Tag Archives: brewery

Sampling Sambrook’s & Cheese

30 Nov

Sambrook's 1
One thing I love about food is finding out what different flavour combinations people enjoy. It is for this reason that I am particularly interested in food and alcohol pairings.

Recently, the boy and I headed off south of the river to the Sambrook’s brewery to do just this – sample food and beer matches.
As background, Sambrook’s was started in 2008 by Duncan Sambrook, a former accountant for Deloitte who decided to quit the financial world. It became one of the first breweries in (fairly) central London and recently won the coveted award of World’s Best Pale Bitter for its Wandle brand at the World Beer Awards.

The night the boy and I visited was all about celebrating the win for Wandle and recognising some other great beers that took top honors in this year’s awards. It all took place in the brewery’s Boadicea Bar, a newly opened in-brewery bar where patrons can sample some of the great beers being made on the premises. To make things even more appealing, each beer was matched with a different cheese, provided by specialist cheese monger, Hamish Johnston.

Sambrook's 3And this was where things got really interesting as everyone on my table had a different viewpoint of what worked and what didn’t.

On the night, we sampled the Wandle, paired with a Gorwydd Caerphilly; a Weihenstephaner Kristall Weissbier with a Wigmore (from Ann Wigmore); a Thornbridge Raven Black IPA paired with a Stichelton from Joe Schneider; a Keersmaeker Kriek with an Ossau-Iraty; and, a Keersmaeker Gueze with a Lanark Blue from Selina and Andrew Cairns.

Each was distinctly different. I loved the Weissbier – a sparky orange, clove and nut beer – paired with the Wigmore, which was an ewe’s milk cheese that was more delicate than a goat’s cheese but with enough backbone to stand up to the beer. My other powerhouse winner of the night was the Thornbridge Raven Black IPA, which was a soothing dark beer with notes of umami, wood and wet grass. When paired with the fantastic Stichelton, a real sweetness emerged on my palate that heightened the beer even more for me.

But, the other five people at my table all had a different opinion. Some preferred the sharper, acidic-sweet note of the Kriek, and others ate up the Wandle and Caerphilly. The boy loved the Keersmaeker Gueze – a Lambic based beer with soft fleshy fruit and citrus notes – paired with the super-sharp, ammonia laden Lanark Blue. I thought the two together was really off putting (although, I liked each separately).

And so, it just goes to show – the only way to find out if you like something is to try it. So, as always, I encourage you to sit down with a group of friends, grab a few varied pints and some cheeses and see what you like. You never know what pleasures you’ll discover!

Thanks to Sambrook’s Brewery for inviting the boy and I down to try some fantastic drinks. For more information on the brewery and its beers, visit: http://www.sambrooksbrewery.co.uk

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Brilliant B.C. Beer Bottles

30 May

I have recently left my “new-found” home (ie: England) to come back to my “home” (ie: Canada, birthplace etc) for a bit of a visit. I have been in London for  nearly four years and in that time, I nearly forgot how fun the labels on artisan beers are here in B.C. The same can really be said for most of the west coast of North America (think: Portland, Seattle, Vancouver etc). What is so fantastically brilliant is the cheekiness of the artwork and downright delicious flavours that one can find hiding away in a bottle of beery goodness.

Take these three beers, for instance, which I recently grabbed off the shelf at random in the liquor store (sadly, booze isn’t available in supermarkets here! Quel shame!).

Three handcrafted beers wait to be drunk down: Brother Thelonius, Deckhand Belgian Saison, and Elysian

Now, I chose them not only for their funky designs but because of their descriptions and strength (all around 8% ABV – I like my beer strong). In England, I’d probably pick up a Belgium beer or two from Sainsbury’s, say, but they wouldn’t come with this saucy styling, such as Lighthouse’s Deckhand, whose busty babe on the front has already riled some feathers for being a wee bit to forward with her décolletage. 

Despite being chosen at random, none disappointed. The Deckhand was light, fruity and yeasty, with a very bitter aftertaste; our too-cool-for-school Brother Thelonius was flavoursome with a metallic scent, ruby colour and dark, rich taste; and, the Elysian was a bit, well, hard to pin down – mostly because I was too wobbly for words by this point, but the bottle’s cloaked sorceress certainly pleased my taste buds.

At the end of the day, what really rocks my world is the fact each of these beers are only around for a short time, a whimsical whipping up by the artisan breweries that craft them and their designs. And, because people out here support their local, small brewery, I’ve no doubt beauteous bottles and beer will continue hitting liquour store shelves. Now, if only I can convince them to export to England…

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