Tag Archives: 2 Brothers Brewery

more book and beer pr0n

A snippet from a recent conversation, not quite verbatim, but as much as I can recall:

person: everyone thinks (artists and writers) just go around drinking heaps doing drugs, having wild sex and parties all night long…
me: …
person: they don’t know that there’s actually quite a lot of work involved…
me: (thinks about rage associated with Paul Muldoon Oxford lecture collection) uh, yeah, it really isn’t, but I like the research except when my brain won’t switch off and read for fun.

In no way am I:

  • suggesting I’m a writer
  • admitting to believing or dismissing the particular stereotypes described above
  • (unprofessionally) mad at Paul Muldoon, the famous Irish poet
  • going to wax lyrical about whatever the hell it is that writers do
  • going to avoid the blissful topic of alcohol consumption. Best for last, chums!


It’s actually really hard to read and drink because the ‘aspiring writerly’ brain is always looking to pinch, pilfer and transform better people’s words into their own (not referring to outright plagiarism and/or not citing sources – that shit is clearly not on. Some decent wordsmiths actually put effort into their craft, yo!).

A somewhat awkward slide to introduce Paul Muldoon’s The End of the Poem – a collection of lectures about individual poems for Oxford lectures. Muldoon is supposed to close read each poem, that is, analyse and beat it within an inch of its life for intent and meaning and whatever the hell it is litwank nerds do (disclosure: I do it but badly – they’re mainly just boring rants focussed on the possible reasons for the placement of a comma in one spot, etc.).

With close reading, you look for ways in which the poet has jampacked as much potential meanings and readings into as short a space as possible. So when Muldoon’s lecture about ‘poem X’ turned out to be ‘everything possibly related to the genesis of poem X and not really a reading of said poem, it got me into passionate Collingwood supporter mode (note: I do not follow AFL. Never been to a game but kind knowledgeable folks have offered to take me to my first game ever…next year.

It’ll be a good space to get my argh-Muldoon-why-so-info-overload-cant-drink-beer-while-reading rage. Basically, reading one of these lecture transcripts means (if you haven’t already) you’ll need to read five other poets, maybe a biography or two, and a bajillion other poems by the author of the poem allegedly being close read.

Stubbornly, I refused to let my Muldoon rage transfer to impressions of the beer. Reading non-fun stuff and drinking even funner stuff didn’t work – but just in this instance. Above, the beer is one of last month’s TruBru #bearclub selections – Sixpoint’s Spice of Life Citra IPA. Bring on the hop times. Hop times = fun flavour times. Screw autodidacticism. Link is back to full health – for now.

Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma is, reading-wise, easier to devour though its information…not so much. Throughout the first part, I began to understand why Children of the Corn is a horror flick. It didn’t stop me from testing this new fear by buying a quesadilla a few days later. It also helps to know I’m not reading it blindly. Corn and its (natural) growth process still sounds like science-fiction. If we eat enough of it, will it conquer us the way the Adipose did in that episode of Doctor Who? Shudder.


It seemed like a good time to try out Mikkeller’s ‘Show Me’ Cuvee – a wild/sour beer (another TruBru #bearclub selection). My palate generally is doing funky things and has decided that things I previously thought were nice or okay, are ‘ooh-er, this is really good’ – enjoyed it more than expected.

Finally! I did get fun drinking and reading in! Woo hoo!


Snatching up some sun, my official mascot/overlord (cat) is resting against my back as I take a photo of The Paris Review summer 2014 issue (Northern Hemisphere summer – just imagine my lit journal reading backlog is the size of a slab) and 2 Brothers ‘Kung Foo’ rice lager. Both were very, very moreish. Ideally, enjoy both in a beautiful patch of public park not crawling with people who may follow you home singing Katy Perry or Britney Spears at the top of their lungs, or the equally intimidating crew who illegally light fireworks near a place I fondly call ‘Mill Park-South Morang Carcossa’. It makes trips to the postbox more…interesting than usual.

PS. The Muldoon lectures are amazing, just hard-going as it’s not the type of thing one can skim-read; I’m merely related to a Collingwood AFL supporter so their zeal is, to my mind, the stuff of mere legend; and lastly, po-mo dictates that you can appropriate others’ work but you better cite and acknowledge the shit out of your sources, k?

PPS. The other book supporting Muldoon-rage-o-rama is Mark Strand & Eavan Boland’s (eds.) The Making Of A Poem – highly recommended if you want to impress someone by memorising or learning to write poems in established forms (it has examples!)


two old Francophones and a lot of awesome bar snacks, Japanese-style


An old friend Sebas originally from Toulouse, France was back in Australia. I had met him in the days when my French was near-fluent (oh how I miss those days!) as a suffering uni student nearly a decade ago. He’d been in Melbourne for three months and we’d still not been able to catch up. Eventually, both of us got our shit together and paid a city izakaya a visit. Izakaya Chuji proudly boasts that it is the first izakaya in Melbourne and that it’s been in operation since 1989. That’s two years after I arrived here from England, so you know it’s been around a long time, hehe. The decor hinted at the eatery’s antiquity. I joked that they had the sort of comfy chairs that were perfectly at home in a badly funded arts department and belonged in your lecturer’s office at uni.

I was wildly picking out things to eat so ordering was deferred to me. I asked Sebas if there was anything he didn’t eat:

– No, I eat everything.

– Oh cool, even raw meat?

– Everything.

We all giggled. It’s always a relief when you’re going to be sharing dishes and everyone in your party is pretty much up for anything. It really adds to the enjoyment of a food outing, don’t you think?

Naturally, yukke was ordered.

Raw, marinated thinly sliced beef on a bed of similarly sliced cucumber, topped with a raw egg. Heavenly. I was pretty excited about this, as it was my first time having yukke. Tristan had been here before and thought it quite special. I’ve had beef tataki before which is also served raw but this is the traditional izakaya shit, yo. As we ate, Sebas told us about how in France you can get horsemeat tartare and how good it is. Don’t think horse as a meat is very popular here though?


Unlike my experience at Ichi Ni Izakaya, our waitress was only too happy to help me choose a sake suited to my taste. We ended up with a slightly sweet, cloudy Kizakura bottle to share. I was pleasantly surprised to see that Penny also had a bottle of it at her place the day after, purchased at the Good Food and Wine Show. Our waitress made a point of coming back after we polished off our bottle to check if we liked it which I thought rather sweet.


Next up, some takoyaki. While these were delicious, I’m used to them being crispier on the outside. I first had a gorgeous Japanese friend make these for me at her place many years ago and confess that that has become my standard against which subsequent takoyaki are measured. She was single-handedly responsible for converting me to the yumminess of octopus too.


I also chose some deep fried battered squid tentacles with wasabi mayonnaise for dipping. I might just lose the respect of my fellow food bloggers by admitting…that I prefer Ajisen Ramen’s incarnation of this dish! Will you still respect me?


It wasn’t all deep fried or meaty goodness. I did also insist upon a serving of horenso. How do the Japanese get a fairly bland vegetable to taste so good? Strict vegetarians might need to be careful with this dish as they often use bonito to season it.


After this first lot of dishes, we all sat and chatted for quite some time. Everyone was too polite to say they were still hungry – so I fixed that and outright admitted I could still go more food. By this time, our delicious sake was finished, so we ordered a flask of the house sake which is served warm. I was ploughing into that too quickly so I got some of the Tanuki Beer that I saw advertised on the wall. I mean, could you resist getting beer named after a Japanese mythical trickster that potentially has magical balls?

2 Brothers Tanuki pilsener

Magical balls aside, this malty, clean pilsener number is made especially for Izakaya Chuji by local microbrewery 2 Brothers, based in Moorabbin. They really are two brothers brewing and most certainly aren’t hacks either – their Voodoo won the Premier’s Award this year at the Australian International Beer Awards last month. You can read more about Tanuki Beer here – I made sure I took a photo of the bottle’s copy for the beer nerds.

Two more dishes were ordered – one was the impressive and very generous mixed sushi and sashimi platter. You could easily get this and have between two as your main. There were three of us sharing (the ever-faithful Tris being our third) and it filled us all up. There were no more hungry protests after this was gobbled up. It was just as generous in selection too – there were four different types of fish used for the sashimi, and even unagi. I’d happily come back just for this, with a seafood-loving friend in tow!

 sushi & sashimi

I also got a bowl of the old fave, edamame. Addictive little critters. Izakaya Chuji’s version is not salted like mad, which I rather like. It’s such a simple dish – steamed soy beans in their pods and still I’m not fed up of it.


It was up on the specials board (and sadly, we forgot to take a picture) but cheese gyoza intrigued me. These weren’t really like standard gyoza at all in that they were hard as if they’d been baked. They were stuffed with pork mince which was carefully laced with cheese that naturally got nice and gooey as the gyoza was cooked. I have to confess, I thought it was going to be pretty ‘character-building’ but it was great! Definitely the sort of snack I’d like when sinking beers.

Finally, after all the conversation and even more food, we paid just under $50 each and bundled ourselves into the cold wintry Melbourne for some more drinking action, suitably fortified with some damn fine Japanese nosh. There are loads of fantastic snacky things on the menu so I definitely intend upon returning here. There’s also a sizeable sake list and I’m sure I could be persuaded to sample more of it! If you don’t want to stagger too far for a drink, you can try the bar next door attached to Izakaya Chuji called Nihonshu Shochu & Sake Bar (you can even directly enter Nihonshu from Chuji and they also have a similar food menu).

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