Blog Archive

Friday, April 25, 2014

A Walk Through The Boneyard

Last year I heard about Boneyard brewing and the excellent beers they were creating however it wasn't until recently I realized just who was behind Boneyard.

Chris Badenoch and Julie Jenkins both of Masterchef fame opened this brewery after finding success in the restaurant business and subequently meeting an excellent brewer in Brendan O'Sulivan.

Masterchef Australia's first season was the only one I ever watched and Chris and Julie both clearly had talent and adding a good brewer into the mix can only be a good thing.

Part of Chris's vision seems to be to brew beer that matches food from the beginning rather than matching the food with the beer (although he is doing this too) which I think is an excellent concept.

Currently they offer 3 great brews with Grapefruit IPA, Golden Ale and their Red Ale, all are quite low in alcohol with the highest being 4.5% which is impressive given some of the flavour and complexity to be found in these beers.

Golden Ale (4.5% 50 IBU)
Aroma: Good strong fruit smells, lingering passionfruit and citrus.
Food Pairing: Seafood, Chicken and any warm day really ;)

This beer got around a lot at summer and from other write ups on it sounded like a great refreshing drop, and thankfully it is!  Pours a nice cloudy golden colour with a great fruity aroma on the nose with a big hoppy punch of bitterness on the back palette. All of this adds up to a really great beer and a good start to my session of Boneyard.

Grapefruit IPA (2.9% 38 IBU)
Aroma: citrus and other sweet fruit
Food Pairing: Chicken, Pork and fruit (Grapefruit maybe?!)

I was expecting to get a lot more of a grapefruit kick from this beer given its description but it is still there and seems to help smooth out the bitterness in the back palette. Another fairly refreshing beer from Boneyard, pouring a nice golden colour again but clear this time leaving nice lacing around my glass as I drank it.

Worth a tipple if you can get your hands on it, purely for its uniqueness.

Red Ale (2.9% 38 IBU)
Aroma: Toffee\caramel, coffee
Food Pairing: chocolate, chocolate or coffee based desserts

This one surprised me, I think because I had no expectations when I began drinking it but boy was I impressed. Pours a fantastic dark rich malty colour with strong toffee aroma. I seemed to get a caramel or coffee finish from this one and for some reason it was rather moreish, definitely a beer to enjoy with or after dessert or on its own in the cooler months.

I am extremely impressed with Boneyard's offerings and for a less than 2 year old brewery they are doing very well. I enjoyed the food both Chris and Julie cooked on Masterchef and it seems they continuing to have their hand in good food and pairing that with good beer.

I do wish though that they were easier to find in Brisbane which at least as far as I can tell they are not readily available but if you live in Melbourne or Sydney you should have no trouble finding some.

I'll be keeping an eye out for more beers from Boneyard in the future!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Sunshine Coast Brewery

I've been drinking local and international craft beer for around 10 years now, so it seems fitting that I return to my home town and the first brewery I ever purchased beer from!

I was in my early 20's when I last visited The Sunshine Coast Brewery and back then I purchased a carton of chilli beer which in my youth I thought was a good idea. I can say now that I'm older and wiser that attempting to drink a carton of chilli beer was an unwise decision.

Returning to the brewery with a more mature palette has been a blessing as I got to enjoy a tasting paddle which included their Hef, Dark (middy), Bitter Ale, Pilsner and Summer Ale. After this I was offered an extra taste in the form of a German style smoked beer called Rauch Bier which was quite nice but really is something you have a small amount of.

The tasting platter was excellent and let me know what was on offer and despite having a busy period over Easter which cleaned out a lot of their stock there was still a good selection. The standout beer for me was their Rye ESB (Extra Special Bitter) which is a fantastic hoppy explosion with a nice punch of rye. It reminds me a lot of the IPA style which is so popular right now and worth visiting the brewery for on it's own.

The only beer I didn't get to try that I was hanging out for was their Porter but I am sure I can order some when they have it bottled again or use it as an excuse for another visit!

The staff were very knowledgeable and seemed genuinely interested in listening to of their customers feedback and exchange beer related stories.

They were also nice enough to see if the Rye ESB was anywhere near being bottled again and whilst I couldn't get any during my visit the young man serving me went out of his way to give me a bevy of options to ensure I could order some if I wanted to, this type of service is fantastic and definitely only comes with passionate staff who care about the beer and their customers.

Whilst the main attraction is clearly the beers the food that is on offer is also very good with pub style mains and nothing costing over $17. They even do take-away!

I went with the chicken parm which was delicious and my party had another parm and a couple had beef burgers. We were all satisfied with our meal both in flavour and portion size and all agreed that the chips were the standout as they were crunchy and moreish! 

Overall a good experience and worth dropping in for lunch and a beer or five if you live on the coast or are visiting for any reason! 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Pepe's Mexican @ Newmarket

Pepe's Mexican Restaurant on Urbanspoon
After a beery Saturday it seemed appropriate to have a nice hearty but late breakfast and Pepe's at Newmarket is just the ticket!

This is our second visit here for breakfast and the food again did not dissapoint!

El Ranchero Grande
After all of our group arrived we ordered some drinks and enjoyed some conversation before ordering our meals. Half of our group went with the El Ranchero Grande which is an epic breakfast with a burrito bowl filled with chilli topped with 2 eggs with a moat of maple bacon, choirzo, stuffed mushrooms and a delicious hash brown.

In both my visits I have had the same meal so can't pass judgement on the rest of the menu but the Grande is extremely delicious, well sized and well priced for what you get. That said the rest of my group seemed to enjoy their meals equally.

All the drinks on offer are also very good with a good range of mexican beers, sangria, margaritas, coffee and juice. I enjoyed a mug of coffee and a glass of cold pressed apple juice which was tasty!

It was a fairly quiet Sunday morning however the food took way too long to come out arriving over an hour after ordering. This may have partly been due to them running out of salmon mid service but still they were not overly busy so it shouldn't really have taken this long.

Another problem is that the menu online and the menu in the restaurant differ, so some of what you see online is not available which can lead to dissapointment.

The food is really what shines at Pepe's and if they can improve the service and continuity of the menus their popularity will grow. I am looking forward to returning to try the lunch menu sometime in the future.

Brisbane Beer Fest @ Eatons Hill

The inaugural Brisbane Beer Fest hosted at Eatons Hill Hotel and Function Centre was on this past weekend and went off quite well despite looming clouds and occasional showers.

The venue is little ways out for your average Brisbanite, however the turn out was fantastic with a lot of people making the trip to taste the 100 different beers and ciders on offer from around 25 different breweries and listen to the live music.

Gates opened at 12pm and we arrived shortly after that, exchanged some cash for beer tickets, grabbed our first beer and secured a table which lasted us for the next few hours. Despite the overcast wether we only endured a light amount of rain sitting out in the open although I assume that the darker skies were more of a blessing than a hindrance due to it being warm day and sitting in direct sunlight is no fun.

A lot of great breweries were represented with names like Holgate, Australian Brewery, Little Creatures, Mountain Goat and Brooklyn Brewery as well as local favourites Bacchus Brewing and Green Beacon Brewing.

I tried beers from several breweries including Holgate, Brewcult and Australian brewery but the go to stand for myself and my group was Bacchus Brewing from Capalaba who had (and always seem to!) an amazing array of unique beers on offer. From a beer with an entire chicken in it to smokey maple and bacon to a berliner weisse (sour beer) with 15kg of strawberries, this range of bizarre but delicious beers on offer was worth the trip alone.

Roast Beef Roll & Brewcult Hopzone
After sampling a couple of brews I ordered some food, with a a few options available with King of Wings reppin' the chicken wings along with stands selling Mexican, Italian and some German style cuisine. I had a beef roll and added some mustard which makes for perfect beer food!

For being the first time that Eatons had run an event like this I think it went off pretty well but there is some immediate room for improvement of which I am sure they are already aware of and are probably preparing for a second go round next year.

The main thing needs to change is that there was not  enough seating with people trying to snipe your seats every time you get up to get another beer meaning that you have to save seats and defend them with your life which detracts momentarily from enjoying the atmosphere and the beers!

Crowds & Stone n Wood Caravan
Some signage pointing to the free water that was inside would also be a good idea as we didn't know this until we were leaving. They could also have a couple more food options (and some non-alcoholic beverage options) and better signs at the stands as you had to ask what some of the food was which is difficult if there is a big line of people.

I would also have liked some way to purchase merchandise either from each stand or from a single merch location, as I was looking for some glassware especially from Brooklyn or Holgate breweries but this wasn't available.

The ability to purchase take away from the stands is also a good idea but is a minor thing as the bottle shop at Eatons has a pretty damn excellent range of craft beer. We made a stop in there on the way out and I picked up a bottle of Brewcults Hopzone, Brooklyns IPA, Holgates Brick Kiln Dunkel and Montheith's Apricot Wheat beer.

Overall the event was quite good with some great beers and decent food. A good way to spend a Saturday afternoon really :) Looking forward to a repeat next year!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Food, Friends & Fun!

Having recently moved in with my girlfriend it seemed like the perfect opportunity to entertain and have some friends over for food, beers and randomness.

One of my friends doesn’t eat dairy or gluten and my girlfriend generally avoids it so it was a good opportunity to try and cook some more paleo inspired food and offer healthier options in general.

omnomnom! nibbles :)
That said I still served cheese for myself and other friends along with an array of meat, fruit, olives and hommus for starters, which all went down extremely well.

main is served!
Two of my friends had recently been a road trip south of the border (NSW not Mexico!) and brought back a fantastic range of different beers from multiple breweries so we worked our way through those along with some other Aussie, American and Belgian beers.

Rather than drink single beers each I was simply pouring two beers across 3-4 people which worked out really well and let us all try different styles without getting completely written off although we did get somewhat inebriated by the end of it :)

After some good conversation and humour I finished cooking the main course which was a herb crusted lamb shoulder, coconut masala kipflers, creamed coconut kale and honeyed baby carrots.

Whilst not strictly paleo you could substitute the kipflers for sweet potato and it would still work, and you could just leave the honey carrots out although raw honey is accepted in paleo some of the time.

Beers we drank
We finished off the evening with a raw dessert “snicker’s cake” that my girlfriend created, it was delicious and rather pretty served as little love hearts! The cacao topping matched perfectly with a stout that my friends brought with them from NSW.

After a few more beers and some you-tubing of baby animal videos the night came to a close. Our first time entertaining together as a couple had gone really well and we were able to just put the dishwasher on and relax for the rest of the night.


Garlic & Herb Crusted Lamb Shoulder

  • Lamb shoulder (boned, flat 1-1.5kg)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 3 lemons
  • Fresh Thyme, Rosemary & Mint
  • Coconut Oil
Chop up the garlic and herbs as small as you can manage (use a blender if you are want more of a paste) and then combine in a bowl with coconut oil and lemon juice then cover the lamb in this mixture and place in the fridge to marinate for 3-4 hours (you can cook immediately).

Before cooking pre-heat the oven to 160c and remove the lamb from the fridge and allow it to come to room temperature for about 20-30mins. Put the lamb in a baking tray or dish with about 1cm of water, cover with foil and place in the oven.

After about 2.5-3hours of cooking take the foil off and let the lamb brown up on top for about another hour depending on the size of the lamb. The end result should be moist lamb that you can pull apart either by hand or with a couple of forks.

I served mine with herb oil which is simply coconut oil, olive oil, lemon juice and chopped mint and thyme.

Coconut Masala Kipfler’s 

  • Kipfler potatoes w/skin on and cooked through and smashed(2pp)
  • ¼ cup Desiccated Coconut
  • 1 Tablespoon Garam Masala
  • ¼ cup Coconut Cream
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil
I cook the potatoes with the roast until tender, remove them and crush them slightly (you can just boil them until tender). Heat up a fry pan to a medium-high temperature, add coconut oil and potatoes and fry until the golden brown at which point you add the coconut and cook until it has a small amount of colour then add the masala and seasoning. After stirring through the Masala lower the heat slightly and add the coconut cream and cook for a few mins. They are ready to serve at this point. 

Creamed Coconut Kale (Serves 4-6 per bunch) 
  • Kale
  • ½ cup Coconut Cream
  • Flaked Almonds
  • 1 Garlic Clove (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons of water
After chopping the garlic, cut the Kale into small pieces making sure that the thicker stem part is quite small as it will not cook down much. Add the garlic and almonds to a frypan (medium heat) and cook until both have some colour then add the Kale to the pan along with a little bit of water to help semi-steam the kale. Once wilted sufficiently add the coconut cream and simmer for a few mins until the kale is tender.

Honeyed Baby Carrots (Serves: 4-6 depending on size of carrots)

  • Kale
  • ½ cup Coconut Cream
  • Flaked Almonds
  • 1 Garlic Clove (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tablespoons of water
After removing the carrot tops and cleaning the carrots simply microwave them in a tiny amount of water for 1-2 mins (1000w) until tender. Drain the carrots and pat dry with paper towel and then add to a frypan (over medium heat) with a small amount of coconut oil and cook until they have some colour/crispybits and then add the honey and seasoning, stir the carrots then turn the heat off.
Note: The above 3 dishes can all be cooked in the same pan. Just use a good non-stick pan and wipe it out with paper towel after each dish. 

Note #2: Carrot tops are actually pretty delicious (and high in potassium) used as a green, just wash them thoroughly and add into a stir fry or an omelette.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Beer.. Floats?

Ask almost anyone about spiders or floats and they would to tell you a story from their youth when they enjoyed a delicious cola or lemonade spider (or even root beer).

And when you think about it, what is beer but an adults soda, drank in moderation and for enjoyment (and sometimes to excess!).

So in the spirit of my childhood I have been rattling around some ideas on how to take the spider to that next level.

A couple of weeks ago after purchasing some fresh passion fruit and some high quality vanilla bean ice cream I experimented some with this idea.

Stone & Wood brewing's amazing Pacific Ale was the perfect match for these flavours with its big passion fruit note and overall light fruity sweetness.

The passion fruit pulp to helped bring out that intense flavour and the ice cream added that soft, cold deliciousness that I remember from being a kid on a hot day.

I'd like to experiment with some other less common beers and ice creams and will endeavor to do so in the future, probably later in the year when summer comes around again!

Beer & Ice Cream?!

International Hotel - Hipwood Brewery Launch

International Hotel on Urbanspoon
As Brewsvegas was coming to an end I realised I had been rather absent from the festivities. I made plans with a couple of mates to head to the International Hotel's Hipwood brewery launch so that I could at least have attended an event over Brewsvegas and to check out what was in store with the re-launch of the hotels internal Brewery.

I have visited International Hotel a few times for lunch and some very cheap ($5.50/pint) and half decent craft beer and do enjoy the local pub atmosphere on occasion so it made sense to head there for a few brews after work on Friday and see what the Hipwood re-brand was all about!

Hopping on the Spring Hill loop meant we were at the hotel in no time, greeted by a pretty decent looking turn out of locals and beer lovers we found a spare table and settled in.

Hefe+Pretzel = Heftzel?
I started off by ordering a pint of the Hills Hefe which flavourful and true to the Hefeweizen style pairing off well with the free pretzel we were offered to snack on, however it seems the price of beers have gone up with the launch to around $8/pint which is still cheap compared to other places but not nearly as much as it used to be!

As the launch started to ramp up we were offered more free (and delicious!) food with mini pork sliders, mini hot dogs and beer nuts which were all quite delicious.

I headed back to the bar and ordered a couple of tasting paddles(for me and a friend) to get a better idea of the rest of their beers. It was a pretty impressive looking paddle and decently priced at $12 with a taste of the 5 beers on offer.

The beers were Hills Hefe, Jimmy's Pils, Midnight Porter, Poley Oley (Pale Ale) and Red Eye (Red Ale).

My favourite was the Pale Ale and although I find the name a bit odd I didn't find the beer anything but delicious with a real big citrus punch and good hop flavour, by far the stand out here and worth having a session of.

After finishing off my paddle of beers I ordered a meal in the form of "Bacon and Eggs Pork Belly" which was an interesting combo of pork belly, mashed potato, saurkraut style red cabbage and 2 fried eggs.

It was rather tasty and had definite German food influences which match the Hipwood beers really well however I would have liked the belly to be rendered a bit more, it had some crunch but was missing that "crackling" feeling you expect.

I really like what International Hotel is trying to do with changing their "local" hotel image into a good time, good food gastro pub with in house craft beer.

I think it is ambitious but also very doable if they keep working at the beers and the food and promoting themselves. I absolutely wish them all the best in this and will no doubt visit again sometime in the near future.