Battle of the Brews at Crafty Squire
This week the World Loves Melbourne team were invited to the ‘Battle of the Brews’ at The Crafty Squire, a private five-course dinner showcasing the new Crafty Kitchen menu and brews of the house. Hosted by beer fanatic and manager of The Crafty Squire, Joe Bailly and one of the founders of craft beer in Australia, Chuck Hahn of Malt Shovel Brewery, we were guided through our evening with a selection of James Squire beers, perfectly paired to each course.
Located in the heart of the CBD on Russell Street, The Crafty Squire is one of Melbourne’s best pubs. The venue has recently undergone an extensive refurbishment and we were lucky enough to be given a tour of the new modern bar, restaurant and terrace as well as a preview of some of the new summer menu items.
Our first course was a ‘Surf & Turf’ soup with Morton Bay bug, seafood bisque and a kangarooben toasty. The Kangarooben is a new addition to the menu and a true Aussie take on the Rueben Sandwich - the kangaroo is braised in beer for 24 hours prior to serving.
Chuck:150 Lashes Pale Ale v JOE: Constable Copper Ale
Each of the James Squire beers tells a story, and these two bare no exception as not only was the founder a convict and received 150 lashes for stealing ingredients, he also was a constable! The 150 lashes worked well with the soup as the sweet citrus flavours cut through the intense broth. The Constable Copper Ale, however, was a personal and surprise favourite filled with earthy, floral notes and similarly was a great match.
This was followed by a crocodile & chicken steamed bun slider with Asian slaw, wasabi mayo and crispy shallots. The burger consisted of 30% crocodile meat and 70% chicken and was complemented by Chef’s secret ‘super sauce’.
Chuck: Four ‘Wives’ Pilsner v JOE: Portland IPA
Both Chuck and Joe’s choices worked incredibly well with the dish as they both had a distinctive spicy finish which complemented the Asian flavours.
Beautifully presented, the pepperberry spiced wallaby carpaccio with pickled wild mushrooms, rocket, shaved Parmesan and white truffle oil was a great game dish with bold flavours.
Chuck: Hop Thief #7 v JOE: Chancer Golden Ale
It's the seventh time the Hop Thief has been made and the James Squire team are currently in the process of developing an eighth. It is renowned for going well with mushrooms and it worked perfectly. The Chancer Golden Ale on the other hand is the ultimate game partner, and was the most popular beer in the collection until the launch of the 150 Lashes.
The Flinders Island saltgrass-fed lamb rump with bush tomato & basil crust, fondant potato, Vichy Dutch carrots & Glenrowan topaque jus was a well balanced dish which currently features on The Crafty Squire’s menu.
Chuck: Nine Tales Amber Ale v JOE: 2012 Kate Hill Pinot Noir
Joe moved away from the ordinary and matched the lamb with a Tasmanian, medium-bodied Pinot Noir, whilst Chuck chose the very first ale from James Squire, brewed with 20% crystal malt providing sweet notes of caramelised toffee.
Finishing the evening in true sweet style we were treated to The Crafty Squire’s signature ‘Beerimisu’ – Jack of Spades Porter soaked sponge with cocoa-mascarpone mousse & Tim Tam crumbs.
Chuck: Jack of Spades Porter v JOE: Espresso Porter Martini
The Espresso Martini is one of The Crafty Squire’s most popular cocktails and the addition of Jack of Spades Porter worked incredibly well, giving off a strong, sweet flavour. The Porter alone was the darkest of the beers tried throughout the evening and featured chocolate and coffee aromas which perfectly complemented the rich dessert.
Throughout the evening we learnt the overarching theory behind beer and food pairing is commonly known as the ‘3Cs’ – complement, contrast and cleanse, and each of the courses proved to perfectly exemplify how well the two match.
The Crafty Squire
127 Russell Street