• LoveItBeer name: The Gold Digger Golden Ale
  • Brewery: Steamrail Brewing Company
  • Style: Golden Ale
  • ABV: 4.5%
  • First Had: 29/07/2014
  • Description: From the website – “The Gold Digger Golden Ale is a smooth, rich Golden Ale that is honey gold in colour with a refreshing subtle hop taste that is perfectly balanced with delicious fruity aromas.”
    Not a bad beer actually considering it is ‘brewed’ by supermarket giant Coles. Quite sessionable, easy drinking.
  • Food Pairing: The subtle hop taste makes this beer ideal with roast chicken or fish and chips.
  • Rating: 3.5/5

Steamrail Gold Digger Golden Ale



Fudge’s Cafe, Chirnside Park – $$

ShoveItWe stopped in for a quick breakfast at Fudge’s Cafe this morning as we both had the Friday off. Despite a good latte, we were a little disappointed.

Recently refurbished, this little cafe has a nice atmosphere and if you can get past all the smokers, the small outdoor area is a nice addition for a shopping centre. (4/5)

It wasn’t too busy at 9am, but the woman behind the counter had literally just started her shift and wasn’t quite up to it yet (she couldn’t take our simple order). However, the food and coffees came out with-in minutes and the waiter was very friendly. (3/5)

This is the disappointing part. Our coffees were good, but our Eggs Benedict, not so much. The muffins were cold and not toasted. The ham was cold. The eggs were perfectly cooked but then drowned in cheap Hollandaise straight from a bottle. It tasted like cheap, no-name brand salad cream. It looked so good when it arrived at the table, which was a real let down. (3/5)

The food wasn’t overly expensive for the size of the portions being served. As mentioned previously, my latte was pretty good too so I would say that Fudge’s Cafe is reasonably priced. (3.5/5)

Despite a bad experience today, I would be willing to give this place another shot. This is one of my local cafes, so I would like to see it succeed. (66%)

Fudge's Cafe on Urbanspoon

 

Eggs Benedict at Fudge's Cafe



Mr Foxx, Malvern – $$

ShoveItMr Foxx was our choice for lunch after a morning of training locally. We were surprised to see the venue so full on a Monday, but I’m guessing the fact that most other local cafes are closed on a Monday had something to do with it. We were seated out the back on a long table for 12 of us. It was quaint and comfortable, but a little chilly this time of the year. (3/5)

The service was OK – nothing spectacular with the waitress forgetting one persons food and ordering the wrong dish for someone else. (3/5)

The food was good. I ordered the burger which was delicious, but the shoestring fries were overcooked and cold by the time my food arrived. The portion sizes were decent enough too.(3/5)

Considering the location, the size of the portions and the quality of the food, I think that it was value for money. (3/5)

Overall, this wasn’t a pleasant experience and I don’t think that I would return to visit Mr Foxx again. 60%

Mr Foxx on Urbanspoon



Jamison Pale Ale

  • LoveItBeer name: Jamison Pale Ale
  • Brewery: Jamison Brewery
  • Style: Pale Ale
  • ABV: 4.6%
  • First Had: 15/07/2014
  • Description: From the brewery website – “The Pale Ale is rich gold color with spicy citrus aromatics. Nutty malt mid palate and finishing with a solid bitterness that lingers just enough to satisfy the senses.”
    I really enjoyed this very hoppy Jamison Pale Ale. It had nutty hints in both the aroma and the flavours and was extremely refreshing on the palate.
  • Food Pairing: As with most pale ales, these highly hopped beers go well with a chicken or pork dish or with a mild cheese such as a Red Leicester.
  • Rating: 4/5

 

Jamison Pale Ale
Jamison Pale Ale


How to review beer – a short guide

Most beer drinkers just drink beer, but one day you’ll taste a really good one (probably a craft beer) and actually think about what you are drinking – the flavours, the aroma, the colour. What you’re doing is reviewing the beer, just like a wine drinker would form opinions of a wine. This article will try to help teach you how to review beer.

The first thing to remember is that everyone has different tastes – some prefer dry blondes, others (like myself) prefer darker ales and porters. Respect everybody’s opinion and don’t be (mis)led by what others think of the beer you are about to taste.

A good place to start is with a beer’s style. Review the beer according to its style category, keeping in mind the characteristics of that style. If you know you don’t like a specific style, don’t even bother reviewing it because you will already have an opinion before you start. For more on beer styles, see the BJCP list here.

Senses are very important when reviewing beer! Bad odours, smelly or strong flavoured foods or a cold may affect your sense of smell and even your sense of taste! Even reviewing a stronger flavoured beer will change the taste of a beer. Cleanse your palate between reviews with a glass of water or some crackers or plain bread. The temperature of a reviewed beer can also affect its flavor – for paler beers, drink them between 5°C and 10°C and for darker beers between 10°C and 15°C.

Glassware is also important – clean and in the correct glass. Don’t review from sample glasses – they are usually too small to really get to know the beer. Remember to swirl the beer to bring out the hop or malt flavours and aromas. Beer Advocate has an excellent list of glassware and beers to drink from them.

The last thing to note is the order in which you review beers. Start with the lightest, least hoppy beers and move towards the darker, higher alcohol or hoppier varieties. Remember, some light (in colour) beers can be very hoppy, and this will ruin the flavor of the following beer.

The following five things are what we look at when we review beer:

  • Appearance – The colour of the beer, its carbonation level, head and head retention. Is the beer clear or cloudy?
  • Smell – What aromas do you get when you sniff the beer? Malts: sweet, roasty, smoky, toasty, chocolaty, nutty, caramelly, biscuity? Hops: dank / resiny, herbal, perfumy, spicy, leafy, grassy, floral, piney, citrusy? Yeast will also create aromas. You might get fruity or flowery aromas (esters) from ales and very clean aromas from lagers, which will allow the malt and hop subtleties to pull through.
  • Taste – The flavours will have similar descriptions to the aromas. Is the beer well balanced or does it have a specific character? Most importantly, does it fit into its style category?
  • Mouthfeel – How does the beer feel in your mouth? Light, heavy, chewy, watery? Flat, over-carbonated?
  • Overall – What is your overall impression of the beer? Did you like it?

These are some basic tips on how to review beer. If you would like to take the experience further, there are many excellent books out there on how to review beer or you could take a BJCP course or even become a BJCP certified beer judge!

For more info, look through the Beer 101 section on BeerAdvocate.

how to review beer



Kaptans Restaurant at Hotel Pension Grimus, Mt Buller – $$$$

LoveItOne of the most famous restaurants on Mt Buller, Kaptans Restaurant at Hotel Pension Grimus certainly had a lot to live up to!

We were welcomed to a typical Austrian Pension atmosphere. The smell of food was the first thing that we noticed when we walked through the front door. It was certainly inviting! As our table wasn’t yet ready, we enjoyed a drink at the bar before being seated. (4.5)

Unfortunately, that’s where the level of service ended. Our waiter was a little disappointing. She didn’t know what the special was (the maitre’D had already run through them with us), she forgot to order our desserts, so we waited an hour for them after already waiting over an hour for our mains and when she cleared our plates, she WAS CHEWING ON GUM!! (2.0)

After waiting over an hour for the mains, the food was magnificent. I had the rack of lamb which was cooked to perfection. Other dishes on our table included the duck breast which also looked perfect and the special which was sauteed beef medalions. For sides we had fried Dobson potatoes with horseradish cream, paprika and chives and the salt roasted beetroot with feta and orange. Both were delicious!

For dessert we ordered the famous Salzburger Nockerl. This is a chocolate chip and hazelnut soufflé with hot chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream and takes about 30 minutes to prepare. We had asked the waitress to order this when our mains arrived, but she forgot and so we waited an hour after finishing our mains! (4.0)

Considering the size and the quality of the meals and despite the poor service we received tonight, I would still recommend this restaurant to diners. The atmosphere alone is worth a visit although I have been informed that the menu hasn’t changed in a few years. (3.5)

My overall rating for this restaurant is 70%

Our total spend for the night, excluding tip was $310 which included pre-dinner drinks, 4 mains, 2 sides, 3 desserts and a bottle of wine.

The famous Salzberg Nockerl
The famous Salzberg Nockerl

Kaptans Restaurant at Hotel Pension Grimus on Urbanspoon



Snow Pony, Mt Buller – $$$$

LoveItWe weren’t quite sure where the entrance to Snow Pony was, but as soon as we walked through the front door, we knew that this restaurant was going to be all class!

There was a warm fire burning, the decor was inviting and the lights were dimmed – maybe a little too dim because diners were using the lights on their phones to read the menu! (4/5)

A bottle of water was immediately brought to the table and we were quickly offered a drinks list. We were told the specials of the day and a cocktail was recommended for my wife based on what she liked. A complimentary wakame salad was also placed on our table before we even placed our order. (4.5/5)

The cocktails were perfectly created – not too strong, not overly decorated! The food was delicious and the portion sizes were perfect for sharing. We ordered 3 main dishes and a rice dish which was enough to satisfy our hunger. The Sukhumvit Sticky Pork (twice cooked pork belly with a ginger palm soy glaze) was to die for! The sliders (of pulled lamb, mesculin, shaved shallot and citrus kewpie) were good but nothing special and the Pattaya Calamari tasted just like Thai calamari should. I washed my food down with the only craft beer on the menu – 150 Lashes Pale Ale. (5/5)

Although the portions weren’t large (more like tapas plates), the three dishes with the jasmine rice was enough to satisfy us and the quality of the food was worth paying for! We really enjoyed our night out and I would definitely recommend the Snow Pony to anyone looking for a romantic night in Mt Buller. (4/5)

The three main dishes plus a bowl of jasmine rice, 2 beers and 2 cocktails came to $120.00

Overall, I would score the Snow Pony, Mt Buller (or Show Pony as it is known locally) at 90%!

Sukhumvit Sticky Pork
Sukhumvit Sticky Pork

 

Snow Pony on Urbanspoon



Pacific Seafood BBQ & Cafe, CBD – $

LoveItWe walked into the restaurant around 6.30pm on a Monday night and the place was a hive of activity – business men, tourists, young people, old people, people waiting to be seated, people enjoying meals. (Atm=4/5)

We were a large group and had booked a table. We were instantly seated (very close to the entrance) and our waiter attempted to take our order. Unfortunately, the language barrier was an issue and some of us got our drinks while others didn’t. We also placed food orders – various dishes to share across the table. One of our group was gluten free, so to play it safe she ordered a steak. Unfortuantely for her, they served it covered in a creamy sauce of unknown design. She scraped it off and enjoyed the steak nonetheless. (Service=2.5/5)

The dishes came out at varying times – sometimes we had too much on the table, other times we had nothing to eat. Not atypical of a Chinese restaurant I guess. But the food was excellent – no complaints from our table (which included 2 fine dining chefs!) (Food=4/5)

When all was said and done, we had spent about $40 per head on food and drink, which wasn’t bad considering how much food we ate. My taxi ride home was more than that! (Value=4/5)

Overall, the experience was a good one. We had a great night with good food. However, if you want somewhere intimate to dine, avoid this place. This is the kind of place that you have social gatherings, where people shout to be heard and eat whatever is placed in front of them! (71%)

Pacific Seafood BBQ House on Urbanspoon



Barossa Valley Brewing’s Bee Sting

    • LoveItBeer name: Bee Sting
    • Brewery: Barossa Valley Brewing
    • Style: Australian Pale Ale
    • ABV: 5%
    • First Had: 19 August 2011
    • Description: From the brewery website – “A refreshing ale brewed with a touch of orange blossom honey and double hopped with Styrian Golding hops. A well balanced beer, the subtle citrus nose and front palate finishes with a mild hop bitterness.” Despite all these awards, I was rather disappointed with this beer. It lacked the honey and the wheat flavours and aromas that I expected. It had a beautiful golden straw colour with a small white head and it was quite drinkable, but a little bland.
    • Food Connection: The ‘recommended’ foods to have with this beer are “Asian, barbecued meats and foods with a bit of spice.” I would also recommend it with chicken or spicy seafood. I drank mine with a roast pork meal and it was the perfect companion!
    • Rating: 3/5
Barossa Valley Brewing Bee Sting
Barossa Valley Brewing Bee Sting


Food and beer pairings

As the blog title states, I love food and I love beer and what better way to enjoy this than to match the flavours of the two parties to emphasize them!

Of course, taste is pretty subjective so matching various flavours can be rather difficult. The general rules for food and beer pairings are:

  • Delicate beers go with delicate dishes
  • More bitter (hoppier) beers suit heartier, more strongly flavoured foods

Instead of writing a really looooong post on which beer types go with which foods, I have added a page to the site which does just that!

Click the link here or at the top of the page to see the suggested food and beer pairings.