Seeing Double Three Times

A post dedicated to double IPAs and ending with a three way side by side of IIPAs from WA, SA and California.

Want to see a lot of beer geeks get ridiculously excited? Put out a limited release double IPA.

Feral Brewing‘s Tusk Day – the release day of their imperial IPA – sees one keg go to a handful of selected bars across the country who commit to tapping the keg immediately. Eager drinkers plan their day to ensure they can get to the selected venues before the keg runs dry and social media is flooded with #tuskday photos. The most recent release in WA at the end of April saw most kegs last a mere couple of hours.

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Feral Tusk Imperial IPA at Feral Fest 3 – a lack of tasting notes is explained by the many Feral beers that followed this one!

Recently Mash Brewing, also in the Swan Valley, released their Sarcasm Session IIPA (see what they did there?!) into a limited run of 330ml bottles and Tusk-like excitement once again dominated my social media feed.

With craft beer exploding the way it is and American style pale ales dominating people’s hearts and taste buds, it only makes sense that their bigger siblings – IPAs and IIPAs get people even more excited. After all, you’re taking a thing people love, the pale ale, and adding more of the things that they love – more hops, more booze, more fun.


What is a double IPA anyway?

Double IPA, IIPA, Imperial IPA, Extra IPA, it’s all the basically the same thing – an IPA but bigger, dominated by US and/or new world hops, it’s feisty, bitter, boozy but still balanced.

Double IPA
Information taken/edited from BJCP 2015 & The Oxford Companion to Beer

Of course, not all IIPAs are the same, what a boring beer world that would be. So, when you pour a double IPA into a suitably fancy glass, what’s the most important thing to look for?

Two words – “fresh” and “hops”. Fresh beer is the best beer when it comes to something like a double IPA which is critically defined by its hop aroma and character. Look for local and don’t be afraid to ask the bartender or take a look at the date on the bottle/can whilst you’re beer shopping at your favourite bottle shop. Anything past three months, whilst not off or undrinkable, isn’t in it’s peak condition, the way the brewer wants you to enjoy it and given the sheer number of IPAs and IIPAs available, something fresher is probably easily at hand.

On the release of Mash’s Sarcasm I decided to line up two other double IPAs, the first is a classic and the first very IIPA I ever had – Sierra Nevada Torpedo from California and the second is a modern instant hit – Pirate Life IIPA from Adelaide.

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L-R: Mash Sarcasm, Pirate Life IIPA & Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA

girl+beer’s tasting notes …

Mash Sarcasm Session IPA | Consumed within days of packaging

At 9.5% ABV it was the booziest one of the three and there was a big alcohol sweetness amongst the pineapple and tropical fruits. Pairing it with some Old Winchester cheese with its fruitiness and tangy flavours took the edge of the booze in the beer. If you like you’re double IIPAs thick and on the sweeter side this hit that spot.

Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra IPA | BB 11.05.16

My first experience with a double IPA was many years ago and it was this one from Sierra Nevada. Amongst the pioneers of the craft beer revolution in the US, I looked to this beer to show me what a double IPA was all about. I remember being blown away by how hoppy it was.

This particular bottle wasn’t in the prime of it’s life so it was kinda disappointing to come back to it now and find it not as I remember. The tropical fruit aromas were there but sat alongside some candy, lolly and unwanted green apple character too.

With a best before date of 05.11.16, so 11 May 2016 when de-Americanised, it was a good example of why drinking fresh beer matters.

Pirate Life IIPA | BB 20.01.17

I was impressed when I first had this beer and subsequent tries haven’t changed my opinion. Slightly more subdued aromas but spice, stone fruit and lemon are all present and it follows through in flavour with a nice biscuity malt and dry finish. A balanced showcase of hops with real drinkability.

Three double IPAs, three different beers. This is why I love beer! It’s so diverse. Many times I’ve heard people say, “I don’t like wheat beers” or “I don’t like stouts” and I would urge these people to keep an open mind. One or even a couple of beers don’t represent everything that a single beer style can offer; be open to trying more, talk to more people, and I’ll bet you’ll find one you like and what a shame it would have been to miss out.

 

girl + Colonial’s Gazza

Gazza is made with all Australian malts and hops resulting in one very smooth Aussie. A background of fresh stone fruit with a layer of toast and borderline creamy finish. Tasty as hell and a cheeky and unexpected 6.3% ABV.

Yep, you’re looking at a thong stuck to a beer tap.

Why? Well, why the heck not?! It marks Colonial Brewing’s new Australian India Pale Ale “Gazza”.

English IPA: English hops, malt & yeast giving a moderately strong pale ale. Less hop and more malt flavours than American IPAs

American IPA: US hops, malt & yeast giving big hoppy and bitter beer.

Source: 2004 BJCP Style Guidelines

We are all pretty well versed in the English and American IPAs, officially recognised BJCP styles, but what is the profile of an Australian IPA? That’s probably a good start to a debate but let’s take a look at Gazza.

Gazza is made with all Australian malts and hops resulting in one very smooth Aussie. A background of fresh stone fruit with layers of toast, melon and grass with a borderline creamy finish. Tasty as hell with a cheeky and unexpected 6.3% ABV.

For Colonial brewer Paul Wyman Gazza is a great mix of an English and an American IPA,

Gazza’s Malts: Pale, wheat, Munich, crystal, dark crystal & a bit of choc

Gazza’s Hops: Cluster, Helga, Summer, Galaxy, Vic Secret

“That’s what I wanted because Australia clearly colonised from the English but now getting lots of influence from the American IPAs”

L: Paul Wyman M: Justin Fox R: Richard Moroney
L: Paul Wyman
M: Justin Fox
R: Richard Moroney

But the most important element about Gazza is that it showcases the high quality malts and hops we are lucky enough to have growing in Australia.

“Not everything is all about crazy beers from America & Europe. When it comes to IPAs fresh is best so drink local”

The drink local, drink fresh approach to hoppy beers is being echoed more and more. I’ve always known this, fresh is best when it comes to hops, but the burden of the beer nerd is over excitement when spotting beers from infamous US craft breweries like Stone, Rogue or Deschutes. You fill your arms with as many as you can carry, take your imports home, open, pour and enjoy. Then you sit down with something local like Gazza or perhaps Feral Hop Hog or Bootleg Speakeasy and that whack of fresh hops taste better than any American hop giant ever could after a journey over the oceans.

Gazza, you’re bloody beautiful and I’ll finish with the write up from the brewers at Colonial themselves …

Sitting smack back in the middle between a deep copper sunset and Ayers rock in colour, Gazza couldn’t look more Australian. The brew stands up with a fistful of Australian hop aroma, full of floral and grassy punch over background notes of melon and pineapple. The nose is backed up with a hearty malt palate showing sweet, nutty and toffee characteristics. The bitterness is mouth coating, just like any good IPA should be, and it lingers on the mid palate which is crisp and dry. All in All, the beer is a lovely balance of malt sweetness and Australian hops, best enjoyed in thongs!
Colonial Growlers, a gift from Paul Wyman cause he's a good good man. Thanks Paul!
Colonial Growlers, a gift from Paul Wyman cause he’s a good good man. Thanks Paul!

 

 

girl + tusk

Feral Tusk is big … you’re not surprised are you?!

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss living in the south west, being less than a five minute walk to the beach and driving through the Tuart Forest. Ah the serenity …

However there are plenty of good things about Perth, such as going to Five Bar and drinking Feral Tusk on tap!

Tasting Tusk at Five Bar on Friday Night
Tasting Tusk at Five Bar on Friday Night

On Friday afternoon Fremantle’s Sail & Anchor and Mt Lawley’s Five Bar each tapped a single keg of freshly brewed Tusk – Feral Brewing’s imperial india pale ale.

Tusk is BIG though this is not really surprising

Booze. It’s big in booze. Tusk clocks in at 9.8% abv and it’s the sort of boozy that creeps up on you, gives you a warm embrace but later you realise it’s cheekily stuck a “kick me” sign on your back.

Hops. This again is not a revelation for the IPAs from Feral brewers Brendan and Will. Huge tropical fruits both on the nose and palate carried by a viscous mouth feel that ensures you remember you are drinking Tusk. But really, how could you possibly forget?

I love the huge flavours that are strangely balanced yet abrasive, great for sipping on but very moreish at the same time. If you can find any of this on tap be sure to get acquainted!

One of the tasty boards at Five Bar - cheese, meat, bread, olives and other tasty items to keep this girl happy
One of the tasty boards at Five Bar – cheese, meat, bread, olives and other tasty items to keep this girl happy

 

Beer + Neighbours

A short post about good neighbours and sharing beer

Whilst relaxing on a sunny Saturday afternoon our super nice next door neighbour popped around for a hello and to see if we wanted their old bicycles. Sure, why not?! So I got myself a new/old bike, my partner probably got himself another something to do (i.e. WD40 the hell out of my new/old bike) and we found some time to share a beer with the neighbour.

We had the perfect beer to share since I had been to The Pourhouse in Dunsborough the day before and purchased my first Pourhouse growler.  It joins a growing family of growlers and their squeaker kids at our house already …

This is how every normal kitchen looks isn't it?!
This is how every normal kitchen looks isn’t it?!
Weekend beers read to rumble!
Weekend beers ready to rumble!

The Pourhouse growler contained Moon Dog Love Tap Double Lager, a beautiful beast of a lager at 7% that I haven’t had since May when I did this little blog post. Floral, spicy, tropical fruits and a little fresh lemony citrus to boot, it was a hit with our neighbour and between the three of us the growler soon ran dry.

Next I decided to open the sample bottle of O’Brien spring release India Pale Ale that was sent to me last month. What better moment to taste test a new beer than with a fresh palate at the table.

We poured out the beer into three glasses and stuck our noses in. Our neighbour liked the nose on it and it was certainly inviting with fresh green hop aromas throwing out a piney/resiny character. It was a great little IPA, vibrant and clean with stone fruit flavours and lingering bitterness.

O'Brien IPA  ... vibrant and piney
O’Brien IPA … vibrant and piney

Lagunitas IPA + Cheese

Recently I have been working hard to prepare for my Beer & Cheese Masterclass with Eagle Bay Brewing which is happening at this weekend’s Fremantle BeerFest. Being the determined researcher that I am this means there have been higher than normal levels of beer drinking and cheese eating in the house.

Freo BeerFest

9 & 10th November

on the Esplanade, Freo

Recently I have been working hard to prepare for my Beer & Cheese Masterclass with Eagle Bay Brewing which is happening at this weekend’s Fremantle BeerFest. Being the determined researcher that I am this means there have been higher than normal levels of beer drinking and cheese eating in the house. This has resulted in both palate exercise and missed dinners as I don’t think many would cheese alone as a meal.

Beer & Cheese Research – Lagunitas IPa

A tasty American India Pale Ale characteristically dominated by piney flavours coming from the use of Cascade and Centennial hops with a nice malt backbone.

Cheese #1 Maffra Mature Cheddar

Fruity with soft citrus notes with a nice tangy bite in the middle, the texture is hard and very slightly crumbly and it leaves a nice rich coating on the palate.

Together …

A lovely match but doesn’t stand out as being incredible. The tropical piney hops act as a fairly nice complement to the fruitness in the cheese but there could be too much hop character overshadowing the softer flavours in the cheddar. The hops in the IPA do a nice job of cutting through the richness of the cheddar.

Lagunitas IPA and Maffra Cheddar

Cheese #2 King Island Endeavour Blue

Indulgently soft and creamy with ripples of blue veins that add a little roughness to the overall texture of the cheese. It’s not overpowering but instead a medium intensity blue with a nice long finish.

Together …

A very good match with the strong hop character in the beer acting as a good contrast to the saltiness of the blue, adding intensity for intensity so one does not overpower the other. The hops also give the palate a thorough cleanse from the creaminess of the cheese.

Lagunitas IPA and King Island Endeavour Blue

You can catch the Beer & Cheese Masterclass, hosted by Eagle Bay’s Margi Wallace and myself on Saturday at 2pm at the Fremantle BeerFest! Hope to see you there!

Saturday Sunshine + Mt Lawley

Five Bar and The Brisbane Hotel – both in Mt Lawley and both former employers of mine and both amazing venues. Get acquainted or simply visit again and again like an old friend. Just be sure to get a beer whilst you’re there …

Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley
During Beaufort Street Festival 2011

Driving up to Perth inevitably results in visiting places with friends behind the bar, so it was not a surprise that my boyfriend and I found ourselves hanging out at Five Bar & The Brisbane Hotel on a sunny Saturday afternoon.

Located along Beaufort Street in the always evolving suburb of Mt Lawley, it is the sort of strip you can spend a whole day exploring. Book shops, almost endless cafes, clothing, knickknacks stores, day spa, florists, furniture stores, and don’t forget the pubs, the bars and the places to eat. What’s best is that you could spent a fortune in a day or you could spend very little. I have had many happy days doing a delightfully cheap n’ cheerful feed at Taka’s before grabbing a pint at The Flying Scotsman then walking around Hyde Park on a nice sunny day.

We arrived at Five Bar just before lunch and as my most recent ex in terms of employers, where I was Assistant Manager, it’s always nice to drop back for a visit! We sat at the bar and watched as it slowly filled with hungry Saturday lunch people. We had gone straight for the Feral taps, sighting Barrel Fermented (Hop) Hog and Karma Citra (India Black Ale) on offer. It made sense for us to get one of each and share since we are both wildly in love with Feral Brewing.

This may be a good time to congratulate Brendan and his team on Feral Hop Hog taking out #1 spot in the 2011 The Critics’ Choice Australia’s Best Beers!

Five Bar is a bit unique in that although they are a James Squire Ambassador Venue, offering 5 James Squire Beers and their Orchard Crush Cider on tap, they are also able to offer 2 Feral beers from a second set of taps. This second set of taps is also set a little differently, both in appearance and function. They stand out as two old wooden barrels on the bar, it’s hard not to wander down and take a look (though the barrels don’t actually store any beer) and secondly, the temperature is set a fraction higher and the carbonation a fraction lower. This has been done with consultation from Brendan, Owner and Head Brewer at Feral, meaning his beers are served with a little less chill to enhance flavours and with a little less bubble which, I find, results in a smoother, fuller mouth feel. Five Bar tend to get a couple of kegs of this and that from Brendan so it always pays to look down the end of the bar and see what’s there. More often than not it’s something offered normally only at Feral Brewing and always something sensational.

The B.F.H (Barrel Fermented Hog) remains the American IPA style of Hop Hog but, as though been sent to a naughty corner, has spent time in new French oak. The result is some delightful vanilla flavours lingering on the front of your palate. Dominant American hops are still very much present and very much welcome!

Sometimes I think beer tastes better out of glasses with handles …

The Karma Citra, always a favourite of mine, is an India Black Ale, or Black IPA, or whatever you want to call the style. On it’s first appearance at the bar, I explained the style to people as a porter and an IPA who had a baby. It seemed to get the idea across in the most time efficient manner. Dark malts for chocolate overtones, and we’re talking proper dark chocolate here, the 70% and above cocoa stuff. It’s a wonder they even manage to get to your nostrils with all the big hop aromas going on but they manage nicely. Citra refers to the hop variety used, which was created in a cross breeding hop program in 1990 and so named for a heavy citrus characteristics it brings to the table. Tropical fruits tag along for the ride too. It’s jet black in appearance with a smooth tan head and then those fruity flavours jump out at you with hop bitterness and malts. Love.

We left, intrigued by the Mash Up, a New Zealand collaborative brew reportedly by 44 NZ craft breweries but had a lunch appointment at The Brisbane.

One of my favourite city beer gardens that has been meticulously cared for since The Brisbane re-opened her doors in 2005. Perhaps it’s a bit on the cliche side but when you’re sitting there and the sun is shining through healthy green trees, it’s just a wonderful place to be! The Brisbane is another one of my former employers, a place I spent many happy years with, and it always makes me smile to come back and visit.

We sat in the back corner of the beer garden and I had decided to re-visit a beer I hadn’t had in quite some time, Redback Original Wheat (no lemon), and HELLO BANANA! I don’t remember tasting that much banana on it in the past. I was quite pleased and it had to be said, the beer looked sensational too. That distinctive shape, the red streak, the clarity and the sun, well, we were soon ordering another. Also, if you go to The Brisbane and don’t get the Homemade Sausage Rolls, you’ve done yourself a grave disservice and you should slap yourself on the wrist, write it down in your phone and make sure you order it next time.

A clear Redback branding win in the sunny Brisbane beer garden

All in all a rather successful afternoon in Mt Lawley and that only covered two spots!

You can visit Five Bar any day from 11am for tasty Feral beers on tap and be sure to ask the bar staff if there’s anything new in the fridges.

You can drop by The Brisbane any day too if you fancy indulging in Homemade Sausage Rolls with a pint in the beer garden.

Saturday Night + The Pourhouse

The perfect place for a bunch of beer lovers go for dinner in Dunsborough to debate beer in cans versus beer in bottles, eat great food, check out something interesting off the beer taps and above all else, have a chat and a laugh and good catch up.

Anyone who’s worked hospo will tell you that the best thing about the job isn’t necessarily free and/or cheap booze (depending on your current level of alcohol intake/tolerance/consumption/addiction) but it’s the people you meet. Customers, work mates, booze reps and every person in between, there are some fantastic people around and if you’re really lucky, like me, after you’ve left the bar, you keep in touch and get together for wee shandy or two. Saturday night was one of those nights.

It was our first evening visit to ‘the-bar-formerly-known-as-The-Malt-Market’. Normally our trips to The Pourhouse are in the afternoon and involve playing a few board games, usually inventing slightly altered versions such as Speed Chess. This involves going through the game at breakneck speed and though it sounds relatively simple but it’s not, especially when you’re opponent is waving his arms about and screaming “hurry up!” but at least it’s entertaining.

For those who have not been to The Pourhouse, be sure to add it to your South West to-do-list. It’s a fabulous beer bar with a regularly rotating list of tap beers, dominated by local breweries, plus an expansive list of bottled beers. They’ve got great food served in good time by smiling staff members so combine this with interesting beer and it’s no wonder I like this place. Recently they have teamed up with Eagle Bay Brewery to encourage beer culture in Dunsborough, creating Growlers that can be purchased and refilled at either venue. Happy Days! Growlers appear to have exploded in the last couple of months and bring it the F on, I say! [Click here for more details on The Pourhouse and other great Dunsborough spots]

So we were in a great beer venue and now add in great company (apart from each other, of course!), dining and chatting a lot about beer with Scott & Jess, fellow beer lovers and all round super nice people. They also bought me a wonderful present of Mountain Goat Cross Breed Pepperberry IPA. It’s not often I walk out of a bar with a full unopened beer bottle stuffed into my handbag, I’m sure that wasn’t one of the envisioned items Mimco considered when designing their range of bags.

Burger at The Pourhouse
Tasty and Big!

I started my night with the Renaissance Voyager IPA off tap, an English style IPA brewed in New Zealand. Since I’ve been hammering my palate with American IPA for quite sometime it was nice to change it up a little. Floral and a little spicy, my boyfriend noted some upfront toasty qualities in there too. A lovely little IPA as an opening act. They also offered up their Elemental Porter on their taps if you were looking for velvety dark chocolate tones. Since there was driving to be done later I switched happily to Rogers’ from Little Creatures, Fremantle. Perhaps not the ideal match with my dinner of Mussels Cooked in Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier, Garlic and Shallots but neither detracted from the other. The mussels were big and plump and tasted sensational, I’m normally a fan of chilli mussels but this was light and delicate (much like me, *ahem*) and still full of flavour. The Burger was also very tasty and big, no small portions here folks! But there was just enough room to finish the evening by sharing a bottle of Pot Kettle Black, another great New Zealand production, from the Yeastie Boys. Black and hoppy and always a favourite, it’s always far too long between visits because you fall in love with it every single time. Try it and tell me it’s not true!

We had been debating the idea of beer in a can, debating whether it could take off in Australia rather than actually being fans of the idea (which we all were incidentally) and as though it was planned (though it was only coincidence) Brewdog Punk IPA in it’s two lives appeared – can and stubbie. Only 3 months separated the batches.  The bottle was a little hazy with more pronounced bitterness whilst the can was brighter with more floral and grapefruit elements dominating. It was an interesting exercise, thank you Jess! [check out her photography at www.jessicashaver.com] And one I am sure I’ll repeat down the track.

It was great to look around the bar and see growlers hanging from the ceiling, guys and girls with Brewdog Punk IPA, Weihenstephaner glasses, Gauloise Blonde and a variety of glassware for each – beer lovers get down to The Pourhouse, play some games, drink some beer and be sure to get a serve of the Chilli Squid and Chorizo to snack on.

Chilli Squid and Chorizo
The Pourhouse

The Quiet American + Loud Food 2

Curry is certainly what I’d classify as LOUD food and proved to be a great match with The Quiet American. Great to play with locally produced foods as well, this dish uses Crunch Preserves Chilli Achar, made in Busselton, and enhanced the curry and stood up boldly to the fresh American hops

It’s not a secret that beautifully hoppy beers can be great partners to food with a bit of heat in them, like a loved-up couple. It’s about balance between hop bitterness in your beer and heat in your dish. So it’s not about using so much chilli that it brutally murders your taste buds, subjecting them to a slow and painful death, but instead it’s about being just spicy enough so the hop bitterness from a gulp of delicious IPA or Pale Ale enhances that spice.

As winter approaches I will be doing a short series on beer and curry experiments as I’ve read lots of bits and pieces on lager with curry, links between India Pale Ale and curries (it seems the British ‘Curry and Pint’ night is a pub favourite) and played around a little with beer & food matching for small events in the past but I think it requires a more dedicated approach. And yes, if it means drinking more beer and making lots of different curries then I’m happy to take on the role. I’m just dedicated like that.

Anyway, back to the point of The Quiet American, Little Creatures latest limited release, and another LOUD dish – Curry!

My boyfriend and I got home from work late one night and decided curry was a tasty but easy, ‘cannot-be-stuffed-with-anything-else’ dinner. We used sauce from a jar and added some locally produced Chilli Achar (Crunch Preserves) just for shits and giggles. And by “some” I refer to the massive dose that fit on the largest spoon we could get into the jar. Incidentally, the Chilli Achar was an impulse purchase from Boyanup Petrol Station on our Ferguson Valley adventuring where we also got bird seed … love country towns. Moving on … our Chicken Madras Curry with Chilli Achar, Mushrooms and Red Onion was another great hit with The Quiet American. I’m really enjoying the way red onion plays with the rich sweetness in this beer though my opinion is bias since I have started a (totally healthy) love affair with red onion and add it to almost every single dish. It tastes good and it’s just so darn pretty (there’s a joke in there somewhere). With the addition of the Harissa Paste, the curry carried the right amount of heat matched with the American hop bitterness. I keep saying “matched” because, well, it’s accurate but it’s more than that. It enhances and alters the spice flavours, like a collaboration between two great brewers that gets all beer geeks excited.

Madras Chicken Curry & The Quiet American

Chicken Madras Curry with Chilli Achar, Mushrooms and Red Onion

  • 1 Chicken Breast, diced
  • Jar Madras Curry Sauce
  • Massive dollop of Crunch Preserves Chilli Achar (or Chilli Pickle)
  • Sliced Button Mushrooms
  • Sliced Red Capsicum
  • Diced Red Onion
  • Garlic
Throw in everything and simmer for ages!

The Quiet American + Loud Food 1

The Quiet American is a damn fine beer bursting with flavour so you need some loud food to go with it

Being down south, things move at a slightly slower pace so it has taken me a few extra days to get my hands on the latest Single Batch release from Little Creatures, The Quiet American.

I first heard about it when we did a Little Creatures Beer + Food Event at Five Bar in February. We had been lucky enough to have along Andy, one of the Little Creatures brewers, who hinted at the upcoming release. So I’ve been keeping my eye out and now, having read all about it for the last week and no less than 4 trips to the bottle shop I finally got some. Of course I looked like an indecisive alcoholic on the first 3 trips as I stood staring at the fridge doors. The last trip resembled more of a Indiana Jones / Holy Grail style moment as I spotted the bottles on the shelf though I grabbed 6, not just 1.

I also picked up the copy of The Critics Choice Australian Best Beers I had on order so it was a very happy, beery day!

Beer + Beer Book
A Great Beer Day

For those who don’t have a copy here’s the Top 10 and Congratulations to everyone!

  1. Feral Hop Hog
  2. Stone & Wood Pacific Ale
  3. Little Creatures Pale Ale
  4. Holgate Temptress
  5. Bridge Road Brewers Chevalier Saison
  6. Little Creatures The Big Dipper
  7. Matilda Bay Alpha Pale Ale
  8. Knappstein Reserve Lager
  9. Mountain Goat Hightail Ale
  10. Murray’s Angry Man Pale Ale

Little Creatures describes The Quiet American as a hybrid style. I prefer to think of it as the bastard child of a one night stand. The two parent styles who stumbled drunkenly on to each other are a Belgian Strong Ale and an American IPA. The nose is unmistakably fresh American hops, aromatic and raging with grapefruit and as though someone put a dollop of honey in there too. We’re talking proper honey too, the type you’d find in some country shed, made by a kind old lady named Betty. The Quiet American tastes rich, spicy and bursting with sugared orange, maybe even a hint of vanilla somewhere in there and distinct hop bitterness that comes together in an oh-so-nice contrast.

I was dying to try a little home cooking + beer matching and cook a dish with a good amount of heat (but not so much you burn off your taste buds) to go with IPA elements and some spice to go with the Belgian yeast. It had to be a dish screaming with the right flavours (hence by title of ‘loud food’) … so we made Cayenne Pepper Spiced Hake Fillet with Butter & Garlic Leeks, Mushrooms, Red Onion and Capsicum.

Cayenne Pepper, Oregano & Black Pepper
Preparing the Hake Fillets

The Quiet American washed over the Cayenne Pepper with ease and that great Cascade and Chinook Hop bitterness somehow boosts and settles the flavour at the same time. The red onion slightly caramalised so it went really well with the rich orange flavours of the beer and the leeks provided delicate spice.

Cayenne Spiced Hake Fillet matched with The Quiet American

We sat back after dinner and somehow our bottle of Ron Zacapa XO made it to the table. A sip of this followed by The Quiet American and oh-my-god. It was good. It was damn good! They complimented each other extremely well, rich orange notes, spice and alcohol sweetness from a bigger than normal booze level in both the rum and the beer. Of course that booziness may have also contributed to the happy feeling I was having but we’ll forget that for now.

A Great Beer Day – Ron Zacapa XO with LC Quiet American & 2011 The Critics’ Choice Australia’s Best Beers

Cayenne Pepper Spiced Hake Fillet with Butter & Garlic Leeks, Mushrooms, Red Onion and Capsicum

  • 2 x Hake Fish Fillets
  • Butter
  • 2 x cloves Garlic, finely diced
  • 1/2 Leek, sliced
  • Button Mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 Red Onion, sliced into wedges
  • 1/2 Red Capsicum
  • Cayenne Pepper, Plain Flour, pinch of Oregano, crack of Black Pepper and Egg White for the light coating