17 May The Roving Marrow x Barrow Boys ‘Harvest to Ferment’ Dinner, Good Beer Week
Good Beer Week brings a week full of celebrations involving all things beer. As part of the festivities, Ash Hazell and Dean Michael Romeo from Barrow Boys were set to collaborate with Darran and Ilona, owners of The Roving Marrow, to put on the ‘Harvest to Ferment’ dinner. The Barrow Boys are gypsy brewers, meaning other brew houses host them as they create their own beer. All five courses were matched with Barrow Boys’ craft beer, and were designed by head chef Charles Woodward to reflect the different steps in the brewing process, as well as showcase the best of Melbourne’s seasonal produce.
Not just a night of simply eating and drinking, we are also educated as we listen to insights about the beers we taste. Hops is used in the brewing process for its preserving qualities, bitterness and aromatics, and the variety of hops used in many of the Barrow Boys beer is the Galaxy. Sourced near Myrtleford, this variety imparts tropical aromatics like passionfruit and citrus.
Raw, fresh, crisp
Starters are accompanied by the Festival Beer, a saison, or farmhouse pale ale. It’s a non-spiced saison that’s predominantly yeast-based, and is a light, fruity, and refreshing working beer. The Stormy Lager is the first beer ever made by Barrow Boys. Containing five types malt, it has a biscuit and caramel flavour from roasted malt, and is rounded and smooth. Some hops is added for some bitterness to balance it out. Unlike the other courses, the flavours of the first dish were purposely instated to contrast with the beer. It’s rich, with a cashew nut butter and creamy white sauce, balanced with the pickled qualities of the cauliflower and crunchiness of the gremolata. The night is off to a good start.
Red Sky Wheat Dunkelweizen is a dark wheat beer, with the yeast affording a fruity banana ester profile. This is perfectly paired with succulent roasted free-range pork belly complete with crackling, smokey and sweet roasted carrots, and a yeast puree with celeriac.
The Pedlars Pale contains tropical notes of passionfruit and pineapple, its bitterness rounded off by malt. Its lighter notes are reflected well by the fennel-smoked salmon, pickles and fish broth. Fennel sticks were first burnt, with the whole salmon cooked on top on them. The salmon flesh is semi-translucent and is incredibly succulent, its rich flavour lifted by the vinegar-pickled kohlrabi, radishes and cucumbers, and the Asian style fish broth. The beauty and quality of the fish is able to be appreciated with these accompaniments, rather than being drowned out.
India Amber Ale is a darker, full-bodied and heavily hopped drink, cold-stored to mimic the temperature within the of hull of ship, which would historically have carried the ale across the seas. It’s light, refreshing and surprisingly easy to drink. The goat shoulder had been cooked with a fermented chilli paste made from Padron peppers and hops, being roasted and steamed simultaneously for 11 hours. Celeriac was roasted whole in buttermilk, then dusted in celeriac ash. It provides a nuttier, less heavy alternative to the humble roasted potato. There is still potato here in the form of wispy, crispy floss, and the cavalo nero ties the textures together.
Our final beer is the Black Ink Porter, which contains a fruity aroma from a number of hops varieties sourced from New Zealand, Australia and the US. It’s matched with the dessert of peanut parfait, smoked choc crisps and caramel – a texture and flavour sensation that is absolutely delicious.
The Harvest to Ferment dinner was a stunning showcase of the talent of both the Barrow Boys, and the kitchen behind The Roving Marrow. While they made an excellent team tonight, it is comforting to know that their quality food and drink is not just limited to special events, but can also be thoroughly enjoyed independantly.
Disclaimer: I was invited as a guest to the Harvest to Ferment dinner, however, opinions expressed here are purely my own and not influenced by them in any way
The Roving Marrow
418 Lygon St
Carlton, VIC, 3053
(03) 9347 7419