March 20, 2014 by 250 Beers
I’m a sucker for the Sniff & Sip sessions that the Brewhouse host. I haven’t missed one yet through FOMO (fear of missing out). They seem to have gone from strength to strength gaining popularity along the way with each event selling out faster than the previous one.
First up to be featured was Edge Brewing/Beer Here, the second was Kooinda, thirdly was Brewcult, then it was Holgate’s turn. I remember speaking to Brisbane Brewing Co./Brewhouse head brewer, Sim Bonetti, at the Kooinda Sniff & Sip and I suggested that he should showcase his brewing talents at a future Sniff & Sip. To me it seemed like a no-brainer…why not feature a handful of special, one-off Brewhouse beers in the Brewhouse?!
A few weeks ago it came to fruition. Due to the absence of regular MC, Cassie Potts, Sim took the reins himself, grabbed the microphone and hosted the event and the night, as I suspected it might be, was a huge success. No offence to Cassie of course! It should be noted that Sim was dressed to impress in a deep red velvet suit with matching bow tie.
The only gripe of note was that the food wasn’t quite on par with previous sessions. I wasn’t alone in my thoughts either and to be honest it was probably going to happen sooner rather than later as prior edible offerings have been excellent. I have an idea that Sim’s beers were so very strange yet freakin’ good that head chef, Chris, may have struggled to pair them off accurately with suitable food dishes. Nevertheless, it didn’t have a negative affect on the evening.
This Sniff & Sip was the first whereby those in attendance were handed an A6 sized booklet – a guide, a menu or an order of service perhaps? It was also the first sesh that carried a theme; Anti-Valentine’s Day. It was February after all.
Here’s what went down…
For the first date was blackened Cajun and sour-cherry bread heart with white anchovies, sun-dried tomato tapenade and blackberries. This aperitif was accompanied by a sour beer brewed with sour cherries and catnip. It was aptly named Sour Puss (4.0%). I wasn’t sold on the aperitif but the beer was a cracker. The intrigue surrounding the catnip left me wanting more.
The second date again presented a simple but effective beer. Fracking Close To Water (4.6%) was a smokey lager that didn’t look like much but, again, was very intriguing. I’d never tried a lager like this before. Sim seems to have a knack of brewing beers that perplex the shit out of me which I adore. Sadly, the sweet potato and corn hash with orange salad, smoked mushroom and horseradish didn’t float my boat.
Third dates are often tricky. Not here! Not when a 10% imperial IPA is put in front of me. Beer Goggles was my pick of the night where the beer was concerned. A really big beer for the hop heads in the crowd – earthy, pine and resinous. I loved it. The food on this third date was also my favourite. A tender Gippsland eye fillet medallion was served on beetroot mash with spinach and apricot with a passionfruit glaze. The oddity of a chocolate sherry cream confused me but it just about worked. I didn’t give too much of a shit because I was concentrating on trying to get a drop more of the IIPA into my glass! Incidentally, everybody got handed a real pair of beer goggles during this course which was a nice touch.
For the fourth date we met with dessert which was an orange, pineapple and Zubrowka jelly with a white chocolate mousse all on top of an almond, ginger and peanut butter coaster. Despite the novelty appearance of this dish being presented in the form of a beer in a beer glass, I was left a little disheartened. It was sort of fun but I couldn’t finish it. Again though…beer to the rescue. A combo beer this one – half brown ale, half witbier – cunningly named Tanned Half-Wit (5.2%). Cleverly made this emitted a charming malt backbone with all the refreshing characteristics of a decent wit.
Lastly, another combo in my glass. If I was perplexed earlier then I’m not sure what the term was for the way I felt with the final beer. Double Dry Stout Saison (7.7%) is exactly that! It’s a dry stout but a saison. Wow. In essence it was a stout brewed with a farmhouse yeast which gave it the spicey notes and fruitiness that you might expect from a saison. I don’t know how difficult it would be to brew but hats off to Sim as he raised a few eyebrows with that last beer. The final course was a sweet basil and cranberry granita with vintage cheddar, quince paste, blue maize and a dark Belgian chocolate. Not a bad accompaniment to the beer but I struggled to finish it.
All five beers were the epitome of the phrase ‘craft beer’. Well done Sim!
The next session is a week away and will feature beers from Mornington Peninsula Brewery as part of a Brewsvegas event. Unfortunately, I’ll miss it as it clashes with the Untappd event at Tippler’s Tap where there’ll be ten beers on show that have all been brewed in Queensland….one of them with my assistance. I can’t miss that! However, it means that I’m slightly downbeat at missing my first Sniff & Sip. I can’t be in more than one place at a time.
Thirst world problems eh?