GBW 2014: Game of Cones

A Melbourne tramcar restaurant, some silly costumed Colonial men with beer and a food menu by the one and only Beersine

“Tonight, we feast”

These were the words that started the menu for Friday night’s Game of Cones event for Good Beer Week. Held on Melbourne’s iconic Colonial Tramcar restaurant the coincidentally named Colonial Brewery teamed up with beer/food chef Mitch Mitchell aka Beersine to present a menu of beer inspired food matched to hand picked hop driven beers.

We were greeted at tram stop 125 by our Colonial hosts for the night, brewery manager Richard and brewers Justin and Paul who were all suitably dressed in Game of Thrones attire. Recovering from a cold, Paul’s unusually raspy voice added gusto to his already impressive costume whilst Richard’s legs were all too comfortable in black leggings.

Richard and James
I love this photo! [left] Colonial Brewery Manager Richard Moroney [right] Crafty Pint James Smith
On board we filled three tramcars and set off towards St Kilda, each carriage hosted by one of our costumed Colonial friends. The carriage I was on was hosted by Richard who guided us through the menu, discussing the selected beers and the food pairings.

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Please pardon my awful phone photography here …

To start we tucked into some spent grain pretzels, made with the leftover malt from after mashing in the brewing process, with ‘I can’t believe it’s hop butter’. We were also treated to Smoked Wort Jubes with Hop Sugar made with Cascade hops; wonderful little cubes that melted in your mouth.

Our starting beer was Colonial’s own Small Ale, a reduced alcohol india pale ale that is a full flavoured, tropical fruit and citrusy beer in a 3.5% ABV responsible body.

Kim Chee, or kimchi, a fermented vegetable dish from Korea that generally uses cabbage as it’s main ingredient

Next up was a kim chee omelette which was served up with collaboration brew My Antonia by American brewery Dogfish Head and Italian brewers Birra del Borgo. My Antonia boasts fresh citrus and pine flavours and a medium bitter finish, a great match to the spicy/sweet character of kim chee and base for the omelette’s fresh chilli to play on.

“Bridgeport is my beer spirit animal,”

Richard explains this feelings for this American craft brewery

The main event was a pork shoulder croquette served up on a celeriac romoulade. To accompany there was Mountain Goat’s Rye IPA and Bridgeport’s IPA. The latter is an IPA favourite amongst the Colonial guys whilst Richard spoke of their admiration for Mountain Goat who have been brewing since 1997 and laid the path for many since.

Beersine cheese is available from Mane Liquor and Cellarbrations Carlisle

As we neared the end of our tramcar ride we were served Beersine’s Pale Ale Cheddar, hop honey and lamb bacon – three life changing foods that I’ve had the pleasure of indulging in in the past. True South Black Rock India Lager and New Zealand’s 8 Wired Fresh Hopwired landed on our tables to accompany. The Fresh Hopwired was mind blowing and exactly as it sounds, a fresh and punchy and ridiculously good with the Pale Ale Cheddar and hop honey. Meanwhile lamb bacon in all it’s sweet, fatty goodness happily went with the Black Rock India Lager.

We departed off the tram, some of us smuggling whatever we couldn’t bare to leave behind, whether that be beer or that last precious chunk of cheese, and jumped on a bus to go to The Botanical. More beer and food goodness was unleashed with lamingtons and Colonial’s Gazza, the limited released Australian IPA. Made with all Aussie malts and hops I think Richard says it best:

“It’s big and it’s loud and it’s hairy”

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… and it ends not with a bang but with a lot of beer The tramcar leaves us at The Botanical

Thank you to Colonial who gifted my seat to this wonderful event, I keep telling them if they spoil me like this I’ll keep coming back. I think they are now stuck with me. But in all sincerity, thank you very much!

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.

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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”