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.

Poutine
Poutine

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.

Scott.

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Odin Brewing Longtable dinner at The Pumphouse Pub

It’s been a while since I attended a be dinner so when Micah Noble from Kooner Hospitality Group invited me to blog about their upcoming Odin Brewing dinner at The Pumphouse in Richmond I couldn’t resist. Odin was launching their newest beer, Sigrun IPA, at this particular dinner. I vaguely remember a conversation with the owners of Odin about how they weren’t going to do an IPA, I told them that was crazy talk. I’m sure my semi drunken rebuttal had little impact on their decision to jump into the ultra competitive IPA market but I’m glad they did. More about the IPA later, let’s get to the dinner shall we?

 

Asian chopped salad paired with Odin's Freya's Gold Kolsch style ale
Asian chopped salad paired with Odin’s Freya’s Gold Kolsch style ale

Course 1 was a nice Asian inspired chopped salad with crispy won tons and a ginger sesame dressing. It was paired with Odin’s Freya’s Gold Kolsch style ale. Odin’s claim to fame is their focus on brewing beers that pair well with food and this Kolsch is a great example of that. It’s light, mild and really pairs well with just about everything.

Buttermilk fried chicken with garlic mash paired with Odin Viking Gold Extra Pale Ale
Buttermilk fried chicken with garlic mash paired with Odin Viking Gold Extra Pale Ale

Next up was a tasty buttermilk fried chicken leg on a bed of garlic mashed potatoes, comfort food 101. How can you go wrong with fried chicken and garlic mash? The breading was well seasoned, the potatoes were lump free. A very well put together southern classic. This dish was paired with Odin’s Viking Gold Extra Pale Ale, another light, clean and very versatile beer great for pairing with multiple dishes. As expected, this pairing worked quite well.

Beef and blue cheese house made pizza paired with Odin's Gift Nordic Amber Ale
Beef and blue cheese house made pizza paired with Odin’s Gift Nordic Amber Ale

Couse 3 was a rich and tasty beef and blue cheese pizza with a house made crust. Salty, tangy, meaty, awesome. This dish wasn’t a hit with everyone but I liked it a lot. It was paired with Odin’s Nordic Pale Ale (Odin’s Gift) and it was by far the best pairing of the night. Odin’s gift has a great juniper nose but is way more mellow than expected. Still, the pairing was perfect.

Coconut curry seafood baked rice paired with Odin's Sigrun IPA
Coconut curry seafood baked rice paired with Odin’s Sigrun IPA

The 4th course featured a baked coconut curry seafood rice and the afore mentioned Sigrun IPA. The rice dish was good but needed a little more seasoning (salt) and a little less time waiting to be served. The dinner had over 60 participants so it’s not surprising that  a dish or 2 might sit for a little too long. Now, the Sigrun IPA. In keeping with Odin’s other offerings this IPA isn’t the hop bomb that most IPA lovers were hoping for. it is a nice sessionable beer with a pleasant hop profile, maybe a good choice for a hot summer afternoon on a patio? The pairing could’ve used more heat (spice) in the curry.

Salted caramel banana custard tart pair with Odin's Thor's Equinox Strong Ale
Salted caramel banana custard tart pair with Odin’s Thor’s Equinox Strong Ale

The 5th and final course was a salted caramel banana custard tart. The picture isn’t a true representation of how it looked, I tried to remove the tart tin before taking the picture and sort of wrecked it…oops. Man handled looks aside this was a tasty tart, the custard was thick and creamy with nice banana chunks throughout. There was a thin layer of salted caramel at the bottom and a little whipped cream up top. It was pair with Odin’s Thor’s Equinox Strong Ale. Thor’s Equinor is an ass kicker at 9% abv but it is a nice balanced beer that pairs well with sweet food. Odin describes this beer as a “Belgian” style strong ale but there isn’t a whole lot of Belgian-y things going on in this beer, it’s more of an American strong or a thin porter.

Another solid beer dinner under my slowly tightening belt! Thanks to The Kooner Group for the invite, always a great time! Also it was nice to see the Beerthirst crew again, it’s been awhile.

Scott.

Side note… odinbrewing.wordpress.com??? Come on guys, spend the $13 and register a domain name.

Pumphouse Pub Bacon and Beer Dinner!

Another Longtable dinner at the Pumphouse Pub in Richmond has come and gone and this one was a doozy! A five course bacon themed dinner, each course paired with a beer from the Beerthirst portfolio, bacon and beer? Yes please!! This dinner had the added twist of being a fundraiser for local golf phenom Nathan Leonhardt with all proceeds going to help his dream of playing on the PGA Tour.

Course one was a bacon, caramelized onion and goat cheese quiche paired with Odin Brewing Co‘s Freya’s Gold Kolsch style ale. The Quiche had a nice flaky crust with the bacon and caramelized onion giving the filling a salty richness with a slight tang from the goat cheese, very tasty. The Kolsch pairs well with any food, which is what Odin’s main goal is when they make a beer. It’s a nice light palette cleansing beer.

Course two was fried plantains with a spicy Thai bacon salad. It was paired with the Trailhead ISA from Two Beers Brewing Co. The plantains were great and complimented the Thai salad very well. Throw a little bacon in the mix and you really can’t go wrong. The Trailhead ISA was a nice pairing for this dish. It is a very sessionable beer that doesn’t over power the delicate flavours of the plantains. another winner.

Course three was prosciutto wrapped chicken with beurre rouge sauce. It was paired with Odin Brewing Co’s Odin’s Gift Ruby Ale. The chicken was cooked perfectly, quite an accomplishment when cooking for 60-70 people. The prosciutto was a nice salty pork jacket hugging the chicken, delicious. The beurre rouge sauce was good but the dish could’ve used a bit more of it and it could’ve been a little thicker. The Odin’s gift Ruby Ale pairs well with salty meat so it was a hit with the pork snuggled chicken.

Course four was a slow braised pork shoulder with apples, onions and bacon with a few pieces of roasted potato. It was paired with Tenaya Creek Brewing Co‘s Calico Brown Ale. The pork shoulder was well cooked and very tender without being dry but it lacked seasoning. The apple and bacon were a great pair but the dish needed more of both and the potato seemed a little out of place. This dish was a few small tweaks away from being incredible. The Calico Brown Ale paired well with the pork. It’s a hoppy brown ale and I have to say that it’s one of my favourites from the Las Vegas brewery.

The fifth and final course was a warm chocolate chilli brownie with chocolate bacon ice cream. It was paired with Elysian Brewing Co’s Peste Chocolate Chilli Ale. WOW! The brownie was moist and rich and had a great chilli kick to it, incredible. The chocolate bacon ice cream was perfect to balance the heat from the chilli in the brownie. This dessert was outstanding. The Peste Chocolate Chilli Ale has mellowed some since I first tried it but this beer was meant for this dish, it was an unbelievably good pairing.

It was great chatting with Nathan about his ambitions in the professional golf world and I’m happy that Beerthirst and The Pumphouse could raise some money to help him on his quest. Nathan plays on the Canadian Tour and has had success as an amateur and attended Northwood Texas University on a golf scholarship. Few people realize how expensive it is to play professional golf so every penny counts! Good luck Nathan, we’ll be watching your career and cheering for you!

Scott.

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.

Scott.

Pumphouse Pub Longtable dinner with Anderson Valley Brewing Co.

Longtable dinners have to be my favorite thing about my partnership with Beerthirst. Multiple courses of food paired with craft beer from one of our great partners, this time it was Anderson Valley Brewing Co. from Boonville, California. This dinner was at The Pumphouse Pub in Richmond and was a 5 course affair with Anderson Valley’s owner/president Trey White in attendance all the way from Boonville.

Course 1 was deep fried oysters in a remoulade paired with Anderson Valley Boont ESB (Extra Special Bitter). The oysters were quite large and cooked very nicely, not greasy or rubbery and the remoulade was well seasoned, The ESB was a nice pairing with it’s bitterness offsetting the salt and breading of the oysters. Chef Daniela Iaci did a great job on the food and the pairings, as she always does.

Course 2 was an iceberg wedge salad with crumbled blue cheese, bacon and toasted hazelnuts. The iceberg wedge might have been a little too big given the amount of other things on the plate being a little less than needed but if you took a little of everything in a single bite it was awesome. The salad was paired with Anderson Valley Horse Tongue Wheat which was a great pairing with the blue cheese of the salad given the beers strong Brett character.

Course 3 was honey and IPA marinated salmon with spiced vegetable cous cous paired with Anderson Valley Hop Ottin’ IPA. The salmon was cooked perfectly as was the cous cous and the flavors of this dish were well balanced. The Hop Ottin’ IPA probably wouldn’t have been my first choice to pair with this dish but what do I know, it worked! The Hop Ottin’ IPA is a very well done west coast style IPA with great balance, I’m going to pick up a few of these for the beer fridge very soon.

Course 4 was spicy tangerine beef and fried rice paird with Anderson Valley Imperial IPA. Spice + IPA = happy Scott. There are 2 beer pairings that can’t miss, spicy food with IPA and sweet desserts with stout. The beef had a nice citrus kick from the tangerine and a slight heat. The Imperial IPA is also a west coast style IPA but this one is a hop monster. So good.

The fifth and final course was beignets with espresso pudding and stout syrup paired with Anderson Valley Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout. The beignets, which are deep fried dough sprinkled with confectioners sugar typical of New Orleans. were warm on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside. The pudding and stout syrup were very sweet on their own but dipping the beignets into them was great. The Oatmeal Stout was rich, chocolaty and dark, just the way I like my stouts. Unlike a lot of really great stouts this one checks in at a somewhat low 5.7abv which is good news for those who want to have more than one and carry on a normal conversation.

Check out Beerthirst.com to get in on the next longtable dinner, it’s a great time!

Scott.

The inaugural Beerthirst Tour De Richmond

The guys at Beerthirst were kind enough to invite me along as they loaded a bus full of craft beer enthusiasts and traveled around to some of Richmonds craft beer hot spots. Actually I invited myself…but they said yes so it’s pretty much the same, right? The tour made 6 stops, Fogg n’ Suds, The Kingswood Arms, Hogshack Cookhouse, Blue Canoe, O’Hares and The Pumphouse. For a full rundown of the days events check out this post at Vancouver Beer Blog, it gives a fantastic rundown of the day, blow by blow, and quite frankly my post would look almost identical if I went by the same format (nice job guys!). I’ll post some of my pics at the end of this post but what I really wanted to talk about is Beerthirst themselves.

Beerthirst is self described as an independent agent of fine crafted beer, a perfect description of what they do. They seek out great tasting beer and bring it to Canada. I can honestly say that I have yet to sample a beer that Beerthirst represents that I don’t like, seriously they have amazing taste in craft beer. They bring us beer from amazing beer producers like Elysian Brewing Company, Gordon Biersch Brewing Company, Green Flash Brewing Company and many others. Their lineup can be found all over the lower mainland in specialty beer retailers and forward thinking restaurants and pubs.

On the Tour De Richmond I got to spend some time getting to know most of the Beerthirst team and they are terrific people with a real passion for what they do. What else can you ask for in life? Check them out online and follow Beerthirst and BeerthirstTom on Twitter and make sure you sign up for their next event, it will be awesome, guaranteed.

Scott.