When we heard that the Pumphouse Pub in Richmond, along with everyone’s favourite guys at Beerthirst, was having a long table on NYE, we jumped on it! You had me at long table…We shared the evening with our friends Mayleen and Phil and about 40 other beer-loving people. The room was decorated with balloons contained in netting on the ceiling, just itching to get released before midnight. Now let the dinner begin!
The menu featured seven different beers from Tenaya Creek Brewery (Las Vegas), Baird Brewing Company (Japan) and Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales (Michigan) paired with six unique dishes from Chef Daniela Iaci.
We started off with the Jolly Pumpkin Calabaza Blanca, an interesting Belgian Biere Blanche. This sour ale is spiced with orange peel and coriander and after a few sips, it grew on me. Once it was paired with the first course, a flavourful selection of Italian style antipasti, sliced meats and marinated vegetables, I quite enjoyed the ale. The food pairing was well suited to the sour Belgian, most notably the spicy meats, marinated red peppers and the cheese.
Next up, was the Tenaya Creek Pilsner. This lager won the gold medal at the 2002 American Beer Festival for “European-Style Pilsner”. I must say, it was different to have a hoppy pilsner, but it didn’t take away from the flavour or balance. We quite enjoyed this Czech style ale and found it refreshing. Chef paired the pilsner with Italian vegetables and shrimp fritto misto with a spicy herb and parmesan aioli. The vegetables and shrimp were lightly battered and deep fried to perfection.
Round three! Time for the Baird Rising Sun Pale Ale. I was curious to see a Japanese brewery’s take on a pale ale and they didn’t disappoint. This unfiltered pale ale has citrus flavours and a good amount of hops. Unfortunate for the woman at the next table who declared to her husband, “I don’t like hoppy beer”, but great for the rest of us. Side note, she’s not going to drink much tonight… This ale is definitely one of my favourites of the evening and we’ll be searching for it in our favourite craft beer stores. As our friend Phil commented, this beer goes down dangerously easy.
The nut encrusted warm goat cheese salad, topped with sweet citrus & herb provence vinaigrette, was served with the pale ale. This is my kind of salad! A generous portion of goat cheese and about six pieces of lettuce. All salads should be like this. Again, a great food pairing. Chef certainly has an amazing ability to create food pairings that complement each ale and enhance the flavours of both the food and the beer.We’re almost half way there…
Course four and we’re moving to the darker ales, this time the Baird Angry Boy Brown Ale. Not sure why the boy is angry, but this ale is unusually crisp and has wonderful malty goodness and a sweet spicy flavour. This was matched to the steak frites with stilton blue cheese and carmelized onions.
The evening at the Pumphouse included their New Year’s Eve party post-dinner which featured DJ Chris Calhoun and a couple of blackjack tables, with proceeds going to Osteoporosis Canada. It’s about 10pm now, and the music has started! A welcome relief after watching the Canucks get spanked by the Kings 4-1. The blackjack tables started to get some action between courses but I didn’t partake since if I sat down, I’d probably play for an hour (and miss the rest of the dinner).
Back to the dinner.. the fifth course was the Tenaya Creek Hop Ride IPA, with no food pairing. I love IPA’s and this dry-hopped American Style IPA had a citrus and spicy aroma. It’s 7.2% alc/vol and I probably should have remembered this after dinner when my husband, Kelly, and I started ordering more beer. A great IPA!
That’s four amazing, and generously portioned dishes by Chef and five flavourful ales that complemented her exquisite food. But now is not the time to throw in the towel as the limited release Tenaya Creek Monsoon Double IPA is up next! This 8.5% alc/vol isn’t for sissies. It’s hopped with Tim Etter’s home grown Mt. Hood and Cascade hops and has a nice bitter profile. Great flavours. Chef chose her slow cooked lamb osso buco with spaghetti aglio e olio. The IPA and strong meat coupled well.
We closed off the evening with the Baird Shimaguni Stout –Japanese Irish-style stout. I was impressed. I like a good stout but usually, it’s a meal and I don’t have more than one. Not this stout. It actually had a light, refreshing taste and is one that I could drink all night. It still has all of the typical coffee/chocolate/roasted malt tastes, but without the heaviness that usually accompanies a stout. Where we found the room for the Tiramisu with stout infused mascarpone, I’ll never know. This beautiful dessert was light and fluffy and the perfect end to the meal.
In typical generous Beerthirst fashion, after dinner they dropped off a couple of bombers of St. Nick’s Oaked Spiced Porter at each table. This is a collaboration between Russell Brewing and Fort Garry Brewing. As you would expect, it’s a spicy porter (cinnamon, nutmeg and all-spice).
We were also the lucky recipients of a door prize filled with 10 bombers from Russell and even a Hop Ride from Tenaya Creek. We’ll happily cart that box home in the cab tonight!
The countdown to midnight continued and as $1 from every pint of Tenaya sold was being donated to the Osteoporosis Society, we felt it was our duty to order a couple of Hop Ride IPA’s. Midnight arrived with a glass of bubbly, balloons everywhere and kisses. The party continued long into the night (well actually, the morning) and we stayed for the festivities until 3am. There are many more stories to tell from the post-midnight festivities, but what goes on at the Pumphouse, stays at the Pumphouse. Unless you’re checking out You Tube, Twitter, TMZ.com…. We had a great night! Thanks to the Pumphouse and Beerthirst for organizing another successful long table.
Happy new year!