#temptingtuesday – September

What the heck is #temptingtuesday I hear you say? (well, in my head you do). It’s combining my love affair with Twitter, the fun of chatting with great people and my eternal affection for beer. The mechanics are simple, just like its author, where on the first Tuesday of each month I ask the big wide Twitterverse a beer related question. I get inspired and blog the results.

girl+beer logo with twitter

What the heck is #temptingtuesday I hear you say? (well, in my head you do). It’s combining my love affair with Twitter, the fun of chatting with great people and my eternal affection for beer. The mechanics are simple, just like its author, where on the first Tuesday of each month I ask the big wide Twitterverse a beer related question. I get inspired and blog the results.

Hello September! I used this months #temptingtuesday as a way to outsource a beer to pair with a specific dish I wanted to make for dinner.

Prawn and Chorizo Linguine

I went to Chris’s Sea to You seafood van in Busselton for the prawns and used the last bit of Coat of Arms Chorizo we had in the fridge. For those unfamiliar with Coat of Arms Chorizo, it’s from the Margaret River Venison Farm and it’s amazing. Spicy, rich and totally over-the-top and tasty as hell. It’s name comes from the two animals it’s made from …

Coat of Arms

I found a recipe from taste.com.au that suited my craving – chorizo and prawn fideos (a very quick Google search told me it’s Spanish for noodles) and it was a delicious success. It’s also a nice way of using a single pan for cooking dinner, spaghetti and all! God I hate dishes.

Cooking up a storm ... well, pasta anyway

Armed with a bare boned descriptor of “prawn and chorizo linguine” I got back some great suggestions for potential beer pairings. Most of them were pilsners or imperial pilsners, the crowd had spoken so I set to work on dinner.

Since the Coat of Arms chorizo is very punchy I thought an imperial pilsner would be in order and so I opened this …

Garage Project's Hops on Pointe

Now you might be saying “but girl+beer, that’s not an imperial pilsner!” and you’d be right, it isn’t but for some reason I had it in my head that it was. From when I poured it into the glass and right up until I read the label, I thought I was about to delve into an imperial pilsner. I don’t know why. It’s actually a lager.

Moving past this little beery misjudgement the beer itself was lovely. Another nice drop from Kiwi outfit Garage Project and according to their website it was brewed to “celebrate the world’s first ‘Beer Ballet’ called Bier Halle” being staged by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. The lager is brewed with German malts and New Zealand Nelson Sauvin hops, a variety that gets it’s name from it’s sauvignon blanc grape like flavours.

Hops on Pointe had soft honey and melon aromas and I got floral, grassy, bready and slight bitterness on tasting.

As far as matching to prawn and chorizo fideos, it was a bit of a debate. My partner thought the delicate beer got spanked by the richness of the meal. I thought (or perhaps hoped, considering my incorrect style assumption) the beer acted almost like a palate cleanser, its soft bitterness kinda tingling over the spicy chorizo.

Either way, a delicious meal and a good beer but I reckon an imperial pilsner would have been great! Mental note to self, don’t rely on memory, it’s been marinating in booze for more than a decade, read the label!

Dinner is served!

Margaret River + 4 Hours

What to do in Margaret River for 4 hours?

You could walk through the town centre, pick up a take away coffee from The Urban Bean and duck your head into any one of the great stores for local produce, gifts, surf wear or a good book to read. You could park yourself at Settlers Tavern, try a pint of something locally brewed and order a generous and hearty lunch. Or … if you’re me … you cram as much food and beer into that 4 hours as you can …

What to do in Margaret River for 4 hours?

You could walk through the town centre, pick up a take away coffee from The Urban Bean and duck your head into any one of the great stores for local produce, gifts, surf wear or a good book to read.

You could park yourself at Settlers Tavern, try a pint of something locally brewed and order a generous and hearty lunch.

You could drive down to the River Mouth and, if you’re not completely uncoordinated like me, have a surf, then lie on the sand where champion world surfers like Kelly Slater have hung out during the famous Margaret River Masters surf comp.

Or … if you’re me … you cram as much food and beer into that 4 hours as you can …

Stop #1 – Margaret River Dairy Company | Bussell Highway, on your way south towards Margaret River

Margaret River Cheese Shop … the more quaint one

Beer and Cheese are just meant to be. There was no way I was going to just drive past without stopping and the best thing about the Margaret River Dairy Company, apart from yummy cheese, is that they give you two shots at making sure you get some. Both shops are on Bussell Highway, admittedly one is pretty big and the other is a quaint little shop but as long as there is cheese I’m not complaining! I always seem to go to the second shop; it could be because I like the country-feel of the smaller shop or, more likely, I fail to stop in time for the first one.

My normal purchase is the $30 pack which consists of Water Crackers, Marinated Fetta, your choice of Cheddar, Brie or Camembert and a choice of one of their Farmhouse Cheeses. Great gifts if you can resist opening them and diving head first into cheese-topia.

This time I changed things up and opted for some others that I had not eaten recently, selecting some Emmental, Double Cream Camembert, regular Camembert and Baked Ricotta. Beer and Cheese night at the house will be happening shortly!

Hand picked and soon to be devoured in a beer + cheese frenzy

Stop #2 – Colonial Brewing | Osmington Road, Margaret River

I arrived before the lunch rush and, since it’s school holidays, managed to avoid lots of kids running around being human trip hazards. After a short chatter with the brewers Mal and Sorcha, I started to feel guilty as I was doing nothing and they were hauling kegs around so I thought I’d better make a move. Of course I had to try the Kolsch before departure which Sorcha poured for me and I was much appreciative. They are using a paler malt now and it’s getting closer to Mal’s experience of a true Cologne (Germany) Kolsch. Delicate and citrusy, it was indeed very good! The Baltic Porter, or “balty” as Mal referred to it, is very close to release, give it another couple of weeks and keep your eyes on Facebook.

Colonial Brewery … Baltic Porter coming soon!

Stop #3 – Margaret River Venison Farm | 5103 Caves Road, Margaret River

Margaret River Venison Farm

I had intended on going from Colonial to Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery. I took Cowaramup Bay Road (that would end at gorgeous Gracetown) and approached Caves Road. I knew that if I turned right I would be only a few kilometres from Cheeky Monkey however signage told me that if I turned left it was a mere 3km to the Margaret River Venison Farm. I thought about their Coat of Arms Chorizo and turned left whilst trying not to drool.

I walked out with a small selection of goods with the idea of meat + beer buzzing in my head and wondered what would match with Emu Ham, Coat of Arms Chorizo (Kangaroo and Emu) and Smoked Beef. I gotta get myself to the International Beer Shop sooner rather than later!

Meat, glorious meat …

Stop #4 – Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery | 4259 Caves Road, Margaret River

Sitting down to a middy of their Old Reliable Classic Pale Ale meant I had now tried all the Cheeky Monkey beers on offer. I also got to meet and chat with “Red”, the Head Brewer and it was well over an hour later before I stopped inundating him with questions. Poor guy.

The Pale Ale, nicknamed amongst staff as “space monkey” (check out the graphics to see why) was great with well balanced hop bitterness and nice biscuity notes. Had I not been driving I would have easily and happily indulged in a pint. There are plenty of ideas of the next few single batches, or “Brewer’s Choice” releases so its well worth keeping an eye out for those on their Facebook page.

And that was my afternoon, back home in time to walk the puppy and cook some dinner and wonder why we didn’t move to the South West sooner!

Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery
Margaret River

Here’s a rough map (i.e. please don’t use it in lieu of proper directions!) of my afternoon …