Weekend Reading #25

This week it’s unplanned but all American articles covering 2015 predictions for trends and breweries and a look into the link between big beer decline and craft beer growth …

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

Good Beer Hunting | The GBH 2015 New Year’s Resolutions for Craft Beer 

The end of the year does tend to bring around a lot of reflection-style pieces, heck I did one myself, and some predictions for the new year to come. This fits under the latter and does it very, very well. Because it is so often said that Australia’s craft beer scene is following the path of the United States I often wonder whether we are the lucky ones in that we can look into the “future”, being America, and learn from both their errors and their success. A lot of the points made I felt really resonated with us and it genuinely got me thinking.

“Many brewers think attracting mainstream audiences somehow means having to lower their standards. Bullshit. If you want to attract bigger audiences, you’ll have to look past the applause of your closest and most loyal fans, and actually work for it.”

The Beeroness | Sriracha Bloody Beer with Chili Sugar Bacon + New Years Resolutions for Beer People

I really like a Bloody Mary from time to time so when I saw this recipe I instantly wanted to try it. Sadly having no tomato juice severely hindered that particular plan so this drink reminds on my ‘to do list’.

The resolutions are pretty good ones, nothing complicated, and it does make me wonder whether I am getting closer to home brewing. Slippery slope …

Brewbound | Flying Dog plans to Launch Experimental “Farmworks” Brewery in Virginia

I know we are not in the US and I have just realised I do seem to have a rather United States focused list so far but stay with me. I liked this article not so much because of any emotional attachment I have to Flying Dog, in fact I haven’t had many of their beers, but more because it is interesting to see breweries expand, how they go about it and where they are putting their bets on for the future of craft beer.

“Farmworks will include a 15-barrel brewhouse, cellar, coolship, tasting room, as well as an extensive sour and barrel-aging facility.”

Forbes | Budweiser and the Craft Beer Fallacy – How Myths Hide Trends

This was really very interesting. It basically looks at the two things that the craft beer world has known for a while – a) that big brewers are in decline and b) craft beer is growing – but it says the two are not necessarily linked.

The comments around the big brewers decline being due to their audience being much older or deceased reminded me of VB, a brand that for a long time experienced huge decline – due to a number of factors including a change in alcohol by volume – and I think even tried to release a new VB beer into the market that was aimed at a far younger audience.

 

Weekend Reading #1

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there is excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

I love lounging in bed on weekends and catching up on all my favourite beery reading. From blogs to articles from the American craft beer scene and the best local beer news, there’s excellent reading material out there so every Friday I’m posting a list of the articles and blogs that have excited me.

The Beeroness | Stout Meatballs with Beer Barbeque Sauce Glaze
Jackie Dodd – author of The Craft Beer Cook Book & her website ‘The Beeroness – Have your beer and eat it too’

Recipes regularly drop into my email inbox from The Beeroness which keep me both hungry and entertained in equal amounts. This recipe is screaming out at me, begging to be made – gooey caramelised flavours, tender meat and beer sauce – it’s too good to simply leave to words. I’ll be making these bad boys very soon. If you beat me to it I’d love to know how they turned out!

Topped with some melted butter and ready to bake! It might not look all that pretty but the result is yummy
I’ve tried many great recipes from Jackie’s book – here’s the start of her tasty beer bread

The Splendid Table | The 7 Flavour Categories of Beer: What they are, How to pair them
American radio show food focused since 1994

When sometimes an IPA isn’t your run-of-the-mill IPA it is really great to read an article, or even a beer menu, that is categories by flavour rather than by style. This article uses seven different flavoured descriptions to breakdown beer styles and pinpoint the foods that can work best with them.

Draft Magazine | Brewery to Watch: Big Alice
American online beer magazine

A short article on New York’s newest nano-brewery Big Alice Brewery that takes a “farm to kettle” approach to brewing. Imagine visiting the farmers market, taking back hand fulls of the freshest, in season produce and then making your beer from there. Well, that’s what these guys do …

Love Beer, Love Food | Stone’s New Saison & A Summery Seafood Treat
Lindsay is a Certified Cicerone, home brewer and serious home cook

Bringing together Stone’s latest Saison with her own zesty, fresh vinaigrette dressing for oysters. Read her story and get the recipe here.

Oysters by Jerry Fraser
I love oysters and no one does oysters like the King of Oysters Mr Jerry Fraser

The Herald Sun | Alehouse Rock: Melbourne Brewers are Getting Crafty
Latest Melbourne and Victorian news

In the days leading up to Good Beer Week this article was published in The Herald Sun. At it’s core it is an article about the growing craft beer scene in Melbourne but broken down from the points of view of brewers, retailers, bar owners and a chef.

Pizza + Beer

Pizza + Beer … have two words ever been so beautiful together? And before you shout “beer and burger” or “sex and violence” at me, I was just trying to have a catchy opening for this blog post. Let’s go on …

Pizza + Beer … have two words ever been so beautiful together? And before you shout “beer and burger” or “sex and violence” at me, I was just trying to have a catchy opening for this blog post. Let’s go on …

Since pizza is just such a good beer food I have recently been working on my pizza making skills. In the beginning my skills were actually less about skill and more about how-much-stuff-can-I-put-onto-one-piece-of-Lebanese-bread. This was followed by the fun game of ‘how do I get it into the oven’. The process often resembled an attempt at a magic trick as I quickly slid the pizza from cutting board to tray. All in all it was a fairly messy affair.

Since then I’ve tried, with some success, to adapt to the ‘less is more’ style of pizza topping. I have also been trying my hand at making my own pizza dough from scratch.

Making dough and drinking beer
Making dough and drinking beer(not a case of Sapporo, that just holds our onions & garlic)

The recipe I’ve been using comes from The Australian Woman’s Weekly Kitchen book, a Christmas gift from my dad many years ago. I love it, I use it all the time and I’m not just saying that because he reads this. The dough recipe is as follows –
2 1/2 cups of plain flour
2 teaspoons dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil

Dough Instructions

It is a simple recipe and the dough freezes/defrosts very well. The fun and sense of accomplishment in making my own pizza dough, so far, outweighs the convenience of buying Lebanese or pita bread from the shops. However I do acknowledge that perhaps over time this will change and I’ll get lazy/latch onto something else I want to cook obsessively but for the time being I’m all about the dough. Plus putting floury hand prints around the house/partners face/dog is lots of fun.

Mexican Pizza!
Mexican Pizza! Tomato paste, cheese, spicy beef mince with mushrooms, onion and red capsicum, jalapenos, sour cream and fresh lime

Having been successful with this recipe I was inspired by The Beeroness’ own pizza dough recipe that uses beer, garlic powder and fresh minced rosemary. Sadly I had no appropriate beers to use as either a) they were huge imperial somethings or b) I wanted to savour every last drop and not bake. Instead I took on the rosemary and garlic powder measures and threw it into my already tried and tested pizza dough recipe. The result was four delicious pizza dough balls ready to bake or wrap up and toss into the freezer for another time.

Freezing dough

Frozen pizza dough

Thawing pizza dough

Rolling out pizza dough

Baking Instructions

more doughy photos
don’t worry, it’s pesto on the left and not some strange growth

I’ve never really understood garlic powder until I put it into my pizza dough. Why would you use powder when fresh garlic is so amazing? Well, for dough, it’s perfect for a whack of flavour without the added moisture that you’d probably get from the fresh stuff.

The next pizza dough adventure will be adding beer. As I add more and more ingredients to the pizza dough I might end up going full circle back to my original pizza making theory of “more is MORE!”. We’ll see …

Last Friday night, as they all should be with good food and great beer
Last Friday night, as they all should be with good food and great beer

Accidental Pairing

Guacamole and Sierra Nevada Kellerweis – why hasn’t anyone told me about this before?! Delicious!

On Saturday I sat down to a snack and a beer, nothing unusual there, and unwittingly found my new favourite and dead easy beer and food pairing – Sierra Nevada Kellerweis and guacamole.

I had bought a 6 pack of Kellerweis on Friday as I had a bit of a craving for it and the avocados were fresh from the farmers market that morning. I had no idea they’d be so good together!

My new favourite thingFrom the first mouthful of guacamole followed up with a swig of Kellerweis I was sold. As I munched away, happily loading up my toasted pita bread with mounds of tasty green stuff I realised the pairing was actually very obvious. You’ve got lots of similar flavours happening between the two – coriander, citrus, bitterness/acidity. Plus the beers carbonation cuts through the avocado beautifully.

Then it hit me – my mini revelation wasn’t anything of the sort. Two Birds Brewing made a delicious hoppy wheat beer with coriander, lime and corn called Taco for the Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular beer back in May. Damn that was a good beer, perhaps it left a bigger imprint on me than I had originally thought, the remnants of those wonderful flavours all coming out in this pairing.

The pairing reminded me of something I had recently read at The Beeroness about her beer and food matching considerations – “think about all the flavours being in one bowl“. So true. Often I have mistakenly tried to match to the dominant flavour in the dish and the resulting pairing was alright but lacking in that “holy-freaking-hell” moment.

This was a little bit of a “holy freaking hell” moment and probably the closest I’ll get to another tasty glass of Two Birds Taco. Mmm, taco …

Garage Project + Beer Bread Sticks

If you haven’t discovered The Beeroness aka Jackie Dodd then I suggest you make like Indiana Jones and discover her NOW! Well, maybe not right this instance, you’re here already so I hope you’ll keep reading.

If you haven’t discovered The Beeroness aka Jackie Dodd then I suggest you make like Indiana Jones and discover her NOW! Well, maybe not right this instance, you’re here already so I hope you’ll keep reading. Besides, I’ve made it easy for you, here’s The Beeroness website and Twitter. Please feel free to click away furiously…

The Beeroness combines two things I love – beer and food. If she had lots of photos of a kelpie on her website I’d be looking into whether she was my twin sister; you know aside from me being Asian and stuff but you get my meaning. Oh and she’s a way better cook than me. Which brings me to how I found The Beeroness, it was a recipe for Stove Top Beer Mac & Cheese that I made with much excitement and enthusiasm; the result was delicious. Then there was the Garlic and Beer Butter Prawns. Oh be still my beating heart. Oh wait, the butter will probably do that for me! At least I’ll go out with a smile.

Stove Top Mac & Cheeseyummy dinner

A week or so ago Jackie posted a recipe for Italian Beer Bread Sticks. I’m a sucker for beer and for bread so it was unsurprising that this caught my attention. I went for the Venusian Pale Ale from Kiwi lads Garage Project for my bread sticks to try give the sticks a some punchier flavours as I was serving it with a hearty beef and mushroom cannelloni.

Beer Bread Sticks

I’m slowly drinking my local bottleshop out of the Venusian Pale Ale yet not doing myself any favours as I recommend it to people when I’m there. Rich, fruity, spicy and complicated, my kind of beer.

The bread sticks turned out beautifully (though a little overcooked on one side which I am going to blame on my awful, awful oven) and made a nice alternative to my default Italian side dish, garlic bread. Simple, easy and tasty, I’ll be doing this again. Next time I will try it with the wheat beer …

Garlic + Beer + Butter …

… these are a few of my favourite things.

Whilst garlic, beer and butter didn’t make Sound of Music’s Julie Andrew’s list of favourite things they certainly make mine!

… these are a few of my favourite things.

Whilst garlic, beer and butter didn’t make Sound of Music’s Julie Andrew’s list of favourite things they certainly make mine!

I recently posted about The Beeroness and her Stove Top Mac & Cheese, I made this at home and it was magical. It wasn’t long before I was back at her website looking for more great recipes to continue my cooking with beer education.

Stove Top Mac & Cheese

I came across the words “roasted garlic beer butter shrimp” and it just so happened I had some prawns just begging to be eaten.

The recipe is pretty straight forward. It just takes a roasted head of garlic, some butter, half a cup of beer, some olive oil and a good mixing. I used Little Creatures Pale Ale as I wanted a beer that was big on flavour but not offensively so.

The other great feature of this recipe is the beautiful wafting smell of roasted garlic all through the kitchen.

The Beeroness gives two options for cooking the prawns – stove top and grill. I decided on stove top as I didn’t want to mess around with putting prawns on skewers since it had taken me so long to behead and de-vein the buggars!

Roasted Garlic Beer Butter Prawns

I served the prawns on Supreme Soy Sauce Chow Mein which I took from another recent website discovery – Rasa Malaysia, excellent for a variety of Asian dishes. I altered the sauce a little from their recipe but again this one is nice and easy – basically throw your ingredients into the pan on high heat and keep it moving! Garnish with the white sesame seeds and spring onion.

Supreme Soy Sauce Chow Mein

To keep with the pale ale theme I served this with the Bear Republic XP Pale Ale, another fantastic beer from Bear Republic who are fast becoming one of my ‘go-to’ breweries because all their beers I have tried so far have been great.

It was ballsy but still very drinkable, you’d easily have a few pints of this and with dinner it matched nicely. The prawns carried a lot of garlic sweetness and something tangy which I’m guessing was from the beer; both these flavours went well against the fruitness and bitterness of the XP.

Til next time Beeroness … I’ll definitely be back for more beer cooking joy!

yummy dinner