Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Beer Pairing Dinner

Recently I was at a dinner at Lobster Bar of Island Shangri-La featuring a beer-pairing menu with a few specialty bottles by the folks at Young Master Brewery. I have been a fan of this fast-expanding local craft brewery and think event like this benefits both the restaurant in offering something new to its customers and for the brewery to introduce its great products to a wider audience.



Throughout the 6 courses specially designed for this one-evening-only event, 8 different brews from Young Master were served – some are the more familiar one like the Cha Chaan Teng Gose (dubbed the salted lemon beer paying tribute to the salted lemon drink common in local cha chaan teng during summer) or the 1842 Island IPA. But some are more special – like the Island Ale only available at Lobster Bar, inspired by the fragrance used by the hotel, or the Hak Mo Sheung Stout Imperial Con Ancho y Panca with a chili after-taste.

I particularly like a few pairings. The cold appetizer of scallop ceviche with razor clams, coconut and pickled pineapples was beautifully plated with salmon roes and edible flower petals as garnishes. It was paired with the limited edition bottle of "Days of Being Wild" (named after the cultish movie by Wong Kar-wai) I must say at first sip I found it a bit funky, with hint of fermented flavor on the palate with rather sharp acidity, but once I got used to the unusual taste, I thought it went quite well with the mild acidity of the dish.

I thought having three separate items on one plate as our main course was a bit crowded, but that meant we could try more pairing options. The food was all very nice – with Braised Beef Cheek on Lentils being my favorite of the three which also included duck breast and veal schnitzel. And I like the beef paired with the 1842 Island IPA. I am normally not an IPA person as I don’t like anything overly hoppy, but I thought this one just had the right punch of bitterness balanced by a hint of sweet malty taste.

Two desserts were served after the savory courses – starting with the Tonka Bean icecream and espresso “Affogato di bier”. Not sure if it’s strong enough to stand up against the Imperial Stout with chili, but individually both were decent. The final plate of sliced roasted figs and stilton cheese crumbles served on a pastry tart with caramelized onions and honey was like having fromage and dessert course combined. It’s an interesting pairing with the slightly sweet and fruity Raspberry Imperial Stout. And not as part of the menu, I finished with a birthday dessert platter with mini-bites, courtesy of the hotel.

I reckon they should do more dinners like this, just to counter those wine-pairing dinners that has become way too common.

(The dinner was by invitation and based on a special menu)

When? October 20 2017
Menu Highlights? Spiced Scallop Ceviche with Razor Clam, Pickled Pineapple, Grapefruit and Coconut
Drinks?
(All by Young Master Brewery)
Island Ale
Cha Chaan Teng Gose
Days of Being Wild - Citra Dry-hopped
Rye on Wood
Bitter Oak
1842 Island IPA
Hak Mo Sheung Stout Imperial con Ancho y Panca
Hak Mo Sheung Raspberry Imperial Stout
Web:
Lobster Bar at Island Shangri-la: www.shangri-la.com/hongkong/islandshangrila/dining/restaurants/lobster-bar-grill/
Young Master Brewery: youngmasterales.com


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