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:
Coopers Pale Ale
An Australian classic, consistently good, very tasty and a great starting point for delving into craft beers and very beery weekends!
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!
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!
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!
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!?
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.
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!
Last Wednesday night at Five Bar, located in Perth’s ever trendy suburb of Mt Lawley where Espresso Martinis are in constant demand, it was beer that took centre stage and Mountain Goat was undisputed King.
Not so long ago I was the Assistant Manager at Five Bar, a small bar with a big beer focus, located in the increasingly trendy suburb of Mt Lawley. In an area where the demand for Espresso Martinis runs rampantly high, to be opening a beer focused small bar was just a little bit exciting. We started running beer events, and to see how many people were interested in and loved their craft beer was the best part of my job. I’ve moved on to another job in another place, but I will happily drive back for great beer and to catch up with old friends.
Wednesday night saw Five Bar host Mountain Goat Co-Founder and Chief Brewer Dave Bonighton for ‘A Night of the Goat’. He had come over from Melbourne for a brief visit to see what was happening here in the West and I think he went back to Melbourne with a smile on his face.
The Mountain Goat story starts in the 1990s with two mates, Dave and Cam, who wanted to make craft beers. Their first beer, Hightail Ale, hit Victorian shelves for the first time in 1997 and their Steam Ale, certified organic, soon followed. Since then we have seen a diverse list of limited release beers (called ‘Rare Breeds’) and collaboration beers (called ‘Cross Breeds’) emerge to show off just what this little Australian brewery can do. Whilst I was working at Five Bar I snapped up lots of Mountain Goat beers and delighted in customers trying them for the first time and instantly falling in love. As you can imagine I was really quite excited at the prospect of meeting Dave; I got to Perth at 3pm so I had 3 hours to kill until the event…
After driving for a couple of hours I felt deserving of a pint and so arranged to meet a friend at The Queens, just up the road. Once it was a pub where the taps were an even spilt between Carlton United and Lion Nathan but nowadays their line up of draught beers is rather impressive, boasting Mountain Goat, White Rabbit, Two Birds and Feral Brewing to name a few. I noticed Vale IPA (South Australia) on tap and since I have only enjoyed it once before from the bottle I had to have it. It’s an extremely well balanced IPA with all the great characteristics I love about American IPAs – the citrus, the pine and the stone fruits and the malt sweetness backs it up perfectly too. That pint went down a little embarrassingly quickly. Opting for something a little more refreshing and with bigger tropical fruits and passionfruit I then chose Two Birds Golden Ale for my next drink and that too disappeared rapidly. The scene was set for a rather beery evening..
It was 5pm when I arrived at Five Bar for ‘The Night of the Goat’ event, still a good hour before it all kicked off so it gave me the chance to say hello to the staff and catch up on what has been happening. My early arrival also came with a beery reward as they had managed to get a hold of a keg of Collaborator – a brew from Feral Brewing (WA) and Two Brothers (VIC) that was created in celebration of 20 years of the Australian International Beer Awards. A schooner would tide me over quite nicely until all things Goat underway (tehehe!).
I sat at the bar enjoying the Collaborator, a really interesting stone fruit/chocolate sort of number (I nabbed two bottles whilst doing my obligatory stop at The International Beer Shop so I’ll be sure to do a separate post shortly on this one) and admired the big blackboard menu. Meanwhile, in the kitchen, it was all hands on deck as the chefs Mitch and Nelly were busy preparing the menu they had specially put together for the night.
With the kitchen buzzing, Mountain Goat pouring from two taps and bottles of Mountain Goat Rare Breed and Cross Breed in the fridges, it was just a matter of time and people. Looking around the bar at 5.30pm it looked like a fairly typical Wednesday night but by 6.15pm I noticed a lot of familiar beer-loving faces. By 6.30pm it was almost a full house and almost half the people had come down to meet Dave and get their fill of all things Goat – both in the beer and the food sense.
Mountain Goat Surefoot Stout recommended with Goat Shoulder + Mushroom Pie
Mountain Goat Hightail Ale recommended with Roast Roulade of Goat Leg, Chevre and Beer Baked Quince
Mountain Goat Two Step Cider recommended with Milk Poached Goat Belly w/ Fennel + Apple Salad
Mountain Goat Steam Ale recommended with Goat Tartare and Toasted Baguette
The Gypsy & The Goat Pepperberry Black IPA recommended with Goat Shoulder Sausage + Plum Chutney
Now I must admit that I didn’t do any of the beer and food matching suggestions, instead drinking mostly Surefoot Stout and Hightail Ale off tap since it’s pretty rare to find those pouring fresh where I am. It was easy to enjoy several schooners of Surefoot Stout, a 4.9% abv sweet stout that is part of the Mountain Goat Rare Breed range, that was once in yearly production. It boasts well balanced bitterness, soft dark malts and hints of chocolate and coffee. I switched briefly to Hightail Ale to enjoy with the food and it was a sensational match with the Goat Tartare; the meat was soft and flavoursome with the spices from Hightail enhancing all the intricacies of the Tartare. Sadly I missed out on the Goat Shoulder and Mushroom Pie and Ryppa Goat Balls, purely from talking way too much, and therefore there will be no jokes about Goat Balls here; Ryppa or otherwise…
[Apologies in advance for the red hue on all my photos – I could say it was a deliberate tactic to emphasis the amber hue of the great beers on the night but it’s just my lack of attention to colour balance on my camera]
The Roasted Roulade of Goat Leg with Chevre and Beer Baked Quince was sensational. Garnished with a little malt that soaked up as much of the sauce as it possibly could (and I don’t blame it), this dish was a little sweet and quite rich; it presented beautifully.
The Goat Shoulder Sausage and Plum Chutney was a delightful little dish that was lightly spiced and soft with just enough fruit from the chutney providing a nice contrast. If I had managed to get a hold of The Gypsy & The Goat (a collaboration between Mikkeller and Mountain Goat) before it sold out, I am sure it would have been a lovely match.
I had not intended on having the Milk Poached Goat Belly with Fennel and Apple Salad as I couldn’t quite get my head around the concept of milk poaching and I have never really enjoyed fennel. However it was ordered for me and it ended up being one of the dishes I enjoyed the most. The meat was falling-apart-soft and against the crispness from the Granny Smith apple it made a simple but amazing contrast. Again, a garnish of malt on top not only looked great but provided a little more contrast and flavour to an already great dish.
One of the best things about beer is the people and meeting Dave was nothing short of a pleasure. Like all brewers I have been fortunate to meet, Dave is delighted to chat all things beer with fellow beer-lovers. He smiles a lot, laughs a lot and he’s curious about peoples journeys, not purely how they found Mountain Goat, but how they came to delve into the craft beer culture in the first place.
As I have said time and time again, I love the stories behind beer and even when those stories are pretty simple it still speaks volumes about beer. To demonstrate, I was in conversation with Dave and one of Five Bar’s regular beer event attendees who was asking Dave how the collaboration between Mountain Goat and Mikkeller came to be. In different industries I am convinced that if you enquired about the origins of an international collaboration you’d get a very long story involving marketing plans and cross promotional branding activities. Dave’s story, however, was more a case of two brewers who were going to be in the same place at the same time and thought it would be fun to make something together, highlighting the open nature of the beer community.
I am pretty sure I walked around with a big smile on my face for the entire evening. Meeting Dave, enjoying the Goat beers and food and chatting with beer folk from all parts of the industry; it’s all why I love beer.