Monday, September 5, 2011

Christmas in July, Brodburger, and Beer

At Gold Creek, which is not far from where we live (and featured prominently in our blog-post about Cockington Greene), they have a really cute, small restaurant called Sweet Copper. One of the things they are known for in Canberra is, they do a ten-course "Last Meal on the Titanic" dinner every year on the day the Titanic sank. Period dress is highly encouraged. Once a month, they do a reservation only, themed multi-course meal. July's theme is always Christmas in July, and since both our birthdays are in July it seemed the perfect joint birthday night out. Spoiler alert, it was.

We think Australians are secretly very sad that they have Christmas in summer and thus miss out on all of the "White Christmas" related fun. Christmas in July is apparently a fairly popular idea. It certainly feels right. It was freezing outside, but with that fireplace you can see behind us it was nice and cozy.

Dinner was amazing, and huge! Scallop and lobster appetizers, pesto and bread, sorbet, turkey roll with mashed potatos and roast vegetables- there was no concern about leaving hungry.

Also, we look good together.

Happy Birthday to us!

This blog-post is a bit of a mix of things we've been up to over the last month or so. This is Brodburger, a Canberra institution. It's a little trailer that sells burgers on the shore of Lake Burley-Griffen. It's on the south-side, near the hotel we were in when we first got here, so we don't get down that way too often anymore, but it's totally worth the trek. Easily the best burgers in Canberra, it scratches the Five Guys itch nicely.

I'm not clear how much of this is true, but legend has it that the owners just parked the trailer there one day and never took it away. It has to violate some kind of zoning ordanace since it's right in the middle of a public park, but when the city tried to make them move, there was a near riot. I can totally understand why, it's that good. Everything is made to order so it's not exactly quick, but on a beautiful Spring day that's not really a problem.

As we waited for our burgers and chips (fries) we wandered over to the lake to say hi to the swans.

How freaking huge is that goose's neck!? We're pretty sure that goose society is organized around the length of one's neck. The longer the neck, the higher in society you are. Along this reasoning, this goose is clearly His Excellency the Grand Emperor Ganderious the First. The two geese on either side of Ganderious are his honor guard, charged with defending the Emperor from both threats winged (magpies) and non-winged (small toddlers, mostly).

Mmmm-mmmm, that is a tasty burger.

The magpies clearly agree and started to gather in hopes of food-scraps.

Greg foolishly fed one a chip, which drew and even larger crowd. When no more chips were thrown to the ground, the mob became increasingly hostile. Fortunately, Laurel was around to save the day. She promptly organized a reward system for the magpies, with strict rules they must follow if they wanted to be fed. The magpies had to organize themselves into an orderly line, and one at a time, jump on the carpark rail, at which point they would be rewarded with a small chip, and then fly away to make room for the next bird. They caught on surprisingly fast. This is a picture of the first members of the angry crowd before Laurel estbalished order.  There were easily 20+ magpies by the end.

For Greg's birthday, Laurel got him a DIY (do it yourself) beer kit. This is awesome for several reasons-

1. Brewing your own beer may be the awesomest (non-viking) thing ever.
2. It's Coopers, which is Greg's favorite Australian beer, by far.
3. It's a complete kit, coming with everything you need, wort (aka pre-beer mix), sugar, bottles, caps, vat, everything.
4. This is the only way to get beer in Australia that is not ridiculously expensive. Six-packs here start at $18. Yeah, you read that right. And that's for your most basic of beers. At most bars, a glass of wine is often cheaper than a pint of beer.

Naturally, all of this had to be put to work very fast. It's remarkably simple. Mix beer, wort, sugar, and approximately 22 liters of water, then add yeast and let sit for about a week. The only tricky part is maintaining a farily warm, constant temperature. We wrapped a blanket around the vat, which did the trick.

After a week, it's time for bottling!

A short time later we had 30 750-ml bottles of beer! It needs to sit for about two weeks, and then it's ready for drinking. Since we are always running behind on our blog-posts, I can tell you the beer is a smashing success! Bob, we're getting ready for you to come visit in December. We just bought all the ingredients to make a Canadian Blonde-style beer. I think you and I can drink it all in two to three weeks time. I believe in us.

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