Brewmaster at Brooklyn Brewery
Jumped off on Singapore Airlines on Tuesday night, flying the A380 (a badass plane, I must say) through Frankfurt, Singapore and finally Melbourne, Australia, arriving Thursday evening (yikes!).
A rare business-class flight, so I let them make the food:
- Lobster Salad (credible)
- Fish Curry Stew (not bad)
- Non-credible Champagne.
An entirely righteous cocktail made and smuggled by yours truly: Cask-strength Woodford Reserve (sometimes the barrels genuinely do have a reserve) Old Fashioned.
Thirty hours and a few non-memorable meals later, I landed in Melbourne and met the affable Miro Bellini, my “handler” for the trip. We repaired immediately to Cookie Eating House and Beer Hall.
- Prawn Firecrackers
- Smoked eggplant and banana chili salad with chicken and prawns
Then to Eau de Vie, a cocktail bar recommended to me by the right honorable David Wondrich. I dropped his name shamelessly and was thereupon treated like family. The cocktails were excellent.
Breakfast of the week: A “Brekkie Muffin” (English muffin, egg, ham, gruyere, and not half bad) at the hotel restaurant, Heirloom. Flat white coffee, notably good.
Off to the winery 10 Minutes By Tractor to meet the owner (and my Beer Vs. Wine opponent at top restaurant—literally, it’s on the 55th floor) Vue de Monde on Sunday. Wonderful guy, excellent wines, very good food:
- Smoked trout, leek, confit potato, cucumber & yogurt snow
- Roasted breast, celeriac, pickled rhubarb, granola
Then a rush to our evening event at the Terminus Hotel, the opening of Melbourne Good Beer Week. Dinner of steak tartare and sautéed carrots, many excellent Aussie beers, particularly a nice saison by Bright Brewing and an IPA from Mountain Goat.
Dim Sum in Little Bourke Street with newly arrived (in Melbourne) GM brewery Eric Ottaway. Not bad, agreeably brusque.
A tasting at The Terminus Hotel, followed by a party with live band at Some Velvet Morning, a warm, shaggy place reminiscent of Pete’s Candy Store, complete with vaudeville mini-stage. A surprisingly good burger, especially given that the whole thing was cooked from scratch in a 16” wide electric broiler.
Then to the Everleigh, a genuinely awesome cocktail bar. I shamelessly dropped the names of both Mr. Wondrich and Jim Meehan, whereupon we were treated like visiting princes.
A Penicillin, a Boulevardier and a shot of Bulleit on the house. Wondrich says the correct number of cocktails a gentleman should have = three. So I retired. The others did not. The next day all agreed that the correct number of cocktails a gentleman should have… is three.
The Battle. “Brew vs. Crew,” The Rialto, 55th floor, Vue de Monde, Melbourne’s finest restaurant. The order of battle:
- Crab, Kohlrabi (Sorachi Ace versus a very nice Chardonnay)
- Smoked Bone Marrow, Onion, Thyme (Cuvée La Boîte versus Pinot noir)
- BBQ Beef, Beetroot, Munthari (Cuvée Noire versus Pinot noir)
- Apples, Truffle (Black Chocolate Stout vs a specially dosaged Blanc de Blanc)
- Cheeses, Jams (Kriek vs Chardonnay)
Beer wins in a squeaker— a brilliant time is had by all.
Hard to believe we had dinner, too, after an event with Woodford Reserve.
Dinner at Long Grain:
- Very good duck curry and pork belly, a wan bottle of Riesling
Dinner at Rockwell & Sons:
- Boat rocker Ramjet, La Sirene, mountain goat Gypsy and the Goat, Goat Surefoot, Korean rice wine. Makgeolli, a wild korean
nigori-like rice wine.
Fried chicken, yogurt and carrots, bacon cooked four times, deviled eggs and caviar, pepperberry ice cream, coffin bay oysters,
Aaaaaand… I’m out! Mixed my own cocktail in the lounge—Havana Club Anejo, Angostura, raw sugar.