I love a good food tour. I also love a good brewery tour. Combine the two and you have the Hinterland Farm to Fork Experience by Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours, and you really do have the best of both worlds. Happy days!
While I won’t give too much away about the actual tour – you really need to do it, and I don’t want to kill the buzz that comes with a new adventure – what I will give away is that it a fabulous discovery treat that ends with food and beer… great food and beer.
Joshua Donohoe, from Creative Tours & Events / Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours has teamed up with Brouhaha Brewery to give visitors (and locals) to the coast a snapshot of the collaborations between the brewery, the restaurant and the producers of the Sunshine Coast.
It follows the journey of head chef, James Ostridge, and his passion to champion the producers of the ingredients that he uses to create the dishes on the brewery’s restaurant menu.
James’ ethos is very much about supporting local. But it goes beyond that; James is on a mission to reduce waste and increase productivity and possibilities, so he has put a lot of thought into the whole food supply and waste cycle and come up with some innovative concepts that the brewery and restaurant has embraced as a whole, as well as made their own contributions to.
While James is passionate about using local produce, he is also using it creatively, while staying true to the brewery. The food needs to complement the beer, but it also needs to be flexible due to the seasonality of all that is local – which is not always that easy!
Drawing inspiration from traditional dishes of his hometown, Berkshire, UK, where James learnt his trade, he has created some delicious staples that work perfectly with beer.
So while this tour is about getting to meet the producers, it is also as much about understanding what makes the brewery tick, and the purpose that every item has, on what is ultimately, a very well thought-out menu.
Back to the tour; pick up is at The Wharf, Mooloolaba, nice and early and we are on our way.
Our first stop was the Sunshine Coast Coffee Roastery, with a great insight into the whole coffee roasting process – while you enjoy a blend of your choice – which, for me, is always welcome first thing!
Stop two was The Falls Farm, grower of many of the vegetables the restaurant utilises. The Falls Farm specialises in growing heirloom varieties, as well as some more unusual vegetables and herbs. The gardens are gorgeous (bit of big time garden envy going on here). James sources directly from the farm, so vegetables are at a premium in both nutrition and flavour.
Stop three was Maleny Wagyu. The farm itself is stunning, overlooking the range to the coast. Ken, the owner, is a charm. And the cows are the source of the premium Wagyu beef that is used in the restaurant.
There are a few stories here to tell. One is about the beef itself, of which farmer, Ken, shares some really valuable information, with regards to beef, grass fed vs. grain fed and wagyu – and its history, which I think is really important to understand. But the story I love is in how spent grain used in the brewing process at Brouhaha is channelled back to the farm for the beef cattle as fodder. The grain helps fatten them up and the cattle eventually make their way back to Brouhaha… as meat… or as “WALLACES”, as they are fondly referred to in the kitchen.
WALLACE is what they call the beef carcass (sounds much nicer, doesn’t it?!), processed at local butcher, and of which they utilise every cut – no waste. When we spoke, they were up to Wallace the 12th. Anyone working with meat knows that this is not an easy feat, especially in a restaurant environment, so kudos to James and his team on not only on pulling this off, but doing it well!
The collaborations don’t end there – too many to name. Every season brings something new, not only on their menu, but also with their beer.
Brouhaha Brewery are such a great supporter of local. They use local wherever possible and are always keen to explore new flavours both in the brewery and in the restaurant.
As part of the tour, you will presented with a sensational selection of the brewery’s staples of the season, all showcasing a combination of sensational flavours of all that is local.
While the menu changes due to seasonality, this was our offering for the day, and it was pretty amazing, showcasing over 11 producers!
1stCourse – Paired with Brouhaha NZ Pale Ale
Home cured Maleny Wagyu bresaola, Good Harvest Organics pumpkin jam, The Falls Farm cucumber pickles & Ten Acres Farm brioche.
The Falls Farm eggplant & onion bhaji, confit garlic, tahini dip. Conondale sweet pepper dressing.
2nd Course – Paired with Brouhaha Raspberry Saison
Maleny Lager, Applewood Gin & citrus cured salmon, beer pickled eggs, boutique finger limes & zucchini remoulade
3rd Course – Paired with Bouhaha Milk Stout
Reverse seared Maleny Wagyu eye fillet, flavoured with Hum Honey and mustard. Balmoral Ridge mushroom duxelle, Brouhaha Milk Stout jus and Yorkshire pudding. Served with hinterland organic vegetables.
4th Course – Paired with Brouhaha Rhubarb & Strawberry Sour
Brouhaha dessert board – Sticky date pudding with caramel sauce. Dark chocolate & walnut brownie with Brouhaha Rhubarb & Strawberry Sour syrup. Maleny Food Co gelato.
The beers are matched beautifully, and it is really great way for really getting to understand beer – in the same way you would a wine. Beers that you normally would perhaps not try, paired with the right food, tastes amazing.
There is as much experimentation going on in the brewery as in the kitchen. Matt, the head brewer, given the opportunity, will tell some wonderful stories of brews in the making – some that went right, and some not so – just ask about their fingerlime brew. But the trials and tribulations have paid off and one of their more controversial beers, the Rhubarb and Strawberry Sour, has been a roaring success and was voted #77 in the GABS Hottest 100 Craft Beers (Greatest Australian Beer Spectacular), being one, of only three sours that made it on the list.
All in all, the Hinterland Farm to Fork Experienceis a great day out. But it is also about so much more than just beer and food. It is about understanding and supporting our local industries, and getting behind them, accommodating the nuances to make it work and divining what truly means to support local, and to have a great time – with great beer and food – while doing it!
Creative Tours & Events / Sunshine Coast Craft Beer Tours operates a number of tours, with this new tour launching soon.
Or if you would just like to visit the brewery:
Big thanks to Josh, James, Matt and the team, and the producers we visited, for a great day out.
And don’t forget to buy some beer to enjoy at home before you leave!
This story was written by Petra Hughes – Pebbles + Pomegranate Seeds
Photographs by Petra Hughes – © Copyright 2019 – All rights reserved.
Images may not be reproduced, downloaded or used without written permission from the copyright holder.