Tag Archives: Elysian Brewing Company

They say I’m the Great Beer Blender

Pint of Delight

 

Well no one actually says that but I thought it made for a clever post title.

During my recent visit to Seattle I stopped into the Taphouse Grill to sample from their extensive (160 tap) beer menu. While there were no standouts in my bartender selected sampler tray there was a standout in the dessert section of the menu dessert beer!

 

Taphouse Grill Menu

 

These beers were not the high ABV barley wines or hefty espresso laden stouts that spring to mind when you think of dessert beer, rather dessert beers are wondrous blends of several different beers that marry well to create an memorable end to your evening.

We tried the Pint of Delight a blend of Rogue Hazelnut Brown, Rogue Mocha Porter, Young’s Double Chocolate Stout all topped off with a Lindeman’s framboise and yes, it did taste as good as it sounds.

 

The nose was all raspberry buried in a mountain of airy mocha coloured head. When you sip you first get a burst of berry, which is thick and foamy followed by rich coffee, chocolate and nut flavours. It is kind of like a layer cake comprised of beer. The flavours are distinct but complimentary with none of the beers being so heavy that they detract from their compatriots. By the time you get to the finish you are left with the denser dark beers that leave you with a subtly bitter finish.

 

Obviously I had to recreate this at home for myself.

My version was pretty much the same minus the Rogue Mocha Porter, which I subbed for an Elysian Split Shot Stout and minus the Lindeman’s, which I subbed for Liefmans. Not entirely sure of there ratio I poured equal amounts of the dark beers and topped the glass off with the Liefmans.

In appearance my dessert beer was virtually indistinguishable from the Taphouse Grill version perhaps with a bit less head (their beers were on tap after all). Flavour wise it turns out I was pretty much bang on there as well perhaps erring a bit heavier on the dark beer side and a little less on the fruitiness.

 

I love to blend beers. Whenever I am faced with samples that I am so-so on or when a beer is too heavy or too one dimensional I mix it up to see what happens, This four beer creation has only inspired me to step up my game!

 

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The Great Pumpkin Beer Wrap-Up

Well I did it (self congratulatory pat on the back) I tried nineteen different pumpkin beers  leading up to Hallowe’en and I am happy to not have to see or drink another pumpkin beer until next year. In honour of this feat I thought I would put together a little wrap-up by ranking the pumpkin brews 1 through 19 to give my readers a better sense of my favourite and not so favourite beers.

 

 

Starting at the top of the gourd pile we have…

1. Southern Tier Pumking

2. Elysian Night Owl

3. Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

4. Parallel 49 Schadenfreude

5. Granville Island Pumpkin Ale

6. St. Ambroise Citrouille (Pumpkin)

7. Parallel 49 Lost Souls

8. Tree Jumpin Jack

9. Elysian Dark O’ the Moon

10. Elysian Hansel and Gretel

11. Steamworks Pumpkin Ale

12. Epic Brewing Imperial Pumpkin Porter

13. Fernie Pumpkin Head

14. Red Racer Pumpkin Ale

15. Howe Sound Pumpkineater

16. Two Beers Pumpkin Spice Ale

17. Pike Harlot’s Harvest

18. Lighthouse Pumpkin Ale

19. Phillips Crooked Tooth

 

Now onto the Great Christmas Beer Countdown, 55 beers in 55 days …just kidding!

 


Pumpkin Beer Eighteen, All Hail the Pum(Queen)

If Southern Tier has the self-titled King I may have found them an eligible Queen…

It’s time for the penultimate beer and (thankfully) it’s a good one, a really good one in fact, Elysian Brewing Company’s Night Owl.

 

 

Night Owl pours a copper orange colour with lots of cream coloured head. The head dissipates quickly but does not leave the glass entirely. The clarity of the beer is quite good. There is TONS of pumpkin pie spices on the nose and TONS of pumpkin pie flavour as well. Night Owl is light bodied with a relatively low ABV (5.9%) but it really packs a pumpkin punch with the beer its’ got to work with. It is very clean drinking and you get a slight nuttiness (or seediness as this beer is brewed with pumpkin seeds) on the finish. If you like your pumpkin beers on the pie end of the spectrum this is definitely the one for you.

 

Elysian’s Night Owl warrants a nine out of ten on the candy-corn-0-meter.

 

 

 

 

Trick or treating had its roots in Europe. The custom known as “souling” dates back to the 9th century. On All Soul’s Day which is November 2nd, the poor would walk through the villages and go door to door begging for food. They would be given “soul cakes” which is a type of pastry made from bread and currants. They would promise to pray for dead relatives in return for receiving the “soul cakes”.

*Thanks Yahoo for the Hallowe’en Facts


Pumpkin Beer Thirteen, This One’s Not Routine

Unlucky number thirteen is another unusual take on your everyday pumpkin ale, Elysian Brewing’s Hansel and Gretel Pumpkin Ginger Pilsner.

 

 

Hansel and Gretel pours a cloudy pale gold with lots of bright white head. This one is all about the ginger on the nose, there may be other notes in there but the ginger said they could not come out and play. Hansel and Gretel has your typical pilsner qualities but is perhaps a bit hoppier than most while retaining the ginger flavour. The mouthfeel is a bit creamier than I would have expected from a pils and I think this may be the pumpkin coming into play. The finish is quite hoppy and somewhat dry. Like some of the other more unique pumpkin beer styles I was not entirely sure I got the pumpkin element but I really like the idea of this beer.

 

As a pumpkin beer I am giving this one six candy corns out of a possible ten.

 

 

 

“The name “pumpkin” comes from the Greek word “pepon,” meaning a large melon.”


Pumpkin Beer Three, It’s Chocolaty

My third foray into pumpkin enhanced beers is Elysian Brewing Company’s Dark O’ the Moon, which is a pumpkin stout (be still my heart I am pretty excited to try this one).

 

 

Dark O’ the Moon pours a deep black brown with tons of caramel coloured head. You get pumpkin pie spices on the nose as well as chocolate, both bitter and sweet. The chocolate character continues through the flavour and the finish, in fact it almost dominates the other flavours in the beer. As this stout warms you really get a lot of cinnamon. The stout is medium bodied and it clocks in at 6.5% so it won’t end your pumpkin beer sipping evening. Like any good stout there is a touch of bitterness to the finish. Overall a really nice stout and a decent pumpkin beer.

 

I love the idea of pushing pumpkin beer into unexpected styles especially dark beers, which, for me, embody the fall and winter seasons. As I mentioned, the challenge is the stout character, which can detract a little too much from the spiciness – you kind of feel like you are going looking for the pumpkin in the beer, when the pumpkin presence should assert itself.

 

I would give this Pumpkin Stout 7 candy corns out of 10.


A Pumpkin (Beer) a Day Keeps the Doctor Away

 

Hallowe’en is one of my favourite holidays – dressing up as someone or something else, eating too much candy corn, watching cheesy horror movies and, of course, the arrival of pumpkin beers!

To honour this holiday in the best beer geek fashion I am going to do a series of blogs reviewing a different pumpkin beer everyday until Hallowe’en.

I have a pretty decent selection in the fridge but I will need some recommendations to meet my goal so feel free to add your favourites to the comments section…

 

Pumpkin Beers on Deck

Phillips Crooked Tooth Pumpkin Ale

Tree Brewing Co. Jumpin Jack Pumpkin Ale

Parallel 49 Lost Souls Chocolate Pumpkin Porter

Steamworks Pumpkin Ale

Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale

Fernie Brewing Co. Pumpkin Head Pumpkin Brown Ale

Parallel 49 Schadenfreude Pumpkin Oktoberfest

St. Ambroise The Great Pumpkin Ale

Epic Brewing Fermentation without Representation Imperial Pumpkin Porter

Two Beers Brewing Co. Pumpkin Spice Ale

Elysian Dark O’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout

Dogfish Head Punkin Ale

Pike Brewing Co. Harlot’s Harvest Pike Pumpkin Ale

Southern Tier Pumking Ale


Back on the Chain Gang

For the second time in my beer drinking career I tried my hand at the other end of the keg serving up casked ales at Central City Brewing Company’s Summer Cask Fest held on June 30th. While it may have been ‘summer’ only in the mindset of local beer enthusiasts, thirty-one cask creations ensured that no one was too sad to spend their Saturday indoors.

 

 

This time around I opted to volunteer for the morning shift so I could ensure I had the afternoon open to sample all must must-tries before they were tapped out. Beer geeks are not what you might consider morning people so once the doors opened at 11:00am we weren’t exactly swamped with thirsty customers but luckily the pace picked up quickly and some live blues music from Brandon Issak got the fest into full swing. To fill the lull times my station co-volunteer nicely offered me information on everything beer and brewing in case I was not quite up to snuff on my geek speak.

I was in charge of the Pale Ales, not the most popular station I’ll admit, but busy enough to get some socializing in and to afford me enough free time to try my hand at serving at a couple of the other stations (here I learned the hard way that not all kegs pour the same way and spilled beer is quite alarming to the masses). The brews at my station were Dead Frog’s Dry Hopped French Oaked Pale Ale, Howe Sound Green Tea Pale Ale and Lighthouse Tasman Ale. For educational purposes I had to sample all three so I could converse with token bearers. See the line-up section below for some brief tasting notes.

 

Looking back on the day as a volunteer, I enjoyed the morning shift for many reasons not the least was the fact that the majority of patrons were still lucid and the kegs were still pouring well –insert quasi-disastrous images of people ‘volunteering’ to tip near-empty kegs to drain the last drops of beer, which nicely encapsulates my experiences during the Winter Cask Festival as an afternoon drone. After my shift, my afternoon was happily spent ticking off all the beers I wanted to try and sampling from the menu. For the record I want to say that Central City treats its volunteers real nice (I even got an extra token from brew maestro Gary Lohin after my shift!) offering us five free tokens, Red Racer gear, food and an after-fest party so the remaining kegs did not go to waste! If you have never taken the time to volunteer at a craft beer event I highly recommend it.

 

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The Full Line-up

Alameda Yellow Wolf IPA

Big River Dry Hopped ESB

Cannery Oak Aged Port Porter – A nice surprise; rich and sweet but light in body.

Canoe Summer Chocolate Honey Wheat Ale – Far too light bodied with a watery chocolate flavour and honeyed finish.

Central City Brewing Citra Dry Hopped ESB – Well-balanced bitter with lots of citra hop on the nose and in the flavour. Clean drinking with a bitter finish.

Central City Brewing Hibiscus Cherry Ale – Too sweet for me but the hibiscus adds a nice tepid quality. Summery.

Coal Harbour Imperial Smoke Ale

Crannog Mead – Very mild and flat with fruit and honey notes. Seems like it could benefit from additional aging.

Dead Frog Dry Hopped French Oaked Pale Ale – Similar to the one they bottle in the 650ml, a little sweet and a bit more of a hop bite. Did not inspire much in the way of feedback (at least to the pourer).

Elysian Brewing Splitshot Coffee Milk Stout – Sold Out during the morning shift : (

Granville Island GI Bitter

Howe Sound Green Tea Pale Ale – Nice palate cleanser with that tepid green tea flavour. Mixed feedback from my customers on this one though.

Lighthouse Tasman Ale – Interesting with the citrus forward Tasman (New Zealand) hop profile. Lots of good feedback on this one.

Longwood Port Alberni’s Brewers Gold Dry Hopped IPA – A lot of citrus elements on the nose and in the flavour, almost like a touch of tang in your beer. Light bodied and very still.

Odin Brewing Thor’s Oakuinox – Sold Out during the morning shift : (

Parallel 49 Brewing Dry Hopped Ruby Tears – A flat, hoppy bitter but not one of my fest favourites.

Port Townsend IPA

R&B Smoked Hop IPA

Russell Graetzer Polish Smoked Wheat Ale

Salt Spring Brewing Dry Hopped ESB

Spinnakers Spicy Mandarin Hefeweizen – Orange notes on the nose, light bodied and typical hefe mix of citrus and spice.

Steamworks Ginger Beer – Told this one was for ginger lovers but I found it pretty mild.

Storm Raspberry ESB – Lots of raspberry flavour playing off the hoppy bitterness; so not too sweet. One of my favourites!

Storm (Daniel Knibbs) Ginger Rye Saison – A mild saison, light on the barnyard, but nice hints of ginger and spice.

Swans Dry Hopped ESB – A nicely balanced bitter with some extra hop kick from the regular 650ml.

Taylor’s Crossing Manhattan Brew – Strong candied cherry notes and heavy on the liquor taste. One of my favourites!

Tin Whistle Dry Hopped Scorpion Double IPA

Tofino Brewing Sitka Spruce Tip IPA – Resiny hop taste with a bit of sweetness. Seems to be taking a run at the Big Dog Pliny and a respectable effort. One of my favourites!

Vancouver Island Hopfenweisse

Whistler Brewhouse Oaked Amarillo Dry Hopped IPA


There is Good Beer in the Burbs

I have to admit this review is long overdue. In my never-ending quest to explore all things craft beer related I somehow forgot to go back to my roots and pay homage to the places where I cut my beer teeth (so to speak). So now I would like to give proper due to a little gem in the heart of White Rock with a fabulous patio and impressive beer menu …Uli’s Restaurant.

 

To be honest, I have a wee bit of an urban bias when it comes to craft beer. I tend to frequent places where I can spend an afternoon imbibing at different beer oases, never encumbered by the restraints of one beer line-up or one environment, free to roam (on foot of course) between brew pubs and tap rooms BUT on a warm, sunny Saturday you would be hard-pressed to find a better location to park with a beer or two than Uli’s patio.

Uli’s is probably the place that did the most to further my beer education. When I was just discovering the diversity of craft beer their beer menu seemed like a veritable buffet. Often on the recommendations of Uli’s owner and beer geek Tyson, I explored all kinds of different beer styles starting with the light and fluffy, Fruli on tap, to the dark and fishy, Upright Brewing Oyster Stout, to the wonder that is sour ale, Duchesse De Bourgogne.

 

Re-visiting the beer menu as a seasoned beer drinker the menu is still impressive if a bit pricey. There is a good bottle selection with equal representation given to the big styles –IPA’s, Lagers, Belgians, Darks and Stouts– and a list of specialty bottles for the more adventurous sort. Sadly there are only five or six beers on tap and they do not rotate quite as frequently as I might like. I would love it if Uli’s did beer flights based on a selection of rotating taps but if wishes were horses …blah, blah, blah. They have begun hosting beer pairings, which is great news for those of us who live out in the White Rock/South Surrey area.

This time out we tried the Driftwood Farmhand on tap, D’Achouffe (Hopped version) on tap, Elysian Idiot Sauvin, Kronenburg Blanc, Samuel Smith Apricot Ale, Green Flash Trippel and a half Fruli half Kronenburg creation. For me, the Elysian, the La Chouffe and the Samuel Smith were the standouts.

 

My carnivorous friends praise the locally-sourced menu items; they even boast an award winning burger in two versions no less. I am a big supporter of the locavore movement but as a veggie the food selection is a little less impressive and not very consistent. They do have a veggie burger, salads and they can veg-ify the paella but there is nothing I would go out of my way to recommend to a fellow vegan or vegetarian.

The best part about Uli’s is alas also the worst part in many respects –the patio. White Rock is a tourist town, which means while I had visions of whiling away my Saturday afternoon drinking in the sun instead I got a ‘time slot’ on the patio after which we were unceremoniously re-located indoors (we were even threatened with another re-location due to an impending birthday party). For locals in the know you really need to visit Uli’s in those ever elusive windows where we have rogue sunny days in April and October so you can kick back, enjoy the ocean view and chip away at the beer menu.

 

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Drowning in a Sea of Green in Seattle

Elysian Brewing Co. Research

 

This St. Patrick’s Day long weekend (well I took a long weekend anyway) found me sipping my way around some of Seattle’s breweries and maxing out my cross-border beer allowance. There is always a great energy in Seattle, and this trip was no exception as Pike Place Market was awash with live music, tourists and emerald clad runners looking to put back on any calories they may have burned off during the morning’s run.

 

First stop for us was The Pike Brewing Co. a veritable Seattle institution. It was beyond packed thanks in part to the fact they were serving three dollar pints of Naughty Nellie and Kilt Lifter at a cash-bar located in the brewery basement. Deciding to opt-out of the hour-long wait for an actual table we saddled up to the bar to do a little reconnaissance. After flagging down the harried barkeep we worked our way through The Pike Sampler, which proffers the standard six offerings from Pike:

Naughty Nellie is a Golden Organic Artisan Ale named for the madam at LaSalle where Pike was founded (beer and brothels together at last). A crisp, light ale with a 4.7% ABV and IBU of 24. Safe choice for the hard-drinking St. Paddy’s crowd since it was very quaffable or as Pike puts it ‘light and curvy with plenty of sex appeal’.

Pike Pale Ale an heirloom amber, 5.0% ABV and IBU 32, with that classic nutty character and reddish-brown colour. Apparently this is the first beer Pike brewed in 1989.

Pike IPA India Pale Ale for those residing is some sort of beer exile for the last two hundred years- a golden amber pour with lots of in-your-face hop character; a little bit flower and a little bit soap. An ABV of 6.3% and IBU of 62. Rumour has it this beer is one of the ‘300 Beers to Try Before You Die’. Mark it off my bucket list then.

Pike Kilt Lifter a lovely Scotch Ale that is ruby-amber and full of sweet malt elements. ABV of 6.5% and IBU of 27, Kilt Lifter is well-balanced with some bitter hops and a bit of a smoky character.

Pike XXXXX Extra Stout boasts a 7.0% ABV and IBU 65. ‘Sensuous and X rated’ this deep amber black beer has a ton of roast coffee flavour, a little bit of sweet chocolate and a nice burnt aftertaste.

Pike Monk’s Uncle is a Tripel (read Belgian) Ale with the heftiest ABV at 9.0% and IBU 34. Yeasty and sweet, whoa boy is this one sweet, brewed with organic candy sugar. A bit of fruit and a dry finish but I think the sugars ate all the yeast (and it is not even supposed to work that way).

 

Pike Thoughts: Kilt Lifter and the Pale Ale were my favourite beers, great brewpub with a great location in the market, cool beer swag and fun atmosphere – I would like to offer a shout out to the very drunk Southern gentleman drinking solo at the bar and trying to read the script on my tattoo upside down; you just can’t stage those kind of Kodak moments.

 

Next stop was Elysian Brewing Company’s brewpub in the Capitol Hill district; another great location in a trendy little region of the city boasting lots of coffee, foodie joints and general hipster-ness. We managed to work our way through two taster flights this time round and the rule is the resident beer geek does the selecting for you …fun!

From the regular line-up we tried The Immortal IPA, Mens’ Room Red, Dragonstooth Stout, Wise ESB, Avatar Jasmine IPA and Idiot Sauvin IPA. From the specialty beer line-up we sampled:

Bifrost Winter Ale a 7.6% hop-heavy beer balanced with a couple of different malts. ‘Bold, hoppy and smooth’ is the description from the brewers. For those who have not watched Thor, Bifrost is the mythical bridge connecting the mortal world to the heavens in Norse mythology.

Ryezome a 6.2% ABV beer aptly described as a ‘hoppy red rye’. Tons of bitterness tempered with that distinctive soured sweetness, which is the hallmark of rye.

Loki Lager ‘a smooth Dortmund-style lager’ with 4.8% ABV. Golden in colour with that elusive balance of malt and hop that makes a highly drinkable ball-park beer. Named for the Norse god and jester Loki.

Mongrel ‘Cascadian dark saison’ weighing in at a respectable 8.2% ABV. A little earthiness to this one, lots of malt and an extremely dry finish but somehow not quite reaching that saison benchmark.

Cocoa Mole from New Belgium Brewing Co. A 9% ABV monster chock full of chocolate and heat but surprisingly easy to drink with sweet malts and decent body to temper the chili peppers.

 

Elysian Thoughts: I really loved the beers we tried especially the Avatar and Loki BUT (notice this is a big but) the whole experience was tainted by the awful food, we left it virtually untouched but were charged nonetheless, and by the very mediocre service, I don’t think we ever saw the same server twice. I was surprised to see how much my view of the beer selection was impacted by the rest of my visit.

 

In addition to our brewery visits, we went to Full Throttle Bottles for the first time to do a little beer shopping and it was a pretty amazing little store. Situated in an up-and-coming part of Seattle this store was overflowing with ambience, wicked beer selections, and knowledgeable staff more than willing to talk shop with fellow beer geeks. I highly recommend taking the time to visit this beer shop next time you are in the Seattle area.

Some other recommendations from my beer shopping include Adam and Fred from Hair of the Dog (two separate beers) and Noble Rot from Dogfish Head. All three were outstanding beers.

 

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Pumphouse Pub & Beerthirst Long Table: A hoppingly bitter evening or Does that guy have a bucket on his head?

Last night I attended a long table dinner hosted by Beerthirst and held at the Pumphouse Pub in Richmond. It was my first time to this pub, which is housed in an old fire hall and located right near the busy heart of Richmond. The Pumphouse Pub has a really nice ambience; stone fireplace, lots of wood, old fire hall photos and paraphernalia, large bar and even space for live music. There was a great turnout of beer geeks for the long table dinner, and the evening got underway a fashionable hour late – coincidentally this gave us just enough time to peruse the pub’s extensive beer list and have a pint before the night got underway. I have to say I was really impressed with the pub’s beer selection; not a lot of rare beers but a solid line-up of fantastic go-to favourites all reasonably priced and poured generously. But I digress, back to the event at hand. I went into this long table with no beforehand knowledge of the night’s line-up and as such no expectations of what would be paired. What follows is the breakdown course by course (I am including the veggie options that the chef so kindly prepared for my partner and I):

Course 1 – Big Al Brougham Bitter (ABV 5.5%, IBU 25, Seattle WA) paired with shrimp and corn fritters with Moroccan lemon aioli. Veg option was a greek style salad of baby romaine, tomatoes, red peppers, cukes and a balsamic reduction.

Course 2 – Big Al Fresh Hopped Harvest Ale (ABV 5.4%, IBU 59, Seattle WA) paired with Asian red rice and grapefruit salad.

Intervallo – Big Al Big Hoppa India Pale Ale (ABV 7.1%, IBU 75, Seattle WA); no food pairing.

Course 3 – Russell Blood Alley Bitter (ABV 5.5%, IBU 50, Surrey BC) paired with Lamb tagine, cous-cous. Veg option was the tagine loaded with veggies and served with cous-cous.

Course 4 – Green Flash Imperial India Pale Ale (ABV 9.4%, IBU 101, San Diego CA) paired with a chicken green thai curry. Veg option was the same curry dish served with eggplant.

Course 5 – Elysian Night Owl Pumpkin Ale (ABV 5.9% , IBU 18, Seattle WA) paired with roasted pumpkin bread pudding with a caramel beer glaze.

How it all came together: The servers began bringing us our pours and one of the guys from Beerthirst would come around to the table and give us the low down on the beer, brewer and if you were very lucky regale you with a story of some beer fuelled adventure or a slightly inappropriate Surrey joke. Each table also had a cheat sheet describing the beer style and stats – we were encouraged to study this literature for the end-of-the-night beer quiz.

First beer was great, really great; amber ale with nice lacing and not much on the nose, tepid mouthfeel that made it quite smooth, and just a little bitterness that lingered at the finish. With the veg option this was a tough pair since the balsamic reduction was so flavourful but I was told the fritters paired quite well, the deep fried batter complementing the hop in the beer. Second beer was a good fruity IPA; amber colour with minimal head; pungent grapefruit/citrus nose; hint of maltiness cuts into the hop bite; a wet-hopped beer. With the food pairing I found the grapefruit came almost too far to the front of the palate, the heavy cilantro in the salad was not my favourite but you know you either love it or hate it. This beer was not high in the IBU’s but the salad really seemed to ramp it up. Third beer was the Intervallo (no food pairing) and it seemed to arrive in my tasting glass unannounced so I was unsure when I stopped drinking a re-fill of the Harvest Ale and started drinking the Big Hoppa IPA. Nonetheless, this beer was more of a golden-amber; subtle lacing; more balanced with the higher ABV stepping up to the assertive citrus; lingering bitter finish. Fourth beer was definitely a bitter; golden amber again; very clear; bitter right at the first sip and lingering to the finish. The bitter went quite well with the tagine since the dish is so earthy and heavy. Fifth beer was an old friend; golden and clear; light, crisp body; hefty hops but easy to drink with no unpleasant finish; intensely aromatic. This was the all-star knock-out food pairing for me …why haven’t I always been sipping Green Flash with my curry? This beer loved the hot/sweet thai flavours and the curry loved it right back. Finally we capped our night with a sixth beer an obvious October choice; deep amber/orange with cream coloured head; subtle spice on the nose (nutmeg); very smooth. The beer paired really well with the sweet warm bread pudding; caramel complementing the pumpkin pie spices in the beer.

Overall thoughts on the night: I have found IPA’s to be challenging to pair with food, when they don’t work it can ruin your palate for both the beer and the food, so I was pleasantly surprised to see the hop at the forefront of the night. The drink portions were generous, almost too generous at points (if this is not too sacrilegious) because I found it increasingly difficult to keep the tastes distinct and discrete. Same with the food portions; I was so stuffed by the time the dessert course arrived that most of the bread pudding is in my fridge. Looking back I might have liked to mix it up a bit more style wise since I found many of the IPA’s to be heavy in the citrus element but none veering into the more floral or pine flavours.  The choices for the final course seemed a bit out of place with the rest of the menu; I would have liked to an Asian inspired dessert and a wild card beer choice. I love to discover a new brewer so that samples from Big Al’s were my favourite beers of the evening. The beer quiz was a fun way to cap the evening with everyone shouting out answers to win the much coveted buckets of beer. Overall though I think the dinner was an amazing success, everyone seemed to have a great time, the guys from Beerthirst were a lot of fun, and the staff at the Pumphouse were most accommodating and friendly.

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*Special thanks to Camilla from the Pumphouse Pub


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