As it has been Susie’s birthday, I treated her to a night out at The Lounge’s Beer Club. I’ve been to the wine clubs quite a few times, both at The Lounge and when they used to take place at Room, before its demise. I’ve always loved the opportunity to try lots of new wines and broaden my knowledge about what tastes nice with certain foods. I do like the Lounge since it’s had a refurb. The restaurant upstairs is cosy and the menu is full of reliable British classics. I always wonder why it is never more busy! The beer club had been on my list of things to do for a while, as Susie and I do love a good ale.
This week’s ale was provided by one of our favourite brewers, Saltaire Brewery. They’ve been brewing ale since 2005, although it’s actually made in neighbouring Shipley! I’m always pleased when a Saltaire beer is on, as they make it with some interesting flavours – including hazelnut, chocolate and raspberry. This doesn’t make for an artificial tasting brew though. They actually manage to give the drink a proper depth of flavour – a real grown up drink.
Our canapes were paired with raspberry pale, which was topped up with fizz. It was surprisingly refreshing and pleasant. To my horror we didn’t get a look in with the canapes, which seemed quite basic and meany anyway. Guests will never be let down like this at the Manor 😉
We headed upstairs for our main meal and more ale. I guess the beer and wine clubs operate a bit like supperclubs because they sit strangers together at tables, encouraging you to chat. I think some couples were put off by this as they had not been expecting it! On other tables large groups had come together (I guess staff teams?) which made it a bit loud for chit chat at our table, which was a shame!
Starters were prawn and scallop skewers with chorizo, paired with Cascade pale ale. The fish skewers were cooked well and I love chorizo with anything anyway. We were informed that the Cascade cuts through the fattiness of the chorizo, which is a characteristic of pale ale. I enjoyed!
Our duo of mains were salmon and asparagus paired with Saltaire Blonde, whilst a rabbit and chestnut pie was paired with Crystal Red. We were given an interesting talk about both ales and I should have taken notes really, but I was too hungry! From what I remember the blonde ale acts similarly to a white wine – a nice light match to the fish that doesn’t overpower it. Plus, as it came bottled it had a slight fizz to it. I agreed that the match was a good one. The Crystal red is my kind of beer, much fuller, tastier and served at room temperature. It gets its red colour from the amount of time that its left to ferment, giving it a real malty (rather than hoppy) flavour. The pie itself contained the ale too, but for me it was far too sweet to stand up to the beautiful ale. Interestingly enough I was in the Lounge the next day enjoying some leftover Crystal Red – and it was amazing on its own. Oh well, not all the pairings will suit everyone.
Our final course was a chocolate and Seville orange tart paired with triple-chocoholic. This beer is seriously dark and has been brewed with three types of chocolate. The brewers chuck in a load of fuddles hops so that it’s not a sweet and sickly ale. Potentially it could have worked well with the tart – if they had used a nice bitter chocolate. But, alas, it was milk chocolate! Plus the tart cases looked like they had been bought in to cut corners, a slight disappointment.
Overall they were extremely generous with the beer. Susie and I both had busy days at work the next day, so we felt a bit guilty knocking back the ale – but hey it was birthday time! The food to beer ratio was not so good and we left still feeling a bit hungry (probably because we are pigs!). The brewer from Saltaire was lovely and informative, he really made the evening for me. Looking at their website they make about 30 different ales, so I look forward to trying some more.
Susie and I are now very keen to host our own ale themed supperclub, where we’ll pair delicious ales with good British food. We have such a plethora of excellent local brewers who we can’t wait to work with. We’re already in talks with our friends at Leeds Brewery to put on an event in February 2012. So if ale and food tickles your fancy then watch this space. We’ve started a waiting list for this event, you just need to email firstname.lastname@example.org
Finally, thanks to our guests who are booking on fast to our Mexican themed supperclubs in January. Thanks for trusting in us so much by booking so far in advance. It is you and your willingness to try new things that really makes the supperclub, so thank you and we look forward to meeting you. I think we have about two spaces left on both the Friday and Saturday nights so bag your space now by booking here.