1 February 2014 Craft Beer and Food Pairing Dinner
Saturday, 1 February 2014, marked the first Books Bites Brews-organized craft beer and food pairing dinner. It was held at The Blackboard by Chef Michel and featured two ales apiece from Craftpoint Brewing and Katipunan Craft. Seats were limited to only twenty four, out of a fear that no one would attend. Luckily, enough people did: from friends, to craft beer enthusiasts (many of whom were friends) to beer bloggers (many of whom were also friends), and even a couple of people who just saw the posts on facebook and this blog and decided to join.
We were supposed to do a taste-test and trial pairing with the chef and brewers a few days before the event, but time constraints and difficulties in setting a schedule forced us to abandon the same. Instead, we went with our guts, emboldened by a menu that, on paper at least, would match the beers based on their styles and tasting notes.
So, instead of being self-serving and lauding the featured food and craft beer pairings, this post will discuss the feedback given by the dinner guests that night.
The first course was a “Homemade Gravlax with a Lemon Sour Cream Dill Sauce served with Fresh Flat Bread” paired with Craftpoint Brewing Co.’s Summer Sessions Blonde Ale. This was the second most well-received dish of the night, averaging 4.05/5 “stars”.
The second course was “Prawn and Salmon Raviolis in a Coconut-Ginger and Lemongrass Broth w/ a Hint of Curry”, paired with Craftpoint’s Liberation Pale Ale. This was the least successful pairing of the night, rating 3.14 out of 5, although a couple of diners gave it a perfect 5 star rating. Some comments were that the curry could have been more intense and that the raviolis could have had more prawn instead of salmon.
The third course of “Black Peppercorn and Coffee Crusted U.S Tenderloin with Pan Juice Reduction and Oven Roasted Sweet Potatoes” paired with Katipunan Craft Ales’ 1 Porter Road rated 3.45 out of 5 together. The general opinion, though, was that people loved the steak (albeit for some hiccups here and there, and the fact that I told the chef to cook everything not more than medium rare, to the consternation of some), especially the serving size, and found the roasted sweet potato interesting. I was torn between switching the beer pairing of the last two courses, as I felt that either brew would go well with a steak course and a rich dessert. I stuck with my initial instinct, but my second thoughts were echoed by beer blogger and aspiring certified beer server Francis of Beerman PH.
Finally, dessert was a “Fresh Baked Grand Marnier Cheesecake with Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust and Confit Orange Zests” paired with Dear Fred, a coffee beer collaborated on by Katipunan Craft Ales and Yardstick Coffee. I was dreading this course as my “blind” dessert and beer pairings have not always been successful (fine, they were horrible). As fate would have it, this was a resounding success, and easily the most enjoyable pairing of the night with an average rating of 4.23/5. Kudos to the chef for this excellent dessert.
the boys of Katipunan Craft Ales…
Youngish beer lovers…
and, um, slightly more mature beer lovers…
and everyone else who made this event a worthwhile first time endeavor!
Other feedback worth noting:
- The price was more than reasonable at Php 1400.
- The pour sizes of 3 oz. per course left people wanting more.
- The quality of the beer and food individually was well-received (4.17 and 4.05/5, respectively)
- The serving sizes of the food received 3.86/5.
- Provide tasting notes.
- Have curated or guided pairing (what to expect, etc.).
- Lessen time in between courses (or hold short discussions and introductions during the breaks).
- Give an option for extra pours of beer.
Once again, thanks to everyone who attended, and apologies to those who were not able to get a seat. Next time, you can expect this to be bigger and better!
All photos (C) Aldous Bernardo of Craftpoint Brewing Co.