In the contemporary and evolving world of food and drink appreciation, there are those that love beer, and those that love food. It makes sense then to bring the two together to share that love, and that is what the Australian National Home Brewing Conference (ANHC5) will be setting out to do next month.
The dinner will take place at the historic Freemasons Hall located on North Terrace Adelaide, South Australia. The building could perhaps be seen as a complementary venue choice due to its architectural detail, use of hand crafted sandstone bricks in construction, and classical ageing – qualities mirrored in the brewing process that no doubt will feel familiar to those home brewers attending.
A five course menu has been constructed for the night, with each being paired with home brewed beers from around Australia. These beers have been brewed by amateur brewers Mark Smith (SA), Dale Carrol (WA), Darko Blatnik (Vic), Gary Dury (WA) and Mark Overton (ACT).
“The barrel aged Russian Imperial stout produced for the pairing dinner was very much a collaborative effort, the 120L litre volume required for the night being beyond my normal production capacity as a home brewer,” says Mark Smith.
“The word was put out for collaborators before commencing the brew five months ago, with a bunch of guys from Adelaide chipping in to assist me.”
A further chat with Mark elevates the anticipation that beers on the pairing night are going to be something exceptional, especially when he details that smaller 100L American Oak barrels have been used to condition his imperial stout, imparting some of its characteristics into the beer. These barrels have originated from leading wine producer Yalumba Family Vignerons in the Barossa Valley, and were actually used in the past production of their premier shiraz Octavias.
Mark Smith may be better known under his online alias of ‘Dr Smurto’ in home brewing circles, and has shared previous beer recipes that he has developed in public home brewing forums, earning him a good reputation for beers incorporating balance and drinkability.
The menu for the night has been constructed by Head Chef Becky Hartman-Kearns, and will consist of the following paired courses:
- SAISON by Dale Carrol (WA) paired to shared plates of Steamed Pork Dumplings with chili Soy dipping sauce, Crisp Prawn wonton with Lemon Grass and Fresh Coriander, Tender Peking Duck wrapped in spring onion and Chive Omelette
- PASSIONFRUIT BERLINER WEISSE by Darko Blatnik (VIC) paired to Poached King George Whiting Roulade served with Seared Asparagus and a delicate Caper and Dill Lemon Sauce.
- RAUCHBIER by Gary Dury (WA) paired to Twice Cooked Pork Belly marinated in Rauchbier on a bed of Steamed Greens with a Sweet Spiced Cherry Sauce.
- AMERICAN RYE IPA by Mark Overton (ACT) paired to Char Grilled Slow Roasted Lamb Rump with Crispy Sea Salted Baby Potato and Fresh Mint infused Greek Yogurt. Served with Baby spinach and rocket salad with crispy pear, toasted walnut, grated parmesan with an IPA infused dressing and Sour dough bread with black garlic butter; and
- BARREL AGED IMPERIAL STOUT by Mark Smith (SA), paired to ‘Plates Of Decadance’ – Locally sourced selection of Cheeses with Tender Sundried Fruits. Rich Dark Chocolate Dipped Truffles. Ginger Honeycomb and Chili Salted Chocolate.
An obvious question one may ponder is whether it is easier producing the opening or closing brew for a gourmet beer matching dinner? According to brewer Mark Smith, the opening beer is the most challenging as that is when the people’s expectations are at their highest. “I suspect everyone will be much more relaxed by the time dessert comes around,” he said.
The beer and food pairing dinner will be held on the evening of the 13th of October, commencing at 5pm. Tickets are available here at $140 each, and are expected to sell out.
Attendees will also have time after the event to make their way to the official ANHC welcoming party, which will take place at the Wheatsheaf Hotel (approx. 15 minutes travel by public transport).