The only way to accurately describe the burgers we made at home on Friday night is “over the top”; though “epic” and “freaking amazing” would also do nicely. Matched with the Feral / 2 Brothers Collaborator was nothing short of fantastic!
The only way to accurately describe the burgers we made at home on Friday night is “over the top”; however “epic” and “freaking amazing” would also do nicely.
I had done some random internet clicking and ended up looking at the Food Republic; a website for guys about food and drink and although it may not sound revolutionary, it’s really quite good. Great recipes and articles, all done with a bit of humour, and sound advice – all well presented. I will be visiting this site again I am sure, despite my gender not being the specific target market! The recipe that caught my attention was for a “Bacon Blue Cheese Burger” simply because it sounds amazing and really, anything with blue cheese has to be good!
My boyfriend and I didn’t follow the recipe, instead just grasping the title words and putting it together in a way that made sense to us; it seemed more fun this way! The patties were made with beef mince, garlic, breadcrumbs and egg. We topped them (and yes, we made double decker burgers for no good reason other than we could) with a slab of blue cheese, egg and a gravy mix of mushrooms, bacon, spanish onion and garlic. Built into three layers of toasted turkish bread, the end result was by far the messiest and tastiest of our home made burger efforts to date.
Deciding what beer to go with it was more of a challenge. I avoided pale ales because that’s what we have done most times with burgers and even though it’s been a wonderful match in the past I wanted to try something different. Hello Collaborator!
Our second and final bottle of the 5.5% abv Feral/2 Brothers Collaborator beer, an Australian Brown Ale, turned out to be a fantastic match to our artery-clogging burgers. Bold enough to stand up to the many competing flavours happening in the burger, the beer itself had a contrasting bitter hop flavour, sweet caramel malt and tropical fruit. Rather than trying to pick out individual flavours in both beer and burger I think my best description of the match is just that it was really, really good with both contrasting and complimenting elements. Most importantly, however, it was all damn good fun making the burgers, trying to eat them and washing it all down with a sensational Australian beer.
Blue Cheese & Bacon Burgers … girl+beer style!
Garlic, finely diced
Mushroom & Bacon Mix
Button Mushrooms, sliced
Red Capsicum, diced
Chicken Gravy Mix
Brown Onion, diced
Build It and They Will Come (starting from the base)…
Mushroom & Bacon Mix
Mushroom & Bacon Mix
Cheddar Cheese (yup, two different kinds of cheese)
Turkish Bread top
Stab with a steak knife to hold it all in place and serve with Rosemary & Garlic Potato Wedges
International Beer Shop + Kjetil Jikiun, Head Brewer of Nøgne Ø + 4 great Nøgne Ø beers = a happy beer girl
Nøgne ø … the brewery from Norway that refuses to compromise, committed to taste, committed to craft beer
This is the first sentence you see on the Nøgne Ø website. I like it’s simplicity and directness. There’s no messing around here – it’s not sunshine and lollipops it’s just damn fine beer. Their beers, from the ones I have experienced so far, certainly seem to reflect these elements too. If you have time, read through the story behind Nøgne Ø. It is an interesting read because it feels like a real story from a human being instead of a marketing spiel, edited and changed to a more romantic version of events. You could almost be sitting beside Kjetil Jikiun (Founder, Head Brewer, Owner and All Round Nice Guy) enjoying a beer and listening to the history of the brewery unfold on the bar table. As a side note, he is described in the website as “the bearded giant”. Since it was pretty close to the first thing I thought when I met him, I thought that was worth mentioning.
The International Beer Shop played hosted to Kjetil Jikiun on Monday night for a Nøgne Ø Tasting and Tap Takeover, an hour of beer talk and sampling of four of their beers. With almost 20 beers in year round production and countless other special, seasonal and collaboration brews it was a delight to taste a nice cross section of their different offerings.
#500 Imperial IPA
I wanted to take photos but it proved rather tricky. I had tasting notes in one hand and beer in the other and I didn’t fancy drawing attention to myself as I tried juggling them. For those who know me, hand/eye coordination doesn’t spring to mind as one of my strong points. You’ll just have to head down to The International Beer Shop (or even shop online!) and grab them to see and try for yourselves. In the mean time, perhaps I can tempt you further with a brief run down on how beautiful these beers are.
I first had this a few months ago and recycled the bottle for flowers I was given. Trying it the second time around I was struck by how spicy it was, I didn’t remember that from the first time! It is balanced out very nicely with tropical notes from fresh Australian hops and cheekily weighs in at 7.5% ABV.
Brown Ale – one of their regulars
The carbonation was bigger than I had expected and was a pleasant surprise, giving a delightfully light and playful mouth feel. Putting my nose in the glass reminded me of opening a fresh bag of coffee beans. Spicy and malty and delicious.
#500 Imperial IPA – another of their regulars
Imperial IPA. There’s something great about this style, taking a IPA – a bigger version of Pale Ales – and then just making it bigger again which is great for my already beaten up taste buds. As the name suggests, it’s a celebratory brew, made to signify the 500th batch of ale. It’s nothing short of slap-you-in-the-face big, heaving with hops and bitterness. With the recent explosion of New Zealand hops around, other hops heads might recognise the Nelson Sauvin hop notes in there with very unsubtle fruit thanks to the dry hopping.
Nogne O Kollaborator – in collaboration with Ægir, a fellow Norwegian craft brewer.
It’s a DoppelBock, doppel = strong and bock = lager so the style becomes simple math. Rich, boozy with lots of dark fruits. It’s got great thick texture and just begs to be sipped on whilst reading a good book in winter. Or, in the case of my boyfriend and I last night, devoured in gulps with rich blue cheese and exclaiming how great the two go together!