Monday, May 14, 2012

Brooklyn Brewery Degustation Dinner

It’s the first night of Good Beer Week and already one my most highly anticipated events has rolled around. The Brooklyn Brewery Degustation Dinner.
Brooklyn is one of those breweries that just oozes cool, so having their beers matched to five courses prepared by the kitchen at Beer Deluxe is just too good to pass up. 
Just get to the beers, you say? Give me a chance, there are some other cool elements of the event. 
Making the long trip across the water was Eric Ottaway, the General Manager of the brewery to be our host for the evening. Eric introduced each course and took the time to regale us with some anecdotes and give us some insight to the genesis of some of the beers. 
Eric personalized his role as host and made it around to each table for a chat to the punters and proved himself to be a warm and genuine person to share some excellent beer and food pairings with. 
Now that I’ve mentioned the pairings, what better time to start having a look at what we were presented with. I know, slick journalism right?
Upon entry everybody was served a glass of Brooklyn Lager matched with some cajun spiced popcorn that was on the tables for everyone to share. Now, this already was a stroke of genius. I could write a whole post about this combination alone, but that would not be entertaining for anybody. 
It was a combination that would suit almost any situation. Watching a football match with a Brooklyn Lager and this cajun popcorn would be omnisensory bliss. That’s my word by the way, I’m coining it right now. 
Next up was pork belly with an apple mash with walnuts. Chosen to accompany this was the Brown Ale. In this course the beer played the support role as the big, bold flavours of the pork belly took over and made everyone in the room enjoy the moment. The sweetness of the sultanas in the apple mash made an excellent match to the Brown Ale. 
The food was expertly prepared and tasted delicious on it’s own. 
For those playing at home, I’ve just realised that “omnisensory” is already a word. How silly do I feel at the moment?
The next dish to be served was gravlax cured salmon on a shredded Thai salad matched with Brooklyn’s East India Pale Ale. This was another matching hit. The hop character of the IPA harmonised with the tang of the salad and combined for a truly tasty pairing. The salmon was cured beautifully and it rounded out a classy dish. 
Now following this was my favourite pairing of the night. Crispy lemon chicken with the Brewmasters Sorachi Ace Saison was classic flavour compliments executed professionally and I wanted to keep enjoying these all night but alas, there was more to come.
It was at this stage that the penny dropped that these pairings had been carefully considered and they were all just superbly complimentary.
After this onslaught of flavour it seemed like our tongues could use a break, and this was achieved with the serving of a Cuvee de la Crochet Rouge Rose as a palate cleanser.
Palates cleansed, the next matchings were out to please the sweet tooth in us all. A vanilla bean custard tart with candied acidulated malt. A dual pairing here, with the Monster Barleywine and the Companion Ale served with this dish. The Monster is a treat by itself, but the Companion Ale was my favourite of the two as a match to the dish (as well as a beer nerds delight. The rarity!). 

There was a second dessert offering, and I think most people were expecting it as we’d gotten to this stage of the dinner and hadn’t seen the Black Chocolate Stout yet. 
Sure enough, accommodating a dark chocolate, blue cheese mousse was the Black Chocolate Stout and the rumoured Black Ops Imperial Stout (that may or may not exist...). Both of these beers matched the chocolate mousse beautifully and it was just excellent to get to try (or not try....) the Black Ops. 
The dinner was one of the best degustations that I’ve been to in relation to the pairings. Each course was beautifully presented and more importantly really appropriately paired with the beers from Brooklyn. 
It was a thoroughly enjoyable evening and one that Beer Deluxe can be proud about holding.
A big thank you is also due to Eric Ottaway for his hosting duties, he made the night that extra bit special with his interaction with all the punters.

If this is how Good Beer Week starts, it’s going to be a wonderful seven days.

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