Last March 21, 2014 was a special day for me. It was the first time that I hosted a beer and food pairing dinner for a group beyond my friends and family. It was a project 2 years in the making due to the request of my former Atenean professor for his class.
Further on, why did he request a Beer and Food Pairing dinner for his class? His class is about culture and the senses. I was a former student in his class and we both thought it was a great addition to the course. After the long process of trying to make it work, it finally happened.
With the participation of Barley Gastropub and Fat Pauly’s Handcraft Ales and Lagers, the five course dinner was set for eight people.
The menu was designed by Chef Justin of Barley Gastropub with the beer selection picked by yours truly.
Let’s now move on to the actual dinner.
The first course of the night was the black beer onion rings with squid ink. The dish was prepared by mixing the black beer and the squid ink to the batter for the onion rings. As with all onion rings, it was deep fried to perfection to be paired with the Iligan Pale Ale. The onion rings had a crunchy crust with slight malty flavors from the beer with a taste of the see due to the squid ink. The sweetness added another layer of flavor which rounded out the dish. The onion rings were slightly rich in flavor thus the Iligan Pale Ale was chosen as the beer pairing.
With the malty flavors of the beer, it blended in harmony with the dish. The hops and carbonation contrasted the rich flavor of the onion rings. The first dish was a good start for the evening.
The second course for the night was the Deconstructed Ceasar’s Salad with Smoked Bangus Dressing Paried with Bagpipe Scottish Ale.
The twist of using smoked bangus instead of anchovies was a good move. The cleaner yet smokey flavor imparted by the bangus invited a different layer of flavor for the salad. It was lighter and less rich than the usual ceasar salad but nevertheless it was a nice touch. Some ceasar salads can be too heavy where each component of the salad can no longer be impart its flavor to the whole dish. With the smoked bangus, it was a great pairing with the Bagpipe Scottish ale. The slight sourness along with the dressing leaves the palate with the flavor of the dressing. The ale adds sweetness to the palate. After, the slight yet sharp bitterness of the ale rounds out the palate while cleaning it of the flavors of the dish.
The third course was a favorite of the group when it came to the pairing. The Shrimp Ceviche was served well. The shrimps were fresh and the right amount of citrus was used. To add to that, the Mango Salsa added a layer of sweetness that made the dish very satisfying. Added with the Flatbread Toast, the sweetness of the bread gave a slight sweetness to the dish. The bread also gave the dish texture which added a layer of crunch to make it so enjoyable.
The pairing with Diwata White Wheat Ale was great. The sweetness from the wheat melded well with the toast while the lime and peppercorns complemented the citrus flavors and the spicy components of the Ceviche. The group unanimously thought that this was the best pairing at that particular time of the dinner.
The fourth course was a personal favorite of mine. The Beef Tagliata was served rare. It was well cooked and the greens selected for the dish added fine layers of spice and herbal notes that were incredible. The beef had incredible flavor and just the right texture. To add to that, the Parmigiano Potato Gratin was just sheer pleasure to eat.
Because of the heavy flavor of the beef , the Iligan Intensely Hopped Pale Ale was a great choice for the dish. The sweetness and the bitterness of the beer was a whirlwind of flavors on the palate. I’m getting hungry just remembering this dish.
Last but not the least, the dessert created by the chef was the Peanut Butter S’mores Cupcake. The slightly crunchy texture of the peanuts were clashed with the soft S’more on top. The addition flavor of peanuts, marshmallows and chocolate was fun. It was paired with the Sultana Cafe Latte Stout. This stout was brewed with coffee and it the whole group loved the flavor. The beer had flavors of coffee, chocolate and toffee notes. It was a sweet tooth’s dream. My professor was so fascinated with the Sultana Cafe Latte Stout that he even got a bottle of the stout afterwards.
At the end of the dinner, the whole group was satisfied with the dinner. My professor brought up that he would like to do it again next year or even soon for the students who weren’t able to attend.
As for me, I was happy to have an intimate dinner with people who wanted to know more about beer and food. I’m looking forward to the next one.
Try to pair your sud with some grub the next time you’re out! 😀
The image for the Shrimp Ceviche and the S’mores Cupcake were from my good friend Kam del Rosario.