The first act felt like a challenge to follow up, but now I think I like this menu better…. it forced me to be creative and think about the way the beers and dishes follow each other.
Watch this space guys…. hopefully next time we’ll have a proper venue and some industry support: Dreams are free (and sometimes they come true) xxx
Beer+food Tasting Party: Menu 2
On arrival: Cheeseboard with grapes and crackers
First course: Moa Southern Alps White IPA and salted toffee cashews
Brewed with Vienna and Pale Wheat malts, Moa Southern Alps is hopped and dry hopped with a blend of Nelson Sauvin and Citra hops giving a strong citrus/lemon grass aroma. Add the esters from a Belgian ale yeast and coriander for spicing and you have quite some complexity in this fusion of Belgian Wit and I.P.A. Goes lovely with salted toffee cashews.
165ml serve / 6.4% ABV
Second course: Hallertau Copper Tart with Mushroom Risotto balls and honey
Warming things up a bit, the Copper Tart is a red ale and its caramel flavours offer a nice continuity from the previous dish. Mushroom and honey are a surprisingly good partnership, and this one goes down a treat.
165ml serve / 4.2% ABV
Third course: 8 Wired Cucumber Hippy with Smashed Cucumber Salad
Yes! I converted some of you to the Cucumber Beer Cult. This beer is truly life-changing, it’s made me look at beers in a completely new way. Try it. I’m looking at cucumbers in a new way too cos if we’re gonna smash capitalism and the patriarchy and stuff we might as well start in the kitchen…. that’s where the knives are kept.
165ml serve / 4.5% ABV
Fourth course: Guinness with slow cooked lamb and polenta
It’s cold outside, it’s warm inside…. the house smells good and there’s leftovers. What more could you ask for? Oh, and I made polenta taste good.
165ml serve / 4.2% ABV
Fifth course: Epic Armageddon IPA and Creme Brulee
Yay I actually made the brulees set properly this time. I think the culinary blowtorch was key. Also I used pretty small ramekins but it packed a punch and so did the beer. Burning stuff is fun.
165ml serve / 6.66% ABV
^ 666. I love it when brewers do stuff like this. Attention to detail.
Let me interrupt your Game of Thrones life for a minute: I GoT meat and beer? No? Ok, I tried…..
This is a recipe I followed from a cookbook, but I tweaked it a bit. I added cumin, coffee and mustard because I like my lamb with warm Mediterranean spices and I found these brought out the flavours of the Guinness better too.
A super rich, decadent winter meal that deserves a good beer to wash it down. The lamb is slow-cooked in a stock with Guinness, onion and spices. I tried a couple of richer and hoppier dark beers with this dish, they worked as an aperitif but they clashed with the flavours of the dish itself. The sweet onion and bay leaf are delicate components, while the lamb is rich and strong. The right beer pairing needs to compliment but not overpower these elements, and it needs to cut through the richness of the gravy to refresh the palate. Guinness was perfect for this.
I hope you get the opportunity to try it for yourself.
2 Tbsp olive oil
2kg lamb shoulder (bone-in optional)
4 garlic cloves
2 bay leaves, plus more for garnish
1 Tbsp cumin seeds
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp hot mustard
1 Tbsp salt
cracked black pepper
60ml malt vinegar
250ml vege/chicken stock
250ml brewed coffee (e.g. plunger)
instant polenta or mashed potato to accompany
more Guinness (not optional)
You can cook this dish using a slow-cooker, a conventional oven, or even pot-roast. If you’re using the oven, pre-heat to 160C. Choose a piece of lamb that will fit the dish/method you are using, or cut it into 4 parts.
In a heavy based frying pan, heat the oil and then fry the lamb until the outside is browned.
Add the onions, halved and then chopped into wedges. Add the garlic, roughly chopped.
Once the onions have begun to cook, add the bay leaf, cumin and sugar. Gently turn the lamb and onions to cook evenly.
Add the mustard, malt vinegar, salt and pepper. At this point you may like to transfer the lamb into a roasting dish or slow cooker. Add the final ingredients: Guinness, stock and coffee.
Cook for 4-6 hours, depending on cooking method. I like to prepare the dish in advance, pre-cooking the dish in the slow-cooker on the previous night or in the morning for 2-3 hours. Then I let it cool and scrape off the excess fat, remove the bones and cook a further 2-3 hours.
Once the lamb is ready, and is nice and tender, I drain off most of the gravy through a sieve into a large measuring cup. I add a bit of boiling water to make it up to 2 cups of stock. Then I used this stock to make instant polenta on the stovetop.
For 500ml of stock, use 125g of polenta. For 350ml of stock, use 83 grams or around 3/4 of a cup. Add a third of the polenta at a time and use a wooden spoon to beat the mixture rapidly. Cook for around 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Serve the lamb and polenta immediately, garnished with a small bay leaf. Drink Guinness.
Hallertau’s #3 Red Ale is an excellent food pairing beer. It’s not aggressively hoppy but it’s robust enough and has lots of roasty, malty flavours with a bit of sweetness. It goes excellently with grilled vegetables, or a wood-fired pizza. Hallertau Brewery is in Riverhead, Northwest of Auckland and is surrounded by lifestyle properties, vineyards and a lot of bike tracks and pine forest. If you were out riding your horse for a day, this is a beer you’d definitely like to finish the day with beside the fire.
I made the addition of a honey drizzle to this recipe, and found that the flavours of honey and mushroom go really well together…. especially with beer…. and with balls. Enjoy! Beer with balls.
Hallertau #3 Copper Tart and Mushroom Risotto Balls
3 cups vege stock
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
200g Swiss brown mushrooms
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 tsp salt
ground black pepper
3/4 cup or 50g grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup plain flour
3 eggs, beaten
1 cup wholemeal breadcrumbs
oil for shallow frying
2 Tbsp honey
Bring your stock to boil in a saucepan, then keep it to the side at a low simmer.
Sautée the onion and garlic with the olive oil, then stir in the chopped mushrooms and cook 3-4 mins until softened.
Add the rice and stir another 3-4 mins until evenly coated with oil. Add about 1/3 of the stock, stir gently and gently simmer until the stock is reduced, keep adding stock until all is absorbed (15-20 mins). The mixture should be al dente and slightly drier than standard risotto.
Add the parmesan, salt and pepper. Then leave to cool for 1 hour.
In 3 separate bowls, place your flour, eggs and breadcrumbs. Heat the frying oil in a pan over a medium heat. Then take tablespoons of the risotto mix, roll it into a ball with your hands and dip it into the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumbs. Repeat the coating of egg and breadcrumbs. Then fry lightly on all sides.
Once browned, place the risotto balls on paper towels to drain. If you are not serving immediately, place them in the oven to keep warm or reheat at 150C.
When ready to serve, prepare a honey sauce with equal parts honey and water. Drizzle this over the top.
I’m a firm believer in the “Hair of the Dog” cure for a hangover. You need to replenish your body with salt, sugar, water and more beer. There’s a meme that claims the human body is 90% water, so we are basically just cucumbers with anxiety. This is untrue, the human body is around 60% water so maybe we drink beer to try to reach the higher consciousness of an anxious cucumber but we never quite get there.
I found this cucumber beer quite extraordinary the first time I tried it. I kept imagining I was having a Hendricks gin and tonic rather than beer (which is probably a good way to approach drinking sour beers if you haven’t tried them before). The Berliner Weisse is a cloudy, white, sour beer style from (you guessed it) Northern Germany. It is typically 3-4% alcohol. It was the most popular style at one point in the 19th Century Berlin, and was commonly flavoured with fruit syrups. I think this cucumber version is probably better, in fact right now I think it is the best beer in the world.
To cure your hangover, and improve your life in general, try this pairing:
#12 8 Wired Cucumber Hippy Berliner Weisse + Chinese Smashed Cucumbers
2 large cucumbers
1 tsp salt, plus more for seasoning
1 tsp sugar, plus more for seasoning
1 1/2 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp light soy sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
red chilli flakes
coriander leaves, to garnish (optional)
you’ll probably want 2 cans of this amazing beer
Wash the cucumbers and cut them in half lengthways
Place a tea towel under your chopping board, then place the cucumbers flesh side down and use a knife to gently press or smash the cucumbers to release the seeds and some juice
Cut them into rough pieces around 2cm long/wide
Place the cucumber pieces in a strainer over a large bowl. Sprinkle in some sugar and salt, then mix this through and leave them to drain. Place a saucer on top to press them down, and put them in the fridge for around 30 mins.
Mix the sugar and salt into the rice vinegar. Then add the sesame oil and soy sauce.
Take the drained cucumbers from the fridge and put them in a mixing bowl, then mix through the olive oil. Add half the garlic, half the vinegar mix, and a pinch of chilli flakes. Taste, then keep seasoning until you find a balance you like. I used the full amount of seasoning but I think it’s wise to add half at a time. You may like to add more salt. Garnish with coriander leaves.
I’m not sure if I made a healthier version of popcorn or not, but the addition of kale and seaweed ticks a couple of boxes (vote Green, I love you). I got the kale powder from the health food section of the supermarket, which I accidentally stumbled into while searching for popcorn that didn’t come in a microwave bag. I wanted to make a popcorn mix that wasn’t too heavy and could be an appetizer/light snack before a meal.
It took me a couple of fails before I nailed the perfect beer to go with this one, but as soon as I saw this little silver can with its beaming yellow beacon I knew it was the one. It would be perfect after/during a day at the beach and if you can’t get to the beach then bring the sea to your lips and your hips with this salty seaweed popcorn pairing.
2 Tbsp cooking oil
1/3 cup popping corn
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp kale powder
1 pinch cayenne pepper
2 sheets Yaki Nori (roasted seaweed)
Pop the corn as per instructions on the packet.
Mix the salt, kale powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Then cut the seaweed sheets into narrow strips and tear them into pieces. Mix the seaweed pieces into the salt mix, coating them thoroughly.
Once the popcorn is popped and cooled a little, mix through the salt and kale mix.
Pair this with Piha Salt Water Gose, although be warned you will probably want more than one can.
Whoop! So I pulled off 2 lovely afternoons filled with beer, food, good friends and conversation. All of the recipes I used can be found on my blog, I will list them below.
Now it’s back to the drawing/tasting board to plan Menu 2.
Beer+food Tasting Party: Menu 1
First course: Garage Project’s Salted White Peach Sour with a Cheeseboard
Cheese goes well with fruit, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that it goes well with a fruity beer too. The carbonation as well as its dry finish makes it a great food beer. I threw in a bit of prosciutto, dried apricots and other fruits, as well as 3 types of cheeses – parmesan, creamy blue and camembert.
330ml serve / 2.9% ABV
Second course: Panhead Xtra Pale Ale with Bread and Butter Pickles
Panhead started in Upper Hutt, launched out of the old Dunlop tyre factory; the brand has a distinct motorhead aesthetic. The pickles recipe comes from ‘Ladies, a Plate: Jams and Preserves’ so this is a collision of two worlds, re-working something a bit old-fashioned. When you try the two together – pow wow! You will want to eat this every time the sun shines.
165ml serve / 4.6% ABV
Third course: 8 Wired Saison Sauvin with Ceviche
The distinctive Nelson Sauvin hop has similar characteristics to Sauvignon Blanc, a wine that is often paired with seafood. This is the only Saison Sauvin I have come across, as one blogger says it is “a little bit special and very tasty”.
165ml serve / 7.0% ABV
Fourth course: Good George Rocket Coffee IPA and Vege Skewers with Satay Sauce
The chilli and peanut flavours really bring out the coffee notes in this beer, backed up by the caramelized notes of roasted kumara – it’s even vegan. What more could you hipsters possibly want?
165ml serve / 6.0% ABV
Fifth course: Renaissance ‘Stonecutter’ Scotch Ale with Pulled Pork, Roasted Carrots and Harissa Labneh
This is an amazing food pairing beer, 9 malts are blended together to make Stonecutter, which is why you get so many layers of complexity from it. Add the warm spicy flavours of the pork and labneh, and this is foodie heaven.
165ml serve / 7.0% ABV
Sixth Course: Funk Estate Afrodisiac Stout and Cookies
Funk Estate’s most critically acclaimed beer to date, it’s an imperial stout that contains five aphrodisiac ingredients including chocolate, figs and maca root. Paired with these easy-like-Sunday-morning walnut and dark chocolate cookies. Yum!
Tonight, due to necessity (A.K.A. my resistance to the idea of either leaving the house or making an actual meal) and also creativity (A.K.A. my resistance to tidying my room, yes the truthful words of a 30-something procrastidrinker)…. I came up with this delightful pairing.
Champagne and strawberries is a bit of a cliché, but I am not here to deliver your stock standard.
#10 BEER BREAD, STRAWBERRY JAM + GARAGE PROJECT’S CHAMPAGNE PILSNER
I have tried making beer bread before, using a standard beer, but this time I decided to splash out on some quality ingredients. I’m telling you, it’s worth it!!! The smell of this beer bread cooking was fairly saliva inducing.
Maybe this in inadvertently inspired by Garage Project’s Beervana offering of Fairy Bread to match their 5th Birthday themed beers. This is kind of the adult version. I’m hoping they would approve.
I chose a pretty fancy sounding beer (Hops on Pointe was brewed for the Royal NZ Ballet) and initially I had an idea to pair it with something equally high brow. However, when searching the shelves for an appropriate beer to make a beer bread, this one seemed to fit. German malts, Nelson Sauvin hops, and Champagne yeast. A pale gold lager with a crisp, clean palate, rich tropical fruit aromas and tight champagne bubbles.
Hops on Pointe teases the traditional boundaries between high and low culture. I imagine drinking this with good friends and the resulting scene being like something from Absolutely Fabulous.
330ml can of Hops on Pointe Champagne Pilsner
2 and 3/4 cups of self raising flour
3 tsp white sugar
2 Tbsp coconut oil (or butter)
more Hops on Pointe Champagne Pilsner
strawberry jam and coconut butter (or whipped cream) to serve
Make sure your beer is at room temperature for the beer bread, or heat it up it slightly.
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Mix the first 3 ingredients in a bowl. Lightly grease a loaf tin with some coconut oil or butter, pour the bread batter in (it will be quite a wet dough) drizzle with a little more coconut oil or butter and bake for 50 mins.
Slice and serve while warm, with either coconut butter (I’m going for some vegan and dairy free options here, don’t judge me) or cream, and strawberry jam.
Match with Champagne Pilsner, and follow with red wine or anything else you desire.