Last week I was invited by Stanley Park Brewing to join a group of social media people in the Stanley Park Pavilion for a long table dinner and beer pairing event; I graciously accepted – umm, free beer? Yes, thank you Stanley Park Brewing!!
This was an interesting event; at the long table dinner people were assigned seats so it was a cool social event – sharing food, tasting beer, and talking with new friends. Very cool.
At each place setting there were four Stanley Park Brewing beer glasses. And shortly after sitting down, the serving staff came around with pitchers and began to fill the beers.
They filled the glasses from left to right; the first beer was Stanley Park Brewing’s Noble Pilsner. Next to that is their Windstorm Pale Ale, followed by the WinterGlow Mandarin IPA and finally the glass of Foghorn IBA.
Of course the Noble Pilsner was good. A nonintrusive flavour that is simply very pleasing to the mouth. Not overly hopped, just a medium bodied beer with some very subtle hints of fruit.
The two beers that I really enjoyed though were the WinterGlow Mandarin IPA and the Foghorn India Brown Ale (IBA).
It is interesting to stop and think about what I am about to write. Not that long ago people had their choice of beers from the big three breweries who controlled virtually all of the beer market; Molsons, Labatts, and Carling O’Keefe’s. Now we talk about endless beers from seemingly countless small breweries. I love it.
Back to the WinterGlow – the glass second from the right in the pic above. It is a beer with a distinct aroma of mandarin oranges and a strong but not overpowering, flavour of hops.
I am not a fan of the way so many brewer masters are hopping up their beers. It is simply too much of a good thing. The team at Stanley Park Brewing got this one right. Yes, there is a strong taste of hops but for me, it is well balanced with the stronger citrus hints.
To finish off the dinner we enjoyed a Grapefruit Panna Cotta with a pistachio crumble with a sprinkle of flower petals. The dessert was paired with the Windstorm Pale Ale.
Like the Mandarin IPA, the Windstorm Pale Ale has hints of citrus but with an added bonus of tropical fruit.
To me it was very interesting to see how beers can be paired with different foods. Typically there is great attention to getting the “right wine” with the right meal, it is fun to see how people are now taking the time to pair their meals with beers.
As the old advertisement says, “you’ve come a long way baby!” The world of choices that beer drinkers now have available certainly have come a long way, at least in part due to the smaller brewers like Stanley Park Brewing.
Disclosure: Thank you to Stanley Park Brewing for inviting me to this fabulous dinner event. Although my dinner and the samples of beer were complimentary my comments in this blog post are my own and in no way were influenced by the folks at Stanley Park Brewing. As always, editorial control of what is posted on my blog remains with me.