Beer. Four ingredients combine to make magic in a glass. Malt provides the base. Hops add flavour and aroma. Yeast produces alcohol. But water. Who thinks about water? The answer is Daylesford & Hepburn Mineral Springs Co. In quantities measured by the truckload. This bottled water company provided local breweries with their sparkling mineral water and still spring water and then let the brewers’ creativity flow. Thus Hepburn and Hops was born — an evening devoted to beer brewed using Hepburn Springs water and paired with a multi-course meal at Ladro.
Red Duck’s fanciful saison started the night. The tasting notes were like a scavenger hunt – with just enough tea pearls for hints of Jasmine and a bit of New Zealand Christmas bush honey. (Incidentally, this is also my new favourite name for honey.)
The meal ahead of us was aptly described as a beef fest. The meat was sourced locally from a farm 50 kilometres north of the city. Beef jerky and wood fired bone marrow arrived first. A flaky pastry filled with beef shin and porcini mushrooms followed. Between bites, my table mates declared this high class pie ‘delicious’. Porcini and gorgonzola pizza slices were thrown in for good measure.
Course number four and the meat got serious. A pink porterhouse matched the ‘meatiness’ of Cavalier’s brown ale. The lads took advantage of the soft balance of minerals in the spring water to create a special version of their brown ale.
Bringing it in for a sweet finish was a sugar coated doughnut-like bomboloni. The salted dark chocolate ricotta centre matched the palpable sodium in Holgate’s Wællan Mynddæg English Style Dark ale. Created as a classic mild ale, the malt driven beer combined English Crystal, chocolate, and German roast malts. If you’ve got a hankering to try it, get down to Ladro. They have the last keg in existence on tap.
Jenny Schmidt loves the magic of fermentation and supports local craft beer alchemy.
Ladro regularly features beer and food pairings at their venue. Next up is a beer-gustation on July 7th with La Sirene.
162 Greville St.
Prahran VIC 3181