Gourmet Escape 2014

My Gourmet Escape experience included beer made with roasted agave, a golden ale to celebrate a brewery’s 20th anniversary and the unleashing of the south west’s first canned beer. It’s no wonder I didn’t have a single sip of wine the entire Saturday I was at Gourmet Escape.

My Gourmet Escape experience included beer made with roasted agave, a golden ale to celebrate a brewery’s 20th anniversary and the unleashing of the south west’s first canned beer. It’s no wonder I didn’t have a single sip of wine the entire Saturday I was at Gourmet Escape.

The Gourmet Village continues to be the main event of the three day festival and was again held at Leeuwin Estate Winery. On top of this there are a growing number of satellite events across the whole weekend featuring celebrity chefs, stunning locations and unique dining experiences.

A new addition to the Gourmet Village this year was the Gourmet Village Brewhouse, a dedicated local brewery destination featuring Cheeky Monkey, Eagle Bay, Bootleg, Cowaramup, Gage Roads, Moody Cow, Margaret River Ale Co and the newest south west brewery Young Henry’s.

Read more about Young Henry’s new Margaret River site, their first WA beer and their new mascot

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Eagle Bay Agave Ale

This collaboration brew with the head chef at El Publico Sam Ward which takes his authentic Mexican flare and applies to beautifully to the world of beer. The Eagle Bay Brewing kitchen slow roasted agave for 10 hours before it was added to the mash. You can read more from the brew day here.

“It keeps changing every day!” Margi, Eagle Bay’s retail and marketing manager, said to me at Gourmet Escape.

Eagle Bay at Gourmet Escape

For me it was full of spice and herbs, showed a little stone fruit up front and then finished very dry.

It is great to see a collaboration outside the norm of breweries and brewers, one that bought together two passionate people in different fields of flavour and one that showcases the result of this at a predominately wine/chef focused event.

Bootleg The Twenty Year Beer

It’s incredible to think Bootleg have been around for two decades, that kids are going there because they remember being their with their dad.

Crafty Pint wrote up a great story about Bootleg’s 20 years here

To celebrate their milestone Bootleg brewers past and present gathered to create a golden ale using five kilos of Enigma hops. The last time we saw Enigma hops from Bootleg was for their fabulous collaboration with Mane Liquor to create Ryezilla.

At this stage the beer is only available at the brewery, whether it lasts through summer is uncertain so I’d get in quickly to avoid disappointment!

Bootleg brewer Ryan
Bootleg brewer Ryan

I found this golden ale really interesting and had more balls than you may expect from a golden ale. The hop flavour is all upfront with a nice tropical fruit in the middle and a dry finish.

Colonial Draught Kolsch Ale in CANS

Yup. Cans. That’s right. Mother-freakin-cans.

Colonial Cans

It was hard not to notice all the happy people walking around the Gourmet Escape Village with the distinctive red and white cans.

I wrote an article for Crafty Pint that you can read here – the Draught Kolsch Ale is still the same Colonial Kolsch we all know and love, just renamed to remain relevant to the every day drinker and to call out to the days of beer drinking past where “a jug of super thanks” was a legitimate way to order beer. Now it’s “a few cans of draught thanks” and what a great beer drinking world that is.

Other highlights of the day included tasty pulled pork tortillas by Muster Bar & Grill, the Chief IPA from The Monk Brewery & Kitchen tasting delicious and the discovery of a new jerky called Chewy Mooey.

The Monk at Gourmet Escape

WA Beer Week: Co-Op Beer Lunch

Four chefs, five local beers and lots of happy people – that was the scene at East Perth’s Co-Op Dining where they held their first, and hopefully not their last, beer lunch for WA Beer Week.

Four chefs, five local beers and lots of happy people – that was the scene at East Perth’s Co-Op Dining on Saturday where they held their first, and hopefully not their last, beer lunch for WA Beer Week.

The aim of the afternoon was simply beautiful food and great local beer, a goal that I can safely say was achieved.

Guests were treated to food by Sam Ward from Mt Lawley modern Mexican favourite, el Publico, Kiren from Co-Op Dining, Mitch from Beersine and Sue Lewis, Artisan Chocolatier. Each chef selected the beer to match their dish, bringing the best of WA local brewing and local produce came together.

The afternoon was interrupted/MC’d by yours truly and I was nothing short of thrilled and honoured to have been asked to be part of one of the most delicious events on the WA Beer Week calendar.

finger food by everyone

beer by cheeky monkey – double ipa

All four chefs contributed to the first course of food, a series of small bites presented with Cheeky Monkey Double IPA.

You know you’re in for a great afternoon when the first beer you are presented with is a double IPA – BAM! Personally I love this beer, it is everything you want from a double IPA, big fresh hops balanced by chewy caramel malt in a delicious marriage of flavour.

It’s hard to pick a favourite from the array of finger food. The pork crackle with horseradish, blood crumb and white chocolate was one of the most interesting combinations and the crickets, a signature Sam Ward/el Publico favourite, were crunchy salty and very moreish.

Crickets by Sam Ward
Crickets by Sam Ward
Corn, smoked pork fat, sesame & seaweed
Corn, smoked pork fat, sesame & seaweed

Cuttlefish escabeche by sam ward of el publico

last drop saison by jan bruckner

The acidity from the fresh lime juice and coriander in this dish were perfectly matched to the complex and delicate Last Drop Saison. It was a great example of when the beer and the food are better together, when you try them and you realise that one shouldn’t be enjoyed without the other.

Cuttlefish Escabeche by Sam Ward of El Publico
Cuttlefish Escabeche with salsa borracha, nopales by Sam Ward of El Publico

Smoked leek by kiren of co-op dining

feral watermelon warhead by brendan varis / will irving

Brilliant. You just had to be there. I would have never imagined at match like this but it was harmony. Contrast never tasted so good. Smokey soft leek with some crunch for texture and delicate prawns and that super refreshing acidity of Warhead – brilliant.

Smoked Leek with Coral Prawns, Garum Hollandaise and Leek Ash
Smoked Leek with Coral Prawns, Garum Hollandaise and Leek Ash by Kiren of Co-Op Dining

blackwood valley beef sirloin, brisket & tongue by Mitch of beersine

Nail hughe dunn imperial brown ale by john stallwood / jake brandish

Hello meat, Hello malt. Imagine the best date you’ve ever been on and that’s what happened between the rich malts in the Nail Hughe Dunn Imperial and trio of meaty goodness served up by Mitch.

I loved the compliment of the malty beer and rich meat of the dish plus the added contrast of sharp kimchee and chilli in the food with the sweet/roast imperial brown ale.

Blackwood Valley Beef Sirloin, Brisket & Tongue with Fermented Spring Garlic, Daikon Radish Kimchee by Mitch of Beersine
Blackwood Valley Beef Sirloin, Brisket & Tongue with Fermented Spring Garlic, Daikon Radish Kimchee by Mitch of Beersine

chocolate tart by sue lewis of sue lewis artisan chocolatier

eagle bay cacao stout by nick d’Espeissis

A divine chocolate dessert and a smooth-like-Barry-White stout, there was never going to be a better way to end lunch.

Sue’s decadent chocolate tart was like the best friend that Eagle Bay’s Cacao Stout always wanted. The dessert featured Bahen & Co chocolate ice cream and, at the base of the tart, thick wort caramel.

Chocolate Tart with Wort Caramel and Bahen & Co Chocolate PNG Ice-Cream by Sue Lewis of Sue Lewis Artisan Chocolatier
Chocolate Tart with Wort Caramel and Bahen & Co Chocolate PNG Ice-Cream by Sue Lewis of Sue Lewis Artisan Chocolatier

Thank you to Kiren and Kelli for hosting the event at Co-Op Dining, thanks to all the chefs involved who donated their time and efforts to spoil us and thanks to everyone who came along. Thank you especially to Mitch, from Beersine, who asked me to be a part of this event and saved me a seat at the table.