Venues and events

Wollongong’s US beer dinners

Here’s a story I wrote about Wollongong’s Good Beer Dinners that ran in today’s Illawarra Mercury.

Trips to Melbourne and the United States inspired two beer dinners taking place in Wollongong in the next few weeks.
The dinners – at The Little Prince on July 25 and the Illawarra Brewery on August 9 – each feature five US craft beers coupled with a range of American bar food.
Shaun Blissett and Ashur Hall are the brewers from the Illawarra Brewing Company (IBC) and co-creators of the so-called Good Beer Dinners.
The idea came from a trip they took to Melbourne earlier this year for Good Beer Week.
While they were there, they went to a beer and food dinner at Josie Bones, a restaurant owned by MasterChef contestants Chris Badenoch and Julia Jenkins.
“That’s one of the best beer restaurants in the country,” Blissett says.
“They had six or seven courses of beer matching with food and every single one of the beers had a rep from the brewery who would come up and talk about the beer and then Chris would talk about the food.”
Blissett and Hall both have hospitality backgrounds – Hall has done a hospitality course while Blissett worked in the kitchen at the Illawarra Brewery before becoming a brewer – so they were intrigued by the idea of a beer dinner.
“We’re always cooking with beer here (at their brewery) or at home with our friends so we thought we’d try and do a beer dinner at the bar because I don’t think one has been done before,” Blissett says.
The pair decided to go with US ales because the IBC beers are largely based on styles from that country.
Among the breweries represented will be Rogue, Sierra Nevada, Bear Republic, Brooklyn and Green Flash.
Once they made that decision, the next step was working out the accompanying food.
“I was in the States earlier this year and, being a food tourist I was trying out all those classic American bar food items – sliders, pulled pork, ribs, buffalo wings,” Blissett says.
“That’s American-style bar food so for us it was more about providing good hearty American fare to drink beer with.
“We’re not trying to match up the courses too much, it’s more about replicating a US bar experience.”
It’s the first in what Blissett hopes will be a series of beer dinners.
“The plan at the moment is we want to do a Belgian one pretty soon because it’s coming into the perfect time of the year.
“We will probably do a sour beer dinner because they’re in vogue at the moment and they’re brilliant to match with food.”
Good Beer Dinners are on July 25 at The Little Prince and August 9 at The Illawarra Brewery. Tickets are $50 each or $90 for both nights. Bookings can be made at the venues.

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