Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Oaks' Six States of Beer - WA beers and chocolate

Posted by Hendy

Craft beer has reached such a popular level in Australia that beer and food matching, beyond a pie, no longer sounds silly. But I was quite curious when I saw the beer and chocolate craft beer and food experience as part of The Oaks' Six States of Beer series.

Hosted by the Beer Diva Kirrily Waldhorn, the Six States of Beer events at The Oaks throughout the year traverse the country, pairing a selection of beers from one of six Australian states with a food theme for one-off food matching dinners with dishes curated by chef Danny Russo.

The third event of the year went west, pairing of five craft beers from Western Australia with the sweet and glorious chocolate. Chocolate and beer - two great essentials, but together?

Little Creatures Bright Ale served at WA Beer & Chocolate event at The Oaks Hotel, Military Rd, Neutral Bay
On arrival guests were offered a starter beer, so as to cleanse thy palates - for more beer. The Little Creatures Bright Ale was described as sunshine in a glass, or in this case in a bottle, which was quite rightly backed by the summery and floral notes.

The Bright Ale uses blended malts and hop flowers from US and New Zealand with its refreshing aromas which include pineapple and passionfruit.

Kirrily Waldhorn, the Beer Diva
The lovely Beer Diva Kirrily Waldhorn's beer knowledge is extensive and it was great to learn from her love for beer as she passionately described each beer in vivid detail.

Wagyu bresaola with beer pickled pine mushrooms, rocket and shaved dark chocolate
Following the starter beer, the first matched course featured dark chocolate shaved atop a bed of rocket with cured wagyu bresaola and beer pickled pine mushrooms.

The two-week cured bresaola provided saltiness to the dish while the pickled pine mushrooms had light, nutty flavours. The bitter-sweetness of the dark chocolate worked well with the bitter rocket, earthy mushrooms and salty bresaola, catering for almost all of the tongue's taste sensations. 

Feral Hop Hog beer
The pairing beer for the bresaola salad was the Feral Hop Hog American-style India Pale Ale, or IPA for short; one of my favourite types of beer.

The Feral Hop Hog embodied a strong citrusy aroma with a short bitter and dry finish. The strong flavours are derived from the heavy dose of American hops that are added during the boil and also through the fermentation stage.

The bitter finish of the IPA matched well with the bitterness of the dark chocolate atop the bresaola and the nuttiness of the mushrooms.

Matso's Mango Beer
The third beer to be introduced was the Matso's Mango beer. The last time I had a mango flavoured beer was at the Belgian Beer Cafe and remarkably, the Beer Diva noted that this particular mango beer is based on a classic Belgium blonde recipe in the fruit variation.

Founded in Broome by a German brewer, this Belgium blonde beer tasted like a golden ale with fruit and spicy characters. Brewed using a 100% natural mango blend, the beer had a fruity mango aroma and a sweet yet dry finish, making it quite the easy-drinking beer.

The Beer Diva introduced an interesting experiment on the night. We were told to hold our noses, shutting it from all aromas and to then sip the mango beer. Once we had a sip, we were told to release the hold on our noses. The effect, a parcel of cinnamon aroma rushing through the nose before all the other more evident flavours coming out on the palate.

Risotto with braised duck, cherry mostarda and bitter chocolate
The dish that paired with Matso's mango beer was a lovely winter-warming duck risotto, topped with bitter chocolate. This was a unique and interesting combination which at first glance was slightly off-putting.

The risotto was the kind of risotto you would want to have on a cold wintery night: warm and creamy with the arborio rice still slightly firm. The cherry mostarda gave the whole dish a citrusy touch on top of the slight bitterness from the chocolate in what turned out to be quite a clever dish.

Mini chocolate and bacon burger with stout spider
The second last pairing was a crazy, smoky dessert match. On the diner-styled plate was slider filled with a generous dollop of Nutella and crispy candied bacon - yes, you read right - alongside an ice cream spider made with stout. The matching beer was the heavily smoked Nail Brewing Rauch Smoke beer.

This was a particularly exciting pairing as all three elements were very unique and very different. The slider was excellent with the crisp, sweet-salty bacon so good that it was a star on its own. The extreme sweetness of the slider was brought to balance with the stout spider; a spin on the traditional sarsaparilla spider that was fizzy and fresh.

The heavy Nail Brewing Rauch Smoked beer features the rarely used German rauch malt; a pale malt smoked over beechwood that lends it an enticing smokiness alongside fresh hops and light chocolate characteristics. There was a also a smoky bacon note in the beer that connected the slider.

Nail Oatmeal Stout
To finish off the beer matched dinner were two bespoke beer and milk chocolate Adriano Zumbo macarons. The two Zumbarons were paired with the last beer of the night; the Nail Oatmeal Stout.

Taking inspiration from traditional British stouts, the Nail Oatmeal Stout was rather creamy, full of chocolate notes and a slight hint of coffee. 

Bespoke beer and milk chocolate Zumbarons from Adriano Zumbo
The macarons by Zumbo were made specially for the tasting event and were remarkable as expected: soft with a delicate crunch and not too sweet. I failed to find any hint of beer note in the macarons though the milk chocolate was certainly present.

Selection of beer including the Nail Brewing Rauch Smoked beer on the right
It's not just the beer talking but the whole night of beer and food matching was brilliant. There was a great selection of WA beers with surprising and delicately matched chocolate dishes in a night that really celebrated craft beers and their versatility.

The next Six States of Beer event on is Wednesday, 13 August 2014, showcasing NSW's best boutique beers paired with pork dishes.

Food, Booze & Shoes attended the Six States of Beer event at The Oaks as a guest, with thanks to Wasamedia.

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Vivian - vxdollface said...

what an interesting combination! i get bacon and chocolate, sort of haha but the others seem so wild!

Hendy said...

Let your mind run free Vivian lol

Chocolate goes with anything :P


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