Meatballs + Amber

Whilst looking for recipes on the Draft Magazine website I came across Classic Beer Meatballs; three different kinds of meat and amber ale – now that’s my kinda recipe!

Twitter recently introduced me to Draft Magazine (US) and when I jumped onto the website the first thing I noticed was a banner advertisement. Though this is not usually a positive thing I caught sight of the words “a hop burp never tasted so good” … so I was immediately compelled to explore the website some more.

As their feature articles flicked across the screen I was unable to resist the one entitled ‘4 Ways to Pair: Hotdogs’. I couldn’t help but wonder about my weekend trips to Bunnings to get a sausage in a bun … oh and some gardening or housey stuff too of course. It’s not like I go to Bunnings just for the hotdogs … that’d be weird … ahem. I reached the conclusion that it would be socially unacceptable to take a beer to a Bunnings sausage sizzle, particularly if it’s a fundraiser for a year six camping trip or for the local seniors bowling club.

Anyway, enough rambling, on with the post …

Whilst looking for recipes on the Draft Magazine website I came across Classic Beer Meatballs; three different kinds of meat and amber ale – now that’s my kinda recipe!

Since the recipe is from a United States website, thus it gives the bird to the metric system, here are the measures I used to make 8 golf ball sized meatballs:

Classic Beer Meatballs Recipe

The result was delicious, using lamb and pork mince seemed to make it lighter than if it had just been beef. It’s a great base recipe from which you can play around and add your own finishing touches. Served with potato mash with spring onions and sliced garlic, it was a tasty Saturday night dinner.

For the beer in the meatballs I used Little Creatures latest Single Batch – Shepherd’s Delight in the hope that a Red IPA instead of an Amber Ale may add a little more floral and fruitness. Without anything to compare them to it’s hard to say whether I succeeded or not. The dish was delicious, I know that much!

Classic Beer Meatballs

As for the beer, it’s a very good drop. Admittedly now that Little Creatures is owned by Lion Nathan it’s hard to stop the brain was wondering if / how this affects the beer. To date my answer is “not at all”.

Like most of their single batch releases Creatures have hopped and hopped generously, apparently their “most lavish hopping regime to date”. The brewers have opted from hops from Australia, New Zealand, United States and UK, using as follows:

  • US Hops – Chinook. This is not surprising as I’m pretty sure it’s the main hop used in Little Creatures Pale Ale (at least it was when I was working for them).
  • UK Hops – East Kent Goldings which are frequently used in English Pale Ales.
  • Aussie Hops – Stella from Tasmania which are known for contributing big floral aromas and Victoria Secret, similar to Galaxy, “imparts strong tropical fruit (pineapple) character, nicely balanced with resiny pine notes”, from Hop Products Australia
  • New Zealand Hops – Southern Cross, which is a mix of a few different hops that imparts citrus and spice and Dr Rudi, or Super Alpha, known for its resinous, grassy notes.

Hop talk aside, for me the Shepherd’s Delight had aromas of tropical fruit, floral notes and a little toast. The mouth feel was medium with a decent length on the palate. There were lots of flavours happening with some resiny, floral IPA characteristics mixed together with biscuits and nuts (perhaps almonds?) and as the beer got warmer more malt came through. Very drinkable and very nice.

Oddly enough as a beer and food match is was a little off with the Classic Beer Meatballs turning out a lot softer in flavour than I had anticipated. Perhaps something like a Kolsch or even a nice malty brown ale would have been better suited.

Little Creatures Shepherd’s Delight is certainly worth seeking out. The usual suspects like Mane Liquor, Cellarbrations Carlisle and International Beer Shop have it, otherwise check it their handy little stockists function at their website.

LC Shepherd's Delight