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!

Sorachi Ace + Linguine

I can’t remember the first time I fell in love with Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace, I can’t recall where I was or who gave it to me but I remember thinking “wow”

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace

Brewed in New York by Brooklyn Brewery

Farmhouse Saison

7.6% ABV

34 IBUs

Malt: German Two Row Pilsner

Hops: Sorachi Ace, grown in Washington, USA

I can’t remember the first time I fell in love with Brooklyn Brewery’s Sorachi Ace, I can’t recall where I was or who gave it to me but I remember thinking “wow”. I still think “wow” each time I have it, like at The Big Apple & The Goat event during last years Good Beer Week where it was matched to Red Square washed rind cheese.

Sorachi Ace Hops: developed in Japan in late 70s | cross between Brewer’s Gold & Saaz hops | available in the US only since 2006

My partner and I opened a bottle over dinner recently and once again it was every bit as good as we remembered. The mouth feel was soft in a way that reminded me of eating fairy floss, the way it dissolves on your tongue. The trademark Sorachi Ace lemon flavours shine through both aroma and flavour, complimented by bubblegum, spice, pears, grass, bread and even a little white pepper.

Dinner was a prawn and chilli linguine, a dish I wouldn’t have picked to go with this beer but turned out to be a surprisingly good match. The beer somehow tamed the heat of the chilli, the delicate bubbles cleansing and soothing the palate, the strong lemony contrasting the heat and also complimenting the prawns.

Brooklyn Sorachi Ace with Prawn and Chilli Linguine

Want more to read? Hell yeah! I enjoyed these:

  • Brooklyn Brewery’s website for the story behind Sorachi Ace, the nerdy beer specs and tasty food pairing suggestions. There’s even an omelette recipe for you to try!
  • Brooklyn Brewshop – Sorachi Ace “Hop of the Month”
  • The Beer Cook – an old post but a good one, it’s a small journey through a few Brooklyn beers with some delicious sounding food to match

Once, Twice, Three Cans a Lady

The beginning of a journey into beer cans …

Craft beer nerds are getting excited about cans.

Wait, let me rephrase that so it doesn’t sound so sleazy.

Craft beer nerds are getting excited about good tasting cans.

I give up.

It sounds wrong but it’s true. Craft beer in the form of cans rather than bottles seems to be the “next big thing”, for lack of a better and less abused term. Us beer nerds are excited at the prospect of cans, there’s no light or oxygen getting through to ruin our beloved beverage and let’s face it, crushing a can is a pretty satisfying, if a little childish, way to spend three seconds.

All three are from Oskar Blues Brewery (USA) and were purchased recently from Cellarbrations Carlisle.

Of course, with anything beer related, the most important thing is “does it taste good?” and so I opened three cans to start my canned-education …

Oskar Blues G’Knight Imperial Red IPA
8.7% ABV

Beautiful copper colour with a good thick head. The first whiff reminded me of fresh Anzac biscuits and it was followed by mango, pineapple and something delicately spicy. Flavour-wise it’s super well balanced between the toffee, toasty malts and floral, tropical fruit hops. I got a little caramel too and a spicy floral finish.

The 8.7% ABV creeps up on you with a cheeky grin on it’s face

A link to follow – check out what Oskar Blues says about their beer and find out who it’s named after

Oskar Blues Deviant Dale’s IPA
8% ABV

Oskar Blues call the colour of this beer a “copper ball of fire” but to me it’s almost the definition of sunshine in a can – orange, bright and vibrant. The bready, biscuity malt and orange, grapefruit hop aromas are lovely. Like it’s G’Knight cousin, it’s another gulp-worthy and very well balanced beer. The hops give off pineapple, grapefruit and stone fruit flavours and the malts provide biscuits and caramel.

A link to follow – read Oskar Blue’s devilish tale behind their beer

Oskar Bluse Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
10.5% ABV

It’s thick and viscous so it doesn’t so much as pour from the can as it oozes into the glass. The aromas weren’t as big as I expected but I got a touch of melon/berry fruitiness at the front with some roast and cacao in there too. I loved the smooth vanilla, chocolate flavours and dry, grapefruit-like finish.

Holy shitballs Batman, this is a freaking great beer!

 

 

A link to follow – when these guys say it’s a “smooth blanket of malt” they’re not kidding!

How sexy is this photo!?

And in something a little closer to home one of my favourite Australian breweries Mountain Goat have had their cans out for a while now. It’s a welcome addition to summer 2014 – it’s uber refreshing, lemon zesty with peach, pear and lime and a light spiciness and oh, did I mention it’s really refreshing?! 

Mountain Goat Summer Ale
4.7% ABV
Some canned-reading  if you’re keen …

Craft Beers Say Hello Cans – Forbes

A podcast from The Craft Beer Academy

Canned versus Bottled Beer – Esquire

It’s in the Can – Crafty Pint

girl + hopfweizenbock

Untappd entry - Hopfweizen

This was my Untappd check in as I got stuck into the latest Mountain Goat Cross Breed, a Hopfweizenbock made with American beer royalty Brooklyn Brewery.

Though I can’t remember the first time I tried a Brooklyn Brewery beer they are now a firm favourite in my ever growing list of favourite brewers. Not only are their beers kick ass but their brewmaster Garrett Oliver edited The Oxford Companion to Beer, the only book to have permanent residency on my bedside table.

It won’t surprise anyone who knows me, even a little, that I’m a huge fan of Melbourne brewery Mountain Goat. Each goat beer that’s touched my lips has been brilliant. Their beers have been a big part of my continuing beer journey in the last two years, from first discovering Hightail Ale to now frothing at the mouth with each Cross Breed (limited release collaboration brews) and Rare Breed (limited release) that comes my way.

Me at Mountain Goat

Mountain Goat collaborated with Brooklyn Brewery during Good Beer Week in Melbourne earlier this year, you might have read one or seventy tweets and Facebook posts from my time there. The brew day was held the morning of the amazing The Apple and The Goat degustation lunch, a lunch that was my first visit to Mountain Goat Brewery and my first Good Beer Week event, you can check it out here if you want to drool all over your screen. Fifteen eager beavers joined the Goat and Brooklyn brewers to create the Hopfweizenbock and here is the end result.

Mountain Goat Hopfweizenbock

In this collaboration Brooklyn Brewery brings the German yeast strain and grain bill used in their Brooklyner Weisse whilst Mountain Goat contributes big Australian hops in the form of Galaxy from Tasmania. Basically it’s the bastard child of a German wheat beer and an Australian pale ale resulting in an unashamedly complex 6.5% abv gem of a beer.

Hops at Mountain Goat

I served it up with salmon risotto with big squeeze of fresh lemon, button mushrooms and leek. It was a decent pairing, the lemony citrus bringing a nice freshness to the ‘weizen’ part of the beer. Next time I’ll try for something a bit bolder in flavour to go head to head with the ‘hop’ and ‘bock’ (strong) elements.

Mountain Goat Hopweizenbock and Risotto

If you’re keen on some more reading, here’s a few good articles I found on the Hopfweizenbock –

  •  The Crafty Pint – as always my first stop for beery information and again offers up a great run down of the beer, if you don’t subscribe to Crafty already you’re a damn fool!
  • The Oz Beer Baron – one of the lucky 15 to be part of the brew day
  • From the mouths of the Goats themselves

GBW Day 1 – From Goat to Cookie

It started at Mountain Goat, invaded The Royston, then Stone and Wood before ending at Cookie

It started in Richmond at Mountain Goat Brewery and it finished at Cookie …

We arrived at Mountain Goat a little early but found most people had the same idea. We were greeted with Mountain Goat Steam Ale and Brooklyn Brown Ale, I had the Steam Ale and that went down very, very well. A little to well perhaps …

The afternoon consisted of five courses of amazing food and each matched with a beer from Mountain Goat and Brooklyn Brewery. The afternoon also contained a lot of memorable quotes that are perhaps not fit for printing and since I dropped an entire wedge of cloth aged cheddar on the floor, I had best keep my mouth shut. I blame the knife.

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Entrees were a selection of dishes to pick and choose from. Bloody Mary onion rings in Brroklyn dark ale batter, salt cod brandade croquettes and mini open Reuben sandwiches but the highlight was definitely the sticky New York ribs. It was a delicious match with the Brooklyn Silver Anniversary Lager.

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As you can see, the ribs were very tasty, sorry if you actually wanted to see them served! They were rich and sticky but not over the top, or end of the table picked out spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice.

Tom from Brooklyn Brewery chatted about their Silver Anniversary Lager, basically a special version of their flagship lager, they dry hop this one with Cascade hops and it is bottle conditioned. It was stunning, it poured this gorgeous vibrant copper colour so I found it hard not to keep holding it up to the light. This action left me very vulnerable to looking like a total beer nerd but hey, it’s going to happen to all of us at Good Beer Week.

The lager had huge flavours that held up perfectly to the smack down of sticky ribs; citrus, tropical fruit and a shot of candied sugar sweetness. Delicious.

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A small group of us then went to have a quick look at the brewery where there was a brew already on the go and it needed a little attention, namely hop attention. When asked if someone wanted to throw 3kg of hop pellets into the tank my arm instinctively shot up. Yup, I’ll now be adding Mountain Goat to my list of beers which I will lay claim to having helped brewed. Soon I will be intolerable I’m sure.

Mains were served and it was more than a little indulgent … Not five or ten but 18 hour braised lambs neck with caramelised sweet potato mash. Pardon my awful photography but frankly it is a miracle I remembered to take a photo before devouring this dish in a very unladylike manner.

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They served the Brooklyn East India Pale and the Mountain Goat Rye India Pale Ale with mains and it was the rye IPA that not only stood out, it jumped in the air, did a back slip and then took a bow. It was amazing.

I couldn’t help but compulsively stick my nose in the glass, the aromas of ruby red grapefruit from the Goat Rye IPA were addictive. Hoppy, spicy and a little honey, the beer was uber-fresh, less than two days old, and was an instant favourite at our end of the table.

Then dessert arrived. According to the menu there were five different cheeses heading our way after dessert so many of us had agreed that cheese was way better than dessert so we would probably just taste dessert rather than overindulge. Oh how wrong we were.

Chilli and dark chocolate fondant with freeze dried mandarin, oh yeah! Served with Brooklyn Local 1 and Mountain Goat Fx Stout, from looking at the beers it seemed obvious that the stout would win over the hazy straw colour Local 1. Wrong again.

Brooklyn Local 1 is a strong Belgian ale made with their house Belgian yeast. Its spicy coriander and almost witbier like characters were a surprisingly good match to dessert. I think it was a little contrast and a little compliment, especially the Belgian yeast qualities with the chilli and freeze dried mandarin.

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Ok, now time for cheese and admittedly my notes have been getting a little less detailed. We were spoilt with Milawa Ceridwen Goat’s cheese, Berries Creek Blue cheese, Ashgrove matured cloth cheddar (the one I accidentally dropped on the floor), Wicked white mould brie and Red Square washed rind.

The stand out match was easily the washed rind with Brooklyn’s Sorachi Ace. Our end of the table were already Sorachi Ace fans and we happily tucked into our bottle before stealing a half bottle from an adjoining table who were heading for the door. The washed rind was a fantastic example of great creaminess and strong mushroom rind that just begs to be eaten. The Sorachi Ace just bubbled over it and it was heavenly!

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From there we invaded, and trust me that is the correct word for it, The Royston – home to the WA Pint of Origin so it was a showcase of Feral, Bootleg, Matso’s and more. I went for a Feral Fanta Pants that, whilst delicious, was perhaps a little over ambitious considering the mass of beer we had just come from.

Soon it was time for a nap and whilst you might be giggling at me, it was a damn good nap! Unlike some I managed to keep it to a quick nap and not a three hour sleep and in no way am I referring to a certain tall brewer from Fremantle. I’m confident that my cheekiness will come back to bite me in the coming days …

Next we were off to The Gathering where Stone and Wood were pouring their first kegs of this years Stone Beer, an annual limited release. Set at Blender Studios filled with various art projects, located down an alley that was marked by the presence of a big taco truck it seems fitting to describe it as ‘oh so Melbourne’. It is a phrase that as a Perth-ite feels compulsory for me to say at least once during my Melbourne adventures.
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The Stone Beer was lovely and light bodied with a great roastiness and toffee notes going on. I briefly got to meet the brewer, Brad Rogers, and hopefully I managed to avoid sounding like a crazy beer fan as I told him how much I enjoyed their beers.

By this stage it was definitely time for some dinner so a handful of us walked to Cookie, Melbourne’s beer hall meets Thai food and we sat down to a feast of spiced chicken, soft shell crab, drunken noodles (name of the dish and in no way reflective of how we were), pan fried squid and pork ribs. The beer list was a short novel but I didn’t have a look in fear of analysis paralysis, instead I opted for a nice little Berlinerweiss from Bridge Road Brewers that I had spied on tap earlier. At 3% abv with a little funk and a little green stone fruit flavours, it was a great way to softly finish a very big day.

Day 1 survived … Day Two, let’s see what you’ve got!

If found please return to … aka: Where I’ll be during Good Beer Week

Holy hop flowers Batman, I am SO excited. It’s just days until Melbourne’s Good Beer Week!

good beer week logo

Holy hop flowers Batman, I am SO excited. It’s just a couple of days until Melbourne’s Good Beer Week!

For those who aren’t aware Good Beer Week, as the name suggests, is a week long celebration of all things beer. There are events across Melbourne to suit everyone whether your’re a beer-nerd or just a little beer-curious.

Meet brewers, drink beer, have fun and survive – that’s my agenda for Good Beer Week but to be more specific, here is what I’m going to during Good Beer Week. Thank heavens for Google calendar …

Saturday 18th May

The Apple & The Goat – a lunch degustation with the guys from Melbourne’s Mountain Goat Brewery and New York’s Brooklyn Brewery

The Gathering – a Stone & Wood event showcasing their 2013 edition of Stone Beer is something I don’t want to miss and with these words included in the blurb it was hard to resist “Entry is free… and so are hugs from the brewer Brad Rogers”

Sunday 19th May

East versus West – Beer and Food Title Fight – Josie Bones in one corner representing Melbourne with Five Bar in the opposite corner punching for Perth. Who will win? Naturally I will be cheering on Five Bar with chef Mitch Mitchell, aka Beersine since he’s not only a great chef but all round good guy and once upon a time I was assistant manager at Five. Come on West!

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver Photography
Photo Courtesy of Jessica Shaver Photography

Monday 20th May

Prickly Moses Rare and Wild – four words, “rare aged reserve beers”. Sold.

Tuesday 21st May

Cavalier Creation Degustation – small batch experimental beers matched with amazing food, this will be a cracker! Plus I get to write about it for Crafty Pint and look extra super nerdy with my Google tablet for note taking. God I’m a dork.

Wednesday 22nd May

Brewers and Chewers – it’s three events in one – meet the brewer, musical chairs and speed dating; I’m in.

Thursday 23rd May

Beer and Cheese Experience – I’ve never been to The Local Taphouse so I figured what better way to introduce myself to the venue than to combine it with two of my favourite things – beer and cheese.

Friday 24th May

Birra del Borgo Collaboration Celebration – for me the Birra del Borgo Duchessic was one of those beers that comes along, totally blows you away and stays with you for ages. That’s why I want to go to this event – to meet the brewer and shake his hand and say thank you.

Duchessic (frame)

Saturday 25th

GABS baby! Oh year – the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular – jam packed with beers brewed especially for the festival aka “festival beers” all in the name of brewing creativity. I’m so very there!

Eagle Bay and Monk Collage
Brew Day – Eagle Bay and The Monk collaborating for the Cacao Cabana, one of the many many festival beers being debuted at GABS

Sunday 26th May

Boatrocker Palate Cleanser – finishing the week off on a sour note.

Oh and somewhere in those days I would like to fit in Pint of Origin too …

I’ve already packed a 30 pack of Berocca and extra strength Asprin, I think I’m going to need it!

Feral + Fremantle

Love Fremantle, love The Sail & Anchor and even better when there’s a Feral Tap Takeover and the new Mountain Goat Fancy Pants …

High Street Fremantle

My partner and I recently did a day trip to Fremantle to see his family and play tourists for the day. We walked to The Roundhouse, originally a gaol back in 1831 that is the oldest public building in WA and I learnt that they hung one person in the 55 years it operated. I never knew that! We also did a tour through the HMAS Ovens submarine at the Fremantle Maritime Museum, a highly recommended experience unless you are claustrophobic or considering a career in the navy, if either of these are applicable to you I suggest avoiding it as you would a warm pint of VB.

HMAS Ovens

The destination for lunch was The Sail & Anchor and whilst you may assume this was my idea it was in fact where my partners mum wanted to go. Yippee!

I was, of course, well aware of the Feral tap takeover happening at The Sail for the month of March so I was extra excited about being at The Sail.

To get the bad news out of the way, the Feral Watermelon Warhead continues to elude me. Originally created for the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (GABS) last year, the beer proved popular and thankfully it’s now on regular rotation. I have missed it a couple of times now, clearly indicative of a brilliant beer I reckon, but hopefully there will be a pint in my future.

The first beer I had was the Feral Runt, an American Pale Ale that takes it name from it’s position as Hop Hogs little brother, talk about big trotters to fill! The Runt has big aromas of fresh floral hops that had me compulsively sticking my nose in my glass like some sort of hop addict, a light mouth feel and flavours of grapefruit, pine and resin.  There’s no doubt the Hop Hog genetics are there but just a little softer. I really enjoyed it though I did feel a little taunted by the Feral website, describing the Runt as being for those who “can’t hack the true Hop Hog experience” Oh those cheeky hogs, someone get me a pint of Hop Hog stat!

Feral at The Sail

Next up, and last for that matter since I had no desire to be the intoxicated girlfriend at a family gathering, was the Mountain Goat Fancy Pants. After trying to decide on another Feral beer I noticed Fancy Pants on the list and I just had to have it. Just like Feral The Runt has beeretic links (that was me trying to combine the words “beer” and “genetic”, bare with me folks) to Feral Hop Hog, the Mountain Goat Fancy Pants is a decedent of Mountain Goat Hightail Ale. Like it’s Hightail predecessor the Fancy Pants is also an Amber Ale except a lot bigger and, to quote Crafty Pint, “sans financial constraints”. The nose is toasty with caramel and red fruit and a fuller body than its Hightail brother. The flavours are bold with the toasty aroma following through to the palate, floral and herbal stuff going on, tropical fruit and an assertive, but not aggressive, bitter finish.

According to Crafty, the hops Mountain Goat are using in their Fancy Pants are Galaxy and Cascade, two popular varieties many beer lovers will be familiar with. Galaxy can be found in the likes of Stone & Wood Pacific Ale and Eagle Bay Single Batch Summer Ale. Cascade will be well known by hop heads from many American style Pale Ales and India Pale Ales such as Little Creatures Pale Ale and Sierra Nevada Pale Ale.

I am more than slightly excited to see what Feral and Mountain Goat will be doing at GABS and Good Beer Week in May … the countdown is on and I’m already mentally packing!

Mountain Goat Fancy Pants

Hottest 100 + Beer

I have to confess. I’ve never voted in this before, mainly because I’m pretty lazy and it all just seemed too hard. How on earth do you select a top 5? I’m sure it doesn’t need saying but there are some really amazing, delicious, tasty, dangerous, sexy, heart-pounding exciting beers being made all over the country … how the hell do you pick a top 5?

It’s Hottest 100 time again – beer style, of course. That’s right  – the Taphouse Hottest 100 is back and if you’ve not got your votes in yet I suggest you hurry up! Pick your favourite Australian beers from 2012 and vote now peoples!

Taphouse Hottest 100

It all sounds so easy, right?

I have to confess. I’ve never voted in this before, mainly because I’m pretty lazy and it all just seemed too hard. How on earth do you select a top 5? I’m sure it doesn’t need saying but there are some really amazing, delicious, tasty, dangerous, sexy, heart-pounding exciting beers being made all over the country … how the hell do you pick a top 5?

I reckon James Davidson from Beer Bar Band blog had a great system for selecting a top 5 – check it out here. If only I could steal it but sadly the percentage of beers I drink that actually end up on Untappd are rather small. I’m not sure whether to put this down to laziness or denial, either way it’s not an accurate tool for me to judge the beers I’ve most enjoyed in 2012.

In reality I could have spent hours painstakingly putting together a top 5, based on any number of criteria from most consumed, most written about, most interesting, most whatever. In the end I looked at my list of beers on my blog and voted for the five beers that jumped out at me and triggered great beery memories.

Feral Ales at Five (1)

I remember the first time I tried this, it blew me away! Feral Hop Hog is hands down one of my favourite beers and spotting a barrel fermented version made me excited like a small child fueled by red cordial. Generally only found at Feral Brewing, Swan Valley, but sometimes it appears at my old stomping ground, Five Bar in Mt Lawley.

The Monk - The Chief

The joyful sounds coming from the table at the Perth Royal Beer Show awards when the team at The Monk picked up their award was awesome. Tasting the beer at the Exhibitor Tasting was even better.

On a side note, be sure to like /follow Two Brewers Abroad – Steve (formerly of The Monk) and Steph (formerly of Gage Roads) as they hit the USA for lots of beery adventures!

Goat Bottles (1)

Gotta love a collaborative limited release brew! The first bottle I tried of this was a gift from some friends and it was love at first sight. An amazingly tasty beer and I was lucky enough to drink it with Goat Brewer, Dave, at The Night of the Goat at Five Bar, Mt Lawley … well, we all drank this until it ran out but luckily there was plenty of Surefoot Stout and Hightail Ale to ensure we were replenished!

Black Market IPA Words

When I am at Bootleg Brewery and this seasonal beer is on tap I just have to have it. It’s that simple. If you’re lucky you may be able to find a 6 pack in your local bottle-o, I do love the packaging on this one too – ye olde newspaper style.

Temple Midnight IPA (1)

Tried this around the time of my 30th birthday, made pizzas and chilli prawns and it was sensational. I remember sitting on the couch, sipping away and wishing my glass would do that magical refill thing from the Tim Tams ad.

girl + goat

Last Wednesday night at Five Bar, located in Perth’s ever trendy suburb of Mt Lawley where Espresso Martinis are in constant demand, it was beer that took centre stage and Mountain Goat was undisputed King.

Five Bar | 560 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley
Keep up with beer events at Five at their Facebook page

Not so long ago I was the Assistant Manager at Five Bar, a small bar with a big beer focus, located in the increasingly trendy suburb of Mt Lawley. In an area where the demand for Espresso Martinis runs rampantly high, to be opening a beer focused small bar was just a little bit exciting. We started running beer events, and to see how many people were interested in and loved their craft beer was the best part of my job. I’ve moved on to another job in another place, but I will happily drive back for great beer and to catch up with old friends.

Wednesday night saw Five Bar host Mountain Goat Co-Founder and Chief Brewer Dave Bonighton for ‘A Night of the Goat’. He had come over from Melbourne for a brief visit to see what was happening here in the West and I think he went back to Melbourne with a smile on his face.

The Mountain Goat story starts in the 1990s with two mates, Dave and Cam, who wanted to make craft beers. Their first beer, Hightail Ale, hit Victorian shelves for the first time in 1997 and their Steam Ale, certified organic, soon followed. Since then we have seen a diverse list of limited release beers (called ‘Rare Breeds’) and collaboration beers (called ‘Cross Breeds’) emerge to show off just what this little Australian brewery can do. Whilst I was working at Five Bar I snapped up lots of Mountain Goat beers and delighted in customers trying them for the first time and instantly falling in love. As you can imagine I was really quite excited at the prospect of meeting Dave; I got to Perth at 3pm so I had 3 hours to kill until the event…

After driving for a couple of hours I felt deserving of a pint and so arranged to meet a friend at The Queens, just up the road. Once it was a pub where the taps were an even spilt between Carlton United and Lion Nathan but nowadays their line up of draught beers is rather impressive, boasting Mountain Goat, White Rabbit, Two Birds and Feral Brewing to name a few. I noticed Vale IPA (South Australia) on tap and since I have only enjoyed it once before from the bottle I had to have it. It’s an extremely well balanced IPA with all the great characteristics I love about American IPAs – the citrus, the pine and the stone fruits and the malt sweetness backs it up perfectly too. That pint went down a little embarrassingly quickly. Opting for something a little more refreshing and with bigger tropical fruits and passionfruit I then chose Two Birds Golden Ale for my next drink and that too disappeared rapidly.  The scene was set for a rather beery evening..

Vale IPA at The Queens | 520 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley
Vale IPA
5.5% abv | 41 IBUs
Style: American India Pale Ale
Hops: Galaxy, Nelson Sauvin & Citra

It was 5pm when I arrived at Five Bar for ‘The Night of the Goat’ event, still a good hour before it all kicked off so it gave me the chance to say hello to the staff and catch up on what has been happening. My early arrival also came with a beery reward as they had managed to get a hold of a keg of Collaborator – a brew from Feral Brewing (WA) and Two Brothers (VIC) that was created in celebration of 20 years of the Australian International Beer Awards. A schooner would tide me over quite nicely until all things Goat underway (tehehe!).

I sat at the bar enjoying the Collaborator, a really interesting stone fruit/chocolate sort of number (I nabbed two bottles whilst doing my obligatory stop at The International Beer Shop so I’ll be sure to do a separate post shortly on this one) and admired the big blackboard menu. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, it was all hands on deck as the chefs Mitch and Nelly were busy preparing the menu they had specially put together for the night.

Mountain Goat Surefoot Stout
4.9% abv
Style: Sweet StoutMountain Goat Hightail Ale
4.5% abv
Style: English Amber Ale

 

With the kitchen buzzing, Mountain Goat pouring from two taps and bottles of Mountain Goat Rare Breed and Cross Breed in the fridges, it was just a matter of time and people. Looking around the bar at 5.30pm it looked like a fairly typical Wednesday night but by 6.15pm I noticed a lot of familiar beer-loving faces. By 6.30pm it was almost a full house and almost half the people had come down to meet Dave and get their fill of all things Goat – both in the beer and the food sense.

The Menu

Mountain Goat Surefoot Stout recommended with Goat Shoulder + Mushroom Pie

Mountain Goat Hightail Ale recommended with Roast Roulade of Goat Leg, Chevre and Beer Baked Quince

Mountain Goat Two Step Cider recommended with Milk Poached Goat Belly w/ Fennel + Apple Salad

Mountain Goat Steam Ale recommended with Goat Tartare and Toasted Baguette

The Gypsy & The Goat Pepperberry Black IPA recommended with Goat Shoulder Sausage + Plum Chutney

Mountain Goat Rare Breed Rye IPA recommended with Ryppa Goat Balls

Goat Shoulder and Mushroom Pie

Now I must admit that I didn’t do any of the beer and food matching suggestions, instead drinking mostly Surefoot Stout and Hightail Ale off tap since it’s pretty rare to find those pouring fresh where I am. It was easy to enjoy several schooners of Surefoot Stout, a 4.9% abv sweet stout that is part of the Mountain Goat Rare Breed range, that was once in yearly production. It boasts well balanced bitterness, soft dark malts and hints of chocolate and coffee. I switched briefly to Hightail Ale to enjoy with the food and it was a sensational match with the Goat Tartare; the meat was soft and flavoursome with the spices from Hightail enhancing all the intricacies of the Tartare. Sadly I missed out on the Goat Shoulder and Mushroom Pie and Ryppa Goat Balls, purely from talking way too much, and therefore there will be no jokes about Goat Balls here; Ryppa or otherwise…

[Apologies in advance for the red hue on all my photos – I could say it was a deliberate tactic to emphasis the amber hue of the great beers on the night but it’s just my lack of attention to colour balance on my camera]

Goat Tartare
Roasted Goat Leg with Chevre & Beer Baked Quince

The Roasted Roulade of Goat Leg with Chevre and Beer Baked Quince was sensational. Garnished with a little malt that soaked up as much of the sauce as it possibly could (and I don’t blame it), this dish was a little sweet and quite rich; it presented beautifully.

The Goat Shoulder Sausage and Plum Chutney was a delightful little dish that was lightly spiced and soft with just enough fruit from the chutney providing a nice contrast. If I had managed to get a hold of The Gypsy & The Goat (a collaboration between Mikkeller and Mountain Goat) before it sold out, I am sure it would have been a lovely match.

Goat Sausage and Plum Chutney

I had not intended on having the Milk Poached Goat Belly with Fennel and Apple Salad as I couldn’t quite get my head around the concept of milk poaching and I have never really enjoyed fennel. However it was ordered for me and it ended up being one of the dishes I enjoyed the most. The meat was falling-apart-soft and against the crispness from the Granny Smith apple it made a simple but amazing contrast. Again, a garnish of malt on top not only looked great but provided a little more contrast and flavour to an already great dish.

Goat Belly with Fennel and Apple Salad

One of the best things about beer is the people and meeting Dave was nothing short of a pleasure. Like all brewers I have been fortunate to meet, Dave is delighted to chat all things beer with fellow beer-lovers. He smiles a lot, laughs a lot and he’s curious about peoples journeys, not purely how they found Mountain Goat, but how they came to delve into the craft beer culture in the first place.

As I have said time and time again, I love the stories behind beer and even when those stories are pretty simple it still speaks volumes about beer. To demonstrate, I was in conversation with Dave and one of Five Bar’s regular beer event attendees who was asking Dave how the collaboration between Mountain Goat and Mikkeller came to be. In different industries I am convinced that if you enquired about the origins of an international collaboration you’d get a very long story involving marketing plans and cross promotional branding activities. Dave’s story, however, was more a case of two brewers who were going to be in the same place at the same time and thought it would be fun to make something together, highlighting the open nature of the beer community.

I am pretty sure I walked around with a big smile on my face for the entire evening. Meeting Dave, enjoying the Goat beers and food and chatting with beer folk from all parts of the industry; it’s all why I love beer.

Co-Founder and Chief Brewer at Goat – Dave – and I; see how happy beer makes you?!

Fried Mice + Fresh Fish + Local Beer

I love the Clancy’s Fish Pubs, the food is always tasty and fresh with a great range of tap beers with a local focus. When visiting any of the Clancy’s Fish Pubs – Fremantle, City Beach, Applecross and Dunsborough – it should be compulsory to order a minimum of one serve of Fried Mice and a pint of something local.

It was my boyfriends birthday over the weekend so his folks came down for a visit and we thought a Sunday lunch would be a nice way to spend an afternoon. We wanted to take them somewhere they hadn’t been before and if that place happened to have some fantastic beers on tap, well, that was just a cheeky bonus. Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough fit the bill nicely, and since they don’t take bookings it was an easy exercise of rolling up at our leisure.

I love the Clancy’s Fish Pubs, the food is always tasty and fresh with a great range of tap beers with a local focus. When visiting any of the Clancy’s Fish Pubs – Fremantle, City Beach, Applecross and Dunsborough – it should be compulsory to order a minimum of one serve of Fried Mice and a pint of something local.

Fried Mice
Battered and deep fried Jalapenos stuffed with Persian Fetta
Served on Red Capsicum Rouille with Sour Cream
(gotta have something to ease the burning heat!)

It was just after 12noon when we arrived at Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough and plenty of other people had clearly had the same idea; not surprising since it was a sunny long weekend and the last one West Australians will get for a few months.

We hit the bar and delved head first in a diverse list of tap beers with a lot of local representation from Little Creatures, Nail Ale, Eagle Bay Brewing, Bootleg Brewery, Cowaramup Brewery, Tanglehead Brewing and Feral Brewery. With so many great local beers to choose from, it makes for a delightfully hard choice! We selected an array of beers to start with so we could do a little tasting of our own …

  • Nail Ale Australian Pale Ale
  • Eagle Bay Kolsch
  • Mountain Goat Steam Ale
  • Cowaramup Pilsener
It’s always a pleasure to have a pint of Nail Ale Australian Pale Ale, it’s consistently delicious with a great balance of bitter and fruit. It uses pale and crystal malts with Tasmanian Pride of Ringwood hops, for earthy, strong flavours, and Hallertau for floral aromas. Since Clancy’s are the only venues I see Nail Ale on tap it almost seems mandatory to get a pint.
Pint of Nail Ale Australian Pale Ale
They may not be the biggest brewery but Nail Ale do make headlines – Antarctic Nail Ale was a very limited release of 30 bottles in 2010; Nail Ale Pale brewed with Antarctic ice brought back by the Sea Shepard from an anti-whaling campaign. A single bottle sold for $800 in a fund raising auction for the Sea Shepard Conversation Society. If anyone tried it, I’d love to know the result!
I was given the responsibility of selecting beers for my boyfriends parents, a task that I happily took on. They enjoy lagers and pilsners and shared in a few Coopers Pale Ales we had the evening before. With this in mind I picked the Eagle Bay Kolsch and Mountain Goat Steam Ale.
I’ve said it a number of times but Kolsch is one of my favourite styles both for flavour, and as a style for recommending to lager enthusiasts. Eagle Bay Kolsch is light bodied with lovely hops and a little spice and stone fruit. It’s bright and looks gorgeous in the glass.
The words Mountain Goat Steam Ale conjure up images in my mind of a goat driving an old steam train. As for the beer itself, it is delicately herbal and fruity with a bit of wheat malt for extra refreshment and Cascade and Citra hops. Coming in at #37 in the 2011 The Critics’ Choice: Australia’s Best Beers, up from #47 the previous year, it’s also 100% certified organic.
Thankfully both beers were enjoyed; there’s something sweetly rewarding when you pick a beer for someone and they like it and order another.
It had also been almost a year since I’d tasted the Cowaramup Pilsener from a tasting paddle on a visit to the brewery almost a year ago. During my day in the brewhouse of Colonial Brewery with Mal, Head Brewer, he had been singing the praises of Jeremy and his Cowaramup Pilsener so when I spotted it off tap I was keen to have a pint. The family owned and operated Cowaramup Brewery lies on the edge of Margaret River in Cowaramup, a town that is affectionately known by the locals as “cow town”, and they grow a few hop varieties on site that are used in their beers. Their Pilsener was awarded a Champion Lager trophy at the 2011 Australian International Beer Awards and made its first appearance in latest The Critics’ Choice Australia’s Best Beers at #58. It’s a German style Pilsener conditioned for seven weeks and using Perle and Tettnanger hops, both of which originate in Germany.
Perle Hops were breed from the English variety, Northern Brewer and an undisclosed male parent at the German Hull Hop Research Institute. Whilst that may bring up a kind of Frankenstein inspired image of producing hops, the result here is not disastrous. Perle has great versatility for bittering, flavour and aroma. Perhaps this sort of versatility, combined with a resistance to common hop diseases, is why it’s the most widely planted hop variety in Germany.
Tettnanger, a Southern Germany hop variety, possessing similar characteristics to Saaz hops (most known for their presence in Pilsners) and considered a bit of a “classic” hop. In wide demand from all over the world, it’s traditionally used to produce German Pilsners for it’s citrus/grassy flavours.
We soon noticed the line for ordering food was starting to grow so we grabbed our beers and headed for the queue. When we first joined the line our intention was to order one serve of Fried Mice and one serve of Grilled Sardine Fillets. By the time we reached the counter we ordered 2 serves of Fried Mice, the Grilled Sardine Fillets and 2 serves of Tempura House Fish & Chips. I wonder whether that happens to everyone standing in the line which just happens to be right where the food comes out of the kitchen.
Soon it was time for another round and my boyfriend and I opted for something different again and something darker.
  • Bootleg Black Market IPA
  • Tanglehead Stout
The Black Market IPA is one of my favourite offerings from Bootleg Brewery which has been operating in the Margaret River region since 1994. The happy harmony between dark malts, creating richness and darkness, and aromatic and floral hops, makes for one of my favourite brews. It was also an interesting match to the Fried Mice, acting like an IPA would to the heat of the dish on top of dark malt richness adding a contrasting rich sweetness. The Black IPA, India Black Ale, or whatever you want to call it, has been surfacing in popularly in recent years and if you’re keen you’ll find a great article on the style on ‘Australian Brew News’.
Bootleg Black Market IPA + Fried Mice + Tempura Fish & Chips
The fish was caught and delivered that day!
Tanglehead Brewery is located in Albany amongst the Great Southern region of Western Australia, the town is most commonly associated with whale watching, the Stirling Ranges and Bluff Knoll. I have not visited Albany since I was a kid (and the only thing I remember is being car sick and throwing up in the hotel) so I will have to make a point of returning soon. They had the Tanglehead Stout on tap, which is an Oatmeal Stout, silky and rich and dominated by chocolate and coffee notes. It was a rather strange follow up to the Black Market IPA and played a bit of havoc with my palate but certainly a nice velvety drop.
The food arrived in good time considering the place had filled up very quickly and we wondered just how many serves of their Tempura Fish & Chips would have been pumped from the kitchen over the long weekend. The fish tasted fresh and flavoursome and was perfectly cooked; the Fried Mice were great (as always) and thankfully didn’t burn your palate to the point of numbness and the Grilled Sardine Fillets were a great tangy little bite to start on.
Grilled Sardine Fillets with Chargrilled Ciabatta and Scorched Lemon
Tempura House Fish and Chips with Green Salad and Tartare Sauce
The atmosphere at Clancy’s is always a bright and bubbly one with yellow, red and blue seats scattered throughout the venue. The grass, having seen a decent dose of rain recently, was healthy and green with parents and kids running around, kicking a footy (despite seeing West Coast lose to Brisbane on the big screen TV inside) and enjoying the open space and sunshine. The staff are friendly and it speaks volumes when you see the bartenders having a laugh and a joke with each other and their customers; it looks like a great team with Jane (formerly of the Clancy’s Fish Pub Fremantle) running the show. Combine this with great fresh food (their fish is caught and delivered fresh daily) and an impressive representation of local beers and ciders and it really captures what the South West is all about.