What I’ve been doing instead of blogging …

Moving house seems like a horrible process we have created in order to punish ourselves for our overindulgence. I have now moved house three times with the same grey backless dress that I have never worn but seem convinced that one day I’ll wear/fit into/feel comfortable in/all of the above.

Regular readers (hi mum and dad!) may notice the lack of posts in the last week and a bit and it is all due to the process of moving house. The silver lining is the fact my partner and I have purchased a house therefore, if we want, we don’t ever have to move ever again. Instead of flat packing boxes and storing them for the next move I am shoving them into the recycling bin with psychopathic delight.

Not to say that moving house hasn’t involved any beer, quite on the contrary, beer has been very involved in the process – from the careful packing of special bottles I haven’t opened yet like a 2013 Cheeky Monkey Russian Imperial Stout and Boatrocker Mitte, a Berliner Weisse style beer, to drinking it to make the whole process a bit more bearable.

Packing …
Doing a task like this sober seems like an exercise in self loathing. We paired our packing with some 4 Pines Hefeweizen that we had purchased from our new local bottle shop after completing the final inspection of the house. I get the feeling that 4 Pines sales in the area are about to increase significantly.

Procrastinating …
Having decided that going out for a bite to eat on Thursday night, the eve of the big move, was a really good idea we found ourselves at Swallow Bar in Maylands. A little live music and some of the best food I’ve had in recent memory, it was just what we needed to successfully procrastinate for the task at hand.

Swallow Bar - rare beef involtini with horseradish cream, celery heart and crispy garlic

Thank god for removalists, it was the first time we had paid other people to move our stuff and it was money well spent. Oddly enough we didn’t crack any beers until late into the evening. First we opened a bottle of Gosset champagne, my partners favourite, and then we enjoyed some Mornington Peninsula Sorachi, a gift from the guys at Mane Liquor where my partner stopped for celebratory booze.

Thank you to the guys at Mane Liquor who gifted us the beer

Having zero motivation for cooking on the night of said move I decided to try the local fish n chip shop which just so happens to be next door to the bottle shop. I popped in to get some 4 Pines Pale but they were down to their last three single bottles and after 16 hours of moving house it was definitely a 6 pack kinda night. Instead I got some James Squire Porter, a decision made on a whim and the fact it had been raining that day but I hadn’t factored in how much it did not go with fish n chips and how much I didn’t feel like anything remotely roasty. My brain was a little mushy at this point.

Cleaning the old house
Feral Hop Hog, a job so crap deserved a beer decidedly not so. This was our final farewell to renting as we mopped the last part of the floor and shut the door.

More damn unpicking …
How did we end up with so much stuff?!

I decided to delve into our now unpacked and reloaded beer and dug out the Prairie Artisan Ale Prairie Ale, a Belgian style Saison Ale that felt like the liquid reward I had been hoping for. Initial thought was it was a funky lemon meringue pie, the smell on it was utterly gorgeous – cheesecake, sour fruit, citrus and straw, there was a lot going on but nothing overwhelming, like a really polite meeting where everyone gets to have their say.

One of the tastiest beers I have had this week

Stout -v- Stout: Round 1 – Creme Brulee

Cold nights means STOUT and what better way to explore this great style by diving head first into some good ol’ head to head tastings. First up in girl+beer’s Stout versus Stout is Coopers Best Extra -v- 4 Pines Stout, fighting for best match with homemade Creme Brulee … let the battle begin!

This winter has offered up some really cold days so naturally the taste buds gravitate towards the dark side of beer … hello Stout!

The history of stout goes back to Porters, popular in London in the 1800s, and were referred to as ‘stout porter’ referring to their stronger and bolder flavours compared to Porters. The modern day stout is, generally speaking, dark and delicious with chocolatey and/or coffee notes. Great with chocolate desserts, a classic with freshly shucked oysters and, at a Five Bar (WA) event whilst I was working there, Nick Bath, Director of Blue Cow Cheese Company & Dr Chuck Hahn matched Mad Brewers Stout Noir with Queso Mahon Grande D.O. (Denominacion de Origen) – divine!

With a couple of stouts in the fridge and the temperatures low, it was time to do a little tasting event at home …

Introducing girl+beer’s Stout versus Stout!

The Stouts …

4 Pines Stout (aka Space Beer) + Coopers Best Extra Stout

Coopers Best Extra Stout                                                                                     4 Pines Stout
Coopers Brewing (SA)                                                                             4 Pines Brewing (NSW)
6.3% abv | Foreign Extra Stout Style                                                              5.1% abv | Irish Dry Stout Style

For the first of three battles, 4 Pines Stout and Coopers Best Extra were matched with homemade Creme Brulee.

I don’t have a positive history with cooking desserts, many a failed attempt come to mind, so I wasn’t feeling overly confident however I had my heart set on the idea. Considering the typical flavours in stouts I decided to throw in a shot of fresh espresso as well.

Firing up the mini blow torch for home made Creme Brulee

We wrote on each glass with a marker so we didn’t lose track of which stout was which; a distinct possibility since we are both a little forgetful at times! The mini blow torch we dug up from my boyfriend’s tool kit did a fine job at caramalising the icing sugar and was a lot more fun than just putting them under the griller as the recipe book had suggested.

It was time to tuck into Creme Brulee and our two Australian stouts …

4 Pines Stout

This had a thinner mouth feel and less head retention than the Coopers Best Extra Stout. There were beautiful coffee and rich dark chocolate flavours in this ‘certified space beer‘ and perhaps hints of vanilla and aniseed. No doubting that it is certainly a beautiful stout but a little thin against the very dense creme brulee and the back palate bitterness clashed with the more dominant sweetness in the dessert.

Coopers Best Extra Stout

A big tan head with aromas of fresh coffee beans that translated into flavour along with chocolate that lightly coated the tongue. It’s got a bit of body and a bit of bite (or as my boyfriend who say “RAAA!”) and the creme brulee washed over it nicely. The caramalised icing sugar on top went particularly well with the beer, emphasising the chocolate sweetness.

Best Match – Coopers Best Extra!

Next Round: Chocolate Brownies