Discovering Garage Project

Garage Project are three guys in Wellington, New Zealand who make craft beer – Pete, Jos and Ian. I recently had my first Garage Project experience after the guys at Cellarbrations Carlisle recommended it. They were pouring Garage Project Pernicious Weed from their growler system, there was just one litre left and they said I HAD to try it. Done!

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Garage Project are three guys in Wellington, New Zealand who make craft beer – Pete, Jos and Ian. I recently had my first Garage Project experience after the guys at Cellarbrations Carlisle recommended it. They were pouring Garage Project Pernicious Weed from their growler system, there was just one litre left and they said I HAD to try it. Done!

The Pernicious Weed was Garage Project’s first beer in their 24/24 series – 24 different beers in 24 weeks. On their website they cite Ernest Hemingway’s quote “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut”, as their motivation for the 24/24 series. As valid as it is just imagine what other ideas will become reality with this sort of motto!

Pernicious Weed poured a hazy golden orange with aromas of apricots and honey. The flavour was hoppy, and I mean really freakin’ hoppy; as though a pine needle forest was invaded by an army of oranges and stone fruit (how’s that for a mental image?!)

So, having tasted this great beer you can imagine my excitement when I saw Garage Project at my local bottleshop. For the record, my local bottleshop is in a little country town where Carlton Dry and Emu Export are the biggest sellers. It seems the manager has recently been bitten by the craft beer bug which can only mean good things, like a shorter travelling time for me and my beery needs.

The beer I saw was Garage Project Red Rocks Reserve, a limited release version of their Red Rocks beer and neither of which I’d had before or had any knowledge of. Turns out that Red Rocks is an India Red Ale and another beer in the 24/24 series; week 11 for anyone playing at home. The Reserve version was created using a super boil that involved “heating rocks in a great big fuck-off fire in the forecourt of an old petrol station”. You can read more about that here and I dare say you’ll want to – it involves beer, exploding rocks and big fire!

The Red Rocks Reserve is a beautifully rich and smooth beer. It smells like a burnt Anzac biscuit with toffee and flowers. The taste is seriously malty and floral with some caramalisation (which I now know is from the super-dooper boil) plus there’s a dirty herbal quality. There is a good chance I will buy all of this from the bottleshop and hopefully ensure more Garage Project beers hit their shelves.

I served it up with my very first attempt at homemade lasagne, a recipe from Jamie Oliver, and as a dish it was a huge success. Mind you, topped with 400g of Mozzarella and made with Rogue Captain Sig’s Northwestern Ale (instead of red wine) it was destined to be great.

Sadly it was a bit of a miss fire as a beer and food match; the Red Rocks Reserve beat the lasagne into submission rather than being compliment I had been hoping for. Granted, perhaps I should have read about the beer before I tried to match it but hey, it’s fun to discover these things as you go!

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Bravas + Vale IPA

Last month, for the first time in our adulthood, my partner and I were invited to a party at the next door neighbours house. I love “country living”.

John and Kelly's Party

Last month, for the first time in our adulthood, my partner and I were invited to a party at the next door neighbours house. I love country living!  They hired a funky little reggae band and asked everyone to bring along a plate of tapas. I decided to go with the classic Patatas Bravas and used a recipe from Jamie Oliver’s “Jamie Does …”. Another great Jamie Olive recipe that was easy to make and sensational to eat. Even better was the small mountain of left over sauce – perfect as a pasta sauce following evening.

Jamie Does

Dinner was nice and easy with the sauce all done the only thing I had to do was cook some pasta and garlic bread. More important though was what beer to choose. Considering the spiciness and richness of the sauce I grabbed some Vale Ale IPA from our fridge. Vale IPA is an Australian style India Pale Ale using Galaxy (AUS), Citra (US) and Nelson Sauvin (NZ) hops. As you’d expect there’s citrus and tropical fruits among a good amount of bitterness making for a nice drop, probably my favourite from the Vale range of beers.

The Vale IPA was a fantastic pairing with dinner, matching assertive spiciness with hop bitterness and the richness of the sauce with a good malt body.

Pasta, Garlic Bread + Vale IPA-001

Bravas Sauce, from “Jamies Does …”

olive oil + 1 chopped brown onion + 4 cloves of sliced garlic – cook for 5 minutes

add 1 peeled and chopped carrot + 3 chopped fresh red chillies (deseeded) + few sprigs of fresh thyme – cook for 5 minutes

add 1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes + 1 tblspn sherry vinegar + salt + pepper – bring to boil then simmer on low heat for 15 minutes or until carrots are soft. Put through blender or use hand blender until sauce is smooth.

Jamie Oliver + Porter

First post for 2013 – Happy New Year!

I have recently developed a food-crush on Jamie Oliver so expect to see a lot of his recipes in the coming months (depending on my own cooking success rate of course!). Here’s Tray Baked Chicken and Squashed Potatoes matched with Heretic’s Shallow Grave Porter.

The number of Jamie Oliver books I have has jumped from 1 to 4 in the last eight weeks!

I always knew who Jamie Oliver was of course, having seen a few of his shows over the years and liked what he did, but it wasn’t until recently when I saw a DVD of his 30 minute meals that I developed a big food-crush. I now have 3 different Jamie Oliver cook books (plus a little one that came with the newspaper!) so expect to see a few attempts at Jamie Oliver meals coming up for the next few months …

My first attempt at a Jamie Oliver meal came from his 30 minute meals – Tray Baked Chicken with Squashed Potatoes.

Jamie Oliver Chicken and Potatoes

Jamie Oliver Chicken (2)
In all my food and beer excitement I neglected to photograph the potatoes!
Super easy … Cut into halves and boil for 10-15 minutes (just cooked through), throw into hot frying pan (or BBQ) with olive oil, rosemary, bay leaves and whole garlic cloves and squash (recipe uses a pan lid). Do this a few times to each side until cooked through, golden and tasty!

The dish was, as promised, dead easy (except for the fact that I burnt the bacon that’s supposed to go on top of the chicken) and the Squashed Potatoes was even easier.

One of the best things about these dishes was being able to use fresh rosemary picked from the backyard. Oh and the unpeeled garlic cloves cooked in the pan … I’d forgotten how amazing a clove of garlic could be!

This was one of those food and beer matching moments where I didn’t plan at all – with only a handful of beers in the fridge to choose from I narrowed it down through my desire to open a BIG bottle of beer. It was then a choice between a Barley Wine, Christmas Ale and Porter. I figured the Porter would be the most likely to match with dinner but I wasn’t expecting fireworks.

The Heretic Shallow Grave Porter is a beautifully black beer with big yeasty aromas, fresh lemon, chocolate and maple syrup. The more it warmed up the more chocolate came through. The flavours are balanced between coffee, toast, caramel and a soft bitter finish. I love this beer and I really like the way they label their beers too, the little red eyes almost DARE you to try their beers (and hell yes I’m up for the challenge!)

So no, I didn’t expect the food and beer match to be a winner however I was pleasantly surprised (don’t you just love that!?) to find it was actually a pretty good partner. I think it was all the roasty crispy flavours from the red onions, garlic and chicken that made the match work. In particular the porter went really well with the potatoes, especially when squeezed all over with baked lemon, and the crispy edges of the squashed potatoes with the toasty richness of the beer … YUM!

Heretic Shallow Grave (1)