The sold-out event brought out beer lovers male and female (in fact, I noticed more men than women) to enjoy Top Chef Canada winner Chef Dale Mackay’s well-paired five course menu to marry with a range of BC’s finest craft beers.
Guests were greeted with a glass of Saltspring Island Elderflower Golden Ale. Once the evening got underway, a selection of local artisan cheese canapés made the rounds, along with a glass of Zunga Townsite Golden Blonde Ale.
Howe Sound Brewing poured a 4 Way Fruit Ale next, to marry with Chef Mackay’s Dungeness crab daikon roll, served with a flavourful mango purée that worked great with the mango, passionfruit, raspberry and pomegranate in this ale.
The crab was delicate, wrapped in the roll with a few sprouts adding more flavour.
We were next served slow baked BC halibut, with English peas, pea shoots, and fresh horseradish, alongside Big River Brewpub’s Vienna Lager. It’s a malty full-bodied beer that worked well with the light and tender fish.
A dish of braised beef shin, with smoked tomato, pomme purée and asparagus followed with Spinnakers Hoptoria. The hearty dish held up nicely to the hoppy brew that honours Victoria’s 150th birthday. The beef was so tender, the smoked tomato adding just a beautiful finish to work with both the asparagus and velvety-smooth potato purée.
To complete our pairings, Burnaby’s Urge Chocolates brought out a chocolate sampling (three of their eight chocolate sorts from the line). Crannog Ales’ Back Hand of God Stout poured alongside the plates of handmade chocolate. I noticed that when tasting the Black Pepper chocolate with the stout, the heat blended better than with the other two, 55% cocoa nibs and Fleur de Sel caramel.
Back Hand of God is rich, with a strong chocolate and coffee finish that the chocolates were happy to be served alongside such a powerhouse of flavour.
All three were delightful to end the meal and I’d be hard-pressed to pick a favourite of the bunch, as they were all impressive with their own unique characteristics. By the way, Urge will be selling their delectables at the upcoming Portobello West Market this Saturday and Sunday.
The evening was capped off with a cask sampling of R&B Brewing’s Orange ESB. Guests were welcome to take home their VCBW glasses to keep as souvenirs. This was my final Vancouver Craft Beer Week event and the most enjoyable of the three that I attended this year.
I look forward to what the 2013 edition will bring; this year’s Vancouver Craft Beer Week was already very much stepped up in both amount of events and profile from the previous year. Chris Bjerrisgaard and his team worked hard to make this a successful run and I hope that they had some time to enjoy it all!