I met one of my classmates, Jen of Ltd. Supply, at her house before heading to the kitchen. She opened several of their homebrews for me to try:
- Mint Condition, a chocolate stout with an oh-so-subtle mint flavour imparted from fresh mint added during fermentation
- Have Your Carrot Cake and Drink It Too, made with carrots and spices. It tasted fantastic, but alas had no carbonation.
- Midnight in the Pumpkin Patch, a dark beer made with farmhouse saison yeast. Lots of great warm spice notes, cinnamon and nutmeg, with the pumpkin coming in quietly at the end.
- Reporter Coffee Porter – I haven’t tried this one yet, she gave me a bottle to bring home that’s now waiting for me later this weekend!
And as if that wasn’t enough, she cracked open their bottle of Utopias and poured me a wee dram in a snifter. I soon lost myself in the smell of fruitcake and caramel – it was like smelling my Grandma’s Christmas pudding with her home made butter caramel sauce. It solidified my desire to get a bottle of my own next year.
Having given ourselves a nice head start, we took a cab to the class where we were promptly given a glass of Grolsch as we waited for a few class members to arrive. It was difficult to taste anything in the Grolsch after the dark beers, but I enjoyed the thirst-quenching aspect of it.
Shortly, we were split into groups to make a salad, soup, entree and dessert. It was great to be in an informal setting to talk and exchange stories with the people I don’t usually sit beside. There were many laughs, and I enjoyed talking to Jen, Hank ( a home brewer), Kait who is a wine sommelier, Shawn, one of the guys behind Old Flame Brewing in Port Perry, and, well everyone. I miss the interactions of teaching and work, and admittedly get a bit chatty as soon as I get out of the house. Actually there was more talking and laughing than cooking – huge thanks to Vanessa of Aphrodite Cooks for her attention to detail.
Our menu consisted of:
- Onion and lager soup, made and served with Grolsch
- Green salad with a witbier Roquefort dressing, made and served with Hoegaarden
- Pork with apricot wheat beer and paprika, made and served with St. Ambroise Apricot Wheat
- Poached pears with vanilla ice cream, made and served with St. Bernardus Abt 12.
While everything was delicious and offered some interesting tastes in terms of complement and cut, I have to say it was the dessert course that stuck with me the most. Definitely be making it at home.