I'm jinxed! Shortly after I wrote about my first Valentine's Day with the boyfriend and how crazy my work schedule used to be I received word that I was being taken off my cushy day shift. For the next few weeks I was going to be working a strange combination of days, weekday nights and even a few 12-hour weekend nights. What did I do to deserve this?
The past few weeks have been pretty awful; lack of sleep combined with missing out on beer-filled events has made me extra grumpy. One event I refused to pass up on was the Beau's Beer Brunch hosted at Vert Fourchette, I just had one problem - brunch was served at 11:00am in Vankleek Hill and my shift ended at 11:00am ..in Ottawa. How is that going to work?
Through an elaborate scheme of favours and promises of baked goods I managed to be relieved from my shift two hours early - just enough time to shower, caffeinate and speed down the 417-East. I was really testing the limits of human caffeine consumption and how long I could stay awake, but once the beer was poured and plates started arriving I quickly forgot I was tired.
Chef Mario Lascelles prepared five courses of brunch favourites with a slight beer twist - Doc's Feet Dubbel infused cassoulet, sausages marinated in Bog Father and waffles made with Lug Tread batter. The food was really impressive, my favourite course was the egg benedict - I have a soft spot for runny yolks and hollandaise. The only negative was that the deep fried beer waffle was over cooked, but it was still yummy even though it was impenetrable to cutlery.
Beau's Brewmaster Matthew O'Hara was on hand to introduce the beer pairing and explain why a particular beer was chosen for a dish. At my table we sampled each beer first before enjoying it with the food and found that in most cases the food brought out complimentary flavours in the beer that made it even more enjoyable. For the cheese plate we were encouraged to experiment and discuss which cheeses were the best and worst pairing (Bellavitona Espresso Crusted Aged Cheddar was the best for me, Stevenson Stilton worst).
Beer and food dinners (or brunches) are a great way to learn more about how beer interacts and changes with food. You're encouraged to experiment, try different food components or combinations to see which works best and it can be fun to see how your palate differs from others. Ottawa has been host to a few different beer dinners these past months but most of them have sold out, keep an eye on the Ottawa Beer Event listings for the next one.