Ever felt pressured to swish wine in a high-end, white table-clothed restaurant, but find you only want to drink beer?
Tasmanian brewers James Boag have answered your call and enlisted the help of celebrity chef Matt Moran to produce Australia's first limited-edition 'red' and 'white' beers designed for fine dining.
Just don't expect to see Moran's name on the label.
"They don't need to have my name plastered all over it," says Moran. "I'm too old for the ego these days, I just wanted to make the beer and have some fun."
The Epicureans will only be available for the next three months in select bottle shops and restaurants on the east coast, including Moran's Aria.
"Traditionally [restaurants] have been a very wine-driven space, and now people have the choice to have a white or a red beer that does match just as well as wine," says Moran.
The star chef teamed up with Boag's head innovation brewer Simon Hanley and senior sommelier Matt Dunne to craft the premium beers to be savoured (in a wine glass, thanks) over a long lunch or fancy dinner.
Two years mission
"When someone comes to you as an Aussie male and says 'Matt, would you like to make a beer?', who wouldn't do it?" says Moran when asked why he accepted the challenge.
"I was just excited to be part of a beer that was made from scratch."
More than two years in the making, the beers were crafted using carefully sourced ingredients including rare hops from around Tasmania.
"There was a lot of opinion and quite lively discussion involved!" explains Boag's brewing boffin Simon Hanley. "A lot of different dishes were presented [for us] to taste with a lot of styles of beer to match and marry the different flavours."
The result is two 'sessionable' but serious beers, starting with a honey-coloured Epicurean White based on a lager-style pilsner.
The dry brew has a clean, fruity finish which highlights the subtle 'enigma' hops and matches as well with seafood or poultry dishes as a fresh pinot gris or wooded chardonnay.
The Epicurean Red is the more complex of the pair, with a remarkable rusted bronze hue, and notes of malted barley, caramel inspired by a classic English red ale.
"The red really shocked me, how good it was," says Moran. "It's only a small batch, it's a craft beer, but I really enjoyed it and it obviously goes really well with food. Coming into winter it would go really well with some sticky ribs or a bit of smoked duck."
It's tailor-made for beer lovers to get the most out of their dining experiences. "A lot of people I know only drink beer, so they can be let down [in the fine dining space]," adds Moran. "Being able to create a beer that goes with food is really a progression."
The Epicurean range is available in six packs on MoCu.com.au for $24.50 and will be stocked in select Dan Murphy's from May 2017.