Monday, September 19, 2011

Beards and Braus and goat and pie

Hopefully that heading got your attention. I suppose the fact that you have read this far suggests that it did. Thanks for that. Welcome, if this is your first visit. Welcome back if it’s not.

The reason for the heading is simple. This post is all about the latest Beer Dinner at The Plough Inn in Myrniong and, to put it frankly, I’ve run out of ‘plough puns’ to use. If you can think of some nice ones, pop them in the comments below. Cheers. Now, on with the latest chapter in the story.

That Wednesday night was cold, wet, miserable and foggy in Myrniong but this didn’t stop ‘75 locals’* from braving the elements to sample a selection of beers from Adelaide brewer, Beard & Brau, veteran of the Victorian scene, Jamieson Brewery and, for the first time, a cider. Or, if you’re a West country farmer; a coiderr.

As always, the night is not about looking for subtle flavour nuances in the beer that lap gently at the edges of the high notes in each dish or striving to find the apparent apricot note in the hops and the digestive biscuit sweetness in the malt. It’s all just about finding for yourself that beer and food actually work quite well together without looking for indicated cues.

One of the unsung joys of hosting beer dinners, tastings or ‘Beer 101s’ of any kind is the pleasant surprise you get when a ‘non beer drinker’ admits to you that “That second beer was not that bad. In fact, it was pretty good. I enjoyed it!” there is something magical in having been there when a Beer Epiphany – no matter how small – occurs.

Every dinner at The Plough seems to throw up at least one of these awakenings. On this occasion it was in the form of the Bon Chiens, Beard & Brau’s take on the French Farmhouse style and brimming with big bold flavours and more than just a little ‘funk’. Beers like this are the ones that you secretly think might be the one out of the five that might not quite hit the mark with the hearty honest folk-of-the-field out Myrniong way. This time around – more hit than miss.

The Red Tail and Golden Paw went well as expected with their level of interest for the observant and yet easy drinking and uncomplicated for the novice. As always, the food matches concocted by Chef and Plough owner Mark Mills were spot on. He would never admit it aloud but he really does owe a lot of the food success to my recommendations...

The finishing beer was paired with a rich chocolate dessert and came in the form of Jamieson Brewery Raspberry Ale. Based on Jeff Whyte’s cracking-good APA foundation and featuring something like 40 kilos of fresh Jamieson raspberries per batch, it gives a big berry hit in the aroma and beautifully balanced sweet-and-tart mouthfeel which provides little hits of flavour as it goes down the trap.

It’s fair to say that this beer split the crowd and, to be fair, that is not a situation peculiar to Myrniong. The match with the dessert was close to perfect for me and it seems by the licked clean plates that I was not the only one in that boat.

We’re back at The Plough this Wednesday for more fun and food with the inimitable Sam Fuss from True South Brewery as my very special guest. Fresh from her guest spot on Radio Brews News, Sam will introduce the locals to the Red Truck Marzen and no doubt regale them with tales of her 11 years at the forefront of the Australian brewing scene.

The night kicks off on Wednesday September 21 (Happy Birthday, Matt!) at 7 o’clock and finishes pretty much when the beer does.

I’m not making any plans for Thursday morning, either.


Prof Pilsner

*In this context, ‘locals’ come from Bacchus Marsh and Melton, Ballarat and Gisborne but also from further afield – showing just how highly regarded is the fare laid out by Mark Mills and his crew. Word has certainly spread that the food is worth the trip alone as his his keenness to explore the new ‘craze’ of matching food with the appropriate ales, lagers, wheat beers and less well-known styles brewed by local as well as international and ‘mainstream’ outfits.

Almost forgot ... the refernce in the title to this piece is for the magnificent goat curry which worked so well with Bon Chiens and the pie which paired up a treat with the Red Tail. Mmmmm!

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