Eagle Bay Cacao Stout + lots of chocolate

This years Eagle Bay Cacao Stout is the third annual release brewed using cacao husks from Margaret River’s Bahen & Co Chocolate. The launch was held at Mane Liquor with food by Me & Mabel …

I try not to have chocolate in the house which has nothing to do with anything other than my complete lack of self control. Anyone who saw me at the Eagle Bay Cacao Stout launch at Mane Liquor on Friday will be able to attest to this.

Black Forest Pots made with Bahen & Co Chocolate by Me & Mabel
Black Forest Pots made with Bahen & Co Chocolate by Me & Mabel

This years Eagle Bay Cacao Stout is the third annual release, each year offering a slight variant to the previous but always brewed using cacao husks from Margaret River’s Bahen & Co Chocolate. The bean to bar chocolate maker only uses traditional methods for making their chocolate and strive to deal 100% directly with farmers.

The last Eagle Bay Brewer’s Series was their Black IPA, also launched at Mane Liquor, you can read all about it here

When first brewed in 2012 Eagle Bay brewer Nick used 60% Brazilian cacao husks and 40% Madagascan cacao husks but this year some Papua New Guinea husks were added to the mix. When you smell these husks there is much more of a bright red berry aroma compared to the richness of the Brazilian and Madagascan, the result being that this years Cacao Stout is softer with gorgeous red fruit layered into its chocolate and roasty flavours.

Eagle Bay Cacao Stout launch

And what better food to go with this beautiful Cacao Stout than some gorgeous hand made chocolate desserts. Enter Me & Mabel …

Want to know more about Me & Mabel? Check out my short Q&A with Wendy here

No stranger to beer events and beer matching, Me & Mabel by Wendy Marinich provided delicious home made desserts that paired perfectly with Eagle Bay’s Cacao Stout. All desserts were made with Bahen & Co Chocolate.

Homemade Oreo Cookies by Me & Mabel
Homemade Oreo Cookies by Me & Mabel – Thin rich biscuits, stamped with EBBC (Eagle Bay Brewing Co) and homemade marshmallow shmushed in the middle, giving the beer a light base to showcase all its chocolate, roasty flavours
Me & Mabel brining back the best of the 70s with chocolate fondue with sticks of strawberry, banana and homemade marshmellow
Me & Mabel brining back the best of the 70s with chocolate fondue with sticks of strawberry, banana and homemade marshmallow. It was nice to kinda feel healthy on this one! The fruit playing nicely with the beers red berry flavours.
Black Forest Pots - if I had taken my handbag I would have stolen as many of these little bad boys as I could
Black Forest Pots – if I had taken my handbag I would have stolen as many of these little bad boys as I could. In the background – salted chocolate brownies, I had about three of these.
L-R: Josh (Mane Liquor), Margi (Eagle Bay) and Wendy (Me & Mabel)
L-R: Josh (Mane Liquor), Margi (Eagle Bay) and Wendy (Me & Mabel)

 

 

 

Business Time + Brewery

Let me set the scene …

It’s a Saturday afternoon and inside Eagle Bay Brewing there is what appears to be a monk dressed in a brown robe, held together with just visible safety pins, staring into a mash tun.

If you had looked inside Eagle Bay Brewing on Saturday you may have seen what appeared to be a monk dressed in a brown robe, that was held together with safety pins, and peering into a mash tun.

Now you might be asking the all important question, “why?” Because Eagle Bay Brewing have teamed up with The Monk to brew a collaboration beer for GABS. Paul, the head brewer for The Monk, has a monk robe that he wears from time to time and thankfully this was one of those times. The beer is call the Cacao Cabana and you can read here to discover more about the beer.

The birth of Cacao Cabana was serenaded by Flight of the Conchord’s “Business Time” played during mash in. There was no good reason for this other than because someone had mentioned the song earlier and we all had a giggle. Paul’s monk robes were a hit but since they were held together with only a handful of safety pins we were all glad he’d chosen to keep his clothes on underneath. You had to admire his dedication to character as he remained in his robes from milling to mash.

Watching the brewers work together, finding out differences in approaches or minor cases of equipment envy (“man, I wish we had one of those at my brewery!”) was also interesting.

And at the end of the day we sat down with pints of Eagle Bay Single Batch Summer Ale (just 15 litres to go). Great day for what I’m sure will be a great beer!

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Two Monks and an Eagle walk into a Brewery …

Two monks and an eagle walk into a brewhouse …

The guys at Eagle Bay Brewing and The Monk Brewery & Kitchen were kind enough to invite myself and my partner to join them on Saturday at Eagle Bay Brewing. We were invited for a special occasion (not merely for our witty banter and captivating conversational skills of course) of the first brew day for their collaboration brew for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular festival.

The guys at Eagle Bay Brewing and The Monk Brewery & Kitchen were kind enough to invite myself and my partner to join them on Saturday at Eagle Bay Brewing. We were invited for a special occasion (not merely for our witty banter and captivating conversational skills of course), the first brew day for their collaboration brew for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular festival.

Eagle Bay and Monk Collage

The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, or simply GABS for short, is a three day beer festival in Melbourne that brings together brewers from Australia, New Zealand and beyond. It’s a great opportunity to taste craft beer and meet the brewers; there is also live entertainment, educational seminars and gourmet food stalls. It’s no wonder the event attracts so much attention … and it only started last year. The 2013 edition of GABS is happening on Friday 24th – Sunday 25th May, coinciding with the final days of the annual Good Beer Week.

The highlight of GABS are the festival beers, beers brewed especially for the festival showcasing brewing creativity and experimentation. Previous GABS beers that have won the hearts of beer fans include Feral Watermelon Warhead and Yeastie Boys Gunnamatta IPA which have gone on to be regular brews for Feral and Yeastie Boys alike.

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The South West’s own Eagle Bay Brewing have teamed up with Fremantle’s The Monk to create a beer for GABS – the Cacao Cabana.

If by this point you don’t have Barry Manilow singing Copacabana in your head then you’re a stronger person than me.

Spending the day with brewers is always both educational and very funny but I’ll save the details of brew day antics for another post, for now here are some beery details to get your palate excited …

Eagle Bay and The Monk Grid

What’s Happening …

Eagle Bay Brewing | Head Brewer – Nick d’Espeissis

The Monk Brewery & Kitchen | Head Brewer – Paul Wyman, Assistant Brewer – Jack

Cacao Cabana | Choc Brown Hefeweizen

Cacao Cabana in Fermentation Tank

The Inspiration …

Paul wanted to make a beer reminiscent of choc/banana lollipops and was also keen to play with a hefeweizen yeast. He threw the idea at Nick and he jumped on board, bringing with him the know-how in using cacao husks in beer (having brewed with them for their winter single batch Cacao Stout), the idea for an English brown ale base and an invitation to come hang out down south.

Brazilian Cacao Husks

The Beer …

The Cacao Cabana uses a hefeweizen yeast with cacao husks from Bahen & Co Chocolate, Margaret River, and an English Brown Ale base.

Hops – English varieties East Kent Goldings and Target. The beer will be yeast driven, Paul and Nick are looking for big fat banana characteristics from the hefeweizen yeast so they don’t want too much hop aroma interfering.

Malts – a pale malt base with the likes of carafa (German roasted malt), caramunich and a touch of wheat thrown in.

Cacao Husks – from Margaret River company Bahen & Co who make stone ground chocolate from bean to bar. During the chocolate making process the cacao beans are broken, separating the nibs from the husks and these husks are a by-product. Thankfully they had somewhere to go – into this beer! Paul and Nick are using husks from Brazilian and Madagascan cacao beans, about even amounts of both, thrown into the mash. There is a chance they will also be used for dry hopping too.

All GABS festival beers are released first at the festival so if you’re heading along to Melbourne be sure to give it a go, I know I’ll be there!

Paul, Nick and Jack

Big thanks to Eagle Bay’s Margi, Nick and Adrian, and also Paul and Jack from The Monk, for inviting us to Eagle Bay Brewing for the day. It’s always an education to hang out with brewers and learn about brewing plus there’s always a laugh and a beer too. Thanks also to the chefs at Eagle Bay Brewing for feeding us during a busy lunch service and spoilt us with amazing pizzas, pate, cheese, bread and fries. 

27 April 2013 | Update

I dropped into Eagle Bay Brewing on Friday, taking advantage of their special $15 growler refills, and Nick kindly have me a sample of the Cacao Cabana. Only just post ferment, the beer has a lovely banana characteristic, real fresh banana. The chocolate is there but very subtle, Nick tells me there might be a case to throw in more cacao husks, “dry husking” you might even call it! Oh how intriguing! I can’t wait for GABS!

Sour + Chocolate

Drinking lambics remind me of eating warhead lollies as a kid, there’s something about the sourness that makes me want to go back for more and more …

Tuesday Night Sours
Tuesday Night Sours

Ah lambics … drinking lambics remind me of being a kid and eating one too many warhead lollies. There is something about the sourness that makes me want to go back for more and more …

First up I had the Haandbryggeriet Sweet and Sour. It’s a wild ale from a Norwegian brewery which, according to the website, is run purely on a volunteer basis.

Haandbryggeriet Sweet and Sour

The beer pours a striking cloudy orange colour – it’s beautiful! There are soft aromas of under ripe cherries and watermelon. Taste wise it is softer than I had anticipated which is perhaps just because it’s been a while since I’ve had any sour beers (shame on me!). As I sipped on it I got sea salt, under ripe plums, a decent bit of tartness and cherries.

I tried matching this with dinner, spur of the moment, by making sticky soy and honey chicken. As a match it was a little off the mark with too much sweetness dominating the pairing. Still, the Sweet and Sour made a really nice beer to sip on over dinner. The contents of the beer seemed to disappear quite rapidly!

Sweet and Sour Beer with Chicken

For the next beer I moved a little closer to home, choosing the Melbourne brewed Moondog Perverse Sexual Amalgam, a black wild ale with cherry plums. Despite the word “black” printed right there on the label I was still surprised at the jet black colour.  The aroma was a strange mixture of cherries and mushrooms; flavours were a mash up of bitter black cherry, green apple and hints of rich dark chocolate. The finish was tart and leaves you with a slightly confused look on your face as you try to work out what just happened to your palate. It’s not a traditional lambic or sour beer and I don’t believe it was ever intended to be.

Moondog Black Wild Ale

I decided to try and match it with chocolate from one of my local chocolatiers Bahen & Co (who you may know from their collaboration brew with Eagle Bay Brewing to create a Cacao Stout). As the beer washed over the chocolate it raised those subtle chocolate notes to the front. It was a challenging pairing because in some aspects it really worked, bringing out dark chocolate notes that seemed to fit well with a bitter finish, but in other ways it was very much at odds with elements like funky mushroom aromas and fresh green apples.

It was great to experience two beers loosely from the same style completely different from one another and sours appear to be making a little noise lately. If you’re keen there are a few great reads to see what’s happening …

Tarting up Australia – Australian Brews News

Temple Brewing Scarlet Sour – Australian Brews News

The Power of Sour – Australian Brews News

The Sour Italian – Tipples Blog