Postmark Brewing Tankfarm Series – An Excellent Dine-Out Alternative
Postmark Brewing and the Belgard Kitchen team up for a dine-out style three course meal worthy of a place on any Vancouver foodie or beer-lover’s dine-out schedule.
I’ve only been to Postmark one time prior to the Tankfarm event and that was for brunch. That was my first opportunity to experience the quality of food provided by the Belgard Kitchen, while also sampling some of the beers on offer at what was then a relatively new Postmark Brewing. As one does, I opted for a well-balanced stout to go with my breakfast hash, which I sipped as I contemplated the beautiful space, the delicious food, and beer that didn’t seem to live up to what I was expecting given the other two elements. I haven’t had a bad beer at Postmark, just to be clear. Rather it was unremarkable given the quality I was expecting through association with the other products on offer.
Hearing that the brewery hired a new brewmaster made me eager to give Postmark a second shot, and considering that I would be sampling food that was specifically prepared to pair with the beer, the Tankfarm Series seemed as good an opportunity as ever to try again.
For my second to Postmark and Belgard the teamed up to provide a brewmaster’s dinner. At this stage they are planning the Tankfarm event on an annual basis. They have deliberately stayed away from the dine-out Vancouver style, opting instead for an intimate evening alongside their Brewmaster and Chef, something that made the evening unique among the many other dine-out options available this season.
We were seated away from the bustling restaurant near the brewing tanks and presented with our first half-pint of West Coast Pale Ale, a recipe that has been slightly tweaked from the orignial brew by new Brewmaster Dominic. I had an opportunity to speak with Dominic at length about coming on board at Postmark, his past experience working at Deschutes in Portland, his love of a quality Pilsner (nurtured at Deschutes, surprisingly), and working under Gary Lohin at Central City Brewing. This could all factor into a story for another day, but suffice to say that Dominc’s expertise will not be wasted at Postmark, a brewery that he can truly adapt and make his own.
Our appetiser was brought out and described by Chef Reuben: Shishito peppers, blistered and served in a Romesco sauce with shaved Grana Padano. The subtle heat of the two spicy Shishitos in my dish added to the rich tomato sauce. Paired with the beer it was excellent. On its own the Pale Ale is a classic American Pale Ale: a good malt presence with some balanced hop aroma and bitterness. Paired with the food, the citrus notes from the hops jumped front and centre and complimented the dish exquisitely. The starter alone made me realize that this was going to be a well-put-together evening.
Our next beer was a Winter Wheat, and here Dominic was able to place his own stamp on the brewery. Everyone else is making dark ales this season as you might typically expect, many of them laden with vanilla or other spices and aromatics, so Dominic went in the opposite direction. In his Winter Wheat he used bitter orange peel to evoke a pronounced mandarin orange note in the final product with a light mouthfeel that makes it a very sessionable beer. Rueben then introduced his main: Sablefish with an Argentinian rub, served with chard and cauliflower. The fish was cooked to perfection, soft and tender with plenty of flavour. The beer provided an excellent compliment, and I noticed a distinct coriander flavour and aroma surface that was not there when I had the beer on its own.
Finally, we were served the beer I was most eager to try: the new British Mild. As some of you know, I’m an unabashed lover of English ales so I was particularly excited about this one. Dominic did not disappoint. There was loads of toffee and caramel up front with just enough bitterness on the finish to cut right through. My only complaint was that it was carbonated not served from a cask engine but that’s only me nitpicking. We were served this beauty alongside a Semifreddo with peanut brittle and a hint of peanut butter. This was a rich dessert that I couldn’t help going back to; it was decadent and oh, so tasty. The Mild helped cut through the sweetness of the dessert just enough and accentuated the toffee notes in the beer.
With the event away from the hussle of the rest of the establishment, it really felt like our own private meal with a few friends. At $50 the price is a bit more than some of the dine-out options around the city, but I’d say the personal touch that comes with the interaction with the chef and brewmaster, as well as the high quality of the food and beer, make the price well worth it. I said it to both Dominic and Reuben last night, and I say the same here: I hope that this happens again and soon. Don’t miss the Tankfarm Series when next it comes your way.