It is no surprise that I do love a drink. Most types of drinks actually. Whether it's whisky, wine, vodka, gin and tonic or even beer depending on the occasion. While I do like to drink, I'm not much of an expert on beer so I was surprised to receive an invite to attend Six States of Beer at The Oaks in Neutral Bay. This is an ongoing series of events where it focuses on a selected range of craft beers made from the state and a themed degustation of matching dishes (previous events involved cheese, chocolate, pork and bites). This was the fifth installment of the Six States series which focused on beers from QLD and matching seafood dishes. It was hosted by the passionate beer expert, Kirrily Waldhorn with food being prepared by The Oaks' chef, Danny Russo.
Bighead - Burleigh Brewing Company
The Bighead was served to all diners on arrival. While this drink is a 100% natural, full-strength beer with loads of flavour, it also has zero carbs! With its smooth, balanced texture, this was easy to drink with any meal such as a pub lunch or dessert at a French restaurant.
Hef - Burleigh Brewing Company
Another beer from the same brewery was the Hef, an unfiltered wheat beer brewed from malted barley, malted wheat, water, hop and yeast. This was inspired by German wheat beer with its smooth, creamy texture and a slightly sweet banana and clove flavour. Out of all the beers I've tried, this was definitely my favourite of the bunch.
Crab cake and Oaks slaw slider
The one dish I have been looking forward to the most out of this event was the crab cake slider. Been dreaming about getting my hands on crab cakes ever since watching it featured on numerous American food travel shows but been disappointed that this has been rare to find around Sydney. When it arrived packed inside a brioche bun, I was surprised that it wasn't in its crumbed form that I usually see in those aforementioned US food travel shows but was delighted at the healthier look of the shredded crab meat. These bite sized treats were fresh and delicious though also quite salty. Wouldn't mind trying more of this.
Pale Ale - Four Hearts Brewing Company
This craft beer was an American pale ale with a passionfruit sweetness followed with a strong, deep and bitter malt flavour. You can also taste a bit of marmelade as you sip this beer. Apparently the bitterness is average for this type of drink so I didn't mind it at all. This is the first drink brewed by the Four Hearts Brewing Company, which will become an official brewery by the end of this year.
Crispy flash fried squid and school prawns served with squid ink aioli
This was accompanied by the crispy squid and school prawns with squid ink aioli. The squid was tender and juicy with a nicely crisp batter while the school prawns were crunchy and not too sharp so it was easy to pop in your mouth. This also came with a wedge of lime that gave a good flavour boost to this dish.
Anzus Ipa - Fortitude Brewing Company
Unlike the pale ale, the Anzus Ipa had a very clean and light malt backbone by placing focus on the hops this time. By boosting the amount of hops in this beer, this gave the beer an earthy, piney and fruity aroma and flavour that is suitable for the Australian climate. It certainly helped in cooling down our tastebuds from the heat and spiciness of the following dish.
Whole baked snapper with Thai flavours, Asian greens and rice
And boy was this one intensely spicy fish!!! We were amazed at the size of the baked snapper when it arrived to our table. This was cooked with a Thai green curry to soften the fish and add a hint of creaminess to the overall dish. While the fish was well cooked and freshly made, the spiciness was close to the level that you can expect at Thai restaurants. Was so glad to have that beer to cool down that heat.
For that extra hotness if you dare!
White chocolate and raspberry Pilsener - Bacchus Brewing
While it looked like a glass of cocktail or wine, this was actually beer! It was a strange but lovely mix of spicy Czech Pilsener with the flavour and aroma of raspberries and white chocolate. This was perfect for the final paired dish of the night.
White chocolate mousse with raspberries and sea salt snow
The night finished off with the equally matched white chocolate mousse with raspberries and sea salt snow, which had a creamy and milky taste mixed with...pureed scallops! There's even a hint of anchovy in this dish as well. Never expected seafood to show up in a dessert like this since I didn't even detect it as I tasted this dish but it was a nice surprise.
I rushed through this final drink because I had to leave pretty early (living in south west Sydney is a pain) but from what I tasted, this drink had that sweetness that I would expect from a citrus-based beverage with the added beer taste. Would like to get another one of this.
Had a great time learning about various beers across Queensland and getting into the tasting experience where you explore your senses. As for the Oaks, there are heaps of decent quality dishes to try and lots of space to chill even on busy nights. The next and final Six States of Beer event for 2014 will focus on Beer vs Wine from SA. This will be held on Wednesday 10th December 2014. Tickets cost $60 + booking fee which is worth it for the four course plus drinks degustation experience.
Disclaimer: The Random Foodie dined at The Oaks Hotel as a guest, courtesy of Wasamedia. Opinions are however, my own.
The Oaks Hotel
118 Military Road, Neutral Bay NSW 2089
(02) 9953 5515
Mon-Wed: 10:00am - 12:00am
Thurs-Sat: 10:00am - 1:30am
Sun: 12:00pm - 12:00am