Sunday, October 21, 2012

Matilda Bay Brewing Company

A few months ago, I received a Travelzoo email with a "local deal" for beer tasting with food pairings at Matilda Bay Brewing Company. Matilda Bay is a local brewery that Erik and I learned about early on during our time in Oz, as we tasted many of their beers at the Fed Square Beer Festival (which we will be hitting up again this just a few days!). The deal was $25 per person (regularly $50), so I bought a couple of them with intentions to arrange our tasting during the time that my parents were visiting. Fortunately, we were able to book in on a Thursday night during that week!

Our tasting was scheduled for 5:30, but in typical Aussie fashion, people were late and I'm pretty sure we did not get started until around 6pm. The brewery is located in Port Melbourne, and traffic getting there during that time of day was not easy, so that does provide a bit of an explanation for the delay, though Erik and I find that things rarely start on time here! The guy who was leading our food and beer pairings had a terrific personality and was quite funny. He briefly described each of our six beers and the food item that went along with the respective beverage. It was a "go at your own pace" type of tasting, which was great for conversation among the group, but I was not exactly sure which beer was which because our guide only described them in the beginning. 
From L to R: Prawns, Risotto Balls, Seared Tuna, Lamb Chop, Pork Belly, Chocolate Brownie
There were about 16 people in our group, but we ended up spending a lot of time chatting with the four men next to us, a group of three brothers and a friend of one of the brothers. These guys were local to the area and really fun to chat with during the course of the evening. It was my parents first interaction with Australians, so I think they struggled to understand some of what the men were saying (when we first arrived we had to ask people to repeat themselves we are getting better at interpreting Ausssie English!), but they were definitely entertained buy these gentleman while we were beer tasting.
The darkest beer, Dogbolter, was my favorite! It paired amazingly well with the chocolate brownie.
After the tastings, we were given a short tour of the brewery, where our guide explained the brewing process. He also gave credit to the Americans for their beer brewing skills, explaining that the States is way ahead of Australia when it comes to brewing beer. Aussies do seem to be impressed with the beer choices in bars/pubs in the States. Here we are often limited to just a couple of choices on tap at most pubs. The tour lasted about 30 minutes, and afterwards we said goodbye to our new friends. 
I cannot remember the name of our guide, but he used very "colorful" and entertaining language!

Overall, I thought the value for the money was good and I would definitely go back to Matilda Bay Brewing Company for similar specials. The only caveat is the location, as it is in more of an industrial area and most people would have to go out of their way to get there. It was a great "activity" to do with visitors, so perhaps we will be back soon with our next round of guests!

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