Tuesday, 8 March 2016

When beer meets fine dining

Beer paring at Outlaw's at The Capital

Sharps Brewery products

Have you ever considered ordering a beer to pair with your dinner instead of wine at a Michelin restaurant? As part of London Beer Week, Sharps Brewery and Outlaw's at The Capital has teamed up together to challenge the mindset of diners and educate them about the idea that beer can be just as good as wine to pair with haute cuisine, if not even better. Head chef Tom had came up with a 3 course dinner, using first rate ingredients from Cornwall whilst Ed, the sommelier from Sharps had carefully selected a wide range style of beers to go with Tom's creation. Beer as a type of drink has such a big diversity: from IPA, lager to bitter and stout etc. So in theory, this is something I can see it works and I'm certain it will have a bright future ahead.

Cornish Pilsner
The Cadogan Suite at The Capital Hotel

We were served a crab scotch egg as starter, the egg was delightfully cooked and packed with a pile of finely seasoned fresh crab meat. I couldn't fault the use of classic garnishes with the fennel and dill, it worked exceptional well with the crab and offered a touch of freshness and coolness to the overall dish. The choice of beer was a Sharps' Chalky's Bite, it was very ideal, the citrus and mild spices flavour profile delivered sharpness to balance off a rather rich starter.

crab scotch egg

The main of hake, was perhaps the finest hake I have ever tasted, the fish was so moist and cut like butter, it was outrageously good. I can easily eat that on its own without any garnish or sauces whatsoever. Then, the choice of curry that came with the hake is not to everyone's liking but it did went wonderfully with the vintage 2013 Honey Spiced IPA, the mellow bitter-sweet flavour along with just a hint of spices sensation worked in harmony with the fish.

Hake, curry, pickled onion with Honey Spiced IPA

The chocolate mousse with stout cake was not one for the faint-hearted. It was bold in flavour with a pleasantly warm and roasted aroma, the cream cheese ice cream added contrast as well as extra thickness in texture to make it an extremely filling dessert. And that is why the Quadrupel Ale, a vintage 2011 dark ale that it was paired with made perfect sense. It was a big, rich full body ale, almost tasted like a finely aged sweet sherry, such an interesting style of beer that I was really sad when I found out it was no longer available to buy in retail!  

Chocolate mousse with stout cake 
Quadrupel Ale (on the right)

This was a very eye opening evening, Sharps Brewery has done a fine job in showing us how specific beer styles matched with certain dishes. Both Tom and Ed can see this trend take off once more numbers of consumer become educated about it, and Sharps Brewery is one of the pioneers to invest into such mission. For sommeliers, it is just as important to have beer knowledge these days, more and more fine dining outlets now takes beer seriously as a cocktail or wine alternative. For example, the Michelin starred Alyn Williams at The Westbury offers matching beer with its tasting menu. It is a common thing nowadays to see a high end restaurant with an extended range of beer collection. Beer pairing with fine dining dishes turned out to be a beautiful concept after all.

Head chef from Outlaw's at The Capital: 
Tom Brown

Beer sommelier from Sharps: 
Ed Hughes

For more information please visit:



Outlaw's at The Capital Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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