Beer and cider go down well with fine food
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 email@example.com or call 021 437 9029.
COMBOS: Craft beer and cider tastings are paired with canapés at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa.