Beer and Food Matching at Iberica, Canary Wharf:
It has to be said, that if you were asked to describe the alcoholic beverage of Spain, it’s more than likely that you’d name wines such as Cava, Rioja or Priorat (my favourite region), or maybe Sherry, and perhaps even Gin in line with the trendy gin and tonic movement so popular in Spain at the moment. But it’s unlikely that you’d immediately think of beer, and there’s a good reason for that – Spain doesn’t have a long beer producing history, and with the exception of Estrella I’d be pushed to name a brand. Our evening at Iberica, Canary Wharf has changed all that.
We were invited to a food pairing experience with Casimiro Mahou beer. We were given a brief history of the brand, it seems that a love-struck Frenchman happily moved to Spain to marry, but missed the beers of his native country, and eventually persuaded his father-in-law to go into brewing. I have to say that I love stories like this, which bring the product to life and help me to understand the drivers and passion behind the business. But all the love stories in the world can’t compensate for a poor product, so the proof had to be in the tasting.
Whilst the kitchen prepared for what seemed to be a very busy service on a cold February night, we were told a little about each beer as we were served our tapas.
We started with some perfectly caramelised scallops served with a delicate seaweed puree and hollandaise sauce. These were just lovely and I could have eaten more! To accompany these we had the Casimiro Marcenado which was a wheat beer and reminded me of ones I’ve had in Belgium. It had a sweet fruity flavour and was rather easy to drink!
Our next dish was a revelation. A taco of quail with marinated apple. This had been slow cooked, de-boned, and then re-imagined. Another gorgeous dish, it’s clear that the kitchen team are creative, imaginative, and skilled at what they do. This was paired with Casimiro Maravillas, a strong lager with a touch of bitterness. I worried that this might overpower the delicate quail, but it worked beautifully.
Our final savoury tapas was a dish called Morteruelo served with wild mushrooms and pine nuts. The chef who introduced the dish said that we would find it very rich, and that it’s known in Spain as the dish that feeds a whole family. It didn’t look like a very big portion, but the chef had not exaggerated in the slightest. It was incredibly rich, dense and earthy. Perfect for a cold night, Spanish comfort food taken to a different level. We were served this with a glass of Casimiro Jacometrezo, an ale with spicy notes and a touch of caramel, this helped cut through the richness of the dish.
It was a really interesting pairing event, and certainly one that pushed me away from the ‘usual’ tapas choices and indeed the ‘usual’ wine choices.
For more information about Iberica and other events please see their website. We visited the Canary Wharf branch of Iberica.
We were guests of Iberica for this preview of a Beer and Food matching menu