Twitter + Temple Scarlet Sour

I had a bottle of Temple Scarlet Sour in the fridge and it was just dying to come out and play. Since I have a bit of a love affair going on with Temple, i.e. I’ve loved all their beers I’ve tried so far, I wanted to do something special with it. I took to Twitter to seek advice on food matching with Scarlet Sour.

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I had a bottle of Temple Scarlet Sour in the fridge and it was just dying to come out and play. Since I have a bit of a love affair going on with Temple, i.e. I’ve loved all their beers I’ve tried so far, I wanted to do something special with it.

I took to Twitter to seek advice on food matching with Scarlet Sour.

“Food pairing matches for Temple Scarlet Sour?”, I asked and was grateful (and hungry) at the many responses –

Beer Girl Btes Scarlet Sour Suggestion Slow Beer Mitch Brendan Jeremy

I couldn’t serve up fruit for dinner, as much as I love fruit my partner remains unconvinced. I contemplated serving up cheese as a main meal but decided this was a slippery, heart stopping slope I should not venture down. In the end I decided on pork and taleggio croquettes and turned it into a bit of a tapas style meal.

So the dinner menu looked a little something like this …

Food Matching with Scarlet Sour

With the exception of the chorizo and salad, all foods were picked in the hope they would match with the Temple Scarlet Sour based on Twitter responses.

But first, the beer … Much softer than I had expected, I had it in my head it would be lip puckering sour but it wasn’t the case. The colour was beautiful soft pink, like it was embarrassed, with aromas of berries, flowers and a little herbal too. The sourness was very soft, more of a suggestion, and just lightly carbonated with nice cranberry flavours going on. It would be a good introductory beer into exploring the sour side of the beery world.

The best matches were the taleggio cheese and surprisingly, the pickled onions. 

Taleggio and Picked Onion

I love learning about a new cheese almost as much as a new beer and I had no idea what this cheese was. Assuming you’re a taleggio-virgin too, it’s an Italian cows milk cheese washed in seawater once a week to prevent mould infestation.

I instantly loved the taleggio with its fantastic rubbery texture and mushroomy, dusty rind. Though the aromas are pretty big the flavours are soft, mild and fruity. It made for a nice compliment to the delicate floral notes in the beer.

The very surprising match of Scarlet Sour and pickled onions was actually really simple – sweet, sour and tangy all working together.

It was a nice reminder that sometimes food and beer matching is really very simple, especially a good reminder for me given my tendency to over complicate things and go over the top … but for the record, whilst the croquettes were not the best match they were definitely worth the effort.

Croquettes

Note: Since writing this post Temple Brewing have announced their voluntary liquidation through this statement. I sincerely hope they are able to return to their dream of brewing exceptional beer soon.

Temple + Barra

Temple Brewing is one of those breweries who stop me in my tracks at the bottleshop and create child-like excitement in me if I spot something new. Finding the Saison De Miel generated such excitement – a special edition of their Saison made with honey, hence “de miel”, and therefore had some very big boots to live up to.

Saison Grid
[Left] Saison Dupont pouring at a Five Bar / Beertasters event
[Mid Top] Artisan Saison by Brian Fitzgerald, President of WABA
[Mid Bottom] Romp Ferme Saison by Eagle Bay / The Pourhouse
[Right] Temple Saison
I do love a Saison.

From the family of Farmhouse Ales, the Saison style originated Belgium where farm workers would brew beer in winter to be drunk in summer, hence the name “Saison” which is French for “season”. Not only did it provide beer for summer but it also meant spent grain for the livestock and full time workers still had stuff to do on the farm during winter.

A bunch of farmers brewing beer, now that’s my kind of farm!

So you’ve got farmers, not brewers, making the beer so they’re not out to sell it to the public. As far as my knowledge of the topic goes, this seems to be the reason why there’s not much history on what these beers would have tasted like or even made with. After all, if there’s not enough hops on your farm, you’re going to have to find something else to flavour the beer with. Hello spices! As for grain, well it could have been a matter of whatever was lying around whether that be barley, spelt or wheat or, very likely, a combination.

For a brewer it seems the Saison is whatever you want it to be, whatever herbs or spices you wish to play with, and put your mark on the style. Of course there is a generality that Saisons are usually a little boozy, dry, hopped, fruity and golden but again, it’s wide open to interpretation you don’t want to open a beer with any expectations.

Which brings me to Victoria’s Temple Brewing Saison De Miel.

Temple Grid
[Left] Temple Bicycle Beer
[Mid] Temple Saison De Miel
[Right Top] Temple Midnight IPA
[Right Bottom] Temple Scarlet Sour
Temple Brewing is one of those breweries who stop me in my tracks at the bottleshop and create child-like excitement in me if I spot something new. Finding the Saison De Miel generated such excitement – a special edition of their Saison made with honey, hence “de miel”, and therefore had some very big boots to live up to.

Temple Saison De Miel pours a beautiful golden straw colour with a thick bubbly head that just screams “Consume Me!” I got aromas of mandarin, peach and honey and flavours covered off burnt orange, honey and a hint of nuttiness and a nice clean bitter finish.

Of course I’m not the only one who loves their stuff, this brew gets a mention from James Smith of Crafty Pint fame in his article for James Halliday, a Year in Beer – along with 49 other great Australian Brews, check it out here.

I decided to match it with some grilled barramundi, BBQ potatoes and zingy chilli salsa. The pairing was nice but could have been improved with some sweetness in the dish to really enhance the citrus/honey flavours in the beer, perhaps some honeyed green veggie or mango based salsa.

Temple Saison De Miel with Barramundi

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.

Saison + Cheese

I was recently inspired by a fellow beer lover asking me on the girl+beer Facebook page about some cheese and Saison matching. I wrote back with a few suggestions and couldn’t get the idea out of my head so I did a little tasting of my own!

Beer + Cheese … Amazing!

Saisons are one of the harder styles to pin down to any definite specifications since they didn’t really have any to begin with. They were brewed by farm workers rather than professional brewers and, as such, the recipe consisted of whatever they had access to. Belonging to the family of Farmhouse Ales, Saisons; which is the French word for “season” were brewed in southern Belgium during the cooler months because the poor guys were still waiting for the invention of refrigeration. The story goes that Saisons had three purposes – first, to keep the more senior farm workers employed with things to do (i.e. make beer) when it was cold and farming was pretty quiet; second, to brew refreshing beer for the workers in the summer months and third to produce spent grain that the animals would happily munch away on. Generally speaking they are well carbonated, hoppy, dry and complex with different herbs and spices being incorporated into the mix.

This post was inspired by a fellow beer lover asking me on the girl+beer Facebook page for some cheese and Saison matching ideas and after tinkering around in my beer-adled mind, I came up with three suggestions:

  1. Vintage Cheddar
  2. Brie
  3. Manchego
The question played on my mind for a few days to the point where I just had to try it for myself. I’ve done a little Saison and cheese matching whilst hosting beer events at Five Bar (Perth) but not in depth and it’s not the sort of beer style you tend to have rolling around the fridge. However, since I just happened to have a bottle of Temple Saison chilled and ready to be consumed it seemed like the beer and cheese gods had spoken.
Temple Saison – beautifully well balanced, complex and delightful!
Melbourne, Victoria
6.0% abv | Style: Saison
After work I went to the local IGA and stared at the fridge, my options were a bit limited so I couldn’t get all the matches I had suggested, but that’s what I get for shopping outside normal working hours. I walked away with Harvey Vintage Cheddar, Mainland Camembert and some Hindmarsh Valley Chevre.
Mainland Special Reserve Camembert
New Zealand
The camembert, a soft cow’s milk cheese, was a lovely match in that the texture was soft, creamy and almost stuck to the tongue for the saison to wash over and bubble on top of. I’ve always loved camembert and especially the rind; it’s a very specific taste; earthy and almost like raw mushrooms. It’s texturally interesting with a distinctive flavour, much like saisons with their unique Belgian yeast flavours that are best described as, well, Belgian yeast flavours reflecting that same earthiness and complexity as camembert.
Hindmarsh Valley Chevre
South Australia
The chevre was an interesting match; it is a South Australian goat’s milk cheese that’s soft and almost hints at falling apart but it doesn’t (what a cheeky cheese!). It was a little sharp, a little bittersweet and overall has softer flavours than the Vintage Cheddar and Camembert; the dry wheat like characters in the Saison were similarly soft but distinctive. Perhaps this was more a case of soft, earthy and herbal flavours meeting together.
Harvey Fresh Vintage Cheddar
Western Australia
I think I enjoyed the Vintage Cheddar the most, its texture was ever so slight crumbly and left a thick coating on the tongue which the Saison grabbed hold of. That’s the beautiful thing about beer and cheese matching, the carbonation of the beer and the bitterness from the hops are great for cutting through cheese and opening up flavours. Sharp and fruity, rich and dry, I had initially worried the Vintage Cheddar would be too much for the Saison but I had underestimated this powerful but subtle Belgian ale. It has great hop character in terms of fruity aromas and flavours rather than any strong bitterness and this plays nicely with rich creamy cheddar.
As a style, Saisons touch on all the things I love about beer with interesting heritage, a mind-blowing match with food and when I’ve done tastings of it with people who’ve never tried it before, and never heard about it, they instantly fall in love. It seems to transcend the words “actually I’m not really a beer person” and it’s always fun to turn a sentence like that completely on its head.

girl + the big 3-oh

It’s my 30th birthday and I’ll drink beer if I want to … that was my motto last weekend and here are the main attractions …

It’s my 30th birthday and I’ll drink beer if I want to … that was my motto last weekend and here are the main attractions:

Friday 

Coopers Pale Ale

An Australian classic, consistently good, very tasty and a great starting point for delving into craft beers and very beery weekends!

Coopers Pale Ale
4.5% abv | 375ml bottles
Australian Pale Ale
Coopers Brewing | South Australia

Temple Midnight IPA

Soft, dark and down right lovely; a black IPA with great fresh hop characteristics and rich bitter roasty notes. It’s made from roasted “midnight” (hence the name) American wheat and Columbus, Centennial and Simcoe hops.

I picked it from the fridge to go with dinner which was Deep Fried Chilli Prawns with Hoi Sin Sauce & Garlic Prawn & Chorizo Pizza. I must admit I picked it without registering it was Black IPA so it wasn’t a food match win but it was still damn enjoyable!

It is the first Temple beer I have ever had, having heard nothing but rave reviews so when it came back into stock at The International Beer Shop I just had to have some.

Temple Midnight IPA
7% abv | 500ml
Black IPA
Temple Brewing Company | Melbourne, Australia
Friday Dinner
Deep Fried Chilli Prawns with Hoi Sin Sauce
Garlic Prawn and Chorizo Pizza

Saturday 

White Rabbit Dark Ale

As I was working at Little Creatures during the time White Rabbit was coming to life I was lucky enough to get a glimpse into the brewery before opening day and watch both the White Rabbit Dark Ale and White Ale hit the shelves. Like it’s sister brewery, Little Creatures, it’s making craft beer accessible in both price and taste.

The sun was out on Saturday but it has still been a chilly few days lately so I was looking for something dark but not heavy and White Rabbit Dark Ale fitted nicely. A good amount of hops in some subtle dark malts and not too much bitterness. It went very nicely with a couple of games of giant dominoes too!

Giant Dominoes + Beer

Colonial Keutebier – Limited Edition

An angry 5.6 % abv wheat beer; but angry in a really good way … feisty banana tones, spicy and and refreshing. A cloudy rich honeyed colour, it just begs to be consumed! I can’t wait to check out the next limited edition, a Baltic Porter, that is due for release in the coming weeks – luckily for me I got to  see the first batch being brewed!

Colonial Keutebier
5.6% abv | on tap at Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough
Keutebier (wheat ale)

Sunday

Feral / 2 Brothers Collaborator – Special Release

I’ve not had that much experience with brown ales but there’s plenty of time for me to fix that however the Feral / 2 Brothers Collaborator may have set my standards rather high. Beautifully hoppy with rich caramel sweetness, hints of stone fruit and spice and since it was made to celebrate 20 years of AIBA (Australian International Beer Awards) it seemed a fitting beer to celebrate my own little milestone – a mention of girl+beer in The Sunday Times STM!

The Collaborator takes its hat off to the AIBAs and the Australian brewing industry as a whole by using nothing but all Australian ingredients. Galaxy, Stella and Summer hops are used along with Pale, Crystal and Australian Oats. Read more about the Collaborator at Australian Brew News. Only 16 hectolitres were brewed for the AIBA awards and Melbourne’s self proclaimed beer-obsessed venue, Beer Deluxe, so getting my hands on two bottles from The International Beer Shop was quite the feat! I wonder how long until we open the second bottle!?

Feral / 2 Brothers Collaborator
5.5% abv | 330ml bottle
Feral Brewing (WA) + 2 Brothers Brewery (VIC)
Australian Brown Ale

Two Birds Sunset Ale

The two birds themselves, Jayne and Danielle, brew their beer at Southern Bay in Victoria and grew up right here in Perth. Sunset Ale is their second beer, following the summery fruity Golden Ale, and I thought it was going to be best enjoyed on the beach. We opened two bottles and sat down in the sun, on the sand and enjoyed the beach that was almost completely absent of people. It was an oh-so-lovely way to end a weekend!

Great rich stone fruit and biscuit characteristics, the Sunset Ale is brewed with US Citra and Australian Cascade hops with Pale, Wheat and crystal malts. This was another find from The International Beer Shop though you can find the Two Birds Golden Ale on tap at The Queens, Mt Lawley.

Two Birds Sunset Ale | Best Enjoyed on the Beach
4.6% abv | 330ml bottle
American Style Red Ale
Two Birds Brewing (VIC)
Loving Life with Two Birds Sunset Ales

So that was my great beery 30th birthday weekend – what more could a beer-loving girl ask for than her amazing boyfriend, beautiful craft beers, a nice pub and way too much food?! Brilliant!