Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Afternoon Tea: Beer and Food session with Pure Bar & Kitchen at Birmingham Beer Bash 2015

Dee - The ‘Afternoon Tea’ beer and food pairing session was a fringe event organised by Pure Bar and Kitchen as part of the 2015 Birmingham Beer Bash.  I decided to write about it separately as it was a self-contained event.  A write up of the main event can be found here.

I’m quite fond of these food and drink pairing events, and covered a similar one focusing on sherry at the Foodies Festival back in May click here for details.

There were around ten attendees to the event, which was hosted by two of the staff from the Pure Bar and Kitchen, which is located in the centre of Birmingham. click here to visit their web site  We were offered five different beers to sample, together with suggestions as to food which could be enjoyed alongside them.  Each beer was introduced and facts and statistics displayed via Powerpoint.

By the way, I must apologise for the lack of photos to accompany this article.  We were too keen to get stuck into the food and the beer.

Beer 1:  Lawless Lager
Brewery:  Purity Brewing
Food Pairing:  Wye Forest Chorizo
Dee said:  This lager had a pronounced hoppiness to it, and much more taste than more common lagers.  A key selling point of this lager is its 40 day conditioning period, as opposed to 36 hours for the more familiar brands.  It was a good match for the chorizo, which wasn’t as spicy as the Spanish variety, though I think the lager could cope perfectly well with either.

Beer 2:  Longhorn IPA
Brewery:  Purity Brewing
Food Pairing:  Single Gloucester Cheese
Dee said:  I had tasted this beer before at the Foodies Festival linked to above, so was ready for the afternoon’s second hit of hops.  The presenters explained that this was Purity’s first beer to be canned, and used to be their most popular keg beer prior to the launch of Lawless Lager.  They also described it as less hoppy than other IPAs, though the flavour was still very much in evidence to me.  A mixture of rye and cara malts gave the beer an orange hue and slight sweetness.
The Purity web site recommends spicy foods and burgers as additional food matches for this IPA, but I was, and I think would still be, happier with the cheese board, as we enjoyed here.

Beer 3:  Rauchbier Märzen
Brewery:  Schlenkerla
Food Pairing:  Cheese
Dee said:  The German Rauchbiers, a specialty of the town of Bamberg, have something of a marmite effect in the beer world.  They are the smokiest of the smoky beers, with an additional rich, dense texture.  This one had a distinct aroma of smoked bacon, achieved by exposing the malts to smoke from burning beechwood logs.
I wasn’t able to sample it with the cheese as I’d eaten it all with the Longhorn IPA, so I had to experiment a little.  I first tried it alongside piccalilli which was a horrendous pairing, but it went rather well with dry roasted peanuts.

Beer 4:  Imperial Brown Ale
Brewery:  Nøgne ø / Nørrebro Bryghus
Food Pairing:  Chocolate Brownie
Dee said:  I’ve tried about three beers now from Nøgne ø and have enjoyed all of them.  This one was brewed in collaboration with the Danish brewery Nørrebro Bryghus.  It was a strong one, with a 7.5% strength, but was deceptively drinkable.  Based on English ales, it had a pleasantly rich and fruity taste.  Another very good drink.
We were recommended at the event to try it with the chocolate brownie, and Jay loved this pairing.  I was less keen as I felt there was too much sweetness with the two together.  On the other hand I found it to be a great match for the piccalilli, though my fellow diners disagreed with me.  The web site recommends almost any type of cheese as the ideal pairing.

Beer 5:  Marc’s Chocolate Bock
Brewery:  Maisel & Friends
Food Pairing:  Chocolate Brownie
Dee said:  Now this went perfectly with the chocolate brownie, and was probably my favourite match of the session, with the Rauchbier and roasted peanuts a close second. 
There was a rich texture and taste to this beer, which was described as a German take on an Irish stout.  Another strong beer, at 7.5%, the maltiness and coffee flavours were both there, and the fruits were much subtler than the brown ale, allowing the sweetness from the chocolate brownie to compliment, rather than clash with the taste of the beer.

In conclusion, this was an informal and fun session to attend, with everyone feeling comfortable in discussing their tasting preferences.  Pure Bar and Kitchen were good hosts, and we look forward to more visits to their bar in Birmingham

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