Once Upon a Beer …

Like any good bartender I’ve got a few stories; some are printable and some are not (sorry mum) and from time to time I’ll be sharing the fun, beer related, printable stories. Here’s the first …

Not all that long ago I used to be a bartender. But I wasn’t one of those fancy ones who shook cocktails and preferred to be called a “mixologist”, nah I was a pub bartender. Beer was my thing and I got really excited when people wanted to talk about beer. Like any good bartender I’ve got a few stories; some are printable and some are not (sorry mum) and from time to time I’ll be sharing the fun, beer related, printable stories. Here’s the first …
Five Bar 2011
Five Bar
2011

Once upon a beer I was working at Five Bar in Mt Lawley, it was a Saturday afternoon and a group came in for lunch. There were five guys and three girls, all in their mid twenties if I had to make a guess. They were poring over the drinks list, pardon the pun, and I was delighted to find the guys engrossed in the beer list, a beer list I wrote no less. They all asked questions and each of them picked a different beer. Two of the girls ordered from the wine list, I think it was a sauvignon blanc but the third girl surprised me.

Despite knowing better I admit that I still fully expected her to order a white wine so when she flicked through the beer list I was a little surprised.

When she asked me about the Schlenkerla Rauchbier I almost fell over.

“It’s fantastic,” I replied before asking, “you know that smell of lots of different meat when you walk into The Re-Store*?”

“Yeah,” she said.

“Well it tastes like that” I said and smiled. She ordered it and love it.

So what’s the morale of the story?

Beer drinkers are fantastically unpredictable!

Puy Lentils and Schlenkerla Marzen at Five Bar January 2011
Puy Lentils and Schlenkerla Rauchbier Marzen at Five Bar
January 2011

*The Re-Store is amazing. Cheese, meat, booze, bread and the best lunch rolls you’ve ever had! Check out their Facebook page here.

Beer Bacon Jam

This is easily my new favourite condiment that combines all the things I love about food and beer – great balanced flavours that taste amazing.

I was recently introduced to a wonderful, mind exploding, taste bud jumping condiment – bacon jam.

Yup. Bacon. Jam. It’s how it sounds too – completely awesome.

It was served up as part of a dish at the East versus West: Food and Beer Title Fight, Round 2 at Five Bar as part of WA Beer Week. As the name suggests it’s the follow up to the very popular event that happened during Melbourne’s Good Beer Week at Josie Bones.

created by Julia Jenkins from Josie Bones
The dish that started a love affair – Ripened Goats Cheese Croquette with Bacon Jam and Pickled Apple created by Julia Jenkins from Josie Bones

I messaged my partner who immediately looked up a recipe, finding this one on www.allrecipes.com and despite the lengthy list of ingredients it sounded pretty do-able. It also sounded like my heart would clog up and stop but hey, life is full of risks.

There were a few adaptions I made to the recipe because a) I wanted to put beer in it b) we didn’t have any whiskey in the house and c) we only have coffee pods at the house. The result was not subtle, packed with big flavours and a nice kick of heat that sits at the back of your throat; sweet plays off spice and the fatty salty bacon brings it all together.

1/2 kilo of diced bacon
1 large brown onion, cut in half and sliced very thinly
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/8 cup minced fresh garlic
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 espresso from a single coffee pod
1 cup Burleigh Brewing Black Giraffe Black Coffee Lager, or another beer with big coffee notes
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup tomato sauce
 
A few key ingredients - beers, coffee and maple syrup
A few key ingredients – beers, coffee and maple syrup
  • Throw bacon into large saucepan, no oil required. Keep on medium high heat and stir until starting to brown. Your bacon should now be swimming happily in about 1/4 cup of bacon fat;
  • Add onion and brown sugar, stir and cook for five minutes;
  • Add cayenne pepper, cinnamon and nutmeg and cook for five minutes;
  • Add coffee, beer, sherry vinegar and maple syrup. Bring to the boil then reduced heat to low and cook until mixture thickens up but not too much, you don’t want it to be dry. This should take about 30-40 minutes.
  • Add tomato sauce and let simmer further for five minutes;
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool, keep stored in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

Note: you can throw the mixture into a food processor to get a chunky but still spreadable consistency if you like otherwise I just broke up the larger pieces of bacon as it was simmering. I used very cheap bacon for this recipe with plenty of fatty bits to contribute to the final result.

Simmer, simmer, simmer
Simmer, simmer, simmer

Now, all you have to do is sit and ponder the possibilities – burgers, eggs on toast, crackers, cheese …

Beer Bacon Jam

Beer Bacon Jam

East versus West … Re-Match

Three rounds, state versus state, beer versus beer, food versus food and all with delicious results …

At Melbourne’s Good Beer Week in May one of the stand out events was East versus West: A Beer and Food Title Fight at Josie Bones. With the background music of Eye of the Tiger the east coast of Australia, represented by Josie Bones, battled with the west, represented by Five Bar / Beersine, for the bragging rights to beer and food pairing superiority. Despite not having a home ground advantage, WA came out victorious with the title belt aka a plastic WWE replica. Oh it was glorious! You can relive the magic here.

Last weekend as part of WA Beer Week Five Bar and Beersine hosted the re-match, aka round two, aka a chance for Melbourne to level the score. The format remained the same with three rounds covering yeast driven beers, hop driven beers and malt driven beers. It was all blind tastings so you didn’t know what beer you were tasting or whether the dish was a Beersine / Five Bar or Josie Bones creation.

Hard working chefs Mitch from Beersine/Five Bar and Julia from Josie Bones
Hard working chefs Mitch from Beersine/Five Bar and Julia from Josie Bones

Here’s how the battle unfolded …

Round 1 – Yeast Driven Beers

Last Drop Saison with Wort Poached Marron, Pickled Cucumber and Beer Blanc Sauce

versus

Holgate Little Heifer Hefeweizen with Ripened Goats Cheese Croquette with Bacon Jam and Pickled Apple

The marron was a beautiful way to start the afternoon, soft and delicate with the cucumber adding a refreshing element. The Last Drop Saison, after geting rave reviews from punters at the Fremantle BeerFest the day before, continued to be loved here. A slight banana nose, soft and well balanced and lightly spiced, it was gorgeous. The two together proved a nice matching of delicate, soft but still very expressive flavours.

Wort Poached Marron, Pickled Cucumber and Beer Blanc Sauce by Mitch from Beersine / Five Bar
Wort Poached Marron, Pickled Cucumber and Beer Blanc Sauce by Mitch from Beersine / Five Bar

Half way through eating the second dish I decided that bacon jam was the way of the future. Honestly. Think about it. Bacon jam. Just ponder that for a moment and if you’re not drooling then I think there’s something wrong with you and we might not be able to be friends. The bacon jam added salty caramelised goodness to the soft and springy goat’s cheese croquettes. Holgate’s Little Heifer is a great example of a hefeweizen with sweet banana aromas and a nice silky mouthfeel. It cut through the oil in the croquettes and was a nice sweet/salt contrast to the bacon jam. This was my second favourite beer and food match of the day.

Ripened Goat's Cheese Croquettes with Bacon Jam and Pickled Apple by Julia from Josie Bones
Ripened Goat’s Cheese Croquettes with Bacon Jam and Pickled Apple by Julia from Josie Bones

How the votes swung …

Favourite Beer: WA – Last Drop Saison

Favourite Dish: VIC – Ripened Goats Cheese Croquettes

Favourite Pairing: VIC – Holgate Hefeweizen + Ripened Goats Cheese Croquettes

Round 2 – Hop Driven Beers

Boneyard Golden Ale with Prawn Po’Boy with Chipolte Aioli, Vic Secret Hop Salt and Malt Vinegar Game Chips

versus

The Monk Chief IPA with ‘Tongue in Cheek’ – Masterstock Beef Cheek & Ox Tongue Croquette and Kimchi

The menu, pre-reveal, described Boneyard Golden Ale as a “session IPA” and it’s spot on, fresh tropical hops backed up by soft lingering bitterness makes it damn drinkable. The hop salt on the chips had lots of people licking the chips to get the full flavour which was fun and perhaps a little uncouth but hey, that’s the fun of beer and food sometimes!

Prawn Po'Boy with Chipolte Aioli, Vic Secret Hop Salt and Malt Vinegar Game Chips by Julia from Josie Bones
Prawn Po’Boy with Chipolte Aioli with (not pictured) Vic Secret Hop Salt and Malt Vinegar Game Chips by Julia from Josie Bones

The Monk Chief with the aptly named ‘tongue in cheek’ dish was my favourite pairing of the day, the way the kimchi and hops played together was unique, tasty and I couldn’t get enough of it! The beef cheek and ox tongue bought out all the maltiness from the IPA, easily one of my favourite IPAs going around.

Tongue in Cheek - Masterstock Beef Cheek and Ox Tongue Croquette with Kimchi by Mitch from Beersine/Five Bar
Tongue in Cheek – Masterstock Beef Cheek and Ox Tongue Croquette with Kimchi by Mitch from Beersine/Five Bar

How the votes swung …

Favourite Beer, Favourite Dish and Favourite Pairing: VIC – Boneyard Golden Ale with Prawn Po’Boy.

Round 3 – Malt Driven Beers

Feral Razorback Barleywine with Peppermint Pavlova garnished with Local Berries and Local Milk Chocolate

versus

Boatrocker Ramjet Whiskey Barrel  Aged Imperial Stout with Whiskey Baba with Malted Chocolate Cream, Blood Orange Curd and Liquorice with your choice from three whiskey sauces

The barleywine and peppermint pavlova was, for me, the most intriguing match of the day. On paper I expected the barleywine to completely dominate the dessert but this wasn’t the case. The peppermint was able to stand out and cut through the big bold flavours of the barleywine making for a really interesting contrast. The berries were a nice complement to the deeper sweetness from the beer.

Peppermint Pavlova with Fresh Local Berries and Local Milk Chocolate by Mitch from Beersine/Five Bar
Peppermint Pavlova with Fresh Local Berries and Local Milk Chocolate by Mitch from Beersine/Five Bar

Like the Razorback, Boatrocker’s beer had that “oh my god” factor, with every sip you were impressed and craved more of those toffee and creme brulee flavours. It melded well with the baba which is essentially a booze soaked cake and you needed a big ballsy dessert to go head to head with the Ramjet. Due to my own eagerness to try the whiskey sauces, and by eagerness I mean I had all three doused on my dessert, I may have ended up with a dish that was more booze than dessert. Prior to this however it was a great match of similar flavours coming together.

Whiskey Baba with Malted Chocolate Cream, Blood Orange Curd and Liquorice with your choice from three whiskey sauces by Julia from Josie Bones
Whiskey Baba with Malted Chocolate Cream, Blood Orange Curd and Liquorice with your choice from three whiskey sauces by Julia from Josie Bones

How the votes swung …

Favourite Beer, Favourite Dish and Favourite Pairing: VIC – Boatrocker Ramjet with Whiskey Baba

So Victoria’s Josie Bones took the title belt on the plane back to the East Coast which just means we need to head back for Good Beer Week 2014 to retrieve it again. Congratulations Julia, Brendan and the Josie Bones team! Well played Mitch and Five Bar, well played.

Photo by Feral Brewing
Photo by Feral Brewing

Scores are level, the fight continues …

Thank you to Five Bar, Beersine and Josies Bones for another fantastic event! I feel privileged to be able to say I’ve been to both East versus West events this year and they have been great experiences in showcasing some fine beers and creative dishes. Bring on 2014!

Thank you also to Andy Mac at Five Bar and Mitch at Beersine for inviting me along. It’s always nice to go back to your old bar and feel like you’ve come home for a visit.

A bunch of brewers walk into a bar …

… and they drink, share and chat about the collaboration beer they made. If you were expecting a joke, sorry, if you were expecting this to be a very tasty beer, you’re right.

Last month a few brewers from the south west got together and made a beer. If I was to be more accurate I would say that seven brewers made a beer. If I was to be even more accurate I’d say seven brewers threw in some malt, hops and yeast in between long bouts of standing around and chatting and with that in mind the brew was dubbed …

The Council Worker

The Council Worker made it’s debut at Perth’s Five Bar event – South West in the City Festival. It was poured alongside Cowaramup Pilsner, Duckstein Fest Bier, Colonial Small Ale, Cheeky Monkey DIPA and Eagle Bay ESB. In short you could have taken a trip to several south west breweries without getting up from your bar stool.

WA Beer Week – 8th – 17th November | Check out http://www.wabeerweek.com for all the information

With WA Beer Week less than two weeks away it was a nice way to warm up the beer muscles and it was great to see so many faces from the WA beer community like Brian Fitzgerald, President of the Western Australian Brewers Association, Reece Wheadon from WA Beer Week and The Monk brewer Paul Wyman. A few of the brewers responsible for The Council Worker, Jared and Alex from Cheeky Monkey, Nick from Eagle Bay and Jeremy from Cowaramup Brewing made it to the event too, Jeremy fresh off the plane from Sydney’s Craft Beer Week, to mingle, drink and share the beer with some thirsty punters.

I know I look drunk in this photo but I only had two beers, I blame lots of laughing and my own poor timing for my appearance. I should also say that Nick isn’t that tall and under no circumstances was he standing on a couple of wine buckets.

Jeremy (Cowaramup), Jared (Cheeky Monkey), Nick (Eagle Bay), Paul (The Monk) Alex and Dave (Cheeky Monkey), some writer chick and Mitch aka Beersine
Jeremy (Cowaramup), Jared (Cheeky Monkey), Nick (Eagle Bay), Paul (The Monk)
Alex and Dave (Cheeky Monkey), some writer chick and Mitch aka Beersine

Sadly a few of the brewers who made this happen couldn’t make it but a milestone in your child’s life is probably a perfectly valid reason; I’m looking at you Foxy. On the up side it did allow me to insert myself into the photo, after all I did a lot of very important stirring.

Me and some malt

The Council Worker ended up a pretty heavily hopped pale ale thanks to a big dose of Galaxy in the dry hopping. This beer definitely had some balls along with big fruity and piney flavours that you’d expect from an American style pale but balanced out really nicely with big malt that gave it an almost caramel undertone.

Since I was driving I allowed myself just two beers and the second was a tough choice. I had salivated at the idea of Cheeky Monkey’s Double IPA but at 8.3% abv I can’t imagine mister police officer understanding how a beer can be irresistible. Instead I went for Colonial’s Small Ale, indulging once again in my recent love for tasty lower alcohol beers.

It’s that damn good that Paul Wyman, head brewer at The Monk, reckons Colonial’s Small Ale will take out a medal or two at this years Perth Royal Beer Show.

Congratulations to The Monk & brewer Paul Wyman on their Beer & Brewer Magazine Awards!

On the subject of awards Paul was runner up for Young Brewer of the Year and his venue The Monk took out Best Brew Pub/Bar all at this years Beer and Brewer Magazine Awards.

Local produce sourced by Beersine and Katrina Lane (Taste of Balingup)

Like any beer event at Five Bar the beer was accompanied by some sensational food, namely a South West Ploughman’s Board by Beersine, aka Mitch Mitchell. I am proud to say that I devoured this board in a most unladylike fashion.

Smoked big red pork and hazelnut terrine, Colonial pale ale cheese, red cabbage Kim chee, pickled colcotte and salad onions with cooladerra extra virgin olive oil.
Smoked big red pork and hazelnut terrine, Colonial pale ale cheese, red cabbage Kim chee, pickled colcotte and salad onions with cooladerra extra virgin olive oil.

I left this event with a huge smile on my face, a new beer mug and pumped for WA Beer Week!

I don’t know how much of The Council Worker was left at Five but if it’s still there I’d highly recommend checking it out. For those of us in the south west, keep an eye out because it may pop up at the likes of The Pourhouse, Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough and/or participating breweries.

Thank you to Margi and the team at Eagle Bay Brewing for hosting the collaboration and inviting me along, Macca and the guys at Five Bar for letting everyone invade the bar, all the brewers who got involved and of course to all the smiling beery folk who rocked up to support WA beer. See you all in a fortnight!

Seven Brewers Brewing

Breweries from the south west unite for this once off collaboration beer …

L-R: Justin Fox, Sorcha Gillen, Jeremy Good, Alex Poulsen, Jared Proudfoot, Nick d'Espeissis and Shannon Grigg Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver
L-R: Justin Fox, Sorcha Gillen, Jeremy Good, Alex Poulsen, Jared Proudfoot, Nick d’Espeissis and Shannon Grigg
Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver

I recently was lucky enough to be invited along to a collaboration brew day and I know it feels like there’s a new collab every second day but I still love ’em. Perhaps it’s because I’ve yet to come across one that wasn’t a genuinely good beer or perhaps it’s because I just love the idea of brewers getting together to do the thing they love. If you’re super keen you can read more about my love for collaborations here.

This particular collaboration is extra special because it was brewers from the south west coming together under one roof, in one brewhouse and with multiple pints. Despite the fact their breweries are all roughly within an hours drive of each other this collaboration is a first for the region, as far as I am aware anyway. The collaboration included Colonial Brewing, Bootleg Brewing, Eagle Bay Brewing, Cowaramup Brewing, Duckstein Brewing and Cheeky Monkey Brewing and the brew day was done at Eagle Bay. For a full run down check out my article for Crafty Pint here.

The beer will make it’s debut at South West in the City, a Five Bar event where the brewers will also be there to engage in all sorts of beer-geek talk or just say g’day. Each brewery will also bring along one of their own beers so there’s plenty south west goodness available; apologies if that sounded a little dirty. The event will be held on Sunday 27th October, two weeks before WA Beer Week kicks off – think of it as a good warm up exercise!

Anyway, I just wanted to share a few photos I took on the day and some of the more memorable quotes and moments that put a smile on my face …

“Are we putting more hops in this or are we making Swan Draught?”

“I only put honey on my toast or in my Lemsip”

“I want to be in Victoria’s Secret”

“This is the Rolls Royce of brewery drainage”

Nick (Eagle Bay), Jeremy (Cowaramup) and Red (Cheeky Monkey) looking down at a drain, talking about brewery drainage
Nick (Eagle Bay), Jeremy (Cowaramup) and Red (Cheeky Monkey) looking down at a drain, talking about brewery drainage
Cowaramup's Jeremy Good adding some malt
Cowaramup’s Jeremy Good adding some malt
Colonial's Sorcha throws in a bag of malt and shows off her Freo jumper
Colonial’s Sorcha throws in a bag of malt and shows off her Freo jumper
I'm only just the right level of qualified to do this - cleaning out the mash tun
I’m only just the right level of qualified to do this – cleaning out the mash tun
Potential name for the beer is The Council Worker - this photo may explain why
Potential name for the beer is The Council Worker – this photo may explain why
Jared (Cheeky Monkey) and I throwing in handfuls of hops over seven minutes
Jared (Cheeky Monkey) and I throwing in handfuls of hops
Justin (Colonial), Jeremy (Cowaramup) and Nick (Eagle Bay) weighing out hops
Justin (Colonial), Jeremy (Cowaramup) and Nick (Eagle Bay) weighing out hops
Stop! Hop time!
Stop! Hop time!
When asked to make a funny face, this is the resulting photo Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver
When asked to make a funny face, this is the resulting photo
Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver

Clancy’s + Nail

There are a few venues that have dishes that I cannot resist, when I’m there I have to have them. I approach some beers in the same way too. Variety is fantastic but sometimes there’s beer that are almost tradition to order or just downright irresistible …

(edit: bear with me here folks, what’s about to follow is a rambling introduction but it involves a lot of tasty food so hopefully you’ll read on!)

There are certain dishes you just can’t go past when you’re in a particular venue. For instance, when I was assistant manager at Five Bar in Perth we served up slow roasted field mushrooms in sherry vinegar on toasted baguette. I think if we had removed this item from the menu we would have been subject to much swearing and slapping. People loved this dish, people told their friends about it and people ordered it time and time again.

Slow Roasted Field Mushrooms in Sherry Vinegar
Who would have thought mushroom, cheese and bread would cause such love!?

For me it’s the crab spaghettini with tomato sugo and spinach at The Boulevard (Perth). This dish just does weird things to me. There’s a sensational photo by the equally sensational David Gardiner, PR and Events guru, here on Urbanspoon.

The duck liver parfait at Must Wine Bar (Perth) is another compulsory order dish. Simply put, if you don’t have this whilst at Must then you are doing it wrong.

On to the battered side of food life I always have to have the fried mice – jalapenos stuffed with feta and deep fried when at any of the four Clancy’s Fish Pub venues. Whilst each venue might put a twist on the dish, City Beach crumb their jalapenos in panko bread crumbs, the principle remains delicious.

Fried Mice ... two ways!

So that was a really long winded way of saying that I was recently at Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough with my partner and yes, we got a serve of the fried mice.

And just like I have compulsory dishes to order when at particular venues, there are also beers I just have to have. Of course I love variety, don’t get me wrong, but how could you ever visit Feral Brewing (Swan Valley) and not have a Hop Hog or Bootleg Brewery (Margaret River) and not have a Raging Bull. It can’t be done. For me, Clancy’s and Nail Ale go hand in hand, or should that be “pint in hand”?

Nail Ale and Clancy's ... they go together like a horse and carriage

Nail Brewing (Bassendean) have been supporting Clancy’s, and visa versa, for as long as I can remember, ignoring the fact that my memory isn’t what it used to be and just accept the analogy. So if you’ve always had a Nail when you’ve been at Clancy’s then the tradition must continue.

Nine times out of ten, the Nail Ale beer on tap is the classic, the one and only, Nail Pale Ale. An Australian Pale Ale full of fresh fruity, piney hops and crisp citrus.

However, this last visit to Clancy’s was different because they were not pouring the Pale Ale, instead it was Nail Dunn Brown Ale. It’s named after Hugh Dunn in honour of his contribution to the brewing community through Edith Cowan University. It’s a limited release English style brown ale that is currently being prepared to hit shelves in your favourite beery bottleshop, you can check out the label design here.

This is worth putting on your “beer shopping list”; you all have one of those, right?! Aromas are nutty, biscuity and bready with great toasty, earthy (so many y’s) and a little fruit. Basically it’s fabulous.

(apologies for my rotten photo that really doesn’t do this beer justice)

An unflattering photo of Nail Dunn Brown

Add it to your list or just start one now …

East versus West

When an event starts with Eye of the Tiger blaring from a stereo you know that you’re in for a treat.

image

When an event starts with Eye of the Tiger blaring from a stereo you know that you’re in for a treat.

It was East versus West: Beer and Food Title Fight. The prize was the unofficial naming of who was the beer capital of Australia. Some may say it was a fight long in the making.

In one corner we had Josie Bones representing Victoria, in the other we had Five Bar putting on gloves for Western Australia.

image

Josie Bones had the home ground advantage and the WA team had travelled a long way, would they have what it takes to go toe to toe with Josie Bones?

The format was simple. Three rounds, each round featuring two beers (one from each state but of course you didn’t know where the beers were from until the end) and food matchings. Patrons were asked to judge each match on a scale of 1-5 and then pick their favourite beer and favourite dish.

The bell was rung, literally, and round one got underway.

image

Round One – yeast driven beers

Hefeweizen + Pressed Lamb Terrine and Cured Lamb Loin
VERSUS
Saison de Miel + Pheasant Ballantine with Spiced Chutney

The pressed lamb terrine had lovely spices against the rich lamb loin and the hint of mint on top was refreshing.

The hefeweizen served as a great palate cleanser, cutting through the richness in the meat and complimenting the spices with its own Belgian yeast coriander flavours.

image

The texture of the pheasant was just divine, almost luxurious and presented beautifully.

The rich Saison with sweet-ish fruitiness contrasted nicely with the spicy chutney. It also has to be said that the lacing on the saison was down right sexy. You’ll have to take my word for it cause I neglected to take a photo.

image

I scored these matches evenly very good, call me a fence sitter but it was a tough round to tell the two apart! My favourite beer was the Saison de Miel and favourite dish was the pressed lamb, to me they were the most interesting of the round.

Round Two – hop driven beers

Imperial Pilsener + Confit Pork Belly with Yabby
VERSUS
Barrel Fermented American IPA + Spiced Brisket

Pork belly is one of those dishes that seems to make people lose their minds, particularly when it is done well. So when it’s presented to you beautifully, melts in your mouth and makes you savour every bite – yep, mind lost. The ‘surf n turf’ style dish with pork from Western Plains in Mt Mercer and yabby from Mildura, set the bar even higher than round one. It had a soft smoky component whilst being sweet and rich yet not overpowering.

The wet hopped imperial pilsner was divine, the aromas wetter of sweet wort, cerealy and a wee bit boozy. It was big on flavour too, I got cooked citrus and tropical fruits.

As a match though I found the beer and food fighting each other, the bubbly tropical fruit in the pilsner against such a creamy, rich and smokey dish.

image

Confit pork belly was going to be hard to top but then the spiced brisket swaggered into the room. I say swaggered because it was gorgeous to look at with the rich brisket sitting on a creamy celeriac pillow and topped with a dotting of pomegranate. For me, the pomegranate made the dish, they’d pop in your mouth and release a soft sweetness and fruit into the brisket.

The barrel fermented American IPA (which you may or may not have guessed what it is) tasted amazingly fresh. Big big tropical hops backed up by vanilla oak reminded me why this is one of my favourite beers.

As a match this was my favourite, it was a beautiful and interesting marriage of flavours between the pomegranate and tropical hops, the vanilla oak and rich brisket, the spices and the carbonation and citrus in the beer.

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I scored the brisket and IPA as my preferred match, the IPA also got my score for the preferred beer then I agonised over which dish I preferred the most. I went for the brisket in the end because I found it a really interesting dish, one that made me really think about what I was eating and I like that in a dish.

Round Three – malt driven beers

Imperial Stout + Smoked Waygu Brisket with Carrot and Licorice
VERSUS
Scotch Ale + Off the Wagon Wheel

The imperial stout was outstanding, truly one of the best beers in an event full of beautiful beers. Coffee beans and pure dark chocolate encased in a delicately creamy body … Oh my … And it was a great match with smokey waygu brisket. The dusty chocolate flavours in the beer complimented the charcoal and licorice flavours in the brisket. The sweetness from the carrots, which initially I didn’t expect much from, were needed for the sweetness in the stout.

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The final serve was an Off The Wagon Wheel with a scotch ale. The texture contrasts in the wagon wheel were fun and interesting, crumbly oat biscuit on the outside and soft marshmallow on the inside. Drizzled in elegant chocolate, it was a great dish to end on.

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The scotch ale was perfect for sipping on, contemplating the amazing dishes and beers we had been lucky enough to have. The nose was soft and reminded me of raisins and the taste was full flavoured without the really chewy mouthfeel that can sometimes accompany it.

My vote for the matching favoured the brisket over the wagon wheel, but only just. The imperial stout got my beer vote and the wagon wheel got my food vote.

With the votes all in it was time to count and to keep us entertained we were served Beersine Pale Ale cheese, hop honey and fresh bread. I tried not to drool when the cheese came out but it was tough.

Now … For the reveal … Here’s the full menu, complete with which beers were which and which state served what:

(Again, sorry for the poorly lit photo)

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The winners were declared and WEST was declare the winner! Congratulations Five Bar and chef Mitch aka Beersine.

Huge thanks to all involved in this sensational event, I couldn’t stop smiling throughout the afternoon!

Here’s how it broke down:

Round One – Yeast was won by Victoria with their Pobblebonk Saison de Miel paired with Pheasant ballantine with spiced chutney
Round Two – Hops was won by Western Australia with Feral Barrel Fermented Hog paired with Spiced brisket from Boyup Brook
Round Three – Malt was won by Western Australia with The Monk Scotch Ale paired with the Off The Wagon Wheel
Favourite beer overall went to Feral Barrel Fermented Hog (WA)
Favourite dish overall went to the Spiced Brisket (Beersine / Five Bar of WA)
Favourite beer and food pairing overall went to Feral Barrel Fermented Hog and the Spiced Brisket (WA)