Thanks to Anthony (and his work social club), I was again able to attend the Tales & Ales night presented by Dr Charles “Chuck” Hahn – Brew master of Lion Nathan, and former owner of Hahn Brewery.
After having been to one of these beer tasting events last year by Chuck, it gave me a new appreciation of not just beer, but beer with food. Chuck is also friendly, charismatic and his passion for beers is evident as he introduces to us each of the beers in his James Squire range.
On arrival we are given a glass of their new product – Orchard Crush Apple Cider. With an increased popularity of cider drinking in Australia, there is no surprise that the James Squire range has introduced a cider of its own. Cloudy in colour, it looks like it has been freshly made from apples on the spot and reminiscent of crushed lemonade on a hot summer day. It is crisp, tart, and excludes the artificial sweetness that some ciders have.
From there on we work our way from the lighter beers to the heavier, dark ones. And each being paired with a tasting portion of food that is perfectly selected to not only match the flavour of the beer, but complementing it as well.
An example is the “Four Wives” Pilsner, which is teamed with the spicy Malaysian Chicken Satay sticks. Drank alone, this beer is “double” the bitterness to most beers, but after a bite with spicy foods, it instead gives a cooling effect and seems to mellow out the heat on my tongue.
The most interesting pairing that I would not normally think possible is the “Jack of Spades” Porter with the chocolate and walnut brownie. This dark porter leaves a creamy aftertaste of malt and coffee when had with the brownie, and luckily goes with any kind of chocolate dessert one wishes to have! It’s my favourite pairing as it’s so unexpected and great how beer can be had as a dessert course too.
The beer of my choice for any drinking day would have to be “The Chancer” Golden Ale and is apparently the most popular beer in the James Squire range. It’s not too bitter and drier; making it very easy drinking.
As mentioned, Chuck gives an entertaining performance describing each beer’s characteristic and the story behind James Squire – the first Australian brewer. After 6 glasses of beer within a 2.5 hour time span, I am drunk… but have also discovered a new found respect for beer and its unlimited possibilities with food compliments to Chuck.
TALES & ALES MENU
James Squire Orchard Crush Cider
James Squire 150 Lashes Pale Ale (Oysters topped with lime, coconut & coriander)
James Squire Chancer Golden Ale (Vintage cheddar cheese tartlets & blue cheese tartlets)
James Squire Four Wives Pilsner (Malaysian chicken Satay skewers)
James Squire Nine Tales Amber Ale (Sweet & spicy tempura pork fillets)
James Squire Jack of Spades Porter (Chocolate & walnut brownie)
Food and venue provided by Mezz Bar, Hotel Coronation