The Unofficial Beer of Halloween is Best Sipped in the Dark
A week or so back I made my way to Hackney for an invite promising the dubious pleasure of matching beer with bugs for the evening. I might not have been so keen had the invite been from anyone other than Hobgoblin and had the restaurant been any other than James Ramsden’s Pidgin. While wine is generally my favourite tipple, Hobgoblin just happens to be my brother’s favourite. And, I first met James Ramsden some ten years ago when he was running supper clubs (I believe from his own sister’s flat). I’ve been meaning to try Pidgin since he first took over at the helm some five years ago…it took the promise of crickets, buffalo worms and grasshoppers to get me there!
Our dinner was a preview of the menu which James will be serving during Halloween week, with three insect dishes as canapés and one as an after-dinner sweet. Each dish paired with Hobgoblin beers designed to complement the bugs! If buffalo worm truffles are not your thing, though, fear not, as there’s a starter, main course and dessert too – which are completely bug-free!
Actually, the canapés worked remarkably well. Hobgoblin IPA was paired with spiced raw beef ‘larb’ with spicy crispy crickets and lettuce. Cricket flour blinis with soured cream, smoked salmon, caviar and fried crickets with Hobgoblin Gold. Little cheese puffs were stuffed with grasshoppers and finished with garlic and parsley butter to pair with Hobgoblin Ruby.
I must confess though, I might have felt hungry if we hadn’t gone on to feast on the normal Pidgin menu, in my case all washed down with Hobgoblin IPA, which is a remarkably easy beer for a wine drinker to enjoy! Winner of the World’s best IPA award, it’s pale gold with orange glints, full of citrus and honey notes. I could get used to drinking this one.
I also cheated when it came to the chocolate truffles and swallowed the caramel with the buffalo worms almost in one piece…
Anyway, the good news is that you’ve got three ways to enjoy sipping your Hobgoblin in the Dark this year.
Pidgin will be running their own insect-rich menu with Hobgoblin beer pairings, just like the one I enjoyed as a preview. Their menu changes from week to week but to get an idea of what you might enjoy alongside the odd grasshopper or three, check out their site – and remember to book your table for Halloween week.
Hobgoblin has launched a Beer and Bugs snack pack (RRP £32) which is available from their webshop here.
Or, you could enter our giveaway for a chance to win some beer and bugs of your own! One lucky reader will win the Beer and Bugs pack from Hobgoblin that I’ve mentioned above which includes the following…
Sweet Chilli & Lime Crickets
Smoky BBQ Crickets
Peri Peri Crickets
Salted Toffee Crickets
4 x 500ml Hobgoblin Ruby Cans
4 x 500ml Hobgoblin Gold Cans
4 x 440ml Hobgoblin IPA Cans
4 x 440ml King Goblin Cans
Hobgoblin Eye Mask
Wychwood Brewery Draft 2/3 Pint Glass
Beer & Bug Matching card
Just follow the Rafflecopter through as normal, remembering to answer the mandatory question
Looking for something different? We also recommend Simon Drake’s House of Magic Halloween special event