Great Beer Menus – Morrie’s Anytime

‘Great Beer Menus’ is basically just a fancy name for me going to venues I like and celebrating the fact they have great beer …

‘Great Beer Menus’ is basically just a fancy name for me going to venues I like and celebrating the fact they have great beer …
I love craft beer and going to venues who share my passion, pubs likes The Sail & Anchor and Clancy’s Fish Pub and bottle shops like the International Beer Shop are WA institutions for great craft beer. It’s what they love, it’s what they know, it’s what they do.
But just because you’re not a “craft beer venue” doesn’t mean you can’t have a kick ass beer list. I’m delighted to find more restaurants, small bars, local bottle shops and pubs whose fridges were previously filled with European lagers have been invaded by a few local and international craft beers.
It puts a big smile on my face to see venues paying equal attention to their beer list as they do their food, wine and cocktails. Those who don’t, those who have settled on a beer list that features Cascade Light, Crown Lager and Stella, are well and truly behind the eight ball. It’s kinda like getting all dressed up for an elegant night out, putting all that thought into your hair, dress, make up and jewelry and then wearing your muddy sneakers. Crown Lager is a muddy sneaker.
It’s time to put the spotlight on these great places …

The paprika on the mayo really makes this dish zing!

At the top of the main drag in Margaret River is a particular spot that hasn’t been very kind to it’s previous inhabitants, the BoHo bar was short lived and I can’t even remember what was there before. I guess that’s the power of Morrie’s Anytime, since opening their doors in July last year they have not only claimed their territory but given their guests plenty of reasons to visit and love.

As the name suggests, Morrie’s Anytime welcomes you whether you’re looking for coffee and cake, lunch or dinner or just a few nibbles. The emphasis is on service, supporting locals and damn good food and drink. Sounds good to me.

Which brings us to their beer menu featuring loads of local favourites which is both a conscious direction for the venue and a requirement of their liquor license, applying not only to their beers but wines as well. Bootleg Brewery, Colonial Brewing, Eagle Bay Brewing, Duckstein Brewery and Cheeky Monkey Brewery & Cidery are all within an hours drive and appear on their beer menu. There’s also Feral Brewing and Little Creatures Brewing helping to round out the local flavour. Throw in a couple of internationals and that’s an extremely drinkable bunch of beers.

I recently sat down with Morrie’s Anytime general manager Billy Phillips to chat about the venue and their beers.

Billy and Alex at Morrie's

What's your inspiration for your beer list?

Well I guess a bad inspiration would be the law* but yeah (laughs) but sticking to the parameters we had it’s about going local and trying to get as many different styles as we can and showing off the local talent we have.

*Their liquor licence requires the venue to stock a minimum of 80% local beers and wines

What do you hope the beer list says about Morrie's Anytime?

That we are pushing sustainable and we want to support local just like we also do with our meat which is local produce from Margaret River Gourmet Meats. With pretty much everything we try to get it local but within reason of course, Tanqueray (gin) comes from England (laughs) . We also do specials where we’ll use the name of the person who has donated a batch of limes so you might see ‘using Kate’s limes for your mojito’ and things like that. It’s fun to keep the community involved.

Love the way the cheese has melted inside and droops as you cut it open!

How often will you update the beer list?

It’s on constant rotation. If someone puts a beer in a bottle that’s from here (WA) and tastes great then of course I’m going to put it on. Then you get great beers like Feral Hop Hog that you can’t go past. I want anything that’s great. We have a Spanish beer on at the moment and that fits in with the tapas – Alhambra Reserva which is a knock out beer and works well with the food. The beers all hopefully fit into our food and menu.

Margaret River is known predominately as a wine region,
how do you think Margaret River locals perceive beer?

It’s kinda cool cause we get a lot of winemakers in and winemakers drink beer (laughs). They’re super happy especially since because they’re a tight crew of people, they know who’s brewing the beers, they know all the breweries around here so they might say “oh yeah, let’s try Red’s (Jared Proudfoot, head brewer) beer from Cheeky Monkey” and things like that. The breweries are starting to really pick up; there was an article in the local paper a week ago about how Margaret River is now getting to be known for beer, it’s really booming.

Morrie's inside-but-kinda-outside-but-not area which I really dig

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

Ohhh (laughs) (pause) the Alhambra Reserva and the Feral Hop Hog are just top notch beers and I’ve been a Little Creatures Pale Ale fan for a decade now and they’re all on the list so yeah, it’s a tough one for me to nail down. The Colonial Kolsch is on tap which is also really, really good. (pause) I’m only supposed to pick one aren’t I? (laughs) I guess it depends on what kind of mood I’m in, if it’s late at night and I’m looking for a heartier meal I’ll match it with a heartier beer like Feral Hop Hog and actually that’d be really nice with the Twice Cooked Japanese Chicken, it’s finger licking good chicken! (laughs) That’s probably the best tapas to match with beer instead of wine. The pork belly [Master stock pork belly with thai caramel, coriander and lime] is more of an Asian style dish which would be good with the Colonial Kolsch.

Terrine at Morrie's

What I love about beers at Morrie’s …

♥ Local love – with so many south west beers, coming from Dunsborough to Margaret River, it’s means they’re supporting local and it’s super-dooper fresh. Yay!

♥ The beers are on the website – I know that doesn’t sound like a huge thing but so many places list their wines, cocktails and even coffees on their website but totally overlook beer. Morrie’s doesn’t.

♥ High rotation – in the few weeks between my first and second visit to Morrie’s the bottled beer list had a few changes, keeping it fresh and interesting for the repeat offenders, of which I am confident there are many.

Maybe how all blog posts should end .. with a devoured meal and beer

Slow Food + Beer

Last Sunday at about 4pm I was eating Blackwood Valley beef that had been braised in beer, malts, herbs and spices. I was drinking Beaten Track Brewery Youngs Scotch Ale that had come all the way from Kalgoorie. I was neck deep in Slow Food Perth’s very first Sunday Session.

Slow Food Collage

Last Sunday at about 4pm I was eating Blackwood Valley beef that had been braised in beer, malts, herbs and spices. I was drinking Beaten Track Brewery Youngs Scotch Ale that had come all the way from Kalgoorie. I was neck deep in Slow Food Perth’s very first Sunday Session.

When: Sunday 21st April | Where: Taste Budd’s Cooking Studio in Highgate

Organisers:

  • Slow Food Perth, a not-for-profit organisation championing “good, clean and fair food”;
  • Mitch Mitchell aka Chef de Beersine who puts everything that goes into a brewery, sans brewer, into his food; and
  • Jessica Shaver, food photographer, beer lover and all round lovely person who sadly couldn’t make it on the day due to sickness.

With Mitch as our experienced guide we ate, drank and chatted through six Western Australian brewed beers matched to six dishes. A magical way to spend three hours on a Sunday afternoon.

Guests were welcomed with a glass of Eagle Bay Brewing Mild Ale, a great tasting, full of flavoured beer that’s also a mid-strength. It seems these two concepts don’t come together as often as they should.

P1050952

Serve #1 – Colonial Brewing Kolsch (Margaret River) + Natural Oysters

I love fresh oysters, I really do, especially when they’re freshly shucked Albany Rocks from King of Oysters Jerry Fraser. Served “naked on a half shell” the Albany Rocks were minerally, salty and plump with a creamy shine. With just a squeeze of lemon, the oysters were (as always) a lovely match to the Colonial Kolsch with it’s clean, floral and citrusy flavours cleansing the palate for the next delicious oyster.

Albany Rock Oysters + Colonial Kolsch

Before the next service Paul, head brewer from The Monk in Fremantle, gave an overview of beer plus insights into his love of brewing. Paul is a self confessed “malt-head” and enjoys making beers that push boundaries just as much as he enjoys brewing a beer perfectly to style. He went through brewing ingredients and passed around malt and hops, the gentlemen beside me seemed happy enough to eat the malt as a course!

Malt and Hops

Serve #2 – Last Drop Brewery Hefeweizen (Canning Vale) + Pumpkin Croquettes with Goat Jamon

Croquettes were a popular dish at Five Bar where I used to work so I’ve certainly had my fair share but these croquettes by Mitch were unlike any I’d had before. The croquettes were inspired by Chinese dim sum with Mitch using glutinous rice flour for a sticky gel like texture. The goat came from Chapman Valley in Geraldton and Mitch cured the meat with beer, spent grains and salt.

The Last Drop Hefeweizen is an amazing example of the style, boasting big bubblegum and banana and just as a hefe should be. The crisp mouth feel of the beer made a wonderful contrast to the sticky croquettes.

Croquettes + Hefeweizen

Serve #3 – Feral Brewing Hop Hog (Swan Valley) + Lamb Bacon with Pretzels

Hello bacon, how I adore you! Mitch cured the lamb with malt, salt and beer and then smoked it over spent grains. The result was a “tropical salty party in your mouth”, which hopefully Mitch doesn’t mind being quoted on but it’s a killer description.

Feral Hop Hog, well, everything is made better with a Hop Hog in your hands which, for me, kinda makes it the bacon of the beer world! The beer cut through the fat in the lamb whilst the tropical notes of Hop Hog contrasted well with the salt of the pretzel.

Lamb Bacon + Feral Hop Hog

Serve #4 – Beaten Track Brewery Youngs Scotch Ale (Kalgoorlie) + Braised Beef Dengaku

The beef was from Blackwood Valley Beef in the states south west, an Australian Certified Organic producer and home to “the happiest cows I’ve ever seen in my life”, says Mitch. The topside beef was braised in beer, grains, herbs and spices and topped with dengaku, a Japanese sweet miso sauce. Mitch put his beery twist on the dengaku by using chocolate and coffee malt grains, all served with eggplant and a bit of brisket on the side.

Beaten Track Brewery from Kalgoorie has only recently popped up on my radar. Their Youngs Scotch Ale had a nice toffee aroma with a sweet malty body and a little smoke. The beers sweet and soft maltiness was a compliment the bold richness in the meats.

Braised Beef and Scotch Ale

Serve #5 – The Monk Rauch (Fremantle) + Beer Cheese with Hop Honey

Ah beer cheese, I can never get enough (though I was struggling for stomach space by this stage!). Mitch uses Capel cheddar and pale ale to make his cheese and served it with his Beersine Hop Honey, made with locally grown hops. Paul from The Monk introduced his Rauch beer, made with German magnum hops with lovely smokey, caramel and bacon flavours and a soft bitter finish. The contrast between the bacon in the beer with the sweet sticky honey was delightfully different to what I might pair cheese with at home. Just goes to show the versatility in beer, like a never ending horizon that I’ve only just started to explore.

Paul at Slow Food

Beer Cheese and Rauch

Serve #6 – Nail Brewing Oatmeal Stout (Bassendean) + Off the Wagon Wheels

Mitch first created his Off the Wagon Wheels whilst working in the kitchen at The Monk, so named due to their resemblance to the Wagon Wheel biscuits we had as kids (or do they still make them?). Two grain-ita biscuits, no prizes for the key ingredient there, with a strawberry jam and hop marshmallow middle and all topped with chocolate. Not just any chocolate either but Margaret River’s Bahen & Co who make chocolate using traditional methods and just two ingredients – cacao beans and cane sugar.

Nail Oatmeal Stout provided satin smooth chocolate and coffee flavours that only enhanced the dessert, how can you go wrong with strawberry, marshmallows, chocolate and coffee?

I’m full just from writing this blog post and remembering the food and beer, I’m going to have to go and lie down now.

Thank You to all involved – Pauline and the team at Slow Food Perth, Mitch and Paras from Beersine, Paul from The Monk, Jerry Fraser – King of Oysters, Jessica Shaver, Scott Bennett, Sophie from Taste Budd’s Cooking Studio, Abhi’s Bakery and all the breweries who featured their beers and the great company of those who came along to the event.

I’ll leave you with the favourite thing I overheard at the event which was said, if memory serves me right, to Paul,

“It’s amazing how different beers are these days, beer used to be just beer”

girl + festival [part 3]

With the madness of Saturday now behind us it was time to see what the Sunday edition of the South West Craft Beer Festival would bring and with that thought in my head I awoke to the sound of rain. I looked out the window to see that Saturday’s bright sunshine and blue skies had been replaced with cloud.

P1050626

With the madness of Saturday now behind us it was time to see what the Sunday edition of the South West Craft Beer Festival would bring and with that thought in my head I awoke to the sound of rain. I looked out the window to see that Saturday’s bright sunshine and blue skies had been replaced with cloud.

Eventually the sun came out but it bought along a friend in the shape of some gusty wind. There were no queues when my partner and I arrived, in fact there was no lining up for anything. In so many ways Sunday was indeed shaping up to be a very different day.

Sunday was family day so admittedly it shouldn’t be surprising that the two days were so different but it was a strange contrast none the less.

Free kids activities seemed popular with countless kids running around with painted faces and balloon animals.  The bouncy castle resembled a containment area for hyperactive kids.

Time for beer.

Since Duckstein Brewery were the first stall in the line up we decided it was a good starting point. Having had the Wolf Pale Ale the day before it was time to try the Pilsner. Toasty, citrusy and with a little green apple it is a really great pilsner and now available in bottles, brewed under license by Gage Roads Brewing Company.

P1050624

It was impossible to walk past Colonial Brewery without sampling a Kolsch and Jerry Fraser’s sensational freshly shucked oysters. Knowing Jerry from working together on Sundays at Five Bar in Mt Lawley, it was great to see his smiling face and catch up. Oh and did I mention, I got to eat oysters?! Mmmm oysters …

P1050629

Cheeky Monkey Brewery and Cidery were pouring their new limited release Southern Wailer Ginger Pale Ale. It’smone of those beers that stops you in your tracks and completely engages your brain. All I could think was “wow, where has this marriage of hops and ginger been all my life?!” In my notepad I wrote down a few words on this one but I think it says it all when I’ve written “ginger + hops = awesome”.

Head Brewer Jared Proudfoot has used a kilo of fresh ginger during fermentation and ground ginger in the boil. The hops are American Columbus and Centennial, both known for their big citrusy characteristics and typically found in American Pale and IPAs. The result is the citrusy/piney hop bitterness you’d expect from an American Pale Ale that’s been softly wrapped in fresh ginger. To say it’s balanced feels like an understatement. I’ll be seeking out more of this for sure!

It has been a while since I’ve had the ciders from Custard Cidery Donnybrook so it was nice to revisit their delicious Scrumpy Cider and try their new Original Sparkling Apple Cider. Chatting with Ian and Tom, it is clear the guys are super passionate about cider and they love it, their energy is infectious. It’s a good thing they have so much energy because they’re set to open a venue near Meelup Beach appropriately called ‘The Cider Room’ and hope to open the doors sometime near Easter. The Cider Room will feature a fully local line up of food and endeavour to be as environmentally low impact as possible.

P1050630

Time for cheese.

We headed over to see the brilliant Mitch, Chef at Five Bar and the man behind Beersine who makes hops and beer a key ingredient in his food. Luckily for us Mitch had something special to try, his new Beersine Malty Wit Cheese made with Colonial Brewing Witbier and whole grains of malt. It was served picnic style with a fresh bread roll, wooden knife and some hop honey and … holy mother of …. WOW. It’s amazing. I’ll be honest, he’s my friend, a great chef and all round top guy so you may think I’m a bit biased but trust me – eat this! The hop honey is made with Saaz hops which is a little based on availability and also based on their lower alpha acid content which means lower bitterness and thereby less aggressive with the honey.

Keep an eye out for an upcoming beer and cheese event with Mitch at The International Beer Shop.

Malty Wit Cheese

My final beer for the day was the Eagle Bay Vienna Lager, lovely toasty aromas and rich malty character, it was nice to finish with a beer I’ve not had in a while.

Eagle Bay Vienna

The last stop of the day, however, wasn’t for a beer but it was for a beer related product. The Brewers Dray, run by husband and wife team Matt and Mara, make a mean Spiced Stout Chutney that’s featured on many a beef burger in our house and we were in dire need of a top up. Matt and Mara were kind enough to give us their chutney and also their Tomato Chilli Hopped Relish as a gift, thank you!. I’m looking forward to dishing these up with some home cooking soon!

IMG_20130301_074120

girl + festival [part 2]

A few days before the South West Craft Beer Festival I received an email from Carolina at Buzz Marketing, the team behind the event, to tell me I had been chosen to participate as a beer judge. Moi? A judge? It seemed a little strange since my only qualification is drinking. I have not studied brewing nor have I home brewed, I’ve just enjoyed drinking and recently done a little typing but hey, I was happy to run with it. It sounded like a good fun!

P1050597

A few days before the South West Craft Beer Festival I received an email from Carolina at Buzz Marketing, the team behind the event, to tell me I had been chosen to participate as a beer judge as part of the People’s Choice Award.

Moi? A judge? It seemed a little strange since my only “qualification” is drinking. I have not studied brewing nor have I home brewed, I’ve just enjoyed drinking and recently done a little typing but hey, I was happy to run with it. It sounded like a good fun!

The People’s Choice Award was designed to be a collaborative effort between votes cast by the people and four judges consisting of Brian Fitzgerald, President of the Western Australian Brewers Association; Vic Crossland, beer writer for The West Australian, Jeremy Sambrooks, freelance beer writer for The Crafty Pint, Australian Brews News, Beer and Brewer Magazine and Menu Magazine; and little ol’ me, blogger and occasional Crafty and Brews News contributor.

Voting was done with good old fashioned paper and pen with punters asked to submit their top five. A smiley friendly man in a green beer bottle suit, Scotty, ran around in the afternoon to encourage people to get their votes in.

Next year I’d like to see a smart phone app, or something similar, to make voting even easier. Having said that, Scotty was a great sight running around the festival!

P1050619

Whilst the votes were tallied the judges took the chance to sit and chat about beer, certainly not a shocking turn of events I’m sure. The Bootleg Brewery Bramling Cross had really impressed and we all agreed that Jeremy Good’s Cowaramup Pilsener was still sensational. There was a lot of beer to chose from and sadly all of us had a small list of beers we had not been able to get to in time, this is the first world problem of the craft beer judge.

For me, my top 5 was largely made up of new or limited release beers because they were the main ones I tried that day. With just a few hours and a self imposed restriction on booze intake, no-one wants a boozy judge, I skipped over beers like Old Coast Road Wheat, Bootleg Raging Bull, Eagle Bay Pale Ale, Colonial Kolsch and Cowaramup Pilsener because I knew they were great having drunk one or twelve in the past.  Instead I tried to get my hands on new stuff and so my top 5 looked something like this, and in no particular order –

  1. Eagle Bay Summer Ale
  2. Bootleg Brewery Bramling Cross
  3. Duckstein Ubekannt
  4. Bush Shack Brewery Old Saint Nick
  5. Cheeky Monkey Hagenbeck Belgian IPA

The People’s Choice Top Five looked like this –

  1. Colonial Kolsch
  2. Eagle Bay Kolsch
  3. Eagle Bay Pale Ale
  4. Old Coast Road Acres of Wheat
  5. Bush Shack Brewery Twisted Lemon Lager

We were given the people’s choice top five, scrambled so we didn’t know what had been voted number one, and discussed the list for a while. All judges highly rated the Colonial Kolsch brewed by Head Brewer Mal Secourable and when we found out it was the people’s number 1 it was clear that we had ourselves a winner!

I know Mal has worked hard to get the Kolsch to be as close to a true Cologne (German) Kolsch beer as possible, keeping a careful eye over each batch and the result is clear. Fresh citrus, soft bitterness and a delicate mouth feel, it’s always a pleasure to have whether you’re at the brewery, The Royal on the Waterfront in East Perth or The Print Hall in Perth City.

Congratulations to Mal, Sorcha, Rich, Sarah and the rest of the crew at Colonial – looking forward to seeing the trophy behind the bar!

… part two down, one more to go!

P1050614
Richard from Colonial Brewing accepting the People’s Choice Trophy for their Kolsch
P1050616
Me with Richard from Colonial Brewing