Another night, another fantastic meal at an establishment that understands the importance of craft beer. Sharkey’s Bar & Grill is nestled right alongside the Fraser River in scenic Lander and easily has one of the best summertime patios in town. They recently held a craft beer dinner with the good folks at Beerthirst featuring Portland, Oregon’s own Alameda Brewing. The social longatble dinner was a five course affair from Sharkey’s talented head chef Brent Fahl, each course paired with a unique brew from Alameda.
Course number one was a first for me at a beer pairing dinner, popcorn! Not just any popcorn though, chipotle bacon popcorn! Tossed with fresh bacon bits and chipotle pepper and held together by sweet caramel. It was paired with Alameda’s Yellow Wolf IPA which is quite hoppy and everyone knows hoppy beer goes with spicy food right? Of course you did, you read this blog!
The second course was a very flavourful arugula salad with sundried tomatoes and extra aged horseradish cheddar tossed in a honey apple cider vinaigrette. It was paired with Alameda’s Oh Canada Maple Session Ale, a fantastic pairing. The sweetness from the dressing, the rich bite from the cheddar and the peppery arugula paired extremely well with the slightly sweet maple session ale.
Course number three was an oven braised boneless, skinless chicken breast served with chorizo and sweet corn sauce. It came with a side of house cut fries which had been steeped in a wheat ale. The Chicken was moist and delicious and the chorizo sauce was rich and creamy with a little sweetness from the corn, really nice. The fries were awesome, steeping them in the wheat ale gave them a slightly sweet and very enjoyable flavour. This dish was paired with Alameda’s Black Bear XX Stout, probably the only beer in their lineup that could hold it’s own against this intensely flavoured dish. I wouldn’t say the pairing was spot on but they didn’t oppose each other so it worked.
The fourth course was a baked half lobster tail drizzled with asparagus butter and served with basmati rice. The lobster was decadent and the asparagus butter was a great choice by Chef Fahl. The rice, as minor as this seems, was the most perfectly cooked basmati rice I’ve ever had which is quite a feat when you’re cooking for 45 people at once. Also I’m from Surrey so, you know, I’ve eaten A LOT of basmati rice over the years. This dish was paired with Alameda’s Barn Owl Imperial Brown Ale. This is a fantastic beer, it’s basically a traditional English brown ale but with a 7.9% alcohol kick and some very complex malt flavours. The pairing was really nice as well, the malt really balanced out the sweet and savoury elements of this dish.
The fifth and final course was a pumpkin spice cake. I don’t like pumpkin flavoured things, I’ve made this very clear over the years but I thought I’d be a big boy and at least give it a try. It was a pumpkin sponge cake layered with vanilla ice cream topped with fresh whipped cream along with warm pumpkin and sour cherry compote and some pumpkin seed brittle. I actually loved it, the spice normally associated with pumpkin was very subtle and the ice cream/whipped cream melded with the sponge cake in a cold creamy mouthful of joy. The pumpkin seed brittle was amazing too! It was paired with Alameda’s P-Town Pilsner, thankfully not a pumpkin beer! The P-town Pilsner is a good representation of a German style pilsner but it uses Noble hops (I think…) which impart an almost corn-like flavour. I’m told this is true to the style but it’s not my favourite pilsner. I am very thankful it was not a pumpkin beer though…
All this for $35.99 plus tax and tip, a ridiculous deal if you ask me. Cheers to Sharkey’s man in charge Andrea Frustaci (Dre to all the cool kids) for embracing the craft beer movement!!
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