BrewDog Dinner Part 2
In the next instalment of the BrewDog Dinner series, Mark Dredge from www.pencilandspoon.blogspot.com creates some great matches for 2 very challenging beers; Storm and Chaos Theory.
Storm is one of my favourite beers right now, but it's a challenging beer; it shocks, it galvanizes, it turns heads, it incites conflict and conversation, it makes you think, it creates a Storm. It's a big IPA, there's tropical fruit in there and a biscuity base but as it's aged in Islay whisky casks it has a massive smoky flavour - peaty, earthy, salty and complex. It's like nothing you've had before. I pour it at room temperature and swirl it around a big snifter (or a whisky tumbler), numbing the carbonation, which softens everything and allows you to taste the full complexity of it. This was fun to try and pair and I found some cracking matches. One thing to understand: smoke is massively overpowering but you can balance it out with sweetness and sharpness.
Firstly, sushi. Sweet fresh fish + eye-watering wasabi + sharp pickled ginger + smoky hoppy beer = a mind-blowing experience. Sushi is Japanese and the Japanese are big whisky drinkers - that gave me the idea. The underlying IPA also works with the fish and the slightly vinegared rice, with the hops easing the power of the wasabi, and the ginger - which is intended as a palate cleanser - smoothing everything out. I was shocked how well this worked but it makes sense because the combo uses all the tastes and balances them well: sweet (fish, ginger, malt), sour (ginger), bitter (hops, wasabi), salty (wood aging) and umami (soy sauce).
Next, a salad of smoked salmon (you could try peat smoked salmon), beetroot and fresh rocket with a horseradish and sour cream dressing. It's so simple but so effective. Trust me. Another cool one: it's Scottish beer and Scottish whisky so try Storm with Haggis.
How about Storm ribs? Yep, a smoky BBQ sauce. Also, serving the Storm cold with the ribs was brilliant; the spice and sweetness plus the smoke from the cooking worked so well with the beer. Cheese is pretty good too; a strong blue pairs the dusty cheese mould with the earthy beer while the long finishes of each continue to dance all the way (break dance that is - it's not a delicate duo).
Finally, and this was perhaps my favourite match of the whole thing: Storm with lemon tart (pastry or cheesecake base). Take the simple theory of balancing smoke with sweet and sharp and the answer is obvious. The IPA helps too with the hop bitterness clearing the creamy filling off the palate and the caramel malt gripping hold of the tart base. (But remember, the beer is 8% not 12%, so a delicate sweet/sharp is required here). You eat, then drink, then fear that it's all going odd until - WHAM - it just works and soars off to new heights of awesomeness! It's 1+1=3.
Chaos Theory is a tricky food beer. It's a super beer, intoxicating, but it's also unforgiving with a massive hop smack of orange, pineapple and grapefruit. It's the strength which helps this as you'll be able to have Chaos Theory with big flavours. Morrocan is good; caramel malt and sweet spice pick up each other, then the hops lift up all the spicy notes. Try it with chilli too for the same reasons - the beer is earthy, herby and peppery so the food and beer are singing the same song. Also, the richness in roast or belly pork would be cut perfectly by Chaos' bitterness, especially if served with caramelised roast vegetables. Duck and orange too. And for dessert, how about a slice of carrot cake? That's a really good match - cake matches the earthy sweetness in the malt then the marmalade-tang in the finish works with the spices and orange (especially if you make a frosting from icing sugar and orange juice). Fantastic.
Now, grab yourself a BrewDog and raid the kitchen. Go on, blow your mind.
For those of you ready to try the out, you can buy a Storm & Chaos Theory mixed case here.
This incudes 3 Storm, 3 Chaos Theory, 3 Punk a killer BrewDog glass and the recipes!