Brewer’s Plate 2013

So, sorry for the delay, but last week was actually pretty crazy.  Lots of evenings out, and sleepy mornings.  At any rate, last Wednesday was Brewer’s Plate, one of my favourite beer events of the year (as noted in my “Why The Brewer’s Plate Matters” post).  This year, it was held in the CBC’s Barbara Frum Atrium, which was an interesting location.  For one, (if you haven’t been in), it is open to the top of the building, which gave it a huge open airy feeling.  One of the major differences (and possibly a detraction, depending on your point of view) was that the tables were set up in aisles, a bit like a trade-show.  Last year’s event at Roy Thompson Hall was a little serpentine as it hugged the curve of the round music venue.  The year before at Wychwood Barns was one long aisle, with lots of mingling in the middle.  At first, I was a little put off by this year’s format, but within an hour I seemed to have lost any animosity, though that could just have easily been because of the excellent food and drink on offer. 

Speaking of which, let’s just get right to it: I made some notes, but as usual, became overcome by the pairings on offer, and basically forgot too, after the first two.  I also neglected to take photos, expect one of me and Glenn Gould’s statue after the event.  But I remember having an ice-cream dish that was made with Amsterdam’s KLB Raspberry Wheat in it’s lovely sour cherry sauce over beautifully made ice cream.  There might have been a tuille or biscuit involved.  As an ice-cream maker myself, the balance and richness of the ice-cream and sauce was just delectable.  Paired with it, the KLB Raspberry Wheat actually got over-shadowed, but the food offering was just beautiful.  While I’m not a lover of meat, Lora Kirk’s (of Ruby Watch Co.) pairing with The Granite’s Keefe’s Irish Stout was probably one of the biggest crowd-pleaser.  It was a stout-braised pork belly, with some type of slaw and a deep-fried soft boiled egg (might have been in tempura batter, if I recall).  The fatty and rich pork belly picked up the smoke and roast from the stout, and was joined by the velvety creamy egg yolk that ran all over everything when you broke it open.  The stout added a layer of malty sweetness and smoke with just a touch of herbal bitterness, which helped cut some of the weight of the dish.  Brooke Kavanagh from La Palette was up to his usual tricks, though what took me by the biggest surprise at his table, was the ultra-old-fashioned ginger ale, made with a wild bacteria culture that was bright and spicy with ginger and tart and dry and a little bit funky.  There was an interesting cheddar/maple syrup treat from Ninutik Maple Syrup, that many people listed as their top-pick.  I know I had it, but don’t have any particular memories of it.  I am pretty sure I was drinking Sawdust City Red Rocket Stout, which has coffee and cayenne pepper, so perhaps I was giving it an unfair shake.  The stout did pair wonderfully with some of Chocosol’s chili chocolate, though, which I shamelessly indulged in, over and over.  Though my shamelessness approached a dateless cheerleader on prom night, when I discovered my pairing of the night: Chocosol drinking chocolate (xocolatl), mixed with House Ales Breakfast Stout (or porter? I forget).  Oh my golly.  It was cold and bitter and refreshing and sweet and smokey and just amazing.  I think I probably drank at least two litres of it.  If it was the only thing I had the whole night, I would have left with a full belly and huge grin.

I haven’t heard any reports about funds-raised, but given the crowd, and the excitement around the silent auction table, I have no doubt Not Far From The Tree will come out for the better.  And so, as I noted in my last post, a great organization got an excellent fund-raising boost, heaps of people who might not have otherwise tried beer and food pairings got to sample from some of the best in the province, and everybody (that I saw) left a bit happier and a lot fuller than they came in.

Cheers to Brewer’s Plate, and congratulations! Another event awesome-well-done.

Me and Glenn.  No filter, I'm just basking in his glow.

Me and Glenn. No filter; I’m just basking in his glow.

The stout added a layer of malty sweetness and smoke with just a touch of herbal bitterness, which helped cut some of the weight of the dish.

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