So, while I am recovering from some food poisoning and have the cricket on the in background, I have a chance to recount my weekend with beer. Thinking about beer and food may not be at the front of my mind at the moment (only holding down dry biscuits), but will try to push through to describe this journey.
Proving beer nerds can have girlfriends (I was not sure myself) I took Hannah to Josie Bones to meet up with Beer Here's Christian Andersen and 10 others for a lunch degustation.
To start, a new take on the aussie lager was on show, with the collaboration Beer Here has done with their Australian distributor Northdown, the Cool Hops. In terms of a lager, the colour is closest to a Brooklyn Brewery Lager, dark yellow with almost a touch of brown starting to get into it. I have to say it is one of the best lagers I have ever tried with good crystal malt character and some refreshing citrus/lemon qualities from the Summer hop. Christian detailed that all the ingredients were sourced from Australia, and happy to finally see someone is challenged the norm of the 'classic' aussie lager. This hop character especially went well with the lemon aioli that accompanied the Gateaux Pimente, showing this beer would also go well with stir fries and asian food, even if my chilli-wuss-ness was exposed through the dish.
The first course had less delicacy to it, showing off the Josie Bones way with beef ribs with a marmalade sauce, and fries with a smokey but creamy dip. Ribs cooked perfectly with the meat falling off the bone and quite succulent. By itself it paired well with the marmalade sauce, but with the beer for this course, was probably one of my favourite matches for the lunch. Bridge Road's Bling IPA is one that for me is a good example of balance between hops and malt in this style of beer, and found it also had a place in Christian's heart as tasting similar to the first homebrew he ever tasted. It almost reminds me of an English ESB with caramel malt and fruity hops, which of course compared well with the sweet meat and fruity sauce of the dish. The sweet of the malt and smoke from the dip also compared well for the Rauchbier lover in me (well, our homebrew Hickory Stickery Bock did come to mind), but the smokey fries did help cleanse the palate a bit of the beer.
Already at this point I was helping the 4 ladies around me get through their beers, which was not displeasing me at all, all the more enjoyable for the next beer in the degustation. I was not the only one either, as Christian was also interested to find this beer on the Josie Bones menu and knew it had to be part of this degustation, even so he could have a chance to taste it.
Beer Here's Nordic Rye is a farmhouse ale but with the surprising use of rye that adds quite a bit of sweetness to the beer, but is then offset well with the spice/yeast of the farmhouse style. Having let this beer age 2 years helped even more to meld these two aspects of the beer, but with the rye dominating a little more from the time. Not only does the sweetness from the beer compare well with the gaminess of the Kangaroo Carpaccio, but texturally there was a similarity between the two that I found quite surprising, and enjoyable. For as big at the beer was, the Quinoa Salad completely cleaned up the palate, and helped give a bit of filling to help soak up the beers going down.
I must say my somewhat recent delve into milk stouts did get me a bit excited when I saw the Beer Here Ammestout on the menu, as have a bottle of this that want to try with Stass sometime soon. Funnily enough, this coffee lactose stout did actually taste like iced coffee, and when asked what coffee he used, we thought it a bit of a joke when he replied with Nescafe Blend 43. Having spoken a bit about other coffee beers and the amounts/types of coffee used in them, it came as a surprise to here him reiterate that is was that coffee, added in at the whirlpool stage of the brew. Maybe having spruiked up the beer in my own mind, I was slightly disappointed in it, as it seemed a little bland for the mix of flavours this beer had the potential to be. Still, anyone wanting a beer that tastes like ice coffee, look no further...oh, and by the looks of the label on the bottle, it's good for breastfeeding mothers!
To go with the coffee milk stout was a kriek marshmellow slice, with Linderman's Kriek used in the marshmellow, jelly topping, and sauce. The cherry beer was probably most distinct in the marshmellow, with the flavour working well with the texture.
I guess the only way to move on from a cherry beer tasting marshmellow was to hit Beer Deluxe and try the Boon Framboise, which compared with the Linderman raspberry beer I have had previously it definitely tasted more like 'real' raspberry, and allowed to keep some body with less carbonation. I think this worked for Hannah, who is more of a wine person, but I am slowly finding her way in beer.
Anyway, starting to feel like I have talked to much about consumables on a day I feel like this, so going to sign off. Thanks to Christian and Josie Bones for the lunch, and Hannah for being open to the journey...which for her will undoubtably continue until she gets sick of me...maybe beer nerds should not have girlfriends...