As you know, I love wine. I could never get sick of it. However sometimes my taste buds and brain just don’t know when to turn off. Automatically when I have a glass of vino in my hand I’ll be analysing the colour, smell and taste no matter where I am. This is not a bad thing at all, but being a person who finds it hard to switch off and just relax… Sometimes I just need to take myself out of that thinking zone. Continue reading
Coconut ice cider and cherry apple cider – when I heard Ironbark Brewery in the Swan Valley had these on the menu, I just had to go give them a taste!
Mr. Spittoon and I use to live within stumbling distance from Ironbark, so I have to admit we have frequented this spot quite often. However it has been awhile since we last visited, so after chatting with Ironbark on twitter I thought it was about time we stopped by.
Ironbark is in Caversham, which is about a 5 minute drive from Guildford. It would definitely be classed as the closest of the Swan Valley breweries to the city. Plus across the road you have Pinelli Wines & Fillaudeau’s Cafe so you could quite easily spend an afternoon just in this area and then pick up some fresh seafood from the seafood truck on the corner of Benara and West Swan Road on your way home!
There is nothing fancy about Ironbark, it literally is a shed with a beer garden. It’s laid back and unpretentious to sum it up nicely. You’ll find the owner and chief brewer, Graeme White wandering round the place whether he is serving up beer or manning the wood-fired pizza oven you’ll be sure to catch a glimpse of the Jeremy Clarkson lookalike!
Graeme’s dream of owning a brewery became a reality in 1998 when he began Ironbark with his wife and 3 children. He does most of the brewing himself and he loves to experiment with different flavours & styles which you’ll see when you take a look at the diverse beer & cider menu! He also likes to source local ingredients for the Ironbark fruit beers and ciders which is great.
Some of the interesting concoctions are the Desert-Lime Lager, Mango Chic Beer, Cherry Ale and the new Coconut Ice Cider and Cherry Apple Cider. We decided to get a middy of both the ciders to try on this particular occasion. A middy is $6 and pints are $10 which are pretty standard prices for Perth. Soooo what were the ciders like??? To be honest neither of us were fans of the coconut ice cider, however saying that neither of us are big fans of coconut. If you enjoy things like Malibu rum, then this will be right up your alley. The cherry apple cider was my cup of tea! It was more sour than sweet which is my style of cider. I really could have sat there all afternoon drinking it, so thirst quenching and just so easy to drink. Take my advice, don’t order a middy, you’ll definitely want a pint of it!
In terms of beer, I would have to admit that the brews at Ironbark are some of my favourite local beers. From the alcoholic ginger beer to the 2 wheat beers and the pilsner, there is something for every beer drinker! I would say they have around 20 different beers and ciders to choose from! On this visit Mr. Spittoon couldn’t get enough of the Brumby Ale – a mexican style beer.
You’ll find a lot of the Swan Valley tours do stop in to Ironbark so timing your visit is a must. On this particular day we did rock up when there were about 2 tour buses there, it was pretty hectic to begin with but they hung around about half an hour and then left. On the weekends you’ll also have live music, so it really is a fantastic spot for an afternoon session!
What I also thought was pretty fantastic service, is that we were asked to move tables due to a large group arriving, both Mr. Spittoon and I were more than happy too however the lovely waitress decided to bring us each a middy for the trouble. I can’t complain about that!
The food menu at the brewery is very enticing! There are a lot of delicious sounding items on the menu from the triple-decker scotch fillet steak sandwich to the kangaroo pattie Boundary Rider Burger! We wanted something to share so we decided to go for the meatlovers large wood fired pizza for $23.50. The pizza came out quickly, it was pretty standard really but it went down with our brews nicely. The base was definitely my favourite – it just melted in your mouth! We were both pretty full after it too. I’m definitely looking forward to trying out more of the menu in the months to come as I go back for my cherry apple cider fix!
Duckstein Brewery in the Swan Valley, Perth is not just for beer lovers. Yes that’s right all you non-beer drinkers!
Duckstein located on West Swan Road has an absolutely delicious menu of German fare, a semi-decent wine list made up mostly of wines from Swan Valley wineries as well as a few unusual German wines, German spirits like Jagermeister, Underberg and a range of fruit schnapps and liqueurs as well as an interesting schnapps cocktail called ‘Fruit Jar’, plus they stock Heil Cider from Germany and have a Radler on the menu. Oh yes and of course soft drinks and coffee & tea are available for the unfortunate sober drivers – who we love so dearly!
If it’s a hot day I would definitely suggest to book ahead and to ask for a table by the fans or cooling spritzers as some of the tables do get rather toasty in mid-summer and it is a highly popular venue so it does fill up fast (always a good sign!). I love how they have the long tables and benches (very German) as well as normal table settings inside and out. There is also an outside bar however I’ve found that sometimes it’s manned and sometimes not. I have also had both table service and times where you have to go up and order at the bar.
The first time I visited Duckstein Brewery was during the Valley & Vines festival in 2013 which was by far the best venue of the day in my opinion. The beer (Duckstein’s pilsner is my favourite) was ice-cold, and the bratwurst hotdog was huge – a special deal on the day for $15, absolute bargain! The second time I went was just for a tasting plate, 5 samples of beer for $12. A great deal however since I don’t drink dark beers I found I only really wanted to drink the pilsner and hefeweiss (wheat beer) – so not such a good deal for me, however it made Mr. Spittoon one happy man.
My most recent visit to Duckstein was another fantastic experience. It was midweek so it was quiet and it meant we had a good selection of tasty lunch specials (only available Monday-Friday) to choose from.
For drinks I decided to try something new and try a glass of the Katlenburger Strawberry Sparkling Wine (read my tasting note here) and Mr. Spittoon naturally went for the $22 keep the beer handle 400ml beer (he loves branded glasses!).
To go with our drinks Mr. Spittoon went for one of the lunch specials:
Duckstein Sausage Sandwich – Traditional bratwurst, Swiss cheese, smoked bacon, sour cream, caramelised beer onions, mustard and German curry ketchup, served in a Panini roll with fries for $23
And I went for the:
Brewer’s Pan; smoked Kassler chop, Bratwurst, pan-fried potatoes, Sauerkraut, `red cabbage, beer onions and mustard, $35
Click on the images below to view the Duckstein Swan Valley food, drinks and Monday-Friday lunch specials menus.
Both meals were huge!! Neither of us could completely finish our meal. The presentation was awesome (a big knife sticking into the middle of the sandwich and mine actually came in a pan!), the flavour was mouth-watering and having spent quite a bit of time in Germany on our backpacking adventures we thought overall the food, drinks and atmosphere were all very German. Duckstein is Little Germany in the Swan Valley, Perth!
I wouldn’t hesitate going back to Duckstein at all. We even bought Mr. Spittoon’s parents a voucher for the brewery knowing they would not only love the drinks and amazing meals but enjoy the laid back ambiance and Mr. Spittoon’s Mum just loved the gorgeous entrance way covered with beautiful magenta coloured flowers.
You can also purchase beer to take away, did someone say 5 litre Duckstein Pilsner keg for $55?? Yum! For more information check out the Duckstein Brewery website or the Duckstein Brewery Facebook page.
Mmm.. I’m strangely craving Berlin street stall currywurst now..
I am very partial to the Mash “West Coast” wheat beer. However it’s never tempted me to have a meal. Recently a friend invited me to lunch at the craft brewery as it’s one of her and her husbands favourite spots in the Valley for a meal, so how could I say no 🙂 Continue reading
Okay so if you saw a sommelier in a restaurant pouring your Champagne out as if it was a beer, you may be a tad worried of his/her skills, but fret not – a study by the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry has shown that this is the perfect way to pour Champagne in order to keep the fizz longer. This requires simply holding the glass on an angle when pouring that gorgeous nectar out of the bottle instead of pouring it straight into the glass and waiting for the mousse to die down to top it up.
Research also shows that serving Champagne at a much lower temperature also helps to preserve that much-anticipated fizz. Ideally this temperate is around 4-7 degrees Celsius which is equivalent to about half an hour in an ice bucket or 3-4 hours in the fridge.
So there you have it – and just remember that a Champagne cork is neither your date’s best friend nor your faces, so make sure you aim that bad boy in the opposite direction.