What’s the hardest part of a beer dinner? Deciphering your notes in the morning says Ed+bK bar reporter Alexander Stone.
My friends have been telling me for what seems like ages about the great wine dinners at Cabiria Luncheonette & Oyster Bar.
It just so happened that I had a free Wednesday night and a beer dinner, which is much more up my alley, was on instead so off I went, scrounging for a ticket at the last minute. After many phone calls and almost giving up at one point, I had a ticket and off I headed for five course dinner matched with eight different excellent beers.
I'm going to say this right now, the hardest part of the event was trying to decipher my notes as, at some point in the night, probably around beer five or six, drunk me started adding drawings to help sober me in the morning.
Our first beers, the Hitachino red rice ale and the Les Trois Mousquetaires Kellerbier pilsner, were both a mouthful just to say before you even tasted them. At seven per cent alcohol, you could pick up straight away that the Hitachino was sake-infused but none of the beer snobs at the table picked up the strawberry notes, so we shyly moved on to the second glass. As I sipped it and thought that French beer was rather nice, I was told it’s actually Canadian and more of a traditional German beer. Oh well! This was all paired with some very fresh and tantalising tiger prawns and my new favourite, lime and harissa hollandaise.
Beers three and four were the Blue Star wheat beer and the St Amboise apricot wheat beer. A sip of the St Amboise was like the first bite of a ripe apricot, sweet and bursting with flavour. I'd never really thought of food being used in the brewing process, although I have enjoyed Earl Grey-based beer before. Both beers, while not my favourite style, went amazingly with the pork belly and crackling. The pork was cooked to perfection with pomegranate seeds throughout the sauce perfectly offsetting the rich pork belly flavour. If you are ever cooking pork and trying to pair it with a beer, wheat beer is the only way to go.
New York Sirloin with baby beetroot, roasted garlic and juniper next was pared with a Brooklyn Black chocolate stout and the Dieu du Ciel Route Des Epices. The Stout was straight away my pick of the night with its creamy, black peppery flavours. This excellent drop is made seasonally, meaning it’s only available for a short time period, so snap it up if you see it at a bottle shop. The stout is based on a USA pre-prohibition recipe and is one of only four beers that have survived from this time period in their original form. If you want to sample it, it might be available at the bar on draft soon.
The Route Des Epices had me falling into the trap of thinking I'd was trying French brewing again but, alas, I had another tasty Canadian beverage. Once again, the pepper flavours went well with the sirloin and left a lovely spice on the tongue.
So this is the bit I promised about my notes getting a bit fuzzy. Next came tiramisu that was served with an interesting Russian Imperial Stout, The Old Rasputin. I wrote down here - “I love stout. Yum, yum, yum.” I do remember really enjoying this one as my glass was quickly emptied. After that was a Cabots American Cheddar with another beer out of Japan, Umeshu Kiuchu, that had been distilled down into a cheeky dessert wine (maybe dessert beer?). It tasted good.
It was a great night and at only $90, it was a bargain. I must admit that I indulged in one of my favourite cocktails at the end of the night made by Cabria’s awesome bartenders and discovered my new favourite rum, Ron Zacapa, goes very well in an old fashioned.
You’ll find Cabiria at The Barracks, Petrie Terrace, Brisbane.
Disclaimer: Ed+bK’s reporter paid for his own ticket.