A Touch of Quebec At The Abbey Restaurant – Beer Pairing with Unibroue
They may not be from British Columbia but it is hard to deny the impact which Quebec based Unibroue Brewery has had on beer in BC. In 1993 this iconic brewery was founded in Chambly Quebec and has been known across Canada for its Belgian style beers. Looking back only a few years to the shelves of BC liquor stores Unibroue’s corked bottles were and still are one of the most widely available craft beers in the province. This brewery came early and has made their mark on the BC landscape. Such a brewery paired with a Vancouver based restaurant looking to embrace craft beer flavour into what they are doing is something very special!
Food and Beer have been at the root of Unibroue’s product design and marketing for many years and in this frame of mind Beer Me BC paired up with Unibroue’s Sommelier en biere, Sylvain Bouchard for a beer pairing dinner at Vancouver’s The Abbey restaurant. Sylvain along with The Abbey’s culinary team prepared a five course dinner with each dish toiled over along side a Quebec brewed Unibroue Beer. Working together beer and food can rise above and become something totally unique and such a pairing dinner is where you can experience this first hand.
Upon arrival, the evening started off with a beer cocktail take on the Mimosa. Substituting the traditional champagne component for the Blonde de Chambly this bubbly concoction had the palate rolling and salivating for the meal ahead. First on the menu was an Elk Tartar paired with the Blanche de Chambly. The crisp Witbier flavour contrasted with a lightly spiced, paprika seasoned game meat.
Second in line on the menu was a Squash and Shrimp Risotto paired with the well known La Fin Du Monde (End of the World) Belgian Triple. Here the sweetness of squash and the saltiness of Prawns work together with the high 9% alcohol content in the beer to give a surprisingly mellow and soothing flavour combination.
Carnivores united around course number three with a beer braised beef dish served along side frites, otherwise known as french fries. A spiced apple sauch garnished the plate in a sweet and spiced cornucopia of flavour. Served along side this big and flavourful platter was the La Resolution, a somewhat Winter Ale-esque brew tipping the alcohol scales at 10%. The big spice flavour of nutmeg, clove, fennel and of course ginger along with a strong caramel flavour made for an eruption of flavour from both the dish and the pairing.
Prior to desert there was room for one more dish and here it was a Stilton Blue Cheers and fruit preserve served atop a ginger bisquite. Served along side the Maudite, or Beer From Hell this combination was surprising to say the least. The big body of the Maudite and sweetness of the cracker and preserve mellowed the Stilton in an extremely delicious combination. Even those who are not a fan of the moldy cheeses may be surprised with how well this combination works!
Last on the menu for this bilingual food and beer fanfare desert. A bittersweet chocolate Terrine served with dark cherries and rice crispies was plated next to a ration of Trois Pistoles. Here the sweetness of the cherries and a light bitterness from chocolate pairs with another big alcohol Belgian brew.
Through five courses of extremely well paired dishes it says wonders about the beer and the chef to see how such strong beer can be mellowed and enhanced through supporting and contrasting flavours. It is a testament to the beer and to the food but only together can they become something amazing. Sylvain Bouchard along with the amazing culinary team at The Abbey take pairing to another level. Food and Beer are designed to go together – why not do it the right way with a beer pairing dinner.