craft beer runs riot in market

What a fantastic word week it’s been! I went to a poetry book launch and forced myself to talk to people (why do I still find these events terrifying when I’m a page poet…?) of one of the folks behind Cordite PublishingKent MacCarter’s California Sweet, which also features some fab lime green, and it was on the same evening as the Emerging Writers’ Festival 2018 programme finally dropped on dear ol’ Melbz!

The super-exciting thing about this is I got asked to take part in a panel with Sonia Nair & Cher Tan about food writing! Excitement doesn’t begin to cover it?! It motivated me to get some work done on another work-in-progress, and am already plotting to become a morning person just for the festival (wish me luck!).

So with words, lime green, and off-kilter food influences in my mind, this zine-drink catch-up post is…

zine: I Love Food Network: a 24 hour Food Network fanzine by Holly Casio / Cool Schmool Zines (UK)

beer: Hop Nation (Footscray, VIC) Market NEIPA (375mL, 6.0% ABV)

Let me chuck the can notes for easy ref here:

Hop Nation is a Melbourne-based brewing company specialising in the production of small-batch beers. Our MARKET NEIPA was inspired by the flavours and aromas of the Footscray Market.

A hazy, juicy IPA that starts off hoppy, big and bold before a journey through the subtle flavours of the market begin. Kaffir lime leaf, mango, coriander, Vietnamese mint and subtle chilli integrate and lift this juicy IPA.

NE IPA = New England-style India Pale Ale (so…a juicy, hazy citrus-forward beer that then goes on to taste hoppy and bitter, as IPAs tend to do; IPAs historically had hops to preserve the beers from going off when travelling long sea journeys)

Oh WOW. The chilli kick is glorious, and the coriander adds this odd savoury note that will have you craving good Viet food, but somehow still in the body of a beer that is slightly citrus-hinting?! There’s some bitter, oily lime too! Think of the citrus oil you could squeeze or scratch off lime peel. I love that this beer was inspired by a walk-through one of Melbourne’s most diverse markets – Footscray used to get a bad rap but it has loads of cool shit going on. There are some ace watering holes, and there has always been an abundance of choice in cuisine there, due to the migrant population.

Holly Casio’s zine starts off with how comforting watching the Food Network can be, despite a binge watch session after being at home sick with a tummy bug. Watching others cook is incredibly relaxing when they’re enjoying it, and she notes that it comfort is in as simple an act of sauteeing onions or garlic, or supervising a stew. What will follow now is summaries of the shows discussed in the zine.

There’s apparently a show called ‘The Kitchen’ which is described as a cheesy morning breakfast show, but the presenters aren’t really chefs and perhaps failed auditions for what they wanted to be on! There’s one cast member who is a woman of colour, and she seems to like serrated knives as much as the Ryan Seacrest-wannabe on the show.

She hates on ‘Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals’ which is something I can get behind – he tries to make it sound like everything is so easy and slapdash, but is really just a privileged jerk with a handful of useful tips that relate to home cooking. I know, it’s not cool to hate on Jamie, but he’s not one of us, like he’d have you believe.

‘Lorraine’s Fast Fresh Easy Food’ sounds pretty cool – she’s just made some dessert that involved no baking which reminds me of my cheat method for making trifle!

‘Pioneer Woman’ sounds cool, except her husband and kids sound like chauvinistic jerks by not helping her in the kitchen. She’s all about beans and cornbread, and no veg?! She lives out in a ranch and sounds like a vastly under-appreciated human, pout.

‘Mystery Diners’ sounds like the food version of ‘Tabitha Takes Over’, where fledgling hair salons get a management makeover (usually, kicking and screaming) except that there’s actors/staging?! That’s not how fixer-uppers are supposed to work!

‘Barefoot Contessa’ sounds pretty awesome and she sounds well-loved. She educates her public on how to set tables, and recommends that you garnish dishes with something that represents what’s in the dish she makes e.g. cheddar and blue cheese grits – sprinkle cheese on the finished dish (!!!). Gosh, those grits sound good, and I’m in that point of my beer where a savoury snack would be gobbled up greedily.

Our final show is ‘Diners Drive-Ins + Dives’ – possibly a poor man’s ‘Man vs. Food’ except better because Adam Richman is not very nice. This bloke Guy Fieri goes around to joints, chats to chefs and they make delish not-vegetarian stuff. Like, ALL THE TASTY UNHEALTHY STUFF. American diner food…sounds so artery-clogging, but this isn’t off-putting!

I tend to buy cans of beer in twos, and this ‘Market’ NEIPA is actually comparatively old, but I feel like the flavours have developed in a way that wasn’t obvious in the freshly canned beer, which is a surprise given that NEIPAs are usually drunk ASAP (just trying to get in all the abbreviations, lulz) and at their best then. This had been at the back of my fridge for a bit, and I’m really glad I saved it – it’s kind of the perfect warming foodie beer.

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