Words & Photography by: Brunch Addict
More information about 115 Grilled & Brewery can be found here
‘Beer made us [humans] civilised’ – Matt Kirkegaard
Raise your glass for a toast. A toast to Australian beer. There is no argument that Australia would be lost without beer and beer without Australia. It is a match made in heaven and in some respects like watching a kid grow up. At first, the relationship of beer was hinged on a need. Beer was a need to quench the thirst of the pioneers who weren’t used to the blistering hot conditions. As time and innovation progressed, beer became more of a social element. Pubs were built around economic clusters, but like a sixteen year old with their first six pack, there was no appreciation for taste. Todays beer culture has matured into a sophisticated adult. Beer festivals have emerged to celebrate the diversity and production of craft beer. Boutique beers are splashing into the mainstream with an array of flavours. As part of Good Beer Week, we were invited by Gram Magazine to a degustation lunch held at 115 Grill & Brewhouse.
115 Grill & Brewhouse has been opened for just over a year and it has definitely made its mark on the local brewing scene. The dining and bar areas are separated by the beer vats holding the precious micro beer . Total transport distance to tap: six meters. It isn’t going to get any fresher than that. The décor is very slick but not pretentious. The brewhouse can be seen through the glass walls with inspirational beer quotes plastering the glass.
The menu for the day was as follows:
- One One Five Pilsner / Soft Shell crab slider, kettle chips
- One One Five Pale Ale / Grilled Quail marinated in lemon & herbs, radicchio & red grapes, salsa verde
- One One Five Amber Ale / Venison carpaccio, green apple & celery salad, crisp prosciutto, truffle & walnut dressing
- Red Hill Scotch Ale / 11 hour spice rubbed BBQ beef rib, Italian slaw, chive & potato mash
- Epic Double Stout / Traditional oak smoked cheddar, fig paste, lavosh
One One Five Pilsner / Soft Shell crab slider, kettle chips
“A well-plated dish is alluring but when it has a creative flair, it’s theatre. This was certainly the case with the first dish. The soft crab with its legs protruding around the bun looked like it was going to run away from me! A bag of kettle chips provide a real beach-side feel. The taste of the crab was soft and tender as it melted on my tongue and was well-matched with the brioche bun. The kettle chips consisted of various types of potato that packed a salty punch, especially the purple ones. The One One Five Pilsner had a fantastic summery flavour to it with a nice, crispy finish. There was also a slight fruity element to it.”
“The first course was… very interesting looking. Somewhat creepy, this dish initially didn’t immediately appeal to me, reminding me of a creepy spider. Looks, however, is one thing while taste is another. The brioche bun was not too dense, but not too light. The bread had the right texture, which was important as the soft shell crab was combined with cabbage and a mayonnaise-based sauce resulting in a wet mixture. It had a really beautiful flavour that was perfectly matched with a light, crisp pilsner.”
One One Five Pale Ale / Grilled Quail marinated in lemon & herbs, radicchio & red grapes, salsa verde
“The quail was well-grilled, highlighting its soft and subtle flavours. An interesting element to the dish was the inclusion of ripe red grapes. The acidity of the grapes were well-matched, highlighting the citrus seasonings that gave it flair. The salsa was a good addition, giving it a nutty texture. The pale ale – dubbed by Kirkegaard as “non-offence lagar” – consisted of a German malt with Australian hops; it washed nicely around on my palate and left a clean, crisp taste.”
“The grilled quail was delicious and juicy. The salsa verde had a beautifully smooth flavour that had a pinenut-like flavour to it. The red grapes were an interesting yet refreshing addition to the plate. I really liked the use of this within the dish – I found it inventive and a beautiful match. The pale ale provided was very smooth in texture and easy to drink – the kind that I would choose for a Friday night. After this course we were given a sample of warm, unfermented beer. It had a sweet aroma and a very strong malt flavour to it.”
One One Five Amber Ale / NZ Venison carpaccio, green apple & celery salad, crisp prosciutto, truffle & walnut dressing
“It became apparent that I was drinking for two as Miss SL sneakily poured her leftover beer into my glass – not that I was complaining. Getting through the courses, it was really nice that with each dish, Kirkegaard provided insight and light education to the depth of beer flavours and food-matching.
With the One One Five Amber Ale being served, it was time to tuck into the venison. The plating of the dish was well constructed with the apple & celery slaw stacked, giving the eater a sense of ‘more’. The walnut and truffle oil with the slaw was a well-needed addition that pushed the dish further. I especially loved the walnuts with the venison. It provided a lovely texture against the meat. The amber ale was a little heavier than I expected, leaving a strong flavour on the palate. Although, it was enjoyable with this meat dish.”
“By this point I needed to slow down with the beers – I made the wrong choice to be designated driver! The venison carpaccio was beautiful and had a gorgeous truffle and walnut dressing. The dressing itself had a slightly acidic tang to it which was perfect for the delicate venison. I normally hate celery but on this occasion I lapped it up with the salad. The perfect way to eat it! The beers were getting heavier and heavier as we progressed. This was a mid-strength beer that was amber in colour.”
Red Hill Scotch Ale / 11 hour spice rubbed BBQ beef rib, Italian slaw, chive & potato mash
“There seemed to be a great spark of excitement within the room as the fourth dish arrived – beef rib. The rib was sensational, easy to pulled apart with a beautifully aroma. The rub used was equally impressive and full of flavour reaching through the meat with a notable kick. The sides were delicious – the mash was beautifully creamy and the Italian slaw cleaned the palate.
There is no doubt in my mind that I love beer, however, I always struggle to enjoy the darker brews. The Red Hill Scotch beer was my limit. The dark flavours of slight spice and malt were a little too much for my personal palate. The Scotch beer was well-matched with the rib as it pierced through the strong meaty flavour.”
“This was my favourite dish of the day. The Red Hill Scotch beer was dark in colour and the scent of malt was immediate. It had a beautiful flavour of malt and barely that resulted in a semi-sweet beer of 7-8% alcohol. It was the perfect match to the BBQ rib which had a sweet and spicy flavour to it. The beef was incredibly tender, pulling apart easily. The Italian coleslaw was simple, yet refreshing. The dressing was salty and sweet. The mash that accompanied the rib was creamy and buttery. The dish overall had a sweet-theme to it.”
Epic Double Stout / traditional oak-smoked cheddar, fig paste, lavosh
“It was a satisfactory finish with the fig paste and traditional oak-smoked cheddar. The fig paste had a lovely sweet taste that perfectly matched the lavosh. The smoked cheddar was subtle and pleasant to nibble on with or without the lavosh. The Epic Double Stout had a defining liquorice taste with very harsh overtones. One sip was enough for me.”
“The Epic Double Stout had and immediate toffee scent to it. It was quite a fizzy beverage, which cut off the sweet flavour of the beer leaving the palate with a slightly bitter taste. It was much easier to drink than the Red Hill brew and was beautifully matched with the woody, oakey flavours of the smoked cheddar. The lavosh was incredibly sweet with figs seeds running through the paste. The smokey flavours of the cheese permeated through the sweetness of the lavosh though, leaving me with a gorgeous aged-cheese flavour that was a perfect compliment with my beer.”
It was the perfect sitting of food and beers served by 115 Grilled & Brewhouse. Every meal was of excellent quality. The event was a big winner with conversation flowing around the table about beer and food. The team at 115 Grill & Brewhouse implemented an excellent concept that removed the pretentious air around beer tasting and instead using it as a way to bring a group of people together to enjoy a five course meal. Would we do it again next year? Definitely.
Final Thought: “The perfect man-date: good beer, good food and great matches”