Beer dinner at PB Ale House 12/8/11
This was an amazing meal with expert food pairings by the chef at PB Ale House. After being seated next to Karl, clearly a regular based on the number of hugs from the beautiful wait staff, and Ballast Point's very own sales person Laura Slayter, things got underway quickly. We were early so PB Ale House offered up a sampler of their own and for the life of me I cannot remember what it was, however it was a tasty start.
For the first course we got to dive into BP’s Abandon Ship Smoked Lager. Yum, it was hard to not drink it all before the food pairing arrived, but arrive it did and it paired nicely. It was a Brioche Monte Cristo with La Quercia Prosciutto and New York White Cheddar topped with a fried quail egg and maple thyme emulsion. “I could have this for breakfast” said my beloved Shira; I nodded in agreement as I placed another bite in my mouth followed by a dose of Abandon Ship Smoked Lager.
On to the Second course and a Collaboration Beer. This was a mix of Ballast Point's Big Eye IPA and PB AleHouse's Hopulent, a double IPA, infused with Ballast Point's Rum soaked oak chips. This was amazingly balanced and had a wonderful floral nose but didn’t taste overly hopped up. It paired well with the Frog More Stew which was a savory blend of tiger shrimp, andouille sausage, red potatoes and a roasted garlic crostini.
“Are you going to eat that sausage” I beckoned Laura, to my delight she replied, “No” and I consumed it much more slowly than I did the first one, wanting to stretch out the delicious enjoyment of the prized morsel.
With the arrival of the Third course we were blessed with a Barrel Aged Black Marlin Porter, and again I had to struggle to not drink it up before the food pairing came, in fact I hid it behind my water glass in order to avoid temptation, it was that good. Once the food arrived and I tasted how the pairings matched little hearts started to float up in the air around me, it was that scrumptious, I was in love. The porter paired well with the House Smoked Wild Mushroom Ragu served over a polenta cake with lemon thyme froth and chive oil drizzle, however I was enthralled with my new favorite in the county, maybe the world, Barrel Aged Black Marlin Porter!
For our Fourth course I gingerly sipped at the Habanera Sculpin IPA. I have tried this in the past and was put off by the shear heat of the burn on the back of my throat. Tonight I was in luck, the spice was nice, a bit more then subtle but not overpowering, and the Loch Durat Scottish Salmon with confit fingerlings and a crème fraiche orb was nice to pair with it as the spice in the beer brought up the mildness of the food dish and the food dish calmed the spice in the IPA, they canceled each other out and met in a sweet spot much like a perfect shore break wave.
I am not a huge dessert fan, and I am certainly not a lover of Crème Brulee, however the Fifth course beer, a Barrel Aged Victory at Sea Imperial Porter was paired with a Vanilla bean crème brulee with a Victory at Sea foam. The server literally whipped up a nice head on a pint of the porter and poured it over this rather light airy (not flan or pudding like) Crème Brulee. It was like a coffee cloud. Heaven.
We stayed a bit late and we were rewarded with a second tasting of the Victory at Sea, and now I am frantically trying to get my hands on more of that Barrel Aged Black Marlin Porter. See you at the brewery!
Paul Anthony, Tour Guide ( & COO of La Jolla Wine Tours)