Quad and Blue Cow Blue Cheese
Not a bad way to end a meal!

Dirty Stout Chutney Burgers

“Dirty” because that’s how home made burgers should be, dirty and messy … Stout Chutney for unique and added flavour and a couple of Stouts for good measure to wash it down with

… served with, of course, a couple of stouts, namely Coopers Best Extra Stout followed by limited release Bootleg Oatmeal Stout

There was a little rain last night so with a bit of chill around it very much felt like stout-weather. As a result, I found myself at Cape Cellars and staring at a big bottle of Coopers Best Extra. I was in the mood for something new and my search for the just released Little Creatures Single Batch (The Quiet American) had been thwarted with delivery not expected until Wednesday. In the corner of the bottom shelf I spotted Bootleg Oatmeal Stout … two please!

Example of one of my past Mega-Burger-Patty
(minus the bun since I forgot to buy them)

My history of making burgers has often resulted in a burger patty that could flatten a small child if dropped from a significant height.

This time, my man was smart enough to divide my mixture into 4 patties … however, the end result was still a big, big burger, now divided up into more mouth friendly portions. There’s something very sensory about making burger patties, throwing in whatever you like and hoping it all goes (and holds!) together. The key ingredient on this occasion was a big whack of Spiced Stout Chutney from The Brewers Dray and it worked beautifully!

And you need something to go with a burger. Hmm, salad? Hell no. That won’t work. Lightly fried Paprika Red Potato Wedges … hell yes. Throw in a mass amount of rosemary? Why the heck not?

Dinner was stouty, messy and delicious.

(Pardon me whilst I attempt to get my beer geek on now please!)

Coopers Best Extra proved to be the winning match to the wide variety of flavours coming from our ridiculously loaded burgers. It had the power and body to cope with such an assault of flavours and that beautiful soft bitterness and hint of dark chocolate reflected contrasting sweet and acid flavours in the burger.

Bootleg Oatmeal Stout, although a beautiful brew, was a bit too sweet for the burger but a nice beer to sip on once the burger was devoured! It’s kinda like soft liquorice and black coffee got together and had a baby. I also had vanilla bean ice cream pop into my head whilst I was drinking this, perhaps because of the silky, creamy texture and head retention. The more it warmed up, the more liquorice popped into life.

Dirty Stout Chutney Burgers
and Bootleg Oatmeal Stout for Dessert

For anyone interested, here’s a role call of ingredients:

Dirty Stout Chutney Burgers

Beef Mince combined in a big bowl with …

  • Very Generous Teaspoon of Spiced Stout Chutney
  • Teaspoon of French Mustard
  • Cracked Pepper
  • 1 x Spring Onion
  • 1/3 cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1 x Chilli
  • Oregano

Burgers were then built with tomato, avocado (though I think the poor avocado got belted into submission and lost in the sea of other flavours!), Paul Newman’s Lime & Chilli Mayonnaise, Capel Cheddar, garlic sauteed mushrooms & onion, of course, our own Salsa Eternal.

Paprika Red Potato Wedges were simply cut and nuked in the microwave until half way cooked before thrown in a hot frying pan with extra virgin olive oil, paprika and rosemary. Served with a bit of Sour Cream.

Bootleg Oatmeal Stout

Did someone say liquorice?! Bootleg Oatmeal Stout – limited release

Liquorice, Liquorice and Liquorice!

Crafted By: Bootleg Brewery, Margaret River

Status: Limited Release – get it when you see it people!

Booziness: 5.5% abv

Taste: Lots of Soft Liquorice and Black Coffee, fiercely wrestling each other and I got a hint of little vanilla in there too.

Look: Silky, smooth and sexy as hell and all under a pretty black label. Great tan head retention too I might add.

Production Bits:

  • Infused with Star Anise (post fermentation)
  • Rolled Oats
  • 4 Dark Malts
Dirty Stout Chutney Burgers
and Bootleg Oatmeal Stout for Dessert

Roaming – Ferguson Valley

Taking full advantage of living down south and exploring the beautiful Ferguson Valley – oh and finding a new brewery along the way along with rather a lot of gnomes

There are oh-so-many towns, wineries, breweries and random things to see in the South West so it’s to be expected there will be much spontaneous day adventures to be had. Yesterday was such a day. The intention was to drive to the Ferguson Valley, find one of the many walking trails and take a 10-12km walk though the trees and the sunshine. We did end up doing this in the end (just knock off about 8km!) but first … we stumbled across a brewery.

Ferguson Valley is another beautiful part of the South West, rolling hills (it might be a cliche but it’s still pretty) covered in various tress and vines and stuff, and it’s a mere 20 minutes from Bunbury. Well worth a trip and it’s a beautiful drive.

Roaming Time: 5 hours

Where We Roamed: Ferguson Valley – Wild Bull Brewery, Willow Bridge Estate Winery, Wellington Forest and Gnomesville

Wild Bull Brewery

A new discovery for us, it was one of those happy accidents. Thank God for green signposts that show us the way!

We arrived to Wild Bull Brewery to find we had to use the overflow parking, evidently many people connect beautiful sunny day with beer, and grabbed ourselves an Amber Ale and a Bitter. The Bitter was crisp with a refreshing bitter bite at the end and the Amber Ale held a great burnt caramel flavour. We found a nicely shaded table outside and plonked ourselves down. They had a bit of live acoustic guitar action being played which was nice, although a strange contrast to the fancy dress birthday party at the nearby large table. It’s not often you see Wonder Woman at a brewery. They had the obligatory (for those breweries in the South West) kids playground but the setting amongst Ferguson Valley is certainly a bit unique.

There is plenty of merchandise to immerse yourself in if you like, growlers and 5lt take home kegs, glassware and hats and bar mats and everything one might need to set up their back room to pretend you are actually at the brewery.

Wild Bull Brewery
Pile Road, Ferguson Valley
Amber Ale & Bitter
Wild Bull Brewery
And Some Other Stuff
Although not strictly beer related, ending up at Wild Bull Brewery guided the remainder of the day so I will prattle further (also, I took some more photos so I need somewhere to put them).

Wine Barrels
Willow Bridge Estate Winery

Willow Bridge Estate Winery was delightful and what you would want from a cellar door visit. Leona, who has been working there for 11 years, loves nothing more than to talk to people. In fact, we barely talked wine whilst we were there. But isn’t that lovely? To talk to a real person who gives a damn rather than someone who learnt some facts about wine from a sheet? We thought so. The Tempranillo was our favourite so we walked away with a bottle of that. We had gotten so caught up in conversation we totally forgot to ask about the many, many wine barrels out the front (full of what appeared to be wine?).

I’ll skip over Wellington Forest as it was mostly just us walking, chatting, kicking gum nuts and me walking through spider webs (and then looking like a crazy person as I tried to wave my arms about to free myself from them).

Jarrah Trail
Wellington Forest

Gnomesville was worth it just because you spend the whole time giggling. There are (as the name suggests) so, so many gnomes. For whatever reason people have started putting gnomes there, there are signs from sporting clubs and families and I even saw a hen’s night and a pretty decent size Welsh flag. The Gnome Detention Centre (i.e. gnomes surrounded by chicken wire) on the other side of a fence was a little odd but then again, the whole thing was delightfully odd.

Gnomes, Gnomes and the more Gnomes
Wellington Mill & Ferguson Road, Ferguson Valley