Pairing Beer & Food With Goose Island & Bluebonnet Barbecue

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MELBOURNE | 2017’s Melbourne Good Beer Week coincided with the launch of Chicago-based Goose Island Brewery’s beers in Australia. To celebrate, we were invited to an event at Bluebonnet Barbecue, “Meet The Flock”, which saw head chef Chris Terlikar cooking a range of dishes to pair with some of Goose Island’s beers.

We’ve long been advocates of venues that take beer and food matching seriously, and over the years in Melbourne, more restaurants have started to do so. With such a variety of beer styles, and flavours ranging from the simple to the complex, there’s quite literally a beer for every dish. We arrived at Bluebonnet expecting to be treated to some of the fantastic Texas style barbecue that Bluebonnet is famous for, but when we glanced at the menu a very different selection of dishes appeared.

With all the focus on barbecue, many may not know that Terlikar’s background is in fine dining, with experience in restaurants like Vue Du Monde, and Michelin starred PUBLIC in New York. The menu at this event was less focused on red meat and pit smoking, but still retained elements of both, with each dish designed to be enhanced by the beer it was paired with, and vice versa.

Crispy soft shell crab, avocado, tamarillo hot sauce and coriander was paired with Goose Island’s Midway IPA, a sessionable 4.1% IPA brewed locally at the Cascade Brewery in Tasmania. It’s a lighter bodied dry hopped beer that with low to moderate bitterness and a bright tropical hop aroma derived primarily from Mosaic hops. The avocado and hot sauce were enhanced by IPA’s tropical aromas.

We asked Bill Savage, the head of Goose Island’s Barrel Program, why Mosaic hops were used instead of Amarillo (the hop that’s used in the USA brewed Midway IPA), and he told us that Goose Island wanted to ensure that the beers on the market in Australia are as fresh as possible. Amarillo hops aren’t that widely available in Australia, and the brewers wanted to make sure that they could get as close as possible to the US brewed beers using locally sourced, fresh ingredients.

The following dish saw Sofie, a wine barrel aged Belgian style farmhouse ale with hand-zested orange peel being paired with Tea smoked Tasmanian sea trout, pineapple piccalilli. The spicy white pepper notes of the beer went well with the delicateness of the tea smoked flavours of the trout, while the beer’s citrus notes complimented the pineapple piccalilli.

Next was pit smoked spatchcock, pine mushrooms, marjoram and beluga lentils, paired with Goose Island’s signature English-style Goose IPA. The bolder hops of this IPA really helped enhance the smokiness of the spatchcock.

For dessert, it was Lolita, pale ale aged on raspberries in wine barrels, that was matched with a fig and almond tart, chocolate, raspberry and native pepper ice cream. This was a real highlight of the evening, with the jammy fruit aspects of the Lolita working in sync with, rather than contrasting with, the tart’s flavours., and the native pepper ice cream cutting through the sweetness of each bite.

We’re big fans of the thoughtful pairing of beer with food, be it casual, fine dining, or something in-between. Increasingly, we’ve been experimenting with beer not just paired with food, but also used in the cooking process itself (see for example our IPA Churros recipe), and it’s great to see an increasing interest in this, not just from beer drinkers and chefs, but from beer brands themselves. Needless to say, we’re excited about the future of food and beer.

To listen to our chat with the people from Goose Island before the event, check out the Brunswick Beer Collective podcast episode The Goose Island Conspiracy.

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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