Mmmm..beer and bread. Two of my favorite things. I went to Mildura for both today – well, that and to replace our lawn chair that got broken during the BBQ the other night, and to get a french press that doesn’t suck, and to get some real coffee. But the beer and the bread were definitely the highlights.
Chia is part of the barefoot cult, discussed in some detail in the book Born to Run. Chia seeds – and yes, we’re talking the same chia as chia pets – are an amazing source of omega 3s, antioxidants, protein, you name it. They’re awesome little bundles of energy that the Tarahumara mix with lime juice (which causes them to get gelatinous) and drink. Pete and I tried it at Mammoth with lemon juice – not bad! The seeds actually taste really good – kind of a light sesame flavor with overtones of strawberry seeds. So, thinking that this was some obscure new-ageish type thing, I was speechless when I walked into Baker’s Delight in Mildura last week and saw “Chia Bread.”
Me: “Wow, you’re making bread out of chee-a?”
Girl behind the counter: (looks at me a little funny) “Yes, we make bread with chai-a seeds”.
Right. Aside from pronunciation differences, there are a few other things different about the seeds in the bread. First, there appear to be no dark ones, which is odd because almost all the chia seeds that Pete bought were black. But there were tan ones too, and I remember reading that they come in a range of color from light to dark. Also, the ones in the bread don’t get gelatinous when you eat them, maybe because they’ve been baked and are a little dehydrated? They do still stick to your teeth a bit. Anyway, I only bought one small chia roll last week and immediately regretted it because it was delicious. I even saved a little for Dan, who agreed. So this time I bought 6 chia rolls and a loaf of multigrain chia bread, half of which is in the freezer. Tasty, tasty!
And the beer!
On my way out of town last week, I spied a sign for the Mildura Brewery. Eeeeenteresting. So I looked it up before I went and they serve lunch! Perfect! After my K-Mart and Chia bread runs, I headed to the brewery. I got a sampler platter of beer and a smoked salmon salad. I guess I’ll talk about the beer first, since it came out first. :)
All in all, some very good beer. A bit on the hoppy side like a lot of American microbrews, here’s the rundown:
Sun Light – Light beers here don’t mean low carb – they mean low alcohol. So this is a 3% alcohol beer – not too flavorful, but decent for what it is. The weather here can get pretty hot in the summer – 120 degree days, so this beer would be perfect for that.
Honey Wheat – good, has the aroma and some overtones of honey, but isn’t sweet. Which is exactly what I look for in honified alcohol (unless it’s sweet mead!).
Pilsener – floral and hoppy and my favorite. I was very sad that it was a seasonal beer, only available in the brewery and not in 6-packs. :(
Desert Premium – a nice beer, reminds me a bit of Eye of the Hawk. Only 4.5% though. :) It’s lighter on flavor, but tasty. You could drink these all night without getting tired of them.
Storm – “US-Style” Pale Ale. Nice, really good citrus flavor that complements the hoppiness.
Mildura Bitter – too hoppy for me. Not much else going on.
Mallee Bull – A very flavorful, rich beer. Definite tones of coffee, nuts, chocolate, and malt. This is the kind of beer that I really enjoy drinking one of – sometimes even only half of. It’s too rich for me to get through a 6-pack, but I appreciated sipping the sample, and would appreciate drinking one every now and then.
I came back with a case – yes, because most times cases are significanly cheaper than 4 6-packs. I don’t know what this place has against the good old 6-pack, maybe they just like to encourage quantity….so I got a mixed case for $60 (hey, that’s only $15 per six-pack, a relative steal!), 2 6’s of the Desert, 1 of the Storm, and 1 of the Honey Wheat.
The salad deserves a bit of press too – it was super tasty. In land of schnitzel and gut-busting burgers, I really appreciate a tasty and not deep-fried fare. The menu had several tasty-looking things on it, and I went for the smoked salmon salad. It came with asparagus, a poached egg, tomatoes, roasted red peppers (they call them capsicums here), and a nice lemon sauce. Mmmm!
The locusts weren’t too bad today – a nice break after several days of nonstop swarms, making it kind of nasty to go outside. The weather was overcast but nice all day long, and when I got back to Robinvale, it had obviously rained a bunch. It’s drizzling now, and I’m hoping that it rained enough for night shift to be cancelled tonight, but I’m not holding my breath. But it sure would be nice to enjoy some tasty beer and a tasty dinner with Dan.