I was luckily chosen to take part in this month’s Foodbuzz 24 event. A beer pairing meal was on my agenda. It’s been a few years since I did my first one so I researched around a bit to gather ideas. I kept things simple and rounded up a few of my beer loving friends and presented a six-course beer pairing menu.
St. Bernardus Wit
The meal commenced with bite-sized gougeres which had just a breezy hint of cumin. Before being baked off the pate choux mounds were topped with a shaving of parmigiano reggiano. They exited the oven perfectly puffed and were expedited to the hungry diners. St. Bernardus Wit paired nicely with the gougeres with the echoing spice flavors and the nuttiness of the cheese complementing the wheatiness of the beer.
Malpeque Oysters, Meyer Lemon Mignonette
Next came refreshing course of raw oysters. I served them with a mignonette, a classic condiment for raw oysters, but with a twist using meyer lemon juice and a touch of Champagne vinegar. As I was doing research for this dinner I found out that Irish stouts and oysters are a classic pairing. “Oysters have had a long association with stout. When stouts were emerging in the eighteenth century, oysters were a commonplace food often served in pubs and taverns.” [Wikipedia].
I was very intrigued indeed. I tried the pairing out at a Japanese restaurant – oyster shooters with ponzu and a Japanese stout (the name of the brewery escapes me) to the delight of my taste buds. The pairing was surprisingly harmonius, even more so than the common Champagne or sparkling wine pairing. The briny refreshing oysters and the nutty light stout really complemented each other. To get the best of both worlds though I paired my oysters with black velvet, a beer and sparkling wine cocktail. I poured Guiness halfway into a glass and then topped it off with Zonin prosecco.
Gueuze Steamed Mussels, Saffron, Fried Potato
Cantillon Classic Gueuze
I absolutely love gueuze, a lambic blend, with all its dry, sour and yeasty characteristics. I steamed mussels with Cantillon Gueuze and added a twist with saffron creating another layer of flavor and the vibrant hue. Crispy fried purple potatoes joined the steamed mussels and the broth. We drank the rest of the gueuze with the mussels trying to slurp up every last drop of the delicious broth.
Smoky Mac N Cheese, Bacon
Stone Smoked Porter
Next came the smoky mac n cheese made with smoked Holland cheese, gruyere and bacon. The mac came out great even with my average track record with this iconic American dish. It was just subtly smoky from the cheese which added just a hint of distinct savoriness that makes one’s mouth water. I paired the creamy mac with the roasty, balanced Stone Brewery Smoked Porter. It was not overpoweringly smokey which was perfect for the mac n cheese.
Homemade Garlic-Herb Sausage, Polenta
I made a garlic-herb sausage using the basic pork sausage recipe from Charcuterie cookbook. It was served very simply over creamy polenta and paired with Westmalle Dubbel. Sausages being hearty I wanted to serve a bigger beer with them. At a 7% ABV it was going to stand up nicely to the sausages. I had made a mustard relish to serve over the sausage and I completely forgot it in the fridge. There were no complaints from the diners though since the sausage itself was so juicy and flavorful. They didn’t know they were missing out. Phew.
Apple Crostada, Imperial Stout Ice Cream
Oskar Blues Ten Fidy Imperial Stout
I even made dessert. Yes, very surprising. I found out that apples pies and stouts are also a good pairing. But I was very excited to make the beer part of the dessert, an imperial stout ice cream. There are recipes for stout ice cream floating around but I wanted to up the game with an imperial stout. I used Ten Fidy which stands at a whoppin 10% ABV. This ice cream was straight up delicious. It was roasty with coffee and chocolate notes. It paired so well with the apple crostada, another surprising result.
The dinner was a hit and much fun was had among us beer drinkers. As always good food and good company makes a great night.