Prud’homme Beer Enthusiast, session 4

Monday was the last session of the Beer Enthusiast level of the Prud’homme courses. I’ve enjoyed it so much, I signed up for the next level, Beer Specialist, even before writing the test.

We started the class with an overview of putting the right beer with the right food. This is a concept that I’d like to delve into more. Roger talked about the three C’s – complement, cut and contrast. A few examples were given, but this was just a small fraction of a bigger topic.

The next topic was about cooking with beer. Honestly all I could think about through this whole section was the glorious smell that fills the apartment every time I make the Guinness-braised steak and vegetable stew! Next thing I want to try is to bake with it; I’m definitely having a go at the vanilla porter cupcakes, if I can refrain from drinking the vanilla porter first. Man, that stuff is good. I’m not the only one to think so either, going by the empty spot on the shelves in my local LCBO.

20131127-200705.jpgWe also had two separate tastings. The first was Belgian beers, and I think I fell a little in love with #3.

  1. Dupont Saison
    Appearance: cloudy, straw
    Aroma: a bit skunky, sour, spice like Blanche de Chambly
    Flavour: boozy, lemon pepper, pickle, citrus pith aftertaste
    Finish: sharp champagne dryness
  2. Leffe Blonde
    Appearance: clear (filtered), rich gold
    Aroma: light apple
    Flavour: apple, bubble gun, cream soda at finish
    Finish: lots of sharp bubbles, sweet finish.
  3. Trappist Rochefort 8
    Appearance: hazy brunette, beige foam
    Aroma: vanilla, caramel, eastern spice (garam masala, cardamom, 5 spice powder), a bit like the Redpath sugar barn
    Flavour: boozy, chocolate, molasses
    Finish: tingle.burn from the alcohol
  4. Chimay Tripel
    Appearance: cloudy, pineapple gold, creamy foam
    Aroma: banana, apple
    Flavour: bubble gum, pear
    Finish: carbonated/fizzy, citrus pith at end

And there was more! Next there were three rounds of food and beer pairing, two beers with 2 kinds of food in each round. My notes are a bit of a scribble (I think I was too busy enjoying it all), but I know it was a real eye-opener. Some of the pairings really worked, others not so much.

Round 1: Fat & Protein.
Jever Pilsener and Amsterdam’s Downtown Brown with spring roll and prosciutto. The Jever worked really well with spring roll, but turned sour and metallic with the prosciutto. The spring roll took away away all the warm nutty flavours of the Downtown Brown while the prosciutto was enhanced by it.

Round 2: Cheese.
Steamwhistle and Trois Pistoles with Beemster and Danish blue. I’m not a fan of Steamwhistle on it’s own, but it both cut and complemented the Beemster nicely and brought out some nutty flavours. It completely disappeared with other cheese – it just couldn’t compete with the blue cheese. The Trois Pistoles didn’t do much for the Beemster, but really brought out some of the underlying sweetness of the blue while taming a bit of the harshness.

Round 3: Dessert
London Porter and Mort Subite Framboise with almond chocolate pudding and chocolate covered cheesecake. Let’s just say that pudding and porter don’t go together and leave it at that. Porter really does go with the cheesecake, the richness of both the beer and the dessert met someplace warm and lovely. The cheesecake was too much for the Mort Subit; one of the guys observing likened it to a Viva Puff. You don’t get enough of the raspberry in those either. The Mort Subit did work well with the pudding by cutting the sweetness and enhancing the chocolate flavour rather than fighting with it like the porter did.

Oh and there was the test. 40 multiple choice and 20 incredibly easy fill-in-the-blanks. I know I got 3 wrong (it’s impossible to escape the inevitable post mortem), and I’m sure I got a few others wrong. All in all, I’m sure I’m good to go for the next session.

At least two others from my session will be joining me at the next one, Jen from Ltd Supply and Jen from Beerlicious. I’m very glad, as we seem to have clicked and it’s great to have a few like-minded women around to go and drink beer with!

2 Comments:

  1. I had the Vanilla Porter at the Brewpup a few years back and found it too much. My first swig was great, but about half way through the pint I realized I wasn’t going to finish it. Too much like a vanilla beer milkshake for me. Although I could definitely see it being really good in baked goods. A vanilla porter cake could be amazing.

    • Fortunately, the vanilla has been toned down for the canned version; I don’t think I’d be drinking as much of it if it was like what was on draught at Mill Street.

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