MOA longtable dinner at The Pumphouse with Beerthirst

New Zealand craft beer is seriously popular right now and MOA beer is riding that wave right into BC courtesy of the fine folks at Beerthirst. Beerthirst has once again teamed up with the Pumphouse Pub is sunny Richmond for a 5 course beer pairing dinner. Leo and the gang at Beerthirst were kind enough to invite me to join them.

Thai scallop ceviche
Thai scallop ceviche

Course 1 was a delightfully fresh Thai Scallop Ceviche paired with MOA’s brilliant Methode pilsner. The ceviche was crisp and flavourful with hint of heat and citrus notes that paired perfectly with the champagne yeast and Pacifica and Motueka hops in the Methode. I liked this beer so much that I just bought 3 bottles and plan on adding it to my regular rotation.

Shrimp and corn fritters
Shrimp and corn fritters

Shrimp and corn fritters paired with MOA Pale Ale became what we referred to as course number 2… Actually that’s because it was course 2, whatever. The deep fried fritters were delicious, seasoned right and had lots of shrimpy goodness. The savoury flavours paired very well with MOA’s Pale Ale and its malty back end with subtle but fragrant and delicious Cascade and Nelson Sauvin hops. New Zealand hops are incredible.


Course 3 was the one we were all waiting for because POUTINE! Hand cut fries with caramelized onions, crisp bacon and Gorgonzola creama paired with MOA St. Joseph Belgian style tripel. The poutine, although non traditional, was outstanding. The salty bacon cut through the funky but awesome Gorgonzola while the caramelized onions added a little sweetness. The MOA St. Joseph is a nice example of a classic triple with the flair that New Zealand beers are known for. The pairing was sadly not there for me but on their own the poutine and beer were great. This dish was CRYING for a hoppy pale ale and MOA’s Five Hop would’ve been just the ticket.

Wok Duck
Wok Duck

The 4th course was “Wok duck”. Crispy fried duck with a sour cherry beer demi glaze paired with MOA Noir, a dark lager. This dish was sadly way off the mark. I’m hoping I just got a bad one because these longtable dinners are usually spot on. The duck wasn’t crispy and was difficult to remove from the bone. The sour cherry beer demi glaze was quite nice, I wish there was more of it on the duck. The MOA Noir is a solid example of a dark lager with strong coffee notes and an abv that’s a very sessionable 5%.

Dark chocolate mocha cup
Dark chocolate mocha cup

The fifth and final course was everything I hoped it would be and more. Hand made dark chocolate mocha cups filled with crunchy almond cream and topped with smoked sea salt. Wow, just… Wow. Super rich, intensely sweet but cut down by the smoked salt. Creamy, crunchy, melty, dreamy. It was paired with MOA’s stellar Imperial Stout which weighs in at a hefty 10.2% abv and tips the hop scales at over 100 IBU’s. This is a MASSIVE beer. The funny thing is that, as Chris from 16th Street Liquor Store put it, this is the only dish that could cause a huge imperial stout to act as a palate cleanser, the desert was that rich. Awesome pairing, awesome beer, awesome dish. Perfect ending to the night.

Big thanks to The Kooner Hospitality Group and Beerthirst for buying me yet another dinner, you guys rock. If you haven’t been to one of these dinners I highly recommend you check one out, they’re one of the best values in town.



Sharkey’s beer dinner with Alameda Brewing

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.

Chipotle Bacon Popcorn
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!

Arugula Salad
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.

Chicken with Chorizo sauce
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.

Half lobster tail
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.

Pumpkin spice cake
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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Green Flash Brewing Co. Long Table Dinner at The Pumphouse with Beerthirst

Another Longtable dinner at The Pumphouse Pub has come and gone and with Beerthirst hosting and Green Flash Brewing Co. as the featured brewer it was one I was looking forward to. Greenflash makes amazing beer, their West Coast IPA is in my top 5 for bottled beer and is probably my number 1 draught beer. This was a 5 course affair with a unique beer pairing for each course, as is the case with every Longtable dinner.

Course 1 was Thai Green Mango Salad with cold water shrimp, shredded coconut, bean sprouts and cashews. It was paired with the Rayon Vert, a Belgian style pale ale. Very nice pairing although the Rayon Vert has a tendency to foam up in your mouth when you drink it right after eating so it was tough to fully judge the way they complimented each other. The salad was refreshing and well balanced which is how I would also describe the beer. Nice combo.

Course 2 was Coconut Curry Prawns with Jicama and Pineapple slaw paired with West Coast IPA. West Coast IPA is, as I said above, an amazing beer especially on tap and it paired very well with the curried prawns and the sweet jicama and pineapple slaw. Jicama is a strange looking root vegetable that has the taste and texture of a slightly less sweet apple so pairing it with pineapple brought out the sweetness even more. If I had blind taste tested this dish I probably would have guessed the slaw was shredded apple.

Course 3 was Spicy dry rubbed Roast Beef with Caramelized Yams. It was paired with the Le Freak Belgian IPA. The Le Freak is a very hop and Brett forward beer that is not for the craft beer newbie and this was a ballsy pairing. I found that it paired very well with the caramelized yams, slightly less so with the beef. There was something about the sweetness of the yams that made a great partner to this aggressive beer.

Course 4 was Grilled Jerk Salmon with Miso Scallops and Coconut Rice. It was paired with the Imperial IPA. This was an interesting dish, the salmon was a nice partner top the very hop forward IPA but the scallops didn’t really seem to fit with this dish. The rice was an interesting choice as well. I think it was arborio rice which is typically used for risotto but it was prepared like regular rice for this dish. I’ve never had arborio rice prepared this way and I’m not sure I would ever  use a grain with such potential in such a pedestrian way. The IPA was, as one would expect, fantastic just like everything that Green Flash does.

The 5th and final course was Chocolate Velvet Pie (aka Mouse) with a Raspberry Shortbread Crust and Grated White Chocolate. It was Paired with the Double Stout, an 8.8% abv monster that is frighteningly easy to drink. It’s so well balanced and has such amazing flavours that you don’t realize you’re getting absolutely plastered until you try and walk. The mouse was a very safe but very good pairing, stouts and chocolate are a no brainer. The raspberry crust wasn’t my cup of tea but that’s because I don’t like raspberry…weird right?

So there you have it folks, you should really come out to one of these things as they’re quite awesome and usually sell out for a reason. Beer and food pairings offer so much more variety and depth than wine could ever hope to, in my ever so humble opinion. I think a contest or something is the next logical step to get some new faces out to one of these great dinners… Now I just have to convince Norm.