Beer and cider go down well with fine food

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

WINE and food pair­ings are some­thing with which we are all fa­mil­iar, and with the in­crease in the pop­u­lar­ity of craft beers, putting them to­gether with some­thing to eat is a fun thing to do with friends.

Yes, you prob­a­bly do it ev­ery week­end any­way; beer and braai is a way of life and from what I’ve been told – as well as per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence – beer goes with just about any­thing. It is in fact much eas­ier to match with food than wine, with all its com­pli­cated flavour pro­files.

How­ever, if you’re look­ing for an el­e­gant guided ex­pe­ri­ence, per­haps even a classy bach­e­lor party or sim­i­lar, you can pop along to the Twelve Apos­tles Ho­tel and Spa where head som­me­lier Gre­gory Mu­tambe or his col­league Richard Gosa will talk you through a se­lec­tion of four beers and a cider.

Each is paired with a rather fancy canapé, al­though we were en­cour­aged to taste across the board ac­cord­ing to pref­er­ence.

It does show beer is not a ca­sual op­tion to wine and can only go with pizza or burg­ers, but is a good ac­com­pa­ni­ment to a posh snack too.

Mu­tambe is an ex­cel­lent som­me­lier who has poured me won­der­ful wines based on very lit­tle in­for­ma­tion about what I do and don’t like, and he has ap­plied the same ex­per­tise to the beers.

He ex­plained each one, where it came from and what we might ex­pect from it in terms of colour, clar­ity and flavour, as well as the dif­fer­ent brew­ing pro­cesses which pro­duce th­ese re­sults.

It’s an in­for­mal and re­laxed hour or so and ques­tions are en­cour­aged if you are ea­ger to learn more.

The first has Bos­ton Brew­eries’ Van Hunks Pale Ale, with chicken liver pate topped with gra­nola and pick­led cran­ber­ries.

Spring­bok loin with cashew cream, braised fig and wild rice puffs is paired with CBC’s Am­ber Weiss. Then yel­lowfin tuna ce­viche with miso dress­ing, baked av­o­cado and cur­ried paw­paw is served with CBC’s Krys­tal Weiss.

A fourth savoury pair­ing is oxtail cro­quettes with smoked potato and dark chocolate with Brew­ers & Union’s un­fil­tered dark lager.

The fin­ish­ing touch is a Granny Smith ap­ple pud­ding with cin­na­mon and caramel ter­rine, caramel sauce and ap­ple gel, and it makes per­fect sense to pair it with Or­pens Cider.

It’s worth point­ing out that craft ciders are the real thing, made from ap­ples in a man­ner not dis­sim­i­lar to wine; most com­mer­cial brands which call them­selves ciders are just wa­ter full of flavourants and colourants.

The pair­ing can be booked up to 24 hours in ad­vance for groups of two on 20 guests, ei­ther in The Leop­ard Bar (for up to 10 peo­ple), or the Con­ser­va­tory (for 11-20 guests), at R175 a per­son, in­clud­ing canapés. De­pend­ing on avail­abil­ity, it can be done any time be­tween 10am and mid­night.

Ho­tel res­i­dents and din­ers at The Twelve Apos­tles’ Azure Restau­rant may also join the som­me­lier for a com­pli­men­tary craft beer tast­ing ev­ery Thurs­day be­fore din­ner, from 5.30 to 6.15pm, dur­ing which they will be in­tro­duced to a se­lec­tion of three mostly lo­cally pro­duced brews, with an ex­pla­na­tion of the dif­fer­ent styles and brew­ing meth­ods, and food pair­ing sug­ges­tions.

● To book, con­tact restau­rants@12apos­ or call 021 437 9029.

COM­BOS: Craft beer and cider tast­ings are paired with canapés at the Twelve Apos­tles Ho­tel & Spa.

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