Toast Dunedin 2012

Glynn, one of our electronics engineers, won the Dunedin office Toast brewing comp with his American Black Ale. He shares his thoughts with us on brewing, winning, and pairing beer and food:

A large number of the brewers I have met have been engineers. It isn’t much of an epiphany I suppose; crafting beer evokes the same sensibilities that drove me to become an engineer in the first place. Conceiving the consummate combination of malts, hops and yeast is just one thread within an intricate tapestry of processes to craft, control and perfect. It’s no wonder that I quickly joined the coven of budding brewers at Fisher & Paykel.

My foray into the recent Toast competition was inspired by the new world style of American Black Ale. An obsidian black body and ever so slight roastiness coupled with a hearty infusion of Yakima valley hops makes for a compelling twist on a more typical pale ale. These are REAL beers; flavourful, complex, and balanced.

Richard Emerson agreed and I managed to take away first place in the ‘brewed’ section amid some strong competitors. His remarks on the beer praised the balance of the malts and hops, especially the hop aroma of the beer. Having a chance to get feedback and validation from a brewer of Richard’s calibre was an amazing opportunity. With the win came the opportunity to write an entry for the blog, so I decided I would use my time on the soapbox to share some of my favourite beer styles, matched with culinary entries from Our Kitchen.

Brown Ale – Probably my favourite style, flavours of dark toffee, slight chocolate and nuttiness combined with somewhat intense hopping in American examples. This beer would pair well with rich hearty flavours such as roast pork or stew.
– Emerson’s Brownville Brown, Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale, 8 Wired Rewired
Try matching with these Pulled Pork Sandwiches, or bring out the brown ale’s nuttiness and burnt caramel sweetness with Kate’s Pecan Pie with Medjool Dates.

Porter – Dark highly kilned grains take the forefront giving flavours reminiscent of bitter chocolate, coffee or burnt toast. This beer is right at home served with barbequed or smoked meats and equally as appropriate served with a rich dessert.
– Anchor Porter, Emerson’s London Porter, Fuller’s London Porter
Try pairing with a dark chocolate & liquorice dessert like this; some delicious braised beef; or try the smoked, charred flavours in this salsa.

Pale Ale – The aggressive hops of a pale ale demand that a dish has a strong backbone to stand up to the assault. Appropriate dishes include Thai or Indian cuisine, especially dishes incorporating a wallop of heat.
– Epic Pale Ale, Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA, 8 Wired Hopwired
Try these Prawn Tacos with Chipotle Sauce, a Lamb Korma or this Thai Beef Salad would be another good pick!

So, next time you’re about to tuck into some good food, take a moment to consider the merits of a craft beer match. Would a great English bitter actually do more justice to this cheese than a French white? What would a Belgian ale do for this fish? Why not throw champagne breakfast convention to the wind and try a Weissbier with pancakes?

Finally, for any brewers who tune into Our Kitchen, or those who would just like to give it a go, my American Black Ale recipe from the toast competition: (Makes 19L)

Grains (Mash 60 minutes at 65C)
• 1000g Marris-Otter Pale malt
• 180g Carafa II Special (Dehusked)
• 250g Crystal Malt (60L)
• 100g Carapils Malt
• 150g Biscuit Malt (Not in my original recipe, but if I were to brew it again I think this would be a nice addition)

Boil additions (Boil 60 minutes)
• 2kg light malt extract
• 10g Simcoe Hops (10% aa) (60 mins)
• 14g Simcoe Hops (10% aa) (15 mins)
• 14g Cascade (US) Hops (7.1% aa) (15 mins)
• 1 Tablet Whirlfloc (15 mins)
• 28g Simcoe Hops (10% aa) (0 mins)
• 14g Cascade (US) Hops (7.1% aa) (0 mins)

• Safale US-05 American ale yeast
• 3 weeks at 20C

• 105g corn sugar (dextrose) at bottling to carbonate.