On Tuesday night I hosted a seven course beer and food matching degustation at the Fork & Brewer. This sold out event, called Fork Meets Brewer, was part of the hugely popular Wellington on a Plate culinary festival. For each course, Chef Anton Legg explained how he made the dish while I talked about the beer and why we selected it as a match.
I’d like to share the mouth watering menu.
Course One: Salmon marinated with Pale Ale vinegar and salsa creosa matched with Emerson’s Pilsner (a fruity New World pilsner). The vinegar was made on the premises by the Chef from beer collected at the bar which would otherwise have been wasted. It freshened up the dish and cut the richness of the salmon.
Course Two: Duck Ham with crab apple glaze, Asian slaw, crispy wonton skins and BBQ sauce matched with Tuatara Ardennes (a strong Belgian Golden Ale-style drop). This combination was a hit with beer writer Stephen Beaumont during his recent visit. The beer cuts the duck ham while bringing out the sweetness of the Asian style BBQ sauce.
Course Three: Creole Corn Chowder with smoked eel matched Yeastie Boys Pot Kettle Black (a hoppy American style Porter). This was one of my favourite matches with the sweetness of the corn, the Creole spice and smokiness of the eel each working with different elements of the beer.
Course Four: Haggis stuffed Chicken Wings matched with ParrotDog BitterBitch IPA (an assertive hoppy IPA). Haggis stuffed chicken wings were a concept Chef and I came up with while talking how the Chinese used stuffed chicken wings. There was haggis left over from Burns night and he made me a personal batch. It was a pleasure to share these spicy, savoury treats with the public for the first time, especially matched with my number one beer of 2011.
Course Five: Free Range Pork Tortellini with beer cheese sauce matched with Yeastie Boys Hud-a-Wa (a 6.8% strong amber ale). The beer stood up to the spiciness of the succulent pork and its fruity note was a lovely counterpoint. The beer cheese sauce was just great.
Course Six: Blue Cheese with Spent Grain Crackers, quince and ginger paste, shaved dark chocolate matched with Tuatara Porter (a silky English style Porter). People needed to no encouragement to try the porter with combinations of cheese, ginger and chocolate, enjoying the contrast with the cheese and the compliment with the chocolate. The crackers were made with spent grain from the brewing process at Tuatara Brewery.
Chef then bought out a special treat which pretty much stole the show. He shared some of his very rare Barmite – a black savoury spread made from brewing yeast which is similar to marmite and vegemite. He has been working on this for a while and it was a huge hit.
Course Seven: Chocolate Beer Cake with stout marshmallow and cream matched with Kereru Moonless Stout (a hand produced English style stout). This dish used beer as an ingredient in two separate components. The subtle chocolate notes of the stout really lifted the dish.
The degustation appeared to be a huge success. It was great to be able to highlight the twin concepts of beer and food matching, and using beer and brewing by-products as ingredients to a fantastic crowd, many of whom didn’t usually drink a lot of beer.