The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Heston Blumenthal releases beer

In keeping with the mission of combining British and Australian cultural and culinary traditions, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal in Melbourne has released La Sirène Two Penny Farmhouse Ale – a bespoke beer to be served exclusively at Dinner by Heston Blumenthal Australia in Melbourne.

A collaboration with local artisanal brewery La Sirène, Two Penny Farmhouse Ale is inspired by British hand-pumped amber ales of the 18th century. Based on traditional farmhouse ales made for farm workers in Belgium and later England, Two Penny Farmhouse Ale is bottle-fermented and incorporates hops from New Zealand, Australia and the UK.

The combination results in a balanced blend of spice, floral and citrus, notably grapefruit aromatics as well as honey and thyme. Rolled oats are also added to provide a nuttiness and Australian Pale Malt to add a bright lift to the beer. After opening the ale slowly mellows, and notes change from light citrus to more robust herbaceous flavours. The ale matches particularly well with red meat dishes such as the Rice and Flesh entrée on the Dinner menu.

The genesis of Two Penny Ale can be traced back to the earnest home-brewing experiments of then Dinner young guns Evan More (now Head chef of Dinner Melbourne) and sous chef Max Gauthier-Beaudoin. Arriving in Melbourne in 2015, they were struck by the popularity of Melbourne’s diverse artisanal micro-brewing scene, which reignited their hobby. Darren Leaney (Head Bar Tender) was recruited and project beer began.

After months of searching for the perfect microbrewery collaborator, they approached La Sirène brewery in Alphington, Melbourne and the deal was done. Masters of artisanal farmhouse beers made in their Urban Farmhouse Brewery, the husband and wife team Costa and Eva Nikias behind La Sirène use wild yeast found within the brewery’s walls to lend their beers a uniquely local flavour.  This collaboration is the first of its kind in the La Sirène Avant-Garde Range, with Dinner the only restaurant they are working with in this way.

Appreciating the enthusiasm that the team at Dinner expressed in getting hands-on in the brewing process, Costa and Eva ensured the full participation of the Dinner team through every step of the process.  The collaboration between British chefs and Aussie brewers echoes the overarching philosophy at Dinner to forge a union between British and Australian traditions, with the result emerging as thoroughly contemporary.

Two Penny Farmhouse Ale takes its name from the colloquial name given to Amber Ale in the 18th Century.  Amber Ale was called Two-penny because it sold in England for two pence a pint.  In 1790 James Squire (a first fleet convict transported to Australia) commenced brewing beer in Sydney, which he sold for 4 pence per quart. One quart = two pints = two pence a pint.

Inspiration for the artwork for all of La Sirene’s labels comes from a love of Art Deco and in

particular, Art Nouveau (inspired by natural forms and structures, particularly the curved lines of plants and flowers).  Elements of Dinner included on the label are the Tudor Rose, Jelly Mould and the Dinner Fork.