Hop-love. Small-batch. Mastery of micro-brew. Hold onto your steins everyone, it’s BC Craft Beer Month!
I celebrated last night at The Pumphouse Pub with Chris, Jillian, and Stephen – three of my most beer-devoted friends.
The pub is a huge supporter of craft beer, stock an amazing selection, and host popular Long Table dinners throughout the year. We bought tickets ($50) to a dinner in honour of craft beer makers, which they organized in collaboration with Beer Thirst. There were a number of master brewers in attendance, such as Jack Bensley from Russell Brewery, who spoke about their work and the craft beer scene in BC.
Each of the beer makers’ signature brews were paired with tasting courses created by the Pumphouse’s head chef, Daniela Iaci. We drank brews from Odin Brewing, Driftwood Brewery, Russell Brewing, Ian Heathcock (Elysian Brewing Collaboration), Howe Sound Brewing, and Fuggles & Warlock CraftWorks Collaboration.
A solid two-thirds of the pub was filled with Long Table diners, and the crowd was a fun one. As the evening went on the noise level went up, and the quality of my pictures went down. Whoops. Sometimes that’s the job, y’know.
Here’s what we ate and drank!
First course: Camembert wrapped in filo pastry with a bacon and raisin relish. TASTY.
Paired with: Odin Thor’s Oakquinox. It was dark, fruity, uncarbonated, and incredible with the cheese. Probably the best pairing of the night.
Second course: Thai Shrimp wontons. They were actually really lovely; the shrimp inside wasn’t overcooked as usually happens with a dish like this, and the little salad below was full of cilantro. Beloved cilantro.
Paired with: Driftwood Saison, which was apparently made with a ton of black peppercorn, and had some banana on the nose. I liked it.
Third course: Spicy Moroccan Cous-Cous salad. It was totally unremarkable, but that’s ok, because….
….the beer pairing – Elysian Derby Girl IPA – was the best IPA I’ve ever had. Its passionfruit aroma was so incredible, I spent a solid minute just smelling it before I even took a sip. It was brewed by the gentleman on the right, Ian Heathcock, who’s only been brewing for 4 years! Unreal.
Fourth course: Porchetta sandwich, which was better in taste than appearance. The meat was tender, and the crackly meat skin was the crackliest of the crackliest! If you’ve never tried porchetta before, you should.
Paired with: Russell Hop Therapy Double IPA. Good! But I was still kind of giddy over the Elysian Derby Girl.
Fifth course: Pumpkin ravioli with a brown butter and toasted walnut sauce, and pumpkin mousse. The pumpkin mousse was gorgeous, but the raviolis themselves were not. Too dense. I wish I could have just had a plate full of mousse!
Paired with: Howe Sound Pumpkin Stout Cask. This had a warm spiciness at the beginning, but then fell flat – just dropped off completely. Too bad.
Sixth course: White chocolate strawberry custard tart. It wasn’t too sweet or too big, and was actually a really nice way to end the evening. I’m not sure I could taste much white chocolate in the custard.
Paired with: Fuggles and Warlock Last Strawberry Wit. Fuggles and Warlock (nicknames, of course) are two local guys who brew a mean strawberry beer! It wasn’t sweet (thank heavens) and had a fresh, berry aroma. I also got a taste of their Dark Cow, a Chocolate Milk Porter made in collaboration with – guess who – La Chocolaterie! My beer and chocolate worlds have collided with one delicious thud.
I had a fantastic time last night, and could write forever about the amazing things these brewmasters create. A huge thank you to The Pumphouse for an incredible, collaborative evening, and if you can, try out one of their Long Table dinners. They’re conviviality at its best; food, friends, new friends, and beer.
So much beer. I’m going to go lie down now.