Little Creatures teamed up with The Brisbane Hotel for WA Beer Week, and I was sent along to attend a Beer School Class and taste the new Spring Menu.
WA is fast becoming known as a pioneer for craft beer, celebrated last week with WA Beer Week. Little Creatures were hosted by The Brisbane Hotel for the week and last Friday (amidst the October 31st Halloween punters) I attended ‘Beer School’ taught by some colourful Little Creatures lads. One of our teachers reminded me of the mad hatter (with a giant top hat), somehow I never quite worked out if this was a halloween costume or general Freo hippie garb…
We were given a history lesson on the origins of beer, learning that Monks were the first professional brewers- they were the first to use hops and sell to thirsty travellers and pilgrims. I learned what hops, malt and yeast were all about:
- Hops (Humulus Lupulus), are vine-like plants that act as the seasoning (balancing malt sweetness) for beer and deliver bitterness, aroma and flavour.
- Malting is the partial germination and kilning of a grain, most commonly barley and in some cases wheat, rye, or other grains. Malt Starch is converted into soluble sugar during the brewing process. Malt gives different flavour, colour and body to the beer depending on the style of malt used.
- Yeast is a single-celled organism that consumes simple sugars and converts it into alcohol and CO2.
Finally we were given a chance to make our own with a bench top brewing session. The brewing process goes a little something like this…
- Milling- Milling is grinding the malted grains, usually malted barley, through a mill to crack the kernels’ hard husks so the starches inside will be more accessible to enzymes. (we used a mortar and pestle and a little elbow grease).
- Mashing- The milled malt, is then mixed with warm water (liquor), to form a porridge-like Mash. During this stage the enzymes in the malt convert the Starch into a range of soluble sugars.
- Lautering- Separates the liquid from the solid spent grain in the mash, leaving a sugar rich malt extract called the Wort.
- Brewing- The wort is next transferred to the kettle and boiled for up to 2 hours depending on the type of beer. During the boil hops are added at various times in order to extract their different characteristics
- Whirlpool- separates any sedimentary particles from the wort.
- Hopback- The wort is then passed through a hop back (a large basket that is filled with whole hop flowers that is submersed in the wort, to infuse with the floral aromatics of the hop flowers) for an hour.
- Heat Exchange: The hopped wort is now passed through the heat exchanger to reduce the temperature in order for the yeast to work its magic.
- Fermentation- The cooled wort is now transferred to the fermentation tanks. Yeast is added to the wort in the fermentation tanks which immediately begins to feast on the sugar-rich wort, creating the by-products, CO2 and alcohol. Ales and Lagers ferment over different lengths of times and at different temperatures.
After that the beer is good to go. We were able to try the new Little Creatures Saison, which as that is my favourite brew, I was more than happy about. After our class ended we were treated to try the new Spring Menu prepared by the Brisbane’s culinary team. I must say that the food was better than I expected, having never eaten at The Brisbane before, expecting the usual Pub meals. I was delighted to find the menu has been designed to deliver modern interpretations of traditional Pub classics. I enjoyed the homemade prawn and barramundi tortellini and tasted the eye fillet steak (cooked to perfection) before we shared a dessert aptly titled the Chocolate Nemesis. Accompanied by an impressive wine list (I dove straight into one of the French Rose’s) it was an excellent compliment to a fun evening. For the record, I did not dress up for halloween (but saw one too many faux leather “sexy” cats) and happily avoided the trick or treaters rocking up on our doorstep. I’ll take a brew lesson over handing out candy to children anytime. Little Creatures are located in Fremantle, Melbourne (on Brunswick St) and in Geelong, but can be found practically everywhere, these guys are doing pretty well. The Brisbane Hotel, on Beaufort Street is a great spot for a relaxed meal and offer free function space hire- which could be worth keeping in mind coming into the Festive Season. I have a few more food related posts to come in the following weeks, including a Gelato Masterclass (just bragging!) so stay tuned.