Led by JP Fournier, Turtle Island Brewing Company is one of the newer breweries to hit the Ottawa-area. They don't have a physical brewery as of yet (they're working on it!), but they contract brew out of Broadhead Brewing Company. What does that mean? Well, JP and company use Broadhead's brewing equipment in the off times to brew and keg their beer. Sadly, that doesn't mean you can go to Broadhead and get a growler of Dark Honey Brown, but you might see them mashing in, kegging or perfecting a recipe when you're on your next growler run.
This past Saturday Turtle Island held a beer paired dinner at Temple's Sugar Camp in Lanark (about an hour outside of Ottawa). The theme was 'winter warmer' and featured Turtle Island's current line up and some special treats including a sneak preview of their Imperial Maple Stout made with Temple's own maple syrup!
Anyway, enough rambling.. here's what was on tap/menu:
- 1588 Tudor Buttered Beer (made with a Dark Honey Brown base).
- Dark Honey Brown paired with marinated sirloin steak, Argentinian Chimichuri sauce on a charcoal grilled eggplant medallion and roasted red pepper.
- Squashed Pumpkin Porter paired with ratatouille tower, butternut squash puree, trio of bacon wrapped dates and olive oil crostini.
- Wild Harvst ESB paired with twice baked potato with chives, cheddar and cranberry onion marmalade.
- Imperial Maple Stout paired with Indian spiced lamb koftas, pistachios and fresh mint.
- Dark Honey Brown Beer Liqueur paired with maple taffy on snow.
The pairings were hit and miss for me - the beer was great and the food was good, but together they didn't exactly work. With Temple's maple syrup incorporated in a few of the Turtle Island brews I'm a bit surprised they didn't go with a sugar shack menu, to me these beers were screaming to be paired with french pea soup, creton, baked beans, tourtière, sugar pie ..I could go on, but I'm getting hungry.
There are three beers (well one beer and two beer inspired beverages) you do need to put on your to drink list:
- 1588 Buttered Beer, a decadent blend of beer (in this case Dark Honey Brown), butter, spices and eggs that tastes a little like a spiked double double - unfortunately only available at the Turtle Island pairing dinners, but it may make an appearance at this year's WinterBrewed.
- Wild Harvest ESB, a collaboration with Broadhead Brewing Company using wild hops. This brew has a nice bitterness and a lovely smoke flavour from the hops (not the malt!). This one should be appearing at your local craft beer bar shortly and I suggest you at least get one pint.
- Beer Liqueur, a 25% ABV 'beer' that JP should bottle, sell and make a fortune with. Again, made with a Dark Honey Brown base, this had lovely sweet honey and citrus flavours that went down smooth and warm. Another item only available at Turtle Island pairing dinners, but should be in the LCBO.
Turtle Island Brewing Company has another beer paired dinner planned with Indulge Kitchen at the end of the month, a tap takeover planned at the Rochester Pub & Eatery and the Imperial Maple Stout will make its rounds shortly - it's a busy beer filled November!
Oh and that big 11% ABV Imperial Maple Stout? It'll be available for a limited time in cask versions and maybe some one of taps, but look forward to a special aged bottle in the near future.