Brown Ale + Homemade Steak Sandwiches

Note: Apparently I write posts and then forget to actually post them. Although I am new to the world of blogging I am pretty sure this would be a fairly preventative action in people actually reading what I write. Hence, you may find the following post a fraction outdated but since it’s about Eagle Bay Brewing, who I love, and limited release beer, which I also love, and one of the best steak sandwiches I have ever made – I just had to post it … Read on! (of course it’s a slight tease since the beer in question has since consumed to the point of extinction but the good news is that their Cacao Stout is still available).

Eagle Bay Brewing Company
Eagle Bay Road | Cape Naturaliste

Note: Apparently I write posts and then forget to actually post them. Although I am new to the world of blogging I am pretty sure this would be a fairly preventative action in people actually reading what I write. Hence, you may find the following post a fraction outdated but since it’s about Eagle Bay Brewing, who I love, and limited release beer, which I also love, and one of the best steak sandwiches I have ever made – I just had to post it … Read on! (of course it’s a slight tease since the beer in question has since consumed to the point of extinction but the good news is that their Cacao Stout is still available).

On with the show …

I do love a limited release beer; it just screams “drink me NOW!” and that’s something I can respond to!

Eagle Bay Brewing Company produce their limited releases under the label ‘Single Batch’. You may associate this tag with Little Creatures since that’s one of their labels too but, from what I remember from my days working for them, they produce way more than one batch. Whilst this is certainly good for craft beer fans it does mean that the label isn’t strictly true. However, when Eagle Bay say ‘single batch’ they are not kidding, producing one brew of approximately 800 litres from their microbrewery. These beers are largely brewery exclusives and therefore another reason why I love the fact we have moved here.

Recently my boyfriend and I were fortunate enough to spend an afternoon at Eagle Bay and hung out with Margi, their Marketing & Retail Manager. We chatted about all things beer, and of course you can’t talk about beer without having one, and shared a pizza. On a foodie note, the Prosciutto, Field Mushroom and Rocket pizza is absolutely lovely! Eagle Bay kindly picked up the tab so a big thank you to Margi and the team for their hospitality.

Eagle Bay Single Batch
American Brown Ale
5.6% abv

I had seen on the Eagle Bay Facebook page that their Single Batch American Brown Ale was close to running out so it was easy to order my first drink.

Eagle Bay Brewing Co is family owned and operated and when one of their fellow beer loving friends, Chantelle, expressed a desire to collaborate on a brew, it was destined to be a good idea. Chantelle knew she wanted to brew a winter beer but didn’t want to make anything too heavy. Nick, Head Brewer and Co-Owner, sent her off to do a little research and she came back with the idea for an American Brown Ale. This is a girl after my own heart!

Nick used imported US Cascade and Zyphos hops, both seemingly popular hop varieties used for bold American IPAs and similar styles and adding a subtle hint of citrus at the end. Bigger flavours of biscuit, nuts and a bit of toffee jumped out at me when I first tasted it. Smooth, rich and dark with beautiful balance, it makes me think Chantelle should not leave it too long before she gets back into the brewhouse.

We took home one of the Eagle Bay Growlers full of this great beer and I had originally wanted to match it with a nice cheddar but dinner was fast approaching and you shouldn’t really have cheese for dinner (though I happily would!). Instead, I decided to make steak sandwiches with vintage cheddar.

Growler full of American Brown Ale

The match was certainly one of my most successful with the vintage cheddar highlighting more subtle nutty and biscuity flavours I picked up from the beer. Overall neither the beer nor sandwich dominated in flavour, sweeter notes from the beer going nicely with the slightly caramalised onion and mushroom mix.

Steak Sandwich

Oyster Blade Steak

Button Mushrooms

Spanish Onion

Rocket

Vintage Cheddar

Turkish Bread

Served with paprika spiced potato wedges

Eagle Bay American Brown Ale + Steak Sandwich

Fried Mice + Fresh Fish + Local Beer

I love the Clancy’s Fish Pubs, the food is always tasty and fresh with a great range of tap beers with a local focus. When visiting any of the Clancy’s Fish Pubs – Fremantle, City Beach, Applecross and Dunsborough – it should be compulsory to order a minimum of one serve of Fried Mice and a pint of something local.

It was my boyfriends birthday over the weekend so his folks came down for a visit and we thought a Sunday lunch would be a nice way to spend an afternoon. We wanted to take them somewhere they hadn’t been before and if that place happened to have some fantastic beers on tap, well, that was just a cheeky bonus. Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough fit the bill nicely, and since they don’t take bookings it was an easy exercise of rolling up at our leisure.

I love the Clancy’s Fish Pubs, the food is always tasty and fresh with a great range of tap beers with a local focus. When visiting any of the Clancy’s Fish Pubs – Fremantle, City Beach, Applecross and Dunsborough – it should be compulsory to order a minimum of one serve of Fried Mice and a pint of something local.

Fried Mice
Battered and deep fried Jalapenos stuffed with Persian Fetta
Served on Red Capsicum Rouille with Sour Cream
(gotta have something to ease the burning heat!)

It was just after 12noon when we arrived at Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough and plenty of other people had clearly had the same idea; not surprising since it was a sunny long weekend and the last one West Australians will get for a few months.

We hit the bar and delved head first in a diverse list of tap beers with a lot of local representation from Little Creatures, Nail Ale, Eagle Bay Brewing, Bootleg Brewery, Cowaramup Brewery, Tanglehead Brewing and Feral Brewery. With so many great local beers to choose from, it makes for a delightfully hard choice! We selected an array of beers to start with so we could do a little tasting of our own …

  • Nail Ale Australian Pale Ale
  • Eagle Bay Kolsch
  • Mountain Goat Steam Ale
  • Cowaramup Pilsener
It’s always a pleasure to have a pint of Nail Ale Australian Pale Ale, it’s consistently delicious with a great balance of bitter and fruit. It uses pale and crystal malts with Tasmanian Pride of Ringwood hops, for earthy, strong flavours, and Hallertau for floral aromas. Since Clancy’s are the only venues I see Nail Ale on tap it almost seems mandatory to get a pint.
Pint of Nail Ale Australian Pale Ale
They may not be the biggest brewery but Nail Ale do make headlines – Antarctic Nail Ale was a very limited release of 30 bottles in 2010; Nail Ale Pale brewed with Antarctic ice brought back by the Sea Shepard from an anti-whaling campaign. A single bottle sold for $800 in a fund raising auction for the Sea Shepard Conversation Society. If anyone tried it, I’d love to know the result!
I was given the responsibility of selecting beers for my boyfriends parents, a task that I happily took on. They enjoy lagers and pilsners and shared in a few Coopers Pale Ales we had the evening before. With this in mind I picked the Eagle Bay Kolsch and Mountain Goat Steam Ale.
I’ve said it a number of times but Kolsch is one of my favourite styles both for flavour, and as a style for recommending to lager enthusiasts. Eagle Bay Kolsch is light bodied with lovely hops and a little spice and stone fruit. It’s bright and looks gorgeous in the glass.
The words Mountain Goat Steam Ale conjure up images in my mind of a goat driving an old steam train. As for the beer itself, it is delicately herbal and fruity with a bit of wheat malt for extra refreshment and Cascade and Citra hops. Coming in at #37 in the 2011 The Critics’ Choice: Australia’s Best Beers, up from #47 the previous year, it’s also 100% certified organic.
Thankfully both beers were enjoyed; there’s something sweetly rewarding when you pick a beer for someone and they like it and order another.
It had also been almost a year since I’d tasted the Cowaramup Pilsener from a tasting paddle on a visit to the brewery almost a year ago. During my day in the brewhouse of Colonial Brewery with Mal, Head Brewer, he had been singing the praises of Jeremy and his Cowaramup Pilsener so when I spotted it off tap I was keen to have a pint. The family owned and operated Cowaramup Brewery lies on the edge of Margaret River in Cowaramup, a town that is affectionately known by the locals as “cow town”, and they grow a few hop varieties on site that are used in their beers. Their Pilsener was awarded a Champion Lager trophy at the 2011 Australian International Beer Awards and made its first appearance in latest The Critics’ Choice Australia’s Best Beers at #58. It’s a German style Pilsener conditioned for seven weeks and using Perle and Tettnanger hops, both of which originate in Germany.
Perle Hops were breed from the English variety, Northern Brewer and an undisclosed male parent at the German Hull Hop Research Institute. Whilst that may bring up a kind of Frankenstein inspired image of producing hops, the result here is not disastrous. Perle has great versatility for bittering, flavour and aroma. Perhaps this sort of versatility, combined with a resistance to common hop diseases, is why it’s the most widely planted hop variety in Germany.
Tettnanger, a Southern Germany hop variety, possessing similar characteristics to Saaz hops (most known for their presence in Pilsners) and considered a bit of a “classic” hop. In wide demand from all over the world, it’s traditionally used to produce German Pilsners for it’s citrus/grassy flavours.
We soon noticed the line for ordering food was starting to grow so we grabbed our beers and headed for the queue. When we first joined the line our intention was to order one serve of Fried Mice and one serve of Grilled Sardine Fillets. By the time we reached the counter we ordered 2 serves of Fried Mice, the Grilled Sardine Fillets and 2 serves of Tempura House Fish & Chips. I wonder whether that happens to everyone standing in the line which just happens to be right where the food comes out of the kitchen.
Soon it was time for another round and my boyfriend and I opted for something different again and something darker.
  • Bootleg Black Market IPA
  • Tanglehead Stout
The Black Market IPA is one of my favourite offerings from Bootleg Brewery which has been operating in the Margaret River region since 1994. The happy harmony between dark malts, creating richness and darkness, and aromatic and floral hops, makes for one of my favourite brews. It was also an interesting match to the Fried Mice, acting like an IPA would to the heat of the dish on top of dark malt richness adding a contrasting rich sweetness. The Black IPA, India Black Ale, or whatever you want to call it, has been surfacing in popularly in recent years and if you’re keen you’ll find a great article on the style on ‘Australian Brew News’.
Bootleg Black Market IPA + Fried Mice + Tempura Fish & Chips
The fish was caught and delivered that day!
Tanglehead Brewery is located in Albany amongst the Great Southern region of Western Australia, the town is most commonly associated with whale watching, the Stirling Ranges and Bluff Knoll. I have not visited Albany since I was a kid (and the only thing I remember is being car sick and throwing up in the hotel) so I will have to make a point of returning soon. They had the Tanglehead Stout on tap, which is an Oatmeal Stout, silky and rich and dominated by chocolate and coffee notes. It was a rather strange follow up to the Black Market IPA and played a bit of havoc with my palate but certainly a nice velvety drop.
The food arrived in good time considering the place had filled up very quickly and we wondered just how many serves of their Tempura Fish & Chips would have been pumped from the kitchen over the long weekend. The fish tasted fresh and flavoursome and was perfectly cooked; the Fried Mice were great (as always) and thankfully didn’t burn your palate to the point of numbness and the Grilled Sardine Fillets were a great tangy little bite to start on.
Grilled Sardine Fillets with Chargrilled Ciabatta and Scorched Lemon
Tempura House Fish and Chips with Green Salad and Tartare Sauce
The atmosphere at Clancy’s is always a bright and bubbly one with yellow, red and blue seats scattered throughout the venue. The grass, having seen a decent dose of rain recently, was healthy and green with parents and kids running around, kicking a footy (despite seeing West Coast lose to Brisbane on the big screen TV inside) and enjoying the open space and sunshine. The staff are friendly and it speaks volumes when you see the bartenders having a laugh and a joke with each other and their customers; it looks like a great team with Jane (formerly of the Clancy’s Fish Pub Fremantle) running the show. Combine this with great fresh food (their fish is caught and delivered fresh daily) and an impressive representation of local beers and ciders and it really captures what the South West is all about.

The Quiet American + Loud Food 2

Curry is certainly what I’d classify as LOUD food and proved to be a great match with The Quiet American. Great to play with locally produced foods as well, this dish uses Crunch Preserves Chilli Achar, made in Busselton, and enhanced the curry and stood up boldly to the fresh American hops

It’s not a secret that beautifully hoppy beers can be great partners to food with a bit of heat in them, like a loved-up couple. It’s about balance between hop bitterness in your beer and heat in your dish. So it’s not about using so much chilli that it brutally murders your taste buds, subjecting them to a slow and painful death, but instead it’s about being just spicy enough so the hop bitterness from a gulp of delicious IPA or Pale Ale enhances that spice.

As winter approaches I will be doing a short series on beer and curry experiments as I’ve read lots of bits and pieces on lager with curry, links between India Pale Ale and curries (it seems the British ‘Curry and Pint’ night is a pub favourite) and played around a little with beer & food matching for small events in the past but I think it requires a more dedicated approach. And yes, if it means drinking more beer and making lots of different curries then I’m happy to take on the role. I’m just dedicated like that.

Anyway, back to the point of The Quiet American, Little Creatures latest limited release, and another LOUD dish – Curry!

My boyfriend and I got home from work late one night and decided curry was a tasty but easy, ‘cannot-be-stuffed-with-anything-else’ dinner. We used sauce from a jar and added some locally produced Chilli Achar (Crunch Preserves) just for shits and giggles. And by “some” I refer to the massive dose that fit on the largest spoon we could get into the jar. Incidentally, the Chilli Achar was an impulse purchase from Boyanup Petrol Station on our Ferguson Valley adventuring where we also got bird seed … love country towns. Moving on … our Chicken Madras Curry with Chilli Achar, Mushrooms and Red Onion was another great hit with The Quiet American. I’m really enjoying the way red onion plays with the rich sweetness in this beer though my opinion is bias since I have started a (totally healthy) love affair with red onion and add it to almost every single dish. It tastes good and it’s just so darn pretty (there’s a joke in there somewhere). With the addition of the Harissa Paste, the curry carried the right amount of heat matched with the American hop bitterness. I keep saying “matched” because, well, it’s accurate but it’s more than that. It enhances and alters the spice flavours, like a collaboration between two great brewers that gets all beer geeks excited.

Madras Chicken Curry & The Quiet American

Chicken Madras Curry with Chilli Achar, Mushrooms and Red Onion

  • 1 Chicken Breast, diced
  • Jar Madras Curry Sauce
  • Massive dollop of Crunch Preserves Chilli Achar (or Chilli Pickle)
  • Sliced Button Mushrooms
  • Sliced Red Capsicum
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Garlic
Throw in everything and simmer for ages!

Little Creatures: The Quiet American

In a passionate one night stand a Belgian Strong Ale and an American IPA got together and made something beautiful!

Hoppity hop hops and sweet rich orange …

Crafted By: Little Creatures, Fremantle

Style: Hybrid (the bastard child of a Belgian Strong Ale & American IPA)

Status: Limited Release – get it when you see it people! ‘Single Batch’ means not much will be around

Available by/through: 568ml Pint Bottles and on tap at Little Creatures and a handful of select venues

Booziness: 7.2% abv

Taste: Rich oranges, spices and American hop bitterness

Look: Pours clear golden and quickly settles into a slightly darker form

Production Bits:

  • Pale Ale Malt, Abbey Malt, CaraBeige, CaraAroma, MunichMalt and Belgian Candi Syrup.
  • 55 IBU
  • New Seasons US Cascade and Chinook Hops

The Quiet American + Loud Food 1

The Quiet American is a damn fine beer bursting with flavour so you need some loud food to go with it

Being down south, things move at a slightly slower pace so it has taken me a few extra days to get my hands on the latest Single Batch release from Little Creatures, The Quiet American.

I first heard about it when we did a Little Creatures Beer + Food Event at Five Bar in February. We had been lucky enough to have along Andy, one of the Little Creatures brewers, who hinted at the upcoming release. So I’ve been keeping my eye out and now, having read all about it for the last week and no less than 4 trips to the bottle shop I finally got some. Of course I looked like an indecisive alcoholic on the first 3 trips as I stood staring at the fridge doors. The last trip resembled more of a Indiana Jones / Holy Grail style moment as I spotted the bottles on the shelf though I grabbed 6, not just 1.

I also picked up the copy of The Critics Choice Australian Best Beers I had on order so it was a very happy, beery day!

Beer + Beer Book
A Great Beer Day

For those who don’t have a copy here’s the Top 10 and Congratulations to everyone!

  1. Feral Hop Hog
  2. Stone & Wood Pacific Ale
  3. Little Creatures Pale Ale
  4. Holgate Temptress
  5. Bridge Road Brewers Chevalier Saison
  6. Little Creatures The Big Dipper
  7. Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale
  8. Knappstein Reserve Lager
  9. Mountain Goat Hightail Ale
  10. Murray’s Angry Man Pale Ale

Little Creatures describes The Quiet American as a hybrid style. I prefer to think of it as the bastard child of a one night stand. The two parent styles who stumbled drunkenly on to each other are a Belgian Strong Ale and an American IPA. The nose is unmistakably fresh American hops, aromatic and raging with grapefruit and as though someone put a dollop of honey in there too. We’re talking proper honey too, the type you’d find in some country shed, made by a kind old lady named Betty. The Quiet American tastes rich, spicy and bursting with sugared orange, maybe even a hint of vanilla somewhere in there and distinct hop bitterness that comes together in an oh-so-nice contrast.

I was dying to try a little home cooking + beer matching and cook a dish with a good amount of heat (but not so much you burn off your taste buds) to go with IPA elements and some spice to go with the Belgian yeast. It had to be a dish screaming with the right flavours (hence by title of ‘loud food’) … so we made Cayenne Pepper Spiced Hake Fillet with Butter & Garlic Leeks, Mushrooms, Red Onion and Capsicum.

Cayenne Pepper, Oregano & Black Pepper
Preparing the Hake Fillets

The Quiet American washed over the Cayenne Pepper with ease and that great Cascade and Chinook Hop bitterness somehow boosts and settles the flavour at the same time. The red onion slightly caramalised so it went really well with the rich orange flavours of the beer and the leeks provided delicate spice.

Cayenne Spiced Hake Fillet matched with The Quiet American

We sat back after dinner and somehow our bottle of Ron Zacapa XO made it to the table. A sip of this followed by The Quiet American and oh-my-god. It was good. It was damn good! They complimented each other extremely well, rich orange notes, spice and alcohol sweetness from a bigger than normal booze level in both the rum and the beer. Of course that booziness may have also contributed to the happy feeling I was having but we’ll forget that for now.

A Great Beer Day – Ron Zacapa XO with LC Quiet American & 2011 The Critics’ Choice Australia’s Best Beers

Cayenne Pepper Spiced Hake Fillet with Butter & Garlic Leeks, Mushrooms, Red Onion and Capsicum

  • 2 x Hake Fish Fillets
  • Butter
  • 2 x cloves Garlic, finely diced
  • 1/2 Leek, sliced
  • Button Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 Red Onion, sliced into wedges
  • 1/2 Red Capsicum
  • Cayenne Pepper, Plain Flour, pinch of Oregano, crack of Black Pepper and Egg White for the light coating