This was my Untappd check in as I got stuck into the latest Mountain Goat Cross Breed, a Hopfweizenbock made with American beer royalty Brooklyn Brewery.
Though I can’t remember the first time I tried a Brooklyn Brewery beer they are now a firm favourite in my ever growing list of favourite brewers. Not only are their beers kick ass but their brewmaster Garrett Oliver edited The Oxford Companion to Beer, the only book to have permanent residency on my bedside table.
It won’t surprise anyone who knows me, even a little, that I’m a huge fan of Melbourne brewery Mountain Goat. Each goat beer that’s touched my lips has been brilliant. Their beers have been a big part of my continuing beer journey in the last two years, from first discovering Hightail Ale to now frothing at the mouth with each Cross Breed (limited release collaboration brews) and Rare Breed (limited release) that comes my way.
Mountain Goat collaborated with Brooklyn Brewery during Good Beer Week in Melbourne earlier this year, you might have read one or seventy tweets and Facebook posts from my time there. The brew day was held the morning of the amazing The Apple and The Goat degustation lunch, a lunch that was my first visit to Mountain Goat Brewery and my first Good Beer Week event, you can check it out here if you want to drool all over your screen. Fifteen eager beavers joined the Goat and Brooklyn brewers to create the Hopfweizenbock and here is the end result.
In this collaboration Brooklyn Brewery brings the German yeast strain and grain bill used in their Brooklyner Weisse whilst Mountain Goat contributes big Australian hops in the form of Galaxy from Tasmania. Basically it’s the bastard child of a German wheat beer and an Australian pale ale resulting in an unashamedly complex 6.5% abv gem of a beer.
I served it up with salmon risotto with big squeeze of fresh lemon, button mushrooms and leek. It was a decent pairing, the lemony citrus bringing a nice freshness to the ‘weizen’ part of the beer. Next time I’ll try for something a bit bolder in flavour to go head to head with the ‘hop’ and ‘bock’ (strong) elements.
If you’re keen on some more reading, here’s a few good articles I found on the Hopfweizenbock –
The Crafty Pint – as always my first stop for beery information and again offers up a great run down of the beer, if you don’t subscribe to Crafty already you’re a damn fool!
Last Wednesday night at Five Bar, located in Perth’s ever trendy suburb of Mt Lawley where Espresso Martinis are in constant demand, it was beer that took centre stage and Mountain Goat was undisputed King.
Not so long ago I was the Assistant Manager at Five Bar, a small bar with a big beer focus, located in the increasingly trendy suburb of Mt Lawley. In an area where the demand for Espresso Martinis runs rampantly high, to be opening a beer focused small bar was just a little bit exciting. We started running beer events, and to see how many people were interested in and loved their craft beer was the best part of my job. I’ve moved on to another job in another place, but I will happily drive back for great beer and to catch up with old friends.
Wednesday night saw Five Bar host Mountain Goat Co-Founder and Chief Brewer Dave Bonighton for ‘A Night of the Goat’. He had come over from Melbourne for a brief visit to see what was happening here in the West and I think he went back to Melbourne with a smile on his face.
The Mountain Goat story starts in the 1990s with two mates, Dave and Cam, who wanted to make craft beers. Their first beer, Hightail Ale, hit Victorian shelves for the first time in 1997 and their Steam Ale, certified organic, soon followed. Since then we have seen a diverse list of limited release beers (called ‘Rare Breeds’) and collaboration beers (called ‘Cross Breeds’) emerge to show off just what this little Australian brewery can do. Whilst I was working at Five Bar I snapped up lots of Mountain Goat beers and delighted in customers trying them for the first time and instantly falling in love. As you can imagine I was really quite excited at the prospect of meeting Dave; I got to Perth at 3pm so I had 3 hours to kill until the event…
After driving for a couple of hours I felt deserving of a pint and so arranged to meet a friend at The Queens, just up the road. Once it was a pub where the taps were an even spilt between Carlton United and Lion Nathan but nowadays their line up of draught beers is rather impressive, boasting Mountain Goat, White Rabbit, Two Birds and Feral Brewing to name a few. I noticed Vale IPA (South Australia) on tap and since I have only enjoyed it once before from the bottle I had to have it. It’s an extremely well balanced IPA with all the great characteristics I love about American IPAs – the citrus, the pine and the stone fruits and the malt sweetness backs it up perfectly too. That pint went down a little embarrassingly quickly. Opting for something a little more refreshing and with bigger tropical fruits and passionfruit I then chose Two Birds Golden Ale for my next drink and that too disappeared rapidly. The scene was set for a rather beery evening..
It was 5pm when I arrived at Five Bar for ‘The Night of the Goat’ event, still a good hour before it all kicked off so it gave me the chance to say hello to the staff and catch up on what has been happening. My early arrival also came with a beery reward as they had managed to get a hold of a keg of Collaborator – a brew from Feral Brewing (WA) and Two Brothers (VIC) that was created in celebration of 20 years of the Australian International Beer Awards. A schooner would tide me over quite nicely until all things Goat underway (tehehe!).
I sat at the bar enjoying the Collaborator, a really interesting stone fruit/chocolate sort of number (I nabbed two bottles whilst doing my obligatory stop at The International Beer Shop so I’ll be sure to do a separate post shortly on this one) and admired the big blackboard menu. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, it was all hands on deck as the chefs Mitch and Nelly were busy preparing the menu they had specially put together for the night.
With the kitchen buzzing, Mountain Goat pouring from two taps and bottles of Mountain Goat Rare Breed and Cross Breed in the fridges, it was just a matter of time and people. Looking around the bar at 5.30pm it looked like a fairly typical Wednesday night but by 6.15pm I noticed a lot of familiar beer-loving faces. By 6.30pm it was almost a full house and almost half the people had come down to meet Dave and get their fill of all things Goat – both in the beer and the food sense.
Mountain Goat Surefoot Stout recommended with Goat Shoulder + Mushroom Pie
Mountain Goat Hightail Ale recommended with Roast Roulade of Goat Leg, Chevre and Beer Baked Quince
Mountain Goat Two Step Cider recommended with Milk Poached Goat Belly w/ Fennel + Apple Salad
Mountain Goat Steam Ale recommended with Goat Tartare and Toasted Baguette
The Gypsy & The Goat Pepperberry Black IPA recommended with Goat Shoulder Sausage + Plum Chutney
Now I must admit that I didn’t do any of the beer and food matching suggestions, instead drinking mostly Surefoot Stout and Hightail Ale off tap since it’s pretty rare to find those pouring fresh where I am. It was easy to enjoy several schooners of Surefoot Stout, a 4.9% abv sweet stout that is part of the Mountain Goat Rare Breed range, that was once in yearly production. It boasts well balanced bitterness, soft dark malts and hints of chocolate and coffee. I switched briefly to Hightail Ale to enjoy with the food and it was a sensational match with the Goat Tartare; the meat was soft and flavoursome with the spices from Hightail enhancing all the intricacies of the Tartare. Sadly I missed out on the Goat Shoulder and Mushroom Pie and Ryppa Goat Balls, purely from talking way too much, and therefore there will be no jokes about Goat Balls here; Ryppa or otherwise…
[Apologies in advance for the red hue on all my photos – I could say it was a deliberate tactic to emphasis the amber hue of the great beers on the night but it’s just my lack of attention to colour balance on my camera]
The Roasted Roulade of Goat Leg with Chevre and Beer Baked Quince was sensational. Garnished with a little malt that soaked up as much of the sauce as it possibly could (and I don’t blame it), this dish was a little sweet and quite rich; it presented beautifully.
The Goat Shoulder Sausage and Plum Chutney was a delightful little dish that was lightly spiced and soft with just enough fruit from the chutney providing a nice contrast. If I had managed to get a hold of The Gypsy & The Goat (a collaboration between Mikkeller and Mountain Goat) before it sold out, I am sure it would have been a lovely match.
I had not intended on having the Milk Poached Goat Belly with Fennel and Apple Salad as I couldn’t quite get my head around the concept of milk poaching and I have never really enjoyed fennel. However it was ordered for me and it ended up being one of the dishes I enjoyed the most. The meat was falling-apart-soft and against the crispness from the Granny Smith apple it made a simple but amazing contrast. Again, a garnish of malt on top not only looked great but provided a little more contrast and flavour to an already great dish.
One of the best things about beer is the people and meeting Dave was nothing short of a pleasure. Like all brewers I have been fortunate to meet, Dave is delighted to chat all things beer with fellow beer-lovers. He smiles a lot, laughs a lot and he’s curious about peoples journeys, not purely how they found Mountain Goat, but how they came to delve into the craft beer culture in the first place.
As I have said time and time again, I love the stories behind beer and even when those stories are pretty simple it still speaks volumes about beer. To demonstrate, I was in conversation with Dave and one of Five Bar’s regular beer event attendees who was asking Dave how the collaboration between Mountain Goat and Mikkeller came to be. In different industries I am convinced that if you enquired about the origins of an international collaboration you’d get a very long story involving marketing plans and cross promotional branding activities. Dave’s story, however, was more a case of two brewers who were going to be in the same place at the same time and thought it would be fun to make something together, highlighting the open nature of the beer community.
I am pretty sure I walked around with a big smile on my face for the entire evening. Meeting Dave, enjoying the Goat beers and food and chatting with beer folk from all parts of the industry; it’s all why I love beer.
Don’t you just love Mountain Goat? I do. And don’t you just love it when you get the chance to meet a brewer?
Don’t you just love Mountain Goat? I do. And don’t you just love it when you get the chance to meet a brewer? … Brewers on tour !
Mountain Goat has been bringing us great beers since their Hightail Ale first hit Victorian shelves in 1997.
Dave from Mountain Goat will be dropping by Five Bar, Mount Lawley, to showcase some of their damn fine beer. The line up will include regulars such as Hightail Ale, Steam Ale and their new apple cider, 2 Steps. Also on the billing will be their latest Cross Breed, a collaborative brew with Mikkeller – Pepperberry Black IPA – and Rare Breed – a limited release Rye IPA. If you needed another reason to mark the event in your calendar there is something special appearing on tap.
Just because they can, the boys in the Five Bar kitchen – Nelly & Mitch, will be serving up goat signature dishes to match the beers on offer.
Goat brewer + Goat beer + Goat food = I will see you there!
As it says on the bottle “Like the goat-drawn chariot delivering Thor, Norse God of Thunder, to smite his enemies, so too does Mountain Goat and Mikkeller deliver thunderous flavour with this god-like IPA. For at dit helbred!
I love the way Mountain Goat approach things, always with their own stamp and clearly with an immense amount of passion.
For those unfamiliar with the Mountain Goat story, Dave and Cam operate their microbrewery out of Richmond, Victoria and they named themselves after a big hairy animal that won’t fall over (as they say on their website). You gotta love that. Along with their core range of award winning beers including Hightail Ale and Steam Ale, they regularly produce limited releases in attractive 640ml bottles under the label ‘Rare Breed’ and collaboration brews called ‘Cross Breed’. The Critics’ Choice Australia’s Best Beers 2011 saw 7 entries from the Mountain Goat boys, more than half of those in the top 40.
The Black Pepperberry IPA represents another addition to the Cross Breed range with Mountain Goat teaming up with Danish Brewer, Mikkeller. Born from The Crafty Pint assisted The Gypsy & The Goat dinner held at Mountain Goat during the 20th anniversary Melbourne Food & Wine Festival this year, it was only natural that something would start brewing …
Our bottle was given to us as a gift from Jess & Scott at our dinner at The Pourhouse over the weekend (read about it here). Thanks Guys!
The brew uses local Pepperberries, sometimes referred to as Mountain Pepper, that carry a luscious sweet flavour before releasing a good amount of heat, much stronger than that of peppercorns. It pours with a beautiful black appearance and a rich coat of foam on top and just begs to be devoured! The bitterness is upfront and well balanced with mildly tropical fruity flavours and chocolatey malt. Oh and the 7.3% abv is well hidden. I loved how it developed as it warmed up, the effects of the pepperberries became more evident with each gulp, bringing more spice and pepper to the back of the tongue. It was just a shame we only had one bottle, I guess I’ll have to visit the bottleshop later today. It’s a tough life!
Be sure to spend a little time on Google Translate to read the label. I always enjoy reading the Rare Breed and Cross Breed labels and this one even has a little bit on the God of Thunder, Thor, to enjoy. For at dit helbred!
As for food matching, I cooked up some Char Sui-style Beef, deliberately selecting a sweeter sauce that may compliment the hop aromas and pepperberries. The sauce was properly sticky and the thickness stood up well to the medium bodied and full flavours of the beer. It wasn’t an altogether perfect match of course but when dinner was over it was time to finish off the last two chocolate muffins. It was a delightfully different match to the dark cocoa flavours and a great way to finish a meal.