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A dust up at Middle Park Hotel – 3 Ravens v Hawthorne brewery

A fight to the bitter end - matched with fantastic food

Settling a dispute can be done in various ways. There is the round table approach, where disenchanted parties arrive in a conference room and express their feelings, make compromises, sign settlements and move on. Another way is to ‘lawyer up’ and battle it out in open court with their legal team. Then there is the old fashion dust up. This typically consist of two men settling ones score – often something very trivial – with a few left and right hooks.

We wouldn’t want our growing and popular Melbourne based brewers 3 Ravens and Hawthorn Brewery to get their faces punched as to who has a better tasting beer. Such disputes should be done over taste testings with matched food and put to vote. This is what exactly took place at the magnificent Middle Park Hotel during Good Beer Week.

The beers were chilled, the food was poised to be served and the diners had arrived at their tables. The duel was a four-round knock out battle. Each round the diners had received a dish that was matched with two beers. On the completion of each round the people voted to determine who landed the final blow.

Ding Ding ! The rounds were as follows:

Round one: South Australian Prawns served with banana seaweed

3 Ravens Belgian Wheat Beer
Hawthorn Amber Ale

These prawns were a late addition to the menu, but that didn’t make much of difference as it was a cracking dish. The prawns were cooked in their shells with fresh banana seaweed left an interesting taste on the palate. Washed down with both beers, it became apparent that the 3 Ravens beer married better due to the lighter wheat taste that was fantastic with the South Australian prawns.

Winner of the first round went to… 3 Ravens Belgium Wheat Beer.

Round two: White cut chicken, QLD spanner crab and pomelo salad with chilli, lime and peanuts

3 Ravens American Pale Ale
Hawthorn Golden Ale

The next dish took influence from Asia and it really reminded me of drunk chicken (chicken poached in alcohol flavoured broth). The chicken was poached perfectly and was accompany with a definitive chilli flavour; however this was cut through with the Asian herbs and crushed nuts. As for the beers, the Hawthorn Golden Ale with its hoppy and slightly dense taste worked well. However, it was the 3 Ravens (only just in my opinion) that brought the flavours together with its fruity notes.

Winner of the second round went to…  3 Ravens American Pale Ale.

Round three: 24 hr slow smoked Wagyu short rib with chickpeas, quince & yoghurt

3 Ravens Special Bitter
Hawthorn IPA

By far the best dish of the day. The smoked wagyu short rib was the star attraction. With a lot of gasps and yums from the audience, the rib pieces were perfectly cooked to be juicy and tasty – well balanced by the lightly sauteed onions and blitzed quince. The fruit and meat combination was a refreshing and unique take from the previous two dishes and certainly played a part with the beers. On this occasion, the Hawthorn was the stand out with its slight bitters flavour profile edging to the meat flavours.

Winner of the third round went to… Hawthorne IPA.

Round four: Spit roasted Flinder’s Island lamb with smoked eggplant + pomegranate tabbouleh

3 Ravens Smoked Beer
Hawthorn Pale Ale

The last dish was a little interesting and slightly unexpected. The eggplant was a puree and the lamb was complemented with an interesting choice of tabbouleh (as opposed to a cous cous or quinoa). The lamb was soft and melted in my mouth; smearing the eggplant over the meat was certainly a delight. This round was a clear winner for 3 Ravens, which was a smoked beer that was outstanding and certainly a highlight. The aromas were immediate at every sip had a delightfully smoky taste that lingered on the plate, working wonders with the lamb.

Winner of the fourth round went to… 3 Ravens Smoked beer.

With the final round decided, the overall champ for this years duel went to 3 Ravens! In all fairness, the overall tally between 3 Ravens and Hawthorn was a space of six votes. Both beers were a treat to experience, but it was the 3 Ravens range that were better matched with the food at Middle Park Hotel. Strangely, it was agreed on the table that if drinking the beers alone, the Hawthorne would have out performed 3 Ravens. With the trophy in hand and claps all round, it was a fair and joyous fight. If this is an annual event, keep an eye for next years duel as it won’t be a disappointing one punch event.

More information about the offerings at  Middle Park Hotel, can be found here.

Opening Hours:
Breakfast
Sun – Sat: 7am – 11pm

Lunch & Dinner
Sun – Sat: Midday to late

Food in pictures

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