25th February – Beer and Food Matching at The Hydrant

For this event Fuller’s asked me to pick five beers (I was given free reign to get in whatever I wanted) that I thought would make for an unusual and informative night. Once these were picked I worked with Alex, the Hydrant’s Head Chef to design dishes that would work with each of the beers.

Each of the beers either complimented, contrasted or cut through the dishes.

We had 25 people come out for the night, most of whom had never considered beer and food pairing before or tried some of the more unusual styles of beer.


The Menu

First Course: Frontier Lager – Fuller Smith and Turner

Seared scallops with bacon salt, Frontier-pickled shallots, cucumber and pea shoots.


Second Course: Jaipur IPA – Thornbridge

Confit guinea fowl leg served with onion puree, stem broccoli, quinoa crumbs


Third Course: Chimay Gold – Chimay Brewery

Belgian Rarebit made with cheese from the Trappist Monks at Chimay


Fourth Course: Rauchbier Märzen – Aecht Schlenkerla

Venison loin with layered celeriac topped with wild mushrooms and pan juices


Fifth Course: Imperial Stout – Fuller Smith and Turner

Rose water syrup infused chocolate and cherry torte


NINKASI: In praise of experimentation, for it’s own sake

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Welcome to the first of my new series “In Praise Of” where I will wax lyrical about an area of beer that is niche but (I believe) essential to the dynamic and rich beer culture we enjoy today.

The Wild Beer Co are well known for innovation and excellent beers; constantly trying new things that others haven’t even considered let alone attempted. This beer is a saison (but stronger), that used New Zealand hops (not Noble Hops) then has apple juice added before being fermented with wild yeast strains (as is common in a saison). As if this wasn’t enough they then bottle-condition the beer (something I nearly always support) with a champagne yeast.

This all leads to a rich but exceptionally refreshing beer that cuts through rich food flavours like a warm knife through butter.

This isn’t a beer for everyone and it isn’t a beer for everyday but I would like everyone to raise a glass to the brewers who constantly push boundaries for no reason other than that they haven’t been pushed before. You never know what will make it’s way into mainstream beers but I’m pleased that there will be lots of tested, innovative styles to learn from.