Beer + Cheese Masterclass

I spent all Saturday at the Fremantle Beer Festival and left just before 10pm with three new hats and a few new favourite beers. I think that easily qualifies as a successful day. During both days of the festival there were masterclasses on various beery topics and on Saturday Margi from Eagle Bay Brewing and I held a masterclass on beer and cheese.

I spent all Saturday at the Fremantle Beer Festival and left just before 10pm with three new hats and a few new favourite beers. I think that easily qualifies as a successful day.

During both days of the festival there were masterclasses on various beery topics and on Saturday Margi from Eagle Bay Brewing and I held a masterclass on beer and cheese.

You may already know this because I’ve rambled on about it on the blog a couple of times now or perhaps you were one of the smiling faces I saw in the crowd and if so, thank you very much.

The session attracted around 60 guests

we all basically hung out eating cheese and drinking beer for twenty minutes

The response seemed very positive which could be due to all our prior “research” resulting in fantastic pairings or maybe if you give people free beer and cheese they are inevitability going to be pretty happy. Either reason is fine by me.

Conducting some beer and cheese research with Margi at Eagle Bay Brewing
Conducting some beer and cheese research with Margi at Eagle Bay Brewing

Here are the beer and cheese pairings we put together –

Eagle Bay Vienna Lager + Beersine Vienna Cheese

A straight forward match showing off complementary flavours. The Vienna Lager boasts nice toffee aromas backed up by caramel flavours and it’s also a little earthy and nutty. The cheese, that’s made with the same beer, carries nice fruity slightly sweetish notes that go nicely with the caramel thing the beer has going on. The cheese is also suitably rich for the beer, neither dominating the other.

Eagle Bay Pale Ale + Maffra Aged Cheddar

Another great complementary pairing with the fresh fruity hops from the pale ale walking hand in hand with the fruity and slightly tangy cheddar.

Eagle Bay Kolsch + Meredith Ashed Chevre

This was my favourite pairing of the day. I first had this cheese at The Cheese Barrel in the Swan Valley and instantly thought how great it would be with a kolsch. Within days I had a growler of Colonial Kolsch and had located some ashed chevre and the result was beautiful. This was no different.

The tanginess and zesty of the goat’s cheese highlighted the fresh limey citrus characters in the beer

The match was also an excellent palate cleanser, the beer effortlessly cuts through the sinfully creamy cheese … god damn I love this pairing!

Meredith Ashed Chevre

Eagle Bay Single Batch IPA + Bassett Colston Stilton

Eagle Bay’s IPA has a great balance of caramely malt and fruity hops. The hops are a great contrast to the saltiness of the Stilton. This cheese, a cow’s milk from England, is sensational and we had people begging for more. It’s uber-creamy, rich and the texture makes you want to smear it on your hands and face.

That's one big hunk of stinky Stilton!

A few people at the masterclass asked where they could get the cheeses we tasted – Blue Cow have a store finder on their website that might be handy, you can check it out here and be sure to keep tabs on the Beersine website for all their tasty treats.

Thank you

Margi and the Eagle Bay Brewing team for providing the beer on the day and inviting me to be a part of this event;

Beersine for providing the Vienna Cheese, and

Blue Cow Cheese Company for providing the other three cheeses and being very good about giving us samples when we were constructing the menu.

Love your work!

Friday Night Feast

I am in danger of drooling over my phone every time Eagle Bay Brewing put up a photo on Facebook and Twitter about their monthly Friday Night Feast dinners. Running from May to October I booked in early for the October edition to ensure it wasn’t another 6 months before I got to go. It’s a pretty straight forward concept – fifty bucks gets you a three course meal, three choices for each. Simple. October was the final Friday Night Feast for 2012 and was themed as “Into the Wilderness” with game dishes created by Head Chef Rupert Brown.

Eagle Bay Brewing Co
Eagle Bay Road, Eagle Bay
“Into the Wilderness” Friday Night Feast

I run the risk of drooling over my phone every time Eagle Bay Brewing put up a photo on Facebook and Twitter about their monthly Friday Night Feast dinners. Running from May to October I booked in early for the October edition to ensure it wasn’t another 6 months before I got to go.

It’s a pretty straight forward concept – fifty bucks gets you a three course meal, three choices for each. Simple. They also go to the trouble of setting the food to a theme. September was all Bollywood with three courses of Indian inspired delights and, for the final Friday Night Feast for 2012 October was themed as “Into the Wilderness” with game dishes created by Head Chef Rupert Brown.

My boyfriend and I arrived to be seated to a nice table for two near the fire and ordered beers – the ESB and the Vienna Lager.

The Eagle Bay Extra Special Bitter, or ESB, is a down right beautiful beer, nutty and biscuity with hints of caramel. ESB is predominantly an English style beer and if you are a fan of this you have to try the original – Fuller’s ESB. Brewed in West London and, from my understanding, the words “multi-award winning” are a bit of an understatement. It’s a great beer and I’ve not met anyone who hasn’t enjoyed it yet.

The Eagle Bay Vienna crisp, clean and a few shades darker than your average lager beer. I found hints of stone fruit, sweet biscuits with a good bitter finish. The Vienna Lager is an Austrian beer style with history dating back to the 1800s and is a close relative to the Marzen style. It’s always nice to see brewers reviving beer styles that have declined in popularity, not only is it good for the taste buds but I get to get my beer geek on with my Oxford Companion to Beer.

We selected our entrees, mains and desserts before settling in for a relaxing night.

“Into the Wilderness” Entrees
Crocodile with Coconut & Lemongrass Broth, Enoki Mushrooms and Snow Peas
Duck, Rabbit & Pork Terrine with Beetroot and Orange Pickle

The Eagle Bay Vienna was a brilliant match to both entrees …

  • Duck, Rabbit and Pork Terrine with Beetroot and Orange Pickle

The flavours in the terrine were subtle and well balanced and was a good match to the Vienna that has more flavour to it than your average lager but not so bold that it dominated.

  • Crocodile with Coconut and Lemongrass Broth, Enoki Mushrooms and Snow Peas

The subtle coconut sweetness in the crocodile dish was a nice  match to the hints of stone fruit in the beer. The soft bitterness at the end of the Vienna was a great way to bring out the sharp lemongrass and fresh coriander.

“Into the Wilderness” Mains
Venison Ossobucco with Gremolata and Polenta
Kangaroo Tagine with Tabouleh

Mains were equally delicious, the stand out however was the Kangaroo Tagine with Tabouleh. It was full of different spices and flavours that all married together nicely It went perfectly with the Extra Special Bitter, similarly built with layers of different flavours – nutty, spicy (not in the chilli sense), biscuity and a little bitter.

“Into the Wilderness” Desserts
White Chocolate & Raspberry Meringue
Orange & Fennel Pannacotta, Rhubarb and Wattle Seed Anzacs

The Eagle Bay Single Batch Cacao Stout was an easy choice to have with desserts. With seriously rich dark chocolate, almost dusty like mouth feel, the Cacao Stout was a great match to the White Chocolate & Raspberry Meringue. It was a deliciously rich dessert, big raspberry bittersweetness and a chewy texture that reminded me of eating cookies when they are just a little uncooked. The rich raspberry against the rich chocolate was a hell of a way to finish off a meal and send us into full blown food comas.

White Chocolate and Raspberry Meringue … well what was left of it …
with Eagle Bay Cacao Stout

Laundry + Beer

It’s not often that you associate laundry with beer but on this occasion it’s very accurate – welcome to the Laundry Cafe in Busselton, a former laundromat, and home to a few tasty beers!

Laundry Cafe
43 Prince Street, Busselton | (08) 9754 1503
info@laundrycafe.com.au

In the spirit of Strictly Ballroom, in anticipation of my Paul Mecurio ‘Cooking with Beer’ book arriving any day now, it is fair to say that craft beer love appears to be everywhere here in the South West. It isn’t surprising given the growing number of breweries setting up here and exposing (in a good way, not an arrestable way) more people to wonderful beer. And it isn’t just breweries who are making noise about craft beer, it’s bars and restaurants joining in on the fun too.

Since moving down here I’ve enjoyed Bootleg Brewery’s Raging Bull at Must Wine Bar, Feral Brewing’s White at 3 Oceans Winery, Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black at The Pourhouse and Mountain Goat Steam Ale at Clancy’s Fish Pub in Dunborough. This is only a few beers in a handful of beer loving venues and now I can add the Laundry Cafe in Busselton to that list of wonderful bars.

For those who ever wanted to drink inside a laundry … here’s what it looks like

The Laundry opened in May 2012 and, as the name suggests it used to be a laundromat. A large canvas image of two rows of dryers hangs on a back wall in a way that makes you do a double take and check you’re not actually at the laundromat; it’d be kind of embarrassing if you were trying to order and drink. There are a couple of washboards and wooden pegs on the walls, all these little touches are enough to add subtle atmosphere without it feeling like a is being forced down your throat.

My boyfriend and I went to check it out on a random Saturday night and despite only four beers on tap, it was delightful to find that half of these had local favourite Eagle Bay Brewing pouring from them. There is a strong emphasis on using local produce in the South West, restaurants and cafes food menu are bursting with locally grown beef and veg and now it’s creeping on to beer lists too! We enjoyed tall glasses of Eagle Bay Vienna Lager whilst sitting at the bar, always our preferred place to sit though not many bars in the South West seem to encourage it, and felt right at home. Who’d have thought – me, feeling comfortable at the bar … who’d have guessed. I’m looking forward to getting back to enjoy the food soon!

Eagle Bay Vienna Lager at the Laundry Cafe