Eagle Bay Tap Takeover & New Stuff

Last week Mt Lawley’s Five Bar played host to an Eagle Bay Brewing tap takeover. The beer line up included a mix of regulars and limited releases including the current brewer’s series Steam Ale and the previous release, the Cacao Stout

Last week Mt Lawley’s Five Bar played host to an Eagle Bay Brewing tap takeover.

The beer line up included a mix of regulars and limited releases including the current brewer’s series Steam Ale and the previous release, the Cacao Stout; a beer that we had all thought was done for the year. In a wonderful surprise Eagle Bay found the very last keg tucked away at the brewery. After careful deliberation between the crew it was decided to take it to Five Bar.

The Cacao Stout, now a couple of months on, was as silky smooth as ever and seemed like the red berry flavours were creeping out a little more compared to when it was first released in winter.

Bahen & Co are the bean-to-bar chocolate makers in Margaret River who collaborate with Nick for the annually released Cacao Stout

Eagle Bay’s beers were matched to a range of dishes including food by two beer loving chefs – Mitch aka Beersine with a Bahen & Co Cacao Stout Chocolate Chilli Tart and Wendy aka Me & Mabel with some Corn Tamale, the latter was paired with the Steam Ale and proved a beautiful match.

Eagle Bay Brewing

Eagle Bay Tap Takeover at Five
Smoked Pork Belly with Chorizo Foam
Eagle Bay Tap Takeover at Five Bar
Citrus and Vodka Cured Salmon

new stuff?!

Margi, Eagle Bay’s retail and marketing manager, was able to reveal that plans are well under way to bottle their next core range beer! Drum roll please ……………

Hello, ESB!

Yup, that’s right folks. A tasty, locally brewed, year round ESB will soon be at your finger tips.

[Crafty, I’m looking at you, I know you will be excited about this!]

The exact timing is uncertain but Margi says they are aiming for the end of January/beginning February. Stay tuned for more details!

PLUS Eagle Bay’s next brewers series beer is almost ready to launch, it’s a summer ale and I think will be best paired with white sand and clear blue ocean, BBQs and water balloon fights. The launch will be happening Friday 19th December at 4pm at Mane Liquor. In fine Eagle Bay launch tradition there will be food too – this time provided by Chicho Gelato. Find out more here.

Eagle Bay Cacao Stout 2014
Eagle Bay know how to throw a launch – this was the Cacao Stout launch with Me & Mabel back in August

 

 

WA Beer Week: Co-Op Beer Lunch

Four chefs, five local beers and lots of happy people – that was the scene at East Perth’s Co-Op Dining where they held their first, and hopefully not their last, beer lunch for WA Beer Week.

Four chefs, five local beers and lots of happy people – that was the scene at East Perth’s Co-Op Dining on Saturday where they held their first, and hopefully not their last, beer lunch for WA Beer Week.

The aim of the afternoon was simply beautiful food and great local beer, a goal that I can safely say was achieved.

Guests were treated to food by Sam Ward from Mt Lawley modern Mexican favourite, el Publico, Kiren from Co-Op Dining, Mitch from Beersine and Sue Lewis, Artisan Chocolatier. Each chef selected the beer to match their dish, bringing the best of WA local brewing and local produce came together.

The afternoon was interrupted/MC’d by yours truly and I was nothing short of thrilled and honoured to have been asked to be part of one of the most delicious events on the WA Beer Week calendar.

finger food by everyone

beer by cheeky monkey – double ipa

All four chefs contributed to the first course of food, a series of small bites presented with Cheeky Monkey Double IPA.

You know you’re in for a great afternoon when the first beer you are presented with is a double IPA – BAM! Personally I love this beer, it is everything you want from a double IPA, big fresh hops balanced by chewy caramel malt in a delicious marriage of flavour.

It’s hard to pick a favourite from the array of finger food. The pork crackle with horseradish, blood crumb and white chocolate was one of the most interesting combinations and the crickets, a signature Sam Ward/el Publico favourite, were crunchy salty and very moreish.

Crickets by Sam Ward
Crickets by Sam Ward
Corn, smoked pork fat, sesame & seaweed
Corn, smoked pork fat, sesame & seaweed

Cuttlefish escabeche by sam ward of el publico

last drop saison by jan bruckner

The acidity from the fresh lime juice and coriander in this dish were perfectly matched to the complex and delicate Last Drop Saison. It was a great example of when the beer and the food are better together, when you try them and you realise that one shouldn’t be enjoyed without the other.

Cuttlefish Escabeche by Sam Ward of El Publico
Cuttlefish Escabeche with salsa borracha, nopales by Sam Ward of El Publico

Smoked leek by kiren of co-op dining

feral watermelon warhead by brendan varis / will irving

Brilliant. You just had to be there. I would have never imagined at match like this but it was harmony. Contrast never tasted so good. Smokey soft leek with some crunch for texture and delicate prawns and that super refreshing acidity of Warhead – brilliant.

Smoked Leek with Coral Prawns, Garum Hollandaise and Leek Ash
Smoked Leek with Coral Prawns, Garum Hollandaise and Leek Ash by Kiren of Co-Op Dining

blackwood valley beef sirloin, brisket & tongue by Mitch of beersine

Nail hughe dunn imperial brown ale by john stallwood / jake brandish

Hello meat, Hello malt. Imagine the best date you’ve ever been on and that’s what happened between the rich malts in the Nail Hughe Dunn Imperial and trio of meaty goodness served up by Mitch.

I loved the compliment of the malty beer and rich meat of the dish plus the added contrast of sharp kimchee and chilli in the food with the sweet/roast imperial brown ale.

Blackwood Valley Beef Sirloin, Brisket & Tongue with Fermented Spring Garlic, Daikon Radish Kimchee by Mitch of Beersine
Blackwood Valley Beef Sirloin, Brisket & Tongue with Fermented Spring Garlic, Daikon Radish Kimchee by Mitch of Beersine

chocolate tart by sue lewis of sue lewis artisan chocolatier

eagle bay cacao stout by nick d’Espeissis

A divine chocolate dessert and a smooth-like-Barry-White stout, there was never going to be a better way to end lunch.

Sue’s decadent chocolate tart was like the best friend that Eagle Bay’s Cacao Stout always wanted. The dessert featured Bahen & Co chocolate ice cream and, at the base of the tart, thick wort caramel.

Chocolate Tart with Wort Caramel and Bahen & Co Chocolate PNG Ice-Cream by Sue Lewis of Sue Lewis Artisan Chocolatier
Chocolate Tart with Wort Caramel and Bahen & Co Chocolate PNG Ice-Cream by Sue Lewis of Sue Lewis Artisan Chocolatier

Thank you to Kiren and Kelli for hosting the event at Co-Op Dining, thanks to all the chefs involved who donated their time and efforts to spoil us and thanks to everyone who came along. Thank you especially to Mitch, from Beersine, who asked me to be a part of this event and saved me a seat at the table.

WA Beer Week: Beer & Food Masterclass

On Monday night, as part of WA Beer Week, I co-hosted an event with my friend Mitch of Beersine. It was something he asked me to be a part of a while ago and I said ‘yes’ because it’s Mitch. His food is amazing and I love the way he approaches food – nothing pretentious, all delicious and with attention to detail.

I talk kinda fast and a little loud at the best of times so god help anyone that comes along to an event where I’m co-hosting. I attribute my loud/too fast talking to a) excitement b) nerves and c) I’ve probably had a beer or two before you’ve even seen me.

Beersine: Mitch uses beer and all the ingredients you’d find in a brewery to create delicious beer inspired food

On Monday night, as part of WA Beer Week, I co-hosted an event with my friend Mitch of Beersine. It was something he asked me to be a part of a while ago and I said ‘yes’ because it’s Mitch. His food is amazing and I love the way he approaches it – nothing pretentious, all delicious and with close attention to detail.

Our event was the ‘Beer and Food Masterclass’ where we presented three dishes with two beers per dish to try and show that there are no rules when it comes to beer and food matching. One beer can go just as well with a dish as another, each will bring something different to the party and, quite frankly, that’s where all the fun comes into it.

Welcome

We served up Eagle Bay Kolsch on arrival alongside Beersine Pale Ale Cheddar and homemade soft pretzels.

Delicate, flavoursome and highly drinkable, Eagle Bay Kolsch is a sensational beer to start a night with. Zesty citrus, light bready malts and a super dry finish. The beer cut effortlessly through the soft and tangy cheese that is made using Feral Hop Hog. The soft warm pretzels were magic. I would have taken a photo but I was too busy stuffing my face.

1ST COURSE

Menu

“Saison is not just versatile – it’s downright promiscuous”

Garrett Oliver, The Brewmaster’s Table

With their delicate nature and baffling complexity, Saison’s might be the perfect food beer. They are farmhouse ales originating from a French speaking region of Belgium where, before the miracle of refrigeration, it made the most sense to brew beer in winter. This gave farm workers something to do since there’s nothing to harvest in winter whilst providing a nutritious and refreshing beer to enjoy whilst working the fields in summer. Of course today you wouldn’t really go and recommend a 6-point-something ABV beer whilst operating farming equipment but hey, things were different back then.

Chevalier Saison: 6% ABV | Beechworth, Victoria | #7 in The Critics’ Choice Australia’s Best Beers 2014

The saison we served was from Victorian brewers Bridge Road. Tart and dry with citrus and a little sweetness, it was a great match to the salad. The sweetness of the beer was heightened by the mango in the salad whilst the beer’s bubbles cut through the chunks of macadamia nut. The fresh mint in the salad provided a clean and refreshing zest that went well with the beer’s bright citrus characters too.

Chevalier Saision with Prawn. Mango and Macadamia Salad

The second beer served with the salad came from Perth’s newest brewery, Homestead in the Swan Valley. This Hefeweizen, a German style wheat beer, is just so damn beautiful. A graceful beer that is full of fresh banana, spice and clove. As with the saison pairing, the beer’s banana notes were a great complement to the mango in the salad. The spice in the beer gets a good omphf from fresh prawns.

Homestead Hefeweizen

 

2ND COURSE

Menu

We served up the Colonial Altbier and we were lucky enough to have Paul Wyman, brewer at Colonial, at the table to talk about this beer. It’s a softer approach to pale ales compared to the big ballsy pale ales that are now so prevalent. A traditional German ale that’s nutty, biscuity and peppery and was a good match to the rich meat and spice of the curry.

Paul talking about Colonial Altbier
Paul talking about Colonial Altbier

On the other end of the pale ale spectrum there’s Bootleg Speakeasy IPA that’s got so much hop character bursting from it that it could be a starburst lolly. Caramel malt backs up the citrusy, tropical fruit hops and together it was a good combination for the rendang curry. Hops tend to accentuate chilli but because heat wasn’t the focus for this style of curry it didn’t turn your palate into a fiery world of pain. Instead it seemed to freshen up the dish, adding a brightness to the dense rich meat. Meanwhile the caramel in the beer was a nice backdrop for the same rich meat flavours.

Rendang Curry

3RD COURSE

I think it’s safe to say that we finished the night with a bang. Mitch did a particularly amazing job on this one.

Menu

 

photo 3 (8)

Once again I dragged poor Paul from his seat to chat about the Colonial Porter, I love this beers smooth chocolatey notes and roasty flavours. I could drink pints of this beer all year around.

The Bridge Road B2 Bomber Mach 4.0, a beer produced annually to celebrate the breweries birthday, is stupidly good. Previously I only had a taster but I remember loving this beer. There’s a lot going on here from the Belgian yeast giving off fresh fruit notes behind the black IPA’s big roast, chocolate and booze flavours.

Mitch’s dessert of Bahen & Co chocolate mousse was divine. The sweet strawberries, smokey Laphroaig and earthy rosemary was a weirdly incredible addition but it added layers of happy flavours over each beer. The mousse not at all overwhelmed by each beers big malty chocolate and roast flavours whilst the rosemary, whisky and strawberries cut through the chocolate and added so much to each mouthful.

Dessert

THANK YOU to Sophie for letting us use Taste Budds Studio to host the event and Homestead, Eagle Bay, Colonial, Bridge Road and Bootleg for donating the beers for the night.

And thank you from me to Mitch for asking me to do this event, I loved it, I was nervous as hell but I loved it.

 

 

WA Beer Week: Mane Liquor Beer Spectacular

It’s here, it’s finally here! WA Beer Week kicked off today and the official opening event, Mane Liquor’s Beer Spectacular, delivered beer, food and good times in spades, setting the standard for the rest of the week.

It’s here, it’s finally here! WA Beer Week kicked off today and the official opening event, Mane Liquor’s Beer Spectacular, delivered beer, food and good times in spades, setting the standard for the rest of the week.

Mane Liquor transformed their car park into a mini beer festival that showcased both local and international breweries such as south west favourites Eagle Bay and Colonial Brewing alongside New Zealand’s 8 Wired and Epic. I can’t continue without saying the 8 Wired Saison Sauvin is pretty stunning.

Epic & 8 Wired at Mane

The beers that travelled the farthest were from London’s Camden Town Brewery and included their Hells Lager, Gentlemen’s Wit and Pils. Sarah from Hippocampus Drinks, the Australian distributors for Camden, said the Pils had only landed yesterday – what perfect timing for WA Beer Week! Camden Pils is an unfiltered and dry hopped version of their flagship Hells, it’s clean, lightly malty and seriously drinkable.

Camden Town Brewery

Last night Cheeky Monkey was awarded the trophy for ‘Best Reduced Alcohol Draught’ at The Perth Royal Beer Show for their Travelling Monk, a mid-strength red ale. Both Alex and Ross, head brewer and assistant brewer, were at Mane this afternoon and as expected both were pretty stoked with the win. It comes at a bit of a passing of the baton at Cheeky as Ross prepares to take over as head brewer with Alex leaving to expand his career into distilling.

Colonial’s brewers Justin and Paul were also at Mane today and pouring their Kolsch, Small Ale and current release in their IPA series – an English IPA. The next IPA will be an American style which Paul says was brewed last week so keep an eye out for that soon!

Paul at the Colonial bar at Mane Liquor

Gage Roads showcased their new beers – Narrow Neck, Breakwater and Summer Ale. The Narrow Neck was my pick of the three with a great pineapple/mango nose. The body of the beer really benefits from warming up a little with more malty characters coming through. Narrow Neck is a reduced booze beer, joining the likes of Rogers’, Cheeky Monkey Travelling Monk, Eagle Bay Mild and Colonial Small Ale and expanding the mid-strength craft category in WA, a trend that I hope continues.

Homestead Brewery threw out the conventional methods of sampling with their brewer Jackson roaming the crowd with a keg in his backpack. I had at least half a dozen conversations with people who told me to go and find the guy with the keg in a backpack for a sample of a really good beer. Said beer was Homestead’s Black Swan, their black IPA – a wonderful balance of roasty malts and big hops. I loved this approach to sampling though hope Jackson’s back isn’t too sore tomorrow!

Mane Liquor Beer Spectacular
L-R: Me (laughing), Bill (Old Faithful Bar & BBQ), Jackson (Homestead), Reece (WA Beer Week) and Alex (Cheeky Monkey)

Recommended Reading: Brazilian Truckers – blog post by Laura Moseley on Comida do Sul

Other breweries at the event included Bickley Valley and Nail Brewing, Nail picked up a trophy at last night’s Perth Royal Beer Show for ‘Best Stout Packaged’ for their Hughe Dunn Imperial Brown Ale. Little Creatures showed off their latest Single Batch release – a Saison. Mash Brewing were there fresh from their trophy haul last night where they took out ‘Best Commercial Brewery’, ‘Best West Australian Brewery’ and ‘Best Ale Draught’ for Copy Cat AIPA. Eddie Dickens was solo at the Feral Brewing tent as the rest of the team prepared for Feral Fest, held at the Perth Cultural Centre after the Mane Liquor event featuring over 16 Feral beers, pig on a spit and live music until late.

Recommended Reading: Beer Awards – Perth Royal Beer Show by Crafty Pint

There was no shortage of food alongside all this wonderful beer with Comida do Sul Brazilian Food Truck and Toastface Grillah serving up their tasty treats. The smell of delicious melting cheese wafted through half the festival but I couldn’t go past the Choripan from Comida do Sul – $9 gets you a chorizo sausage in a bun with salsa and mayo and it’s divine.

Still on the food side of things Beersine started their assault of WA Beer Week with samples of his infamous Pale Ale Cheddar, made with Feral’s Hop Hog, and their fermented chilli sauce. Mitch, the man behind Beersine, is involved in an event on every single day of the calendar. Now THAT is commitment to WA Beer Week, folks. Basically if you don’t get to have Beersine’s food at least twice during the week you’d have to conclude that you are doing WA Beer Week wrong.

The event was a fantastic way to start WA Beer Week – excited to see what the rest of the week will bring!

girl + sou’west smackdown

It was Colonial Brewing going head-to-head with local beer brothers-from-another-mother Eagle Bay Brewing but were we going to witness a friendly play fight or an all out brawl? That was the question I was asking myself as I walked into The Freo Doctor liquor store for the Sou’West Smack down last Wednesday.

The Freo Doctor – 27 Arundel Street, Fremantle – Facebook

The event was held in the cellar of The Freo Doctor where the dim lighting, wooden barrels and long wood tables are a cosy boozy delight. The food was matched by Mitch from Beersine and served with a beer from each brewery. Happy days!

Mitch (Beersine), Margi and Edge (Eagle Bay)
Mitch (Beersine), Margi and Edge (Eagle Bay)

In terms of fighting fair I think Eagle Bay may have missed the memo, bringing along not just their brewer, Nick d’Espeissis but also his partner, his brother and Eagle Bay’s marketing manager, Margi. Over in the Colonial corner was head brewer Justin Fox standing on his lonesome, all by himself but he seemed in very good spirits …

Head Brewer at Colonial - Justin Fox
Head Brewer at Colonial – Justin Fox

The night kicked off with a straight Kolsch versus Kolsch, Colonial’s more traditional brew versus Eagle Bay’s perhaps more modern interpretation with the addition of some New Zealand hops.

“Kolsch is the everyman’s beer”

Justin Fox, Colonial Brewing

I think Justin put it well when he described Kolsch as being the beer that craft beer nerds reach for when they don’t want to think too hard about what they are drinking. This is definitely not to be confused with the idea of not caring what you are drinking. It is a super refreshing style that you can sit back, chat with mates and enjoy a few but at the same time you can pair it with a sharp chevre goat’s milk cheese and it blows you away.

“Stylistically Speaking – Kolsch”, a great article at All About Beer Magazine if you wanted to know the history of the style and who is brewing the real stuff

Kolsch is a beer style protected by an appellation controllée, that same fancy law that says you can’t call a champagne a champagne unless it’s from, you guessed it, champagne so a kolsch needs to be brewed in Köln (Cologne, Germany) to be a real, true blue kolsch. According to Justin some German brewers take this definition even further by saying you need to be able to see the dome of the iconic Cologne Cathedral. So you might be wondering how Colonial call theirs a kolsch, Justin answered this with a cheeky grin – “well, we have a picture of it [the cathedral] at the brewhouse,”

“Oh and ours doesn’t have the two dots over the o,” he says referring to the difference between a kolsch and a kölsch.

“Don’t tell the Germans!”

Justin Fox, Colonial Brewing

Our Kolsch beer were matched by Beersine to local beef, rye bread from Abhi’s Bread and horseradish cream and it was beautiful, for a beer that could be easily overpowered the dish was full of flavour yet simple and went nicely with the bready, slightly tropical fruit flavours of kolsch.

food by beersine: beef, rye bread and horseradish cream
food by beersine: beef, rye bread and horseradish cream

GABS: The Great Australasian Beer Spectapular

Next up we had Colonial’s Gary Le Bron Musk Saison, this years GABS entry that used a very unsubtle amount of musk lollies in the brew.

“We really just had a lot of fun. We put musk everywhere, we had musk hats, shit got real”

Justin Fox, Colonial Brewing

Against the musk saison was Eagle Bay’s Pale Ale, an American style beer that was so fresh it was only bottled the day before the event.

“The three P’s: Pale ale, pork and pineapple, they work every time”

Mitch, Beersine

Beersine served up braised pork, spicy rice and pineapple confident that the “three P’s” as he referred to them – pork, pale ale and pineapple, would always work in beautiful harmony together. He was right.

food by beersine: braised pork, pineapple and spicy rice
food by beersine: braised pork, pineapple and spicy rice

The most unexpected match was the dish with Gary Le Bron the musk saison. The pineapple and the musk just hung out together, being really good mates. The sweetness between the two were complimentary but with enough acidic contrast to not become an overbearingly one dimensional sweet pairing. Plus the dishes spices were great with the background herbal saison that was still lingering under the musk.

“I thought that Gary would take a little better in your mouth”

Mitch, Beersine explains his thinking behind the musk saison pairing

Then came the battle of the black IPAs – Eagle Bay’s Black IPA, their brewers series limited release, and Colonial’s French Black IPA.

L: Eagle Bay Black IPA R: Colonial French Black IPA
L: Eagle Bay Black IPA
R: Colonial French Black IPA

‘A French Black IPA?’ I hear you say. Yup, within a style like IPA where there seems to be no rules or boundaries, Colonial wanted to do something different whilst breaking away from the American IPAs that are dominating the market. The result is this more grassy and spicy IPA as opposed to buckets of tropical fruits and citrus.

“There is so much to do with IPA, the IPA label really can be anything”

Justin Fox, Colonial Brewing

As in keeping with the night, Justin dobbed in one of the Eagle Bay entourage to talk about their beer, his way of taking the edge off their potential power in numbers (not that there was any score keeping going on). Justin nominated Margi, Eagle Bay’s fabulous marketing manager.

“It’s one of my absolute favourite beers of ours” Margi said after hesitating a bit at the prospect of speaking without any preparation, “I can’t dazzle you with the hops and the malt cause I don’t know but I know that it’s delicious” Margi’s enthusiasm was contagious and wonderful.

Gorgonzola: Italian blue cheese made from cow’s milk, punchy and delicious

Beersine paired these beers with a Gorgonzola and poached pear tart. “It will probably work well with Colonial because I’ve not tried it before,” Mitch had joked since it was his first time trying the French black IPA too along with the rest of us.

food by beersine: Poached pear and gorgonzola tart
food by beersine: Poached pear and gorgonzola tart

The last round was my favourite, Colonial served up their Truffle Tripel – a beer brewed in a single small batch for the Truffle Kerfuffle with truffles donated by The Wine & Truffle Company.

Eagle Bay has been making their Cacao Stout every winter starting in 2012, you can read about their first batch here and last year’s here.

Eagle Bay poured their winter favourite, a limited release Cacao Stout brewed using cacao husks from Bahen & Co, a bean to bar chocolate maker in Margaret River. Brewed each year since 2012 with each year a little different depending on the type of husks used. This year sees a mix of three cacao husks – Brazilian, Papua New Guinea and Madagascar. Eagle Bay had bought along boxes of each type of husk and the Papua New Guinea was my stand out favourite with it’s divine big red berry fruit aromas. Indecently good.

Beersine served up a Bahen & Co Chocolate mousse with hazelnuts that didn’t just melt in your mouth, the mousse laid itself out on your tongue and then just cuddled it. The mousse and Eagle Bay’s Cacao Stout wanted to be together, they wanted to be best friends. The way the hazelnuts lingered after all the chocolate had begun to fade was gorgeous.

As a contrast, the mousse was great with the Truffle Tripel – the rich fruity chocolate stood up against the earthy truffle with it’s spice and banana and it worked very well in a way I wouldn’t have expected from an earthy/chocolate match.

food by beersine: Bahen & Co Chocolate Mousse with hazelnuts
food by beersine: Bahen & Co Chocolate Mousse with hazelnuts

Thank you to Eagle Bay Brewing for inviting me to be a guest at this event.

GABS + Five Bar

If the mountain won’t come to Muhammah, Muhammah must go to the mountain …

“If the mountain won’t come to Muhammad, Muhammad must go to the mountain”

proverb: If someone won’t do as you wish or a situation can’t be arranged to suit you, you must accept it and change your plans accordingly.

oxforddictionaries.com

GABS: The Great Australiasian Beer SpecTAPular – part of Melbourne’s Good Beer Week featuring over 100 unique festival beers all launched during the event.

Perhaps inspired by this old proverb or perhaps just overcome with jealously of Melbourne’s GABS festival, Five Bar in Mt Lawley arranged for some of WA’s GABS beers to appear alongside a specially designed menu by Beersine aka Mitch.

Five Bar: 560 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley

The beer list and menu looked like this:

Cheeky Monkey Rastapopolouse Belgian Stout

paired with: Bahen & Co Chocolate Mousse with Smoked Plums

Naked Monkey Old Fashoined Double IPA

paired with: Slow Cooked Beer Short Rib

Little Creatures SS Menno Sour Beer

paired with: Singapore Chicken and Rice

This was my dinner and a mighty fine dinner it was! Back in my bartending days I had many, many late night dinners at Uncle Billy’s in Northbridge and one of my favourite, must-have dishes was the vinegar chicken. Soft chicken, slightly crispy skin and that powerful acidic sauce that’s so addictive I’d practically drink it from the bowl.

This pairing of MM Menno and Singapore Chicken took me back to those meals, the beer filling the shoes of a tangy dressing, complementing the lemon grass and gingery notes of the dish. It all played out very nicely and was not a match I was expecting. I love surprises!

Sorry for the very average photo - apparently being hungry does not make me a good photographer!
Sorry for the very average photo – apparently being hungry does not make me a good photographer!

Eagle Bay Nigella’s Mulberry Beer

paired with: Beersine Paprika Cured Pork Loin with Pickled Fennel

Bootleg Peanut Butter Amber Ale

paired with: Sour Strawberry Jelly Sandwich

I loved this pairing. Peanut butter ale and strawberry jelly?! Talk about big kid food! The two went together really well and kept in the spirit of the original GABS beer idea of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich beer made by two different breweries – Bootleg taking the peanut butter half and NSW brewing Thirsty Crow taking care of the jelly bit with a strawberry jelly sour.

Beer is Your Friend, a great Australian beer blog, did an interview series with some GABS brewers including Thirsty Crow – you can check it out here.

Colonial Gary Le Bron Musk Saison

paired with: Goat’s Cheese and Roasted Pepper Croquettes with Aioli

These croquettes sold out before I could get my grubby little hands on them but I heard nothing but great reports. Perhaps if I ask nicely Beersine will whip these up again some day!

Gary Le Bron

The Monk Dark Monk Black IPA

paired with: Five’s Beef Tartare with Brioche and Truffle Oil

Feral Funk’N Phresh 100% Brett Ale

paired with: Coconut and Lime Cured Salmon with Cucumber Salad

Five Bar's Andy Mac is a little excited about the beers
Five Bar’s Andy Mac is a little excited about the beers

Weekend Reading #2

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there is excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

For those who didn’t notice from my ridiculous rate of Instagram-ing, Twitter-ing and Facebook-ing I have recently returned from 9 days of Good Beer Week action so I might be a little light on for reading material for you but I was busy drinking beer! Whoops!

The Guardian | Cooking with Beer: Ale and Hearty Ideas

The Australian edition of The Guardian news website

A post by Perth based writer, Max Brearley in the ‘Australia Food Blog’ section featuring my good friend and great chef Mitch Mitchell aka Beersine. Mitch shares two of his favourite recipes accompanied by photography by another talented person I’m fortunate enough to call friend, Jessica Shaver.

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver Photography
Photography by Jessica Shaver

Craft Beer | Sustainable Uses of Spent Grain

American craft beer website

You can read about Game of Cones here if I can be so bold as to plug my own blog within my blog … which apparently I can

Inspired by Beersine’s spent grain pretzels at the Good Beer Week ‘Game of Cones’ event, I went looking for a few related articles on using spent grain. This was a really interesting read on what some American breweries are doing with their spent grains. It’s more than cattle feed!

Spent Grain on a Brew Day for Colonial Baltic Porter
Spent Grain at Colonial Brewing, Margaret River

Crafty Pint | Good Beer Week 2014 Review: De Vrolijke Boot

One of Australia’s very best craft beer news website

Naturally most of my beer reading has been orientated around Melbourne’s Good Beer Week and living vicariously through others by reading reviews of events I wasn’t able to attend. In my defence there were hundreds of events and the week only goes for nine days! This event was held at Merricote along with beers by Boatrocker Brewery and stretched across six courses. The cacao cigar paired with Ramjet, a whiskey barrel aged imperial stout, sounds like something I would really, really like!

Beer is Your Friend | Good Beer Week Recap

One of my favourite Australian beer blogs by Glen Humphries

Summing things up nicely, an art I am yet to master due to my tendency to simply spew words, Glen writes about discovering Feral Watermelon Warhead and Rodenbach, going to GABS and eating lots of cheesesteaks.

GBW 2014: Game of Cones

A Melbourne tramcar restaurant, some silly costumed Colonial men with beer and a food menu by the one and only Beersine

“Tonight, we feast”

These were the words that started the menu for Friday night’s Game of Cones event for Good Beer Week. Held on Melbourne’s iconic Colonial Tramcar restaurant the coincidentally named Colonial Brewery teamed up with beer/food chef Mitch Mitchell aka Beersine to present a menu of beer inspired food matched to hand picked hop driven beers.

We were greeted at tram stop 125 by our Colonial hosts for the night, brewery manager Richard and brewers Justin and Paul who were all suitably dressed in Game of Thrones attire. Recovering from a cold, Paul’s unusually raspy voice added gusto to his already impressive costume whilst Richard’s legs were all too comfortable in black leggings.

Richard and James
I love this photo! [left] Colonial Brewery Manager Richard Moroney [right] Crafty Pint James Smith
On board we filled three tramcars and set off towards St Kilda, each carriage hosted by one of our costumed Colonial friends. The carriage I was on was hosted by Richard who guided us through the menu, discussing the selected beers and the food pairings.

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Please pardon my awful phone photography here …

To start we tucked into some spent grain pretzels, made with the leftover malt from after mashing in the brewing process, with ‘I can’t believe it’s hop butter’. We were also treated to Smoked Wort Jubes with Hop Sugar made with Cascade hops; wonderful little cubes that melted in your mouth.

Our starting beer was Colonial’s own Small Ale, a reduced alcohol india pale ale that is a full flavoured, tropical fruit and citrusy beer in a 3.5% ABV responsible body.

Kim Chee, or kimchi, a fermented vegetable dish from Korea that generally uses cabbage as it’s main ingredient

Next up was a kim chee omelette which was served up with collaboration brew My Antonia by American brewery Dogfish Head and Italian brewers Birra del Borgo. My Antonia boasts fresh citrus and pine flavours and a medium bitter finish, a great match to the spicy/sweet character of kim chee and base for the omelette’s fresh chilli to play on.

“Bridgeport is my beer spirit animal,”

Richard explains this feelings for this American craft brewery

The main event was a pork shoulder croquette served up on a celeriac romoulade. To accompany there was Mountain Goat’s Rye IPA and Bridgeport’s IPA. The latter is an IPA favourite amongst the Colonial guys whilst Richard spoke of their admiration for Mountain Goat who have been brewing since 1997 and laid the path for many since.

Beersine cheese is available from Mane Liquor and Cellarbrations Carlisle

As we neared the end of our tramcar ride we were served Beersine’s Pale Ale Cheddar, hop honey and lamb bacon – three life changing foods that I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in in the past. True South Black Rock India Lager and New Zealand’s 8 Wired Fresh Hopwired landed on our tables to accompany. The Fresh Hopwired was mind blowing and exactly as it sounds, a fresh and punchy and ridiculously good with the Pale Ale Cheddar and hop honey. Meanwhile lamb bacon in all it’s sweet, fatty goodness happily went with the Black Rock India Lager.

We departed off the tram, some of us smuggling whatever we couldn’t bare to leave behind, whether that be beer or that last precious chunk of cheese, and jumped on a bus to go to The Botanical. More beer and food goodness was unleashed with lamingtons and Colonial’s Gazza, the limited released Australian IPA. Made with all Aussie malts and hops I think Richard says it best:

“It’s big and it’s loud and it’s hairy”

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… and it ends not with a bang but with a lot of beer The tramcar leaves us at The Botanical

Thank you to Colonial who gifted my seat to this wonderful event, I keep telling them if they spoil me like this I’ll keep coming back. I think they are now stuck with me. But in all sincerity, thank you very much!

Good Beer Week 2014

Here’s my calendar for the “week” and I cannot wait to drink beer, over indulge in meat and cheese, soak up as much beery knowledge as I can and, most of all, hang out with some really great people!

It’ just over a week until Good Beer Week kicks off for 2014 and to say I’m excited is a small understatement. It’s like saying that having a TARDIS would be a really nifty way of travelling. No it wouldn’t, it would be freakin’ amazing, just like Good Beer Week is going to be!

Planning for this began last year. I work for a big company so they ask you to submit your requests for annual leave for the year towards the end of the previous year. This meant I booked off my holiday for Good Beer Week many months in advance. Did I know for sure I was going? No. Did I book the time off work just in case? Hell yes.

Months went by, 2014 arrived and before you knew it the Good Beer Week program was coming up! I needed to get my act together if I was going, I needed flights and a bed to crawl into.

Hello Jetstar sale! Love cheap flights, I snapped up those bad boys quick smart. I rang the hotel I stayed in last year. Got an available room? Great weekly rate that didn’t cost the earth? Yup! Done! I was just short of a packed bag and it was only March.

Then the Good Beer Week program was released … Mother. Of. God. This thing is EPIC! The program is one great event after another; my copy will be dog eared before I’ve even checked my bags.

Here’s my calendar for the “week” and I cannot wait to drink beer, over indulge in meat and cheese, soak up as much beery knowledge as I can and, most of all, hang out with some really great people!

Saturday 17 May

A free day, I haven’t bought any tickets for events at all. Perhaps a good chance to check out Pint of Origin venues, tap takeovers in selected Melbourne bars based on geography – all corners of Australia are represented along with New Zealand, Europe, USA and The Rest of the World.

There are also a tonne of free entry, week long events I’d like to check out, including Cookie’s Daily Food and Beer Matching, Rogue Beer and Burger at Beer DeLuxe and Mystery Cellar Dwellers at The Local Taphouse.

The Royston - one of the many PoO locations

Sunday 18 May
The Event: Brew vs Cru featuring Garrett Oliver [sold out]

Why I’m going: Because I’d kick myself, punch myself, slap myself, if I did not go to this event. First, its Garrett Oliver – brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery and beer author, I need to hear what this man has to say! Second, it is being held at Vue de Monde Rialto – a restaurant I have heard outstanding comments about. Third, not that I really need one, is the five courses of food, beer and wine pairing.

Excitement Level: Kid who has skulled red cordial and has a free pass to Disneyland.

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t going to Brew vs Cru I’d be at Barrel and Beast at The Local Taphouse, barrel aged beers matched to slow cooked meats from the Taphouse’s American smoker.

Monday 19 May

The EventRussian Imperial Banquet

Why I’m going: I love Russian Imperial Stouts, they’re like a loving embrace – lingering, comfortable and they always leave you wanting more. How I’ll be after an entire night of them is anyone’s guess but I’ll be sure to keep you updated. I’m also fortunate enough to be representing Crafty Pint at this event, hopefully I’ll be capable of writing something coherent and mildly entertaining the following morning.

Excitement Level: When you wake up in the morning after a big night out and smell bacon cooking

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t at the Russian Imperial Banquet I’d be at An Evening with Yeastie Boys at East of Everything for 6 beer and 6 courses with one of my favourite NZ brewing guys!

 

Tuesday 20 May
The EventGarage Project & Moon Dog’s Local Taphouse Tag Team Tap Takeover

Why I’m going: Aside from the accurate and astounding alliteration (geddit?!) this event showcases two of my favourite breweries

Excitement Level: Kid in candy store but instead of a kid it’s me and instead of candy it’s awesome beer!

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t at Garage Project & Moon Dog’s Local Taphouse takeover I’d be at The Baird Beer Omakase.

Wednesday 21 May
The Event: Sourfest II [sold out]

Why I’m going: I need more sour beers in my life, I truly do. This event was a sell out last year and I didn’t get along. I hear it was amazing so I’m super keen to check it out in 2014.

Excitement Level: When you finally see that band you love live in concert and you sing too loud during every song

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t going to Sourfest II I’d be at Brewers and Chewers at The Local Taphouse. Much like Sourfest this was a sold out night in 2013. Speed dating crossed with a meet the brewer session over a fantastic dinner with the wonderful Pete Mitcham hosting, if last year was anything to go by, this event is a highlight.

Brewers and Chewers 2013
2013 Brewers and Chewers – the venue, the menu and the line up of brewers being interviewed by MC Pete Mitcham

Thursday 22 May
The Event: The Cheese and Cask Ale Experience

Why I’m going: It’s a cheese event, enough said. Plus I went to last year’s edition, which was not cask ale, and it was great! The pairings were genuinely tasty and interesting, I can’t wait to see what they do with cask ales.

Excitement Level: Whenever I step foot into The Re-Store in Leederville … times a hundred.

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t at The Cheese and Cask Ale Experience I’d be at the AIBA Awards Presentation Dinner to cheer on and mingle with the great beer people.

Beer & Cheese Experience at The Local Taphouse last year. This years edition is featuring all cask ales!
Beer & Cheese Experience at The Local Taphouse last year. This years edition is featuring all cask ales!

Friday 23 May
The Event: Game of Cones

Why I’m going: To see some of my favourite people doing their favourite things – Colonial Brewing and Beersine team up for a beer and food matching session on board a tramcar. I’m sooo on board for this one (toot toot!)

Excitement Level: When you’re six years ago and just about to go to your best friend in the whole wide worlds birthday party and you know there’s going to be a magician, fairy bread and lots of cake!

Sophie’s Choice: No choice, it was always going to Game of Cones!

Saturday 24 May
The Event: The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular

Why I’m going: Because it would borderline on insanity not to go. This is the beer festival to end all beer festivals, like a great barley wine this event gets better with every year. Food stalls, craft beer college, the beer market place and the shining diamond on the crown – the festival beers. Over 100 beers brewed just for the festival. Where else can you try that many brand new, never before released, beers in one place?!

Excitement Level: Remember that kid from earlier who drank the red cordial and went to Disneyland? Now they’re at the gift shop being told they can take whatever they can carry.

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t as the first Saturday GABS session I’d be at Woods of the North at 3 Ravens Brewery for barrel-aged brews, whiskeys, BBQ and boilermakers! Breweries like Feral, Moondog , Boatrocker and Starward will be there for your drinking pleasure.

The Event: Mega Dega II [sold out]

Why I’m going: I missed out last year, opting not to follow a multiple course lunch with a degustation dinner, I was keen to get along this year. Four chefs, six brewers and I think I’ll be rolling out the door of this one!

Excitement Level: When they finally announce the new Doctor Who series (sorry for the second Doctor Who reference of the post but I’m getting frustrated at waiting so long between seasons).

Sophie’s Choice: If I wasn’t at Mega Dega II I’d probably be at the GABS Saturday night session!

GABS-LOGO-FINAL-WHITE

Sunday 25 May
The Event: Boatrocker Palate Cleanser

Why I’m going: This was the wild card event of my GBW experience last year. It’s on the last day of the week and it is an EPIC week of palate abuse and indulgence and this event, though ever so slightly earlier than others at 11am is such a welcome treat for those who like their wild and sour beers. They welcome you like family, hell even one of the brewers friends even dropped my partner and I back to St Kilda in her own car last year, and it a really lovely few hours at the Boatrocker brewery.

Excitement Level: When you step off the plane in that city you’ve always wanted to explore.

Sophie’s Choice: Let’s face it, if I wasn’t at Boatrocker I’d be at the last GABS session. Hell, if I made haste I could even catch the last 30mins of GABS straight after Boatrocker!

From last years Palate Cleanser event, can't wait to see what's been happening in these barrels for the last 12 months!
From last years Palate Cleanser event, can’t wait to see what’s been happening in these barrels for the last 12 months!

East versus West … Re-Match

Three rounds, state versus state, beer versus beer, food versus food and all with delicious results …

At Melbourne’s Good Beer Week in May one of the stand out events was East versus West: A Beer and Food Title Fight at Josie Bones. With the background music of Eye of the Tiger the east coast of Australia, represented by Josie Bones, battled with the west, represented by Five Bar / Beersine, for the bragging rights to beer and food pairing superiority. Despite not having a home ground advantage, WA came out victorious with the title belt aka a plastic WWE replica. Oh it was glorious! You can relive the magic here.

Last weekend as part of WA Beer Week Five Bar and Beersine hosted the re-match, aka round two, aka a chance for Melbourne to level the score. The format remained the same with three rounds covering yeast driven beers, hop driven beers and malt driven beers. It was all blind tastings so you didn’t know what beer you were tasting or whether the dish was a Beersine / Five Bar or Josie Bones creation.

Hard working chefs Mitch from Beersine/Five Bar and Julia from Josie Bones
Hard working chefs Mitch from Beersine/Five Bar and Julia from Josie Bones

Here’s how the battle unfolded …

Round 1 – Yeast Driven Beers

Last Drop Saison with Wort Poached Marron, Pickled Cucumber and Beer Blanc Sauce

versus

Holgate Little Heifer Hefeweizen with Ripened Goats Cheese Croquette with Bacon Jam and Pickled Apple

The marron was a beautiful way to start the afternoon, soft and delicate with the cucumber adding a refreshing element. The Last Drop Saison, after geting rave reviews from punters at the Fremantle BeerFest the day before, continued to be loved here. A slight banana nose, soft and well balanced and lightly spiced, it was gorgeous. The two together proved a nice matching of delicate, soft but still very expressive flavours.

Wort Poached Marron, Pickled Cucumber and Beer Blanc Sauce by Mitch from Beersine / Five Bar
Wort Poached Marron, Pickled Cucumber and Beer Blanc Sauce by Mitch from Beersine / Five Bar

Half way through eating the second dish I decided that bacon jam was the way of the future. Honestly. Think about it. Bacon jam. Just ponder that for a moment and if you’re not drooling then I think there’s something wrong with you and we might not be able to be friends. The bacon jam added salty caramelised goodness to the soft and springy goat’s cheese croquettes. Holgate’s Little Heifer is a great example of a hefeweizen with sweet banana aromas and a nice silky mouthfeel. It cut through the oil in the croquettes and was a nice sweet/salt contrast to the bacon jam. This was my second favourite beer and food match of the day.

Ripened Goat's Cheese Croquettes with Bacon Jam and Pickled Apple by Julia from Josie Bones
Ripened Goat’s Cheese Croquettes with Bacon Jam and Pickled Apple by Julia from Josie Bones

How the votes swung …

Favourite Beer: WA – Last Drop Saison

Favourite Dish: VIC – Ripened Goats Cheese Croquettes

Favourite Pairing: VIC – Holgate Hefeweizen + Ripened Goats Cheese Croquettes

Round 2 – Hop Driven Beers

Boneyard Golden Ale with Prawn Po’Boy with Chipolte Aioli, Vic Secret Hop Salt and Malt Vinegar Game Chips

versus

The Monk Chief IPA with ‘Tongue in Cheek’ – Masterstock Beef Cheek & Ox Tongue Croquette and Kimchi

The menu, pre-reveal, described Boneyard Golden Ale as a “session IPA” and it’s spot on, fresh tropical hops backed up by soft lingering bitterness makes it damn drinkable. The hop salt on the chips had lots of people licking the chips to get the full flavour which was fun and perhaps a little uncouth but hey, that’s the fun of beer and food sometimes!

Prawn Po'Boy with Chipolte Aioli, Vic Secret Hop Salt and Malt Vinegar Game Chips by Julia from Josie Bones
Prawn Po’Boy with Chipolte Aioli with (not pictured) Vic Secret Hop Salt and Malt Vinegar Game Chips by Julia from Josie Bones

The Monk Chief with the aptly named ‘tongue in cheek’ dish was my favourite pairing of the day, the way the kimchi and hops played together was unique, tasty and I couldn’t get enough of it! The beef cheek and ox tongue bought out all the maltiness from the IPA, easily one of my favourite IPAs going around.

Tongue in Cheek - Masterstock Beef Cheek and Ox Tongue Croquette with Kimchi by Mitch from Beersine/Five Bar
Tongue in Cheek – Masterstock Beef Cheek and Ox Tongue Croquette with Kimchi by Mitch from Beersine/Five Bar

How the votes swung …

Favourite Beer, Favourite Dish and Favourite Pairing: VIC – Boneyard Golden Ale with Prawn Po’Boy.

Round 3 – Malt Driven Beers

Feral Razorback Barleywine with Peppermint Pavlova garnished with Local Berries and Local Milk Chocolate

versus

Boatrocker Ramjet Whiskey Barrel  Aged Imperial Stout with Whiskey Baba with Malted Chocolate Cream, Blood Orange Curd and Liquorice with your choice from three whiskey sauces

The barleywine and peppermint pavlova was, for me, the most intriguing match of the day. On paper I expected the barleywine to completely dominate the dessert but this wasn’t the case. The peppermint was able to stand out and cut through the big bold flavours of the barleywine making for a really interesting contrast. The berries were a nice complement to the deeper sweetness from the beer.

Peppermint Pavlova with Fresh Local Berries and Local Milk Chocolate by Mitch from Beersine/Five Bar
Peppermint Pavlova with Fresh Local Berries and Local Milk Chocolate by Mitch from Beersine/Five Bar

Like the Razorback, Boatrocker’s beer had that “oh my god” factor, with every sip you were impressed and craved more of those toffee and creme brulee flavours. It melded well with the baba which is essentially a booze soaked cake and you needed a big ballsy dessert to go head to head with the Ramjet. Due to my own eagerness to try the whiskey sauces, and by eagerness I mean I had all three doused on my dessert, I may have ended up with a dish that was more booze than dessert. Prior to this however it was a great match of similar flavours coming together.

Whiskey Baba with Malted Chocolate Cream, Blood Orange Curd and Liquorice with your choice from three whiskey sauces by Julia from Josie Bones
Whiskey Baba with Malted Chocolate Cream, Blood Orange Curd and Liquorice with your choice from three whiskey sauces by Julia from Josie Bones

How the votes swung …

Favourite Beer, Favourite Dish and Favourite Pairing: VIC – Boatrocker Ramjet with Whiskey Baba

So Victoria’s Josie Bones took the title belt on the plane back to the East Coast which just means we need to head back for Good Beer Week 2014 to retrieve it again. Congratulations Julia, Brendan and the Josie Bones team! Well played Mitch and Five Bar, well played.

Photo by Feral Brewing
Photo by Feral Brewing

Scores are level, the fight continues …

Thank you to Five Bar, Beersine and Josies Bones for another fantastic event! I feel privileged to be able to say I’ve been to both East versus West events this year and they have been great experiences in showcasing some fine beers and creative dishes. Bring on 2014!

Thank you also to Andy Mac at Five Bar and Mitch at Beersine for inviting me along. It’s always nice to go back to your old bar and feel like you’ve come home for a visit.