Never Mind The Molluscs

Never Mind The Molluscs

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Perhaps it’s commonplace in Sydney restaurants on Sunday nights. Or perhaps the young waiter was so taken aback by the fishy stench coming from our plastic bag that he’d already agreed to put it in the fridge before his mind had time to sound a warning. Either way, he dealt with our precious cargo with a minimum of fuss. That said, as soon as we gave the merest indication that we’€™d finished our meal, he’€™d retrieved it from the fridge and placed it back in our possession – and was he really hurrying us out because there were people waiting for a table?


If the young man at Spice I Am was politeness personified, one can only imagine that the cargo itself was royally peeved. Just eight hours earlier, the mussels –€“ half a dozen blue, half a dozen green-lipped – had been minding their own business at Sydney Fish Market, probably imagining a spectacular send off: en masse with friends in a garlicky pot, washed down with a crisp white perhaps, or whipped into a hot chilli treat by a restaurant such as the one they’d just visited. But no, their fate was to be quite different. Their fate was to take a journey no mussel had taken before…

Already that afternoon they’d spent time on ice in the kitchen cool room at 4 Pines, followed by a few hours chilling out in the fridge a short walk away at Murray’s At Manly. Still lying in wait was a night in a Redfern coolbox, three hours on the dawn train to Newcastle and, we hoped, a chance to unite them with some of their freshwater brethren. And only then would their journey really get underway.


At what point does a Crafty Pint-brewed Peated Imperial Seafood Stout become a bad idea?

Is it when you pluck up the courage to pitch the idea to one of Australia’s premier brewers? Is it the day spent travelling around Sydney’€™s bars and restaurants with a bag of stinking molluscs, asking staff to store it in their fridges as you go? Perhaps it’€™s when you’€™re contemplating diving into a river in the middle of winter to try and find a local breed of freshwater mussel that may or may not actually exist and, if it does, appears to be of the sort used to clean pollutants from decorative ponds rather than anything a sane human might actually like to eat? Perhaps it’s the moment you open an email from the aforementioned brewer that begins with:

“€œI turn my back for a few moments and you blokes get carried away,”€ swiftly followed by “€œMussels are an ‘interesting’ idea but may not ultimately contribute what you are after.”

Or perhaps it’€™s all of the above and the more pertinent question is far simpler: why would anyone want to brew a Peated Imperial Seafood Stout?

For that, we need to go back a few months to an invitation from the organisers of Beervana 2012 in Wellington, for which members of the media were invited to collaborate with a brewer and create a one-off beer to be judged in a ˜Media Brew€™ competition. It’€™s intended as a light-hearted competition to let the people who report on beer have a go at making one. But at The Crafty Pint, this translated into more than light-hearted competition.

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