A bit of a departure for me on this recent piece for Guardian Australia. Collaborating with two people who I have great professional respect for. Gerrard “Mitch” Mitchell, a Perth based chef, known by many as Beersine. His grasp of using beer in his food is second to none. Jess Shaver, an excellent Perth food photographer and a passionate beer advocate. The two recipes have beer matchings and a different level of time commitment required. The brisket involves a two day brine and a long slow cook. Worth every minute. If some of the ingredients aren’t immediately to hand I’d reccomend having a go with what you’ve got. I have foregone the Goji berries and the malt in the past and still had great results. You can read it here.
I’m headed to Good Beer Week and GABS for some long overdue Melbourne beer action. That there will be fun times and beers aplenty is without question. I’m just wondering how many of these beer stereotypes I’ll come across – and more to the point – which one I am?
Sarah Warman (@sarahfwarman), is Digital Manager at BrewDog, trainee Cicerone and speaker of craft beer truths. Check out her YouTube channel, where she’s able to talk about beer without making me want to become tee-total. No mean feat in a beer world that gets a bit too serious, a bit too pompous… It’s beer folks, not a cure for cancer.
I’m all for a steak and ale pie and I’ll never say no to fish and chips (whether beer battered or not), but beer as an ingredient is underrated. It’s changing with the work of pubs, bars, restaurants, brewers and of course chefs. With Good Beer Week coming up in Melbourne I wrote this piece for The Guardian, which I feel is a mere dip of the toe when it comes to beer and food. You can read it here.
Word of Mouth is something I’ve been reading for quite a few years. With the move to Australia it’s been a link back to the UK and great food and drink writing. So, I was pretty chuffed to write about my tastes of home as I was headed back to the UK. There’s no better place to think and write than hotels, departure lounges and planes, To be honest (and slightly vain) I’m chuffed that it seemed to strike a chord with those in the same position. I’ve not yet read all the 1000+ comments but what I get from the ones that I have is the fact that the tastes that we crave are simple, homely and linked to memory, which is where I was coming from. You can read it here.
Ok folks, turn away now if you’re irritated by trumpet blowing, gloating and oh how great is this type posts… in equal measures this may be it. To the rest of you, check this out it’s great. I’ve written here qute a bit about the journey I’ve taken over the past 4 or 5 years. I started writing as a way to flex my brain in more than corporate thoughts. It worked, as all these years later I’m writing for a living and beyond that working with great people to produce things like the Perth series I’ve been posting over the last week or so. This one you may have guessed is quite close to my heart… it’s about BEER!
Hope it made you thirsty, or craving a trip to W.A. If it did and you love craft beer, do me a favour and share this one… you know it makes sense.
OK, bit of truth for you all. I am… a bit of a beer snob. I know, who’d have thought!
I turn my nose up at the mere sight of Stella, Carling, Fosters, Tooheys New, XXXX, Bud, Miller…. the list goes on, and on, and on. I’ve walked out of pubs after standing for a good minute looking at what they’ve got. A thin smile to the barkeep, turn heels and I’m outta there.
Some with good reason but others because percieved craft beer wisdom tells me that I should shun them. It maybe that the brewer is of epic proportions, seen to have dubious practices, or simply that their beard quota isn’t high enough or that they’ve never used a sweaty monks sock in one of their brews.
Anyway, I found myself this morning confessing my ownership of a Tap King. If there’s a 12 step program for beer snobs this maybe the first step? Not monumental in confessional terms I know. It’s not like I mentioned the incident with the… anyway, yeah I own one, from which I pour James Squires, Golden Ale. And I like it. While we are on the subject I’m partial to a drop of Tooheys Old and for those of you in the UK, a John Smiths Smooth. All for various reasons but I think the point is that we drink for various reasons and we have different tastes and budgets. Not everyone wants to savour and ruminate. The majority of punters like their usual pint, whatever it maybe and who am I to talk down to them? I think it’s put perfectly above. Who cares what other people drink.
Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people, so said Eleanor Roosevelt (yes, another Roosevelt reference). To repurpose that: small minds discuss what other people drink.
It’s always great coming across beer in film. Craft Beer, A Hopumentary from Jeremy Williams and Phil Shutz is a look at the San Francisco beer scene and proof that beer people are good people.
In my first contribution to Australian Brews News I whipped up a beery Bara Brith. A Welsh “mottled bread” or fruit cake. It uses that most British of staples – tea – in the standard recipe but true to form I decided to chuck some beer in it. Why not? It is if i do say so myself the best beer Bara Brith I’ve ever tasted. The only, but the best.
It’s great to be able to contribute to a website that I’ve been reading for a while now. With Crafty Pint, I’m of the opinion that there’s not much out there to match it for regular and upto date info on what’s happening in Aussie brewing. Added to which I find the curious position of contributing on food amongst the likes of Paul Mercurio. For the non Aussies reading this think, Strictly Ballroom – yes that Paul Mercurio! It just shows that the beer world is full of surprises.
As the beer flows over East for Good Beer Week and GABS, those unable to travel find themselves in that place between envy and jealousy. Twitter, Instagram, Crafty Pint and a number of blogs just feed that thought of: why am I here, why am I not over there, why do they get to have all the f****** beer and I’m covered in enough blue paint to pull off a convincing impression of Papa Smurf. Taunts and teases even come via old school means. A GABS programme posted with a handwritten note. The thought of whether I can forego the paint brush and the thousand or so parquetry tiles that with a heavy work schedule are my foreseeable future. The answer is no. There’s always next year.
But, I’m a firm believer in making the best of what you’ve got and also a believer that if there’s an excuse to get people together for a beer then you should do it. So with the help of Twitter, Justin (@therealgornstar) and Scott (@sbbrew) a plan was hatched. One of those beautiful online plans where you just say yeah let’s do it. It’s a night for the afflicted… the affliction being that we aren’t amongst those lucky bastards in Melbourne (*shakes fist at the sky*). Yes, Perth is great, yada, yada, yada, but the beer action is over there.
So, Night of the Afflicted, tomorrow Thursday 23rd May at Five in Mount Lawley, from 5.30pm. You can choose to go for a drop of the East, keep it West or foriegn shores. It could just be a few middle aged geezers propping up the bar bemoaning our stupid decision not to go to Melbourne, it may be more. In fact you may not give a toss about what is going on in Melbourne, but hey it’s an excuse for a beer. No RSVP required, just bring yer drinking boots.
Ok, another rundown on pieces making it into the press and online over the last week or so. A mix of beer and food in London, Florence and here in Australia.
The Jellied Eel is something I’ve been reading for a good couple of years now. Usually with a pint at hand. For a great view on sustainable food and drink culture in London there’s no better. I was really pleased to get a piece about Portobello Brewing Co. in the most recent issue which you can pick up across London now or view online here. Added to which, comment from Jeff Bell from The Gunmakers, one of London’s best pubs bar none was a bonus. Everyone knows how Jeff hates to give his opinion (*cough*).
Back over this side, a piece in The West with Kiwi chef Justin North who some will know from his previous restuarant Becasse, numerous appreanaces on shows like Australian Masterchef and cook books. There’s a part of the piece here.
For lovers of street food and travel there’s a short piece on London Street Foodie and the first of an on tour series. Florentine tripe roll is the subject. It makes me dream of Italy everytime I think of it!
More to come soon, with some great commissions that I can’t talk about just yet.