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Mission : Leap Beer, 366 Beers in 366 Days

Leapbeer Fieldtrip – Brewmaster Dinner at Swans Brewpub

On November the 10th, Swans Brewpub had their Brewmaster Dinner. It was a limited seating event, taking up the back half of the restaurant. I was teased the day before by a pic they posted to twitter.

Swans 2012 Brewmaster Dinner Cake

Swans 2012 Brewmaster Dinner Cake

(Courtesy of their twitter feed)

With interests piqued my sister and I headed down to Swans to check out the event. It was a packed house for this 5 course meal, each paired with one of their beers. And, as the evening started, it was hinted that there would be a special ‘secret’ beer as well.

Menu for the night

Menu for the night

First course was a fondue starter paired with Swans Arctic Ale (#280 on the Leapbeer Master List). It was a shared plate of apple and pear slices, grapes and spiced nuts to be dipped in a beer infused cheese sauce. The sauce was very reminiscent of what you’d expect from a nice home cooked cheese sauce over cauliflower or broccoli, but with a hint of blue cheese to it as well. The ale served as a nice palate cleanser between each fon-dunk. This was a great way to start the evening.

First Course

First Course Fondue – Paired with Arctic Ale

Next up was the second course, a Five Spice Duck Salad paired with the Pumpkin Ale (#270 on the Master List). When you consume the duck and the beer together the spice on the duck masked the spice in the beer pronouncing more of the ale character of the brew. If you tasted the watercress, sprouts and pumpkin seed side with the beer it brought out more of the spice. While I’m not a fan of duck, this was a nice and shockingly light salad. One other thing we noticed was that the five spice on the duck was strangely similar to the spices coated on the nuts from the earlier course. Guessing that the crew here was planning on doing this more throughout the meal we decided to look for more of those going forward.

Five Spice Duck Salad - Paired with Pumpkin Ale

Five Spice Duck Salad – Paired with Pumpkin Ale

Next up was the Seafood Salad paired with the Pandora Ale (#281 on Leapbeer Master List). This was a beer puff, filled with lox, crab, shrimp, house smoked bacon, greens and cucumber over an avocado puree. Everything here was perfect. The Pandora Ale paired perfectly with this course. In our hunt for bridging item uncovered that the greens inside the puff were watercress, just like in the salad before.

Seafood Salad paired with Pandora Pale Ale

Seafood Salad paired with Pandora Pale Ale

Next was a bit of a deviation for me. We guessed that there wasn’t a logical bridging point between the third and fourth course so they came up with this, a beer jelly plate. Imagine for yourself a reduction of beer, jellied into a near pea shaped tapioca style bead. And that’s what it was. This preparation really brought out the bitterness in each beer.

Beer Jelly Plate. Arctic Ale on top, then clockwise around the plate Pumpkin, Pandora, Scotch and Berry Ales.

Beer Jelly Plate. Arctic Ale on top, then clockwise around the plate Pumpkin, Pandora, Scotch and Berry Ales.

A close up of the beer jelly

A close up of the beer jelly

Next was the main course, a beer braised Bison rib, served with a jus over a pearl barley pilaf with courgette, carrot and beet paired with a healthy pint of Riley’s Scotch Ale (#282 on the Leapbeer Master List). I’m not kidding when I say that this plate was perfect. The obvious bridge was the pearl shape of the jelly and the pearl barley on the plate. This course was an absolute slam dunk. ’nuff said.

Perfectly cooked Bison Rib with Scotch Ale

Perfectly cooked Bison Rib with Scotch Ale

After that it was time for dessert. As I noted above they had a nice cake for the culmination(or so we thought) of the event. It was a stout oatmeal cake with layers of raspberries and cream, paired with the Swans Berry Ale (#283 on the Master List). I found the berry ale to be too sweet by itself but when paired with the cake it brought out more of the tart nature in their raspberry ale.

Stout Cake with Raspberries and Berry Ale

Stout Cake with Raspberries and Berry Ale

After this they served a palate cleanser, a nice small dollop of sorbet.

Small Serving Sorbet

Small Serving Sorbet

Next up proved to be the best part of the night, partially due to a somewhat odorous co-eater having left and also the fact that we would taste some more delicious beer.

First up is the Legacy Barley Wine (#284 on the master list). This is a very boozey and delicious beer. While it was a very high test beer (9.5% ABV) there was a nice lingering malty sweetness to it.

Legacy Barleywine

Legacy Barleywine

After that we were surprised by a sneak peek at the Black Swan (#285 on the master list), their new 9% ABV imperial stout. This beer was deep and delicious, but with a hint of peaty smokiness to it.

Black Swan Imperial Stout

Black Swan Imperial Stout

This evening was a great event for me to go to. There were smiles around the room as the night was wrapping up. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and I think everyone else did too. Big Kudos to Audrey Lefrancais (Swans Chef), Andrew Tessier (Swans Brewmaster) and the rest of the Swans staff for a wonderful night.

Thanks for Reading

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