Kris: We have been waiting in anticipation for our first Tasmanian Beer Fest experience. It was a great weekend to drink some great beers, eat some tasty food and enjoy the company of beer lovers from all over the world.

 It is a gathering that reaffirms the passion and community spirit that exists in the Australian craft beer community. Everyone was in high spirits and there were plenty of old and new favourites to taste from Tasmania, Australia and overseas.My favorite Australian craft beers (non Tasmanian) that I tried on the weekend were Mountain Goat IPA, 4 PinesHefeweizen and Little Creatures Big Dipper IPA.

Kris: It is always difficult to choose your favourite beers/moments at a festival such as this. The tapping (and tasting) of the Lark/ Moo Brew Whisky Barrel Aged Stout at the distillery on Friday afternoon, just before the opening of the festival was a major highlight. This was an awesome collaboration between a Tasmanian brewery and distillery.It was exciting to see the differences in each of the 3 20 litre barrels that we got to try over the weekend. A perfect match for ripe, creamy blue cheese.

 Kris /Caroline : The pick of the Tasmanian beers on show for us were the Van Diemen‘s Two Head IPA, Seven Sheds Smokin Bagpipes Scotch Ale, Iron House Porter and the Moo Brew Seasonal/Imperial Stout. It was also great to see Morrison’s, a new brewery from Launceston ,showing their first batches of some English/Irish style beers.They need to tweak their recipes a bit, but their beers were showing some real promise. Definately a brewery to watch in the future.

There were also so amazing international beers on tasting at the festival too. Floyd’s/Brew Dog Bitch Please was a standout. A barley wine brewed with a selection of malts, including Laphroig peat smoked whisky malt and a mixture of  shortbread, fairy floss and fudge that was thrown into the kettle. We also really enjoyed theMikkeller Santa’s Little Helper, a Belgian brown ale brewed with christmas spices.

 The Ambersandwich business cards also made a debut at the festival.


Curries and Murray’s

Chicken Tikka Masala and Murray’s Icon 2 IPA

I made Chicken Tikka Masala and rice with Minted Yoghurt (Raita)
It’s really easy to make…

You can play around with making curry pastes, but to be honest I find it  a lot easier to buy a decent packaged one and add some extras to it. The following recipe makes enough for 2-4 people (2 if you’re both super hungry).

Peel and slice a large brown onion

Start frying it off in some ghee (or oil ) and then add 2 heaped Tbs of Tikka Masala Curry paste

Throw in a decent chunk of grated ginger and 2 diced cloves of garlic

Add some diced chilli if you like it hot

Fry this off for about 10 minutes

(It’s best to marinade the chicken in tandoori paste overnight but it is not necessary. To marinate just rub the paste into the chicken and place it in a covered bowl in the fridge)

Add 400-500g of sliced free range chicken breast or thigh fillets

After browning the chicken a little, add a cup and a half of diced tomatoes and a small tub of yoghurt

Add some sliced red capsicum 

Simmer for 25-30 minutes

Stir in some cream and chopped fresh coriander leaves

Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper

Serve with Rice and Raita

(Raita : 1 cup yoghurt, some grated peeled and de-seeded cucumber and a handful of finely shredded mint)

And how could you eat curry without a bit of garlic Naan?
Now while I don’t have a tandoor to make proper naan, I can share with you an easy cheats way to make some thats almost as good.

 Naan Bread:

1 cup plain flour

1/2 tsp dried yeast

1/3 tsp salt

1/3 tsp sugar

1/4 cup warm water

1/4 cup yoghurt

1tbs oil

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl

 whisk the warm water and yoghurt together

make a well in the flour mixture and combine wet and dry ingredients
(you may need to add a bit more flour to make a nice dough)

Knead the dough and place it back in the bowl

Cover the bowl with cling wrap and leave to proof for 40-1 hour

Place on a floured bench and knead the mixture

Cover again in the bowl and leave for 20 minutes

Break the dough into small balls and roll them out on a floured bench

I use a super hot cast iron pan (it needs to be at smoking point)

Place a small amount of ghee or vegetable oil in the  pan and cook Naan for a couple of minutes on each side

Paint a mixture of melted butter and garlic on your cooked naan

(Don’t be intimidated by Naan, it looks like a lot of steps but most of them are just letting the dough sit and kneading it)

We drank Murray’s Icon 2IPA with the curry.

Kris: IPA’s are a great match for curry, Murray’s worked really well with the creamy, tomato based sauce of the Tikka Masala. Murrays’s Icon 2IPA is one of my favourite Australian craft beers from NSW. It is a great example of a Double or Imperial IPA.
It’s really malty with an amazing hop aroma and massive hop bitterness. I try not to make the curry too spicy as the hop bitterness tends to intensify the chilli.

Caroline: I loved this beer (and not just because it’s an american style Imperial IPA). It might be the the hoppiest beer I’ve ever tasted! And even though it had huge flavor it was still really easy to drink (I could easily finish off a few myself). It was delicious with the curry, thirst quenching but still holding its own flavor-wise. Kris’ curry was also delicious, if i do say so. I’m a sucker for a spicy, creamy curry.