Beer + food pairing #5

Life doesn’t need to be complicated. Neither does pairing beer + food. Sometimes, you’re thirsty and you want to reach for something in the fridge. That’s why I always keep these on hand. Pickles and pale ale!

#5 Panhead Quickchange XPA + Bread and butter pickles

I first came across this recipe when I grew too many cucumbers one Summer, and I have since fallen in love with making all sorts of preserves and pickles. This recipe can be made a day in advance and eaten pretty much immediately. If you’re a fan of a whiskey pickleback, the juice is excellent too.

Due to their strong flavour, I have chosen a lighter style of beer to match with these pickles. Panhead’s Xtra Pale Ale is delicate and fragrant, with notes of guava and lychee, faint pine oils, and a very light malt base. The floral, citrus fruit and biscuity aromas match well with the bread and butter, cleansing the tartness of the pickles. On a hot day, this is heaven!


  • 1.5kg telegraph cucumbers
  • 450g onions
  • 2 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 litre cider vinegar
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp white mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp whole peppercorns
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 3 bay leaves
  • at least 1 bottle of Panhead XPA
  • freshly baked bread and butter to serve


  1. Slice the cucumbers into 2mm slices. Peel and halve the onions, slice thinly. Layer the vegetables in a colander, sprinkling them with the salt as you go. Then cover with a wet cloth and stand for 3 hours or overnight. Drain, rinse well under cold water, and drain again.
  2. Wash your pickling jars (you will need 2x one litre jars, which you should find easily at any supermarket) in hot water, rinse them and put them in the oven at 120C for 30 mins to drain and dry.
  3. Put the remaining ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring.
  4. Add the drained vegetables and return the mixture to boiling point, stirring, then turn off the heat immediately.
  5. Take the jars straight from the oven, ladle the vegetables into the jars then cover with the pickle juice, including spices. Discard any remaining liquid, or save it for your whiskey chasers.
  6. Seal the jars and leave until cooled before storing in a cool, dark place. Makes about 6 cups/1.5 litres.

This method is adapted from a recipe book called “Ladies, a Plate: Jams and Preserves” by Alexa Johnston which I highly recommend. I have enjoyed every recipe I have tried so far.


Beer + food pairing #5

Why I don’t drink Tui

No, its not cos it’s a shit beer. There is nothing shameful about cracking open one of your go-to industrial brewsies at the end of a day of hard yakka. I stand by your right to drink what you like.

It’s not even because its a draught lager that calls itself an East India pale ale. Meh.

It’s cos something about Tui’s brewery adverts (the ones with the “gorgeous” women) had bothered me immensely. Yeah, they were using boobs to sell their beer but so were all the other beer brands. Then it dawned on me: their ads showed women making beer, but the women in their ads don’t drink beer. How can someone in a beer ad not drink beer?

I stand corrected. The “gorgeous” women in their ads don’t drink beer. I did find some advertising images of women drinking beer on their website, but these women were “one of the boys” types. Their gumboots were black, not covered in bows and kitty cats. The culture I am critiquing here is the glorification of the unattainable girl – you know the one. She’s an archetype of male desire and she’s putting us back 50 years into reverse from Beer Utopia.

In Beer Utopia, there are no fake bitches. Everybody is there because they share a passion for beer, not because they’re getting paid for promo work. We all drink from the same rainbow fountain of IPA and equal pay, it doesn’t matter if you have nice tits.

I know, the adverts were meant to be tongue-in-cheek. But they followed such a painfully obvious trope. Do they really think their audience is that dull and…. desperate?

I refuse to support a brand that blatantly excludes me from its target market, and widens the gap between male and female drinking culture. If you’re keen to join me in a mass revolt, flooding their marketing team with a plethora of images of real women drinking beer and flipping the bird, I’m down with that. We can even find a beer to drink that is actually brewed by a lady.

But if you want to keep trucking on with Tui, you can. Yeah right.

“The last time I drank Tui”, circa 2003.
Why I don’t drink Tui