Beer-Off: And the Judges are…

At long last, the date for the Great Two Houses Beer-off has been set and you won’t need to wait long as we’re cracking those babies this weekend! But before I introduce our judging panel, we’ve got a couple of sneaky snippets of our label designs to show you…

Label Design: Lex's "Dickson IPA" and Pip's "This House Brews  - Australian Pale Ale"
Label Design: Lex’s “Dickson IPA” and Pip’s “This House Brews – Australian Pale Ale”

The Judges

Our selection criteria for eligible Beer-Off judges was pretty tough going and we weren’t sure we’d find anyone to fit the bill. So we’ve pulled in some favours from a few mates that came pretty close.

Judges must have the ability to:
a) appreciate beer
b) tell one beer from the other
c) be happy to drink our (possibly terrible) beer
d) keep a straight face when lying to us about how wonderful our beer is

Sandy Ross | Hop Importation and Sales

Sandy Ross and family
Sandy and family

Sandy’s darling wife known to us as Pinky Jane sent us this information for Sandy’s bio.

“Sandy quoting this. I’m typing.

Sandy Ross
Nearly 20 years experience in beer industry with 10 years as managing director of Hopco.
Plus nearly 30 Years experience in drinking beer.
Hopco has been selling hops to the craft beer industry since it began.
Sandy is a member of the international brewing and  distilling organisation and does a lot of international and interstate travel every year to source the best products for Australia’s best breweries.

He also has a gorgeous wife…. I wrote that bit 🙂 ”

Apart from being an awesome Dad to his two sons, this pretty much sums Sandy up and why we’ve asked him to be one of our judges. And it really is rather sweet so I’m leaving it as Pinky sent it to us.

Laura Harper | Program Officer

Laura and family
Laura and family

Looking forward to tasting the ladies debut attempt at mastering the secret man art of home brewing!
Laura Harper Facebook

We won’t reveal how many years of drinking this sassy Taswegian Judge has had, but let’s just say Laura’s sampled enough beer to be for us to deem her worthy of being on our judging panel. Laura’s background in the Arts also makes her essential to making sure I get some marks on my marketing to make up for where my beer is lacking other areas. Like taste. I’m not admitting this to Lex this though. Laura lives on the side of the mountain with her partner John and their kids, including the boy with the cheekiest smile in town. No seriously, it is.

Nick Glaetzer | Winemaker


“…first corrupted his hands with wine as a toddler…” Nick Glaetzer GDFW

Ok so its not beer, but with his family’s heritage in the winemaking industry and own lustrous career, Nick’s been around booze long enough to be up for a position as Judge. Nick and his wife Sally moved from South Australia to Hobart in 2005 and since then, Nick has drawn on his experience from Australia and overseas to go on and establish his own award-winning wine label Glaetzer-Dixon Family Winemakers. Naturally we think its pretty good, as does the serious wine-drinking world hence the AWARD-WINNING bit. Nick’s also a bit of a design buff and has designed his own labels and website, and is currently developing an iconic Hobart building into a new home for his family of four – complete with on site winery and cellar door. Not bad Nick, not bad.


Think before you pink

Bubby, Little G and I were off getting an ice-cream after a morning’s play in the local park. Little G who was experienced in ice-cream selection quickly chose the flavour ‘Rainbow’ for himself and then announced that Bubby, who was not yet experienced in ice-cream selection would like the ‘Pink’ one. “Because she’s a girl”, he added. Ever looking up to her older cousin Bubby quickly parroted Little G’s choice of ice-cream for her as her own and they happily devoured their treats on the bench outside until they were covered in a lovely sticky mess.

Pink (aka strawberry) ice cream is a must.
Pink (aka strawberry) ice cream is a must.

Bubby had never expressed a preference for pink before this. She was quite happy with all colours equally, however from then on, pink was the go-to choice when given one. For her birthday I asked her what kind of cake she would like. “A pink one” she replied. She then told her Papa she was to have a pink birthday party. I needn’t tell her answer to what type of present she thought she might like… That’s right, a pink one.

And a pink cake it is!
And a pink cake it is! Photo credit Kat Barrington Photography

I’ve previously written about my position on pigeon holing girls into ‘girl’ colours and have ensured a range of boy, girl and unisex toys has been at her disposal since birth.  Bubby used to love to wear anything that been part of Little G’s wardrobe despite the ‘boy’ colours, but now she is irresistibly drawn to pink and anything that resembles a tutu (but that’s another tale to tell).  I realised that even through a simple ice-cream suggestion of ‘pink’ instead of ‘strawberry’ my daughter’s belief that girls should like pink had begun. Not just that they might like it, but that it was the colour for girls.

This desire for pink did not come from either of our houses – nor had Little G’s opinion about girls wanting pink ice-cream. So where had it come from? Maybe she does really genuinely like the colour now, or is she in autopilot thinking she’s supposed to like what all the other little girls at care were wearing? Was I concerned because I wanted my girls to explore outside the box? Or did it really only irk me because this monochrome loving mama would like her daughter to have more appreciation for the rarely-pink-but-still-ever-so-stylish clothing and play-things that I’ve carefully selected for her, rather than the garish and glittery mass-produced pink plastic stuff she is drawn to?

Pink. Pink. Pink.
Pink. Pink. Pink.

But no, it’s not just me trying to be a trendy, new-age mum (at which I fail repeatedly). There is some serious campaigning going on around this topic. One such campaign Let Toys be Toys, has recognised how the gender stereotyping for girls and boys has regressed over the years. Instead of liberating our children to be who they want to be, this relatively recent marketing for toys and clothing by colour-coding them into extreme ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ colours is hindering their choices by stereotyping the available selections.

Toys and play are essential to our kids learning development. By marketing toys with gender colours it limits the appeal to not just either sex, but the many parents and relatives whom are reluctant to by buy a gendered toy for the opporsite sex. Melissa Hine, a Professor of Psychology at Cambridge University, outlines in her article ‘There’s no good reason to push pink toys on girls’, that by limiting their choices, we’re impacting the development of social, verbal, writing and spacial skills  for both girls and boys. Hine firmly agrees that “Parents are right to be worried about the obsession with pink for girls”. So the next time I have my internal struggle about which colours to buy, I’ll know its not just about my own personal taste (ha) as I reach for the trendy, unconventional option and Bubby can just thank me later.

For the record, Little G’s favourite colour is Black.

If you're going to go plastic..
If you’re going to go plastic..

More on Pink at the Two Houses…

Chicken and sweet corn soup

Last week I posted a photo of a pot of soup that I’d made for my house for lunch. It must’ve looked pretty good because a few of Lex’s workmates came up and asked her  if she’d just made it. To which she could only reply, ‘Uh no, I’m here at work – with you?’, then later told me off for not putting my name after my social media posts. It probably doesn’t help that we have identical soup pots. We also received a few requests for the soup recipe, so here you go.

I wrote on my original Instagram and Facebook post that my flatmates always used to know when I was unwell because a pot of chicken and sweet corn soup would appear on the stove, but I also used to make it when I was feeling homesick, along with plain steamed rice, fried dace and chilli infused tofu. I find my favourite comfort food is usually the simplest and easiest to make, which for me, is a comfort in itself. This soup is one from when many moons ago, Mum decided I needed a few basic meals to have under my belt. She wrote the original version in my old high school cooking book which didn’t include chicken as I was about sixteen and going through a stage where I was funny about eating it. I’m nearly 34 and still a bit funny about eating chicken, but I do prefer the recipe with it.

soup bowl

1-2 chicken thighs*
1 can creamed corn
2 cans of homemade chicken stock**
1Tbs chinese cooking wine or dry sherry
1Tbs light soy sauce
1Tbs cornflour mixed in ¼ cup of water
2 eggs lightly beaten
*or leftover shredded chicken from the homemade stock
** or substitute 2 cans of water with 1Tbs chicken stock cube

Cut the chicken thighs into strips about 4cm long, then brown them in a heavy based soup pot with a little vegetable oil and a dash of the cooking wine. Add the creamed corn, stock, rest of the cooking wine, soy sauce and bring to the boil then simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the cornflour mixture to the soup and bring to the boil, stirring constantly so the soup doesn’t lump then gently stir in the beaten eggs. Take care pouring in the eggs so you achieve thin, whispy strands of eggyness.

Mum wrote at the end of the recipe ‘add spring onion – chopped if liked’ because I didn’t like spring onion then either. But it does look pretty in a little chinese soup bowl with the bright green garnish.

The inspiring pot of soup
The inspiring pot of soup