Thursday, 29 September 2011

Beer & Food Matching at the Butcher & Grill

The Butcher & Grill beer dinner last night was everything we love about these events - fantastic cooking, well-paired beers and an enthusiastic, appreciative group of people to enjoy it all. It's always a joy to introduce people to new beers, or styles of beer they might not otherwise drink.

We began the night in our favourite way, with a glass of Black Velvet on arrival, made with our new Imperial Stout.

The first course was my favourite of the evening - a Venison Scotch Egg with a bramble jelly and land cress. The breadcrumb coating of the scotch egg included some crystal malt to give a delicious sweet crunch. We paired the scotch egg with 2 different beers - Exhibition (probably the favourite), the berry fruit flavours from the rich, dark, old English ale worked perfectly as a compliment to the rich venison. We also paired our new Raspberry Stout, the raspberry aspect to the beer working almost like a chutney to the scotch egg.

The main course was Lamb shoulder slow roasted with sea vegetables, hay and hops inside a salt crust. The lamb was delicious and melted in the mouth. We paired Southville Hop with it (mostly because we wanted this group of BBF virgins to try it!), the beer acted as a palate refresher, and cut through the fattiness of the lamb, although the flavours weren't poerfect together.

Lincolnshire Poacher cheese with a Milk Stout fruit cake followed. It was a little bit of guess work to try to match to this dish - to the cheese or the fruit cake? I went with No.7, I thought the toffee malt sweetness might work with the fruit cake and the hop bitterness pairing with the cheese - I was wrong, the fruit cake over-powered the beer. The cheese and the beer worked very well together though, but the fruit cake needed a stronger flavoured beer to cope with it's sweetness. Matching the intensity of food and drink is vital when picking pairings to work together.

The final course was a divine chocolate truffle made with Imperial Stout and coated in cobnuts. We tried both the Milk Stout & Imperial Stout with it, the Imperial winning the day with the stronger alcohol and bigger flavour matching the intense rich truffle better than the milder Milk Stout.

It was a fantastic evening, we had a great time with the guys from The Butcher & Grill, its definitely worth a visit if you haven't been, the food is gorgeous.

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