Tag Archives: St Kilda

just when you thought the Local could serve you no better

I always look forward to Ale Stars sessions at The Local Taphouse. If you’ve been reading the blog long enough you’d see that to be the case for they are sessions of much love, a place where you can talk about mouthfeel and not be verbally stoned, collectively bitch about Untappd being down again (regardless of what flavour of smartphone you have) and avoid ‘characters’ such as the one I am about to describe to you.

A couple of weeks ago, I went to a friend’s birthday party dinner. One of her friends seems to derive enjoyment from mentioning how ace he is for being a useful(*subject to individual opinion) law student and shoot down others not in his ‘league’. I managed to cop an earful for very, very discreetly pulling out this gorgeous little beer nerd number to make a record of my drinking habits, the book for which I must thank Dave and Hollie of Innspire and the hipster capital of the world, Portland, Oregon…

33 Bottles of Beer notebook

Should you want to acquire any of these adorable beer-wanky whatsits, you are strongly encouraged to go to the website of the creator with whom I’ve dealt with personally and thoroughly recommend and will continue to keep on dealing. They also have versions of the notebook for cheese, wine, coffee and cigars. Wankers of all persuasions eat your hearts out!

In any case, I digest (my favourite Ali G malapropism of all time and remarkably apt for a food blog). The Local Taphouse continue to service (and protect!) beer nerds not just with the pub’s actual existence, but have now got a new shop next door for some takeaway goodness called The Local BottleStore & Provisions. Upon entering you will most likely see James Smith aproned up. It’s like walking into an old-school smallgoods store.

Though they are now readily available, I still marvel at the notion of BrewDog Punk IPA in cans.

The selection of beer is very well put together – admittedly, I couldn’t help but compare to another favourite purveyor of mine Slowbeer and notice that both will attract me as a consumer as their range combined does not double up much. Sadly, neither venues are particularly close to me but I suspect that will force me to be financially well-behaved…of a fashion.

Behold, the siren song of great beer calls from the fridges.

In that shot, you can also see a mixed 6-pack – there were a few about. Depending on your persuasion (say, if you want very hoppy beers, or porters), you can find a few themed mixed 6-packs thoughtfully put together. Naturally, do not hesitate to talk to James if you need any recommendations or help or information – several folks made use of his knowledge during our too-short sneak peek.

Then there are two consummate accompaniments to any good booze – cured meat and cheese. Do not go into this place if you are depressed and cashed up. You’ll end up poorer having consoled yourself with the culinary equivalent of lipgloss and books (oh, okay, that’s just me). The selection is small and there are very detailed notes about all of these offerings on a board. These folks have done their research! Tasty, tasty research. mmm.

If you want to read about what the owner, Steve Jeffares, has to say about this exciting little add-on, then there’s an article on Oz Brews News and if you’re social media stalky, um, I mean savvy, then check out the The Local Taphouse’s post about the The BottleStore here for contact details. Steve has said to me that they’re not quite finished and that growlers will be available soon – very exciting news! Takeaway fresh beer, yippee! Oh, and no nasties to ‘berate’ you for being an epic beer nerd. We’re all at home here.

Good Beer Week: when our sheepish friends came to visit

Full to the brim with good cheer, great beer and even better company (though sad at missing Yeastie Boy Stu’s breakdancing in quail blue trousers), it was time to jet off to the Kiwi SpecTAPular at the Local Taphouse.

SpecTAPulars normally mean there are twenty special beers on tap, a bell is rung once a keg is drained and there is an opportunity to taste all the beers on offer in paddles of five. Me, Tiff (fellow #beergirlrager), Tristan and bestie K had decided on our gameplan very early – we’d all buy paddles of all twenty beers and each have a sip of every beer.

After being spoilt rotten at the beermen.tv Hair of the Breakfast, it seemed like the logical and responsible thing to do.

If the idea of twenty beers to choose from seems very daunting, fear not! The Local always have a ‘passport’ to make your journey a good one – not only does it have a list of all the beers, but notes and general advice on beer tasting.

Kiwi SpecTAPular passport to goodness

Steve, the owner of The Local Taphouse, and I directly quote, was very heartened by the success of the day:

Of the 20 or so SpecTAPulars we’ve held across both Taphouses, there have been some big ones but the Kiwi SpecTAPular was the biggest yet in both venues.

Quite an achievement! I remember the last one I was able to attend, the Aussie SpecTAPular had punters lining up at the doors pre-hour of establishment’s open.

But onto the beers, eh? I suspect I might’ve had palate fatigue but my personal highlights were the second half of the beer listed in the passport – from Yeastie Boys’ Rex Attitude (which you guys already know I love from previous post at the breakfast) onwards.

There were oddities, like my palate preferring Renaissance Stonecutter in the bottle over it in the keg?! Sacrilege, I know. 8 Wired’s Hopwired couldn’t displease if it wore its dirtiest underwear – that was fab.

The Three Boys Oyster Stout and Mike’s Imperial Porter absolutely hit the spot for the weather (though it was nice and toasty inside the Local given the amount of punters).

One of the earlier beers sampled that I liked though advertised as hoppy, I preferred its maltier characteristics – the Moa Five Hop. Again, could be my palate crack talking.

Every one of these SpecTAPulars is an absolute treat to attend. The staff do a phenomenal job, the patrons are always so polite and you end up exchanging tasting notes with absolute strangers and on top of that, it’s a great way to sample beer from a specialised place – in this case New Zealand.

I didn’t see him at the Local in costume but co-owner Steve got into the sheepish spirit of things too.

Till next SpecTAPular…see you at the next one?

The Local Taphouse on Urbanspoon

Good Beer Week: no more brewin’ now we’re just chewin’

Due to space concerns and not giving The Local Taphouse’s food at the Brewers and Chewers event in my last post any coverage whatsoever, I decided to do one dedicated solely to the food and the beer (see previous post here discussing brewery-industry-journalisty types and wonderfully esteemed, scintillating company it was too). It never felt like we had enough time with either person which indicates to me that the event was a roaring success.

I already mentioned Bob’s Armpit by Wig & Pen frontman Richard Watkins so I’ll skip that and head onto Sierra Nevada’s Kellerweis. Look, I’ll confess upfront that I didn’t make any notes on the beer…but I do remember enjoying this with the mixed leaf salad with Stone & Wood Pacific Ale mustard dressing, a beer that’s clocked up an impressive accolade best read about on Oz BrewsNews. You can also buy a copy of The Critics’ Choice to Australia’s Best Beers which I highly recommend (full disclosure: I do know several of the contributors).

Sorry, my table. I stole a lot of the tomatoes. I’m destined to suffer a similar fate to St Augustine for such crimes…(when he’s not talking about his racy past and how sorry he is about that, he also goes on about how wracked with guilt he was at stealing pears from a neighbour’s tree as a kid. Read his Confessions if you don’t believe me). Beautiful salad: nice mix of leaves and the dressing was subtle but special and an excellent appetite-whetter.

Not really paying attention to beer and food matching but desperate to get just as many Sierra Nevada beers into me (responsibly: Tristan and I shared a single bottle of all of the ones we had for the whole night), next up was the Sierra Nevada Summerfest lager, 2011. Fresh off the boat!

sn summerfest

This was drunk alongside two courses – field mushrooms with chorizo sauté with Brewdog Tokyo (eeeee!) and beef empanadas with 8 Wired Big Smoke porter. Both courses were phenomenal – juicy, sauce-soaked-up mushies and the beef empanadas I could easily have done with another though given the generous servings, that probably wouldn’t have been wise.

Raising the culinary bar even further, two generous dishes designed to complement each other were served yet again – Moroccan spiced couscous steamed with Sierra Nevada Kellerweis, with roast vegetables served separately. The second actual dish however was the most moreish for me of the evening – BrewDog Paradox Isle of Arran lamb neck tagine with snow peas and tomatoes. The meat was melt-in-the-mouth tender and again, greedy sot that I am, it didn’t feel like there was enough to go around. Heavenly. The couscous soaked up the tagine’s sauce making sure not a drop was wasted! Bless you couscous. Our table companions opposite us TJ and Chris were also celebrating its deliciousness.

Forgive me, but I did not have a beer that matched any of these dishes, drinking ‘rogue’ if you will: in fact the word ‘iconic’ comes to mind to describe my next shared beer…as does two songs (replacing the word ‘atomic’ for ‘iconic’).

Then it was onto their Torpedo IPA. What a treat to enjoy these beers guilt-free as well as fresh…I’m not implying I would judge you for your decision to drink grey, but personally, it was something that did bother me when I chose to do it though the temptation and the lure to try a beer I’d never had before was just too great. I’m like Jonathan Safran Foer being all private about eating meat as described in the first chapter of his book Eating Animals (which for the record I never intend to give up).

Dessert time! Oh lord. I said I would only have half a slice but it was just too fab to share.

To finish the sumptuous dinner we had a Feral brown ale gingerbread pudding served with crème anglaise and butterscotch sauce. What a perfect end to a glorious evening. The gingerbread flavouring was fairly subtle but the sauce! Absolute gustatory gleefulness.

TJ, the lovely lass across from me was proudly extolling the virtues of a damn good dark beer from very early on in the evening. Finally, after going through all the beer on the beer menu I’d not previously tried, it was time to get our SN porter and stout on.

Sierra Nevada porter

Sierra Nevada stout

The amount of positive things I have to say about The Local Taphouse, you’d seriously think I worked for them (I don’t) but they just do so much for good beer. Aside from the dishes being fantastic as stand-alone dishes, I felt like they had a small element that connected each to the previous one served, the progression was natural.

If Brewers and Chewers runs next year for Good Beer Week and how Steve & co. managed to run it so effortlessly this year given it was a brand new format is awe-inspiring, you really ought to make an attempt to get to it. Things really can only get better from this point onwards.

The Local Taphouse on Urbanspoon