We’re used to wine pairings with dinner — but what about beer pairings?
If the international success of books such as Garrett Oliver’s The Brewmaster’s Table is anything to go by, it seems that many people appreciate beer as a drink equal to wine when it comes to complementing the food we eat. In fact, there is such a diverse range of beer styles available, with flavour notes from pine to coriander to dark fruit, that many see beer as the ideal beverage to pair with a good meal.
Beer pairing dinners organized collaboratively between local food vendors and individual breweries or craft beer organizations can be a great opportunity to expand your beer palate. It’s also a good way to support the local economy. So far this summer, we’ve seen several breweries and restaurants step up to the plate (pun intended).
On June 28, Victoria’s CAMRA chapter organized a family-style beer dinner in collaboration with the Heron Rock Bistro. A pre-dinner cocktail made with Driftwood Brewery spirits was followed by a hearty, three-course Bavarian-style meal, with each course accompanied by a choice of two beer pairings — and all choices were from BC craft breweries. According to CAMRA organizer Greg Garner, the event was a success and they’re hoping to host another one in fall or spring.
Just one month after the CAMRA event, on July 28, Camp Beer Co. in Langley partnered with Townhall to host a sold-out Brewmaster’s Dinner. Five courses were served and each was paired with a different Camp beer, ranging from their Upstream Pale Ale to their Bumbleberry Forager. While another formal dinner is not in the immediate future, Camp is planning a summer send-off event on August 29 that will include a new beer release and custom food.
Barnside Brewing in Ladner, one of BC’s farm-based breweries, has taken its first steps into food and beer pairing this summer with their “Between the Bines” outdoor dinners. Three are planned for August, and I was fortunate enough to attend the first one on August 11.
When I arrived, I was offered a choice of Barnside beers or non-alcoholic beverages (try their Roadpop Hop Water!) to enjoy while chatting on the grass alongside the hop fields. When dinner was scheduled to begin, guests were ushered to the long wooden table that had been set up between the hop bines, underneath the twinkling strands of lights criss-crossed above. It felt magical.
The menu included five courses, each of which was paired with a Barnside beer — beginning with their Peach Brandy Barrel Aged Sour and ending with their Estate Barley Wine. The pours were large enough to give you the full flavour with your food, but small enough that they didn’t fill you up. I was able to fully enjoy the range of tastes. Credit must be given to Barnside’s very attentive and informative staff, as well as Rebel Rebel Barbecue, who had been smoking meat since 3:30 that morning in preparation for the event. They even let us take home the leftovers! All the food was produced by local farms and food vendors, and of course all beer was very local — grown and brewed on site. There’s one more Between the Bines dinner to go, on Friday, August 18. Email Barnside to get your ticket: firstname.lastname@example.org!
If you’re interested in taking your palate on an adventure with a beer and food pairing, check out some of these upcoming events:
Date Night at Container Brewing
September 11, 18 or 25
Enjoy a curated beer pairing with an expertly created charcuterie board, finished off with some delicious housemade cookies!
Brewing BBQ Summer Sessions at Wildeye Brewing
August 20 & September 17
A barbecue feast featuring Chop & Chew
Summerland’s Finest: Summer’s End
August 25 at Giant’s Head Brewing
A red carpet-style event featuring a three-course meal and live music.
Sausage Party at Farm Country Brewing
An Oktoberfest Celebration featuring a German-inspired food menu, live music with The Oktoberators, limited edition branded steins, and the release of Farm Country’s award-winning Sausage Party German Festbier.
Glenrosa Farms Pizza at Mile Zero Brewing
August 21 & September 4 (from 4:30pm until the dough runs out)
Delicious pizzas made to order in. Watch social media for the schedule after September 4.