Some girls get flowers, I get beer

I like beer more than I like flowers so it’s a good thing I have such a wonderful partner who often brings me gifts of the beery variety

Flowers are nice. They are pretty, they smell good but let’s face it, you can’t drink them. You can’t savour a well poured flower in your glass. You can’t share a flower with your friend and say “Try this! It goes really well with the Gorgonzola”. This is why I like beer more than I like flowers. Lucky for me I have a wonderful boyfriend who often chooses to surprise me with presents of beer rather than bunches of flowers.

Brewdog & Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus Barley Wine 10.5% ABV
Brewdog & Oskar Blues Shipwrecker Circus Barley Wine
American style Barleywine | 10.5% ABV

My partner got me this after I had my first taste of beers by Oskar Blues Brewery, Colorado (US) and raved on and on about them. I grabbed them on one of my trips to Cellarbrations Carlisle, getting their Ten Fidy Imperial Stout, Deviant Dale’s IPA and G’Knight Imperial Red Ale. You can check out my blog post on those here. Since I enjoyed them so much he figured I’d like their collaboration with Brew Dog.

He was right.

Barleywines: Big ass beers, originally British, lovingly adopted by the US, both American and English Barleywines are acknowledged as a style with the major difference largely coming down to the almighty hop.

What was the beer like? Well, imagine you got a fruitcake, turned up the spices and plums and in your enthusiasm you were overly generous with the rum. Then you got a little distracted and burnt the bottom of your cake so the base caramelised a little. Then you liquified it.

Chimay Gold 4.8% ABV
Chimay Gold
4.8% ABV

When my partner was beer shopping at Cellarbrations Carlisle the topic of trappist beers came up resulting in this Belgian baby landing in my hot little hands.

Trappist: “where brewing is performed by, or under the supervision of, Trappist monks” [Oxford Companion to Beer] of which there are only seven breweries in existence – 6 in Belgium and 1 in the Netherlands. Not strictly a style as such as it’s their authenticity rather than similar flavours/ingredients that categorise them. In short – monk make awesome brewers.

It’s been a while between Chimay’s for me so it was nice to come back to one of the first breweries I got to know when I got hooked on beer many years ago.

Aromas reminded me of the base of a lemon cheesecake but there’s much more happening, I got hints of melon, lemon and banana. Soft yet with a full mouth feel with big spices coming through as the beer warmed up a little, loved the clove and lemony flavours.

8 Wired Superconductor Double IPA Double IPA | 8.8% ABV
8 Wired Superconductor Double IPA
Double IPA | 8.8% ABV

We love our hops in this house so when my partner gave me this present it was only a matter of hours before it was opened.

8 Wired: from New Zealand, brewer Søren Eriksen, well known for their HopWired IPA

His timing was great, my two most recent visits to The Pourhouse in Dunsborough have involved drinking the little brother of this beer, suitably named Semiconductor – a session IPA at a very reasonable 4.4% abv (you can read more here if you’re so inclined). Now it was time to see how it’s big brother stacked up.

It was really freakin’ good.

The aromas on the Superconductor are big and punchy, so much so that I found the flavours weren’t as strong as I was expecting. But don’t get the wrong impression, this is a very flavoursome beer. Toffee, citrus and tropical fruits with the emphasis on pineapple. The mouth feel verges on oily with a long dry and citrusy finish.

 

Bro! Burgers and Kiwi Beers

As a part of Good Beer Week Brother Burger were playing host to a tap takeover of New Zealand brewers.

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Friday 24th May – Day 7 into Good Beer Week …

Still standing and still wanting more beers, day seven consisted of multiple GBW events, starting just before lunch at Pint of Origin Tasmania venue The Gertrude Hotel and ending at PoO Western Australia, The Royston about ten hours later.

My partner and I started at The Gertrude, ticking off another Pint of Origin venue, before lunch at Brother Burger then a short walk to The Tramway for the South Australian PoO. From there it was time to get to Slowbeer for the Birds del Borgo event and when that finished there was The Royston just a short stumble away.

For such a big day/night it’s a good thing we got a big feed in for lunch at Brother Burger and the Marvellous Brew; oh and what a mouthful of a name by the way! As a part of Good Beer Week Brother Burger were playing host to a tap takeover of New Zealand brewers.

The week-long event was called Marvellous Liberty, presumably a call out to both their venue and New Zealand’s Liberty Brewing to whom half the taps were dedicated. The other half were pouring Croucher Brewing beers.

We had two beers from each brewery. From Liberty we had the XPA Extra Pale Ale and Yakima Scarlet, a hoppy red ale. From Croucher we had their Pilsner, a Czech style done with Kiwi hops, and The Patriot, a black IPA.

Liberty Brewing
When I read the words “pale pacific ale” on the Liberty XPA my mind immediately went to Stone & Wood. Their Pacific Ale is just gorgeous and seems to be universally loved. Unintentionally this may have put some pretty high standards in my head.

Liberty XPA had some stone fruit, citrus and a little cereal-ness with a good solid bitter finish. It’s a pretty good drop but when we had their hoppy red ale, the Yakima Scarlet, it quickly became a favourite for the day. Spicy, hoppy, fruity and just really damn good.

Croucher Brewing
The pilsner was a good little beer and did exactly it says on the box – a Czech inspired pilsner with generous Kiwi hops giving the otherwise bitter, floral and crisp style a fruity New Zealand edge.

Having had a lot of hops in our weekly beer diet and encountering some big hop monster beers during Good beer Week we were a little reluctant to go down the path of a black IPA. Reluctant but not against and since it was highly recommended by the guy serving us we ordered it.

Thank god we did.

What a great black IPA! Certainly full of fruity hops but equally boasting fantastic malt characters like coffee, burnt toast and chocolate.

It was great to discover two more New Zealand breweries which I’ll definitely keep an eye out for their beers in WA.

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deep fried everything

I think everyone gets the occasional craving for fish & chips; the golden deep fried, salty goodness calls out and combined with a nice beer in hand at the same time – bliss! That craving hit my boyfriend and I a couple of nights ago so we armed ourselves with some Mac’s Hop Rocker, two fillets of Gold Band Snapper from the local seafood place and set about making a rather unhealthy dinner

I think everyone gets the occasional craving for fish & chips; the golden deep fried, salty goodness calls out and combined with a nice beer in hand at the same time – bliss!

The above mentioned craving hit my boyfriend and I a couple of nights ago so we armed ourselves with some Mac’s Hop Rocker, two fillets of Gold Band Snapper from the local seafood place and set about making a rather unhealthy dinner.

I remember first trying Mac’s Hop Rocker about 5 years ago and loved it because it was a damn interesting pilsner; crisp hoppy bitterness and tangy citrus aromas in a smooth, medium bodied beer (5% abv). I think it may have been the first New Zealand beer I had come across and since then I have recommended it to friends and customers over the years. It was also a pretty good choice for the meal as the crispness of the beer cuts through the batter but doesn’t overpower the fish. The only thing I dislike, I have to say, is the pull tab cap to open. It strongly appeals to the degree-in-marketing part of me but it threatens to slice open the finger of the bartender part of me!

In order to make fish & chips we decided to each take on a section of the meal; my boyfriend took “fish” and I took “chips”. I think I did well in the delegation of responsibilities.

The batter was made as per normal and it was a case of some Mac’s for the batter and some Mac’s for the batter-maker and threw in some diced spring onions and garlic into the batter just for good measure. I, myself, had no excuse as no beer went into the potatoes, just devoured by me and honestly, I’m okay with this.

My first step was to slice the ruby red potatoes into wedges and then cheat by throwing them into the microwave for a little bit to save time. Next they were doused in garlic, paprika and olive oil and tossed into a hot pan. And honestly, that was about the extent of it.

It’s hard for me to say what effect adding Mac’s Hop Rocker had to the batter. I’ve had many versions of “beer battered fish” at several pubs and perhaps I don’t have the palate to recognise the differences. However, what I do know is that the meal was delicious. The Gold Band Snapper fillets were thick and perfectly cooked through, the batter was tasty and golden and didn’t taste fatty or greasy. The potato wedges, if I do say so myself, where fab but could perhaps have used more paprika. I should also add here that we got a little carried away once the fish was done and wondered what else we could deep fry since the oil was sitting there, begging to be used. I guess this is how deep fried Mars Bars came into being but we threw in sliced chorizo instead. It’s really not healthy and it’s really wrong … and it’s kinda right too. We threw on the rocket to add some greenery and also just to ensure the entire meal wasn’t fried! It also colour coordinates with the beer!

Locally caught Gold Ban Snapper from a little seafood shop beside Stratham Downs Roadhouse (clearly I’ve forgotten the name) which also has Forbidden Fruit – my favourite little fruit n veg shop