Perfect Pairs at the Libertine Public House
Recently, the Beer Bros were fortunate enough to attend a special brewmaster’s dinner at the Libertine Public House on Stephen Avenue in Calgary.
Hosted by the Libertine and Phillips Brewing Company from Victoria, B.C., the dinner was a fantastic four-course meal with beer pairings drawn from Phillips’ extensive selection of quality brews. Chef Mel Lafleur worked behind the scenes in the Libertine’s kitchen to assemble each dish, while Phillips’ sales and marketing manager Simon Myttenar walked us through the finer points of each beer, as well as some of the history behind the brewery.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the pairings.
Food: Butter-poached Atlantic lobster skewer with citrus and fresh dill
Beer: Analogue 78 Kolsch
This is a perfect summer beer. Light in colour and body, this easy-drinking, lightly hopped lager is smooth and refreshing from start to finish. A beer brewed in the Kolsch style—which means it is warm-fermented and then cold-conditioned—it starts with subtle fruit notes on the nose before giving way to a clean finish. Its nuanced flavour and balanced hop profile paired perfectly with the rich lobster and accentuated the citrus flavour.
Food: Seared crispy-skin halibut with warm heirloom tomato, apricot and fennel salad
Beer: Blue Buck
Blue Buck is the flagship brand of Phillips Brewing Company, and for good reason. This crisp, medium-bodied amber ale possesses a perfect balance of malty sweetness and just the right amount of hops for a delicious and complex brew. Versatile by nature of its balanced flavour profile, Blue Buck complemented both the flavour and texture of the fish, as well as the freshness of the tomato salad.
Food: Smoked pork tenderloin on a bed of arugula and manchego cream, topped with charred corn and jalapeno salsa, and edible flowers
Beer: Bottle Rocket ISA
Many beer drinkers are familiar with the heavily hopped IPAs that have come to dominate the craft beer scene of late, but this is something a little bit different. An ISA, or India Session Ale, differs from an India Pale Ale in that it tends to be lighter in colour and body, packing a smaller alcoholic punch, but maintaining a distinctive hoppy bitterness. This particular ISA features hoppy bitterness on the nose, but eases into a refreshing finish of floral and citrus notes that was able to cut through the fat and smokiness of the pork tenderloin with delicious results.
Food: Seared bison strip loin with ramps, forest mushrooms and blue-cheese-scented pomme purée
Beer: Longboat Chocolate Porter
The rich, meaty flavour of bison requires a beer pairing that can match its bold taste and texture, and the Longboat Chocolate Porter did not disappoint. This beer was a special treat, with luscious chocolate and coffee notes that refused to be overwhelmed by the strong flavours on the plate. As an added bonus, a medium body and manageable alcohol content of 5.2 per cent mean you can enjoy more than one pint without feeling full. This rich, dark brew also pairs well with the sweetness of a variety of desserts, including chocolate cake and ice cream.
Food: Caramel pudding with Chantilly cream
Beer: Twisted Oak Scotch Ale
Pairing beer with dessert can be difficult, but the Twisted Oak Scotch Ale was a perfect companion for the sweetness of the pudding. This complex brew is barrel-aged like a fine scotch, allowing its flavours to mature and amplify. The result is a strong, but still eminently drinkable, concoction that features a full body and dark malt flavour. A taste offers hints of bourbon and oak on the nose that eventually give way to a lovely finish of caramel and toffee notes. At 6.8 per cent alcohol, this brew is best enjoyed in moderation, savouring each delicious sip. The good people at Phillips also recommend pairing the ale with dark chocolate or sturdy cheeses.