I had a great time at the Beer Asylum last night, first ever beer and food pairing I’ve done and certainly not the last.
First things first, what makes a beer vegan? Well obviously it means there are no animal products in the beer. Most beers use isinglass finings (dried swim bladders of fish) to help settle any floating yeast in the beer, which makes it clear. Most of the Weird Beard beers are vegan, except for a couple which have lactose or honey in so they’re vegetarian rather than vegan.
Onto the show…Natasha from Weird Beard did an excellent job taking us through all of the beers on offer, and gave us a bit of back story too. She’s a vegan and her enthusiasm for the event, both the beer and the food, came over really well. She also provided some excellent vegan brownies to finish with.
The chef for the evening (who’s name has completely slipped my mind, sorry!) prepared some really good vegan food, which all matched the beers nicely. Made a bit of a school boy error and forgot to take any photos of the food, useless I know.
Here’s the full order of service. As you can see there’s a nice variety of beers; 2 lagers and 3 ales, no 2 the same style.
All of these dishes were big on flavour, so the beers had their work cut out.
The khalle chhole saag had quite a kick (luckily there was minty yogurt available!), but the strength and citrus of the 5 O’Clock Shadow really added to the food…or maybe the other way around.
The chilli was quite spicy, the smokyness of the beer really worked well here and also the beer has an Umami taste which made the chilli even better.
The tofu satay was creamy and peanutty, the crisp and bitter beer cut through this nicely to balance it out.
Finally the chocolate brownies were also liberally covered nuts, the caramel and nuttiness of the beer worked well and complimented them.
Overall a fantastic set of pairings, the highlight of which I think was the Smoke with the chilli. I’ll definitely be pairing smoked beers with chilli and similar dished in the future, I’m sure BBQ would also work very well too.
All of these beers are great, but the highlights for me were definitely the 5 O’Clock Shadow (beautiful caramel, fruit & citrus) , Smoke (just slight frazzles, surprisingly great!) and Master of Nuggets (1st time out of the brewery, just bloody brilliant, Christmas pudding basically). Mariana Trench is a classic that I could drink all day, and Faithless Spreadsheet Ninja was a lovely lager with a lot going on and I would definitely have it again…I just prefer ale.
Here’s the full order of service again…this time with notes (and stains).
Due to the brilliance of all of the beers I picked up one of each, and a growler of the Master of Nuggets (no bottles available yet). That’s the weekend sorted then.
Reviews of each beer to follow on when I haven’t been eating super flavourful food at the same time!