5 Minutes with Fiacre from The Boulevard Hotel

5 minutes with … a 5 minute/5 question interview with great beer loving people

This edition of 5 minutes with features Fiacre Mulhall, Assistant Manager at The Boulevard Hotel …

5 minutes with … a 5 minute/5 question (or in this case 7!) interview with great beer loving people

This edition of 5 minutes with features Fiacre Mulhall, Assistant Manager at The Boulevard Hotel

Fiacre, aka Fi, and I worked together at The Brisbane Hotel many years ago. One of our first meetings, if not the very first, was at a Daft Punk concert. We’ve camped at Southbound, we’ve gone to The Blue Mountains and laughed together at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

(and remembering all of this just sent me on a little time travel via photographs for the last twenty minutes!)

Anyway, Fi phoned me up a while ago and was very excited about an event he wanted to host at The Boulevard – a beer market in the beer garden. Happy Days!

Brews in the Beergarden Market

The Boulevard Hotel – Corner The Boulevard and Howtree Place, Floreat – see map

Happening this Saturday (11 October) it’s an afternoon showcasing some of Fi’s favourite local breweries and cideries. But of course you don’t want to be looking all scruffy when you’re tasting such wonderful craft beer so Weston’s Barbershop will be on site for all your grooming needs, well almost all of them. Meanwhile, in the hot department there will be Dr Paul’s Hot Sauce to test your fiery palates.

If you’ve not been to The Boulevard before this event would be a fantastic way to get acquainted. A big beautiful modern pub with warmth and personality and a kick ass outside area perfect for markets. I’m really looking forward to this event.

What was your epiphany beer?

That would be Little Creatures Bright Ale.  Before I moved to Perth in 2008, I really only drank mainstream lagers and pilsners.

In my first few days here, a mate took me on the obligatory pilgrimage to Freo and the Little Creatures Brewery.  That first sip of Bright Ale blew my mind.

It had so much fruit and complexity compared to what I usually drank. I never knew that beer could have so much going on.

What do you hope your beer list says about The Boulevard Hotel?

I hope it says that we are a pub that is serious about craft beer.  We have so many outstanding breweries and cider makers on our doorstep and try to support them wherever we can.  We are also very proud of being a pub and that fantastic local and international beers like [Feral] Hop Hog and Founders All Day IPA live happily in the fridge beside pub staples like Swan Draught.

Blvd Beer Menu

How often do you update the beer list?

We update 3 to 4 times a year which allows us to work with the seasons.  We always keep our eye out for limited releases form the local guys, though and stick them in the fridge as guest beers (if the staff don’t take them home first).  These don’t make it onto the menu, though so it’s always worth asking the staff what we have going on in ‘Cellar Stock.’

What is your favourite beer on the list and what Blvd dish would you pair with it?

Haha.  What time is it?  That really does vary, depending on the direction of the wind.

What am I drinking most of at the moment?  That’ll be Eagle Bay Kolsch.  I’m giving my palate a bit of a break from the big punishing IPAs and the like and the Kolsch is filling that gap nicely.  It still has enough character to keep me happy without numbing my tastebuds.  It’s dangerously morish, though.

It’s a perfect match for our Pork Cotoletta with Italian Coleslaw.  The bitterness in the Kolsch contrasts perfectly to the slight sweetness of the pork and stands up nicely to the spice of the Dijon mustard and coleslaw.

Kolsch Bottles
Eagle Bay Kolsch bottles at Eagle Bay Brewery

What can we expect from the Blvd Brews in the Beer garden Market?

Most of our favourite local producers are coming to play: Eagle Bay, Little Creatures, Mash, Cheeky Monkey and Gage Roads, along with Core Cider and Custard & Co.  The beergarden will be turned into our own mini beer festival with stalls for tasting and more.  JD from Westons Barbershop will be here to make sure all the boys (and some girls) look their smoothest and Dr Paul’s Hot Sauce is bringing the chilli.  Charlie Bucket will be playing tunes all afternoon in the beergarden.  All this along with everything you would normally expect from the Boulevard Hotel and a giveaway or two.

Is the kitchen doing any special dishes on the day?

For the month of August we ran Ribs ‘n’ Bibs where slow cooked beef ribs, Turkish bread and coleslaw were matched with our favourite beers.  The reaction to them was fantastic so chef is bringing them back for the day.  We will also have our polenta chips with a blue cheese and beer dip for something a bit more nibbly.  Our full menu will be available on the day too.

What beers are you most looking forward to trying?

Almost every brewery has said that they’re going to bring a little surprise for us.  I reckon I’m going to be like a kid in a toy store on the day.

Thank you Fi, see you Saturday!

 

Saturday Sunshine + Mt Lawley

Five Bar and The Brisbane Hotel – both in Mt Lawley and both former employers of mine and both amazing venues. Get acquainted or simply visit again and again like an old friend. Just be sure to get a beer whilst you’re there …

Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley
During Beaufort Street Festival 2011

Driving up to Perth inevitably results in visiting places with friends behind the bar, so it was not a surprise that my boyfriend and I found ourselves hanging out at Five Bar & The Brisbane Hotel on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Located along Beaufort Street in the always evolving suburb of Mt Lawley, it is the sort of strip you can spend a whole day exploring. Book shops, almost endless cafes, clothing, knickknacks stores, day spa, florists, furniture stores, and don’t forget the pubs, the bars and the places to eat. What’s best is that you could spent a fortune in a day or you could spend very little. I have had many happy days doing a delightfully cheap n’ cheerful feed at Taka’s before grabbing a pint at The Flying Scotsman then walking around Hyde Park on a nice sunny day.

We arrived at Five Bar just before lunch and as my most recent ex in terms of employers, where I was Assistant Manager, it’s always nice to drop back for a visit! We sat at the bar and watched as it slowly filled with hungry Saturday lunch people. We had gone straight for the Feral taps, sighting Barrel Fermented (Hop) Hog and Karma Citra (India Black Ale) on offer. It made sense for us to get one of each and share since we are both wildly in love with Feral Brewing.

This may be a good time to congratulate Brendan and his team on Feral Hop Hog taking out #1 spot in the 2011 The Critics’ Choice Australia’s Best Beers!

Five Bar is a bit unique in that although they are a James Squire Ambassador Venue, offering 5 James Squire Beers and their Orchard Crush Cider on tap, they are also able to offer 2 Feral beers from a second set of taps. This second set of taps is also set a little differently, both in appearance and function. They stand out as two old wooden barrels on the bar, it’s hard not to wander down and take a look (though the barrels don’t actually store any beer) and secondly, the temperature is set a fraction higher and the carbonation a fraction lower. This has been done with consultation from Brendan, Owner and Head Brewer at Feral, meaning his beers are served with a little less chill to enhance flavours and with a little less bubble which, I find, results in a smoother, fuller mouth feel. Five Bar tend to get a couple of kegs of this and that from Brendan so it always pays to look down the end of the bar and see what’s there. More often than not it’s something offered normally only at Feral Brewing and always something sensational.

The B.F.H (Barrel Fermented Hog) remains the American IPA style of Hop Hog but, as though been sent to a naughty corner, has spent time in new French oak. The result is some delightful vanilla flavours lingering on the front of your palate. Dominant American hops are still very much present and very much welcome!

Sometimes I think beer tastes better out of glasses with handles …

The Karma Citra, always a favourite of mine, is an India Black Ale, or Black IPA, or whatever you want to call the style. On it’s first appearance at the bar, I explained the style to people as a porter and an IPA who had a baby. It seemed to get the idea across in the most time efficient manner. Dark malts for chocolate overtones, and we’re talking proper dark chocolate here, the 70% and above cocoa stuff. It’s a wonder they even manage to get to your nostrils with all the big hop aromas going on but they manage nicely. Citra refers to the hop variety used, which was created in a cross breeding hop program in 1990 and so named for a heavy citrus characteristics it brings to the table. Tropical fruits tag along for the ride too. It’s jet black in appearance with a smooth tan head and then those fruity flavours jump out at you with hop bitterness and malts. Love.

We left, intrigued by the Mash Up, a New Zealand collaborative brew reportedly by 44 NZ craft breweries but had a lunch appointment at The Brisbane.

One of my favourite city beer gardens that has been meticulously cared for since The Brisbane re-opened her doors in 2005. Perhaps it’s a bit on the cliche side but when you’re sitting there and the sun is shining through healthy green trees, it’s just a wonderful place to be! The Brisbane is another one of my former employers, a place I spent many happy years with, and it always makes me smile to come back and visit.

We sat in the back corner of the beer garden and I had decided to re-visit a beer I hadn’t had in quite some time, Redback Original Wheat (no lemon), and HELLO BANANA! I don’t remember tasting that much banana on it in the past. I was quite pleased and it had to be said, the beer looked sensational too. That distinctive shape, the red streak, the clarity and the sun, well, we were soon ordering another. Also, if you go to The Brisbane and don’t get the Homemade Sausage Rolls, you’ve done yourself a grave disservice and you should slap yourself on the wrist, write it down in your phone and make sure you order it next time.

A clear Redback branding win in the sunny Brisbane beer garden

All in all a rather successful afternoon in Mt Lawley and that only covered two spots!

You can visit Five Bar any day from 11am for tasty Feral beers on tap and be sure to ask the bar staff if there’s anything new in the fridges.

You can drop by The Brisbane any day too if you fancy indulging in Homemade Sausage Rolls with a pint in the beer garden.