Bite and Booze by Jay D. Ducote

Monday, October 1, 2012

Recap: Post Olympics Beer Dinner at The Londoner

Tripel Karmeliet and La Trappe Quad
The Londoner, on the appropriately named Sherwood Forest Boulevard (actually, while Sherwood Forest is famous due to Robin Hood lure in England, it isn't that close to London, but still...) in Baton Rouge, recently had me over to help host a beer dinner.  We did four courses with eight beers from around the world shortly after the Summer Olympics ended in aforementioned London.  Each of the four courses were paired with two beers of similar style from different countries.  The first course featured the famous Belgian treat of mussels and frites with Belgian style ales from Belgium and the Netherlands.  The mussels had a wonderfully flavorful broth with tomatoes, basil, and bacon.  We paired them with the Tripel Karmeliet from Belgium and the La Trappe Quad, which is actually a Trappist brewery in the Netherlands.  While the Tripel and Quadrupel are technically two different styles, they still showed of what that Belgian yeast and malt profile can taste like with its signature fruitiness and balance.

Tuna Duo with White Ales
Our second course stayed in the sea but in a far different way than the mussels and frites.  Utilizing white ales from both the USA and Japan, we created two tuna dishes on one plate meant to emulate the cuisine from those counties.  The tuna tartare with cucumber was served on a crispy wonton with sesame oil and toasted sesame seeds.  The obvious Asian flare partnered with the Hitachino Nest White Ale, widely considered to be one of the best beers of its style in the country.  On the American side we plated a seared ahi tuna to go with the Clown Shoes Clementine.  Both dishes were executed very well by Chef Cole at the Londoner and the beer choices were spot on.
Lamb Chops and English Style India Pale Ales

The main course featured a delicacy in both England and New Zealand: Lamb.  The beautifully cooked medium rare lamb chops were served with a bit of mashed potatoes.  Accompanying the lamb were a couple of English style India pale ales.  Not quite the hop bomb that American IPAs are, the Tuatara from New Zealand and the Meantime from England both helped cut through the gaminess of the tender lamb.  This, hands down, ended up being my favorite course of the meal both because of the superb sear and seasoning on the lamb and the pairing with the English style IPAs.  It was like both of these beers were meant to be served with lamb... and since they come from countries with a lot of love for eating sheep, perhaps they are!

Dessert with a Russian Imperial Stout and Scottish Porter

Dinner ended with a nice pairing as well.  Norway's Nøgne Ø Imperial Stout poured dark and rich with strong booze and hints of espresso, chocolate, and dark fruit.  While not the same beer style, the Harviestoun Old Engine Oil Black Ale, technically a Porter, out of Scotland also poured incredibly dark (hence the name) with flavors of coffee and dark chocolate.  It only made sense to compliment the flavors of the beer with a chocolate dessert and the sweetness from some fruit.  The Londoner's pastry chef whipped up some stunning chocolate and raspberry tarts that were exactly what these two beers needed.  While not the same style and vastly different up close, the tart played off of flavor notes in each beer to deliver a great ending to the meal.

I enjoyed being able to help the Londoner out with some different beer and food pairings.  All of these beers came from my friend Natalie with International Wine and Spirits.  Look for them at Calandro's Supermarket or wherever fine beers are sold!  And also keep an eye out for some future beer dinners at The Londoner.  You never know who might be making an appearance!

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