Great food meets great beer at the first #BrewsWePlate event.

Posted: March 25, 2014 in Food, Irish Craft Beer
Tags: , , ,

Eric Heilig- Photo shamelessly nicked off of Twitter

The 23rd of March was the date for the inaugural #BrewsWePlate event. This turned out to be a food/beer pairing event by which all other food/beer pairing events should be judged.

The evening started well, downstairs in Cassidy’s 27. A lot of familiar faces. The obvious topic of discussion was what did everyone think the food was going to be; the poor barman was even interrogated for clues. We knew the brewery was going to be White Gypsy, so we are already talking about a brewery with pedigree and talent. So, would the food be up to scratch?

Soon we were ascending the stairs to a little room above the pub. There was around 30 of us lucky sods who had managed to bag seats. We were given an aperitif (gin and tonic!) and a big bucket of some fantastic breads. My table loved the treacle and porter brown bread but my favourite was the flatbread (rye?). With a choice of tomato or wild garlic butter too.

First up was an amuse-bouche of shredded pork in a wild garlic aoili. The wild garlic was so pungent and delivered a massive punch to the taste buds. Then came our first real matching; scallops with roasted banana, coriander, lime and dried goji berries. This was served with White Gypsy’s Blond, which is a wheat beer bringing the esters and phenols expected with the style.

It should have been obvious but it was not until the next dish of hen’s egg, leek, Jerusalem artichoke, pear, brioche and chicken heart, that I understood what was going on with the pairing. The food was selected to recreate the flavours in the beer (for this course it was a Belgium Brown with it’s fantastic whiff of the barnyard in the aroma). This was extremely exciting and ramped up my expectations even higher.

And expectations were met. The main course was the absolute pinnacle. Pork, cooked to perfection, served with small squares of crisp crackling, celeriac , pink grapefruit, almonds and grapes, which I found out later had been macerated with cardoman (drove me mad trying to work that one out at the table). Again the flavours on the plate where inspired by the beer, on this course it was the American Pale Ale with it’s citrus led Pacific hops.

Dessert was an indulgent chocolate ganache with a duck yolk ice-cream with a sweet potato cream, rye and sea salt which went perfectly with malty dopplebock.

All this was the brainchild of chef Eric Heilig and Floriane Loup. While Eric was cooking up a storm in the kitchen, Floriane and her team played an absolute blinder at front-of-house. Floriane also got the honours of announcing each course but she had to share shouting duties with Declan Nixon, White Gypsy’s newest hire, who did a great job of describing each beer, its style and history. Passion in the kitchen meets passion in the brewery.

I have been to many food/beer pairings and while I’ve always enjoyed them, I never really gave a thought to where the next level might lead. I think I’ve seen it now; it’s food and beer as an intrinsic experience; it’s exciting and it is where I would love a lot of restaurants to be in terms of their attitude towards their own food and beer lists. When it’s done to the level delivered tonight, it is truly mindblowing.

  1. It’s a pity it didn’t happen when I was living in Dublin. Cassidys Bar is a great place. Love that. Cheers from Brazil.

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