Television Producer & Photojournalist with a passion for sharing adventures in and around Melbourne, Australia. See my www.youtube.com/user/tmztvaustralia for other adventures. Subscribe to me so I can tell you of upcoming fab things not to miss.
Published May 9th 2019
The best Australian beers and burgers meet for taste delight
International Beers move aside, there is a new Australian Beer Maker on the block and he's turning taste buds and heads, both male and female. Scott Hargrave, who has only been a beer maker since 2006, is making a huge froth in the beer making industry in Byron Bay at Balter. Scott was a home brewer who loved to play with taste and hops. When he entered and won the "Best First Time Entrant" in the Amateur Brewing Championship, the brewing industry knew there was something new brewing. The following year he won Gold for the highest scoring beer in 2007. With more accolades in brew, he was offered work at the Sunshine Coast Brewery, where he won the 2009 AIBA Champion Reduced Alcohol Beer. From there the new and innovative beers and awards flowed. Now he is a top brewer at Balter. As they say "6 Aussies and a Yank walked into a brewery and they never left..." And Batler Brewery was born.
We were lucky to be hosted by Assaf and one of the Balter staff, Luke Tremewen, and learnt this story at a gourmet burger and beer tasting event at Ziggy's in South Melbourne. What a fabulous night for fantastic food and extraordinary beer.
Luke's experience was inspiring - he could not sing Scot's praises enough. He explained Scot's amazing palette, passion for quality, and attention to detail. Just a hint of something not right, Scot tips the beer out and starts again. He just will not accept 98% alright. Scot is now shaping others opinion in Byron Bay and the wider beer industry.
Luke regales us with expertise and intriguing stories
Scot he is doubly respected because he is very humble about his trophy cabinet. The trophies are irrelevant but the end product is paramount. He is constantly testing the DNA of the beer to get the best performance of flavours.
Ziggy's is an intimate but modern gourmet burger restaurant with a huge takeaway business based on the highest quality burgers and chips. It is a taste sensation you have to experience. And it all 100% fresh local Australian produce.
We had barely starting tasting the beer before the gourmet food starting arriving at tables. They did not last long with a scrumptious blend of chicken wings, spicy chicken, onion rings and divine chips.
The beer tasting included both "Limited" beers on tap and the rest of the Balter's current line. Ziggy's then matched these with a blend of gourmet burgers I have never heard of before.
Gourment Burger with Blue Cheese Sauce is to die for
For example, my burger was Cheese, with Blue Cheese Sauce, Bacon Tomato, Lettuce, and Pickle. Delicious does not give it enough credit. It was wonderful to see the Chefs creating as they went from our tables. And generous sizes; I actually could not fit all of my burger.
The tasting started with a HAZY IPA (Limited Release), which was cloudy but lush in colour with a hint of orange, mango and passionfruit finishing off with just the right bitter and a strong nose. Girls, this should be the beer that turns you from margaritas girls to beer maniacs. But for me, there was one beer better, the last beer of the night the IIPA, (Limited Release) Double Indian Pale Ale. This is my favourite beer of my whole life and I have sunk a few, not as many as my husband, but at least from around the world. This beer tempted all my sensations, it was dry, spicy, with hints of pineapple, citrus and oh so refreshing. Champagne lovers, you must try this brew, it will open your mind and taste sensations to a whole new world of explosive flavour.
And of course, they are made of those special ingredients that all beers are made of and we also got to experience. They were passed around in wine glasses so we could smell those deep and rich earthy, spicy smell, of barley, hops and other secret ingredients.
Secret Ingrdiants and the location of the warehouse will not be shared
Luke told a lovely story about how Scott once made the mistake of giving away one secret ingredient and then everyone was attempting to copy his special brew. That will never happen again. Once goes in the vault stays in the vault at this innovative Good Beer or Crafted Beer supplier.
For all their beers, their motto is the freshest beer they can supply is their end game. Therefore, you can only this beer on tap or in cans, which is how they keep it freshest and coldest. They allow beer in the keg for only a month, although it never lasts that long anyway, and 3 months in the can.
Luke talked about their warehousing systems and how it worked to ensure the highest quality. Everyone was enjoying the beer so much one man quipped, "How secure is this warehousing system?".
Ziggy's Eatery is the brainchild of Assaf, Moshik and Darren and they are Ziggy's Eatery. They invite you to stop by and get your Zig on.
It was a family affair on the night, with family members there to share this lovely event. Hopefully, this tasting event is a sample of many to come. But that did not stop the "take away" trade. When there is a constant flood of people coming to get take away for hours on end, you know you have the love and the taste buds of the locals locked in.
Darren, partner in Ziggy's, kept pulling beer with precision and a cheeky smile. The IPA beer was balanced by Ziggy's chefs with a Cheez with Chipotle with a homemade smoked cheese sauce. Yum! This Indian Pale Ale had excellent flavour with clean hops, citrus sing, and light tang end.
Partner in Crime, I mean Business pulls fresh Balter Brew
The Pilsner was crisp, clean with that lovely bitter finish. True to its German and European roots. This was balanced with a 100% Australian produce burger with Fried Chicken, Aioli and Ziggy's secret sauce. There is also a secret sauce to go with the chips that is nothing like I had ever tasted before. Now all other burgers are going to be boring and just not good enough for me.
The Strong Pale Ale is stone fruits, malts, and probably their most popular brew. I loved the nose on this and it was lively.
Sided with a Chili Burger with Jalapeņos, they breathed life into each other.
The XPA was no less impressive as an American Pale Ale, with more tropical flavours and fully hopped. It matched perfectly with a Tall Texan Bacon Burger.
There were other lovely stories Luke regaled us with, such as how the Strong Pale Ale, got its can colour. Apparently, they had to drive by this one house with a pale peach front door, and they fell in love. They drove to the house and asked the owner if they could match the colour for their beer. Australian icons are born from our sharing innovation and spirit.
Well, there is only one thing for it. I have to now drive from Pakenham back to South Melbourne with my family for a special night so they can experience this as well. I might see you there.