Crab Spaghettini + Two Birds Golden Ale

Lunching at The Brisbane Hotel, indulging in one of my favourite dishes and finding Two Birds Golden Ale the perfect match …

The Brisbane Hotel is more than an iconic Perth pub to me, having worked there for a lot of years it’s a place where I’ve laughed a lot, drank too much and made friends I still have today.

With all these great memories, though some more fuzzy than others, it’s always a pleasure to visit “the brissie” and today was no exception.

The Brisbane Hotel

292 Beaufort Street, Mt Lawley

(08) 9227 2300

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It’s nice to see the menu still has a few of the classics, original menu items from day one, like the salt and pepper squid and roast pumpkin pizza.

*also available at sister venue, The Boulevard Hotel

One new/old addition is the blue swimmer crab spaghettini & tomato sugo, ‘new’ because it was added at their last seasonal menu release and ‘old’ because it has featured a number of times as a special. This is one of my all time favourite Brisbane Hotel dishes* rivalled only by the homemade sausage rolls.

blue swimmer crab spaghettini with tomato sugo

I didn’t even need to look at the menu to know I was ordering the crab spaghettini so I set about trying to decide what beer to have with it. Whilst I pondered I had a glass of the James Squire Hop Thief 6, their varietal series American Pale Ale featuring American hop varieties Simcoe and Columbus.

Two Birds Golden Ale, brewed with Southern Cross & Moteuka hops

The food arrived promptly and I ordered a Two Birds Golden Ale which turned out to be a great match! Hoppy enough to cut through the thick tomato sugo and the beer’s soft honeyed sweetness lifted the flavour of the crab. There was a warming chilli through the sugo that was nicely tempered by the beer’s fruit sweetness.

crab spaghettini and Two Birds Golden!

The serving size was beyond generous, it was more like daring, as though the dish was challenging me to finish it. I rose to that challenge … and then went home and fell asleep on the couch.

5 Minutes with Jayne from Two Birds Brewing

If you’re not familiar with Two Birds it’s definitely time for you to get acquainted – here’s Five Minutes with brewer bird Jayne Lewis …

Not long ago the Australian beer loving people got some pretty exciting news – Two Birds Brewing will be opening their own brewery this year! You can read all about it here at Crafty Pint.

If you’re not familiar with Two Birds it’s definitely time for you to get acquainted. First they hit us with Golden Ale, an immensely drinkable, summer-in-a-glass kinda drop. Then they followed it up with Sunset Ale, bursting with gorgeous stone fruit and biscuit flavours this one reminds me of my birthday and drinking it on the beach.

Enjoying my 30th birthday beachside
Enjoying my 30th birthday beachside

Their Taco Beer, released for last years Great Australasian Beer Spectapular, is now a cult classic for good drinking beer nerds. Inspired by holiday fish tacos, it’s a wheat beer with coriander, lime and corn and just might soon end up in your closest beer loving bottleshop if this Tweet is anything to go by …

Taco Tweet

All in all it looks like another exciting year for brewer bird Jayne Lewis and other bird Danielle Allen. Both were kind enough to participate in “Five Minutes with …” – be sure to check out Five Minutes with Danielle if you haven’t already and here is Five Minutes with Jayne …

What beer did you drink last night?

Nothing last night, but the last beer I had was a Sunset Ale, as we packed up our stall after The Melbourne Beer Fest on Sunday.

Finish this sentence – Craft beer is like …

… my happy place. I love the drink, the process and the people.

Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed?

Little Creatures Pale Ale, for the role it’s played in craft beer in Australia.

What is the best thing you have learnt from the other bird?

The other bird has taught me that anything is possible with heard work and she has an amazing propensity to get things done. She has taken to the craft brewing industry like the proverbial duck to water and I’m so proud of the way she’s embraced the industry and gotten involved.

What is the very first thing you will do when the new Two Birds Brewery is ready?

Shed a few happy tears while drinking fresh beer, brewed in our own brewery!

5 Minutes with Danielle from Two Birds Brewing

5 minutes and 5 quick questions with one half/one bird of the Two Birds Brewing team, Danielle Allen

“Two Birds are Brewing” – that was the article headline recently on Crafty Pint and those four little words set the Australian craft beer world into simultaneous smiles. Jayne Lewis and Danielle Allen, the aforementioned birds, are set to open their brewery sometime in 2014.

Jayne & Danielle Two Birds Brewing Image from Two Birds Brewing website
Jayne & Danielle
Two Birds Brewing
Image from Two Birds Brewing website

[writers advance apology – brace yourself for my awful bird related puns, sorry, don’t get yourself in a flap (BOOM!)]

After hatching back in 2011 and contract brewing their beloved Sunset Ale and Golden Ale in both VIC and WA, the birds are finally making themselves a nest to call their own.

This can only mean good things for those of us who get child-like excitement when they see Two Birds in shops and bars – more Two Birds goodness flying into our grateful hands. Yippee!

Two Birds was the word on Twitter as their new brewery news broke! Follow the ladies on Twitter - @TwoBirdsBrewing
Two Birds was the word on Twitter as their new brewery news broke! Follow the ladies on Twitter – @TwoBirdsBrewing

With this great news it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get to know the birds a little better, so first up on ‘5 minutes with …’ we have Danielle [insert round of applause here please]

What beer did you drink last night?

hahah..so typical of me…..Sunset Ale in bottle – I dropped into a local bar on my way out to dinner and spotted it in their fridge. I thought I better do some quality checking. My husband had a Murray’s Whale Ale on tap, so I had some of that too!

Finish this sentence – Craft beer is like …

… the start of a new exciting world for me.

Name one Aussie beer, past or present, that you wish you had brewed

Stone & Wood Pacific

What is the best thing you have learnt from the other bird? / Brewer Jayne?

The art of beer, the science of beer, beer ‘talk’, patience and how to party with beer people!

What is the very first thing you’ll do when the new Two Birds Brewing is ready?

Sit at our spots we’ve chosen by the window in the sunlight with our ‘Nest’ brewed beer, cheers each other, probably cry & embrace what’s ahead.

Celebrating my 30th birthday in style on the beach
Celebrating my 30th birthday in style on the beach

Big thanks to Danielle, hope to see you soon (Good Beer Week, perhaps?!) – next up, it’s Jayne’s turn!

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 …

Girl + GABS

This year saw 90 unique beers hit the taps! Combined with lots of old favourites from dozens upon dozens of brewers, it was enough to blow my Untappd count into the next century (if I could be bothered updating it frequently of course!)

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The Great Australasian Beer SpecTAPular, aka GABS, was held at the Melbourne Royal Exhibition Hall on Friday 24th – Sunday 26th May. It coincided with the last three days of Good Beer Week so I deliberately didn’t booked any GBW events for my partner and I on Saturday so it could be our “GABS day”.

GABS is the brain child of Steve and Guy, the guys behind The Local Taphouse venues in Darlinghurst and St Kilda. I had the pleasure of meeting Steve and Guy when I visited GABS. They are obviously passionate about craft beer and about providing the right platform for consumers to enjoy, discover and share.

Thursday GABS

So, what is GABS? I’m glad you asked – it’s a beer festival that celebrates brewing creativity. At the heart of the festival are the GABS beers – those which are brewed specially for the festival. This year saw 90 unique beers hit the taps! Combined with lots of old favourites from dozens upon dozens of brewers, it was enough to blow my Untappd count into the next century (if I could be bothered updating it frequently of course!). And it wasn’t just Australian brewers showing off, breweries from the United States, the UK, Italy and Aussie neighbours New Zealand also showed off their brewing flair.

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The folk at GABS were kind enough to provide me with a media pass for the event and our friends at Eagle Bay Brewing provided my partner with a ticket. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I love the beer community, their generosity knows no bounds. Thank you Steve and Guy, thank you Margi and Adrian.

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Best Beer of GABS

The “best of” categories fell into two categories – People’s Choice and Brewer’s Choice.

My vote for the People’s Choice Best Beer of GABS went to the collaboration brew from Moon Dog / Nøgne Ø – Selvmordstokt, a cherry wheat porter. Gorgeous black cherry, coconut and chocolate, a little funky and a whole lot yummy.

The winner was Bacchus Brewing White Chocolate Raspberry Pilsner and sadly one I didn’t have! I did try their White Chocolate Pilsner at Dejavu as part of Pint of Origin and very much enjoyed it. I even thought it had a touch of raspberry to it, perhaps it was my palate trying to tell me something about the future. Congratulations to Bacchus, hopefully we see this make it into their regular line up for more folks to enjoy.

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The winner of the Brewer’s Choice went to a brewery who must have a hell of a trophy cabinet these days – Feral Brewing for their Barrique O Karma. Being one of my favourite brewers and from my home state, I made sure I didn’t miss out on this one. It had a soft and sweet maltiness and the nose on it was great. Being that it’s based on their Karma Citra, a black IPA, that I have enjoyed many times it’s unsurprising I really liked this one.

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More Beery Highlights

Staying with Feral, their collaboration with Richard from The Wig & Pen (ACT) was appropriately called ‘Pig Pen’ tipping its hat to both breweries (not that pigs wear hats of course … actually maybe some do) it was called a ‘free range ale’. What does this mean? I’m not sure, perhaps it comes from the ingredients reading like a global shopping list or perhaps simply because they didn’t brew it to a specific style. Regardless of the reason it is a very good drop. Slightly tart, refreshing and with great drinkability. It was the first beer I wrote “yum” beside.

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Two Birds Brewing (VIC) Taco, “a hoppy wheat beer with inspiration” or as I wrote it “wheat beer with omf”. Twitter and crackbook had provided a few insights into this beer so I knew to expect lime and coriander and that’s exactly what I got. It was inspired after eating fish tacos in San Diego and so I’m not sure whether I read this and expected to taste corn chips or whether I really could taste corn chips. Either way, damn good beer!

Birra Del Borgo (ITA) won me over with their fabulous name – Myrtle’s Bunga Bunga Party. A spiced ale that was just lovely with honey and almost nectar sweetness. Also oddly moreish.

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Speaking of fun names, Cacao Cabana from Eagle Bay (WA) and The Monk (WA) had a smushed banana flavour going on with soft chocolate notes buried inside. It was like peeling back the layers on a dessert!

Gary the White from Colonial Brewing (WA) was a white stout, dry and rich, the flavours were all strangely familiar packaged in the unexpected. Fab!

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The GABS beer from Steve ‘Hendo’ Henderson’s Brewcult had been a bit of a talking point in the lead up to the event. A collaboration brew with Steve’s brother, a craft vinegar maker, it was described as porter infused with barrel aged balsamic vinegar. The aptly named “Acid Freaks” had the beer geeks intrigued. I had met Hendo by chance a few days earlier and asked how Acid Freaks had turned out. He simply replied that he didn’t want to say too much and inadvertently influence peoples opinions but he would say he was happy with it. My notes read: “soft tang, weirdly stunning”. The all important balance of sweet and bitter was spot on. God I hope he sends some to WA.

Taking me back to my childhood, the Duckstein (WA) Porter tasted like lamingtons. I love beers that evoke my memories and this beer did exactly that.

So many beers …. god that was amazing! Thank you GABS, loved every minute!

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Beer + Awards

Hitching a seat at the Perth Royal Beer Show Awards Ceremony with the team at Feral Brewing, tweeting with Jayne Lewis from Two Birds and finishing the night at Five Bar … yup, that’s a Friday night

Beautiful Three Course Dinner

Before I start I want to send a big THANK YOU to Feral Brewing

who so kindly offered me their spare seat at this years

Perth Royal Beer Show Awards Ceremony held at The Parmelia Hilton.

I arrived in the city a little early and found myself yawning so went on a mission to find a convenience store to purchase an energy drink. On my travels I ran into Mal, Head Brewer from Colonial Brewing, and brewers from Gage Roads who were on route to The Print Hall for a beer. They invited me along and beer certainly sounded a lot tastier than some horrible fluorescent energy drink.

After a pint of Colonial Alt Beer I headed to the Hilton for the big night. [Click here for a full list of the evenings winners].

The evening started with Swan Draught and Cowaramup Pilsener before we took our seats for dinner. I sat beside Jayne Lewis from Two Birds Brewing who’d been in town for the judging and having met on Twitter it was nice to make the leap into the real world. On that note don’t forget to follow Jayne on Twitter. Jayne tweets more frequently and with far more interesting stuff than I do. I got to witness her amazing high speed smart phone typing skills as trophies flew out in quick succession.

Sitting with the team from Feral, I got the chance to catch up with Brendan Varis who laughed at my story of selling Hop Hog to a customer at Clancy’s Fish Pub Dunsborough.

Customer: “What can you tell me about this?” [points to Feral Hop Hog decal]

Me: “It’s fucking awesome”

Customer: “I’ll have a pint”

Entrees arrived and I’d been looking forward to a spicy Tandoori Chicken match with Feral Hop Hog but they went rather lighter on the spices than I had hoped. Perhaps it’s just my palate-slaughtering use of chillies at home that ruined my expectations. All in all it was still a tasty dish and for those wondering, because I had to look it up too, “timbale” is kinda fancy speak for “round” and “paratha” is Indian flat bread. Fancy!

One of the highlights of the night had to be the cheers, woops and clapping from The Monk Brewery & Kitchen table as they were awarded the trophy for Best Ale Draught for their The Chief – Amarillo Edition and pulled in a few 2nd places in big categories too.

The other highlight was being witness to a healthy dose of man-love from the guys at Billabong Brewery for each of the 4 trophies they picked up – Best WA Beer of the Show, Best Commercial Beer of the Show, Best Wheat Beer Packaged and Best Wheat Beer Draught.

Mains were delicious, I think the only comment from our table was the feeling of being fooled in thinking the parsnip was another prawn spring roll!

After cleaning my plate of entree and main, and our table had requested yet another carafe of Feral Hop Hog, I was struggling to find room to fit dessert. A choice had to be made so I merely sampled the Beeramisu, lovely creamy and soft, and instead enjoyed a full glass of The Monk Porter. After all, there has to be room for beer! It poured beautifully, a nice thick head, with soft chocolate and caramel flavours that was perfect for finishing the night on … (or least finishing dinner on before catching up with Five Bar’s chef, beer dude and all round top guy, Mitch for a beer or two at Five!)