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.
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.
So what was billed as Night of the Afflicted actually turns out to be anything but. A table of 5 guys, littered with empty mugs of Feral and craft bottles aplenty. It can hardly be described as affliction when one of your number walks in, casually places a Growler of True South’s finest on the table and asks should we crack this open. Flown in fresh from the East, only good things can ensue. Much respect to Scott and even more respect to Jess the “Beer Mule”.
As I waited at the bar for the first to arrive there was an awkward conversation between two fifty-somethings next to me. A blind date. Possibly an internet date. Time was that you’d scoff at this kind of thing. It’s normal these days. I realised that there’s an ever blurring between online and offline. I after all was sat waiting for a bunch of people I tweet with and have spoken to for articles. As I ever so slightly swayed towards the doors of Ace Pizza, our second destination of the evening I thought this is proof that there’s always a good excuse for an impromptu Twissup. So the question is when and where is the next? Whose in?
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.
The love of beer has a strange progression. You make your first forays into good beer and gradually or abruptly eschew the bland beer of your past. Then comes the ever growing fundamentalism. You try to convert those around you to your hoppy doctrine. To join the revolution. Easily the most annoying part of the process for those around you.
Then in time comes the dream of brewing. You’ve drunk the work of others and it creeps into your addled brain that brewing your own wouldn’t be a bad idea. In fact hey, maybe even a brewery of my own one day. I’m not quite at this stage yet but I’ve been reading pieces recently about folk at those stages in the road to a brewery. The guys at Boatrocker talking about it with Crafty in Australia and a new series of posts from Broadford Brewer on his move from homebrew to pro as he sets up the Northern Monk Brewing Co., in the UK. For now I can idly dream. That’s the dream that doesn’t involve hours and hours of cleaning, scrubbing and sanatising.
As I write I’m taking a break for scrubbing, scraping, painting, wrenching and banging. Renovating is thirsty work but in the absence of beer I’m working out where my next step on the beer path will fit into our small apartment. Yes you’ve guessed it, I’m finally taking a crack at some homebrew. I’ve had books on the shelf for years, trawled the internet for blogs and even interviewed a few homebrewers but now it seems like the time has come. There’s no garage, spare room, under the stairs or cellar… so for now it’ll be one gallon at a time in the Brew Cupboard.
Shit Beer Geeks Say, from the team behind Melbourne’s Good Beer Week had me cringeing and laughing in equal measure. The odd guffaw and piggy snort even crept in. I think most of us will see a bit of our own ingrained beer bullshittery in this. If you don’t then you could be in denial or not quite reached the level of geekdom. Don’t worry it’ll come. A sterling job by all but I think the Oscar goes to Miro Bellini “i’ve been stinging for some Kiwi hops“… I see a career on the stage beckoning.
Is there any Shit they missed? Insert bullsit in the comments below.