Tag Archives: craft beer goodness

it began in Transylvania

Thanks to that quartet of books by that lady who loves Muse, vampire literature has seen quite the resurgence in popularity. Indeed, according to a Paris Review interview with Stephen King conducted in 2006, vampires have never really gone out of fashion.

It was of course Irish writer Bram Stoker who showed us how this vampire stuff was done, initially (poor John Polidori!). Bleeding legend, historical persons and a good ol’ dash of Victorian sexual repression into each other (no pun intended), his novel Dracula continues to entertain and inspire supernatural media even today. But please don’t mention Keanu Reeves in Francis Ford Coppola’s film – it’s still a sore spot.

So basically, to get their kicks off, Victorian audiences were entertained by tales of aberrant sexuality…in Eastern Europe.

These were the things I was thinking about when I first learnt about the origins of the name Naked For Satan, a new pintxos bar in Fitzroy. Leon Satanovich, the man who partially lends his name to the venue, was actually from Russia. ‘Naked For Satan’ actually refers to getting near-naked to work on the stills, creating moonshine for Satan, as the Aussies christened him, given that Satanovich is apparently too much of a mouthful.

You lot probably want me to shut up now, so here is a fab pic of the interior.

naked for satan interior

By the time I took one of my closest friends L to Naked For Satan for lunch, I’d already been a few times (pretty rare for me!). I figured it would impress her, as she is from Sydney. I’d never heard of pintxos before this gorgeous bar opened up so numerous ‘research’ trips were imperative for educating: pintxos being the Basque version of tapas. Save your toothpicks and you pay $2 for each morsel you devour at the end of your session, and order drinks along the way. Be careful who you go out with as they will most likely repeat the word ‘pintxos’ in the most annoying manner possible (Tristan and Alex, I’m looking at you).

pintxos receptacle

Make sure you leave room (in your belly and on your plate!) for the hot ones that are served personally by the staff who make a round of the bar to bring them to you.

There is a good array of vegetarian ones, and even some desserty ones – miniature profiterole-type whatsits and *cue zomg here* prunes soaked in armagnac.

prunes soaked in armagnac & profiterole-type pastries

My only criticism is that some of the cream cheese-based ones are a little heavy on the cheese.

Here’s one of my favourite ones – Tom Cooper smoked salmon. Pretty simple combination but I love it so.

smoked salmon and preserved lemon

Another fave is the chilli mussels with capers.

chilli mussels and capers

If you’d like to see more photos of the delectable deliciousness, please go to Tristan’s Flickr set. I want to talk about the drinks now! For example, their Naked For Satan ale is brewed especially for the venue by Matilda Bay’s garage. It’s a wheat beer, and a pretty approachable one at that, which subtle banana esters (so you can get a whiff of banana) and hints of clove. These are pretty standard in wheat beers. It’s a very chuggable drop – should be more so in the extreme heat of summer. Word is it’s also modelled on Matilda Bay’s retired Redback.

naked for satan wheat beer (brewed by matilda bay garage)

Oh yes, then there’s the infused vodkas, that which they use in their cocktails. L and I shared an Opiumtini – their take on the vodka martini which has opium-infused vodka softened with rose. It’s like drinking liquid Turkish delight! Heavenly. On a toothpick, there are three teensy rosebuds floating in the cocktail.


Or a take on their Bloody Mary? Silly Tristan doesn’t like Bloody Marys (‘Maries’ sounds wrong!) because they remind him of V8 juice! Ha. I can understand that.

Bloody Mary

Each time I’ve been here, it’s never failed to impress me and I’ve tested the array of pintxos available quite extensively. Despite how swanky it is, I’m surprised by how wonderfully friendly and informative the staff are. And how beautiful the space is! Judging from the entrance, you wouldn’t think it to be as roomy as it is and every inch is decked out in style. I hope the visit impressed my Sydneysider bestie!

Naked For Satan on Urbanspoon

northside gastropubbing antics

Thanks to the font of beery information that is The Crafty Pint, the Australian Beer Writers’ Guild convened at the Terminus Hotel in Clifton Hill recently. Good god, the menu is superb, as is the massive dining room.

Most of the folks went burgers and the like but I wanted to be difficult and test out the specials. They had a few asparagus dishes to celebrate its return to season. However, the first dish I chose was the house-made black pudding with pigs’ trotter sauce and kipfler potatoes. This is a rich dish and was perfect for the chilly not-quite-spring evening. Apparently as a (British) kid I loved black pudding. Thought it was about time I tried to reconnect with the childhood love.

As my main, I decided upon the asparagus baked in prosciutto, with pinenuts and feta. You might think not substantial as a main, but after the black pudding, it was just what I was after. Might be something I can try reproducing at home too? Divine.

This meant room for dessert…again on the specials menu: baked Alaska. I begged to share one with Tris as it was $9 per person, but meant for two. A little bit pricey for its size and not quite as much finesse as the one at The Lincoln. No matter, it was baked Alaska, squee! It had banana ice cream inside, and none of that fake-tasting banana either. I actually chose dessert over beer too!

In what seemed like an excellent balance, Tris tested out some of the offerings on the standard menu. You have your parmas, burgers, salads and many types of steaks but he went with a carpaccio of beef, rocket, caramelised vinegar, truffled pecorino. Quite refined for a starter!

For mains, his selection was the English cheddar souffle with radish, frisee and pickled onions. If not for my wanting to sample the specials, I would most likely have chosen this as a main too.

While the service was always courteous and friendly, it was a tad haphazard. There were a few mix-ups with our drinks orders, being the craft beer-swilling wanksters we are. They never seemed to give any of us who ordered the True South dark ale that when asked! We did also have to wait quite a while and despite indicating that we’d prefer entrĂ©es and mains to come out separately, they still came out together. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to other foodies despite this.

Craft beer aficionados should definitely put this pub on their radar to visit – there’s a damn fine selection of good beer on tap. I’m currently in the process of persuading my parents to have a long overdue family dinner here one evening!

Terminus Hotel on Urbanspoon

waiter, there’s some coffee in my beer

Mikkeller’s Beer Geek Breakfast.

I’d never had it, despite having had its newer sibling Beer Geek Brunch and a couple of its variants. How odd. So when I went to pick up a bottle of Beer Hop Breakfast (stay with me…) and saw that Beer Geek Breakfast was available, I grabbed a bottle.

Beer Geek Breakfast is supposed to be special because of the addition of ‘gourmet’ coffee. It’s too bad they don’t actually specify what coffee – don’t they know some people are sensitive about this sort of thing?! I mean, come on, we’re avid (or rabid?) coffee snobs here in Melbourne.

This imperial stout is rich, but smooth. Whatever the coffee may be, it is very prominent and complements the beer well. I was quite surprised that it’s actually got a fairly savoury finish – the coffee taste lingers on after you’ve swallowed. For some reason, I was expecting it to be sweeter. As you can see above, it’s very dark and completely opaque. The head is lighter than that of the Brunch. Unlike the Brunch, I think I would actually drink this with breakfast. The Beer Geek Brunch I would leave for the end of an evening.

As can be imagined, the newish Beer Hop Breakfast is very bitter. It’s a curious bitterness given that the stout and coffee compete in the flavour too. I find this a less savoury beer than the Beer Geek Breakfast and a little less coffeeish. I don’t think it’s limited to hopheads for enjoyment and full appreciation, but admittedly it is a challenging beer. Thinner mouthfeel than its vanilla sibling. My head is still twisted due to the fact that one doesn’t really expect coffee, hop bitterness and oatmeal stout to work. Am beginning to think that Mikkeller’s head brewer has signed some awesome pact with the devil…or perhaps with Bacchus. Truly – can the fellow do no wrong?