This Saturday, after finishing a busy service at Esquire, Brisbane's top-ranked restaurant, chef de cuisine Ben Devlin will pull an all-nighter baking batches of sprouted-rye sourdough and malty brioche to prep for his Beerkary Bakery stall.
A passion project for Devlin and his partner, designer Yen Trinh, Beerkary combines two of the couple's favourite things - beer and baked goods - and will feature at special events.
It came about after a lunch Devlin cooked at Sydney's Sixpenny, and there have been a handful of subsequent Brisbane pop-ups.
On Sunday, Beerkary Bakery will collaborate with Melbourne brewer Killer Sprocket at Brisbane's inaugural Beer inCider, a new craft beer and cider festival. Hot-smoked pastrami pork jowl and sauerkraut sandwiched between slices of rye-IPA sourdough are part of a line-up of snacks that sounds very promising indeed.
The likes of "beerclairs", made using Vienna malt and juniper, and Vienna malt brioche with pine-smoked king trout, juniper hollandaise and pickled onion will be up for grabs. The trout brioche is designed to play nicely with Killer Sprocket's Hey Juniper, a new American-style pale ale the brewer is launching at the festival. There's also a vegetarian option which has salt-roasted sweet potato with pine and juniper in the salt crust.
"Beer-matching gives you opportunities to use beer flavour profiles but also to use some of the ingredients that are used in the beer-making process," says Devlin, a regular at Capalaba's Craft Brewer. "There's an amazing library of hops and malt to experiment with - about the only thing I haven't done is actually brew beer at home.
"Working with beer and beer-making ingredients has been a lot trickier than I originally thought. But that's the whole reason for doing it… to experiment and have some fun," says Devlin. "It's nice to find reasons to be open-minded because you find yourself going down different paths creatively."
The Beer inCider festival runs 20-21 September at Albion Park Harness Racing Club, Amy St, Albion, Qld; the Beerkary Bakery stall opens at 11am on Sunday, 21 September.