GBW 2014: The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular aka GABS

If you’re thinking of heading to the last session of this years GABS festival I highly recommend you do! Read on if you really need more persuading …

Over the last two days I’ve survived two sessions at this years GABS festival held at the Royal Exhibition Building nestled in Carlton Gardens.

Two sessions + 45 different beers = one palate wrecked but very happy girl.

Session Five, the final one for the weekend, kicks off at 12noon with loads of events and activities on top of all the beery goodness. At 1pm there’s a Paddle Race Challenge at The Local Taphouse stall, you can learn about beer and cheese pairing at 2pm in the Coopers Craft Beer Challenge and if you’re feeling strong you can arm wrestle a brewer at the Bridge Road Brewing stall. For more information on these and more events, download the ‘GABS 2014’ app for both android and iPhone or check out the website.

I was impressed with the festival last year and this year they’ve continued to leave me wide-eyed. Improved layout gives you a wider scope of the brewers market where you’ll find stalls from your favourite Australian and International brewers. When I say stalls I’m not talking trestle tables with an ice bucket on top, I’m talking full bars and there’s giant cardboard monsters, lots of fresh hops, a caravan and today there was even a barber on hand for free haircuts!
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Now let’s get into the beer. There is a lot of it, there are easy drinking ones and rich, crazy ones. Here are my top tips from the last two days …

Sharing is caring
Did I mention there are lots of beers at this festival? The festival beers, those brewed especially for the GABS festival, number well over 100 so if you’re looking to try as many as possible then I’d recommend playing team. Share paddles with your friends, consult and get different beers.
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Eat first and eat big
Make sure you have a big feed before you get there and start drinking lots of beer. There’s plenty of food at the festival however if you drink first and then think about food you might find you’re already a few stumbly steps behind.

Talk to people
There are brewers and brewery reps galore who are always up for a chat, introduce yourself, say hello and ask whatever you want to ask. The beer community is generous and full of great stories.
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Remember context
Some of these beers are monsters, rich and truly indulgent. Some are clean pilsners and low ABV ales, remember this when evaluating your beers. You wouldn’t have a steak tartare and complain that it wasn’t cooked enough! Same goes here, there are beers that aren’t meant to be hop monsters or extremely boozy.

Beers to try

Temple Scarlet Super – fresh cranberries, hibiscus flowers from Queensland and bacteria to give you a real cranberry fruit flavour with assertive tartness. This is the best way to start your day.
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True South Spice Market – if you’re like me and have a cupboard full of assorted spices like cumin, curry powder and coriander this beer embraces all these spices within a soft Belgian witbier. I don’t know how but it is so well balanced and flavoursome and still very much a wheat beer at heart.

2 Brothers Creme Caramel – stupidly rich and indulgent, this baby is not subtle and not for the faint hearted. If you’re the sort of person who orders decadent chocolate desserts then this is for you.
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Brewcult Pepper Steak Porter – 60kg of black peppercorns went into this bad boy, the taste is just what it says. I reckon some beef jerky wouldn’t go astray here.

Renaissance Brewing Export Pilsner – full of NZ hops it is clean, refreshing with hoppy tropical fruit. You could easily have a few of these on a Friday night.

Have fun and don’t forget to vote for your favourite beer of the festival!

Apologies if this post is riddled with typos, it has been a rather big day!

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.