Venturing south of Vancouver into the City of Richmond you will find a pub that opened in 1979 with the idea of serving real food and quality craft beer. The Pumphouse Pub has a selection of craft beer beyond anyone else in the area and a staff that love both food and craft beer equally. Most importantly though the Pumphouse pub knows how to do craft beer and food together!
BC Craft Beer Month is a great opportunity for Vancouverites to reach out of their normal comfort zones and try something new. If you are aware of BC Craft Beer Month or reading an article from Beer Me BC there is a pretty good chance that you have already been enlightened by the gift of craft beer on its own but being able to properly pair food with beer is a delicate art.
On October 4th 2013 Executive Chef Daniela Laci teamed up with Driftwood, Four Winds, Arrowhead, Parallel 49 and Fuggles and Warlock Breweries to chef up a delicious 5 course dinner where each dish would be paired up with a BC craft beer to augment, enhance and heighten the overall experience to a whole new level of taste euphoria.
The evening kicked off with an arugula, radicchio & citrus salad paired with the infamous Driftwood Sartori Harvest IPA. In this dish the citrus notes of the grapefruit paired perfectly with the fresh-hop flavour of the Sartori Harvest. The addition of a creamy goat cheese also helped to manage the acidity of the salad and balance out the bitterness from both the beer’s hop content and the grapefruit. I am not sure if it was the rumoured aphrodisiac nature of Arugula or the dynamite flavour combo of Fresh Hops and a Fresh Salad but this initial course seemed to awaken the crown for the main dishes still to come.
Following the salad came a farmhouse antipasti. This chicken liver pate, manchego cheese and pickled vegetables combo gave a diverse yet balanced flavour mix that stood true beside the Four Winds Saison. The crisp, light and refreshing nature of the saison prepared the palate for a consistent and relatively neutral base to try the diverse and contrasting flavours and textures within the antipasti. A delicious and light beer along side a great starter course!
Curry and beer have always been a personal favorite so receiving the Curried Coconut Seafood Linguine along side the Arrowhead Brewing Company’s I’m So Freakin’ Hoppy IPA was almost a sure thing from the get-go. The spicy tones in this curry dish pair with the higher alcohol tones in an IPA to both mellow the spice and enhance the secondary flavours at the same time. Despite the name of this Arrowhead Brew the hops are not overpowering and the mid hop bitterness also works very well with the texture and light nature of the prawns, scallops and salmon hiding in the linguini. The Curry linguini was yet again a bullseye!
The fourth dish on the menu for this Brewmaster’s Dinner was a set of sweet and spicy Filet Mignon Tacos. This cut of beef is tender and light with nearly no connective tissue so when presented in a taco the meat can seem uniform rather than chunky the way a standard sirloin cut may seem. The perfect medium-rare finish to the beef along with the sweet and spicy sauce connected beautifully with the Parallel 49 Gypsy Tears Ruby Ale. The light sweetness of the ale and a moderate ibu helped to accentuate the flavours in the meat and sauce while remaining a delicious and enjoyable beer just the way it was originally intended.
The final course of the evening was a Cardamon and Pistachio Cake that was served with Fuggles And Warlock Craftwork’s The Last Strawberry: White Chocolate Edition. This mouthful of a title represents what was once a Witbier and has been adapted to include strawberry notes and white chocolate in a creamy and sweet package. This dessert beer pairs well with the cake but not in the usual contrasting way we pair things. The sweetness of the beer is matched by that of the cake along with the chocolate and strawberry flavours. The two are different yet the same and work together to give a flavour explosion and a serious sugar hit after an absolutely delicious meal. Despite the sweetness in both the beer and cake the two paired up were very manageable and quite delicious! Another check in the win column.
Following this fantastic dinner there were two things that were confirmed. First is the fact that you need to go experience the food and craft beer offerings of the Pumphouse Pub. Even if you are not attending a beer-paired dinner be sure to talk with your server and pair your dinner with the correct beer choice. You will be amazed how the flavours of both will be heightened to give you the best experience possible. The second confirmation from this dinner is that a Brewmaster’s Dinner is the best of craft beer and exquisite food all in one. During BC Craft Beer Month there are a number of similar events happening around Greater Vancouver so head on over to craftbeermonth.com and find an event that fits with your schedule; you will not be disappointed!