Alpha Pale Ale and Lord Howe Island kingfish

Being an island 600kms off Port Macquarie, Lord Howe can be a fisherman’s paradise. All the restaurants, the bowling club and the golf club advertise regular fish fry ups and the fish that is generally fried up is kingfish. Our first feed on Lord Howe was the most magnificent grilled kingfish seasoned lightly with lemon pepper.

Unfortunately, the week we were there fishing was pretty hard work because of the wind and there weren’t many journeys taken. Even when you did get out, there was fairly strong competition for your bait – or your catch – from Galapagos whaler sharks. The boat in the background of the second photo belongs to our intrepid guide up Mount Gower – Jack Shick. Despite motoring around for 6 hours and covering over 50 miles, Jack only caught fish for about 45 minutes – but in that 45 minutes he caught 50 kilos of Kingfish. I was at the wharf when he arrived, but unfortunately the fish had already been claimed by two of the resort restaurants on the island.

Fishless, I went home to enjoy a beer that I’d been waiting to try all week. Despite being owned by the Fosters Group and moving from its spiritual home in WA, Matilda Bay is still producing really good beers. Illiards goes on and on about Fat Yak (quite rightly), and Alpha Pale Ale could be regarded as Fat Yak’s tougher big brother. Both are made in the style of a North American Pale Ale – which is sort of a misnomer because as you can see from the photo – it is quite a copper colour. The “Pale” in the name refers to the use of pale malts that are used in the brewing. There also tends to be plenty of hop action in a pale ale, and Alpha Pale Ale has, in my opinion, more hoppiness than Fat Yak. It is a really enjoyable beer and on worth checking out.